Spotlight: Miami

Martha Pantin, comms director, American Airlines talks about Miami's international flavor and its location as a hub for Latin America.

Martha Pantin, comms director, American Airlines talks about Miami's international flavor and its location as a hub for Latin America.

PR pros who live and work in Miami say the city is more than just a beach town, it's a gateway to the rest of the world.

Many Europeans purchase second homes in the sunny Floridian metropolis, and Miami serves as a business hub for Latin America because of its easy access to the region, says Martha Pantin, American Airlines' communications director, who oversees the Americas and diverse segments.

Global agencies such as Burson-Marsteller, as well as companies including American Airlines, Volkswagen, Harley-Davidson, and SABMiller base their Latin America headquarters in Miami.

The city is also home to agencies with a large presence in the US Hispanic market, such as MG Communications, JeffreyGroup, and República.

"From Miami you can get to more locations in Central and South America than anywhere else. That connectivity gives businesses the ability to be based here," Pantin explains.

"In the future, as more Latin America-based companies grow their presence internationally and trade grows and becomes more open, you will see a lot of businesses establishing a presence here."

Fast Facts

1. Pantin's favorite place in town for a client power lunch: Caffe Abbracci in Coral Gables, 318 Aragon Ave, (305) 441-0700. “You run into so many people that sometimes you can get other business done,” Pantin says of the restaurant
2. The population of Miami-Dade County is more than 2.5 million, of which 51.2% is foreign born
3. In the 1560s, Spanish explorers claimed Miami, which was then inhabited by the Tequesta and Seminole Indians, which led to ongoing battles. It culminated in the Seminole Wars, which ended in 1819 with ownership going to the US
4. The top five fastest-growing private companies in the Miami metro area include Unified Payments, credit/debit card processor Merchant Services, ING Solutions, healthcare software and IT services provider EngagePoint, and, according to the 2012 Inc. 5000 list
5. In September 2012, Miami saw the most job growth in the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors, up 8,500 jobs or 1.7% from the previous year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The second largest growth was seen in the education and health services sectors, increasing by 5,100 or 1.5%

Miami's diversity means communications professionals working there "need to have that international perspective," Pantin adds. Multilingual skills, especially Spanish, are a must.

"I love to be able to go and speak Spanish at lunch and then go speak English at dinner," Pantin explains.

The media environment in the city reflects Miami's international flavor. Telemundo and Univision, as well as the new cable network for US Hispanics launched by Univision and ABC this year, base their productions there. CNN en Español, while run from CNN's Atlanta headquarters, also has a studio and strong presence in Miami, Pantin adds.

In addition to being a center for Spanish-language media, Miami is a booming trade hub and tourism destination, offering ample opportunities for PR pros across various sectors.

There is also a large community of small businesses, which allows the agencies serving them to thrive, Pantin says.

"[Miami] is very open. You can come from the outside and make your name," she adds. "This is not a city with an established hierarchy. You don't have to wait your turn."

It goes without saying that Miami's weather and lifestyle are a huge draw. People who decide to stay find it is a "great city for work, but also a great place to play," she explains.

"You really can feel like a visitor in your own hometown," Pantin adds.

Reach out
Local PRSA chapter
Sandra Fine, president
(305) 567-0535

JeffreyGroup's headquarters
1111 Lincoln Road, 8th floor, Miami Beach
(305) 860-1000

Mayor Tomás Regalado
3500 Pan American Drive
(305) 250-5300

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
1601 Biscayne Boulevard
(305) 350-7700

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