200: Matt Haggman (Miami-Dade Beacon Council)

Matt Haggman on Innovation City

“No place has built a truly diverse center of innovation where you’re seeing social mobility across the community- that’s Miami’s opportunity.” -Matt Haggman

Welcome to Season 6 of Innovation City (The Miami Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Welcome to Season 6 of Innovation City (The Miami Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Matt Haggman, Executive Vice President at The Beacon Council, where he leads Opportunity Miami, an initiative to catalyze Miami’s economic future. In this episode, Matt sits down with the team to discuss what’s next for Miami, how to create a diverse and inclusive economy, and his lessons learned during his recent attempt at running for Congress.

They discuss:

Matt’s Superpower

  • Curiosity about people and their stories, every role that’s always what he’s enjoyed the most is the learning

What’s sparking your curiosity these days?

  • What’s next for this community in Miami? We’re in this extraordinary moment with COVID. As people have picked up and moved, more and more people have said they want to be in Miami. 
  • This period of re-evaluation has got us asking what’s important in life and deciding who we want to spend time with. 

Matt’s Professional Journey

  • Matt was a journalist for ten years covering everything from investigative journalism to lawyers to the real estate booms. 
  • Working as a reporter led Matt to fall in love with Miami and want to take up a more proactive role so he changed careers. 
  • Matt spent over six years as a program director for the Knight Foundation in Miami working to build up Miami’s tech and startup community. 
  • After the 2016 election, Matt wasn’t in a happy place and wanted to do something about it, so he decided to run for Congress. He didn’t win, but he believes everything happens for a reason. 
  • A new opportunity came to him as the Executive Vice President of The Beacon Council, an economic development organization in Miami and that’s where Matt’s currently working. 

What is next for Miami?

  • Matt believes that are three major things on the horizon in Miami:
    • All the work that so many have been doing across the community must continue so that Miami can cement itself  that work must continue and it can cement itself as a new center for innovation globally. There is an opportunity for Miami to be one of the leading cities globally among these new emerging cities.
    • Miami must continue to work to build a uniquely diverse and skilled workforce.
    • A historic business opportunity exists for Miami to become a leader in becoming a carbon-neutral community.

Lessons Learned Running for Congress

  • Running a campaign is almost like founding a startup. The majority of startups fail, and it’s tough work. 
  • Unlike a start up, there is no delaying product launch in a campaign. There is an expiration date, which is election day.
  • You have to learn much faster in a political campaign. 

A Diverse and Inclusive Economy in Miami

  • The only way to achieve a diverse and inclusive economy is by having feet on the ground in the community. 
  • Miami has a unique opportunity right now to build a truly diverse center of innovation where you’re seeing social mobility across the community. 

How to Achieve Social Mobility

  • First, your city must state it as a goal and a value. 
  • Next, you must be ready to meet people where they are in the community and have an understanding of the pressure points. 
  • The hard work comes with execution and that’s solving the issues that have been identified. This is where most communities and cities fail. 

Lightning Round:

  • Who are your heroes?
    • Matt’s wife, Dennett
  • What question would you ask a fortune teller?
    • What’s the city that you see here in Miami 50 years from now?
  • What is the kindest thing that someone has done for you?
    • On Matt’s first day of high school, he couldn’t figure out how to unlock his locker and someone walked up quietly and helped him and walked away.
  • Where have you found peace?
    • At home, “One of the gifts of COVID is that I enjoyed being still.” 

Get in Touch

Opportunity Miami email: [email protected]

Visit the Opportunity Miami website

Follow Opportunity Miami on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter