Chief Marketing Officer
As Chief Marketing Officer for the Miami-Dade Beacon Council (MDBC), Maria is responsible for shaping all organizational communications and marketing efforts, successfully raising Miami’s profile as a world-class business destination. As the official economic development organization for Miami-Dade County, MDBC is committed to attracting and retaining companies that create high-value jobs and invest in our community, driving long-term economic prosperity and inclusive growth for Miami’s residents and businesses. Focusing primarily on C-Suite-level decisionmakers, Maria leads strategic planning and creative for the EDO’s global marketing and communications efforts, overseeing creative development and production, audience segmentation, sponsorships/partnerships, events, corporate communications, and both paid and earned media across all platforms and audiences (local, national and international).
Her road to CMO at The Beacon Council – where she has been successfully engaging top-tier companies choosing to relocate or expand in Miami since 2018 – is ripe with interesting detours that inform her strategic perspective. Focusing on the U.S.’s changing demographic landscape and the evolution of multicultural identities during her studies at Yale University, Maria has spent more than 20 years building insights around multicultural communities, consumer-centered creative, and successful engagement strategies across platforms.
Maria began her career as a writer and editor, working with leading publications including Latina Magazine, Miami Herald, Teen People, The New Times, and Generation ñ (a Miami-based magazine where, as Managing Editor, she and the magazine’s co-founders/editors expanded their local distribution to a national audience within 6 months of launching). She later successfully developed and pitched a television version of Generation ñ to Barry Diller and USA Networks, going on to write and Executive Produce more than 15 episodes in 18 months. Tapping into her understanding of the Miami market, entertainment and diverse audiences, Maria was tapped to launch Ticketmaster-owned CitySearch.com, LiveNation.com, MSN.com, and Match.com in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale DMA, producing lifestyle content and features that were syndicated in priority markets including New York, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
As the marketing landscape evolved, Maria shifted her focus back to strategic marketing and planning, developing and managing marketing and advertising campaigns for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) leaders including Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson, R.C. Bigelow, The J.M. Smucker Company, Nestlé Waters NA, and Nestlé USA. As Group Director at WPP’s Zubi Advertising, Maria led the agency’s CPG, Retail and QSR businesses, successfully winning RFPs with Walgreens, Dunkin’ Donuts, SunnyD and Heineken/Cerveceria Tropical.
When presented with the opportunity to market Miami’s business advantages and help drive long-term economic prosperity and inclusive growth for her hometown, Maria embraced it. Shifting to the non-profit world, she maximizes her resources and doubles-down on partnerships in order to effectively reach existing small businesses with grassroots efforts while engaging those companies that will bring the jobs and investment Miami needs to continue to thrive. Awareness of Miami’s business advantages has reached an all-time high in 2021, with efforts translating into national rankings and high-profile corporate moves.
A graduate of Yale University, Maria is involved with the Yale Club of South Florida, the Yale Alumni Schools Committee, and United Way of Miami-Dade. She is also Chair of the Arts & Business Council of Miami-Dade’s Board of Directors, and a member of the Cannes Lions/Association of National Advertisers’ Global CMO Growth Council.