Greater Miami Chamber seeks to be resource for jobless execs, keep them in Miami
By Zachary S. Fagenson
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is rolling out a new initiative in hopes of keeping laid off middle- and upper-level executives from seeking greener pastures elsewhere.
An "executive re-employment and outplacement taskforce" will be headed by Carlos J. Arboleda, practice director of the banking and financial servicesgroup for headhunter Stephen James Associates.
The group, which first officially meets June 18, is to serve as a kind of executive career center for high-level managers.
The taskforce will offer advisory services by chamber members experienced in placing executives in addition to using the chamber's far-reaching network to identify worthwhile opportunities.
During "the last several months, probably [starting in] January or February, we've seen an increased demand for top-level talents," Mr. Arboleda said. "We want to go ahead and address… the fact that there are a lot of executives out there who've never looked for a job before.
"We're going to provide skilled, resourceful people to help these members," he added.
While the task force is a service to the chamber's membership, immediate past Chairman Carlos Fernandez-Guzman said retaining these leaders is important for the future of South Florida.
These people are "great talent [that] we could lose to other parts of the country," he said. The taskforce will focus on "how [to] keep that talent and ensure it stays available in South Florida."
Mr. Fernandez-Guzman echoed Mr. Arboleda's belief that executives may not have had to search for a job over the last 15 to 20 years. This type of program, he said, would help bring them up to speed.
"They were having a difficult time finding a way to engage with an employer," Mr. Fernandez-Guzman said. This will "help them re-enter that process gracefully."
Meanwhile, Mr. Arboleda said, upper-level managers need to take additional precautions when looking for a new position.
"One of the things that keep coming up is predatory schemes," he said. "There are companies that will charge the candidate a fee for their services, and that's not the way it works.
"We're also seeing an uptick in identity theft," he said.
The most important part of ensuring a safe search process, Mr. Arboleda added, is to know to whom you're releasing private information.
The taskforce will first open to higher-level members and will later become available to the chamber's general membership and small businesses.
"We can't turn on the spigot," Mr. Fernandez-Guzman said. "We have to test drive it first."
But still, the cost of keeping well-trained business leaders in South Florida is far less than trying to attract new ones.
"It takes a lot to attract talent to an area," he argued. "At all costs, we have to keep that talent here."