B.A. in Communication Arts
Vice President, Member Experience | AvMed
1. How did your experience at St. Thomas University shape you into the leader you are today?
It gave me confidence to believe that whatever I set my mind to do, I can achieve. Having that mindset, combined with discipline, hard work, and time management skills, any challenge can be broken down into smaller actionable steps.
2. What is your most memorable experience from when you were a student at STU?
I had many; from the euphoria and excitement shared with the law students when the law school received its accreditation, to the various cultural events featuring excellent ethnic foods and music (the Jamaican heritage events were some of my favorites.) Being a Catholic institution, I always felt surrounded by people with similar values, but also open to new and diverse cultures and beliefs. The honors seminar classes, in which I was fortunate enough to have participated, led to the most exciting, thought-provoking and interesting discussions.
3. Our motto is “Leaders for Life,” how do you think our university molds students into Leaders for Life?
It establishes a sense of community and helps develop an appreciation for the fellowship of others. I believe you need this in developing a “Leader for Life.”
4. What advice would you give STU students or young alumni interested in pursuing a career in marketing, communications, and public relations?
Expose yourself to what interests you about the field you are pursuing, get to know the companies you aspire to work for, follow their clients, and familiarize yourself with their bodies of work. Use your time at St. Thomas to refine the skills those employers are looking for, and don’t ever think it is too early to start making connections with the folks that work there. Seek them out. Impress them with your knowledge and passion for what they do. When you are ready to graduate, those initial contacts and relationships will serve you well, and make you stand out as a job candidate.
5. How did you first start down your career path?
Soon after I started at St. Thomas, I realized that what I had planned as a major was not really what I wanted to do. Luckily, I had a great guidance counselor in the Humanities Department, Dr. James Conley, who suggested focusing on the core requirements to give myself time to figure out my passion. Once I had done that, I had ruled out some fields that did not interest me, but was no closer to figuring out what did. I went back to Dr. Conley and, after discussing my interests in art, he suggested exploring a communications major which exposed students to various tracts across advertising, journalism, etc. The first class I took in advertising was with Mr. Stan Flax, and that is all it took to know this was my calling.
6. What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Though I have worked on advertising campaigns for fantastic global brands from Nestle to BMW, I must admit, the work I am doing at AvMed gives me the most pride. That’s not just because of the work itself, but more importantly, because of the impact we are having on the health and well-being of people in the great communities we serve.
7. What do you find most rewarding about your job at AvMed?
Being able to make a difference in the company, as well as in the community, is what I find most rewarding. During my time at AvMed, I have been involved in exciting work around developing our brand purpose as “transforming lives to create a WELLfluentTM World” (a world of people who have made it their purpose to lead a balanced life, rich in what matters most – health and happiness), leading the development of award-winning advertising campaigns, leading the launch of our redesigned corporate website, AvMed.org, and developing programs like the AvMed Mobile Pantry in conjunction with Feed South Florida to bring healthy food alternatives to areas in our community that are “food deserts,” void of healthy food options.
8. In your 28+ years working with top brands on the advertising agency side, what attracted you to a career on “the other side of the desk” in healthcare?
Working on the client/brand side allows me to make the decisions about which efforts deserve support. With ownership comes accountability, it was the right time in my career to take on this responsibility.
9. In your opinion, what are some future trends in marketing, communications, and public relations?
Shiny objects will continue to drive marketers to test new tactics – whether it’s virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, you name it. Chat bots and artificial intelligence/machine learning will be embedded in the marketing engine of everything we do. The digital space and the technology that enables it will continue to play an increasing role in marketing and communications. Programmatic buying and marketing automation are here to stay. Brands will continue to be drawn to it, given continued focus on ROI, and the need to personalize messaging and approach. Increasingly, companies will drive demand for more data and transparency to ensure working dollars are maximized. But, while the need for science in quantifying results and the tools to access consumers will continue to drive marketers to these solutions, true success will come from those brands that don’t lose sight of the need to develop “love marks” and tell compelling stories built on human insights.
10. Are you involved in any volunteer projects or hobbies outside of work? If so, what?
I try to volunteer as much as my schedule permits. I am lucky in that, through the work at AvMed, volunteering is made easy as programs such as the AvMed Mobile Pantry allow me to deliver healthy food to those in need. In the past I have also volunteered at my church, at the Broward Pantry, YMCA, and for the City of Miami.
I am a bit of a gym rat, and I consider a killer Orange Theory workout one of my energy-boosting hobbies, but I am also an avid reader. I have a passion for the outdoors – biking, walking, or hiking and, when I need to connect with the energy that drives us all, my go-to hobby is yoga.