Board of Advisors


An anthropologist. Her expertise is in the areas of globalization, the anthropology of the urban and religious life. Her research brings together key contemporary concerns of the global political economy, morality, and ethical life. Prof. Srinivas' teaching is in urban anthropology, cultural anthropology and religion, political economy, South Asia studies, food ecologies and ethnographic methods. She is the author of Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism Through the Sathya Sai Movement (Columbia University Press 2010) and the award winning Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (University of California Press 2012).

Her research has been funded by the Pew foundation, the NEH, the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University, The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, and Emerson College. Srinivas is currently finishing a bi-logy of two monographs to do with Bangalore city in India-- an anthropology of urban life, titled Wasteland: Time and Space and Neoliberal Bangalore, and another dealing with urban religion titled Forging Faith: Creativity and Wonderment in Bangalore city. Prof. Srinivas is an advisor to the World Economic Forum, Geneva, on the Global Agenda Council and editor of the Palgrave-Macmillan book series The Contemporary Anthropology of Religion.


A force in local, state and national politics for nearly three decades, Manny Diaz was first elected City of Miami Mayor in 2001, having never before held elective office. He was reelected to a second term in 2005, and was chosen to lead the United States Conference of Mayors as its president in 2008. Mayor Diaz developed a vision for Miami as an international City that embodies diversity, economic opportunity, effective customer service and a highly rated quality of life. To achieve this goal, he re-engineered Miami government from top to bottom. During his two-term tenure, Diaz was recognized for completely transforming the City of Miami, and for many nationally recognized innovative programs in the areas of

urban design, sustainability and green initiatives, education, infrastructure investment, affordable housing, law enforcement, poverty and homelessness, and arts and culture. Diaz is a member of the Board of Directors of OUTFRONT Media, Inc. (NYSE: OUT), Eastern Air Lines, Inc. and Intercredit Bank, N.A. He also serves on various commissions and cultural, educational and volunteer boards including Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee, Bloomberg Family Foundation, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research, City Year U.S.A., Miami Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, Urban Land Institute Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use, Mayors’ Institute on City Design, Perez Art Museum Miami, Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, NewDEAL, New Leaders Council, Fair Districts Florida, Florida After School Network, Sustainable Cities Institute, U.S. Green Building Council- South Florida Chapter; Florida Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and the Florida Steering Committee for The Children’s Movement of Florida. He is a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council/U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In recognition of his efforts, Diaz has received almost 100 awards and recognitions including, America’s Best Leaders by US News and World Report and The Center for Public Leadership (Kennedy School of Government); the Urban Innovator of the Year by the Manhattan Institute; University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research- Urban Leadership Award; Americans for the Arts-National Award for Local Arts Leadership; American Architectural Foundation Keystone Award; The American Institute of Architects Presidential Citation; Top 100 City Innovators Worldwide by UBM Future Cities; Hispanic Business- 50 Influentials; United States Conference of Mayors- President’s Award; Alvah H. Chapman, Jr., Award of Excellence, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; the AIA (Miami Chapter)- Governmental Leadership Award; The Congress for the New Urbanism- Groves Award; Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce Power Leader of the Year and Green Visionary Awards; the Government Award by Hispanic Magazine; the Business Leader of the Year Award by South Florida CEO Magazine; Poder Hispanic Magazine Climate Award of the Year and was named an Outstanding American by Choice by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Mayor Diaz served as a Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and is the author of Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time. Mayor Diaz is a senior partner at Lydecker Diaz in Miami, Florida.


Professor Miami Dade College. "…I call on the spirits of creativity, passion, love, engagement… I call on the presence of the east, the morning, dawn, new horizons, rising energy, gold, yellow, moving from darkness to greater light; I call on the presence of the west, the place of the setting sun, dark and deep orange, maturing strength, warmth…I call on the presence of the south, summer, Cuba, home, water, blue sky, warm air breezes, rice and beans, cornmeal and milk ("harina y leche") for lunch, sounds of children laughing, arguing, coming in and out, playing games, swimming in the ocean, ecstasy, great passion …I call on the presence of the north, white lights, white buffalo, mystical knowing, death as journey, Dad, spirits of

the ancestors, loved ones, dwelling place of transformation… I call on the presence of community itself; I ask for wisdom, voice, blessings..."


Florida International University's Vice President for Engagement. Saif is the former executive director of City Year Miami, a nonprofit organization that partners with public schools to keep students on track to graduate through a corps of highly-trained young adults who support at-risk students by serving as tutors, mentors and role models in schools. He will step into his new role at FIU on May 3 and will also serve as a senior fellow in the School of International and Public Affairs. A dynamic leader, Saif is known for his commitment to developing young people, as well as building civic institutions, international dialogue, and entrepreneurship. During Saif’s tenure at City Year, which began in 2009, the organization more than

doubled in size and scope with an expansion from 8 to 18 schools and a budgetary expansion from $2.9million to $8.1million. His professional career includes being a startup technology entrepreneur and an executive in the agricultural and engineering space. Prior to City Year, Saif served as the CEO of FCT Technologies Corp, a firm heavily engaged in international projects in renewable energy, crop science and water resource management. In 2012, he co-founded a technology entrepreneurship initiative called TekFight to empower young innovators in Miami. Saif also serves as co-founder and trustee of EmergeUSA, a national organization aimed at empowering MASA (Muslim, Arab and South Asian) communities. He is an advisory board member of the Good Government Initiative, and a board member of the Beacon Council. Among his other public service and involvement in the community, he served as a member of the Public Health Trust, the oversight body for Jackson Memorial Hospital. In the international realm, he participated in a U.S. State Department exchange to Turkey of Young American/Young Turkey leaders as part of a public diplomacy initiative. He has garnered many recognitions, including being named a "20 Under 40" Leader by The Miami Herald in 2010, a 2010 Diversity Leader by the American Jewish Committee (Miami), a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leader of the Year in 2012, and a “Rising Star” leader by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, Poder Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in Miami.” In 2014 he was the Miami Foundation’s Ruth Shack Community Leadership Award recipient. Saif earned his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. He is also a graduate of Gulliver Preparatory High School. Saif and his wife Amira, an FIU Honors College student who is studying international relations and political science, are the proud parents of two children, Rania and Nabeel.


Miami Program Director at Knight Foundation. Under his leadership, Knight launched a new initiative aimed at connecting and propelling Miami’s emerging entrepreneurs and startups as a way of building community. The effort, which was launched in 2012, has been cited by numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, BBC, USA Today, Le Monde and Washington Post. Highlights include launching Endeavor Miami, which is the first Endeavor affiliate to be launched in the US and the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. Previously, Matt was an award-winning reporter for nearly a decade. He worked at The Miami Herald for more than seven years, after starting his journalism career at the Daily

Business Review in Miami. Honors include winning the Gerald Loeb Award, the highest honor in business journalism. Matt has degrees from Tulane University and Vermont Law School. Matt currently sits on the boards of Endeavor Miami, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Florida Philanthropic Network and The LAB Miami. Matt also sits on New Leaders Council Miami advisory board, is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami and is founding member of TEDxMiami, which has presented programs to sold-out audiences each of the last four years. Matt lives in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood with his wife, Danet Linares.


J.D., is Dean of the prestigious Honors College at Miami Dade College. She earned her bachelor's in sociology and economics with a certificate in women studies from Duke University and her juris doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a Dean's Scholar. She then went on to be an assistant district attorney in New York and the manager of a program that sought to develop computer learning centers in more than 100 townships in South Africa.Most recently, Charlot was dean of student affairs at New York University School of Law, where she also served as associate director.


Vice President for Strategy and Engagement at the Miami Foundation. She is currently focused on a community public space initiative. Previously, she was the Deputy Executive Director of the Americas Business Council (abc*) Foundation where she managed the scaling of the Foundation’s grantee organizations, oversaw the Foundation's day-to-day management, and supervised its large-scale events and marketing. Prior to this role, Rebecca led corporate and event fundraising as the Senior Director of Development at the New World Symphony (NWS) during the construction and grand opening of its Frank Gehry-designed facility in Miami Beach. Rebecca has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations and

public sector entities including Gen Art, the City of Miami Beach’s Tourism and Cultural Affairs division, the City of Miami Mayor’s Office and Miami-Dade College. She also collaborated with international media company Time Out on its potential Miami expansion. Rebecca started her career in international public relations with the National Basketball Association in New York. An active member of the Miami community, Rebecca currently serves as the Vice-President of the Georgetown Alumni Club of Miami, an Advisor for start-ups and Our City Thoughts, a Board Member of the Overtown Music Project and a National Council Director of Friends of the New World Symphony. Originally from New York City, Rebecca graduated cum laude from Georgetown University and received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern).


My name is Jeff Brown and I support awesome founders and start-ups and the organizations that support them. I also launch a few myself occasionally. More of my time and attention, resources and investments being directed into companies and organizations capable of generating a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Start-ups and entrepreneurship is in my blood. I am a successful serial entrepreneur with some really nice successes and some miserable failures. I advise and mentor select start-ups on key business decisions and help guide the founders as they grow from the start-up phase and into viable, sustainable and revenue producing companies. I have the ideal "Geek to Investor

Ratio" with extensive experience coding software and developing web services and platforms. I am extremely well connected and am the founding member of Palm Beach Angels and past board member of GCVCA and Florida Angel Forum.


retired in 1999 as publisher of The Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness. He is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and “Education and Community Leadership Scholar” at the University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development. He leads The Children’s Movement of Florida, aimed at making children the state’s top priority for investment and decision-making. He is a member of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and twice chaired the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. In 2002 and 2008 he led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. He is the

“founding chair.” He is a board member of the Foundation for Child Development in New York. In 2002-3 he chaired the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Protection, and in 2011 he chaired a similar panel for the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families. In 2002, he was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all 4 year olds. He is a board member and former chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006. An endowed chair in early childhood studies is established in his name at the University of Florida College of Education. Before coming to Miami in 1989, he was publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Free Press. Previously he was editor of the Charlotte Observer, and earlier in reporting and editing positions at four newspapers. (During his tenure as Miami Herald publisher, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes.) He is a graduate of the University of Florida and named "Outstanding Journalism Graduate" and subsequently from the Advanced Management program at the Harvard Business School. In 1988, he was honored with Knight-Ridder's top award, the John S. Knight Gold Medal. His 12 honorary doctorates include one from his alma mater, the University of Florida. His national honors include the Ida B. Wells Award "for exemplary leadership in providing minorities employment opportunities” and the National Association of Minority Media Executives award for "lifetime achievement in diversity." His writing awards include the First Amendment Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Inter American Press Association Commentary Award. He chaired the national Task Force on Minorities in the Newspaper Business, was the 1991-92 president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the 1995-96 president of the Inter American Press Association. He was inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2010. He has served the Miami Art Museum, United Way and the New World School of the Arts – each of them as chair -- and is a life member of the University of Florida Foundation. He serves on the national boards of the Everglades Foundation and Americans for Immigrant Justice. He was the local convening co-chair of the 1994 Summit of the Americas. And he co-founded a non-profit vocational-technical school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He and Roberta, a master’s graduate in social work from Barry, live in Coral Gables and have 3 daughters, 2 sons and 5 grandchildren. His honors include: “Family of the Year” from Family Counseling Services and “Father of the Year” by the South Florida Father’s Day Council. He has been honored as a Miami Today Living Legend as well as with the Governor’s Shine Award for Inspirational Teachers. His 2014 awards include the Bob Graham Center for Public Service “Citizen of the Year” and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce M. Athalie Range Miami Pioneer for Progress Award. Nationally, he has been honored with the American Public Health Association Award of Excellence, the Lewis Hine Award for Children and Youth, the “Children’s Champion” award from the National Black Child Development Institute, the Fred Rogers Leadership Award from the Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Advocate Award, the CNC (Cuban American National Council) Lifetime Achievement Award, The National Center for Victims of Crime for “extraordinary leadership and service on behalf of abused children,” the National Association for Bilingual Education for “building early literacy skills for all children,” and a Spirit of Fatherhood Hall of Fame inductee by the National Partnership for Community Leadership.


Governance Specialist at The World Bank, 13 years as a practitioner and researcher in the field of ICT and participatory governance, Tiago is currently an open government specialist at the ICT4Gov program of WBI’s Open Government cluster. Prior to joining the Bank, Tiago managed projects and worked as an advisor and consultant for various organizations in the field of participation and technology, such as the European Commission, OECD, the United Nations, and the Brazilian and UK governments. He is also research coordinator of the Electronic Democracy Centre, a joint venture of the European University Institute, the University of Zurich and the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford.


The nitty gritty: I love oatmeal, peppermint tea and martini's mixed with good conversations. I feel that I can solve any problem with my iPhone, a few rubber bands and 2 safety pins. I escaped cubicle nation for good 5 years ago and never looked back. I worked for some really cool tech and marketing companies before falling on my face chasing after an ice cream truck in heels, which lead me to start an ice cream experience company. I have committed my life to helping people start businesses and embrace technology to change their lives and the world. I do all this through popsicles, speaking, writing and living my life with the biggest kool-aid smile ever!

The Impressive stuff:

  • Author of the books "How to Start a Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget" and "The C Student's Guide to Scholarships-A Creative Guide to finding scholarships when your grades suck and your parents are broke."
  • Chief Popsicle of Feverish Ice Cream & Pops, Motivational Speaker and Techie.
  • 2014 White House Champion of Change for African American Educational Excellence in STEM Diversity & Access.
  • Essence Magazine Tech Master
  • Black Enterprise Innovator of the Week
  • Stiletto Magazine 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year
  • ICABA 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Miami's Power 30 under 30
  •'s Top 10 Superstar Entrepreneurs Under 30
  • NBC's Grio 100 Top 100 African American's making History
  • Legacy Magazine's Leaders of Today and Tomorrow Top 40 under 40.
  • Empact 100 Top 100 Entrepreneurs Under 30 honored at the White House 2011.
  • Featured on the NBC Today Show
  • Featured on the Cooking Channel's Unique Sweets
  • TEDxMiami Presenter
  • TEDx Jamaica Presenter
  • SXSW Panelist
  • White House Young America Presenter

    Monica Rabassa is Vice President of Marketing, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for Univision Radio. Her responsibilities include overseeing corporate community affairs and marketing efforts for Univision Radio’s network and local radio stations across the nation. In addition Ms. Rabassa directly oversees the marketing and promotions departments of Univision Radio stations in Miami, New York and Puerto Rico. Prior to joining Univision Radio (formerly HBC), she was the Marketing Research Director for Cisneros Television Group where she developed and supervised the Group’s global research operations. She has also been a media marketing and research consultant providing services to local, national and

    international companies. Ms. Rabassa has won numerous Emmy Awards for the writing of Non-News Programs for Spanish-language networks. In 2003, she was selected as “Woman of the Year” by the Association of Women in Communications and “Radio Corporate Employee of the Year” by Univision in 2010. Ms. Rabassa was also named a “2011 Women Extraordinaire” award winner by Business Leader magazine. She is active in the community supporting the Harvard Club of Miami as Chairperson of Schools Committee, Florida International University as an executive board member of the President Council and a member of the Professional Leadership Council of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Dean’s Leadership Council of the School of Architecture and the Arts.