Miami Fellows visit Chaplin School as part of workforce tour

The high-tech teaching laboratories of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management recently served as a backdrop for some of Miami’s top young leaders to discuss the future of workforce development in South Florida.


Mohammad Qureshi, associate dean for facilities and operations at the Chaplin School, leads a tour for the Miami Fellows.

Members of the Miami Fellows, a leadership program sponsored by The Miami Foundation, got a behind the scenes tour of the school’s restaurant management lab, beverage management center and brew science laboratory.

In a conversation with Dean Mike Hampton after their tour, the fellows learned that the Chaplin school is focused on the business and science of hospitality, as well as preparing students to be leaders in the industry.

“We don’t need to produce more hotel workers or more cruise ship workers,’’ he said. “We need to produce individuals who can plan for the future, identify important trends and lead the way in this global industry.’’

Caryn Lavernia, FIU’s assistant vice president for the Office of Engagement, is a graduate of the Chaplin School and set up the tour as a member of the current Miami Fellows class. She said the visit was just a small part of FIU’s larger partnership with the Miami Fellows.

“Through FIU’s Center for Leadership, which hosts an intense three-day leadership lab for the fellows, we are helping to shape the next generation of leaders who will impact Miami in a tremendous way,’’ Lavernia said. “This is the kind of transformational partnership that we are constantly seeking to create.”

Charisse Grant, senior vice president for programs at the Miami Foundation, sees the partnership with FIU as vital to the success of the fellows program.

“The Miami Fellows focuses on deepening these rising leaders’ knowledge of both the Greater Miami community and effective leadership,” Grant said. “Our partnership with FIU allows fellows to benefit from the extraordinary research-based leadership development expertise of FIU’s Center for Leadership.”

Each year, the Miami Foundation identifies a group of individuals 5 to 15 years into their professional careers who have demonstrated leadership and have a desire to do more for their community. Since the program began in 1999, nearly 140 people have participated.

Fellows develop a deeper understanding of effective leadership while learning more about the important issues facing Greater Miami.

Several FIU alumni participated in the program this year.

Anna-Bo Emmanuel graduated from FIU’s College of Law in 2008 and is now a prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. She said the Miami Fellows program helped her see the issues facing the community in a deeper, more meaningful way.

“By learning about the issues that affect this community and making connections with change-makers in these areas, I am part of a network of people who can ensure our efforts come to fruition,’’ she said. “I feel better equipped to ask the right questions to find the solutions for our community.”

“While this entire experience has been nothing short of phenomenal for me, the greatest takeaways are the relationships that I made within my class and community,’’ she added.

Clayton Solomon, a 2005 graduate of FIU, is an attorney with Hogan Lovells and serves on the board of FIU’s Green School of International and Public Affairs. He said his experience with the Miami Fellows gave him the resources – and the inspiration – to become more involved in local issues.

“Despite living in Miami for over two decades, I entered the Miami Fellows program knowing very little about local issues,’’ Solomon said. “The most impactful (part) for me was when we met with community leaders from Liberty City and South Dade/Homestead, among other places. It was a much-needed reminder of the complexity of issues facing Greater Miami’s many very different communities.’’

As an FIU alumnus, Solomon said he was proud of the university’s contribution to the program.

“FIU’s impact on Greater Miami was felt in almost every Miami Fellows lab, not just during our visit to the Chaplin school,’’ he said. “But our hospitality school is clearly one of the best in the nation and is at the cutting-edge of training future industry leaders in what is becoming a highly technical and scientific field. As an alumnus and former member of the FIU Board of Trustees, I couldn’t have been more proud.”

The Miami Fellows program runs from May 2016 to June 2017. Applications are available online and are due by 4 p.m. on Feb. 25. Information sessions will be held Thursday, Feb. 2, from 6 to 7 p.m. at The Miami Foundation, 40 NW 3rd Street, Suite 305 and Thursday, Feb. 4, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the South Dade Regional Library, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 10750 SW 211 Street.