Meet Miami's Women of Influence


Meet Miami's Women of Influence

Paige Mastrandrea | April 29, 2021 | People Feature Interviews





The Bath Club is a very exciting rebirth for our city. Tell us about your vision for the new Bath Club in terms of design and membership?

My husband, Don, first became involved with The Bath Club as a member in the late ’90s—it wasn’t until sometime later that we found out he was actually the first Black member. Thus, after purchasing the club, our vision was simple: create an ‘exclusively inclusive’ setting that would bring together diverse members of society. In terms of design, our goal was to keep the magic of the Jazz Age alive while giving the club the face-lift that it deserved. We enlisted Alison Antrobus and Ruby Ramirez, who helped bring our ideas to life, as well as Apicii hospitality to curate luxurious membership programming and culinary offerings. Today, the club is vibrant and full of life, featuring remnants of its history all the while showcasing a glimmer of an inclusive future.

I understand you follow ‘Affirmative Development’ in your projects. Tell us about that concept and how The Peebles Corporation and The Bath Club will create opportunities and inclusivity for minority groups.

Yes, The Peebles Corporation is guided by the principles of Affirmative Development to help empower women and minorities to close the wealth gap. I came up with and trademarked the phrase Affirmative Development to describe our transformational business and urge other business owners to embody similar practices. As a 100% minority-owned company, we are personally dedicated to creating opportunities for minority groups. We mandate ourselves to engage a minimum of 30% contracting on all our projects with minority and women-owned businesses.

What do you hope to contribute to Miami? Aside from creating a safe space where members and families can unwind, disconnect and socialize with like-minded individuals, we hope to contribute to Miami by providing opportunities for the community, whether that be on-site or in the inner workings of The Bath Club. Our goal is, and always will be, to elevate and promote diversity within our company and open doors for minority groups.



Tell us about some of the highlights of the latest Dee Ocleppo collection. Where did you draw inspiration from?

Spring/summer 2021 draws inspiration from time spent traversing the Mediterranean. The collection picks up the colors of the golden sands and the ocean blues of the Côte d’Azur, and the candy-colored dulce and sweet berry gelatos always found along the way. It’s a very jubilant collection that brings me happiness and takes me back to living in Italy, which one might pick up on in some of the styles and style names attached, like the Catania camera bag named after a port I sometimes dream about in Sicily. This bag is a highlight as it’s very sophisticated with minimal clean lines and is very practical in function and design. The Dizzy mules from the collection are another highlight, which take me back to beach walks and boardwalks. They’re perfect to take you from day to night.

How do you keep your styles timeless yet fresh?

I think years of working across a lot of the big fashion brands and houses in Europe have led me to develop my own style sensibilities. After working in fashion over the decades, I’ve been able to pick up on certain cycles and trends, as well as the key codes that always seem to remain in style. Over time, you become keener to covet classic pieces across ready-to-wear and accessories and footwear that can remain with you and can be worn time and time again. I like to design pieces I know can and will be kept over time. The quality of the leather and craftsmanship that is dedicated to each item plays a big part in this, as well as shades and tones that can pair easily across multiple prints and palettes.

What have been some of the highlights of your work with the BCRF and, most recently, Project Upstart, since your partnership began?

For me, it’s very personal. I have too many friends who have been diagnosed with this horrible disease and some who have passed away in the prime of their life, so I’ve been committed, both personally and professionally, to eradicating this disease with the largest private funder of research in the world. I think the highlight is that there is hope and I’m proud to help be part of creating change and making an impact.

As a new permanent resident in Miami, what are you most excited to contribute to the city?

Tommy [Hilfiger] and I have always loved Miami. I think we’ve been drawn to the city as a crossroads of culture, art, design, fashion and so much more. A lot of New Yorkers have been relocating to Miami over the past year, and with the relocation, they’ve brought a lot of New York with them. I like to think that Tommy and I bring a little New York with us as well—we always carry a little bit of the Big Apple with us down here.



As the first female GM in history of a pro North American sports league, what challenges did you face to get where you are today?

The way the news was received, and the amount of people that reached out to me, and the coverage was overwhelming. The idea that it has impacted this many people is extraordinary. It’s a testament to the fact that people are looking for hope and inspiration. I’m happy to be a part of it. I also know the challenges in front of me. It’s not enough to just get the job—it’s important that I succeed. I like to pride myself on being able to win people over fairly quickly. Early in my career, that always helped prevent much pushback as I started in baseball operations. The process of interviewing is such a public process. When your life is out there, it’s hard to go through that. I hope that by going through the process and having people see my name out there, it is a source of hope.

How did you overcome those challenges?

Being in this position is not lost on me. It’s a tribute to the idea that you have to keep plowing through and being persistent. I’ve been defeated and deflated numerous times, but you always keep hope and push through. I was never going to be the kid that just followed along. I was always going to do my own thing, and that continues today. Also, you can’t be until you can see it—and now you can see it.

Who inspired you to get where you are in your career today?

Two individuals whom I looked up to were Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. Billie Jean fought for equality throughout her career and is still fighting today. And then Martina changed the women’s game and what it looked like to be a female athlete. They were both hugely influential in my life.

Tell us about your plans for the Marlins and how you plan to continue making history.

We want to keep building this team and this organization and reach our goal of winning World Series championships. If you look up and down our front office, you will notice how diverse we are—especially the strong female leadership we have in place. We will all continue to work together to provide and be an example for our community and around the game.

What change would you like to see?

We want to continue to make this community proud of their Major League Baseball team. We want to be the community’s team and continue to excel in serving South Florida. Before I arrived, the Marlins did so much in relief efforts for those suffering from the COVID pandemic and have set out to bring more opportunities for youth to participate in baseball and softball.

Most rewarding aspect of your job?

Winning. That’s what we’re here to do—to win championships. We have a fun and exciting team that will take the field this year, and there is a wealth of talent coming. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s fun to come to work every day and work alongside great people who all have an incredible championship drive.



What made you decide to move back to Miami?

Over the summer, I finally came to Miami to visit my family after not seeing them since the holidays. Thanks to the pandemic, that was the longest I had ever gone without seeing them. When I was saying goodbye to my brother, not knowing the next time I would see him, I broke down. I said, ‘I’m so tired of missing you all.’ A month later, the rare and wonderful opportunity arose to anchor at WSVN. That was the universe listening to my heart and giving me what I wanted. And I’m so grateful it did!

What are your top three go-to destinations in the city?

I have to say the beach! Driving over the causeway knowing you’re about to hit paradise is why we live here. Then picking up Joe’s Stone Crab takeaway and Prime 112 fried Oreos cement why there’s nowhere else you’d want to live. I’ve never been to Cuba, but visiting Calle Ocho helps me get a glimpse into my heritage. So does a plate of arroz, frijoles and vaca frita at Versailles! And finally, Coconut Grove with the lush canopy trees and the cobbled streets I’ve been walking since I was a kid, as well as the recent resurgence of CocoWalk.

What attracts you to working for a company like WSVN?

It’s a legacy station. If there is breaking news happening in South Florida, you’re turning on 7 News. Anchoring at WSVN also means working for a station that is invested in the community. Our franchises like ‘Help Me Howard’ and ‘7 Investigates’ get journalists in the community to solve problems that truly affect the residents of South Florida. This is a family-owned business, so the culture is different than corporately owned television stations. WSVN is a family, and I’m the lucky girl that gets to be a part of that.

How do you utilize social media in your job? Why is it so important?

Social media gives me a direct line to the viewers. I know people are watching me on air, but I don’t get to interact with them while I’m sitting on the anchor desk. Social media gives me a channel to truly hear from them directly. I want to know what the community wants to know about, what they care about and how I can help bring a focus to their concerns. In-person meeting is equally as important. So if you see me, please say hi!



How have you and your charity, Honey Shine Inc., adapted through the pandemic?

Honeyshine is growing and moving along with everything that everyone has been through and the changes of having to adapt. It’s been tough because we haven’t had that in-person, hands-on interaction with the girls regularly. But we’ve used Zoom and virtual workshops and hosted girl talks throughout this time. Our biggest concern was keeping the girls engaged through this tough transition that everyone was dealing with. We are excited to host our summer camp again this year at the Carrollton in Coconut Grove, which is a day camp that spans six weeks. We make sure the girls continue to have a place to learn and grow, offering everything from robotics, STEM, theater, dance and more.

And the Overtown Youth Center?

We’ve been working on the Overtown Youth Center, which is slated to open in January of 2022. We’ve been fundraising for that, which has been tough throughout the pandemic but necessary. Our normal ways of doing these things have had to shift, but we are lucky to have our executive director, Tina Brown, leading the way. She is a mom also, and she is doing an incredible job.

You also launched a clothing line, L.O.V.E. What inspired this new venture?

It represents ‘Living on Vacation Everyday.’ They’re nice, flowy pieces that are both comfortable and sexy. The first lady, Michelle Obama, put us in People magazine as one of her favorite items, which was special. It’s been pretty amazing, and I always have had an interest in creating or making something, and I’m really enjoying the whole process of seeing it come to fruition and seeing people wearing my designs. We should L.O.V.E.—everyone deserves that.

What have you learned over the past year?

In general, I’ve learned that God is real. Your faith is key. That’s how you make it through the tough times; that’s how you persevere. What’s been reaffirmed is we have to trust God’s plan and keep going no matter what comes our way. My mom passed last year, and I realized all this stuff was preparation for this moment. She was my greatest teacher. I’ve been writing and working on her story and her wisdom. That’s what I’m clear on. Anything about myself, my self knows it’s not about me. It’s something and someone greater.



Tell us about launching the Aman Shop. How was this conceptualized?

The website was established to answer a call from our devoted guests wishing to purchase products that are normally found on property. We launched the Aman Shop to enable clients to easily purchase our products, transporting the Aman lifestyle to the comfort of one’s home. The launch of the Aman Shop coincided with the introduction of Aman Skincare in 2018, our collection of 30 allnatural products that had been under development for over two years. The Aman Shop initially sold Aman Skincare products; however, it now also features our recently launched Aman Fine Fragrance collection, Aman Spa Candle range and health supplement brand Sva.

What are some of your favorite products that you incorporate in your day-to-day routine?

I always start my day with Immune Support and Nourish formulas from the Sva range to maintain healthy immune and digestive systems followed by Uplift formula for a healthy mood. My morning skincare routine begins with Purifying Marine face wash. It has vitamin C-rich moringa oil that helps to protect against damage from free radicals. Then I use Grounding stem cell face and eye serum followed by Nourishing Nurture Intense face oil that soaks your skin with essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants. I finish it with one of Aman’s face mists. If I wear makeup, I put mist on top of it to seal it. Nourishing Silk Cocoon face cream is my absolute favorite night cream! It is rich in live silk amino acids, organic beeswax and argan oil, and it is really light at the same time. For body, I use one of our Scrub and Soaks three times a week followed by Aman body oil.

What have you found to be the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Since Aman has always been focused on wellness, clients ask me what I personally do to stay healthy and energized. And I think one of the most pleasant aspects of my work is being able to share my experience, incorporate my knowledge into our products and services and see how others benefit from it. For example, our supplement line Sva was created together with master practitioner Dr. Ning Ma, who is a leader in the field of acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Dr. Ma has been treating our family for the last eight years, and his methods have been extremely effective. Every time someone got sick in the family, Dr. Ma would mix a special formula and ship it to us. Last year, I thought to make these formulas available to everyone, and that was the moment when Sva was born. It makes me so happy to hear stories of people who caught a cold, took the Immune Support formula and felt better the next day. That really inspires me to move forward! Another aspect that is really close to my heart is Aman’s philanthropic initiatives. Caring for our local communities remains a cornerstone of Aman’s philosophy, and we continue to demonstrate a close relationship with our neighbors in all corners of the globe.



Tell us about some of your recent initiatives with BCRF. What successes can you share?

One of the silver linings in such an arduous year has been witnessing resilience in so many different forms. I am amazed by the BCRF-funded scientists we heard from through the year—they quickly adapted to ensure that their necessary, lifesaving work would not be lost. Because our researchers forged ahead, more patients than ever before can now safely forgo chemotherapy thanks to the results from the RxPONDER study. We know more about the genetic mutations that may increase breast cancer risk in women with no family history thanks to the CARRIERS study.

What progress have you made over the past year with the challenges of COVID that caused BCRF to adapt?

The fact is that even after COVID is over, one in eight women will continue to be diagnosed with breast cancer. This year, breast cancer became the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, surpassing lung cancer for the first time. Yet even as the need for better treatments becomes more acute, funding for research is on the decline. It’s never been more imperative to come together and fund breast cancer research. BCRF events are a tremendous source of support for global research, and COVID forced us to adapt to an entirely new model. I’m so proud of our team for quickly and adeptly pivoting to virtual events, and I’m grateful to our community of supporters who really stepped up to the plate in this challenging year and continue to inspire me with their unwavering commitment to make sure that there is no pause on progress.

Has the new digital landscape helped reach new opportunities and individuals that you’ve been able to help get involved with BCRF?

BCRF not only adapted in the digital landscape but thrived. Our virtual events surpassed every expectation each time, and I have no doubt they will continue to do so this spring. Unconstrained by travel and location, our virtual events have allowed supporters from around the world to join us. It’s even allowed more of our scientists an opportunity to connect and collaborate on projects in a way never before attempted.

Why is it important to sustain breast cancer research?

Though the pace at which answers are coming has never been faster, it takes resources to seize opportunities that yield real benefits for patients. We are on the precipice of change, yet as the world faces the economic challenges of the pandemic, we risk sliding back on decades of progress. I urge my friends to continue supporting breast cancer research as experts are already warning of the consequences that may lie in the years ahead. As delayed screenings and even postponed treatments during the pandemic may result in an onslaught of later-stage diagnoses in the future, we must do everything we can now to save research. I am determined to continue on our trajectory of reducing breast cancer’s ability to take lives, until one day, it’s no longer a threat at all.