Where do you live?
I live in the Gables, on Biltmore Way. I move a lot. I’ve lived back and forth between the Gables and the Grove most of my adult life. I tend to buy houses and fix them up and sell them.
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Columbus, Georgia. When I was five, we moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. I went to high school here, so I feel like I’m from Miami.
Would you tell us a little bit about your family?
I’m single and I have three grown children. I have a son who’s a defense attorney and also in the Navy. My middle daughter, decided to move back from Portland, Oregon and is a yoga instructor. My youngest daughter is a teacher at Shenandoah Middle School, and got married two years ago and has a 10 month old baby boy!
What do you do during the week?
In 2015, I retired from fundraising. Previously, I was the VP of Advancement at FIU. I left there and opened a company teaching business etiquette and protocol. I sold that business and went to work for one of my clients, The National Young Arts Foundation. I was their Vice President of Development for five years. And then, I retired from all that, got a real estate license, sold my house and bought another house to redo.
Was fundraising a hard job?
I’m a real believer in asking people for money. I don’t take it personally, it’s a process. You look for what’s going to give people a joy to donate. You want them to share the passion. My dad was famous for raising money in our community. My mother said, ‘I can’t go anywhere with you two, because no one will want to talk to us. They’re afraid one of you is going to ask them for money.’ After Hurricane Andrew, President Bush, asked my dad to start ‘We Will Rebuild.’
I learned from my mom and dad to always believe in and commit to serve the community in the best way I can. And, I hope that I’ve passed that lesson to my own children.
What do you enjoy about the process of fixing and selling houses?
The Design! I think I am going to go back to school to study interior design or some form of design. I love architecture and design.
Was your love of design the reason you got involved with the National Young Arts Foundation?
I loved it there and love the arts, so it was a good fit for me. They discover the next generation of young artists from all over the country – from Kerry Washington to Josh Groban, to many people you see on Broadway or in the movies. They are not just performance arts; they are visual arts, architecture, writing and even have a singer/songwriter category. Young adults can apply at the age of 16. And, the foundation is headquartered in Miami.
What type of business etiquette did you teach?
The most popular thing we taught was business dining, which can often be a challenge for people. People can get intimidated regarding which fork to use or how to handle different dining situations. It’s easy to learn the basics and then you can focus on business. We taught corporate clients, schools and universities.
We also taught at the juvenile detention center. We focused on lessons young repeat offenders needed to learn to get out of the situation they were in. We’d focus on how to write a resume, how to prepare for an interview, how to look someone in the eye and shake their hand.
How often do you come to the market?
I come to the Gables market as often as I can.
What’s your ritual like?
I come to you first and get my first smoothie, before I come back and get my second. And then, walk around. There are a lot of new people at the market this year.
What do you get at our stand?
Smoothies! And, I have gotten your Avocados and Guacamole and your Turmeric tonics. This week I got your new Fruit roll-ups, which I love! They are a great dessert. I still have one little piece left. It tasted like pressed berries. Is that what it is?
(A+W) Actually, there are no berries. It is made with the Hibiscus flower (like our Flower Power Smoothie) and Bananas.
What do you think the market is missing?
I agree with your readers that want vendors to list where their fruit is from. It bothered me when I read, in your newsletter, that many are not local. I assumed they were.
Where do you like to go out to eat and what do you order?
Salumeria on Miracle Mile. Try the Pecorino Tartufo. They serve it with a dark honey. They offer three kinds of prosciutto and a great burrata with fried green tomatoes. My favorite entree is the Branzino – they just grill it. I also like Frenchies Diner on Galiano.
Where would you go for a special occasion?
Il Gabbiano in Downtown.
Do you like to cook at home?
Yes. My go to meal is tenderloin, my special rice and a Caesar Salad made from scratch. That’s my easy company meal. But I like to try different things. I like to buy cookbooks and read them. One year, I even went to Cordon Bleu in Paris – for a vacation! My mother was horrified and couldn’t imagine anything worse than cooking on vacation. Oh my God, I loved it!
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
It’s called a Treasury of Great Recipes and it was written by Mary and Vincent Price. It had every famous restaurant in the world, at the time (the 60’s) and the recipe for their most famous dish. They include the story behind the recipes and the restaurant. I was always the one in the family that would select the restaurants when we traveled.
What is a worthy splurge to you?
Going out to eat.
What’s a fun rainy day activity?
Reading. We are all voracious readers. We grew up in the newspaper world so we are also news junkies!
What community groups do you participate in that you would like to share?
I’m on the board of the Chapman Partnership, which my mom and dad started in 1992. It’s for the homeless and they have a nationally recognized program that offers a place for people to stay and provides them services needed. I’m chairing the employment task force to help people find a permanent job, not just a temporary job. We also try to find them housing so they have an opportunity to successfully transition out.
I was on the board of the Coral Gables Foundation and I totally support everything they do. I think they do a lot for the City of Coral Gables and they have very creative ideas.
I also support Dade County Public Schools, because I’m a graduate of Miami Edison. And, I’ve just been asked to be on the board of Florida House. Back in the 70’s, the State of Florida bought a house in Washington DC. It’s a place for people to visit and have a glass of orange juice or iced tea. It’s like an embassy for Florida.
Is there a question you would like to ask us?
What do you see is the difference between Pinecrest and Coral Gables market?
(A+W) For us, at the Gables market, we are less busy and have more time to talk. It has been a great place for us to meet new people.
Is there a question or something you would like us to pose to our community?
I think a lot of interesting initiatives are being done to bring us together. Your newsletters are one of them. Also, the community dinners that take place. I’d like to know how we could improve on that.