Give Thanks The Leaders We Prayed For Have Appeared
Written by Michael Lewis on November 23, 2006
By Michael Lewis
I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the years lamenting the paucity of leaders in our community. Where, I’ve asked, is the leadership that can guide this county into the future with a sense of direction?
Well, I’m nowhere near over my concerns about the sense of direction — we need a common agreement about what we want this community to be. Lacking that, we surge resolutely forward in different directions, like a team of horses harnessed to the four corners of a wagon, pulling against one another and canceling out each other’s efforts.
But as for the people who could lead us — given, of course, agreement on where we want to go — I’m more hopeful that I’ve been in years.
Before you laugh, note that I’m talking about leaders in the community, not necessarily in official positions. While government leadership is iffy at best, communitywide, more and more younger persons of substance are taking their places at the conference table in business, education, non-profit organizations and volunteer efforts — and, yes, in some cases even in government.
These are the next generation and the one after that, and the best of them are more focused, more committed and more effective than most of us were at their ages. If they remain involved and positive, the sky is the limit for them — and, by extension, for us all.
I thought about them last week as Miami Today unveiled its Book of Leaders 2006. The 240-page book compiles the profiles of our Newsmakers and Achievers of the past year, and we invited the 52 persons we featured to join us with friends and those we’ve profiled in the past.
What I noticed at our reception was both the quality and the commitment of our most recent crops, right up to 33-year-old engineering-firm head Aina Juliol, who was featured last week. Many of my generation at age 33 hadn’t firmed up a career path or were still mired deep down some corporate ladder. Today, the entrepreneurial flame — which fires Miami’s growth — is ignited earlier and burns brighter.
At our reception were young bankers, entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, professionals, real estate operatives, retail leaders and more mingling with the generations ahead of them on equal and firm footing. They shine brightly among the stars already high in our community’s skies.
Together, those stars offer beacons of light for Miami as it evolves — our greatest constant is our rapid change — and searches for a common path toward better tomorrows.
It is appropriate that this commentary appears on Thanksgiving Day. As these escalating leaders tread confidently among our community’s myriad opportunities that are cleverly disguised as myriad problems, we can be thankful that they have chosen to come here or to stay here and to make Miami their playing field.
The leaders we have been seeking are here among us. Now, if we can only get them to agree on a community vision and to then pull together rather than against one another, we’ve truly got it made.