“Take the opportunity to interact with as many people as possible even -and specially- if their ideas may be different from yours.”
We live in a highly diverse county and to the keynote speaker of the Conference Broward & Beyond, Beverly Kuykendall, that is a huge window of opportunity.
The president of Government Business American Medical Depot (AMD), recipient of numerous awards and sough-after speaker told this magazine that we owe our parents the responsibility to go ahead and take advantage of the ethnic diversity of the County.
“What strikes me is that people of a certain age, they’ve come from a background where their parents has sacrificed so much and given up so much for the opportunity. So, we have a responsibility to our family and to our children to make absolutely sure that we are maximizing those opportunities. That we ask every question and we ask that question again and again. Is really your responsibility based on the debt that have been paid and the sacrifices that have been made for you to be where you are”, she added.
During her motivational speech, attendees found out that Kuykendall is a product of what she called “twenty-five-year overnight success story”.
Her executive career includes a background that spans federal and commercial contracting, public policy and leadership. Under her leadership, AMD was awarded a government contract to work with the United States Agency for International Development and the Defense Logistics Agency to provide more than 1 million adult regular hygiene kits in response of the Syrian Refugee Effort.
“I am really pleased that the County of Broward asked me to come in to speak because they and I understand that the passion is about the people”, said the Los Angeles native but six years ago relocated in Broward County.
“They wanted for people to hear that what is possible to me and so many others, is possible to them too”.
–La Familia de Broward: What is the secret -if there is any- of your success?
-Beverly Kuykendall: For me was a twenty-five-year overnight success story. There have been starts, stops and bumps. I think as a solid piece of clay that you chipped here and takes on a different shape, and chipped into another side and takes an entirely different shape. That is what my life has been. I really want people to understand that there is not perfect scenario. The perfection comes in your capability, ability and willingness to start over again each time.
If there are some key messages, one would be to make sure to use the opportunities for the very vast ethnicity, ethnic and social diversity of thought. Instead of staying in one place and only work with people like you, or who sound like you, take advantage of what we have to offer here in Florida.Spread your wings and take the opportunity to interact with as many people as possible even and specially if their ideas may be different from yours.
-LF: Where do you think this County is heading?
-BK: I think that Broward County recognizes that the world is changing and we have a very rich environment of people that can serve the community. Think about this conference that was put in place by Office of Economic and Small Business Development. I know they have 350 million dollars Department of Transportation contracts that they are trying to fill with small and minority owned businesses. They have a requirement of either 25 or 35%. That is an opportunity. They have to meet the requirement. If you have a company or even an idea that you can bring to the table, you can come. They also have -fascinatingly enough- a ‘mentor protégé’ program here in the County of Broward. You can partner with another company, you become the ‘protegee’, they become the mentor, they provide you with resources so the two of you together can serve the needs of the county. That is a tremendous opportunity here!
The perfection comes in your capability, ability and willingness to start over again each time.
-LF: Do you have any anecdote that can share with our readers?
-BK: How much time do you have? (laughs). Many years ago, the federal government was reinventing itself and at that time my husband and I had a small company that had preferential treatment from the Small Business Administration. We served local hospitals delivering medical supplies and we made a good living. Suddenly they said that only three big companies can provide for 150 hospitals. They hold a hearing in Chicago and I told my husband ‘honey we are in trouble, we need to understand how we are going to overcome this’. So, I went to the session. There where hundreds of people in the audience and three microphones in the front of the room. I have already done my study, I read the Federal Acquisition Regulation, I looked at the law and I couldn’t understand how the government was going to reconcile this new reinvented government with their obligations to the minorities’ companies.
I was waiting for someone to ask the question but they didn’t. I went to the microphone and asked the question. All of the sudden, I hear the rustling of papers from the stage. A team of eight attorneys where looking for answers so I realized they have not read the law so I felt braver and asked another question. At the end of the session many people came and asked me ‘who sent you? Why are you here? And I said, my husband sent me (laughs). One of the lawyers said to me that Congresswoman Maxine Waters from California seats on the small business appropriations committee, the agency that put this together. So, I went back to Los Angeles and talked to an aid of her, and at the end the Congresswoman submitted a letter of inquiry to Congress -to that agency- and that stopped everything. They pulled back and allowed small businesses to participate. That anecdote -I had little money and asked the questions that never asked before- allowed me to learn about the federal government and created opportunities not only for me but for other small businesses.