*As the newly minted president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce (M-DCC), G. Eric Knowles sits in a seat only four others have occupied. The organization has a 40-year history of advocacy and enterprise, yet the new leader’s mandate remains the same: advancing the business vitality of Black-owned businesses in Miami-Dade County.
“It is humbling and exciting all at the same time. There is much work to be done. I am ready to grow our membership and create opportunities for our members,” Knowles said.
M-DCC leads the way towards long-term business prosperity by providing advocacy, networking, resources, and training to men and women in South Florida. The Florida International University graduate is a former member of MDCC’s board of directors and previously served as chairman for three years.
“I learned how to build coalitions based on consensus during my time in community relations. My mentor David Alexander told me my job was to win friends and influence people,” Knowles shared. “I aim to do that for the chamber and its members.”
Knowles cultivated numerous relationships over the span of his three-decade career in corporate, governmental, and community relations. He earned various executive positions with the Miami Dolphins/Sun Life Stadium and most recently served as senior director of Government Affairs and Community Relations.
“Through my previous work with Sun Life Stadium I am proud to have developed relationships with all of the municipalities within Miami-Dade County. I have relationships with the Hispanic, African-American and Anglo communities. I’d like to tap into those relationships to create value for members,” Knowles revealed.
These diverse experiences shaped the Bahamian descendant’s definition of leadership.
“A leader is not someone who tells people what to do but works with people to help them get to where they are going. It’s about following, listening, and surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you,” he added.
In his new role, Knowles will lead the efforts of the Chamber for 2014 and beyond. The Rinkins Report via our media partner Legacy Miami scored an interview with the U.S. Army veteran who provided this snapshot of the Knowles Doctrine:
Create Profitable Partnerships: “There is a renaissance happening in South Florida. Construction is booming and there are several businesses seeking to grow here. I want to connect our member to these opportunities. We will also continue to advocate for parity with Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, all 34 municipalities and other businesses coming to the area. We will continue to encourage member to conduct business with each other as well. ”
Promote Growth and Education: “I understand that the Chamber is not the end-all-be-all. I understand the need to connect with Neighbors and Neighbors Association (NANA), the Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, and other groups that can help members with technical assistance and increasing their business development skills. This will help members become more competitive for business opportunities. My job is to inform our members about these educational and growth opportunities.”
Invest in Young Professionals: “Our Young Professional Network (YPN) provides the chamber with a great opportunity to mentor and develop young professionals who are looking to either start their own business or climb the corporate ladder. We need to continue supporting and mentoring them. The chamber must also build avenues to keep them in South Florida. I’d like to see more young folks come together to build wealth and other opportunities. If you can’t afford a business or property by yourself, one or more young people can come together, incorporate, and acquire a property or business together.”
Knowles asserts: “A victory for me is facilitating the growth of our member’s businesses.”
For more information, log on to www.M-DCC.org