From the Editor

As a city grieves and recovers, a time for powerful leadership.



 

If you subscribe to our magazine, July's annual 50 Most Powerful Issue will be arriving in your mailbox this week.

It is an issue frozen in time.

When we released the magazine to the printer, it was still five days until the unimaginable horror at the Pulse gay nightclub would occur and take 49 members of our community away from us. So there is no mention of the tragedy in the July print edition. But there is plenty about local leadership.

And never has the power of leadership been more important in this community than in the last nine days. Two on our Most Powerful list who have been at the forefront are Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

In our profile of the mayor, who has been in office 13-plus years, we outlined his accomplishments—including his leadership in creating a domestic partnership registry in the city and performing gay marriages. Dyer told us that his proudest achievement was “the continued ability of our community to work together on all things important,’’ whether it be tackling homelessness or making a downtown UCF campus a reality.

With Sheehan, Central Florida's first openly gay public official, we made the point that what matters to her most is not politics but the constituency and neighborhoods she serves. “I love going out and talking to people and finding out what their problems are and how we can help solve their issues,’’ she said.

As to what might be next in their careers? Here’s what they told us, weeks before the unfathomable would happen.

Dyer:  “I’m happy doing exactly what I’m doing. I hope I have some more stuff to do before I’m remembered.’’

Sheehan: “I want to be effective, and here’s where I’m most effective. I always bloom where I’m planted. So we’ll see where that leads.’’

We can take comfort in the fact that we have leaders like this—and others who have stepped forward or will do so in the coming days. They are here for the duration, to lead us to new heights—and through times of tragedy.

Our headline on Sheehan perhaps sums it up best:

 “Grassroots, firmly planted.’’

 

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