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Meet Club New Tropic member Alissa Jean Schafer

📸 Photo courtesy of Alissa Jean Schafer

Hey there, Alissa! Who are you and what do you do down here?

I’m an energy policy wonk, power company watchdog, communications consultant, swamp hiker, volunteer, single mom… it all depends on who you ask and which hat I’m wearing at the moment!

I run my own political and strategic consulting firm Copper Stamp Strategy where I focus largely on energy policy, climate issues, media training, and communications optimization.

I also volunteer with some great groups including the St. Andrews gleaners for Farm Share Florida, Frost Science Museum Volunteers for the Environment, the Pembroke Pines Community Emergency Response Team, and the Broward County Climate Change Task Force, where I am an appointed member.

No matter what else I am doing though, the cliché remains true… my most important title is Mamá to a pretty awesome kiddo.

What neighborhood(s) are you reppin’?

Pembroke Pines

What do you love about The New Tropic?

The New Tropic is a great resource that I look forward to seeing in my inbox every morning! The newsletter provides a just-right mix of current events, hot topics, community happenings, and opportunities to get involved and have fun.

Why did you decide to become a member of Club New Tropic?

I am a firm believer in protecting and supporting what you love and value, and that includes local journalism like The New Tropic. I personally benefit from the information The New Tropic delivers every day and am proud to support the efforts that go into making that happen with my membership. It’s an affordable way that I can invest in keeping Miami wonderful.

How does Miami help you do what you do or influence your work?

A lot of my work involves doing whatever we can to build a beautiful and sustainable future for generations to come. Living in a place with so many breathtaking natural resources, wildlife, and diverse communities reenergizes my purpose and reminds me of what exactly I’m fighting for every day.

And the people, wow, the people. Early on in my communications career, I remember looking at a large residential building and thinking about how every single person living there has their own story, and that story is *everything* to that person, shaping their perceptions, motivations, and decisions each day. It feels obvious, but can be easy to forget when we get bogged down in group-think and noisy news cycles — the individual impacts and stories are where it’s at. South Florida is home to millions of people and millions of stories. Those stories are the lifeblood of our communities, the ideas and passions behind our local businesses, and one of the best things about Miami… if we take the time to listen.

What brings you most alive about the 305?

The weather, the passionate people, the vibrant communities! South Florida is a special place worth protecting, full of people with a bold love for life. If I want solitude on the water or in the Everglades, beautiful art, or amazing local live music, it’s all within arm’s reach. There is ALWAYS something popping up to do, a lot of which I learn about here in The New Tropic updates. 😎

What’s your favorite Miami memory?

Anybody who knows me knows I *hate* picking favorites because there are so many wonderful moments in life! That said, I think getting to see everything again through my daughter’s eyes has been really special and reminds me just how magical it is here. Driving over a causeway and hearing that little voice exclaim “Look at the water!!!” even if we’ve seen it a hundred times, watching her eyes light up with “Wow!” when the curtain lifts for the Miami City Ballet, climbing the same tree at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden again and again… these memories are precious.

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is really tough too, but I have to say birria tacos and guacamole from Talkin’ Tacos. So, so, so good. Talkin’ Tacos was started by a couple of locals with a food truck and now they have locations in Broward and Miami-Dade. My taste buds and I hope they never leave.

Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top three destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Miami day.

My perfect Miami day is probably starting early, with sunrise at the beach, and maybe some attempted surfing or paddle boarding if the waves and my balance are cooperating. Then I’m probably making my way to PAMM for a bit, especially if there is a new exhibit that I haven’t seen yet. Later, I can finish the night with some live music and my best salsa dancing efforts, perhaps at Doral Yard or wherever else is looking good that evening 💃

What are your favorite local social media accounts and why?

@catalystmiami and @miamiclimatealliance because both accounts consistently post relevant updates and action alerts for the community, and @doralyard because I’m always checking to see that week’s music lineup!

If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?

Think like an adventurous tourist every once in a while! As one example, every time I visit Biscayne or Everglades National Park, I mostly see folks from other states and countries, while many folks who grew up in Florida have never been. I see the same at many of our museums. Folks will put a lot of energy into researching places to see and things to do on vacation when they leave Florida, but sometimes forget the magic that exists right in our backyard!

If there was one thing you could change, address, etc. about Miami, what would it be?

If I could wave a wand and have everyone suddenly engaged and educated about every political election, registered to vote, and actively voting on everything from school board, to state legislators, to president, that would be pretty awesome.

An informed and actively voting community is a very powerful thing, with the ability to address the things we are all dealing with, including skyrocketing rent, property insurance, lack of healthcare options, attacks on human rights, and on and on. I know that the current state of politics feels like a toxic, corrupt waste of time, and trust me, I get it. But simply tuning it out and hoping things fix themselves is a losing strategy from the start, and all of us Floridians are paying the price. That literal and metaphorical bill gets higher every month.

What are you looking forward to in 2023?

Early this year I set the intentions of embracing joy, love, and shining as my authentic self. If I would have told my younger self that I would ever say that out loud for others to read, I would have cringed and possibly died of embarrassment, but here we are!

In more concrete terms, I am very excited about all the critical work happening in the climate and clean energy space and am absolutely thrilled to be continuing my role in that global transition. I’m looking forward to continuing to experience joy and love with my daughter, old friends, and new friends. I’m leaning into learning newer hobbies, like surfing, and brushing up on older skills by doing things like taking dance classes. I’m excited to keep learning and exploring Florida, along with new parts of our world that I’ll be visiting for the first time. There’s really so much to look forward to, and I try to remember that every morning.

That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2023.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.