Tell us a bit about yourself and your current role.
I’m the founder, Creative Chairman and CEO of Alma, one of the largest Multicultural advertising agencies in the U.S., with clients like McDonald’s, Sprint, The Clorox Company, MillerCoors, State Farm Insurance and Tobacco Free Florida, among others. I consider myself an eternal optimist, a passionate ad man, a copywriter by conviction, and a brand builder by definition. I take great pride in our strong culture of curiosity, collaboration and accountability, and above all seeing our people blossom and flourish in their careers and achieve their dreams.
How would you describe the culture of Miami?
I was born and raised in Mexico City and both of my parents were from Romania, so I come from a very multicultural background to begin with. I’ve lived in Miami since 1993 and I’ve seen the amazing transformation the city has gone through. Miami has a very diverse and inclusive demographic, and a vibrant and ever-changing personality. From being a sleepy small city that welcomed the Cuban exile in the 60’s and was the refugee for seniors that came down from the northeast escaping the cold to retire in warm weather, today Miami is the hub for the arts, technology and new age startups and established companies, the home of strong content and entertainment companies, the setting for sophisticated hospitality venues and the gateway to Latin America and Europe.
In what ways does the city of Miami inspire you?
Miami is energetic and transformative. It has so much range and in more ways than one contains in itself many Miami’s. It can be mainstream America, as much as it can be provincial Latin American, it can be Caribbean creole and rustic; it can be laid back and easy going, or fast paced, exotic and exuberant. The good thing about Miami is that is very close to the U.S. ; )
Miami is a hotspot for so many young talents and industry leaders. What has contributed to that?
Interesting and cool people want to live and work in interesting and cool places. Miami has gone through a great transformation and it has a lot to offer, including a great geographical location that is relatively close to any destination in Latin America or Europe. Art Basel (which by the way is now larger than the original) has also been a trigger. Wynwood and the Design District have created an additional cultural layer. All in all, Miami has the cool factor and also the human touch. Plus it’s very easy on the eye! People are nice, they are curious, thirsty for new experiences and to top it off open-minded! It’s the perfect and most balanced “cocktail”… like a refreshing and energetic “Mojito”!
What would you say is the most unique aspect Miami offers agencies?
For an agency like ours, the sense of diversity and inclusion are like a magnet for curious, talented and driven young people. Miami has a good balance between work and play. It has the right stimuli for creative spirits. In addition to Art Basel there’s the Miami International Film Festival, there’s Ultra Music Festival, you have great beaches, a wide range of bars and restaurants, emerging art in Wynwood and the Design District, Little Haiti, the Keys, the ocean around the corner, great outdoors and recreational sports, high and low end clubs, nightlife, a myriad of destinations and a constant influx of new influences. What else can we ask for? We are incredibly fortunate to live here!
What is your favorite hidden-gem in Miami?
I love Sapore di Mare, a small rustic Italian restaurant in the Grove, not too far from our office, where this year I’ve been taking every month the people of our agency that celebrate their birthday for lunch. They have an very unique Branzino carpaccio and they also make an amazing “Cacio e Pepe” pasta dish with lottsa cheese and real truffle! The owners and the waiters make you feel like family!
If you could change something about Miami, what would it be?
I would definitely get rid of the yearly threat of the storms and hurricanes! And if it was up to me I would revamp the local team sports. For some reason they haven’t given us a sense of pride in a very long time! I sincerely hope that the soccer team that Beckham, the Mas Canosa’s and Marcelo Claure are fighting so hard to bring to the city becomes that iconic team that generates a real fan movement and adds to the sense of anticipation and excitement that Miami has to offer!