Former Mayor of Miami
A force in local, state, and national politics for nearly three decades, the Honorable Manny Diaz was first elected mayor of Miami in 2001, having never before held elected office. He was re-elected to a second term in 2005 and was chosen to lead the United States Conference of Mayors as its president in 2008. Diaz came to public prominence as the lawyer representing the Florida-based relatives of Elián González, who in 2000 was at the center of a custody battle between his aunts and his Cuban father. Read More >
In two terms as mayor, speaker Manny Diaz transformed Miami from a poor, crime-ridden, and economically stagnant city to a flourishing metropolis with a hurtling skyline. In this fascinating keynote based on his new book, Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time, Diaz explains how he set out to transform the city’s brand by attracting the best and brightest to its shores and by returning the sizzle to hot spots such as South Beach, which had fallen by the wayside. His strategy? Constant innovation. The public will always look for the next big thing, he says, so corporations, organizations, cities, and governments must always reinvent themselves in order to stay in the limelight. Diaz—who is frequently approached by mayors from across the nation about re-branding their cities—will share his strategies and insights with you to help you successfully transform your brand.
As a child, Manny Diaz listened to his parents and grandparents, who’d fled Castro’s Cuba, ask themselves how they’d lost their country. Years later, as Elián González’s lawyer, he watched Miami’s non-Hispanic population go up in arms demanding that “Cubans go home.” Determined to make the US his home—as well as that of the rest of Miami’s Hispanic population—Diaz took action to transform his city into a hospitable place for its exceptionally diverse population... and succeeded by a landmark. Today, mayors from across the country turn to him for advice on how to civically engage their Hispanic constituents. In this keynote, speaker Manny Diaz reveals the “New America” as exemplified by his city: one that owes its ethnic diversity, in large part, to its Hispanic population. He is in a unique position to explain the significance of the Hispanic vote and the problems with our immigration system and does so intelligently and insightfully.
At the beginning of Mayor Manny Diaz’s tenure, Miami did not contain a single green building. Today it boasts 200. In this timely keynote, Diaz explains how he galvanized the business world into investing into green buildings and development by providing them real financial incentives. After having gathered experts from around the world, he explained how green buildings would yield higher rents, enhance tenant retention, save on operational costs, and increase resale value—essentially, he showed businesses how their investments would make “business sense” while helping save the planet. Speaker Manny Diaz tells audiences how to make green development a priority where it was previously nonexistent.
“When Buenos Aires sneezes, Miami catches a cold,” Diaz says to point to his city’s deep-rooted ties with its southern neighbors. As the single-most diverse city in the US, Miami attracts a sky-high amount of Central and South American business (virtually every Central and South American municipality is represented by its own bank in the city). As such, Miami is the center of commerce uniting North and South America. In this keynote, speaker Manny Diaz discusses the convergence of South and Central America’s economy with our own, as well Cuba’s economic future and the emerging opportunities it represents. As an expert on North and South America’s economies, Diaz, who named Miami “the translator to the Americas,” is himself a translator to both regions.
"I enjoyed the presentation. What impressed me most about Manny was his history and that of his family. As a result of this, his strong moral, ethical, and family values inspired and drove him to be the mayor of Miami for two terms. An immigrant with not enough money to make a phone call grew up to clean the streets one block at a time. I can relate to this a lot because of my own family history and upbringing. His ability to look past his own status or role in order to become a pillar in his family and community is what I want for myself the most."
"Manny Diaz is an exceptional leader. He has overcome many obstacles in his life that have helped push him and inspire him to leave a legacy. His most impressive quality was his initiative. He didn't wait for people to come to him with issues; he went out and found the issues himself. He wanted to be out there and know what was happening in his community and seek alternatives to fix it. He pushed for things to happen."