The SMDayMia 2014 Team

Social Media Day Miami is organised by a loosely formed and informal collective of leading social media professionals in South Florida collaborating on various projects, events and associations. The group includes people from a diverse range of industries and specialities working together to engage South Florida’s entrepreneurial community.

Our 2014 Social Media Day Miami Team

Grant Stern

Social Photographer, Radio Personality and Mortgage Brokerage owner

Grant Stern is the founder of Morningside Mortgage Corporation in Bay Harbor Islands and its Condo Terminators consultancy firm. He also hosts The Only in Miami show, a weekly radio program/podcast on 880am The Biz, Miami's Bloomberg network station.

As a real estate professional, Mr. Stern is an expert witness in his field and has been featured as a source in reality news stories by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, CNBC, ABC News and various other local and national publications and television networks.

Grant has appeared in both a one hour reality TV show by HGTV and on the NBA TV network for his loyal patronage of the Miami Heat. He's is also a published author and photographer whose work has been featured in the Miami Herald, Miami New Times and Huffington Post.

As a community activist, Grant helped create Grand Central Park, a 5 acre temporary park on the former Miami Arena site half a mile south of NWSA and is currently fighting Wal-mart's proposed expansion into Midtown Miami. He's on the organizing committee of Social Media Day Miami and a guest speaker in panel discussions of the South Florida Social Media Club.

James Echols

Promoter of arts, entrepreneur, events producer and business coach

James Echols has been working as an entrepreneur, event producer and business coach for over 25 years.

Before moving to Miami, he has been a retail store owner, Vice-President of Operations for a startup Renaissance Festival, a consultant, a teacher and ran a pop culture convention. Since moving to Miami over eleven years ago, he has become very involved in the community.

In July of 2008, he started the very popular community-resource website, Soul Of Miami (FB, Twitter), with his partner Annette Peikert. In January of 2009, James co-founded Life Is Art, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to creating positive change in the community with the arts and culture through events and education.

Life Is Art has enjoyed considerable success, producing over 70 shows, seminars, and networkers over the past five years.

Being so in touch with the community, James noticed a need for greater support for other philanthropic organizations operating in south Florida and so co-founded PhilanthroFest in April of 2012 as an annual festival promoting philanthropy and community engagement.

Lee Hodson

Lee Hodson the tech blogger at JournalXtra and owner of VR51. Lee can usually be found building websites, troubleshooting web servers and speaking with clients.

Sandi Abbott

Caffeinated Email and Social Media Marketer

Sandi Abbott is a professional marketer with more than twenty years experience in advertising and marketing. She’s worked for Fortune 500 companies, developing advertising and marketing strategies for US, Latin American and Caribbean markets. Now, as principal of Xpresso Marketing, she helps South Florida businesses increase sales and referrals through interactive email and social media marketing campaigns.

Brenda Leguisamo

Miami Realtor® and Social Media Speaker, Keller Williams Elite Properties

Brenda Leguisamo is a passionate Miami Realtor® and Social Media author, speaker and trainer for oceanfront real estate customer experience and business growth in Miami, Florida.

She loves life and helps people to connect in communities for both personal and professional success. She believes there are opportunities to discover ways to make things happen when people collaborate with each other.

Brenda has over 20 years extensive and diverse sophisticated experience producing seven figure revenue business solutions for Fortune 50 companies in financial services industry to local and international small to medium sized enterprises in diverse industries.

She is member of Miami Association of Realtors® and member of National Association of Realtors®. Brenda serves as board member of Social Media Club South Florida which educates and connects over 3,000 international community members to share best practices and lessons learned. She also serves as co-organizer of annual Social media Day Miami connecting over 900 community participants at educational seminars.

Brenda holds Master Degree in Business Administration from Florida International University and Bachelor Degree in International Business from Hofstra University.

Natascha Otero-Santiago

Principal / NOS-Communications

Natascha Otero-Santiago is a Hispanic Public Relations and Social Media consultant with more than twenty years of experience.  She incorporates social and traditional media to build and engage communities organically for her clients. She holds M.A. and B.A. degrees from Tufts University. For the past five years, she has concentrated her efforts in helping start-up small businesses with their public relations, branding recognition, and social media engagement. A seasoned special events coordinator, Ms. Otero-Santiago has created marketing plans as well as community events for her clients and volunteer organizations.

Natascha's newest project is as co-founder of Parranda.org – a unique social network which aims to unite the Puerto Rican population (both in diaspora and in the island) in productive and meaningful digital conversation. She is Co-Director of the South Florida LATISM chapter as well as member of the Board of the Social Media Club South Florida. She is Community Leader for the upcoming Social Media Week Miami.

Natascha was featured as one of the top Leaders of Social Media and Inspirational Leadership in the Huffington Post and also in Forbes as a "A Puerto Rican Citizen Goes To Washington".

Christine de la Huerta

Vice president, rbb Public Relations

Christine de la Huerta is the team leader of Digital Park, the digital and social media division of rbb Public Relations, a national marketing public relations firm headquartered in Miami, Florida. She is the strategic leader on all of rbb’s social and digital media campaigns – both B2C and B2B.

Christine ensures rbb’s award-winning interactive campaigns are designed and executed with the same strategic, targeted approach the firm brings to traditional public relations programs. Her goal is crafting creative online marketing campaigns with measurable results. In 2012, rbb was honored with a PR News Digital PR Award for its social media campaign for Vlasic.

Her community involvement includes serving on the board of Social Media Club South Florida and the Professional Advisory Committee for Miami International University of Art & Design, advertising department.

Annush MacLeod

Blogger and all-around geek

Ana MacLeod is a Miami resident from New Jersey with experience in the areas of education, telecommunications, customer experience and public relations. She holds a BS in Social Psychology and a BA in Government from the University of Maryland, a degree in Public Relations from The New School, and an MBA from Florida International University.

For the past 17 years she has maintained her blog, Annush on the Causeway, and used it as a tool to discuss lifestyle topics and current events. Her posts have also been published on the Miami Herald and the Huffington Post.

Annush loves social media, the arts, and her community (not necessarily in that order) and is currently involved with multiple organizations (philanthropic and otherwise) that share her love for these.

Karl Nybergh

Meeting and Conference Consultant

Karl Nybergh hails from Staten Island, New York, has been involved in the Meeting & Events industry for over 30 years. With a strong commitment to continuing education in support of his industry, Karl frequently lectures and is an often-requested guest speaker both locally and nationally. Karl has long-term relationships with Florida International College and Miami-Dade Community College.

In addition to lecturing, Karl has sponsored many interns from FIU and Miami-Dade because he believes in giving back to his industry. Karl's further involvement in education is with Florida Atlantic University, Adult Education for Higher Learning - Meeting Management program. In the last couple of years, Karl is a repeat invitee to present seminars at the University of Georgia, in Atlanta.

In his spare time, Karl dabbles with Social Media, Coaching Youth Programs, Sport Fishing and advocating PCa Awareness.

Heather Lopez

The Social Commerce Mom & Bloggin’ Mamas Founder

Heather Lopez serves as the Co-Chair of Sponsorship for Social Media Day Miami. Going by the moniker, The Social Commerce Mom, Heather specializes in working with brands to reach their consumers via social media and blogging.

Her company Bloggin’ Mamas evolved from one of several free online communities she has built to support others in business. Bloggin’ Mamas now has over 4000 mom bloggers in local chapters throughout the country. Locally, she also heads SOFLA Moms Making Sales, Miami Foodies & Fashionistas, The Miami Music Scene, and Miami Startups.

With over 30,000 international followers, Heather was featured in Maria Bailey’s Power Moms book and has appeared on MSNBC, NBC, NY1, IFV News, and in PR Week, The Sun Sentinel, The NY Daily News, The Miami Herald, and South Florida Parenting Magazine. Startup Nation named her a Leading Mom in Business in 2011 & 2012 and The Work at Home Woman named her one of the top 20 most responsive women on Twitter. Heather also serves on the board of AYUDA, a local nonprofit dedicated to assisting families in becoming financially independent.

Debbie Hopkins

Enterprise Software Sales, Digital Marketing Consultant, Social Selling Advocate, and Food Blogger

Deb caught the digital marketing bug over a decade ago while working in publishing and advertising in NYC and is passionate about helping B2B and B2C companies and individuals realize their true voice and potential online. She works in technology selling enterprise software, and is a strong advocate for social selling, and bringing it into the corporate sales culture mainstream. She also has an affinity for food, tech, video games, street art, comedy, and wine.

Cynthia K Seymour

Digital Communications Strategist & Co-Host of Virtual Newsmakers Show, SeymourResults.com

Cynthia K. Seymour: In 2008, Cynthia founded a social media consulting and marketing agency, SeymourResults.com. After 12 years of sales and marketing, she jumped into the social media scene while developing teams during political campaign management and local lobbying. Today, she helps small businesses and busy professionals get up to speed with the latest trends in online marketing and social media skills. Her global team includes affiliations with graphic designers, creative web designers, and WordPress developers. She helps businesses develop the perfect social media strategy, create an online presence, attract new clients, and keep tabs on their existing business. In addition to coaching and strategy, she has taught a graduate level course with Academy of Art University in the New Media and Web Design Department. Currently, Cynthia is partnering with The Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University to develop a series of Digital Communications and Social Media workshops and courses geared specifically toward the Hospitality industry & professional education. To help keep people up to speed with today’s rapidly changing technology trends, Cynthia produces and co-hosts with Debbie Elicksen, a weekly webcast, The Virtual Newsmakers Show broadcast on Fridays at Noon LIVE on G+ Hangouts on Air.
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