The Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce will celebrate Black “Herstory” Month by hosting a conversation with some of the local icons who blazed the trail fighting to level the playing field. The virtual event, hosted on Zoom and Facebook Live, will take place on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 4 PM. The event is presented in part by Baptist Health South Florida.

“The Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce is hosting this conversation with local icons in celebration of Black History Month,” said G. Eric Knowles, president and CEO. “We want to shine the spotlight on women pioneers who can share their success story with the goal of motivating others to blaze their own trail and create history.” The event will consist of an online webinar that will feature a moderator, a welcome message from the sponsoring organization, and a panel of noted guests. The moderator for the event is Lynda V. Harris, Chair-Elect, Miami-Dade Chamber of
Commerce Board of Directors; Chairwoman Women’s Business Council. Lynda V. Harris was born, raised, and educated in Miami-Dade County. She currently holds the position of Vice President of Henderson Financial Group, Inc. and is a Licensed Financial Advisor with over 20 years in the financial services industry in Miami Dade County, Florida. Ms. Harris is also the co-host of the radio talk show “Understanding Money” heard on WBIZ, 880 AM in Miami, Florida, a position she has held for the past 10 years. Lynda V. Harris is the recipient of the 2016
Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama.

The welcome message will be given by Dr. Yvonne Johnson, Chief Medical Officer, Baptist Health South Florida – South Miami Hospital. Dr. Johnson is currently the chief medical officer of South Miami Hospital (part of Baptist Health South Florida). Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Harvard University and Howard University College of Medicine. She completed her residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami. A leading speaker, both locally and internationally, Dr. Johnson has given numerous lectures on the topic of women and heart disease. She also serves as clinical assistant professor of the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

The panel will consist of the following local icons:
Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, The Black Archives; MDCOC 2016 HT Smith Life Time Achievement Award Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields is the founder of The Black Archives, History & Research Foundation, Inc. A native Miamian of Bahamian ancestry, Dorothy Jenkins Fields, PhD, is a noted Public Historian, Certified Archivist, Preservationist and Journalist. Dr. Jenkins Fields dedicates her life to collecting, processing and making available information about the black experience in Miami-Dade County from 1896 to the present, the Jim Crow era and beyond. The consummate professional, Dr. Jenkins Fields earned a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Northern Colorado (Miami campus), a doctorate in Public History at The Union Institute, certification in Archives Administration at Emory University, post graduate studies at the National Archives and Smithsonian, and a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship for Master Teachers at Princeton University.

Thelma V. Gibson, Gibson Health Initiative; MDCOC 2011 Citizen of the Year Thelma V. Gibson has left an indelible mark her entire life. She attended Teachers College at Columbia University, New York where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. For more than fifty years, Mrs. Gibson has been a trailblazer in education, mental and physical health, community and professional leadership, volunteerism and service to her church, community and family. In August of 1997, she was appointed as Interim City Commissioner and served on the City of Miami Commission through November 1997. One of the key accomplishments to Mrs. Gibson’s credit is authoring her autobiography, Forbearance, Thelma Vernell Anderson Gibson, The Life Story of A Coconut Grove Native that was released in the Fall of 2000. Mrs. Gibson is also an upholder and advocate for the Thelma Gibson Health
Initiative Inc., that provides free testing and assistance for HIV and AIDS infected persons. Her latest project is the Theodore and Thelma School of the Performing Arts located on Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove, where students will receive academics with a focus on the Arts. Ruth Shack, Retired; MDCOC 2009 Citizen of the Year.

Ruth Shack, a native of Brooklyn, New York, is credited as the sponsor of the 1977 Human Rights Ordinance in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Ms. Shack earned her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Barry University with a major in English and a minor in Journalism/Communications. She received a Master of Arts in Social Science with specialization in Urban Sociology from the University of Colorado. Ms. Shack was elected to the Metro-Dade
County Commission in 1976, 1978 and 1982. After leaving the commission, she became the president and CEO of the Dade Community Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Florida. She retired in 2009.

The Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1974 by a group of Black business leaders out of a need for a strong organization that could objectively advocate the needs of a growing Black business community. To date, the Chamber has been led by four presidents, David Fincher (1974-1984), Dorothy Baker (1984-2004), Bill Diggs (2005-2013) and G. Eric Knowles (2014-Present). Understanding that membership is the lifeblood of the Chamber, they
have focused on meeting the needs of the membership by upholding its five pillars of service: access, development, procurement, advocacy and foundation. For over forty years, the Chamber has driven the evolving landscape of the black business community in South Florida. Through numerous social unrest challenges and a notable decline of several black business infrastructures, the Chamber has been the constant that the people count on to thrive forward and turn the tide. A new energy is being witnessed now, with the emergence of young, talented and vibrant entrepreneurs blazing new trails and creating new and sustainable businesses. Miami-Dade is the gateway to tomorrow and the Chamber is proud to be the key that is unlocking and creating opportunities.

Baptist Health South Florida is considered a world-class healthcare organization. With more than 1.5 million patient visits every year, Baptist Health South Florida is leading the charge of encouraging healthy living. The Baptist Health team consists of approximately 23,000 employees and more than 4,000 physicians in virtually all specialties — many with national and international reputations. Baptist Health South Florida is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization and clinical care network that operates eleven hospitals and offers an extensive range of medical, surgical and technological services including cancer, neuroscience, heart and vascular, sports medicine and orthopedics.