Jenni Person has worked as an arts professional and writer for over 25 years, producing projects and fostering the work of emerging, culturally-rooted, and community-engaged artists. Selected organizations include the Loft Theatre; South Florida ArtCenter (now Oolite Arts), where she created Here & Now, Miami’s first commissioning program for locally-based creators; nationally reaching, regionally-rooted artists’ organization committed to social change, Alternate ROOTS; the Workers’ Circle/Arbeter Ring, presenting Yiddish cultural programs; the Guava Rugelach Festival, a music festival she founded celebrating tropical Jewish sound which grew into Next@19th, committed to new Jewish culture; and Live Arts Miami. Currently, she serves as Director of Community Engagement for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. She holds a BA in Drama from Bennington College and MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College
President & Ceo
As President and CEO of the Arts & Business Council of Miami for the past 25 years, Laura Bruney has helped strengthen the cultural community through leadership and board development programs, audience development and marketing initiatives, volunteer programs for the arts and networking and community events. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of Council staff, policy and programs. Ms. Bruney works closely with the governing board to develop and implement the Council's strategic plan, interfaces with the cultural community on behalf of the Council, and is the Council's chief spokesperson.
Carmen Cecilia Rodriguez, M.B.A.
Director of Programs & Events
Carmen Cecilia Rodriguez is an experienced marketing & events professional driven by innovation, creativity, and collaboration. Her passion for building marketing campaigns and operating event logistics can be traced back to when she started working in retail where she played key roles in executing the marketing campaigns, visual merchandising as well as monthly incentive events for loyal customers. It was through these roles that she was inspired to pursue a career in marketing & events. She takes pride in developing her career from when she started as a Marketing Promotions Intern at the Adrienne Arsht Center to now being the new Director of Programs & Events for the Arts & Business Council of Miami. Throughout her career, Carmen has always valued connecting with people therefore she values cultivating partnerships that create long-lasting working relationships wherever she goes. With 7+ years of hands-on experience, Carmen specializes in brand marketing, experiential marketing, event logistics operations and partnership development. Carmen is best known for inspiring teams to think outside the box, innovate and creating win-win scenarios for all parties working towards a common goal. Looking ahead, Carmen aspires to become a leading professional in her field, achieving recognition for her impact in the community, as well as mentoring young professionals to always go after their dreams. In addition to focusing on her professional development, Carmen is also involved in giving back to community volunteering as a Big Sister mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. Outside of the office, Carmen enjoys dancing, listening to music, health & fitness, re-watching Grey’s Anatomy, reading books, and spending time with her quarantine puppy Bailey Boy. Pre-COVID, you could find her at a karaoke bar singing all the SELENA hits or the all-time favorite “Sweet Caroline”.
Maria is a consultant with more than 30 years of marketing, public relations, events and management experience in South Florida and international markets. Her clients have included The Arts & Business Council, The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, ODM Performance Solutions and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. Maria has used her branding and product launch expertise as Marketing Director for Dolphin Mall, Marketing Manager at QUALCOMM Latin America, and Senior Manager, Communications at Discovery Communications, Latin America; all positions held during product launch phase.
Additional key marketing and management roles have included Director of Media Relations at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Assistant Director of Operations at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and most recently Senior Marketing Manager at Shops at Merrick Park. Maria’s community involvement has included The Junior League of Miami and the Arts & Business Council of Miami as well as board positions in Leadership Miami, The American Cancer Society, Dade Heritage Trust, The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and The Rhythm Foundation. Maria is a drummer and dancer and has performed with groups including Venus Rising Women’s Drum and Dance Ensemble and Fusion Gitana. She also served as manager of the 14-member Venus Rising Troupe for 3 years.
Through a life-long interest in what makes us tick, Maria has completed courses including LifeSpring, CoachVille and The Artists Way. With a focus on healing, personal growth and self-expression, Maria has taught drum and dance classes and facilitated drum circles and sound healings. In both corporate and volunteer organization environments she has facilitated sessions on creative goal setting, vision boards, developing mission statements and media interview skills.
Melina De Rose
Melina I. De Rose is a veteran editor and communications specialist with a special love for all things Miami (and for making sure they get promoted!). A longtime resident and FIU grad, De Rose spent 22 years at the South Florida Sun Sentinel in roles such as section editor, department head, social media specialist and web producer. She worked in almost every editorial section of the newsroom – including in the Features, Business and Community News departments – and served as lead editor for high-profile projects. She especially enjoyed working with arts and entertainment stories during her time as Assistant Features Editor. De Rose authored Travel and Sports stories in English and Spanish, and was a script writer for the Sun Sentinel documentary, “The Hidden Hungry,” which premiered at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and earned an Emmy Award nomination. In addition to her work at the Sun Sentinel, De Rose had stints at The Miami Herald, the River Cities Gazette (Miami Springs) and the Austin-American Statesman (Texas). The Argentina native loves music, dancing, literature, art and all Miami sports teams.
Jean is a Programs Specialist with the Arts & Business Council focused on Artburst, Miami’s media hub for the arts; Patent Pro Bono Florida and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. She has lived and worked in Miami and the Beaches since 1990 in wide-ranging roles in the Arts, Hospitality, and the Non-profit sector. Years of collaborating and working with programs, exhibitions, digital marketing, and social media have manifested in a successful content-driven, strategic approach for marketing the Arts. As a practicing visual artist, she shares a studio in the Bird Road Arts District with her husband, Ignacio Font.
Her position with the Arts and Business Council of Miami is the culmination of all of her past experiences of programs, events, marketing, and community-building here in Miami. Jean oversees the Miami Arts Marketing Project (MAMP), Arts Board Match, Artburst Miami, Patent Pro Bono Florida, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA), and continues to look for even more ways to serve our creative community.
Josie Gulliksen is a freelance writer and major arts advocate and enthusiast who loves everything cultural and is excited to live in such a thriving community as Miami. A Miami native, she currently writes for Rundown.com/MIA, Miamionthecheap.com, Citybuzz.com and Design District Magazine. She worked for nearly a decade at Miami Today covering the arts community, calendar of events and restaurant scene. She has also worked in public relations in non-profit for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, in travel and tourism for Newman PR and at the Miami Science Museum. She has written for Florida Travel + Life Magazine and Florida Monthly Magazine.
Official Photographer of Arts Biz
Keith Spurlock has over 30 years’ experience in film photography including darkroom and printing before the digital age. In addition to digital photography and editing, he has edited both film and digital movies. Keith is experienced in IT and web designs too. He has traveled with his many different cameras throughout his life capturing photos and movies all over the world. He started as free-lancer photographer in his high school years in Miami and has covered sporting events, weddings, advertising, model composites, bar-mitzvahs, family portraits, events, street photography and landscapes. Born with a hearing impairment, Keith’s vision has that extra touch that helps him excel in photography.
Suzelle Moya Piloto
Social Media Specialist
Suzelle Moya is a social media specialist for the Arts & Business Council. She has specialized in digital marketing and social media for the past 10 years. At Velocitas Interactive Marketing + Public Relations, she was responsible for all digital marketing initiatives including email marketing, analytics and reporting, paid advertising, website development, and more. As an Art Basel Intern for ArtNexus, she assisted in preparations for their annual gala and maintained guest and vendor lists. At Art Miami LLC, she was the liaison between galleries and the main fair as well as aiding collectors and VIPs. She was a social media specialist for Design Miami.
Manager of Partnerships & Outreach
Angel Refuse is Manger of Partnerships & Outreach for the Arts & Business Council He is an opera and concert singer and an experienced arts professional. Through his professional journey, he has directed interdisciplinary performance experiences, lectured, and performed. He is of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, born and cultivated in Miami. After graduating from Miami Northwestern Senior High School’s PAVAC Program he attended the Boston Conservatory. He has been a singer with Florida Grand Opera since 2011 and been featured on radio interviews and designed art lectures to introduce the public to classical music. In 2020 he co-founded the New Canon Chamber Collective where he develops innovative musical programs hosted at local venues. In addition to focusing on his career path, Angel gives back to the community introducing children to the arts. Outside of the office, Angel is a lover of great food and wine, world travel, and experiencing the best of global culture. You can find him at classical music concerts and opera performances throughout South Florida.
Social Media Editor
Dr. Karine Melissa is the Social Media Editor for the Arts & Business CounciL. She is a college professor with an expertise in organizational leadership and marketing and the Campus Director of South Florida Fashion Academy - Dual Enrollment High School. She has also founded several movements in the South Florida community: LOUD - Love of Urban Design highlighting urban creatives, Boss Babes of South Florida empowering young entrepreneurs, YNG LGCY encouraging young entrepreneurship, and We Think Loud sharing the power of a woman’s voice. As a leader in the community, Karine Melissa has been featured in several publications to include Voyage Miami, Shout Out Miami, Sun Sentinel, Miami New Times, Creative Magazine, Elle Spain, and Luxe Magazine. Some of her recognitions include Legacy Magazine – South Florida’s Top 50 Black Business Leaders and Influencers, Brickell Key Magazine – “Top 20 under 40” Professionals, City of Miami – 3x Recognition for philanthropic work in the community.
To support a full creative life for all, the Arts & Business Council commits to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, and equitable community. We are working to ensure that everyone in Miami-Dade has equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to a healthy and democratic society.
Recognizing that cultural diversity goes beyond language, ethnicity, race, and religion, to include crosscutting characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, and range of ability and age, we commit to build an appreciation for the qualities brought to bear by each individual, organization and business that we engage with. The Arts & Business Council works to advance policies and practices that support diversity, equity, and pluralism in the arts and culture sector in South Florida.
We are better people with the arts in our lives. We are healthier, creative, and actively engaged citizens who feel better about today and more optimistic about tomorrow. In a society struggling to find equity and social justice, the arts improve the quality of South Florida. They unify us and help us understand other cultures—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.
Words matter. So does listening. So does acknowledging that best intentions don’t make up for past insufficiencies. So does learning. So does recognizing injustice. So does accepting responsibility. So does taking action.
The Arts & Business Council is uniquely qualified to help artists, arts professionals and creatives address challenges and opportunities in ways that are widely-inclusive, deeply-thoughtful, extraordinarily-creative, and profoundly-purposeful. We are committed to inclusion, partnering with affinity groups to empower BIPOC and Hispanic arts professionals and artists.
We believe the arts are for everyone. To that end we inspire the arts to build authentic relationships with BIPOC, Hispanics, Disability and LGBTQ communities with Deep Dive Discussions, Failing Forward initiative and Miami Arts Marketing Project.
Audit Supervisor, Kaufman Rossin & Company