Letter from the president: The future of the ecosystem

This has become a bit of a Father’s Day tradition here at Tampa Bay Business and Wealth. This is the one issue every year when they ask me to write. I’m flattered but I’m actually not a writer by trade. In reality, I write how I speak. Does it stress me out? Nah. 

For this year’s note, I’m going to talk a bit about the ECOSYSTEM. You may have heard me reference this “society” in the past. If you’ve attended a TBBW event, you know what I’m referring to. It’s how I describe the community we’ve established between TBBW and Tampa Bay.

What is this ecosystem made up of, you ask? It includes our partners, readers, story sources, advertisers, sponsors, friends, etc. If you’re a part of the system, you know it. You break news with us. You’re invited to our events. We help each other. Mentor each other. We work together to make this region a better place. We connect with each other. And we’re happy to have you! 

Today, I’m thinking about the future of this ecosystem. The next generation to join the family. We, as leaders, have a duty to be mentors and to lead by example. It’s in both the bold and subtle things that we do every day. We all have these experiences. A five-minute conversation with a colleague that changes the trajectory of their career. A cocktail with a fellow board member that inspires, and empowers, them for years. A simple note to an emerging leader about a job well done. Some of these gestures you may not even remember. You have no clue that you actually made a difference in the life and career of that individual. Don’t stop doing it. These are gestures that are crucial to building the leadership of Tampa Bay. They are a necessity in building that ecosystem. Not just the TBBW ecosystem, but our entire region. 

Over the course of this past year, I have had the pleasure of chairing the board of Leadership Tampa Bay. A board of 23 volunteer leaders, plus a class of 60. Yes, it’s a lot. Let’s not forget my leadership role at TBBW. And, as it’s Father’s Day this month, my own three children who are now off to making their own way in the world. I’m not implying that the board and class of Leadership Tampa Bay are my children at all (I kind of am). But it does lead me to reflect on my time as a parent of my children, when they were younger. Leading by example, being there when they need you for advice, a shoulder to cry on, a little chat about redirection. Did that prepare me and shape me into the person and leader I am today? You’re darn right it did. Why? Because it’s not about acting like you care – It’s about actually caring about the well-being of individuals. Not just your biological children, but those that enter and touch your life. 

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how they come into the world, but how you lead them when they come into YOUR world. Keep up the good work. Keep making connections and helping each other. No matter how corny you think you might sound – tell people you’re proud of them when you are. It means more than you know. 

Mentoring and lifting up future generations of leaders is how communities thrive and move forward. We need to pass the ball at some point. Let’s make this ecosystem the best one ever. Only you can make a difference because, after all, we are in this together.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, stepdads, single moms and father figures out there. 

What we do, as dads, truly makes a difference for the rest of a person’s life. Take that responsibility seriously and keep building a future ecosystem that, when they inherit this planet, will teach it like their own children and nurture it always. 

So, until next June, do great things! But let’s face it, I’ll see you at an event within the next week.

With warm regards, 

Jason Baker

Partner, Associate Publisher and President


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