Voter Accessibility, the 2006 Transportation Survey for the
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's 2006 Transportation
Summit, the 2007 Miami-Dade Expressway Authority Market
Analysis, and the 2008 Education Compact for the City of Miami
Gardens and the Miami-Dade County School Board.
At 25 she quit her job in South Florida, picked up and moved to San Diego,
California to be with a woman she fell in love with and spoken to for over a
year. Nov 8th Prop 8 was on the ballot and the presidential election was
right around the corner.
“I lost my mind for a while (lol), met someone who lived in
California, fell in love, and had everything going (in my
career), but felt I had not had a life for as long as I can
remember.” - Vanessa Brito
“I didn't really know I was going to move to California. I got there on
September 11th and got married on September 11th. Because we don’t
have that right (to get married) readily available, the moment
I got to California and was in love, the opportunity pushed us and didn't give
us the chance to think about it. If there was equality across the board,
people would jump at the opportunity to it. Getting married was the best
experience of my life. The downside was my mom and sister being
disappointed that I didn't tell them beforehand.”
Brito experienced her first taste of leadership &
recognition in the second grade. “I was always very to
myself… I was a chubby little lesbian girl. I would sit at
the end of the cafeteria table alone because everyone
would cheat off my papers and I didn't like that. The
“It is amazing seeing Vanessa trying to save the world and bringing
people together while most of us are acting to protect our own
interest, finding ways to create uneven halves. said Natacha
Abreu, Director of Business Solutions Strategy and Sales Operation
for Xerox Distributor Group.
"I have learned from her that nothing in the world will be more
gratifying than favoring others. She has changed my life” added
Brito is just beginning to blossom as a community
leader, woman and role model. The education
she received in school, at home and in life so far
has served well as a foundation to do great things
Like many movers & shakers, Brito also has her critics, and is
working on not over-committing herself, not burning bridges in the
community, knowing when & how to trust the right people and
The experience of having Brito on the board of directors of Unity
Coalition|Coalicion Unida, writing for Ambiente Magazine, watching
her lead & inspire others and getting to know her personal, private
& vulnerable side has led me to the conclusion that all sides are
right in what they say of her. She does manipulate what she says
for the greater good. She does convince you to work with her cause
with a winning smile, promise and vision of what can be. She does
seem to be to good to be true. But so far, her actions & results for
clients, causes and loved ones greatly outweigh any shortfalls or
overly zealous approach she may have or take.
www.ambiente.us FEBRUARY | FEBRERO 2010
VANESSA BRITO | Leading the LGBT Community by Example
By Herb Sosa
It is 3:30 am, and Brito is already running around here West Miami-Dade home, getting
ready for her most recent trip to help out with the Haitian Relief Effort. This time it is into
the Dominican Republic to escort supplies & to help out with coordinating volunteers &
medical teams on the ground and en route to Port Au Prince later in the day. She is on
3 hours sleep, Cuban coffee and her never ending drive and perseverance to help
those that need it the most. Next stop - a face to face with the Dept. of Health. No
Puedo (I can’t take it) she texts me, but anyone who has ever worked with Vanessa
knows she not only can handle it, but thrives on the pressure and challenges of
making a difference.
Born in Miami Beach to a Portuguese mother & Spaniard father, Brito learned early on
about leadership, carving your own path and figuring things out on your feet. Family,
especially her mom, aunt & sister, are vital to her life and strength.
She has her B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from Florida International
University. During her five year tenure with the FIU Metropolitan Center, she
served as the FIU Project Manager for the Miami-Dade County Metropolitan
Planning Organization quarterly and annual newsletters as well their
Citizen's Guide to Transportation. Ms. Brito
has also served as the Project Manager
for the 2006, 2007, and 2008 City of Miami
EITC Outreach Campaigns, the 2006
Broward County Exit Poll on Hispanic
teachers were apparently watching me, and all of a sudden, the room went
silent and one of the teachers came up to me with a microphone, pointing
out the kids all should look up to, and they gave me a stuffed green
dinosaur- I still have it, love it… it was my first symbol of recognition. It still
feels the same way every time I am recognized. Even though I was ands
still am very shy in front of crowds.”
Vanessa currently serves as a Board Member on the Miami-Dade
Vanessa is responsible for designing methodology and
managing public opinion surveys and all market research
projects undertaken by MYami Maketing Inc. She also takes
the lead on all strategic planning and marketing
development for all clients.
|County Climate Change Task Force and the Miami-Dade County Equal
Opportunity Board. In addition, she is a contributing writer to Miami.com and
Miami.com en Español, committee member to SAVE Dade Foundation's
Communications and Marketing Committee, a Federal Club member of the
Human Rights Campaign, a host committee member of the "Black
Crossroads" at the Historical Museum of South Florida, Advisory Board
member to the Latin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and board member of
Unity Coalition|Coalición Unida.
Most recently, Brito took the lead for Unity Coalition|
Coalición Unida in a Haitian Relief Effort of donations
& leadership following their devastating Earthquake in
January 2010 which claimed over 200,000 lives and
As a board member of the leading Latino|Hispanic gay civil-rights nonprofit
initiative, offering leadership on issues that concern Latino|Hispanic LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and other minority groups across the
U.S., she and others knew they had to help out and act fast. Within hours of
the news, Brito was on the phone & speed texting, pulling together her
resources, clients, friends & community to organize a collection point that
following weekend. The result was overwhelming, mushrooming into 5
drop off sites, a collection truck at Neat Stuff, a Miami are non-profit that Brito
is also on the board of, and a steady stream of volunteers, donations and
emotions all day. She didn’t stop there. Brito continued her leadership role
to help Haiti by establishing relationships with several airlines to get the
much needed medical & food supplies to the island – even when other well
established organizations had their items grounded in warehouses in the U.
S. – she managed to figure out how to expedite the process, develop instant
partnerships and get the job done.
To date, Brito has supervised multiple containers full of hundreds of
thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies, wheelchairs, walker,
crutches, surgical materials, medicines, food & emergency housing,
as well as flying to the island herself on various missions to escort the
donations, assuring their successful delivery to those in need. She
has assisted the U.N. , U.S. & Haitian governments, along with
various other agencies, to secure volunteers and their travel & safety
needs – All this with a perfectly motionless Mohawk, black framed
glasses and constant and captivating smile.
Consistency and repetition are Key. Being genuine
and sticking to your mission is paramount –
no matter how big or small an organization may be.
I have been very fortunate in life, but I have also
been very unlucky, incapacitated, unhappy and
hurt buy others actions. If I can help one person feel
better about themselves, weather by something
I said, something I was able to give them, whatever,
that motivates me most.
Helping my mom. She has serious physical
challenges and I help her on a daily basis.
She has taught me everything about strength,
leadership & love.
“As an Haitian myself, I will never able to say thank you
to you and your team down in Florida. These life saving
drugs you help put on that plane is priceless. We as a
nation have a long way to go, but because of people like
you guys; we hope for a better future. Now I am crying;
no time to cry, a lot to get done. Thanks.”
- Marc Payen of NYC, who works for the U.S. Housing Dept.
coordinating a good relationship and communications
between French speaking missions within the UN.
The Brito Effect
I look into the future, five, ten or maybe fifteen years from now, and I ask myself, over a little
“cafecito”, of course, where will the local LGBT movement be? What will it look like? Who will lead
it? True leaders are hard to find, mainly because it’s a tiring fight for justice and equality. Plus, it’s
a movement that relativity few respect. Sure the younger generation is more ‘open’ to gays, but it
doesn’t matter what age group is prepared to run the local government. After all, politics will
always remain politics, people are bought and sold, and though once in a while we as a
community of others are given a little justice, it’s as easily taken away with the next election. But
then…then I remember, I haven’t included the ‘Brito Effect’. And that my LGBT friends will make all
MIAMI RIVER INN
Miami Beach GAY
April 17, 2010
|“Neat Stuff is proud to have had one of its own board members
Vanessa Brito, step forth and take the lead in our community’s
collaborative effort to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
Vanessa’s courage, tenacity, and endless energy ensured the
successful outcome of the Haiti Relief Effort and undoubtedly
culminated in our increased ability to ship much needed assistance.”
- Franklin Monjarrez,
Executive Director, Neat Stuff Inc
"Vanessa is undoubtedly one of the best
things that’s ever happened to UC|CU.
Her leadership skills, teamwork efforts
and integrity are untouchable...
She is an Angel in disguise with lipstick!"
- Dahlia Canes,
a founding board member
of Unity Coalition|Coalición Unida
“While some focus on maintaining
grass-root efforts by focusing on
keeping those who have been
active engaged, Vanessa goes a
step further by trying to inspire
others to join in the cause and
inspiring those who are involved
in a particular cause to collectively
assist with other causes. This was
most evident by her mobilizing the
LGBT community to assist the relief
efforts in Haiti, something others might have simply
dismissed as ‘not our cause.’”
- Florida State Representative Richard Steinberg
The “Brito Effect” is our future. What is it? Simply the political works and aspirations of
one openly gay, proud Lesbian that has more fuel, stamina, and determination in her
engine than a Canadian train traveling from Canada to Moscow, stopping in Florida then
back again non-stop. And those of us who know her know she’ll beat that train hands
down, and be back to share a little “cafecito con un pastelito de guayaba” with her friends
before the train ever reaches its destination.
What is it that distinguishes Ms. Brito from every other leader in the LGBT community?
What is it that drives this twenty-six year old,
highly skilled, and gifted woman, from giving her soul to the egalitarianism that all citizens
were once promised in the United States Constitution? Why has she sacrificed most of
her youth forgoing her own personal needs, her own individual desires for some
superficial instant gratification that Lesbians seem so fond of? Indeed relinquishing that
particular spice of drama is practically unheard of. And for what? What is the alternative
that Vanessa Brito opted for instead?
A cause that cry’s out her vision, that calls her name, that invites her to struggle for justice,
to request and demand equality for all people, for everyone that has been
disenfranchised not just her own special, exclusive interest
group. - Maria A. Hernandez
Another group Vanessa has been very involved with locally has been
SAVE Dade. Established in 1993, SAVE accomplishes its mission
through education initiatives, outreach, grassroots organizing, and
advocacy. Executive Director CJ Ortuño said "Vanessa Brito is at the
forefront of LGBT political strategy. I've had the fortunate opportunity to
work side by side with her on two SAVE Dade projects. Vanessa is one
of our pillars of support working to ensure the success of programs
such as our Speakers' Bureau Training and Woman's Committee.
We will look to Vanessa to provide her expertise in political messaging
and media essentials as we develop and launch a Speakers' Bureau
to gain the support of the movable middle voters. In order to achieve
success in this program, she is working with GLAAD and other
organizations to develop the core curriculum to be introduced to
As a Woman's Committee member we will rely on Vanessa's sphere of
influence as the committee aims to develop women leaders in political
advocacy. With a goal of engaging more women, Vanessa will assist
with the financial sustainability of the project and its intended
programming to achieving its intended outcome.
SAVE Dade's future depends on its ability to engage a wide variety of
leaders, most importantly women leaders. Vanessa's actions will pave
the way for younger lesbians to get involved in the political process and
see the LGBT movement as a place that is worthy of their time and
energy. Without their help we extend the time line for achieving equality,
Vanessa is doing her part to ensuring that we reach that day quicker
and more efficiently than anticipated."
Brito's humbleness, relentless energy and drive, empower her and
all around her to do more. Expect much from her - including many
more projects & ideas, a more visible leadership in the LGBT
community, calls & texts & new ideas at all hours, and probably
being our U.S. President someday, but not until she turns 35!
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