Miami's Most Influential Couples
BY LINDA LEE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PRESSCOTT MCDONALD
Michael and Nicole Simkins
Michael Simkins and Nicole Kaufman Simkins are that rarity in Miami—a second-generation power couple, each hailing from an influential local business family. Michael heads up Lion Associates, a Miami-based conglomerate with annual revenues in excess of $100 million, which includes Simkins Industries, a manufacturer of folding cartons; Westfield Financial real estate, with holdings in eight states and Canada; and Lion Financial. Nicole’s family owns Charles Kaufman Enterprises, an 80-year-old diamond concern located in the Dupont Building downtown, the local go-to society jeweler for decades. Nicole and her mother, Barbara, handle design duties for the company, helmed by her father, Donald, and cultivate their considerable celebrity clientele. When Nicole sold Jennifer Lopez her blue diamond, she played a role in launching the international interest in colored diamonds. Then there’s the couple’s connection to Miami art royalty: Michael’s sister Michelle is married to famed collector Jason Rubell.
While building on their parents’ success, they’re continuing the Simkins and Kaufman families’ charitable interests, notably the Leon J. Simkins Charitable Foundation, as well as diabetes research, Jackson Memorial Hospital,Women of Tomorrow, and the Love and Hope Ball (Nicole recently helped found the Young Society of Love and Hope). They're big-time players on the local social and arts scenes, too-Nicole and Michael were founding members of Soho Beach House and are members of the junior host committee for Art Basel Miami Beach.
Nicole says their philanthropic involvement means a chronically booked calendar. “I have either a [social or charity-related] lunch and dinner every day. As for Art Basel—I think we took one night off!” Luckily, her husband, whom she met in Tel Aviv during a semester abroad, enjoys the whirl. “Michael never gets tired,” she says. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny.” He agrees: “I’m down for anything.” In line with many other Miami socialites, the Simkinses, with their young son and daughter, Eli and Jaden, take their summer vacation in Aspen. Sundays they spend on their boat with the kids, or at Soho Beach House.
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