What part of town do you live in?
Coral Gables

How long have you lived in the Gables?
I’m almost 53, so about that long. I was born and raised in Miami. I’ve always lived within three miles of where I currently live.

What changes have you seen? Any memories from growing up in the Gables that stand out?
Obviously more development, but luckily I live in Coral Gables and they’re so good with their regulations. Every time there was a building that went up, they planted some trees alongside it – so it hurts less. One place that I really miss is Andalusia Bakery on Andalusia. I went there every single day in high school. I lived on Alhambra circle, so I would go there to get donuts. Miami’s Best Pizza is back, which makes me happy, happy, happy. I’ve been going there since high school.

What keeps you busy during the week?
I am currently transitioning into my new company. I was a special ed teacher in the public school system, and then got married and had kids. After my divorce 10 years ago, I went back to work and went into the nonprofit space. I became a development director for educational nonprofits, still in the education space, but doing so in a different capacity. Right now, I am transitioning out of my job for the SEED School of Miami in Opa Locka, which is Florida’s only public boarding school. Part of my job is to help put them on the map and to help them raise money for the dormitories that we’re building. We are a college prep, 6th – 12th grade, public boarding school. Kids come to us on Sunday evenings and live with us and learn with us five days a week and they go home on Friday afternoons with their families.

Would you share with us a little bit about the SEED School?
We have an amazing school culture and a dedicated staff of people that help children who need a little bit more than what the 7-hour school day offers. We can support them in a way that helps them emotionally and educationally get them ready for college. It’s the third of it’s kind in the country. The student teacher ratio is smaller. The middle school is single gender, and high school it’s coed classrooms. I think the magic really happens from 3pm to bedtime because of the after school curricular activities. The gift of extra time allows us to pour more into them and the students are consistently getting the same message, by the same adults, with the same expectations for behavior.

You’re very passionate about it. What do you enjoy the most?
You know, I think it’s the culture of the school. If we all lived in an environment like this, we would all be better people.

You mentioned that you are going into something new?
I love connecting people with passion. With fundraising, it’s helping people find a good match to give. Now, I’m connecting people with each other. I am a certified coach and I’ve sort of been matchmaking on the side my whole life because I’m a natural connector. I’m good at fundraising because I help connect good causes with great people. I started a company this spring, called Something in Common, as a service for singles so they can meet the old fashioned way. I organize a series of events where people come together, just to meet. We did a beach cleanup, we have done sushi making, salsa dancing classes, we’ve gone to cigar bars and learned about cigars.

What has surprised you about setting people up?
Tons of women are showing up for events because the women think, ‘oh my gosh, what a great idea.’ Less men are showing up. I’m not sure why. I was worried that the women were going to be mad, but they’re delighted. They’re like, ‘this is so much fun. Thank you so much. It was fun to go out.’ They’re making friends. After one of my events in Coral Gables all these women who had just met, went off to dinner together. And I was like, wow, that’s so cool. I didn’t realize that, ‘Something in Common’ didn’t necessarily have to be romantic.

Do you have a target audience?
I started off doing it for singles in their 40s, 50s and 60s, because that’s where I am. But, I’ve decided going forward that I’m going to eliminate those restrictions and let it even be more organic. Who am I to say who should be together?

Have you ever dated anyone that you met through your company?
Funny you ask. Yes, I have a boyfriend. He is great, and I did meet him through my business.

How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
In the winter, I can walk to the Gables market, but the rest of the year I go (to Pinecrest) at least every other Sunday.

And what’s your ritual like when you come?
I start at the very front. I stop at your booth and get a smoothie. I just love to look at all of the things that are growing. I stop at the Indian place and buy some samosas and yummy sauces.There’s another lady with more hummus in the middle. I’ll buy all my vegetables and sometimes I’ll buy plants. Guacamole of course, and orange juice sometimes. Then I go home, and I’m very happy.

What are your favorites from LNB?
I love my turmeric. The tonic you make is the bomb and that’s why, when that runs out, that it’s a good reason to go back to the market. I exercise a lot and it’s good for inflammation and just makes me feel good. I just feel like I’m doing something good for myself too. I feel like I’m being proactive with my health. And I also get your TropiKale smoothie.

What would make the market better?
Probably more space. It gets so crowded sometimes. I love how open it is in the Gables where you can really have conversations in the middle.

What restaurants do you like to go to?
We’re so spoiled in Coral Gables and South Miami. The Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove just opened up a new restaurant called Isabelle’s – It’s fantastic. Doc B’s is a new restaurant, sort of like Hillstone’s, that is good and close by. They have an angry meatball that is delicious. And, Bombay Darbar or Strada in the Grove.

What about for a special occasion?
I’ve recently started going back to Christy’s steakhouse, which is ironic because of course that’s where I grew up going for special occasions. It’s so special to walk in there and it’s so familiar. The service is great. The food is great.

What do you think is the Gables best kept secret?
The Freebie is great, but it’s not a secret. It’s a little golf cart, and there’s an app on my phone to call it from my house. I can go and get my haircut and go to restaurants. It’s free transportation provided by the city. They have it in the Grove, on Brickell, and in South Beach. I think they started it because there was so much construction on Miracle Mile and store owners were like, ‘this is terrible, people can’t park.’

What is a worthy splurge for you?
A massage.

What’s a good rainy day activity?
Reading a book or going to a movie.

Where’s the most romantic spot in Miami?
Wherever my boyfriend is.

What community groups, philanthropic groups or community events are coming up that are important to you, that you might like to share?
Of course, I want to shout out Breakthrough Miami. The Scholar Celebration is always one of my favorites. It’s a non-sit-down cocktail dinner party that is interactive and brings together five of Miami’s best independent schools and their supporters for a common cause.

The Ayiti Trust is a new player in town and I love supporting them.

And, Give Miami Day is coming up and I think it is really so amazing that our community can, on one day, donate and support so many great causes. Collectively it makes our community feel connected because we give from our hearts and from our wallets and we raise millions of dollars and that’s an awesome thing. And the Seed School of Miami is on that list!

Would you like to share a pitch about your new company?
Sure, Thank you. September 17th at 5:30, we are having a Something in Common event at Zest Miami, a new downtown restaurant. It’s $15 and we’re going to do a little bit of speed dating and it’s Miami Spice right now, so people can stay for dinner after that.

Do you have any words of advice or a challenge for the community?
I challenge everybody to go out one day and leave your cell phones in your pocket and look up and smile and talk to people. I think that would just be a better day for everybody.

Do you have any last words or something I have not asked?
I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I love what you’re doing. I love reading your newsletter and really learning about cool people. You did one where I actually called the person and followed up with them for some business connection. I went to a meeting because of your newsletter! I love that you care about the community enough to take your time to talk to me, to talk to all these people and to publish a newsletter to communicate, to bring the community together. How do you scale it and how can I be helpful to help you do that? I know so many people I can connect you with.

(A+W) Thank you so much We’ve been thinking about that as well and are working on expanding our newsletter beyond the market. We registered so that we can start interviewing city wide.  (If you’re reading this far into our newsletter and this is interesting to you, please click the link and sign up – we will gauge interest by how many people sign up. And if you have ideas, reply to this email – we’d love to talk with you!) 

(GP) Brilliant name, I love it! And, I have a long list of bad ass natives that you can launch it with that will be extraordinary! And, I think you should have an Ask Galia Dating column!

(A+W) Amazing!! Thank you.