Q: In your view, what are the pros and cons of having a destination gambling resort downtown on the site now occupied by The Miami Herald?
The Miami DDA Board has not taken a position on this issue, so I cannot speak to it directly. But regardless of one’s opinion, it’s important to recognize the value in having so much interest from major corporations from across the globe. The city and its stakeholders will have meaningful conversations and debates on the topic of gambling in the year ahead, which is only made possible because major international investors are setting their sights on Miami.
Q: We know everyone hates to play favorites, but tell us three of your favorite downtown restaurants that might not be household names?
Hard to pick, considering more new restaurants are opening in downtown than anywhere else in the city! Ceviche 105 — the best ceviche in Miami. Kork has a wine list that is extensive and a basement perfect for private parties. City Hall is the place to see and be seen. I love Tre, even though I must disclose that one of my bosses owns it, it feels like “Cheers” when you eat there. Tuyo at the Miami Dade College Culinary Institute has great food and views. And I love the new Toro Toro by celeb chef Richard Sandoval at the InterContinental Miami hotel. On Brickell, the new PM steak and seafood restaurant is fantastic, and I can’t wait for China Grille and Meat Market to open. OK, that’s more than three, but there are so many dining experiences in downtown Miami, it’s hard to pick favorites. We produce a dining guide that’s available in print or online (www.miamidda .com).
Q: Your job involves a lot of negotiating between developers, landowners, city officials. What’s your No. 1 tip on negotiating successfully?
Patience and well-timed impatience. I also try to see the problem from the perspective of the different parties and find common elements.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?
Treat people how you want to be treated.
Q: What course do you wish you had taken — in school or afterward — that would help you today?
Change management — how do you stay on top of a fast-paced world when I was raised in a pre-digital age.
Q: What one question haven’t we asked that you think we should have asked?
How does a Polish, Catholic girl from South Bend adapt to Miami? I am 3rd and 4th generation from the immigrant experience and while I didn’t experience communism first hand, I visited Poland during communism and was grateful my ancestors sought new opportunities in America. I cannot fathom the disruption of being forced from your homeland by either a brutal ruler or extreme poverty. I think empathy is one characteristic Miami could use more of.
Q: What is one thing your co-workers might not know about you that would surprise them?
Well, they already know I make my own sausage and consider it highly preferable to watching legislation being made. I played cello next to Jonathan (Jay) Pollard, convicted spy for Israel, in my high school orchestra.