Vice President, Member Development
Q: What do you do at the Chamber and how long have you worked there?
A: I work in the membership division of the Chamber. Basically, we take care of business development offerings for our members, whether it’s through connections and networking opportunities, visibility and marketing opportunities, professional development opportunities or learned CEO insights. I’ve been here for eight and a half years now, and before that I was a diplomat for two and a half years. It got me really engaged and I met a lot of great people.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I’ve been in Gainesville for 22 and a half years. One of the companies I used to work for was opening a subsidiary branch in Gainesville, and they were looking for somebody that had the experience to come in and open up a business. I was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York, and I grew up on Long Island before moving to Memphis and Chicago. So, I’ve moved around a lot.
Q: What is your favorite chamber event?
A: Probably the business awards that we hold in December, because we get a lot of our businesses to apply, and this gives them the opportunity to shine and showcase themselves. It is a great chance to thank them and highlight their work. The other thing that I started a couple of years ago before the pandemic was something called a member appreciation event. We actually turned it into a member appreciation party where we go to a brewery and recognize our members.
Q: What is one example of your work we can see in the community?
A: Some of the programming that we have brought to the Chamber, CEO insights, Eat GNV and I changed the format of our networking events in the morning. They used to be very much like speed dating; it was horrible. Now, it’s more table dynamic and social. These are just a couple of things.
Q: What is the best meal that you have ever had?
A: My mom used to make a Hungarian goulash that was to die for. I also love chicken fricassee, which is a lemon-based chicken meal over rice, and it is delicious. I still make them both, but not as good as she did.
Q: When you were ten years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: At that time, I would probably say doctor. At ten years old, who really knows what they wanted to be? I think I chose doctor because I thought they made a lot of money, but that was without realizing that most of the doctors I know spend a lot of time away from home.
Q: What was the best day of your life?
A: It’s hard to say. Do you pick your wedding day? Do you pick one kid being born over the other? I guess I would have to say the day that I met my wife, Colleen. When I was going to school, I worked for a local pharmacy in my town, and that’s where I met my wife. We were dating and I would do summer jobs for them, delivering hospital beds and oxygen to people coming back to the hospital.
Q: What is your favorite song or musician?
A: I would probably have to narrow it down to Genesis. They’re one of my top five favorites. There is a song that they play called “Follow You Follow Me”, which I love.
Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A: Strawberry shortcake, that is my favorite. I get it on my birthday every year, that’s the one time I have cake. I usually prefer pies: apple, cherry and blueberry.
Q: What is a subject that you could lecture on without any preparation?
A: Intro to sales, prospecting, networking and things like that. I’ve been a salesman my whole life.
Q: Can you describe the Chamber in one word?
A: Collaborative. We work with all different types of groups and people and backgrounds and help bring people together so we can progress forward together.