The Miami Herald Editorial Board has a long tradition of trying to serve the best interests of the South Florida community. We work hard to offer informed opinions about local issues that affect our readers’ lives.
Now, we’re asking members of the community to join us. This week, we are introducing the first three members of the Editorial Board’s Community Advisory Board. They are engaged, focused people who, through their individual endeavors, also are committed to making this community one that works better for everyone who calls it home or does business here. And when their three-month stint is up, we will be soliciting recommendations for the next three members.
The whole idea is to broaden the Editorial Board’s perspective even further by adding the stories, skills and experiences of each advisory board member to the mix. The Advisory Board will bring multigenerational, multiethnic and distinctly local perspectives to our conversations. In addition, we’re expanding the Editorial Board with new hires as part of a broader effort to ensure that a wide range of viewpoints is represented.
Jeanne Albaugh, Tony Argiz and Felecia Hatcher will make up the inaugural Advisory Board, chosen by Herald editors for their distinct professional experiences, their personal backgrounds and their willingness to play a role. They have graciously volunteered to serve a three-month term, during which they will take part in the Editorial Board’s internal meetings and its informational chats with community organizations, elected officials and others. Their first task, however, will be to participate in the candidate recommendation process, including candidate interviews.
They will attend the Editorial Board’s online interviews with candidates in advance of the Nov. 3 elections and join the Board’s discussions of each race. The interviews will be recorded and posted on the Herald’s website. In the interest of fairness and transparency, Advisory Board members who have donated to a particular candidate’s campaign must recuse themselves.
Here’s more about the members of our first Community Advisory Board:
After a life-altering event, Jeanne Albaugh, 58, slowly declined into homelessness, living unsheltered for 10 years. In 2011, Albaugh, who has four sons, said that she made the decision to change her life. Early on, she said, she wanted to give back to people who, like her, experienced homelessness.
In 2016, she founded Showering Love, a non-profit that she said restores dignity, hope and health to people experiencing homelessness by providing showers and other supportive services. Showering Love is committed to fostering a community that is supportive, healthy and compassionate, Albaugh said.
“I am honored to participate as a member of the Community Advisory Board. I look forward to working with the Board and to offering my perspective to create greater understanding across our community,” Albaugh said. “I hope to give a voice to those that often go unheard.”
Tony Argiz, as chairman and CEO of MBAF since 1997, has led it to become one of the top 40 accounting firms in the nation and the largest independent firm in Florida. Argiz also is a committed civic and community leader, chairing the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation. He is past chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Miami-Dade and Facts About Cuban Exiles (F.A.C.E.) and the Orange Bowl Committee.
Argiz, 67, said that education is a particular passion. He has chaired the Miami Dade College Foundation and been a board member of the Florida International University Foundation and led the Miami-Dade County School Board’s bond issue campaign.
He is on the boards of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and Coconut Grove Cares and is deeply involved with its community center, The Barnyard.
“Now more than ever, it’s important for the residents of Miami-Dade County to be well-informed about the candidates’ plans for the county on issues including the allocation of state and federal funding, helping the less fortunate, and the environment in order to make educated decisions on Nov. 3,” Argiz said. “I hope that through the work of the Community Advisory Board, we will encourage residents to feel confident in casting their votes because they have a clear picture of what’s at stake and how it affects them.”
Felecia Hatcher said she is on a mission to rid communities across the globe of innovation deserts. She works with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems, she said, that transform communities into magnetic forces for attracting talent, resources and opportunities to thrive within the innovation economy.
Hatcher, 37, is an author, speaker and co-founder of Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab, Code Fever and Black Tech Week. Her work is supported by, among others, the Knight Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and she was honored as a 2014 Obama White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity.
“It’s about advocacy, action and accountability, so that we can have true prosperity and leadership in our communities, Hatcher said. “I believe Miami can embody that for everyone when we have leadership that aligns with those values.”
Clearly, we have a strong lineup in these Community Advisory Board members and look forward to getting started.
Nancy Ancrum is the editorial page editor of the Miami Herald.