Creative

March 1, 2021

Inspiring Women in Miami

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At the 1890s, when Miami was just a swampland, a woman Julia Tuttle had a vision no one considered. She convinced Henry Flager, one of the most prominent industrialists, to extend his railroad to Miami from Palm Beach. And that's the beginning of modern Miami. Miami is the only biggest American city which a woman founds. Since then, women are contributing to significant roles in our city.

Here are the top 5 women making a difference in Miami.

Octavia Yearwood

Octavia is an educator for more than 17 years and taught in many countries and cities like New York City, Miami, Nepal and India. She is continuously inspiring youth and adults to express and heal themselves. Her work is about the art of philosophy. She inspires through various interactive methods, artistic pop-ups, and creating transformational programming. Octavia Yearwood has received the American Express Emerging Arts leader awards from Americans for the Arts. She was also named Miami's top 40 leaders under 40 in Miami and called Best Author of 2018 by Miami New Times. Her work continues based on her award-winning book, "How The Hell Did You Do That?!"

Octavia Yearwood, International Women's Month

Della Heiman

Della is the founder of Wynwood Yard. Her target is to make healthy food affordable and accessible to all. Her plant-based, fast-casual concept was the catalyst for Della Bowls. She moved to Miami in 2014 for opening her first location after tested the idea in Boston. As the Wynwood Yard is a successful concept and can serve as a culinary incubator and community space. The departed Wynwood Yard has left many heartbroken, but the concept has not completely vanished as Della and her team have

opened the Doral Yard.

Della Heiman. Della Bowls

Paula DaSilva

South Florida culinary darling Paula DaSilva joined the team at Burlock Coast at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale in Fall 2017 as Chef de Cuisine, bringing her imaginative farm fresh dishes rich with the flavors and freshness of South Florida’s abundant flora and fauna to the kitchen. Her immense talent and dedication to upholding the ‘Ritz-Carlton’ standard paid off and she was recently promoted to Executive Chef for the property, overseeing all culinary operations including banquets, in-room dining, pool and beach, while still overseeing the menu at Burlock Coast.

Brielle Fratellone

In the pastry industry for over a decade, Brielle Fratellone is known for adding a modern influence to luxury desserts. Originally from the Midwest, Fratellone became enamored with the culinary arts while working as a cake decorator in a Kansas supermarket. Now, Brielle serves as the Executive Pastry Chef at Fontainebleau Miami Beach where she heads up the entire pastry division for the resort’s popular patisserie Chez Bon Bon as well as the property’s signature restaurants. Brielle has played a significant role in growing the culinary profile for the iconic Miami Beach resort with the recent launch of FONTAINEBLEAU SAPPHIRE NOIR™, the resorts new exclusive chocolate created entirely with her custom recipe.

Brielle Fratellon

Jacqueline Pirolo

Having worked restaurants from New York to the shores of Miami Beach, one of the brightest stars in the Magic City’s hospitality world is Macchialina’s very own Jacqueline Pirolo. Pirolo’s ambitious wine program at Macchialina prides itself on a selection of predominately Italian wines (with the exception of Champagne) sourced from estate-grown grapes and boutique growers — many hard to find.

Jacqueline Pirolo

Hedy Goldsmith 

Celebrated Chef Hedy Goldsmith has recently taken the reins as Executive Chef at Verde at PAMM. A 2012 and 2013 James Beard Award Finalist for the nationally-contested Outstanding Pastry Chef, Goldsmith also authored "Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts With Big Flavors," and has been featured on the TODAY Show, Food Network and its show "Iron Chef America," where her all-star team of women defeated Chef Bobby Flay, The New York Times, PEOPLE Magazine, and other programs and publications. Patrons can experience her magic touch on the Verde menu now. 

Hedy Goldsmith

Meghan Leckey

Meghan Leckey is the co-founder and CEO of Shooters Waterfront. Shooters is an iconic and award-winning restaurant located on Fort Lauderdale’s scenic Intracoastal Waterway, which Leckey renovated and reestablished with her father in 2013. Leckey stumbled upon a property listing for a rundown, yet iconic space along the Intracoastal Waterway. Shooters Waterfront Café and Bootlegger, once hailed for good times and waterfront views, sat abandoned and in ruin. After spearheading a seven-month intensive renovation, Leckey reopened Shooters in February of 2014. The landmark property returned transformed and reclaimed its sparkle thanks to her and is now the most popular restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.

Sandra Gonzalez-Levy

She is the senior vice president of Florida International University for strategic communications, marketing and external relations. She single-handedly manages all internal and external communications, media, marketing, public relations, special events and protocol, community relations and much more.

Over the last years, she tremendously influenced the Miami community through her work in Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Miami Dade College Foundation, Barnett Bank, Terremark, and now RIU. She directly influenced hundreds of lives in Miami by her visionary, leading in several civic organizations.

Sharon Van Smith

Sharon is a retired Miami-Dade Country School teacher. She is a volunteer of several environmental groups such as Rise Up Florida, Citizens Climate Lobby, Sierra Club, The Tropical Audubon Society, and Miami-Dade Democratic Environmental Caucus. She works to arise people of cities and counties to step up and commit to using renewable energy. Sharon mentions "South Florida is ground zero on sea-level rise and we have an obligation to our community and grandchildren to advocate for immediate action."

Danet Linares

Danet Linares is vice-chair of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. She was the first woman to chair the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's New World Committee ever, started by Alvah Chapman. She also acted as president of Commercial Real Estate Women Miami. She founded the annual Habitat for Humanity event, "Hard Hats and High Heels," which raises money to build single mothers' homes. She also sits for the Miami Downtown Development Authority board and on the Miami board of International Women's Forum, including leading women professionals worldwide.