ULI Southeast Florida/Caribbean: Politically Savvy: Building Relationships that Get the Deal Done - Hosted by WLI


2023-04-12T09:00:00 - 2023-04-12T11:00:00

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    DPR Construction 1301 E Broward Blvd #300 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304-4125 UNITED STATES

    Join WLI on April 12th from 9:00 - 11:00 AM to hear from leaders in the real estate industry that understand how to develop a political savvy skillset that builds relationships to get the deal done.

    9:00 - 9:30 AM - Light Breakfast and Networking with Colleagues  
    9:30 - 10:30 AM - Panel with Q&A 
    10:30 - 11:00 AM - Optional Networking  
    We cannot wait to see you there.  



    Michelle Gomez

    Mayor, City of Tamarac

    Mayor Michelle J. Gomez received her Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL in May 2000. She also has her Master of Arts – Public Communication from The American University, School of Communication and Bachelor of Arts with a Minor in Psychology from The American University. Currently serving as the Mayor of Tamarac, she has comprehensive knowledge in land use development, government, real estate, and law. She is an esteemed public servant and is involved with several non-profit organizations at various leadership levels.


    Crystal Wagar

    Partner, The Southern Group

    Crystal Wagar is a Partner with The Southern Group where she brings a wide range of experience from both the public and private sector. Crystal’s public sector experience includes general counsel for the Black Economic Development Corporation, interim city manager for the Village of El Portal, and chief policy aide and chief of staff to a former Miami-Dade County Commissioner. While in the private sector, Crystal worked at two prominent South Florida law firms prior to opening her own boutique advocacy firm in 2009, the Connor Group Miami. In her 20 plus year career, Crystal has garnered extensive knowledge of municipal procurement processes, which has translated into winning strategies for a wide diverse client base. Her successes include leading the effort to bring Uber into the South Florida market, winning the Metrorail car bid with Ansaldo Breda - one of the largest procurements in Miami-Dade County’s history, and was one of the key consultants who drove the strategy for the Brightline Miami station build out. In April 2019, Crystal was elected as Mayor of Miami Shores and completed her term as Councilmember. She made history as the first African American woman elected in the Village’s 89-year existence. Crystal is a former executive board member of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities covering all 34 municipalities and a former executive board member of the Florida League of Cities representing all Florida municipalities. Since sitting on the executive boards, Crystal has built extensive relationships throughout Florida and with South Florida municipalities and municipal stakeholders. As a member of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), Crystal’s contacts reach well beyond Florida. She has relationships in Little Rock, Arkansas; Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; St Paul, Minnesota; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, California; Jackson, Mississippi; New York City; Washington, DC; and Richmond, Virginia. Crystal has worked just as diligently at giving back to her community as she continuously maintains a strong philanthropic foundation. She is currently on the Board of Miami Children’s Museum, serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Miami Country Day School, where she is the chair of the Diversity Committee, serves on the board of the Zoetic Theater Company and was appointed by the Mayor of Miami-Dade County to the Biscayne Bay Watershed Board. In the past, Crystal served as board secretary of Camillus House, chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Good Government Initiative and was a member of the South Florida National Parks Trust Board. She is also an alumnus of the Miami Fellows Initiative and the United States German Marshall Fellowship. Crystal was named one of South Florida’s 50 most powerful and influential black business leaders in 2012 and 2019. She received the Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Young Leader Award, the South Florida Women Extraordinaire Award and was named a Miracle Maker by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. Most recently Crystal was featured in Miami Women, a book about the most influential women in Miami, published 2022. Crystal is a graduate of Temple University and William Mitchell College of Law.


    Stephanie Toothaker

    President & CEO, TOOTHAKER.org

    Stephanie J. Toothaker, Esq. / Chairwoman & Chief Strategist TOOTHAKER.org Stephanie is a Martindale Hubbell AV rated attorney, and much more. Regularly recognized as a SuperLawyer and by Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, she guides clients with her sophisticated approach to governmental relations and procurement. Representing private equity firms, innovative companies, and entrepreneurial individuals seeking complex land development entitlements, her specific expertise on these matters is focused on innovative activation of property rights, public/private P3 initiatives, complex mixed-use projects, land use plan amendments, zoning modifications and site plan approvals in the commercial, residential, sporting, and hospitality sectors. Stephanie is an effective advocate at the Federal, State, and regional and local level, regularly representing clients before governmental entities throughout South Florida. She is consistently recognized for her unique ability to seamlessly navigate multi-agency processes, efficiently manage the government relations process, and achieve success with aggressive timelines. Stephanie’s practice also includes niche representation for European-style sporting and destination lifestyle events with worldwide television coverage. With clients that include David Beckham's InterMiami, Seaglass Rose Experience, Red Bull Global Rallycross, Swatch Volleyball World Championships, Key West Race Week, the Lauderdale Yacht Club, Lighthouse Point Yacht Club and Informa, the producer of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - the largest boat show in the world - and the Monaco, Palm Beach and Miami Boat Show, she has a proven ability to leverage resources and relationships, meet challenging deadlines, and enable profitable outcomes with global reach. Her impressive understanding of public policy at the nexus of government and private entities has as its foundation her deep experience in the national political arena. Stephanie served as special counsel to U.S. Senator Bob Graham, where she was the first female and youngest in history to serve in that capacity. In 2004, she served on the Kerry-Edwards legal team; Stephanie was co-lead counsel for Broward County for the Obama-Biden legal team and more recently chaired Gwen Graham's campaign for Governor. The bottom line is Stephanie delivers serious results. Under Stephanie's leadership, David Beckham’s Inter Miami Lockhart Soccer stadium facility was approved -- and built -- in 13 months, she lead the Tavistock team through approval of the Landmark Pier 66 reimagining, represented Lionheart and Fortune in their approvals of the Ritz Carlton Residences at 1380 South Ocean Boulevard, the tallest building in Pompano Beach, was responsible for Cymbal Development’s Marina Lofts multi-jurisdictional project (Now Raintree Riverwalk Residences), represented Thor’s Beach Place, OTO and later Key Development’s AC Marriott, Summit's Residence Inn by Marriott, Roger Penske’s first-of-it’s-kind South Florida Porsche Concept Dealership, F3 Boat Club - a $35 million state-of-the-art dry stack marina, Moderno’s Rivr Lofts, Jefferson Apartment Group’s Flagler Creative; assisted the Thorton Family and Madroom Hospitality through the re-imagination of the historic Mai Kai, she led approvals for a 523,000 square foot commercial/industrial park in Davie, Brookfield’s Marina Hilton stunning new event addition, Kolter’s groundbreaking Selene - the tallest buildings on Fort Lauderdale Beach - and she leads Kushner Company’s groundbreaking new Broward Crossing. Stephanie is a recognized leader in Medical Marijuana permitting and approval, and was responsible for the State Legislature's landmark legislation amending Florida law to change the legal boundaries of both Broward and Palm Beach Counties for the property commonly referred to as the Wedge. All cutting edge projects with transformational results. Stephanie has been a regular contributor to Florida Trend and is involved with a broad range of civic organizations throughout South Florida including the NSU Museum of Art, Jack & Jill and the Transportation Management Association. Stephanie is on the Board of the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Bob Graham Center. Stephanie is the first and only woman to serve as a Governor, Rear Commodore, Vice Commodore and Commodore - of the Lauderdale Yacht Club founded in 1938. Stephanie is Board Member of the Downton Development Authority. She was previously a Director and Head of the Land Use & Zoning Practice at Tripp Scott, and a partner with Ruden McClosky and Blosser & Sayfie.


    Ellen Buckley

    Founder & CEO, Prospera Real Estate Collective

    Ellen C. Buckley is the Founder & CEO of Prospera Real Estate Collective, LLC, a real estate development and consulting company based in Miami, FL. Prospera was founded to better the future for all generations through innovation, vision, and execution. Ellen’s career in the real estate industry has spanned 28 years on projects in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeastern US and Asia. Ellen was 14 years old when she first learned about real estate transferring deeds as an after-school job in Ohio. When she was 17, she worked as a laborer for a construction company in her hometown as the only female on the crew. Most recently, Ellen was the Vice President, Director of Development for a leading South Florida development company Terra where she was part of the executive team managing the execution of approximately $6 billion in real estate development projects. In total, she has led the execution of projects in multiple asset classes, including multifamily, office, retail, mixed use, industrial, education, adaptive reuse, and master planned communities approximating $16 billion in real estate value to date. She thrives on challenges, thinks creatively, anchors analysis with data, and employs collaboration to execute every project she undertakes. She possesses the ability to think big picture and break it down into executable parts which enables short term execution and long-term strategic planning. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania earning a Certificate of Real Estate Development and Finance from The Wharton School and a Masters of Science in Historic Preservation, and a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Miami, where she graduated first in her class.

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