Executive Vice President, Economic Development
James Kohnstamm is an experienced economic development professional who began with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council in 2008. As Senior Vice President in the Economic Development Department, Kohnstamm consults with local, national and international business leaders on the economic trends and attributes of Miami-Dade County and develops customized services to expanding and relocating business to facilitate job generating investments. With a focus in the Aviation industry, Kohnstamm has directly managed over 100 economic development projects that have generated over 4,700 jobs and $1 billion of investment for Miami-Dade County. Clients include: Amazon, The Boeing Company, Brightstar, Cable & Wireless Communications, Cosentino, Deloitte, LAN Cargo, Ryder System, Telemundo, Univision, and UPS.
Prior to joining The Beacon Council, Kohnstamm worked for The University of Miami School of Education and was a high school English and History teacher. A Seattle native, he holds a MA degree in International Administration from The University of Miami and a BA in Anthropology from Connecticut College.
Senior Vice President, International Economic Development
Mr. Sacasa leads the Council’s International Economic Development team overseeing all international recruitment, incoming delegations, and the International Committee resulting in substantially increasing the number of completed job-generating business projects.
Prior to his current role, Mario served as Consul General of the Republic of Nicaragua in Miami with Jurisdiction over Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. From 1995 to 1997, Mario Sacasa was also Dean of the Miami Consular Corps. Under his leadership the Consular Corps strengthened its institutional relationship with Florida’s authorities at all levels, as well as with the Greater Miami Area’s Chambers of Commerce, Offices of Tourism and Economic Development Organizations.
Mario has also been active in the Private Sector in the areas of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Urban Development. Prior to that, he was part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C., where he started his career as a Loan Operations Officer.
Mario remains active as Associate Member of the Miami Consular Corps, and currently serves as Treasurer of the Corps. Mario also participates in numerous other business and cultural organizations and has written a variety of articles on socio-political issues, especially on Latin America and the Caribbean.
Awards & Recognitions
He has received numerous recognitions including the Keys to Miami-Dade County and the City of Coral Gables; the Consular Corps of Miami; Special Decoration from the Ruben Dario Association in Chile the Ruben Dario Cultural Institute in Miami and several Bi-National Chambers of Commerce
Sacasa holds a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and Development Banking and a Bachelors in Foreign Service and International Economics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Creative Design Liaison
Diana Londono is the Vice President of International Economic Development for the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. Diana promotes Miami-Dade internationally as a business destination and facilitates the growth of the Miami-Dade Business community through international relocations. As part of her role, Diana also leads the Creative Design Committee, a cross-industry platform that brings together Miami-Dade County’s creative design employers to address issues and growth opportunities together.
Previously, Diana served as Manager of Foreign Direct Investment at Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI), the state’s principal economic development organization. Diana managed the FDI portfolio for the State of Florida. With EFI, she led the international business development and recruitment efforts for the state with support from 10 international offices serving markets globally.
Her previous roles also include the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in Miami. This organization focuses on fostering dialogue on economic, political and social issues in the Western Hemisphere.
Diana graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Vice President, Innovation, Economic Development
Christine Johnson is charged with leading recruitment, retention, and expansion efforts for the technology and innovation sector. Her work involves supporting the entrepreneurial landscapes by leveraging resources and brokering relationships to foster the community’s growth. Ms. Johnson’s career spans more than 10 years furthering local and national entrepreneurial ecosystems, including a significant stint as a team member in various capacities at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) – one of the nation’s leading technology-based economic development organizations and funders of seed/early-stage companies, as well as the south’s most active startup investors.
Ms. Johnson has been seen and heard on multiple outlets and forums, including National Public Radio (NPR), WPFW 89.3 FM (DC), The Mario Armstrong Show on Sirius/XM Radio and WYPR, Miami Herald, SxSW, Washington Business Journal, National Summit on Building 21st Century Urban Innovation Ecosystems at Rutgers University, Google Tech Inclusion Summit in Washington DC, and Black Enterprise. She was voted one of the Top 10 Most Powerful Women in DC Tech Startup Community in 2012.
Christine is a Member of the Technology Advisory Group for Miami Downtown Development Authority, and the Technology Advisory Committee for Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, as well as Board of Advisor for Manifezt Foundation. Past appointments include: Board Member, The Association for Women in Communications South Florida Chapter; National Advisory Board, Digital Harbor Foundation; Ambassador, Emerging Technology Center (ETC) Incubator; Advisory Board, The America21 Project; and National Advisory Council Member, National Association for Blacks in Bio (NABB).
She holds a B.A. from Notre Dame of Maryland University, a private, woman’s university in Baltimore, MD.
In addition to being passionate about her work in the entrepreneurial community, she is a published poet, champion of the healing arts, and former member of an Afro-Cuban folklore dance company.
Vice President, International Economic Development
Stanley Rigaud is responsible for attracting job-generating business investments to the Miami community and maintaining an active working knowledge of the economic trends of Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida. He leads Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s efforts in helping to create a business climate that encourages the promotion and growth of the Trade & Logistics industry in Miami-Dade County. Stanley works closely with the volunteer-led Trade & Logistics Committee to create opportunities for industry growth through its three subcommittees focused on Education, Innovation and Marketing. Committee meetings typically include 50+ industry professionals from a cross-section of Miami-Dade’s thriving and dynamic trade and logistics industry.
Prior to his current role, Stanley spent 25 years at FedEx leading multi-functional teams that provided integrated logistics solutions for FedEx customers with high-value products and complex supply chain requirements in both air and ground operations.
Stanley also previously served as Director of Development for Rebâti Santé Mentale, an international non-profit organization dedicated to bolstering the continuity of care to underserved populations with different levels of mental health needs in Haiti and the United States.
Stanley is currently a Board Member for Rebâti Santé Mentale dedicated to strengthening capacity and awareness of mental health issues for underserved communities. Stanley also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Little Haiti EcoDistrict committed to urban development and rooted in Equity, Resilience, and Climate Protection for sustainable neighborhood development. Stanley is also a Year Up South Florida mentor to disconnected young adults seeking to navigate new experiences and shape their careers.
Awards & Recognitions
Stanley received the prestigious “Outstanding Service Award” during his tenure at FedEx for his extraordinary measures to assist an American couple traveling to China to adopt a little girl after their passports and visas were destroyed.
Rigaud holds a Master’s degree in Global Governance and a double-major Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Florida International University (FIU).
Director, International Economic Development
Madeline Mesa, International Economic Development Director for Miami-Dade Beacon Council serving in this role since October 2019. Responsible for promoting Miami as a global business destination focused on increasing quality jobs and investments based on business growth, retention, and expansion efforts. As part of my role, I also lead the Miami-Dade Beacon Council Aviation Committee promoting Miami Dade County as a global hub for the industry and supporting educational programs.
In my five years working for The Miami-Dade Beacon Council before taking over the Director position, I hold an Executive Assistant position for the President & CEO. In that role, I built relationships with stakeholders, board members, and external partners to have better opportunities for partnership and connections to form. I demonstrated leadership to maintain credibility, trust, and support with senior management staff.
And for the first three years at Beacon Council, I was the Economic Development Projects Coordinator.
I am self-motivated, always trying to improve communication and relationships to make things happen for the company.