Previously, Saif served as the Vice President for Engagement at Florida International University (FIU) and served as the founding Senior Advisor for Innovation & Technology to City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s Venture Miami team. Through his role at FIU’s Office of Engagement, Saif built transformational partnerships for the university, generating more than $70M to fuel institutional impact for students, alumni, community members, and key stakeholders. In addition, through Saif’s role as the Senior Advisor for Innovation & Technology in Mayor Suarez’s Venture Miami team, Saif worked with scores of companies and funds that have relocated to Miami, advising on several projects in the frontier technology domain in support of Mayor Suarez’s #MiamiTech vision as the ‘capital of capital.’
Saif has been recognized with several prestigious distinctions, including: a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a German Marshall Fund scholar, an MCCJ Silver Medallion winner, and an Inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellow at Miami Dade College.
Saif is a frequently sought-after advisor and board member to venture and private equity backed companies. He is a speaker and writer on subjects ranging from innovation, talent, American competitiveness, the #FutureOfWork and web 3.0.
Prior to his roles at FIU and with Mayor Francis Suarez, Saif served as the founding Executive Director for City Year Miami, a national service program that unites young adults from diverse backgrounds for a demanding year of full-time community service. Saif earned his bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law.
Amira serves as Chief Financial Officer leading all aspects of budgeting and long-term vision. She previously served as founding member of Emerge USA’s predecessor organization, Center for Voter Advocacy. She has dedicated the last decade of her life to a number of civic ventures, including having served on the organizing committee of Generation Engage in South Florida, a launch advisor to TurboVote in Miami and a founding committee member of City Year Miami’s Annual Women’s Leadership lunch. In addition to her civic work, she has spent considerable time raising funds for health-related charities including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. She served as board member of Girl Scouts of Tropical South Florida and Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. She earned her A.A. from Miami-Dade College and her B.A. from FIU.
Caryn Lavernia serves as Vice President and Senior Partner at Lab22c where she supports partners in scaling teams, enhancing culture, and building meaningful partnerships in Miami. She previously served as Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement at Florida International University where she led on community coalition-building and strategic partnerships on behalf of the university. Prior to FIU, she helped lead City Year Miami from its founding in 2008 through years of exponential growth and major leadership transitions. A Miami native, Caryn invests her free time in the community that raised her: she is a founding board member of Genesis Hopeful Haven; serves as VP of the board of Global Ties Miami; and is on the board of Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center. Caryn is a member of Connect Florida Class VIII, Miami Fellows Class VIII, and is a two-time Panther having earned her Master’s in Public Administration from FIU’s Green School of International & Public Affairs and her bachelor’s in science from the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Caryn served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer and is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Affairs at Florida International University.
Tania Alonso currently serves as Chief of Staff at Lab22c, leading firm operations and the curation of meaningful events. Tania has amassed 15 years of experience in strategic partnerships, operations, and event production in Miami. She previously worked as Operations Manager at Florida International University’s Office of Engagement and led the FIU Frost Art Museum’s membership program. She served as an AmeriCorps Member at City Year New York and subsequently served in multiple operations and development roles at City Year Miami. Tania earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and lives in Miami with her two beautiful boys and husband, Juary.