My Advantage Miami

Riding in Style from Kendall to Brickell: Adventures of a First Time Train Commuter

By: Tere Garcia

What if there was a solution to the morning commute?

Well there is, and after 6 years of commuting from Kendall to Brickell and being extremely familiar with Kendall Drive and 104th Street, I decided to give something new a try and join the rest of the train commuters.

Monday, January 6th, 2020 – Woke up, resolutions on my mind, year of change, new year new me and somehow everything seemed the same. Same routine in the morning, same clothes, same car and same drive. As I drove in the dreaded commute, I thought to myself, “If this is a year of change, why am I not taking advantage of the train to maximize my time?”. Many of my coworkers that live in the area have been taking it for years and have encouraged me to do so. That morning as I got into work, I was convinced that I was going to join the train crew! During my lunch hour, a coworker and long-time commuter walked me to the Brickell Station where I bought my very first EASY ticket week pass and I was ready to go! I also downloaded Miami’s new transit app, Velocia, which rewards commuters for using public transportation, and if you know me, you know I am ALL ABOUT perks! For some reason everything seemed way easier than what I had envisioned.

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 – A morning like no other, rushing to get ready, trying to prep my lunch, feed the baby and run out the door by 7:20am. For those that are familiar and know the area, you know that leaving on time makes quite the difference. Even though the day before I was determined that I was ready to ride the train, I decided I would drive in. That is until my GPS notified me that I would arrive to work 1 hour and 30 minutes later! To top it off, the GPS rerouted me to Dadeland to take US1 instead of my regular Turnpike North commute. Technological glitch? Fate, perhaps?

So, there it was: the huge, concrete and imposing Metro Parking building, I held my breath and drove in. I parked, all while having no idea what I was doing and followed the crowds, acting like I knew where I was going, and took the elevator down to the first floor. Up one flight of stairs (which added to my daily step quota) and forty seconds later, I watched uncertainly as it approached, THE TRAIN. While it may seem silly to many, I did have real fear of riding the train, aka Siderodromophobia or train phobia, due to the lack of control. But I was determined to face my fears. Afterall, it’s New year new me, right?

Once the doors opened, I took a seat by the window and gazed at the motionless cars on US1. Suddenly, I realized I now had 20 extra minutes all to myself in the morning and the perfect excuse to finally incorporate some of my new year’s resolutions. These included catching up on the novel I’ve been trying to finish for weeks and listening in on my favorite podcast, “The Doctor’s Pharmacy with Mark Hyman M.D”. I ended my commute with a 2-minute mediation. Twenty minutes after stepping on the train, I had arrived at Brickell Station, relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the day! Five minutes later, I was sitting at my desk checking my phone when I noticed I had already taken 3,000 steps! More steps that I normally accrue in an entire day (don’t judge).

As a 34-year old new wife and mom, I’m still trying to figuring out the routine that works best for me now.  Living in Kendall (which I love and is perfect for my family) and having commuted for years, I never would have thought I would be so excited about riding a train! But at that moment, knowing how much time I had saved by not driving in, as the doors opened at the station, I had the exact feeling of biting into a warm, gooey Knaus Berry Farm Cinnamon Roll (for those Miamians that are familiar with this)! A bit dramatic, perhaps but it felt like I had made it! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. That morning, I was overjoyed. I felt so proactive that I decided to share #MyAdvantageMiami and maybe convince others to join me on this experience! I might even convince others that there is #MoreToExplore and to come visit the growing South Dade area and give our culinary scene a try? Trust me, it is worth the ride!


About the Author:

Tere Garcia, 34-years old, recent mom of a baby boy, communications professional at the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. Lives in Kendall, works in Brickell and is a first time train commuter.


Miami-Dade County Heads North for Dade Days in Tallahassee

Miami-Dade County Heads North for Dade Days in Tallahassee

By: Dr. Jaap Donath, SVP of Research & Strategic Planning, Miami-Dade Beacon Council 

Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s own Dr. Jaap Donath, SVP of Research & Strategic Planning, took part in this year’s Miami-Dade County Days (Dade Days) in Tallahassee recently.

Commencing with the “World Famous Paella Fest” on Capitol Courtyard, Dr. Donath joined other attendees at the annual 2-day event including representatives from all Miami-Dade County municipalities (elected officials and staff), non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

During the Legislative Briefing, Dr. Donath spoke on behalf of the Beacon Council about Miami-Dade County’s thriving economy. In addition to the events and meetings organized by Dade Days, Dr. Donath had the opportunity to meet with Jamal Sowell, President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunities and several other state legislators from Miami-Dade County. He also attended the press conference by the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC) where they announced this year’s Economic Development week.

Trade & Logistics Committee Hosts Meeting at Royal Caribbean’s New Terminal “Crown of Miami”

Trade & Logistics Committee Hosts Conversations on the Economy of Cruises at Royal Caribbean’s “Crown of Miami’

Content provided by Lewis Greenberg, Senior Manager at Marcum LLP and Co-Chair, Marketing Sub-Committee of the MDBC’s Trade & Logistics Committee. Photos: Shoot My Travel

The numbers speak for themselves: Miami is THE Cruise Capital of the World and it was this reality that prompted Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s Trade & Logistics Committee’s decision to host a discussion highlighting the cruise industry’s importance to our city’s economy. Cruising is essentially passenger logistics, but this discussion focused more on the business logistics of supplying and operating these magnificent “cities on the water.”

President & CEO of the Beacon Council, Michael Finney, opened the meeting with an overview of the impact this industry has on Miami-Dade County. Russell Benford, Vice President of Government Relations – Americas at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. then presented a short film documenting Royal Caribbean’s post-hurricane relief efforts.

The discussion was then turned over to a panel of experts, featuring Moderator Mary Buckley (Assistant Professor for the College of Hospitality Management at Johnson & Wales University), Michael Cheng (Interim Dean for Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University), Doris Miranda (Director of Global Logistics & Warehousing at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.) and Paul Osburn (Chief Operating Officer – USA at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics Inc.)

The event took place in Royal Caribbean’s Terminal A, which opened in 2018 and is know as the “Crown of Miami”. Special thanks to Royal Caribbean and Prologis for hosting and sponsoring the meeting attended by over 150 professionals in the industry and additional thanks to Shoot My Travel for photographing the event.

To view all photos, click here.

WeWork Labs Launches in Downtown Miami

Miami is home to a rapidly growing and thriving startup ecosystem and the global business community has taken note. As the region’s innovation economy continues to evolve, WeWork is launching its first Labs location in the Magic City which will provide local entrepreneurs with the space, community, programming and mentorship connections they need to succeed. WeWork Labs, WeWork’s innovation arm supporting early-stage startups and corporations seeking to transform their industries, will be housed within the Security Building located at 117 NE 1st Avenue in the heart of Downtown Miami.

Miami is consistently recognized as being ripe for opportunity. In fact, earlier this year WalletHub ranked Miami as the second-best environment in the US for starting a new business. The region’s continued upward trajectory made it an ideal fit for WeWork Labs unique model and services.

“Since opening our first location in Miami in 2015, we have been committed to delivering inspiring workspaces and a global platform that can help foster the growth of South Florida’s workforce,” said Bobby Condon, WeWork Southeast General Manager. “Through WeWork Labs, we are taking our support for Miami’s entrepreneurs and creators to the next level. We look forward to creating a hub where innovative start-ups and companies can leverage our dedicated support to make their mark in a global city that is brimming with talent and opportunity.”

WeWork Labs has a dedicated space housing up to 60 startups at the Security Building. The space is equipped with a dedicated Labs Manager who builds out a custom curriculum for each individual startup, which includes a combination of 1:1 learnings and group workshops with local mentors. As part of the WeWork Labs membership, startups are given access to a network of over 1,800 mentors globally in addition to all the benefits and services that come with a full WeWork membership.

“Miami is consistently ranked as one of the top cities in the country for starting a new venture.  It is clear that the region is embracing innovation and hungry for the tools needed to turn big ideas into successful enterprises,” said WeWork Labs Miami Manager, Pedro Sostre. “WeWork Labs will create a critical mass of forward-thinking companies in Miami and arm them with the global resources they need to succeed and scale.”

For more information on WeWork Labs or if you are a startup interested in the program, please reach out to Pedro Sostre directly at  or visit

$1 Billion Company, Slalom, expands to Florida bringing hundreds of new jobs

Miami is first of several new offices coming to the sunshine state

MIAMI, Fla. Oct. 8, 2019 – Slalom, the $1B modern consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation, has opened its Miami office located in South Florida, with plans to debut several more offices across the state over the next 24 months. Slalom’s Florida offices will employ more than 600 people statewide.

“Florida is glad to welcome Slalom and the hundreds of jobs the firm will bring to the Sunshine State,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “From our pro-business climate to our top-ranked university system, Florida is a place where firms like Slalom can employ exceptional talent and expand without the burdens of high taxes and stifling regulations.”

Slalom was founded in Seattle in 2001. Today, Slalom has 31 offices across the U.S and three countries. Clients include more than half the Fortune 100 and a third of the Fortune 500—along with startups, not-for-profits, and innovative organizations of all kinds.

“When we first started planning Slalom’s Florida expansion, anchoring our office in Miami was a perfect fit, and we’re excited to have Beau Williamson at the helm,” said Troy Johnson, Slalom Chief Growth Officer and Co-Founder. “Beau is dedicated to building a world-class team that will drive amazing outcomes for our clients.”

In addition to Miami, Slalom has plans to open offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Jacksonville. For Slalom, Florida is the perfect place for a pioneering company. Florida’s business community is the nation’s third-largest workforce, home to several Fortune 500 companies, a rapidly growing set of mid-market companies and the cruise line capital of the world.

“We’re successful because we invest in people. Invest in communities. Invest in our clients’ success,” said Beau Williamson, Slalom Florida General Manager. “And now, we’re ready to invest in Florida. We’re excited to grow a team who can offer local solutions to clients here that are innovating – from hospitality and retail, to manufacturing, logistics, financial services, healthcare and more.”

South Florida is also the gateway to Latin America, offering Slalom access to many companies that operate and serve customers in central and South America. The other major metros in Florida are diversified with companies spanning a number of industries from casual dining to grocery and theme parks.

“Global firms choose Miami-Dade County again and again for our diverse talent, international access and unparalleled lifestyle,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “As Slalom establishes their Florida headquarters in Miami-Dade they will enjoy immediate access to our dynamic business community and burgeoning tech and innovation ecosystem.”

Along with Slalom’s Florida offices, the company currently employs 7,500 people and plans to hire more than 2,000 people this year.

About Slalom

Slalom is a modern consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation. In cities across the US, UK, and Canada, Slalom’s teams have the autonomy to move fast and do what’s right. They’re backed by seven regional innovation hubs, a global culture of collaboration, and partnerships with the world’s top technology providers. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Seattle, Slalom has organically grown to 7,500 employees. Slalom was named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2019 and is regularly recognized by employees as a best place to work. Learn more at

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council Kicks Off Its 35th Year With Three Promotions

Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Director, International Economic Development

(Miami, FL) October 1, 2019 –  The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the County’s official public-private economic development partnership, is pleased to announce three promotions as it kicks off its 35th anniversary.

Camela Glean-Jones, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer

  • Chief Financial Officer Camela Glean-Jones also assumes role of Chief Operating Officer. Formerly CFO and Executive Vice President, Camela has been invaluable to the organization’s stability and growth for more than 25 years. In addition to her role as CFO, she has long managed a broad array of administrative responsibilities across operations, human resources and governance; the addition of COO to her title serves to recognize the scope of her responsibilities in the organization’s leadership.

Maria Budet, Chief Marketing Officer

  • Maria Budet has been promoted to Chief Marketing Officer.

Maria draws on a significant depth of marketing knowledge and over 20 years of brand management experience, bringing a new perspective to the organization. Grounding integrated marketing efforts in an increasingly strategic approach, her direction of Beacon programs over the last year has successfully increased The Beacon Council’s profile in key markets, engagement with key targets and overall awareness with priority audiences.

Madeline Mesa, Director, International Economic Development

  • Madeline Mesa has been promoted to Director, International Economic Development.
    Madeline has been part of The Beacon Council family since 2015 – first supporting the Economic Development team and, most recently, working in the Office of the President. In her new role she will partner with Mario Sacasa, Senior Vice President, International Economic Development, and Diana Londono, Vice President, International Economic Development, to support international development efforts for new and expanding companies.



About The Miami-Dade Beacon Council

Miami-Dade Beacon Council is the official economic development organization for Miami-Dade County. Its mission is to increase jobs and investment through marketing Miami as a world class business destination; helping grow local companies; and shaping Miami’s economic future.  Since 1985, the organization has assisted more than 1,000 businesses that have created nearly 70,000 direct jobs and added more than $4.7 billion in new capital investments. A professional staff and volunteer community leaders work to promote Miami as a world-class 21st century community at the forefront of a changing global economy. For more information:

One Community One Goal’s Access Breakfast Focuses on Attracting, Retaining, and Growing Top Talent in Miami-Dade County

What can we do as a community to make Miami-Dade County known as a place for a high-quality workforce?

That was the theme at the One Community One Goal Access Breakfast sponsored by Bank of America and hosted by the University of Miami (UM) held on August 27th. More than 300 participants engaged at UM’s Watsco Center to hear highly recognized leaders share their insights about strengthening the talent pipeline and the new world of work.

The event kicked-off with a premier networking session where exhibitors showcased Miami’s assets in early education, entrepreneurship, internships, primary and secondary education.

OCOG Co-Chairs, Sheldon T. Anderson, Business Consultant & Community Leader, and Nitin Motwani, Managing Principal at the Miami Worldcenter, captured the audience’s attention with highlights of the current successes of the One Community One Goal initiatives.

The distinguished panelists then gave a series of mini-ted talks about the Future of Work and Education.

Moderator, Jane Wooldridge, Business and Visuals Arts Editor at the Miami Herald, followed up with an insightful discussion on how companies are using more technology, how employees are seeking new ways of working and how new skills are required for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

and shared their insights about Talent, Trends and Transformational Business Practices.

Speakers Included:
Johné Battle – Associate Client Partner-Miami, Korn Ferry
Alberto M. Carvalho – Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Dr. Julio Frenk – President, University of Miami
Adriene McCoy – Corporate Vice President and Chief HR Officer, Baptist Health South Florida

Please join us on September 16th for the One Community One Goal Annual Report to the Community learn about the Future of Tech and Innovation and make new business connection.

Miami Gets Moving, Leveraging Innovation to Promote Connectivity

By David Winterstein, Co-Founder and CEO

and Eldredge Bermingham, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Velocia, Inc

Getting where you want to go in your community within reasonable time is key to a productive, enjoyable life. Connectivity impacts the economic expansion of most communities; here in South Florida, two Mayors — one former and one serving — challenged Salim Ismail, the founding Executive Director of Singularity University to consider new options to better connect the citizens of Miami-Dade to work, to school and to one another. Salim was asked to explore new mobility opportunities that might work synergistically with the many on-going efforts and resources in place that are helping to improve connectivity across Miami-Dade.  With strong support from the Knight Foundation, Codina Partners, MDX and the Office of Mayor Carlos Giménez, Salim and the Fastrack Institute established a 16-week competition to develop new private enterprises with the sole aim of encouraging our citizens to get out of their single-occupant vehicles — at least sometimes. The Fastrack teams recognized that providing solutions in Miami required shorter-term, human-centered business solutions coupled to the longer-term, infrastructure-rich SMART Plan. Imagine the disruptive strength of Lyft, Uber, Airbnb focused on providing solutions to how we get around our county and cities and you have the Fastrack solution, Velocia.

Velocia is a free mobile phone app that rewards people for getting out of single-occupant vehicles. Velocia has partnered with both the Public and Private sectors to create a mobility ecosystem that spans all forms of mobility. The app rewards you for riding Metrobus and Metrorail, hopping on a Citi Bike or e-scooting that first mile/last mile on a Bolt scooter. We have big rewards for sharing your car on Getaround or forsaking car ownership altogether and using a shared-Getaround vehicle for those trips when you just have to have a car. We will be experimenting with sweepstakes rewards from SwiftSeat to crack the carpooling nut, especially for university students across Miami-Dade. Velocia rewards you for walking to promote good living and provide a healthy alternative to the first mile/last mile mobility dilemma. Just by pairing your existing mobility apps on the Velocia platform you can help Miami solve mobility issues, reduce carbon emissions, save some money and just have more fun getting around our cities and county.

Velocia is generous. We understand the potential positive impact incentives and rewards can have on our community. Therefore, we have made it easy for users to earn and redeem on the platform. Today, you can see campaigns such as: walk 10 miles and earn enough VELOS to redeem for a $5 Lyft credit or Download the Getaround app and Velocia rewards you enough VELOS for $10 off your next trip with Uber or on a JUMP e-scooter. Velocia rewards you with VELOS every time you board Metrobus or Metrorail, with bonus VELOS for riding Metrorail to the airport or carpooling to the North Dadeland Park & Ride.

Velocia has global aspirations for delivering new mobility solutions that begin here in Miami! Miamians are diverse, energetic and entrepreneurial and provide a rich fabric for learning the ins-and-outs of mobility reward economics. The community and its political leaders have been extraordinarily supportive and with your help Velocia will provide a positive return to Miami for its investment, innovation and confidence.

If Velocia encourages each of you to spend one day less a week in a single-occupant vehicle with Rewards that Move You, then you begin participating in a virtuous cycle of decreasing congestion and decreasing carbon emissions, while increasing savings and more healthy living. As leaders in the Miami Business Community, we are asking you to help spread the word about Velocia. Your reach spans across organizations, employees, communities and much more. We are looking for 2000 users to help us test the app, earn and redeem rewards and provide feedback to make Velocia the best it can be for Miami.

Velocia is available both on iPhone and Android phones. Please download the app from the Velocia website at and invite your colleagues and employees to do the same. Please get in touch with fellow Miamian Eldredge Bermingham ( with questions or comments about Velocia.

Kaseya Looks to Strategic Community Partnerships to Develop Top Talent

Blog Article Contributed by Kaseya

Last week’s blog ⁠— Kaseya Forges Strategic Partnerships for Career Opportunities and Community Engagement ⁠— showcased Kaseya’s best practices in partnering with universities for maintaining a robust talent pipeline while creating exciting career opportunities for young professionals. This week’s blog showcases Kaseya’s strategic partnerships with multiple community partners as they work collaboratively to develop top talent and foster Miami’s entrepreneurial tech ecosystem.

Relationships with Community Partners

Beyond fostering deep connections with local universities, Kaseya has also engaged in a variety of ways with a number of community partners committed to developing top talent for employers.

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council has been an active partner with Kaseya over the last 18 months in support of Kaseya’s community engagement efforts. Michael A. Finney, President & CEO of The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, recently coined the term “the Kaseya effect,” highlighting Kaseya’s leadership role in attracting other companies to Miami and in promoting Miami as a preferred global business destination for technology companies and private equity firms. In mid-2018, Kaseya partnered with the Beacon Council and took the unique step of inviting over 30 community partners to its corporate offices to highlight its desire to be a leading corporate partner on vital, entrepreneurial and technology community-building initiatives. Christine Johnson, Vice President, Innovation, Economic Development at The Miami-Dade Beacon Council highlighted Kaseya’s community impact, stating “not only did Kaseya express its desire to take a leading role in shaping our growing tech community, it has taken action and superbly delivered on its promise to aid in the development of Miami’s tech ecosystem, for which our entire community is grateful!”

For example, Kaseya has been working for nearly 12 months with Year Up,  one of our community partners, whose mission is to close the opportunity divide by ensuring urban youth gain the skills, experience and support, which will, in turn, empower them to reach their potential. Kaseya HR leaders visited Year Up’s student cohorts multiple times, spoke to their students and alumni on career readiness, hosted a group for a corporate tour at Kaseya and served as a judge at Year Up’s student business plan competition. This direct involvement ultimately led to the recent hiring of two additional Account Management interns from Year Up.

Kaseya has also developed relationships with coding schools and academies in South Florida in order to tap into the talent graduating their respective programs. Discussions continue with the likes of Ironhack, LaunchCode, Wyncode, and 4Geeks to discover the best way to capitalize on a robust partnership.

Moreover, Kaseya has actively sought out community partners, who are actively building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami and beyond. For example, Kaseya has hosted youth entrepreneurship groups from Biznovator, a Miami-based organization, whose mission is to empower and enable youth entrepreneurship, social innovation and global leadership. Juan Casimiro, Founder & CEO of Biznovator, highlighted the uniqueness of Kaseya’s engagement by stating: “Kaseya has generously offered its facilities, tours, and executives’ time for the benefit of our camp participants, who get to see first-hand corporate social responsibility (CSR) in action.”

Kaseya is also seeking to deepen its relationship with several business incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces. Most recently, one of Kaseya’s executives spoke to a joint gathering of leaders from Enterprise Florida and the Beacon Council about Miami as a preferred (tech) business destination at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), one of Miami’s foremost centers for supporting entrepreneurial business ventures.

In the future, Kaseya seeks to develop a formalized program with the CIC as well as other ventures such as LAB Miami, the Venture City, 500 Startups Miami and Endeavor Miami, whereby Kaseya managers and senior leaders will mentor and advise start-up companies to accelerate their development.

Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, stated proudly “Kaseya recently received a $500M investment valuing our organization at over $1.75B, making Kaseya Miami’s first true tech unicorn. While we are excited about this acknowledgement of our IT Complete strategy, overall business success and growth trajectory, we are equally enthusiastic about collaborating with our community partners to boost Miami’s standing and recognition as a preferred business and investment destination.”

To learn more about how your organization can partner with Kaseya to build a mutually beneficial long-term relationship please contact Ken Finneran directly at


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Advantage Miami Magazine Continues to Have Far-Reaching Effects Promoting Miami and Local Businesses Worldwide

As the official publication of The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Advantage Miami is a valuable resource guide that serves to help national and international businesses in their decisions to relocate or expand their business and executives in Miami-Dade.

Content includes Miami’s tech scene, commercial and housing real estate, banking, educational offerings, municipality profiles and so much more. In addition to strategic distribution points in Miami’s consulate offices, chambers of commerce and global economic development conferences and trade shows, a Digital Edition of the publication is e-mailed to over 30,000 contacts and posted on the Beacon Council website.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 2020 edition and promote your business around the world. Deadline to participate is September 6. Contact Cristiana Glassford at 305-376-5252 or before time runs out.