Community CommittedRaised in Miami Beach, I have great affection for this city. It is here where I have my childhood memories, where I met my wife, where our family expanded, and where we are now creating new memories for our own children. This city is also where I decided to plant my professional roots.

What always struck a chord with me in the business world was how a corporation is recognized as a “person.” This definition was founded for a range of legal purposes, but why not expand upon this notion to perform other acts of citizenship? Whether a corporation, S-corp, partnership, etc., all types of companies should consider themselves “people” when considering their contribution to their communities.

It begins with providing the community with what it needs. For it to be independent and flourish, every role needs to be fulfilled. Naturally this demand translates into better business, but continually think of new ways to better and even expand your business. The easiest way to do this?… Talk to your customers. Initiate conversations during the transaction process, provide feedback channels, and develop a relationship where you can understand their point of view. What started as a coin-laundry mat for me nearly three decades ago has evolved into a full-service dry cleaning and laundry operation with an array of specialty services (couture cleaning, restoration, bridal gown preservation, vintage garments to name a few… and I’m seeking to add more). Sudsies most recently appealed to its snow bird clients with cleaning via express mail across the country, so they never had to be without our services.

Beyond providing clients with what they need, focus on doing it well. I want my customers to feel good about their experiences, not only personally, but also business-wise in feeling that the transaction was well-worth their own hard-earned dollars. Smiles are contagious…. quality products and service equates to happy customers – and happy customers equate to a happy community.

Social responsibility is now viewed as standard in defining good companies, so consider expanding your reach beyond your direct clientele. Tying your business capabilities to a cause is an organic way to make a positive impact for those in need. For example, Sudsies accepts clothing donations as part of its pick-up and delivery service, giving the items to the Camillus House for distribution among its families.

As with any family, involvement is crucial. This means putting in the time to learn about the members’ needs, interests, and visions and providing the support to make that happen. I view Miami Beach as my extended family and my experience with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce perhaps taught me the most about the importance of community focus. As businesses, we joined forces and used our individual talents and connections to make things happen for one another, as well as execute massive improvement projects within the city.

My passion for philanthropy and being involved most recently lead to my pursuit and appointment as President of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation. For me, there is no better way to put my business/leadership skills learned over the years to help make a positive impact for others. It’s an honor to help realize state-of-the-art initiatives aimed at caring, healing, and ultimately curing our fellow Miamians.  I urge you to join groups like these that make up the members of the community and use your company platform to make a difference.

With all the qualities above, I’m starting to think a corporation could be a really swell person. Today, we emphasize thinking global when it comes to our companies, as we should, especially if we hope to expand. However, don’t forget the specialness of your own backyard either, for it is these roots that if well maintained will really help you thrive.