Lettie Bien has served her country, community

Lettie Bien

Col. Lettie Bien, (U.S. Army, Ret.) has a resume that is not only impressive for one twice her age but also reflects a life of one who has sacrificed like few others serving her country and her community. A decorated Iraq War veteran, Bien also is a sharp businesswoman, a practicing attorney, a community advocate and philanthropist. Raised in South Florida, she received a BA from Florida State University, an MA in Public Administration and Management from Webster University, and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami Law School.

She could easily write a book on her many adventures with a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years in Intelligence and Special Operations. A frequent speaker on the topic of community economic development, privatization of foreign state controlled enterprises and U.S. military and veteran’s issues, Bien’s most recent assignment was in Iraq as a Department of the Army Highly Qualified Expert (HQE) and assigned as a Special Advisor to the Commander of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq.  In that position, she was charged with the development and execution of Iraqi Women’s Initiatives, with a focus on economic development and also conducted professional development events for the Corps’ senior military leadership.  During her time  of combined active duty and reserve services, Bien served for almost a year as the U.S. Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Minerals in Baghdad.  Her last military assignment, based in the Pentagon, was as a civil affairs officer assigned to OSD/SOLIC Policy Office. Among other recognition for her service, COL Bien is the recipient of the Distinguished Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.

In civilian life, Bien has practiced law with both a major law firm and with her own private practice and served as a certified court mediator.  She has served as a project consultant for various private and public sector entities and held the position of President/CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.

Community service is a top priority for Bien who is the Miami Community Chairperson for The Fisher House Foundation, which provides free or low cost lodging to veterans and active service personnel receiving treatment at military medical centers.  She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum, and is a member of the City of Coral Gables Emergency Management Board, and numerous local and national civic, professional and military organizations. She is also active in the FEDEX Orange Bowl Committee, Actors Playhouse Advisory Board, and the Greater Miami Tennis Foundation.

Bien’s many awards include the World Trade Center- Miami Ambassador Award, The Miami Today Gold Medal Award,  American Red Cross Spectrum Awards for Women, the Jewish Museum “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” Award and the American Association of University Women “Shero” Award.Bien and husband Dr. David Schmitt, an Internist/Infectious Disease specialist, have a daughter, Maggie, who lives in Madrid, Spain.

Lettie Bien is a woman who has served our country and our community well while also setting an example for women and breaking glass ceilings at every turn. She is truly a remarkable woman and most deserving of this special recognition.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at gloria@communitynewspapers.com

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