16 Jun Caribbean-American Heritage Month Achiever: John Beckford
SOUTH FLORIDA – Since 2010 John Beckford serves as Chief of Staff to Broward County Commissioner, Dale V.C. Holness. From 2008 – 2010 John served as Board Chair and Executive Director of the Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to that, with 24 years in the Staffing Industry, John served as the VP Operations & Senior Lead Executive Search Consultant for ERI Staffing Services, a certified W/MBE Staffing Services company with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
John is a Fellow of the Black Executive Forum (Miami) Batten Fellows Leadership Program, and also served as a Board Member and Chairman. John currently serves on the board of Miami Broward One Carnival Host Committee, Inc., Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce, Broward Caribbean Carnival, Inc., Hills of Inverrary Association, City of Lauderhill Code Enforcement Board and served as a member of the Lauderhill City Master Planning Task Force.
John has received numerous awards and certifications for his contributions to the staffing industry. Certifications include: Certified Staffing Professional (CSP); Certified Temporary Staffing Specialist (CTS) and Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC). He has served as State Chair for the National Association of Personnel Consultants. Prior membership of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), The National Association of African Americans in HR (NAAAHR) and the local NAAAHR South Florida Chapter and the Human Resources Association of Broward County (HRABC).
John was born in California and raised in Jamaica and Trinidad. He attended Middlesex County College in New Jersey and Florida International University with an Engineering major. Married, he currently resides in Lauderhill with his family.
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John currently serves on the board of Miami Broward One Carnival Host Committee, Inc., as the Vice Chairman and Marketing Manager. In a One on One with South Florida Caribbean News we asked John to give us some insight into “Carnival” and what it means to South Florida and the Caribbean-American community.
Q: What is Miami Carnival?
JB: Miami Carnival (MBC) is an annual Columbus Day Weekend celebration in the USA showcasing the Caribbean culture and spirit of Carnival . It is a time when proud Caribbean Americans from all over the US converge in South Florida and come together to display their National colors in a festive atmosphere ! The kaleidoscope of food, fun, music coupled with the pageantry of masqueraders and the sweet sounds of steel pan or DJ’S playing the latest in music is legendary!
Q: What cultural contribution does it give to the fabric of South Florida?
JB: South Florida is known as a melting pot and Caribbean-Americans contribute significantly to the arts and cultural landscape. We offer the rich history of Mas Bands, Bahamian Junkanoo Band, SteelPan Music, Kompa, Soca, Reggae, Calypso and more. Each island is proudly represented with resident immigrants who have called South Florida home for many decades! Our culture transcends across the region and very much woven into the fabric of South Florida.
Q: What can one expect attending Miami Carnival for the first time?
JB: When you come to Miami Carnival expect to experience the Diversity of our Caribbean-American people, our food, the music and indigenous arts and craft.
On Carnival Sunday, First time patrons can expect to see an assortment of culinary treats at the food court where over 50 food vendors offer a smorgasbord of food, drinks and desserts.
On Panorama Competition night, to experience the pulsating sounds of SteelPan music is priceless; A visit to our corporate exhibitors offers patrons a chance to taste or test new products; and the arts and craft village is every Caribbean shoppers delight. Did I mention between Junior Carnival, King/Queen/Individual Costume Competition, Panorama Competition, J’ouvert and Carnival Sunday you can take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean and not to mention all the parties, or fetes as we say in the islands, every day with both day and night fetes!
Q: Is Miami Carnival a family event?
JB: Absolutely! The Carnival kicks off with a Junior Carnival the week before Columbus Day Weekend in October. Kids from 2-12 and teenagers adorned in costumes, lead off the week long celebration.
Both the Junior carnival and on Carnival Sunday offers a kids play zone with activities and treats! The Central Broward Regional Park where 3 of the 4 events are held, offers a water Splash Park,
Playgrounds, Nature Trail, Boating on the Lake and more! With much to see and do, there is something for the entire family.
Q: Three words that describe one’s experience at Miami Carnival?
JB: Totally memorable experience!