Business Monday

20 under 40: Francesca Menes

FRANCESCA MENES, 29: “I’m in the phase that people see leadership in me. I like to be in the background making things happen, but I’m beginning to come into my own.”
FRANCESCA MENES, 29: “I’m in the phase that people see leadership in me. I like to be in the background making things happen, but I’m beginning to come into my own.” MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Working for immigrants through government.

Age: 29

Occupation: Policy and advocacy coordinator/ Florida Wage Theft Task Force coordinator at the Florida Immigrant Coalition

Family Status: Single

Lives in: North Miami Beach

A Miami native, Francesca Menes wants to make South Florida the best community it can be. For her, that means empowering immigrants who live here by urging local, state and federal government on issues of importance to the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Her recent efforts have centered on voter engagement as she traveled from Tallahassee to Homestead, signing up voters and encouraging Hispanic and Haitian citizens to turn out and vote on issues that affect their communities. Those include immigration reform, minimum wage standards, in-state tuition for undocumented students and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. “It’s education and awareness,” she said.

Her language skills help: She speaks Creole, English and French. She has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida International University and has a certificate in national security studies.

She takes particular pride in her efforts to combat wage theft in Miami-Dade. The wage-theft task force, created in 2010, provides resources for workers who feel they are owed earnings. Thus far, $1.5 million in stolen wages have been recovered from employers by the county for residents who made claims.

With results like those, its no wonder fans have encouraged her to run for public office.

From Menes: “I’m in the phase that people see leadership in me. I like to be in the background making things happen, but I’m beginning to come into my own.”

About Menes: “Francesca Menes is a clear example of the power of youth and how when we trust them, nurture their leadership capabilities and give them the space to grow, they can make a significant impact in their communities, in our future. Francesca is smart, bold and decisive in her efforts to change policies that impact immigrants, women and workers in general. I admire her resilience and determination to transform past disappointments and trauma into teachable moments and triumphs.” — Marleine Bastien, executive director of Haitian Women of Miami

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