New Business Forum Leader Wants To Focus On Education
Written by Charlotte Libov on October 19, 2006
By Charlotte Libov
The Miami Business Forum, under the leadership of new chairman Paul Cejas, plans to focus on improving business in the state by enhancing education.
"I am proposing to make education the cornerstone issue of the forum’s efforts," said Mr. Cejas, a former Miami-Dade School Board member. "Improving our schools is not only a pressing social issue but a business one as well."
At a recent meeting, Mr. Cejas was elected to replace Jorge Hernandez-Toraño, a partner with law firm Holland & Knight. Adrienne Arsht, chairman of TotalBank, was elected vice chairman, replacing George Feldenkreis.
Mario Artecona, the forum’s executive director, said the new officers were elected unanimously though there was not a formal vote.
The focus on education stems from a concern that Miami-Dade County is being shortchanged on educational spending, Mr. Cejas said. “We can start by addressing our funding from Tallahassee. Miami-Dade is not receiving its fair share of dollars.”
Legislators have cut several million dollars from the school district’s budget, citing declining enrollment.
The forum will focus on making legislators aware that they are being held accountable "not in an adversarial way, but in a complementary way," said Mr. Artecona.
Mr. Cejas, a US ambassador to Belgium during the Clinton administration, is chairman and CEO of PLC Investments Inc. and a founder of CareFlorida Health Systems. He served on the school board for eight years, five of them as chairman, served on the state Board of Regents and was a trustee of Florida International University.
The 40-member forum is comprised of civically active executives from major Miami corporations, banks and law firms. The organization traces its origins to 1972, when a group of civic and business leaders formed an unstructured group of concerned citizens. The group adopted the name the Non-Group, by which it was known until 2001, when it formally incorporated as the Miami Business Forum. It meets regularly to discuss social and civic issues affecting the county.