7 Miami PR Pros to Know

We hosted our first PR Net event in Miami last November and were met with the warmest welcome. We already knew the city had evolved so much over the past decade or so, but to chat with the forces behind Miami's most influential spots was especially exciting. In that vein, we're thrilled to introduce you to the Miami PR pros to know, and also share the inside scoop on the local faves they frequent.  

Lauren Gnazzo | President and Founder, Gnazzo Group

Five years ago, Lauren Gnazzo steered The Patton Group (a PR, events and marketing firm) transition that would lead to the founding of Gnazzo Group. Today, her firm's diverse portfolio includes major names across fashion and beauty, publishing, hospitality, corporate, health and fitness, décor and luxury lifestyle brands. 

Why it’s a great time to be in Miami:

Miami’s cultural fabric is greatly expanding and has been for the past ten years. I love to take part in and experience the growth that continues to take place around us. Miami is no longer a city that’s known just for its beautiful beaches, chicks and nightlife. With the emergence of cultural experiences and breathtaking neighborhoods, we’ve lived through an expansion of creative expression and remarkable growth. Watching Miami really land its much deserved place on the global stage has been so rewarding, and makes me proud. 

Favorite spots to dine, primp, shop and work out:

I love Pura Vida for a healthy bite and their ambiance. Dashbar is my go-to salon for nails and hair all at the same time - you're in about 60 minutes, every woman's dream. My favorite place to shop, explore and hang out is of course the Miami Design District. You can always expect to discover new stores, pop-up galleries and amazing art installations that are so unexpectedly interesting.

Sneak peak of exciting current projects:

In all honesty, I cannot remember when I've been more excited about our work and upcoming projects. We’ve recently welcomed some new clients into our roster and community. I really look forward to watching them take off and be a part of that journey.  Mayors continues to expand its presence and exclusive products across its network in South Florida and Georgia.  Miami Design District is hosting Design Miami/ and International Galleries on Nov 27 for 10 days. Pura Vida is opening up several new locations such as Palm Beach. We have a few upcoming hospitality, art cultural, retail and auto projects that will be announced in the near future. At Gnazzo Group, we’re always thinking about how we can do better for our company as well as for our clients, and I am delighted to see what the future holds for us.  

 

Juliana Mejia & Camila Mejia | Co-Founders, CADA

Juliana and Camila Mejia are the sisters behind CADA, a creative marketing agency working with purpose-driven brands. The pair’s passion for sustainability, wellness, and ethical, non-toxic products is apparent when you look at their client list, which includes the likes of EEVA, Creed, Sinesia Karol, Cultured Magazine, Volcan Tequila, Miami Design District, 1 Hotel South Beach, Detroit Sessions and more. 

Why it’s a great time to be in Miami:

J: I live on the beach, so aside from the occasional flooding, it’s Summer Season all year ‘round. I have a Vespa scooter that we drive around town everywhere and weekends always feel like a vacation. Many people from the West and up North are moving down here to get away from bad weather and high-strung energy and discover all the new offerings Miami keeps bringing. It continues to grow with cultural offerings, hospitality developments, and the art and the culinary scene keep expanding. This year has been challenging for all of us, but I can still say that it’s a great time to be in Miami!

C: Apart from living close to the beaches and not worrying about snow, Miami is continuously going through exciting transitions. This time around, the city’s new projects have been very aligned with wellness and sustainability. The new restaurant, hotel, studio, or bar are starting to be vegan-friendly, GREEN-certified, mindful, purpose-driven, etc. and it only fills my heart. As other big cities in the North and West have already reached this transition, I love being at the forefront of this critical shift.

Favorite spots to dine, primp, shop and work out:

J: I love to workout at Sol Yoga Studio in Wynwood. I get my nails done at Mano Nail Salon in Midtown and hair at holistic salon, Root & Bark Beauty. I love to check out the Miami Design District’s art and get lunch at 1 Hotel South Beach.

C: I’m a huuuge foodie and you can easily find me getting a full course meal at Thatch in Midtown or snacking on the vegan cheese plate from Plant Miami in Edgewater. With a large appetite comes a killer workout, and I love to get my sweat on at JetSet Pilates in Wynwood or a nice run by South Beach. When it comes to pampering, I love getting my fresh cuts and vegan dyes at IGK Studio.

Sneak peak of exciting current projects:

J&C: We’re currently really excited about the launch of our new website. It’s going to be more of a platform. This whole year has been about taking a step back and analyzing our strategy and services, so we can’t wait to bring it to life in 2021!

Nick D’Annunzio | Principal, TARA, Ink.

Photo: World Red Eye

Nick D’Annunzio is a fixture on the Miami scene, which is no surprise since Tara, Ink. counts some of the hottest properties and brands in the city (and far beyond) as clients. Their top-tier client roster includes Faena, Soho House, Gucci, Tom Ford, La Mer,  Feat Clothing, SBE Hotels, Bazaar by Jose Andres and Barcelo Rum, to name a few. Known beyond the Magic City, Nick was named on Biz Bash’s “Top 500 People in Events and Top 10 People in PR” in 2018.

Why it’s a great time to be in Miami:

All eyes are on Miami. Especially with so many people escaping NYC and California. It is paradise but very much a working city. Miami is the next global city. This is the last frontier of the land of golden opportunity. There is just so much promise and opportunity.

Favorite spots to dine, primp, shop and work out:

Some of my favorite places to dine at are Chotto Matte, Casa Tua, Cecconi’s, Bazaar by Jose Andres and The Deck. Best place for beauty is Del Campo Dermatology and Laser Institute is the best for all your skin fixes. All top celebs, super models and Miami socials go to her and Anatomy gym - it’s the best to keep your body in check. For shopping my favorite is Bal Harbour Shops. It’s close to my home, all covered walkways so no rain plan necessary, and they have best dining with Carpaccio and Makoto, plus it’s easy and safe to park.

Sneak peak of exciting current projects: 

Business has shifted a lot. We are doing lots of athleisure fashion brands, luxury automotive, splurge toys for the home and yacht, home design, and of course lots of spirits. People are nesting so they want to be comfortable in their attire, have amazing toys to play with, enjoy their home and fill it with great design and art pieces. One of our clients is AIS sports. They do custom racing simulators for the home from $25K to $330K. They are the best in the world. And there is a waiting list.

 

Lyndsey Cooper | Principal, Carma Connected

Having celebrated 10 years in business this past January, Carma Connected has truly capitalized on the city’s exciting, continuous growth. With a top-tier roster of clients, from restaurants and hotels to clubs and museums, you'll want to check out her recs.

Why it’s a great time to be in Miami: 

The growth of this city has truly been incredible to witness over the past decade. People say that Miami is a melting pot, and it continues to evolve year over year. Gone are the days that Miami is only about South Beach and partying, the city shines with culture and diversity. The arts and culture scene is flourishing, real estate is booming and there are so many different pockets to explore from Wynwood to Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and even Doral - the city offers something for everyone.

Favorite spots to dine, primp, shop and work out: 

There are too many to choose from! I live in North Miami Beach, work in South Beach and frequent Bal Harbour, Brickell, Coral Gables and more to dine, play and shop. I love spending the day in the Design District, getting my hair done at IGK, lunch at Swan, popping into my best friend’s art gallery Rosenfeld Gallery and checking out all the new shops. Miami has the perfect weather for boating, so that is definitely a family pastime. Other top spots to dine - Makoto, Cipriani, Komodo, the list goes on and on.

Sneak peak of exciting current projects: 

There are so many openings coming up I can’t wait for! Mondrian South Beach is going through a full renovation and will open Baia Beach Club led by LDV, sweetgreen is coming to Miami (finally!), Wynwood Walls will reopen soon, Superblue - an interactive art experience - is set to launch in Allapattah, Frost Science Museum’s holiday programming is a must-visit and David Grutman’s Groot Hospitality is opening three different concepts at the iconic Firestone building on South Beach and so much more in the works.

 

Vanessa Menkes | Founder, Vanessa Menkes Communications  (VMC)

Photo: Romain Maurice

Vanessa Menkes’ boutique communications firm is the force behind major campaigns across entertainment, luxury hospitality, food & beverage and music. Miami-based with a global reach, her company’s secret sauce merges the best of traditional media, digital strategy, community relations and meaningful experiences.

Why it’s a great time to be in Miami: 

Pandemic or not, Miami is booming right now. The real estate market is on fire, restaurants have been able to return to some semblance of normalcy due to the ability to dine outdoors in a socially distant setting, and New Yorkers are moving down here in droves. It has been interesting to balance our absolute adherence to COVID precautions with the impressive influx of business and people's innate desire to be together. One of the only experiences still on pause is live music, and we can't wait for that to come back!

VMC, our boutique agency has always been focused on hyper-bespoke strategy that delivers massive impact but also augments the bottom line very quantitatively. So in addition to our communications, media, influencer, and marketing campaigns, we are reaching deep into our community to move product, drive sales, and produce acquisition leads for corporations and real estate. We also work closely with a number of NYC and LA PR friends, so we are truly relishing the collaborative spirit of this period, and helping out-of-state companies develop a very integrated footprint in the South Florida market and beyond.

Favorite spots to dine, primp, shop and work out: 

The pandemic has brought about so much creativity in our market and I love sharing my favorites. I get my coffee fix at Bebito’s on South Beach, a modern Cuban coffee shop with killer Cordaditos and Cafe con Leches. It was designed by my friend Annhy Shim-Morel and has the most perfect Deco throwback interior with pastel hues and old Havana motifs. Plus free yoga on Sundays. 

Kiki on The River is a client, but I would recommend it to anyone even if it wasn’t. Chef Steve Rhee’s perfectly grilled calamari, the idyllic riverside location that was formerly a fish market, and the soundtrack is always on point. We’ve celebrated many birthdays there, always picture-perfect ambiance and lots of fun.

The Bar Lab guys recently opened Miami’s first natural wine bar, Margot at Nikki Beach in South of Fifth. Nikki Beach is a longtime client and has done the most incredible job putting new COVID protocols in place while maintaining all the ambiance of its legendary beach club brand. So now we get to experience the best of the natural wine movement with Margot at Nikki Beach in a really beautiful palm tree-lined corner under the stars.

I'm not a big shopper but I love Jessie Boutique on South Beach - lots of maxi dresses by Ulla Johnson and Alexis, which are my uniform. Jessie also has the best customer service with personal shopping and drop off which is a major time saver, and she's Miami-born and bred, so always great to shop local and support small business.

For a quick pick me up during this hectic period of WFH x working motherhood, I’ve been turning to Lash Society of Miami. Getting lashes applied is a bit of a meditation for me, as it is my only hour without my phone. And as I’m in my mask most of the time, it’s nice to have pretty lashes and brows.

Lastly, Sweat Records for vinyl and rock and roll. Another local gem and a true pillar of Miami’s music scene.

Sneak peak of exciting current projects: 

There is a lot to be excited about in Miami this season, and we are cautiously optimistic that if the community continues to follow social distancing guidelines, we will be able to enjoy some of our creature comforts plus favorite happenings in coming months.

The Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series is returning to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on Saturday, January 23, 2021. Since it was launched in 2017, the Pegasus World Cup has become one of the premier events on the Thoroughbred racing calendar, blending entertainment, innovation and Thoroughbred horse racing like no other event of its kind. Our friend and colleague Jimmy Vargas heads up entertainment for 1/ST, the company behind the Pegasus World Cup among many other iconic races, and he has brought so much innovation to the sport. He also produced the first official drive-in concert of the pandemic with D-Nice at Gulfstream Park, which we were lucky to collaborate on. He’s a true trailblazer and we can’t wait to see what is in store for this year.

We can’t wait for The Moxy South Beach, which will open steps from the sand on Washington Avenue. The hotel will be transformative for the neighborhood, and is such a stylish and playful celebration of Miami’s cosmopolitan culture.

We are also looking forward to a couple of really significant F&B openings. Roman Jones is opening an American Brasserie called The Gramercy in Coral Gables which will feature a lively lunch and dinner scene, plus perfectly prepared classics like steaks, burgers and killer cocktails. OKAMI in Miami’s Design District is a new Nikkei stunner with an incredible menu of beautifully presented Japanese-Peruvian dishes and a breathtaking dining room.

 

Iman Hasan | Founder & CEO, Iman Hasan Creative & WE ARE RENN

Iman is the definition of a multi-hyphenate: she currently heads up her own creative agency, and also recently launched a beauty, health, and wellness incubator for women of color. On the agency side, her fast-growing client list includes Heroine Sport, Rene Caovilla, Lifehouse hotels and Mademoiselle Provence. She also leads the team at her incubator program, focused on following the most effective route to market strategies for the female-founded brands.

Why it’s a great time to be in Miami:

Now more than ever people are learning to appreciate everything Miami has to offer. There has been such a significant influx of people and creatives moving down to Miami from New York and so it’s a really exciting time to be in the city despite the pandemic. Personally, Miami has afforded me some incredible opportunities, including growing my business at Iman Hasan Creative (we are now a 10 person strong team!), as well as launching our sister company WE ARE RENN, so a lot of positive things have been able to come out of all the chaos.

Favorite spots to dine, primp, shop and work out: 

Favorite spot to dine is Mrs. Mandolin because they have great consistent service and incredible greek food. KYU, a modern Asian restaurant in Wynwood is also a great spot for dinner. I also love Azabu and Wabi Sabi for sushi. 

Places to workout: I love pilates, so Tremble in Miami is fantastic. I also love House of Transformation; it is basically $25 for assistant training sessions, which is great. Lastly, my favorite yoga teacher and yoga class is mimilicious, really magical flows (@mimilicious_mia). 

To shop one of my favorite local stores is Frankie Miami, Boho Hunter in Wynwood, and the new Mrs. Mandolin store at Soho Beach House! 

For beauty I love to go to IGK, Lash Society Miami and Daphne's Beauty Lounge, I also like to go to Glo by Roe Rochelle for facials, and Dr. Dorene who is hands down the best dermatologist in Miami.

Sneak peak of exciting current projects: 

I am super excited to open Rene Caovilla’s store in late October/early November at Bal Harbour Shops as well as the launch activation which will be an intimate sit down dinner with our top influencer contacts at MILA Restaurant.

We are launching a sister company called WE ARE RENN which is an incubator that provides holistic marketing services, mentorship and mindset training to female minority owned start-up businesses in the Beauty, Health and Wellness industries. Our mission is to create a platform for women, but more specifically passionate, minority women who do not have the network or foundation to expand and advance their businesses within these sectors. We’ve just secured an incredible list of board members and advisors for the program and we’re also just starting to fundraise, so it’s an exciting time!

One of our clients is a biodegradable, cruelty-free and PETA approved vegan silk loungewear brand called niLuu and we’ve just confirmed that they are going to launch in their first physical retail space at Soho Beach House, so we’re all really excited about that.

 




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