The idea for HeartCamp came to Maria de los Angeles at BarCamp Miami in 2009. HeartCamp was subsequently nurtured and organized by Maria and Blanca Stella Mejía. This is a grassroots project. Both Maria and Blanca do this on a volunteer basis as a way of giving back to and building community. We are very grateful to everyone involved in HeartCamp and we hope that other communities will create their own versions of HeartCamp around the world. It’s open source inspiration!
Maria de los Angeles is the den mother of HeartCamp but she couldn’t do it without the help of Blanca, advisers, volunteers, sponsors, speakers and participants. In her spare time, she’s an award-winning freelance wordsmith who writes about all kinds of fun stuff — from sex to pirates, travel, social media, culture, fishing and more on her blog Sex and the Beach. She also writes for various corproate clients and print media, including Florida Sportsman. In 2012, Maria won a grant from Comcast to produce and film short documentaries about Hialeah. Maria is very involved in the South Florida social media scene and loves to bring like-minded people together for sharing and positive growth. A yoga teacher, Maria practices asana but prefers to teach yoga through her writing and actions, so HeartCamp is part of that path. Follow her @vicequeenmaria.
Blanca Stella Mejía is a guiding light for HeartCamp, responsible for helping to make this a reality. Many long hours were put in with Maria at the drawing board (literally), sketching out what HeartCamp could be. Adept at many things techie, she is a wonder woman who helped build the website you are reading, which she kindly hosts on her server space. In addition, Blanca supports HeartCamp by reaching out to potential sponsors, as well as assisting with general event organization and social media monitoring. Blanca works as a Creative Technologist and is a WordPress fanatic. She loves all things digital and social media, the beach, butterflies and rainbows. Blanca is the founder of Mi Caminar blog and co-director of the South Florida LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) chapter. In November 2011, she was awarded “Best Inspirational Blogger” by LATISM at their national conference in Chicago. Follow her @miamishines and @micaminar.
Alex De Carvalho is all kinds of wonderful and a beautiful mind. Over many phone conversations, we picked his brain quite a bit while conceptualizing this event and luckily he had many brain cells to spare. If you get 45 minutes to speak instead of 30, thank Alex for that sage advice. He runs BarCamp in South Florida, leads Social Media Club South Florida and teaches Social Media at the University of Miami. He is also the co-founder and manager of the online medical community VoxMed. Recently, he published Securing The Links as co-author. Follow him @alexdc.
Brenda Leguisamo is real trooper in the community! She’s helping HeartCamp with social media strategies to promote and encourage online discussion before, during and after the event. Brenda is a passionate international & US Hispanic market social entrepreneur, brand leadership social media strategist, trainer, speaker, author and board member. Brenda is founder of SocialBizMembers developing social media event systems to attract business women for success. With over 20 years extensive and diverse sophisticated experience producing seven figure revenue business solutions for Fortune 50 companies to local and international small to medium sized enterprises. Since year 2006, Brenda developed and participated in international social media strategy, training, management and speaking engagements. In 2011 May and November, developed Social Media Strategy where over 700 guest tweets from Women’s Success Summit reached Top Trending Topic Miami. Brenda loves innovations in leadership, personal development, cultural diversity and volunteers as board member for social causes. She survived year 2001 Twin Towers collapse in New York where together with Merrill Lynch leadership training team helped save 250 international new hires. Follow her @BrendaLeguisamo.
Angel Lemus helped design the BarCamp squiggly part of the logo, which was inspired by the colors of the head and crown chakras, purple and blue. He’s also Maria’s brother, but there’s no nepotism involved here, trust us. The poor guy has the unfortunate fate of having to live in Oahu, Hawaii, where he is a freelance web/graphic designer at Koa Digital and a total Apple guru. He is also an Okinawan Karate and Kobudo (weapons) instructor and has a school on the windward side of the island in Kaneohe. Really, you should feel sorry for him. Follow him @kahunafist.
Amanda Stewart designed the heart section of the logo. She rocks as an entrepreneurial business woman who can also build book shelves and landscape a yard like nobody’s business. In her spare time (aka no sleep for the wicked), she has started a new business venture for water sport fanatics. Come on, the girl has gone swimming with sharks! We love her bravado. Visit one of her ventures Print it Quick for the best full color printing in town. Follow her @amandastewart.
Born in Lima, Peru and raised in South Florida, Vanessa is an avid foodie and cultural enthusiast. Growing up in a family of great cooks, it’s where she gets her passion for everything culinary. Vanessa graduated with a degree in Computer Science with a focus on Interactive Media Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and has over 10 years of experience in print design, web development and marketing. She also has over 12 years of experience in the hospitality and food service industry – from catering, hotel and fine dining to event planning. Having founded our HHomemade Chefs Cooking Group and the South Florida Freelance Network, Vanessa knows how to take charge and be an exceptional team leader. Combined with her acute attention to detail and creative sense of direction, Ms. Montes excels as President of Operations at Roho Kitchen. A tasty nugget about Vanessa: Lover of starry nights and color schemes. Perpetual learner. Accomplished foodtographer. Follow her @vanessamontes.
What would we do without Emily? She’s so creative and a media ace to boot. Here’s what she has to say: Emily Taffel is excited to be a media liaison for HeartCamp. She’s got her finger on the pulse of South Florida and she brings over 10 years of public relations experience to the table. She is the owner of South Florida’s newest PR and social media company, Mugsy PR and in her spare time, Emily runs a blog, creates handmade crafts, and cuts a rug after dark with Cupcake Burlesque. Follow her @mugsypr.