Lettie Bien has served her country, community

Miami's Community Newspapers
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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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel , non profit consulting and management. Before joining Miami's Community Newspapers as a columnist and marketing specialist, Gloria was the Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee (6 yrs.) and first Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation (14 yrs.) and the Pinecrest Community Foundation (1 ½ yrs) . Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist for Community Newspapers writing Gloria’s Gab, that focuses on the non-profit activity, and a host of an online show, Gloria's Gab LIVE. Gloria serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables as Civic and Charity Chair, and is involved in the club's International Committee. She is an active Life Member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee and is Secretary of the Merrick Festival. She serves on the board of directors of the Coral Gables Woman' Club as Publicity Chair and also coordinates the club's monthly fundraiser for various charities with Gringo Bingo at Clutch Burger. In addition, Gloria participates in numerous other charitable events and is a member of the Business Forum Group, Profit Inc., the Greater Miami Festival & Events Association and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. In other volunteer activity, Gloria helps Miami Christian School with fund-raising and PR; is an Ambassador and volunteers for events for A Safe Haven for Newborns. She is an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where she enjoys singing in the choir every weekend.


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