Posted by: Tampa Bay Chamber on Monday, January 25, 2021


Isn’t it great when we have the rare moments in our careers to be around a group of people who want only to learn and succeed!  Do you recall a time in your career, or personal past, when you were a part of a selected team and how you felt to be around peers that made you want to be better?  Now, imagine how the coach, team leader, boss, felt to be part of the development of that group and the feeling of genuine purpose to help someone grow and develop.  This is how I felt when I was asked to support the Minority Business Accelerator program from its beginning.

At the genesis of the MBA program, I was contacted by the leadership at the Chamber to discuss how we might be able to support the selected participants.  One of the great rules we have in our Sandler business is “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice!”  Meaning, we’ll perform a set of assessments of their communication skills as well as their leadership competencies so they have a clearer understanding of their strengths and areas of development.  This information would then be shared with their mentors to help them throughout the entire program.

Recently, I was able to debrief these results to the Cohort ’22 class of MBA participants.  And, like most people that complete these assessments, they were open and anxious for the feedback, and maybe a little skeptical since this was something they’ve not experienced before.  However, once they began to realize that this was their data and information, just simply interpreted back to them, they began to get into it!  Now, getting “into it” does not always mean they like or immediately agree with the information.    

However, these little moments of self-discovery are why being involved in this program is so important.  Being a small part of someone’s development and growth in their profession is the “why” I do what I do.

After the initial individual assessment debriefing, I spend a half day with the entire cohort to discuss how to apply the assessments in their professions and lives.  We also discussed how to navigate the numerous networking events they will be attending during the Accelerator program.  One comment made recently centered around how this program is not a “check the box” program around diversity.  They went on to ask how the Tampa Bay Chamber started this program, and Bob Rohrlack shared with them how the Chamber did their research; involved numerous people on the planning committee; and is now executing a program that will become a great model for other Chambers to adopt.  And, the impact already has been tremendous.

We all know the more we give, the more we receive.  I’ve had the pleasure of cultivating professional relationships with all of the participants of the cohorts and can assure you that I’ve received a lot more than I’ve provided. I encourage each of you to contact Avril Stinson and find a way to contribute your time and talents to the MBA Program.


Clint Babcock

Partner – Sandler Training