Women’s Leadership at United Way of Miami-Dade

United Way of Miami-Dade pic
United Way of Miami-Dade
Image: miamidade.gov

A longtime civic administrator in Miami-Dade County, Florida, Benigna Marko most recently served as an administrative services director in the Department of Planning and Zoning. Benigna Marko supports the efforts of United Way, a national service organization offering women’s leadership programs at its Miami-Dade County chapter.

The Women’s Leadership program at United Way of Miami-Dade brings together more than 2,100 women. Participants in the Women’s Leadership program volunteer in their communities, advocate for policies that impact families, and support educational initiatives throughout the region.

The Women’s Leadership program organizes a wide variety of member events, including the Let’s Do Lunch seminar series, which covers topics such as entrepreneurship, technology, and the fight against cancer. The program operates under the leadership of the Women’s Leadership Council, comprised of leaders in business, politics, and academics.

To become a member of the Women’s Leadership program, candidates must give at the Leadership level of $1,000 or more. To learn more about women’s leadership opportunities at United Way of Miami-Dade, visit the chapter’s official website at http://www.unitedwaymiami.org


Tips for Would-Be Dog Owners

Dog Ownership pic
Dog Ownership
Image: akc.org

Benigna Marko has been a public servant for over 30 years. Outside of her passion for serving her community, Benigna Marko also likes animals, particularly dogs.

While owning a dog may be fun, there are many things people should know before making the decision to do so. First and foremost, dogs will not be able to care for themselves: if you do not have the time to take care of a dog, it is not a good idea to own one.

For people who would like to start off with a puppy, remember that puppies are like children and need a lot of care and supervision. Have plenty of chewable toys around, as puppies like to investigate and explore new things and may start chewing the furniture and other property; it’s essential to keep valuables and harmful items such as chemicals out of reach.

Puppies also need to be house-trained, so if you don’t have the time or resources to train a puppy, it may be better to adopt an adult dog that is already housebroken.

Make sure you know the breed. If the puppy will become a large dog as an adult, it will require space and time to roam around and exercise.

These are just a few tips for would-be dog owners. Choose a dog that you like, but remember that many responsibilities come with man’s best friend.

Tips for Photographing Pets

Photographing Pets pic
Photographing Pets
Image: digital-photography-school.com

Benigna Marko has worked for nearly three decades as a manager in the local government of Miami-Dade County, Florida. Outside of her professional pursuits, Benigna Marko enjoys a number of hobbies, including photographing animals. Below are a few tips for individuals seeking to capture beautiful photographs of their pets.

Use the right equipment
More often than not, pets do not like to sit still for pictures. To get good shots, it is important that you invest in the right equipment. In addition to selecting a camera with high burst capacity and frame rate, you should test different zoom speeds for varying photo effects.

Grab their attention
Try surprising your pets when you want to grab their attention. Once they are settled and relaxed, call their name, hold up a treat, or whistle so they will look at you. Don’t forget to have your camera ready—you may only have a brief window of time in which to get the shot.

Get on their level
You can take truly unique photographs of your pet by moving the camera down to their level and snapping shots from a variety of angles. Get creative and try photographing them from underneath or behind, or getting close-ups of their ears and paws.

Health Benefits of Spending Time with Pets

Health Benefits of Pets pic
Health Benefits of Pets
Image: pets.webmd.com

Benigna Marko, a local government professional based in Florida’s Miami-Dade County area, has a longstanding fondness for animals. Benigna Marko particularly enjoys dogs.

According to experts in both animal and human behavior, spending time with dogs can provide a variety of mental and physical health benefits. Studies have shown that stroking or hugging an animal can prompt the release of endorphins that help to reduce heart rate, while also relaxing the animal and making it feel good. Similarly, talking to animals can encourage the production of relaxing hormones, which lower blood pressure. In fact, research demonstrates that pet ownership can reduce blood pressure significantly in patients with borderline hypertension.

The presence of an animal may also reduce feelings of loneliness and despair, which can contribute to depression. Likewise, animals can be similarly effective in fighting anxiety, as their presence grounds one in the present moment while reducing stress levels. Research at the University of Michigan showed that even the act of simply observing an animal can help a person feel more patient and calm. When the interaction progresses to actually caring for another creature, a person also learns openness and generosity that benefits his or her human relationships as well.

Sailing at the London 2012 Olympic Games By Benigna Marko

Sailing pic
Image: olympic.org

Unlike the majority of events at the 2012 Olympic Games, which will occur in controlled indoor environments, the sailing competition is staged outdoors in open water. Featuring six events for men and four for women, the swimming portion of the Games will take place in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour off the south coast of England. Between July 29th and August 11th, 380 individuals race such watercraft as dinghies, keelboats, skiffs, and windsurfing boards.

Originally referred to as yachting, officials changed the Olympic sport’s name to sailing in 2000. Men and women have both competed in the event since 1900, with the exception of the 1904 St. Louis Games. In recent years, Great Britain has dominated the sailing competition, earning honors at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and Beijing 2008 games. This year, they will face international competitors in their home waters.

About the Author:
The former Assistant Director of Administration & Operations at the Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning, Benigna Marko enjoys sailing in her free time. Ms. Marko regularly supports the United Way of Miami-Dade and speaks both English and Spanish fluently.

Community Planning in Miami-Dade County By Benigna Marko

Miami Dade pic
Miami Dade
Image: miamidade.gov

An active participant in Miami-Dade County’s neighborhoods and municipalities, the Department of Planning and Zoning relies upon residents’ input throughout the community development process. This department boasts a talented team of urban designers, planners, and architects who base their plans on data from Small Area Studies. In these studies, community planning staff members gather residents for a week-long charrette or public planning workshop. These meetings help officials understand how residents envision their community developing in the coming years.

The community planning staff members then compile this data into a charrette report, which prioritizes community recommendations and zoning requests. Ultimately, the Department of Planning and Zoning produces a Comprehensive Development Master Plan that covers not only land use and housing, but also such infrastructural issues as solid waste management, community health, coastal management, and intergovernmental coordination.

About the Author:
A longtime member of the Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning team, Benigna Marko served as the Administrative Service Division Director and the Assistant Director of Administration & Operations.

Benigna Marko Offers Practical Tips for Preparing for International Travel

International Travel pic
International Travel
Image: ehow.com

In order to enjoy your traveling experience abroad, you must complete a few preparations in advance. The first necessary step involves the security of your documents, which requires bringing copies of your passport with you and leaving an additional backup copy with a trusted family member or friend. As protection against possible emergencies, register with your embassy and ensure you carry sufficient medical insurance coverage. Before you leave, research local currencies so that you can use cash in addition to carrying your major credit cards. Also notify your bank and card providers of your trip to prevent them from suspecting fraud and delaying approval of your credit charges. Remember to activate your phone for global travel and check whether you can use your electronic chargers and other devices; you may need to bring an adapter.

About Benigna Marko: Bilingual in Spanish and English, Benigna Marko has spent more than 20 years in management and government administration. She served for many years as an Assistant Director for Florida’s Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning, holding responsibility for finances, public information, human resources, geomatics, and other aspects of administration. She contributes to charities such as United Way. In her spare time, in addition to traveling, she enjoys photography and sailing.