Flores Forbes

Associate Vice President for Strategic Policy and Program Implementation

Columbia University

Forbes is an urban planner who focuses on economic development in Columbia's local community, particularly Harlem. He identifies obstacles to market growth, consults on how Columbia can help meet the community’s needs and works with local groups in Upper Manhattan.

He works closely with the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center, which supports local businesses and entrepreneurs. The center recently organized a fair that connected food producers with buyers, such as Whole Foods and Columbia Dining. Other programs he oversees include job training in hospitality and healthcare for those in the local community, networking events and business competitions.

“Faculty here advise countries all over the world. They advise governments and financial institutions and train MBAs,” said Forbes. “Just imagine if the same brainpower advises small businesses and entrepreneurs in a community that’s been depressed and oppressed for years. Uplifting is a major component of what the University can do.”

Forbes last served as Chief Strategic Officer for the Abyssinian Development Corporation.  Prior to his tenure at Abyssinian, Flores worked for the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, where he served first as Deputy Director of Land Use Housing and Development and then as Director of Borough President Fields' Northern Manhattan Office.  Flores has also written extensively; his work includes a study of his life as a radical in the 1970's.  Flores holds an undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University.  He received a Masters in Urban Planning from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and was a Revson Fellow at Columbia.