Flavia Tonioli - Sustainability Manager at the City of Miami Beach

Flavia Tonioli - Sustainability Manager at the City of Miami Beach

Flavia Tonioli is the City of Miami Beach’s Sustainability Manager. In this role, Flavia leads the sustainability efforts at the City of Miami Beach with the goal of incorporating sustainability into capital projects, operations and regulations through strategic policy, while improving efficiency, cost and longevity.

Previously, Flavia was with The Nature Conservancy as Associate Director of Development for the Latin America Region, where she worked collaboratively with cross-functional teams amongst multiple operating units to advance business deals, develop fundraising pipelines and contribute to the strategic planning and development process for conservation programs. Flavia was also with NOAA as a Senior Researcher, where she advised the implementation of policies, plans and strategic management for sustainable fisheries in Florida and the Caribbean.

Flavia Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Climate and sustainability issues facing Miami Beach

  • Leading sustainability at the city-level in a red state

  • Public-private partnerships used to advance sustainability

  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Flavia's Final Five Question Responses:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

I think number one is be persistent. Sometimes things are not easy. You might get a lot of no's, but if you're persistent and create a strong baseline and strong arguments and have good data, your argument to sell it at some point you will be able to do it. So just be persistent. Even though it might take years, at some point you can do this. At the same time, be patient because a lot of times it's very frustrating that you cannot implement some things, that for you might make the most sense in the world, but when you talk to other folks it might not. You always have to look at the three different pillars of sustainability, right? So if it doesn't make a lot of financial sense, the economics are not there, you're probably not going to get it. So this is one of the things that we are always looking at. I think also your network is extremely important. Network with your fellows. Fellows are extremely helpful. In government and I feel like we have several different networks that are extremely useful to build that bridge and to make that connection.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

I'm really excited to see so many cities being proactive and not relying on the feds or on the state, and how a lot of cities are working together on a more regional level. I think this is really exciting and I think a lot of that has to do with our leadership and with our president. And on the corporate side the same thing. There's so many corporations that are saying that this is important to them. Pushing for a sustainable supply chain and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. So, I feel like it's just really cool to see that because I remember the day after the election, coming to work and it looked like a funeral. Right? Everybody was really depressed and was just really sad. So, I was really excited to see all the cities coming together and just being proactive, and corporates too.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I read so much at work that in my free time, I just want to go outside and play. I don't want it to be able to. I don't want to be ready. I'm not the person to really recommend any books. But all the sustainability folks that I know have the book Drawdown by Paul Hawken on their table. Including myself, I have that book. I think one that I really like is from the founder from Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing. I love Patagonia and I just love how they can really balance business and sustainability.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

I think all the networks such as the Urban Sustainability Directors Netowrk (USDN). USDN is definitely my favorite organization by far. I use their resources every day. I feel like I'm so connected to so many different sustainability folks here in the US and in Canada because of USDN and they have several consultants that we can use to help us develop work. They also provide funding. We also have SSDN and FSDN here in Florida, it's specifically for folks here, which for us is extremely helpful given that we are in a red state and all the things that we're trying to develop.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leaving at Miami Beach?

They can go to our portal, which is actually a brand new portal: mbrisingabove.com. There you can see everything that we are doing regarding resiliency and sustainability. We are also creating a resiliency app that will be a virtual tour of our resiliency projects. So this is coming soon too.