Point of View


Former Chief of Staff to Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to serve as executive at Adrienne Arsht Center
August 18, 2009, 5:32 pm
Filed under: At the Center

The Adrienne Arsht Center announced that it has named Suzanna Valdez as Vice President of Advancement. Ms. Valdez comes to the Center after serving as Chief of Staff to City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz for the past two years. In her new role as Vice President of Advancement, Ms. Valdez will be a hands-on, deeply involved fundraiser and will direct the Adrienne Arsht Center’s efforts to broaden its base of financial support among individual and corporate donors. Her work will include building and strengthening the Center’s relationships with the business community, overseeing institutional fundraising activities, and securing major gifts.

“The Adrienne Arsht Center continues to make a positive impact in the Miami community. Now more than ever, individuals, corporations and foundations have an opportunity to make a real difference through their support for the Center, helping to ensure we sustain and maximize that impact. Suzanna’s background in the public, private, and non-profit sectors will provide her with a strong foundation for her work here,” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Prior to her work in the Office of Mayor Diaz, Ms. Valdez gained extensive experience in the Miami arts community as Miami Program Director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. During her tenure there, she managed and directed an annual grants portfolio of $6 million for the Community Partners Program.

Suzanna Ohtli Award 020

Mayor Diaz believes Ms. Valdez’s move to the Adrienne Arsht Center is a natural extension of her work under his administration. “Suzanna’s extensive experience and deep commitment to public service has been instrumental in advancing key policy initiatives for the city as well as advancing the urban and environmental goals of my administration,” said Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. He added that “While I’m delighted that she will continue working to develop our community’s arts and culture agenda at the Arsht Center, she will be greatly missed at City Hall.”

“The Adrienne Arsht Center is the cultural centerpiece of Miami and reflects our community’s commitment to the performing arts,” said Ms. Valdez. “As Vice President of Advancement, I look forward to continuing the elevation of the Center as one of the world’s premier performing arts venues and solidifying Miami’s emergence as an arts and culture destination.”

In addition to her work at Miami City Hall and at Knight Foundation, Ms. Valdez has held several prominent roles within the federal government. She served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor from 1997 to 2000 and worked in The White House as Special Assistant to the President from 1993 to 1997. She also served as a Special Assistant in the office of U.S. Senator Albert Gore, Jr.

Ms. Valdez attended Columbia University School of International Public Affairs, where she earned a master’s degree in public administration. She received her bachelor’s degree in management at the University of Texas at Pan American.

An active participant in the Miami community, Ms. Valdez is currently a member of the board of directors for the Miami Science Museum, as well as the City of Miami Arts and Cultural Commission. She sits on the board of directors for Community Partnership for the Homeless and has previously served as a board member for Breakthrough Miami, a peer-to-peer mentoring program for high school students.

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