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    • May 9, 2018 | 11:00 PM
      2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
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    • Breast Cancer Awareness Month at The Miami Design District

      In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Miami Design District is pleased to host a series of five events taking place throughout the neighborhood, including its fifth annual Fashion Strikes Cancer benefit, in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Fashion Strikes Cancer was founded and led by fashion visionary, stylist and breast cancer survivor, Angeles Almuna, to commemorate her battle with cancer and to give hope to all those who are suffering, have suffered, or have lost a loved one to cancer. This year, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of Fashion Strikes Cancer, the neighborhood is proud to host a series of five events set to take place throughout the month of October in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The series of events kicked off with a stellar Sunset Yoga class which took place on October 1st in Palm Court led by Ahana Yoga founder, Dawn Feinberg, alongside Angeles where guests enjoyed a special performance by Jahzel Dotel with ticket proceeds benefiting the BCRF. In addition, the neighborhood’s iconic Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, has been and will continue to be illuminated in pink each night for the entire month. In solidarity with Breast Cancer research, the neighborhood is also turning its Styling Suite pink, showcasing pink items donated by various participating retailers throughout the Miami Design District. Moreover, on Sunday, October 18th, the Miami Design District in conjunction with Rapha Racing, hosted an MDD x Rapha “Braking Cancer” Bike Ride at 6:30AM in Jungle Plaza. All riders received a satin pink ribbon along with gift packages with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the BCRF. Coming up this week on Saturday, October 24th, Miami Design District and Rapha will join forces once again to host a Fashion Strikes Cancer 5K Run/Walk. Taking place at 6:30AM in Jungle Plaza, tickets are available for $5 each with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the BCRF. To RSVP, please visit the link HERE. Lastly, Miami Design District closes out Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Thursday, October 29th at 7PM with its 5th Annual Fashion Strikes Cancer Benefit, which will take place in Palm Court. If you wish to help support the cause in raising funds throughout the month, please visit the link HERE.

    • Where Are the Hispanic Executives?

      Many organizations have prioritized workplace equality and access to high-paying, executive level jobs for minority groups in recent years. Several 2020 presidential candidates are putting forward plans to increase minority executive positions by diversifing corporate boards, punishing companies with poor diversity track records and increasing funding for minority-led business institutions. However, according to our own 2019 analysis, white men still hold the majority of executive positions such as CEOs, management directors and financial officers. As economic and communication scholars, we looked at Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employment data for executives at large and mid-sized companies. Our analysis shows that white men sit in 65.5% of these high-paying boardroom positions while representing only 38% of the U.S. workforce. The dominance of white male executives, however, is by no means evenly distributed across the country. Our report tracks representation among Hispanic executives city by city. Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: JD Swerzenski, University of Massachusetts Amherst Get the data C-suite inequality As of 2019, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S. at 18.3%. Statistics from 2017 show that Hispanics make up 17% of the labor force. However, they occupy only 4.3% of executive positions in the U.S. Hispanic representation is roughly equal to that of black executives and somewhat lower than Asian American executives. The gap between labor force and executive representation is wider among Hispanics than any other group. Executive jobs offer salary – US$155,586 on average – benefits and job security that simply are not available in lower level positions. They also offer the power to drive initiatives, including those focused on diversity. Where do the Hispanic executives work? Pittsburgh is the only large city in the U.S. to nearly reach equity. Hispanics comprise 1.3% of the city’s executive workforce and 1.4% of its overall labor market. That low overall representation is a trend among cities with the best equity. Four out of five American cities with the most equitable representation – Pittsburgh, Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati - have Hispanic populations of less than 4%. These findings fall in line with our earlier research showing that minority representation in executive positions is highest in areas with the lowest minority population. The final city in the top five, Miami, stands out for its high representation of Hispanic executives at 24.6% and high percentage of Hispanics in the overall workforce at 44.1%. Miami is also an anomaly among other large cities with Hispanic work forces such as Houston – 43% overall labor force and 10.3% executive representation – and Los Angeles – 34.2% labor force and 8% executive. Driving Miami’s high representation is likely the city’s strong economic connections to Central and South America, which favors Hispanic cultural background and Spanish language capability among top executives. This is especially true with regards to the many media-based companies located in Miami, such as Telemundo, which targets consumers throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: JD Swerzenski, University of Massachusetts Amherst Trends at the bottom So how do things look at the other end of the scale? New York City has the largest Hispanic population in the U.S with 2.3 million individuals. They comprise of 22.6% of the city’s total workforce, including 28.7% of its service workers and 40% of its laborer positions. But only 4.5% of New York’s executives are Hispanic. New York matters because of the large number of Hispanics who live there and the relative power of its executive positions. In 2019, 73 of the Fortune 500 companies were headquartered in the city, among them Citibank, Verizon, MetLife and many other major firms. It’s unlikely that there is one key factor behind the lack of Hispanic representation in these jobs. One possibility is an entrenched corporate culture in New York dominated by white male executives. Further, unlike in Miami, Hispanic cultural and linguistic backgrounds are perhaps less valued in these boardrooms. This, however, shouldn’t eliminate the possibility for change. New York’s trade workers – a group once dominated by white men – now includes 21.3% Hispanic workers, one of the highest rates in the country. Efforts to develop Hispanic executive candidates similar to Miami’s youth entrepreneurship program or Pittsburgh’s business incubator program centered in the city’s Hispanic Beechwood neighborhood might lead to greater diversification of New York’s corporate offices. Rounding out the bottom five are San Jose, Salt Lake City, Hartford and Oklahoma City, all cities with at least 10% Hispanic representation in the labor force. Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: JD Swerzenski, University of Massachusetts Amherst Get the data Diversity matters Research indicates that boardroom diversity can positively impact both profitability and job satisfaction within companies, in particular by bridging the divide between company executives and lower level employees. With recent reports showing stagnation in the overall number of Hispanic executives nationwide, it’s particularly important for cities and companies to consider what more can be done to bring more Hispanics into the boardroom. Cities might bolster Hispanic business participation and entrepreneurship by helping build business incubator programs, supporting Hispanic business development groups and promoting educational opportunities at area universities. To make change Hispanic workers need to be employed in positions that feed into to the highest company levels. Currently, 8% of all managerial and 6% of all professional positions in the U.S. are Hispanic, far below their labor market share of 17%. Overriding these discrepancies means acknowledging cultural blindspots that often exclude Hispanic workers, such as non-Latino employers recognizing unconscious biases in their communication styles and providing opportunities to professionally use Hispanic cultural competencies. These efforts are important nationwide. However, they apply critically in cities such as Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix, all cities with large and deep-rooted Hispanic populations where representation is lagging. By JD Swerzenski. Ph.D. Candidate in Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst. | Donald T. Tomaskovic-Devey. Professor of Sociology; Director, Center for Employment Equity, University of Massachusetts Amherst. | Eric Hoyt Research Director of the Center for Employment Equity, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Special thanks to The Conversation for this story and images. You can support the independent network which provides news by donating today.

    • Scientists at Work: Uncovering The Mystery of When & Where Sharks Give Birth

      If you have a toddler, or if you encountered one in the last year, you’ve almost certainly experienced the “Baby Shark” song. Somehow, every kid seems to know this song, but scientists actually know very little about where and when sharks give birth. The origins of these famous baby sharks are still largely a mystery. Many of the large iconic shark species – like great whites, hammerheads, blue sharks and tiger sharks – cross hundreds or thousands of miles of ocean every year. Because they’re so wide-ranging, much of sharks’ lives, including their reproductive habits, remains a secret. Scientists have struggled to figure out precisely where and how often sharks mate, the length of their gestation, and many aspects of the birthing process. I am a Ph.D. student studying shark ecology and reproduction and am on a team of researchers hoping to answer two important questions: Where and when do sharks give birth? In need of innovation Until very recently, the technology to answer these questions did not exist. But marine biologist James Sulikowski, a professor at Arizona State University and my research mentor, changed that. He developed a new satellite tag called the Birth-Tag with the help of the technology company Lotek Wireless. He has no stake in the company. Using this new satellite tag, our team is working to uncover where and when tiger sharks give birth and is demonstrating a proof of concept for how scientists can do the same for other large shark species. The Birth-Tag is a small, egg-shaped device that we insert into the uterus of a pregnant shark where it will remain dormant and hidden among the fetal sharks throughout pregnancy. This kind of tag has never before been used on sharks, but similar implanted tags have been used to figure out the birthing locations of terrestrial mammals, such as deer, for decades with great success. When a tagged mother shark gives birth, the tag will be expelled alongside the babies and float to the sea surface. Once it senses dry air, the tag transmits its location to a passing satellite, which then sends that location and time of transmission back to our lab. As soon as we download this information, we know where and when that shark gave birth. After years of fine-tuning this new technology, we launched the first phase of the study in December of 2019 and began deploying the tags. Once the study was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees at both Arizona State University and the University of Miami, as well as the Bahamian government, we set out to find some tiger sharks. To do this, our team of researchers from the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab and the Shark Research and Conservation Program at the University of Miami led by marine biologist Neil Hammerschlag, traveled to the crystal-clear waters of Tiger Beach off Grand Bahama Island to tag tiger sharks. Tiger sharks are large and powerful predators. Getting close enough for a check-up is not easy. Tanya Houppermans Up close with an apex predator Tiger Beach is a hot spot for female tiger sharks of many different life stages, including large pregnant individuals. These pregnant females may be aggregating in the warm, calm waters of Tiger Beach to take refuge and speed up their gestation. The high number of pregnant sharks in this small area makes finding one much easier, but actually catching and bringing a 10-foot-plus shark to the boat is no easy task. We fish for the sharks using drumlines, and it can take several hours to safely catch, pull in by hand, and secure one of these powerful creatures next to the boat. Once we catch a female tiger shark, we first take several length and girth measurements to get an idea of her general health and to see if she is sexually mature. Then we check for bite marks, which are evidence of a recent mating event. After we collect this baseline information, we rotate her upside down to coax her into a trance-like state called tonic immobility. Tonic immobility is a natural reflex in many sharks that induces a state of physical inactivity. This keeps the powerful shark calm and still for the most exciting part of the workup, the part where my experience comes into play: the pregnancy check. A not-so-routine ultrasound. Tanya Houppermans Expecting Just like the ultrasounds used on humans, we use a mobile ultrasound machine to figure out if a shark is expecting. I put on a pair of goggles that allow me to see everything the ultrasound sees, lean over the side of the boat, and place the probe onto the upside down shark’s abdomen. The image is usually fuzzy at first as water splashes over the shark and up onto the boat. The team holds the shark still as I slowly maneuver the probe along her belly. Then, if she’s pregnant, something magical happens. Wriggling baby tiger sharks, up to 40 of them packed tightly together inside their mother’s womb, appear in front of my eyes. The image also appears on a screen held by another team member on the boat, and everyone cheers as they gather around to take a peek into the secret world of unborn sharks. We spy on them as they pump fluid through their still-developing gills, and we watch in awe as they wiggle around, blissfully unaware that anything extraordinary is happening outside in the world. Once we have enough data on the approximate size of the offspring – which gives us an idea of how far along the pregnancy is – it’s time to tag the mama shark. As I hold the probe as still as possible to keep a visual of the shark’s internal anatomy, Dr. Sulikowski takes the Birth-Tag and uses a custom-designed applicator to carefully insert it into the uterus through the urogenital opening. No surgery required, the tagging procedure is complete in a matter of minutes. Once the tag is inside the uterus, we rotate the shark upright to wake her and release her back to the open ocean. I am filled with hope as I watch her swim gracefully away to continue her pregnancy, with a stow-away Birth-Tag hidden among her unborn offspring. These apex predatory sharks are important to ecosystems around the world. Tanya Houppermans Solving the mystery Last December, we deployed the first Birth-Tags on three pregnant tiger sharks. For tiger sharks, pregnancy is thought to last 12-16 months, but researchers have little in the way of hard data. Since these tagged sharks ranged from recently mated to mid-gestation, an added bonus of this study is that it might help refine estimates of the length of pregnancy for this species. Although we work in The Bahamas, a shark sanctuary where it is illegal to kill sharks, tiger sharks migrate extensively. As such, each tagged shark will likely spend time outside of The Bahamas in unprotected waters where she will have to navigate carefully to avoid interaction with fishing gear. Tiger sharks are considered near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and their populations are currently in decline. The data we gain from this first round of tags will give us and policymakers information that could inform future protections for this species. We are currently waiting to receive a notification from our online ARGOS satellite system that will alert us that one of our sharks has given birth. When that happens, we will be the first in the world to know, in close to real time, where and when tiger sharks give birth. Many species of shark are threatened with extinction, and understanding their reproductive cycles is key to the effective conservation of these ecologically important and beautiful creatures. Using the Birth-Tag, we are at the cusp of unlocking this information about tiger sharks and will hopefully show that this can be done for many more species. We are planning future expeditions to deploy many more Birth-Tags, but for now, we’ll just have to keep singing the “Baby Shark” song as we patiently wait for our first glimpse into the private lives of these incredible creatures. By Hannah Verkamp. PhD Student in Marine Biology, Arizona State University. Special thanks to The Conversation for this story and images. 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