Tag Archives: new

The art of finessing with DJ Luna

A few weeks ago, I hung out with budding DJ and big-time Wale fan and friend, DJ Luna, also known as Mikaela Sorina. I asked her a few questions and hung out with her at “The Art of Finessing” event at Footsoldiers Wynwood as she disc jockeyed for the first time. Here’s what I learned and saw.

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On meeting new people

As we strolled through an unusually hot and humid Downtown, my friend uncharacteristically verbalized some of the wisest words I’d heard in a while. We were on the topic of meeting new people when I confessed my lack of prowess in that department, especially as of late.

I conveyed a degree of frustration with it, saying I wished things weren’t that way. My friend told me not to stress it, that the key to meeting and charming new people is to work as ardently as possible on myself and letting the universe throw worthwhile people my way.

This fascinated me, if at least for the few hours thereafter. I’ve been told countless times that the key to getting better at something is practice, is to work harder and harder at it. That anything worth accomplishing is difficult. That if you dedicate yourself to something a hundred and ten percent; it will most definitely come true.

This is the reason why students spend sleepless nights mulling over the course material for their bachelor’s; the reason why people spend years crafting their careers in search of ever-higher salaries and positions. For some reason, though, the same procedure cannot be applied to the goal of meeting new people and crafting good relationships.

You can attempt to expedite the process by going where the people go – bars, nightclubs, libraries, coffee shops and shopping centers – and increasing your odds by talking to as many people as possible, hoping that one or two or three of those possibilities becomes a worthwhile relationship. But the reality of the matter is – at least in my experience – that this strategy yields little but inconsequential affinities that you might as well do without.

You end up befriending people that won’t fan your flames, that won’t lift you higher and that represent fledgling affinities that stick around only when given a fun event or excuse to spend time together.

On the other hand, an arduous investment in self-development – as my friend prescribed – appears to bring the best of new people to your door. You inadvertently – but thankfully – create a screening process in which only the best of people are kept on the list. These are people that are attracted to your hustle, that will help you professionally and spiritually and creatively. They’re more than your average bar hopper or EDM junkie that’s just with you when the music gets loud or the drinks start flowing.

Meeting new and worthwhile people, then, appears to be one of the things in life where mastery involves anything but dedication and hard work. The less you think about meeting and pleasing others and the more you think about working on yourself and your career, the more new and worthwhile people you meet. It’s the antithesis of what I’ve been told about success for years, but like my friend said, that’s the way of the universe.

Jeff Bezos denies “nightmare workplace” claims about Amazon

Jeff Bezos replied Sunday to a weekend article in the New York Times that accused online retailer Amazon of hosting a “nightmare workplace.”

Bezos distributed a memo to his 180,000 plus employees where he criticized the portrait of a “soulless, dystopian workplace” painted by the article and insisted that he does not recognize that Amazon. He also encouraged employees to read the Times article carefully and to report any such experiences to Bezos directly.

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A Look Back at Miami Dade College’s 2014

This piece was published in the Miami Dade College student newspaper, The Reporter. It’s part of a series of articles I wrote for them between August 2013 and May 2015, now being uploaded in whole to ElMonzon.com.


A stellar athletic year, an array of cultural events and a host of new College programs made 2014 a productive year for Miami Dade College.

In September, MDC President Eduardo Padrón announced $21 million in grant funding from a variety of public and private sources. Some of these grants included $10 million from the Department of Labor to fund the establishment of a Training and Certification program in Manufactured Construction, a $100,000 grant from Citi Foundation to expand the Small Business Education Program/Grow Miami Initiative and a $50,000 award from AT&T to expand the College’s pre-college advisement programs to ten local high schools.

At the Wolfson Campus, a $2.18 million grant from the Knight Foundation facilitated the Idea Center, an entrepreneurial hub meant to promote student startups and business ideas.

“[We want to] build the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship to all students,” said Idea Center executive director Leandro Finol.

The College initiated a new bachelor’s program in information systems technology and supply chain management. The College’s School of Entertainment and Design Technology at North Campus also expanded their bachelor’s degree offerings. John Rhames, a former detective and patrol officer at the Riviera Beach Police Department in Palm Beach County, took over as chief of North Campus Public Safety.

The Book Fair featured a new Florida-centric venue called The Swamp featured events like a conversation between musical icons Questlove and George Clinton and a community outreach project entitled #6WordsMiami. Visitors also saw a piece of the Berlin Wall donated to Wolfson campus by the City of Miami on the 25th anniversary of the dismantling of the Wall.

The College’s Entrepreneurial Education Center, or Meek Center, renovated its library with new computers and newly organized workspaces. Workers completed Hialeah Campus’ seven-floor parking garage featuring more than 1,000 parking spaces and a community multi-purpose room.

“The garage is very aesthetically pleasing and welcoming in its design,” Hialeah Campus President Mattie Roig-Watnik told The Reporter last year.

The baseball and women’s volleyball teams had strong seasons. Head baseball coach, Danny Price, was named the Regional Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association for the National Junior College Athletic Association following his 1,200th victory on March 22nd, when the Sharks defeated Palm Beach State College 14-6.

Student life across all campuses offered diverse programming including MDC>AIDS Initiative, a partnership between the College and the Greater than AIDS Campaign.

“On World AIDS Day, all campuses held awareness events to distribute the materials and campaign paraphernalia to students,” said Crystel Lewis, director of Student Life at the InterAmerican Campus. “The morning began with a [livestreamed] lecture by [AIDS United, Inc. President & CEO], Dr. Michael Kaplan … free HIV testing was also held at each campus.”

Vice President Joe Biden addressed one of the largest graduating classes at the Kendall Campus Gymnasium for their commencement ceremony. He recognized the difficult circumstances that many of students present overcame in their studies.

“America is on the cusp of so many innovations that will change the world, and you’re gonna be part of it,” Biden told the crowd.