Laura Russo begins term as chair of Coral Gables Community Foundation

The Coral Gables Community Foundation is welcomes Laura Russo as the 19th chair of the Coral Gables Community Foundation Board of Directors for the 2020-21 term.

Born and raised in Coral Gables, Russo is an attorney specializing in land use and zoning in Coral Gables and a double graduate of the University of Miami, where she received her law degree. Laura’s firm grew out of the original Coral Gables firm of Mayes, Sutton, Murphy & Russo established in 1952 by Laura’s father, Edmund Russo.

For the past five years, Russo has been an active member of the foundation’s board of directors serving on the Scholarship, Community Giving, Gala and Endowment committees.

Russo is a past president of the Coral Gables Bar Association, the Attorney’s Title Insurance Advisory Board, was Special Master-Code Enforcement for the City of Coral Gables from 2005 to 2010 and served on the board of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce from 2010 to 2015.

The foundation also welcomes DeDe Austin, Erica English and Michael McCarthy to its board of directors.

DeDe Austin is the vice president of Doctors Hospital, Coral Gables, of Baptist Health South Florida. Austin has over 30 years of healthcare experience within the Miami community and has been with Baptist Health for the past 20 years. She has been involved with the American Heart Association’s Miami-Dade Heartwalk, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. She is married with three children.

Erica English has been a member of Katz Barron’s Real Estate Practice Group since 1986.

Erica’s practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions involving a broad range of asset types, including acquisition/assembly, development, construction, leasing and financing transactions. In the past five years, she has been lead counsel on senior mortgage loans totaling more than $1.75 billion; her associations include the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the Miami Finance Forum and Commercial Real Estate Women.

Michael McCarthy is currently vice president of Global Revenue, Shore Excursions, Gaming, and Business Intelligence for Celebrity Cruises. He leads the global organization responsible for all onboard revenue centers driving $1 billion annually in revenues. McCarthy is responsible for setting the vision and strategy for Celebrity Cruises Revenue. He has developed and launched several new strategic initiatives for Celebrity and achieved record breaking results for the brand. He is married with two daughters.

Board members continuing to serve include chair-elect Venny Torre, immediate past chair Jack Lowell, secretary Aura Reinhardt, treasurer Michael Walsh, Community Giving Committee chair David Olazabal, Scholarship Committee chair Matthew Meehan, Kaiser Ahmed, John Allen, Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz, Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, Wayne Eldred, Maria Gralia, Gina Guilford, John Harris, Susie Klock, Paul Lowenthal , Commissioner Mike Mena, John O’Rourke, Lee Osiason, Liz Parnes, Pedro Parra and Scott Richey.