What does your role entail at the Supervisor of Elections Office?
As Chief Deputy Supervisor of Elections, I am tasked with overall management of the office from the administrative side – budget, human resources, office administration, to the elections side where I oversee various departments. Together we coordinate and conduct successful elections while ensuring the security and integrity of the voting process.
How did Leadership Collier help you as a leader to be part of building a stronger Collier County?
I initially participated in the Associate Leadership Collier (formerly GAIN) Spring Class of 2010, and after completion just knew that I wanted to participate in Leadership Collier. Leadership Collier introduced me to so many different aspects of Collier County and truly instilled a passion and desire in me to want to help and give back to our community.
What advice would you provide other classmates on how to stay engaged and the importance of doing so?
Stay involved and stay engaged! Try to meet monthly – even if it’s via Zoom. Your LC Classmates are your friends for life. Keep in touch with them and rely on each other. Get your class email list from Amanda Beights and use it!
How do you stay engaged with your class?
"The Silvers" (LC’14 – "the Class that Outshines the Best") truly are the BEST class! We’ve held monthly socials, consistently, for over six years now and have always had great turnout – some of us even take vacations together! I serve as our Class Champion so it’s truly important to me to keep our class connected. We hold a social on the third Thursday of each month. At the beginning of each year I send an email to our class with our social dates and then I ask if anyone would like to host a social in their home. For the past several years we’ve “booked” the entire year of socials within a week of me sending the email! I, of course, send reminders each month and get headcounts for the hosts, etc. It has been an easy and effective way to stay connected!
On Nov. 3, Florida voters will have a say in setting the state’s minimum wage.
Amendment 2, one of several constitutional amendments on the ballot this year, would incrementally increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.
Under the proposed constitutional amendment, which needs to receive 60% of votes to pass, the state’s minimum wage would increase to $10 an hour effective Sept. 30, 2021. It would then increase $1 an hour annually until it reaches $15. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases would be annually adjusted for inflation.
Florida’s minimum wage is currently $8.56 an hour, about a dollar more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The Greater Naples Chamber supports targeted approaches to helping low wage earners upward mobility in the workforce, such as strengthening workforce development programs, and creating higher-skill, higher-wage jobs through economic development opportunity. However, the Chamber does not believe a constitutional amendment is the appropriate way to address the issue of wages in Florida.
The citizen initiative, which is backed by Florida for a Fair Wage and Orlando-based attorney John Morgan, received 770,458 signatures to get on the November ballot. Proponents of the initiative say the amendment ensures Floridians can early a living wage, or the hourly rate that an individual must make to support themselves. According to the living wage calculator created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the living wage for a single adult in Florida is $12.39.
Opponents say the initiative will have a significant, negative impact on the state’s small businesses. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is among those organizations opposing the amendment, and officials with the organization have said business owners would be “forced to make changes to accommodate a 77% increase in labor costs,” including reducing the number of employees, increasing costs to customers and eliminating entry-level positions.
The upcoming Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF) Alumni Association "Leadership Lunch" will focus on the growing challenge of incivility in our society. Our hope is that this event will be an important step in elevating and prioritizing a community conversation on civility.
By Michael Wynn
President of Sunshine Ace Hardware
Past chairman of the Leadership Collier Foundation.
Why the Leadership Collier Foundation? For almost 30 years, the LCF has been the champion for leadership development in our county. We have promoted respectful advocacy as part of our curriculum. We have practiced civility in our public policy initiatives through our umbrella organization, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. We have invested in programs to continually educate our alumni so that they have informed opinions on the issues that matter most to our community.
Who better to take on the challenge of promoting civil discourse and leadership?
It used to be that you could safely debate anything, as long as you didn’t talk about politics or religion. Now, we seem to have arrived at a point where everything is politicized. As a result, we have seen a shift in recent years, where many people speak primarily to those they already agree with. This reinforces existing opinions and ultimately limits the ability to grow and learn.
Unfortunately, this mindset permeates our national politics at a time when we are facing critical decisions for our country’s future. Debate seems to be a formality versus a necessary foundation for uncovering ideas that lead to the best solution.
Many seem to have forgotten that at its core, leadership is influence. However, you cannot influence opinions if you don’t take time to listen to understand the other side. Too often, we listen only so we can reply with a more convincing argument. In addition, a good friend often reminds me that “you cannot influence and antagonize at the same time.” Too many have forgotten that ageless wisdom.
So where do we start?
The Leadership Collier Foundation believes the path starts with self-reflection and changing our own behavior.
Do we truly listen to understand, and do we assume good intentions from others, or do we label others and dismiss their input?
Do we share and promote information that is at its core divisive and condescending?
Through our example, we can help people disagree without being disagreeable.
We understand that our civility work might be a heavy lift. Our society thrives on quick validation and reinforcement of long-held viewpoints. We often fail to separate people from the problem or issue, which can lead to decisions based on personal animosities rather than on the facts that support the best solution. We need to be aware that disagreement and hate are not the same thing.
In their article “The Meaning of Civility,” Heidi and Guy Burgess discuss the fact that many differing interests divide our society. They acknowledge that there will be a long series of confrontations over moral and social issues and “often these issues will have an irreducible win-lose character and, hence, not be amenable to consensus resolution. While continuing confrontation is inevitable, the enormous destructiveness which commonly accompanies these confrontations is not.”
The growing lack of civility impacts all of us. It leads to increased incidents of violence and limits honest debate that results in the best solutions.
It’s time for all of us to make civil discourse a priority. We look forward to continuing this conversation in the months ahead and invite you to contact Amanda Beights, Amanda@napleschamber.org, at the Leadership Collier Foundation to learn more.
About the event:
In Florida's Capital City, The Village Square has built bridges across color, creed and ideology for a decade and a half. As the national division has accelerated, they're increasingly seen as both a thought leader and practical model in addressing the divisions we're wrestling with in hometowns across the country.
Village Square Founder & CEO Liz Joyner will offer a short-course in their sometimes counter intuitive lessons learned, whether you're wanting to have a conversation with a friend who disagrees with you, launch a bridge-building effort at work or just sleep better at night. A good news tickler: she says it's easier to address that you'd think, and that hometowns are just the place to start.
Election Day is closer than you think.
The Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office will mail the first round of vote-by-mail ballots on Thursday, Sept. 24. Collier elections officials will continue mailings through Oct. 26.
Elections officials are preparing for an uptick in the number of vote-by-mail ballots requested, and processed, this election cycle because of concerns surrounding COVID-19. And it’s already a popular option, with more than 2.7 million Floridians – including 56,637 Collier voters and 157,130 Lee voters – voting by mail during the 2016 general election.
Florida is one of 29 states and the District of Columbia that offers a “no excuse” vote-by-mail option, which means any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot without providing an excuse.
If you haven’t requested your ballot yet, don’t worry. Registered voters in Collier County have until 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Ballots must be completed and returned to the elections office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Not registered to vote? Time is running out. The deadline to register to vote in the 2020 general election is Oct. 5.
Visit the Collier County Supervisor of Elections to register to vote, update your voter information or request your vote-by-mail ballot.
The Florida Chamber wants to cut childhood poverty in half by 2030. The plan: Address the root causes of poverty at the zip code level.
Michael Williams, the executive director of the Florida Prosperity Initiative, called on Collier County business leaders to join the effort during a virtual Wake Up Naples sponsored by the United Way of Collier and the Keys. Williams told attendees that creating pathways to prosperity for all Floridians will take the “entire business community.”
There are more than 3 million Floridians living in poverty, or nearly 15 percent of the population. Williams said 870,505 children live in poverty, and half of those live in just 150 of the state’s 983 zip codes.
“We have to remember that we’re not talking about situations that grew up organically,” said Williams. “Nobody in this room was probably alive when these polices were made. But through housing policies, urban planning policies, and through all kids of decisions at the governmental level, we have situations where these neighborhoods are created where you see the disparity in the demographics.”
There are 14,089 children living in poverty in Collier County. A zip code by zip code breakdown showed that 4,706 of those children live in the 34142 zip code, which accounts for about 50% of people under the age of 18 living there.
The analysis found 2,637 children in the 34116 zip code, or nearly 29%, live in poverty. By comparison, 255 children, or 20%, in the 34102 zip code live in poverty.
The zip code analysis is important, Williams said, because the research has shown a key indicator for “whether someone was going to go to college or not,” wasn’t SAT scores or where they ranked in their high school, but “the zip code they were born into.”
“The thing that is lost on many people and the thing that is most important … is the complete connectivity of these things. Nobody is in poverty just because they don’t have affordable housing. Nobody is in poverty because they have poor health benefits,” he said. “All these things are interrelated and the relationship that these root causes play against each other can look very different community to community, but all of them have a part to play in causing generational poverty.”
Williams called on businesses to lead the way on addressing the issue by adopting a zip code and working together to create pathways for prosperity in their own communities.
“What we’re trying to do through the Prosperity Initiative throughout the state of Florida is create a framework for zip code relief,” he said. “It’s going to take all of us. It’s going to take the entire business community stepping up and saying this is something that’s important and something we need to be in support of.”
For more information about the Florida Prosperity Initiative or to become a zip code champion, click here.
Chamber to discuss Paths to Prosperity with Michael Williams, Director of the Florida Prosperity Initiative
NAPLES, FL (September 4, 2020) —The Greater Naples Chamber will host Michael Williams, the director of the Florida Prosperity Initiative, to discuss ways business and community leaders can work together to create pathways to prosperity for all zip codes in Florida during a virtual Wake Up Naples at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9
The Florida Prosperity Initiative aims to bring business, nonprofit and community leaders together to work toward reducing Florida’s childhood poverty rate to less than 10% by 2030. An initiative of the Florida Chamber Foundation, the program focuses on addressing the root causes of poverty at the zip code level.
Williams will provide an overview of the initiative, discuss methods for addressing poverty at the zip code level, and explain how Southwest Florida business and community leaders can get involved.
Williams joined the Florida Chamber Foundation as the director of the Florida Prosperity Initiative in 2019. Prior to working at the Chamber, Williams served as the director of media relations for CoreMessage Public Relations in Tallahassee. He has extensive experience in working in the public sector, including serving as communications director for then-Speaker of the Florida House Steve Crisafulli.
The event is sponsored by the United Way of Collier and the Keys.
This month’s virtual Wake up Naples is free. Advanced registration is required. Register online at www.napleschamber.org/events.
The Greater Naples Chamber, in coordination with the Distinguished Public Service Awards selection committee, honors Collier County’s community heroes for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In lieu of an in-person event, the plaque commemorating DPSA recipients, located at the Collier County Emergency Operations Center, will be updated to honor “our community heroes who worked tirelessly to keep Collier County residents, visitors and businesses safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity each year to honor the brave men and women who work every day to ensure Collier County is the safest place to live, work and play,” said Michael Dalby, the president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber.
“It was with that in mind that we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Distinguished Public Service Awards until we can gather again safely,” continued Dalby. “While we are disappointed that we cannot come together in October to celebrate the first responders and frontline workers who have helped our community through this difficult year, we believe the best way to support their work is by doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. We look forward to celebrating their vast achievements as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Established in 2003, the Distinguished Public Service Awards recognize Collier County first responders—fire safety, emergency services and law enforcement personnel—for their contributions to the well-being of the community.
“It is important that we recognize all those in our community who answered the call to action in these unprecedented times. From first responders to front line workers, and everyone in between, we thank you for your service” said Reg Buxton, chairman of the Distinguished Public Service selection committee. “We look forward to a time when we can once again gather to celebrate the law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency service personnel.”
Guest post by Connor Firmender, CEO at Fieldr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We get it, not all companies are thinking to themselves right now, “A student employee is exactly what I need during this pandemic recovery.”
But what if we told you that they aren’t just all avocados and TikTok? What if we told you TikTok might even be the answer to your digital advertising needs to reach new customers and it’s a student who will solve this for you? Curveball, huh?
There are tons of value-adds to hiring students onto your company. Whether you’re nonprofit or for-profit, in healthcare or tech, are suffering from this pandemic or thriving, this article is to generalize the pros -- and we do acknowledge cons -- behind hiring students...or as we like to call them “emerging talent.”
Hiring student workers doesn’t just benefit the students. As an employer, you have the potential of creating newfound relationships with your surrounding school districts and colleges. These are valuable, public and private entities that serve as strategic partners in a mass amount of ways.
From a manager’s perspective, hiring a student comes with many advantages, including:
A cost-effective workforce:
Which includes access to work-study funding. Students aren’t always pushing the envelopes for money. You’re dealing with a pool of talent who is more in need of experience, rather than paychecks. The younger the student (e.g. High School seniors, College freshmen), the less you’ll need to expense. Sure, it’s a bit of a trade-off considering the younger the student, the more teaching you’ll have to do as an employer. But as Steve Jobs always said, it is better to invest the time into your employees to train them, so in case they stay, you don’t have a gap in your system.
Born to multi-task:
Students are always willing to engage in roles and activities outside of their normal day-to-day. Again, these are sponges we’re talking about. Sponges who have been bred to multi-task while they’re sleeping. Homework while keeping up with Stranger Things while contributing to a group chat for another project while doing their makeup while screaming down to their mom they “truly are studying!” It’s a natural ability to multi-task that students, and emerging talent, all have in common … more leverage for your company.
Student-workers can vary the hours they work each week, handle seasonal workloads, work non-routine hours, as well as weekends! One thing to be aware of in regards to flexibility, though, is that class schedules may change each semester, and many will need time off for exams and breaks. Expect to be fully transparent with your student-worker, and expect the same out of them. Flexibility can make or break a working relationship with your new employee.
Students have a natural ability to understand the needs and viewpoints of other students, help student customers feel more comfortable, and let the other staff know about issues from a student’s point of view. Lo and behold, Generation Z makes up for roughly 40% of the consumer market. It’s ideal to have plenty of them on your team to identify behavioral trends in your market, and how to detect them before they even happen. A youthful perspective can be massive leverage on your marketing and product team.
This goes without saying -- young students bring massive amounts of energy, enthusiasm, and spontaneous personalities that light up an office. If you’ve never had a 19-year-old college student spruce up your office and bring laughter into the cubicles, you’re missing out. These types of people can be the exact addition you need to your company culture.
Vision for Corporate Social Responsibility:
This may be one of the most important points we’ll make. According to Forbes, 81% of emerging generations prefer a company with some form of corporate social responsibility (e.g. a giveback model based on sales, a nonprofit sistering company, initiatives for equality and an equitable economy). Having this perspective on your team will ensure your company is aligned with what the market needs. Gen Z plus Millennials (the other emerging generation) make up a total of nearly 75% of the consumer market. Simply put, if you don’t get on board with CSR, you can expect to lose 75% of your customers to your competitor who is corporate socially responsible, over the next couple of years. Here are some examples to kick off the brainstorming sesh: Amazon’s Smile Program, Toms Shoes One-For-One, WearTheFund 3% Nonprofit Giveback, Patagonia Environmental Charitable Model, etc.
Just like every student you’re going to meet, interview, and hire, there is a uniqueness to what they can achieve. We encourage you to share this article with your team, get to brainstorming, get your company signed up on Fieldr or contact the Greater Naples Chamber, and enjoy the flood of emerging talent that is wading in a pool right now.
Naples and the surrounding area are known for their pristine beaches and excellent weather. Many people may view this area as a place for vacationers and retirees, not a hub for business development and innovation. However, a year in review of the business environment reveals a lesser-known side of Collier County: a catalyst for business growth and economic development.
Collier County is home to roughly 25,000 businesses and 168,000 workers. While tourism and hospitality sector jobs are dominant, one might be surprised to know that Collier County has other sprawling industries that aid in diversifying the economy and employ highly-skilled workers. Many companies operating within these industries had notable headquarter expansions or relocated to Collier in the past year.
One that you might be more familiar with is Arthrex’s expansion. Arthrex is a global leader in medical device manufacturing and one of the top employers in Collier County. The HQ expansion includes a luxury hotel and a conference center. The $63 million capital investment is expected to add 560 jobs and increase the local economy by more than $1 billion annually.
Other companies within the medical device manufacturing cluster also saw growth in their operations. One of these is Lenkbar, a company that invents, designs and manufactures revolutionary surgical devices and implants. The company expanded into a new state-of-the-art 21,000 s.f facility and now employees 50 workers in high-skilled positions. An example of a more traditional economic development project is Summit Orthopedic Technologies. Summit relocated its headquarters from Connecticut to Naples, FL, in 2019 and received a qualified targeted industries (QTI) incentive package from the state. The QTI incentive was available for companies that create high wage jobs in targeted top value-added industries. However, the program has since sunset. Summit’s relocation from a high-tax state to a tax climate more conducive to business is just one of many trends that are happening with HQ relocations from the northeast. Summit melds right into the medical device manufacturing cluster in Collier County.
Now looking at a very different cluster -- a Forbes article recently listed Naples as one of the twenty top entrepreneurial ecosystems across America. Along with the presence of many consulting and funding organizations, including Tamiami Angels, the Small Business Development Center at FGCU, and one of the most active SCORE chapters in the U.S., there is also a growing co-working and flexible workspace environment in Collier County. One of these organizations, Venture X, is undergoing an expansion into a 18,500 s.f space, which is set to be open in the spring of 2021. The new area will attract entrepreneurs, remote workers, startups, non-profits, small businesses, and even large teams from fortune 500 companies. Catalyst OrthoScience, a medical device company focused on the upper extremity orthopedics market, raised $12.7 million in an oversubscribed Series C-1 financing round. This funding allowed Catalyst to expand distribution, develop new products, and enhanced company infrastructure and hire new talent. Additionally, Naples-based Tamiami Angel Funds put more than $1.4 million into Catalyst in earlier funding rounds.
Other Naples grown companies such as Pyure Brands, one of the fastest-growing independent organic stevia companies in the U.S., is continuing its growth at its North Naples HQ and has placed its products in leading grocery stores including Whole Foods and Publix. Pyure Brands was named to Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.
Business development, expansion, and attraction are critical goals for economic growth. At the same time, Collier County also focuses on attainable housing for workers, and workforce development training centers, including the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, which opened its doors in 2019 to upskill workers for the growing workforce demands in manufacturing operations.
So, next time you are enjoying a day at the beach or grabbing a bite to eat at your favorite local restaurant, take time to notice the vast amount of diversified industry that helps to keep the local economy strong all year round. To find out more about details about economic development initiatives and programs in Collier County, please contact Melanie Schmees, director of business and economic research, at 239-403-2914 or by email at email@example.com.
Our community's economic prosperity takes careful tending. So the Greater Naples Chamber and Collier County formalized The Partnership for Collier's Future Economy to promote healthy business growth and job creation. As nearly roughly 80% of new jobs and capital investment comes from companies that already exist in the community, the Chamber supports these companies through the Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program. Lead by Melanie Schmees, Director of Business and Economic Research, the Chamber identifies the needs of existing businesses. It also maintains partnerships with state and local economic development partners such as Enterprise Florida and the Florida Economic Develop Council.
The BRE program recognizes that business leaders are busy running their operations and may not have time to connect to or find these resources for themselves. Through the BRE program, businesses learn about available resources and may connect with business support and development organizations. Examples of resulting connections are:
The Chamber also supports economic prosperity by assisting decision-makers with data, for example, providing benchmark wage data to help in employee retention or providing detailed demographic and industry data to companies looking to move to the area.
To schedule a BRE visit or learn more about economic development in the community, please contact Melanie Schmees at (239) 402-2914 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org