Jonathan Kim, SOM ‘00
On behalf of the Yale Club of South Florida (YCSF), it is my honor to present the first in a series of regular updates to our members. The Club’s energy and momentum from 2021 has carried us into 2022—the Year of the Tiger in the lunar calendar. Before I offer a rundown of exciting events and new initiatives, however, I want to recognize the tireless efforts and enthusiasm of our Board, and in particular the following members of the Executive Committee (EC), in helping to reinvigorate the Club.
Jennifer Gammond (SOM ’19) – Co-Vice President
Grant Schafle (YC ’11) – Co-Vice President
Peter Tortora (YC ’17) – Treasurer
Giovanni Christodoulou (YC ’12) – Secretary
Tyler Godoff (SOM ’16) – Director of Programming
Sam Thypin-Bermeo (YLS ’15) – Director of Communications
In July of 2021, I assumed the helm from David Sanchez (GSAS ’84) who had steered the YCSF for many years and had served Yale generally in many prominent volunteer capacities, including as Inaugural Chair and Co-Founder of the Yale Day of Service. Inspired by his leadership, I was encouraged by him to take the Club in new directions and to capitalize on the “buzz” associated with South Florida.
My first mission was to reconstitute the Board as the time was ripe for an injection of new leadership, in part due to the changing demographics of South Florida that Covid had only accelerated. Many Yale alumni were relocating to our area from other regions of the country, and a fair number were Yale graduates, born and raised in Florida, who had decided to return permanently.
You’ll find the names and affiliations of our current Board on our Club website, which is in the process of undergoing its own update. Please feel free to reach out to any of the EC Officers in addition to myself if you have any questions regarding the Club and its activities. If you’d like to learn more about me and the other members of the Executive Committee, I’ve attached some information about us at the end of this letter.
Also note that the Board is now recruiting Activity Directors (ADs) to assist in organizing Club events and initiatives. And we are not simply limiting ADs to geographies (Miami-Dade or Broward Counties). The role may encompass a variety of demographics from age and identities, to social or intellectual interests, backgrounds and professional experience, etc. So please contact us if you’d like to know more about potentially serving as an AD.
As I said at the opening of this Message, we enter 2022 with significant momentum from last year. Monthly happy hours, which the Club will endeavor to host at a variety of locations, alternating between Miami-Dade and Broward, now routinely attract dozens of attendees. Our most recent happy hour took place at Bay 13 in Coral Gables on January 26th on their outdoor patio. Outdoor is a theme we will continue to emphasize for Club events, in part to remain sensitive to ongoing concerns with Covid and in part because South Florida affords us the luxury of favorable weather throughout the year.
In addition to happy hours, the number and quality of events the Club has organized and hosted has shattered previous records.
One of our signature annual events, the Yale-Harvard Game Watch Party, was held in-person in November after a hiatus in 2020 at American Social on the Miami River with both indoor and outdoor seating. Due to the incredible organizational efforts of Co-Vice President Jennifer Gammond, and in conjunction with the Harvard Club of Miami, which co-hosted the event, over 100 Yale and Harvard alumni were in attendance to watch a thrilling game that went down to the final seconds. Sadly, Yale did not prevail that Saturday afternoon, but a good time was had by all.
In December, a gathering of Yale alumni took place out on Miami Beach during Art Basel at the Convention Center. That afternoon represented what the Board hopes will be the first of many “only in Miami” events in the coming months.
On January 12th, YLS Professor Akhil Reed Amar spoke at the U.S. District Court in downtown Miami. One of the foremost Constitutional Law scholars in the country, Professor Amar was introduced by Chief Judge Cecelia Altonaga and interviewed by Judge Roy Altman, both YLS alumni. Over 75 attendees enjoyed the discussion and a catered reception afterward.
On February 10th, the next in the Club’s “only in Miami” events will take place as part of Feb Club, a month-long series of social gatherings by regional Yale clubs worldwide. Our venue will be at the Cleat out on Key Biscayne, regarded by many as the best waterfront bar in all of Miami. Our Director of Programming, Tyler Godoff, late of the Yale Club of Ft. Worth, is leading the charge on this event, which we anticipate will be as well-received as his previous Feb Club efforts in Texas.
Hosting events with broad appeal is only part of the Club’s recent re-boot. We are expanding our online and social media outreach with a newly-launched LinkedIn community and an Instagram page (yale_club_of_south_florida) as well as a new YCSF logo designed by our Co-Vice President, Grant Schafle (see below). In addition, we will be launching a final redesign of our Club’s website (work just getting underway on that; please email us with any suggestions). Monthly newsletters will also help us to update members on the Club’s activities.
Efforts are underway to launch a mentorship initiative between local Yale alumni and students at Miami Dade College’s (MDC’s) Business Innovation and Technology Center, where over 80% of the students are from minority and/or underprivileged backgrounds. MDC is the largest community college system by number of registered students in the country. We have recruited Endeavor, the leading global community of, by, and for high-impact entrepreneurs, to be a part of this initiative.
Another experiment we hope to launch as a living resource is a Guidebook to South Florida for local alumni. Since we intend to make this accessible via our Club website, input and updates from local Yale alumni will be critical, so send us your suggestions! What are your favorite restaurants in the area? Where are regular farmer’s markets held? Are there particular parks or other attractions worthy of a day trip? The identification of any venues owned or affiliated with Yale alumni will be encouraged.
As always, we look to you, our members, for ideas. Please let us know about the types of events, initiatives, or sub-clubs you’d like to see the Club sponsor.
In concluding this inaugural President’s Message on behalf of the YCSF, many thanks to all Yalies in our region, including family and friends, who support the Club and its mission to serve the needs of Yale Alumni and families located in the Miami Metropolitan Area.
Jonathan Kim, SOM ‘00