Stephanie Severino: a “purebred” Dominican who transcends in Miami

Leaving the country just when she was beginning to enjoy her adolescence, which meant going out with her school friends in her native Santiago de los Caballeros, far from leading her to sink into a rebelliousness typical of her age, catapulted her to continue a process of professional training that today has served as a basis for her to transcend in North American territory.

She is Stephanie Severino, a “purebred” Dominican who, after studying journalism at the University of Miami, went on to work as a news and weather reporter for the Univision network, and to form part of the staff of anchors of the famous program Despierta America.

For the past three years, the Santiago native, proud of her Cibao origin, has been successfully working as director of communications for the Mayor’s Office of the City of Miami, in the State of Florida, after having successfully completed her work experience as deputy press secretary of Miami-Dade County since 2014, under the administration of Carlos A. Giménez.

In granting an exclusive interview to Diario Libre, she says that she arrived in Miami at the age of 16, hand in hand with her mother and that, having spent almost 20 years after leaving her beloved homeland, she is convinced that the decision made by her progenitor opened up a universe of opportunities that she never imagined.

“Stephanie is a young woman with many dreams, who has been living in the United States for almost 20 years. I am originally from Santiago, since I was very young I worked in the media in Santiago, but at the age of 16 I had to come here and, although I miss my homeland very much, it was also the best thing that could have happened in my life, because I have been able not only to develop in many areas that I would never have imagined, but I have had the opportunity to grow and learn,” she says.

Shortly after arriving to live in that city, she smilingly expresses that she entered the University of Miami, where she studied journalism, and a few months before graduating she was able to start the job she always dreamed of, being a journalist and television presenter.

“I remember that since I was a little girl, in Santiago, I used to watch Univision, I imagined, I would take a brush and in front of the mirror I would act as a TV anchor, and I had the opportunity to start at Univision at a very young age, at 20 years old I started as a producer, working a little bit of each division, to learn everything and I ended up on the air as a reporter and anchor of the weather segment”, recalls this charming brunette. She worked at Univision from 2009 to 2014.

Miami spokesperson

The experience she gained in her duties at the Miami-Dade Mayor’s Office led her to be nominated as the official spokesperson for the City of the Sun, the coastal paradise where millions of tourists vacation every year.

And she summarizes with brief and heartfelt words what has been her passage through the public administration and the contact with prominent figures of the political activity of that city, especially, working for three years with Francis Suarez, the young mayor of the city.

“Knowing how public services are managed here, a budget of billions of dollars and the operation of the 34 cities in the county, has been a great learning experience,” he says with satisfaction.

And he says more: “We are seen as an example, who wouldn’t want to live here in Miami? There is a saying: ‘We live where you vacation. It’s like a paradise. For me it’s not only a challenge, I can plan my days and when the sun comes out everything can change. You have to be very versatile, fluid and flexible, and although it’s a challenge, at the same time you feel the satisfaction of a job well done.

Severino’s ideas flow and she is emphatic in highlighting the commitment she has with the city, especially in the articulation of the communication strategy, a fundamental tool to maintain the quality of information among residents and visitors.

“Knowing that I have a commitment to this community to inform them about the transparency of processes, disseminate public policies that impact positively or negatively to the population, knowing that this is my main task, fills me with honor,” she exalts.

Mayor Suarez, for Stephanie, is one of the most dynamic people she says she has met and a very capable young man. He is driving a movement for Miami to remain strong on the map as a tourist destination, as well as an incubator in terms of technology, so that large financial centers are established in that city, to be the “capital of capital”, to be the Wall Street of the south, that’s what he wants, and what better vision than that, he really is very visionary and that fills me with pride that in the future say that I was part of that team led by Mayor Francis Suarez. He is the mayor that a city like this needs.

Tests of fire

Her time in this public position has led her to face pressing situations that put her to the test as an information professional every day. She cites the evacuation process of part of the city as a result of the impact of Hurricane Irma, the Zika virus and now, everything that the coronavirus pandemic has entailed.

“In fact, being the person who was at the mayor’s side when the first positive case of COVID-19 infection in the city of Miami occurred, and communicating it to the press, were undoubtedly very relevant moments with a high degree of responsibility”.

This week, the Governor of Florida put an end to the curfews and the obligation to use masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, was the news that went around the world last Tuesday.

“It’s really been a strong process, like a roller coaster. During this time of the pandemic we have produced more public service announcements than have ever been done in the history of this public office, between videos, flyers, mailings, I mean, this has been, without a doubt, the biggest ordeal I’ve been through in this position.”

Her family

At this stage of her life, Stephanie Severino defines herself as a lucky woman, as she is the mother of two children: a seven-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. She confesses that she recently decided to separate from the father of her children, but despite the breakup, she feels at peace. Her mother lives with her and is the one who supports her with the care of her children.

“I have two treasures that I see and I can’t believe it. A seven-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl, who is my copy, she is very intuitive and, although I recently separated from the father of my children, I was married for eight years. The pillar of my family lives with me and in fact the one I am grateful to and for whom I can be exercising my profession and working as I am doing: my mother”, she concludes with a smile that denotes satisfaction.

Her time in this public position has led her to face pressing situations that put her to the test as an information professional every day. She cites the evacuation process of part of the city, as a result of the impact of Hurricane Irma, the Zika virus and now, everything that the coronavirus pandemic has entailed.

“In fact, being the person who was at the mayor’s side when the first positive case of COVID-19 infection in the city of Miami occurred, and communicating it to the press, were undoubtedly very relevant moments with a high degree of responsibility”.

This week, the Governor of Florida put an end to the curfews and the obligation to use masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, was the news that went around the world last Tuesday.

“It’s really been a strong process, like a roller coaster. During this time of the pandemic we have produced more public service announcements than have ever been done in the history of this public office, between videos, flyers, mailings, I mean, this has been, without a doubt, the biggest ordeal I’ve been through in this position.”
Her family

At this stage of her life, Stephanie Severino defines herself as a lucky woman, as she is the mother of two children: a seven-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. She confesses that she recently decided to separate from the father of her children, but despite the breakup, she feels at peace. Her mother lives with her and is the one who supports her with the care of her children.

“I have two treasures that I see and I can’t believe it. A seven-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl, who is my copy, she is very intuitive and, although I recently separated from the father of my children, I was married for eight years. The pillar of my family lives with me and in fact the one I am grateful to and for whom I am able to practice my profession and work as I am doing: my mother”, she concludes with a smile that denotes satisfaction.

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