Lessons in Leadership


Amid the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting economic slowdown, businesses and organizations across all sectors of the economy are faced with never-before-seen levels of uncertainty. Rising to the occasion are countless professionals who are taking action to contribute to their communities and adapt their companies to whatever post-pandemic normal may be in store.

We’ve rounded up some of Miami’s most notable business and civic leaders to find out how they are leading through this crisis.

Neology Life‘s Lissette Calderon shared how she is putting employees first while running operations through the coronavirus pandemic with the Miami Herald. “I consider our team family, and my priority is to provide the support and confidence they need to take care of their families and to get the job done.”


Bilzin Sumberg‘s Managing Partner Albert E. Dotson, Jr. discussed how his team is navigating the effects of coronavirus in a Q+A with the Miami Herald. “South Florida has proven itself resilient time and again, and I have no doubt we will emerge from this health crisis stronger than before.”


Chairman and CEO of Apollo Bank Eddy Arriola spoke with the Miami Herald and South Florida Business Journal on how community banks such as Apollo Bank are on the front lines with the liquidity and capital to be part of getting the economy back on track. “Banks are well-positioned to help stimulate an economic recovery. We are going to be a critical part of the national solution.”


In a Q&A with the Miami Herald, President of The Comras Company Michael Comras cited transparent communication between landlords and tenants as key for the retail sector’s survival during the coronavirus crisis. “Prior to COVID-19, retail was already going through a major transition, becoming more experiential and interactive. This will only become further pronounced as we emerge from this pandemic. There is no city as resilient as Miami. By communicating, supporting one another, and working together, we will once again come out on top.”


13th Floor Investments’ Arnaud Karsenti discussed the effects of coronavirus on real estate investment in a Q+A with Miami Herald. “Everyone is rooting first and foremost for our South Florida community to emerge and thrive. Right now, people are focused on staying safe – as they should be – and aren’t necessarily looking for a new place to call home. The reality is that South Florida is one of the most desirable residential markets in the world, so there’s always going to be demand for both urban and suburban living.”


The work that Executive Director of Florida Foster Care Review Candice Maze, JD, her team, and board members – including Aaron Gordon – are doing is invaluable. She spoke with the Daily Business Review on what they are doing amid the pandemic. “Economic slowdowns cause an uptick in child abuse and neglect. Fortunately, our community is home to nonprofits that provide a safety net for children.”


President and CEO of City National Bank Jorge Gonzalez talked about how his team is supporting the business community during the pandemic in a Q+A with the Miami Herald. “City National Bank is closing $2 billion worth of PPP loans within three weeks, about the same they traditionally lend in one year….I’m proud of how our entire company has come together to put a program in place that ensures we are able to help our clients and the broader community during a very difficult time. Our team has been working around-the-clock, from home and in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis, to process more than 6,000 applications on behalf of businesses seeking relief — clients and non-clients alike.”


Carrfour Supportive Housing president and CEO Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg shared how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the affordable housing industry and vulnerable populations through a Q+A with the Miami Herald. “With hundreds of calls each week from families looking for affordable housing, we are seeing an increase in demand for affordable housing. One of the most important lessons from previous economic downturns is that we must rapidly come together as neighborhoods and communities with a personal responsibility to our most vulnerable neighbors. Timing matters.”


Skanska USA‘s leading women discussed how health care construction put patients first with the South Florida Business Journal. “Because the hospital is active, we have to try to schedule work around patient care. It’s not always easy. From planning to executing the project, we have to be nearly invisible while building. But maintaining a safe and clean environment for patients is the No. 1 priority.”