The New Wave Is Here…

A weekly dose of goodness.

The Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce is an oasis of warmth and community in what can sometimes feel like an endless sea of negativity.

Like many locals, I’ve been moping about the short-sighted decision to kick Old School Square to the curb after 32 years of service to the community.
But just when you feel like chucking it all and moving to Maine, here comes the Chamber of Commerce to the rescue.

They did the same thing last year, when in the midst of our Covid gloom, they took the time to honor hometown heroes.
That event was a Valentine to the community. A much needed, deeply appreciated Valentine.

This time, the Chamber saved the day with an event at the gorgeous new Ray Hotel that honored local business leaders in an array of categories.
My wife and I were in Maine buying that escape property so we couldn’t attend the event. And then we were off to Polk County to pick up our new puppy so I couldn’t get to the Delray Morning Live Show that celebrated the winners and nominees.

I regret missing these events because I appreciate the Chamber, was honored to be nominated for a community service award, and am a big fan of all the nominees.
These men and women represent the best of this city and serve as a reminder that we can have a bright future. A very bright future if…if we stop tearing things down and start supporting those who are hard at work building the future.

These people are exceptional and they have a passion for Delray Beach that is inspiring.

Let’s start with Jamael Stewart and Amanda Perna, the co-hosts of Delray Morning Live.
The show is simply outstanding and serves as a weekly pick me up for all who watch. The chemistry between the hosts is palpable and so is the positivity. Add in great guests, humor and tons of local information and you have a recipe for success.

Amanda and Jamael are great people. I admire Amanda’s world class design skills and her entrepreneurial chops which includes a retail store “A Little Wyld” and her design business “House of Perna.”

Jamael is a local success story who coaches football, volunteers tirelessly and is a master marketer for local attorney (and all around good guy) Lee Cohen.
Jamael was raised here. He was helped by great mentors like C. Ron Allen and Michael Coleman . He  is proud of Delray. We are proud of you too ,Jamael. And glad that you live and breathe your hometown.

I’m also impressed by Shaun Hall, who runs a company called Viral Vision Marketing.
Shaun is passionate about helping local non-profits and while he’s very humble, be assured he is someone to watch. He’s making an impact. That’s good news, because his heart is in the right place.

Another extraordinary leader is Business Person of the Year Allison Turner of BatCat Media.
Allison is kind, smart and dedicated to this city. And if you don’t follow her on social media, you are missing some great messages and some amazing photos of her long walks through town. I’m so thrilled she won.

There were other worthy winners and nominees: Lionfish, a great new spot from the people at Clique Hospitality and Menin Development, Johnny Mackey of Shamrock Restoration, Robes Law Group, Milagro Center, The Institute for Regional Conservation, Anna Hess and the visionaries behind Masterwing Creative. And let’s not forget Debra Tendrich, a talented non-profit leader with Eat Better, Live Better with a heart for public service.

These are the type of leaders who move the needle.

Entrepreneurial energy is essential to a city’s success.

Entrepreneurs by their nature are creative, passionate and energetic. They embrace risk, have vision and are fueled by a belief that tomorrow can be better than today.

These are the people who move a place forward.

They work hard. They play hard. They love—deeply and when they find a place they fall for they will take you places you never knew existed.

I’m passionate about the dreamers, the doers, the givers and those who support and light the way for these special people.

Way back when, when we dreamed of the future at a visioning event or a community goal setting session, we dreamt that our town would attract and retain people like Amanda, Shaun, Jamael, Allison and so many more.

I, for one, am glad they are here.

They make me bullish about our future.

Yes, we bought that place in Maine because it’s on my bucket list and Covid reminded me that we don’t get to live forever and the sand is flying fast through my personal hourglass.

Even casual readers of this blog (I appreciate you all) know I’ve been profoundly disappointed with some of the recent events in our town. No sense in sugar coating things.
But thanks to organizations like the chamber, I’m excited about the future. I can’t wait to see where our talented young business leaders will take this city. The sky is the limit. I’ve been a believer in Delray since the first time I laid eyes on the place back in 1987.
I still believe.
Yes I do.

Random thoughts:
I found myself deeply moved by the loss of General Colin Powell who died of Covid last week.
I had the privilege of meeting him briefly during a visit he made to Delray years ago. If I remember correctly, he went to the Boys and Girls Club and maybe the Full Service Center. My mom went to high school with him in The Bronx which I used as an icebreaker. He was a warm and friendly man and the kids he visited with that day were in awe. His America’s Promise effort touched a lot of lives thanks to Rita Thrasher and others in Boca. He will be missed.

I watched with a fair degree of nausea a slick video produced by the City of Delray Beach on how the city is saving the day by using Parks employees to staff events the non-profit is no longer equipped to do thanks to the city’s decision to cut off funding and end its lease.
It’s like an arsonist taking credit for putting out the fire they started. Not a good look for new City Manager Terrance Moore to be out front on a wildly unpopular and short sighted decision.
Taxpayers should be asking how much this is costing. I asked a commissioner that question and was told that the manager found “efficiencies”—which is bureaucratese or bs, take your pick. There’s no way these “efficiencies” can be more efficient than having a non-profit provide those services rather than government.
Mr. Moore seems like a kind man.  And I get that he has to carry out the will of a majority of his bosses.

But he would be well served to expand his circle by talking to people who made OSS go for three plus decades. It would serve us and him well if he did so.

On a positive note, one of the best lessons from the life of Colin Powell was his ability to own his mistakes which he did after falsely telling the United Nations that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
When that assertion proved false, General Powell admitted he was wrong. He gained a lot of admirers by doing so. Maybe that kind of character and integrity will return to politics at all levels.



  1. Frances Bourque says

    I needed this! Each and every part! I so hope our Chamber winners will join OSS is showing that you begin, you can continue, and invite each and every one to join us and continue to help us all continue something we began years ago, and the winners today are proof we must and can go on!

  2. Thank you for calling attention to those who make a difference at the local level, where real change can happen. Encore Palm Beach County has spent 5 years trying to connect people over 50 with new work and volunteer opportunities. With a population of almost 50% over 50 and more moving here every day, we have a wealth of talent, experience and wisdom to draw upon. On Oct. 29th, our Wisdom & Experience Works For Business Awards event will recognize local employers who are committed to supporting mature workers. Among the nominees are Plastridge Insurance, Seniors Helping Seniors, the City of Delray Beach and the City of Boynton Beach. Local media company, BatCat Media will be filming the event. Please share:

  3. Jeff – it takes a big person to admit when they are wrong…enough said..

  4. I like that … “an oasis of warmth” – I think our chamber is doing a great job of continuing the tradition of recognizing outstanding entrepreneurs and businesses that contribute to making our city such a great place to be.

    We need these folks to help (as you so aptly stated) move our city forward. We have issues but I am also “still a believer” – yes I am.

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Bill you brought that warmth. That’s my fondest memory of your tenure. The chamber always felt like home.

  5. Did CP falsely tell? -not sure this is accurate. His intelligence agencies may have… sounds earily familiar. Separately, Bill Wood! -another one of the good guys!

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