Miami Leadership Local Launches with Inaugural Summit

Press Release
November 9, 2023
Miami, FL – On October 27, 2023, Miami Leadership Local held its Ensuring Economic Mobility Summit at the Brickell office of hosting firm Bilzin Sumberg. An initiative led by the Miami Herald in partnership with the Miami Foundation and the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Miami Leadership Local aims to address the pressing socioeconomic needs faced by Miami-Dade County residents as the County continues its rapid growth and development, specifically by engaging the local business community to formulate practical solutions easily adoptable by the public, private, and non-profit sectors to improve livability for all residents.

Organized and supported by Miami Leadership Local’s sponsors1 , the Summit convened local CEOs and philanthropists to publicly discuss the important issues affecting the quality of life and economic mobility of South Floridians, and seek solutions. With over 100 executives and philanthropists in attendance, participants heard from a series of local leaders on the significant challenges experienced by Miami-Dade County and confirmed the imperative for locally sourced solutions to them. Speakers included Albert E. Dotson, Jr., CEO and Managing Partner of
Bilzin Sumberg; Alex Mena, Executive Editor of the Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald; Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, President and CEO of The Miami Foundation; Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade County; and Rodrick T. Miller, President and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council.

Participants then broke into five groups centered on topics of housing affordability, upskilling, childcare solutions, public education, and the role of philanthropy in driving change. The goal: frank discussion that could lead to solutions. The local subject matter experts leading the discussions hailed from diverse disciplines and sectors:

Upskilling: How Businesses Can Enhance Workforce Readiness


● Xavier Gonzalez, Chief Communications Officer, Kaseya

● James Haj, President and CEO, The Children’s Trust

● Symeria Hudson, President and CEO, United Way Miami

● Adriene McCoy, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, Baptist Health South Florida

● Madeleine Pumariega, President, Miami Dade College

● Facilitator: Francesa de Quesada Covey, Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer, Miami-Dade County

● Dialogue Activist: Adrian Felix, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg

Childcare Solutions: Benefits for Business / Parents


● Andrea Cid, Founder and CEO, Miami Growth Machine

● Amanda Gorski, Associate Director of Public Policy, The Children’s Trust

● Dana Ritzcoven, Chief People and Outreach Officer, Royal Caribbean

● Facilitator: Kerry-Ann Royes, President and CEO, YWCA South Florida

● Dialogue Activist: Melissa Pallett-Vasquez, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Housing Affordability: Market Approaches

● Oliver Gross, President, New Urban Development

● David Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Terra

● Alberto Milo, Jr., President, Related Urban Development Group

● Craig Robins, Chief Executive Officer, Dacra

● Facilitator: Sara B. Herald, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg

● Dialogue Activist: David Resnick, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Enhancing K-12 Public Education: The Role of Business


● Armando Codina, Founder and Executive Chairman, Codina Partners

● Dr. Jose L. Dotres, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

● Rose Ellen Greene, Philanthropist

● Linda Lecht, President, The Education Fund

● Facilitator: Natalia Zea, Chief Public Policy and Engagement Officer, The Children’s Trust

● Dialogue Activist: Joy Spillis Lundeen, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Innovative Philanthropy: Driving Change

● Joe Deitch, Philanthropist

● Daniel Lewis, Philanthropist

● Leslie Miller Saiontz, Founder and President, Achieve Miami

● Facilitator: Nikisha Williams, Managing Director of Collective Impact, The Miami Foundation

● Dialogue Activist: Erin L. Stafford, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


“Miami is an inherently unique city at a unique moment in its history. It is therefore critical that we come together as leaders to make development more equitable by addressing community needs,” said Albert E. Dotson, Jr., CEO and Managing Partner of Bilzin Sumberg. “Economic mobility is not simply a government issue - it is our issue, the business community’s issue.” 

At the conclusion of the Summit, the focus groups reported to the entire conference about issues that had been discussed and the potential solutions put forth that warranted additional exploration. Each group’s discussion points and action items can be found on Miami Leadership Local’s website, with full reporting of the Summit covered by the Miami Herald. 

In the months and years ahead, Miami Leadership Local will re-convene committed stakeholders who have pledged their support and commitment to the initiative to further refine solutions and elaborate on courses of action. Leadership Local sponsorships help expand journalistic coverage of South Florida's economic mobility issues through the nonprofit Miami Herald Impact Journalism Fund.

“We want to see real movement come from this initiative,” said Jane Wooldridge, Senior Director for Journalism Sustainability and Partnerships at the Miami Herald. “Today is just the beginning. We are determined to find the right solutions and positive outcomes that all who live here deserve.”

About Bilzin Sumberg
Bilzin Sumberg counsels clients whose business and legal opportunities and challenges span the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. The firm's growth has paralleled that of its Miami home base, a region known for its rich cultural, social, and professional diversity. Bilzin Sumberg stands at the center of virtually every major transaction shaping Florida and is at the forefront of the state’s most pressing economic issues – from infrastructure, transit and mobility, to affordability and the diversification of the state’s economy. Bilzin Sumberg lawyers concentrate on services at the heart of both regional and international commerce, including real estate, land development and government relations, environmental, construction, corporate and securities, finance, joint ventures, domestic and international tax and private wealth planning, antitrust, business litigation, and public-private partnerships. For more information, please visit

About the Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald
For more than 100 years, the Miami Herald has served South Florida as the region's leading daily news source, earning more than 24 Pulitzer Prizes for community service, breaking news and accountability journalism. In 1975, sister publication el Nuevo Herald was founded to serve the region's Spanish-language readers. Today, the publications are delivered in print and online to more than 16 million monthly unique website visitors and hundreds of thousands on social platforms. The Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald is owned by McClatchy, which serves 30 local communities and more than 75 million unique monthly visitors with best-in-class journalism and advertising platforms.

 1 Summit sponsors: The Miami Herald, the Miami Foundation, Bilzin Sumberg, Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Career Source South Florida, Bank of America, Venty Media, and PF Solutions.

Adrian K. Felix
Joy Spillis Lundeen
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