Leadership Biographies

Board Member Biographies 

Executive Committee

Jordan Trachtenberg - President. He received the degree Master of Architecture, with Honors in Design, from Columbia University, and holds a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, with Honors, from Florida International University, Miami.

Jordan has practiced architecture in five continents ranging from Asia to South America. During 2009-2012 in Amsterdam, NL, while practicing under Ben van Berkel at UNStudio, Jordan led the design and execution as Coordinating Architect and Project Manager on several successful projects such as the Singapore University of Technology and Design. SUTD is to finish completion in 2014. In addition, Jordan led the design on successful competitions, small built projects, interior, and industrial design solutions, such as the Library and Center for New Media in Ghent, Belgium 2009, the Zara flagship store in Rome, Italy 2009, and the 29th Annual Art Biennale's Youturn Pavilion in Sao Paulo, Brazil 2010.

In 2008, upon graduation from Columbia University, Jordan worked as Lead Designer and Project Manager at Heerim Architects and Planners in Seoul, South Korea; here he led the design on several successful large-scale competitions ranging from museums and performing art centers to corporate campuses. During his time in New York, Jordan worked for architectural practices such as Winka Dubbeldam @Archi-tectonics and Thomas Leeser @Leeser Architecture. Additionally, he was involved highly in teaching software, design, and architecture through seminars and studios at Columbia University and Barnard + Columbia College. In 2011 he has co-conducted a workshop for the University of Kentucky's architecture abroad program in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Currently, Jordan is an Adjunct Faculty Professor at Florida International University's School of Architecture teaching graduate design studios.

Now, based out of Miami, Florida, Jordan is dedicated to advancing the profession through both practice, development and teaching bringing his streamlined functional design and critical thinking back to his hometown.


Daniel Hekman - Vice President. He earned a Master's of Science in Social Work (Administration) from Columbia University in 2009. Currently, he is the Deputy Hearing Office Director at the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (HHS/OMHA) in Miami, FL.

Previously, Dan worked as Manager, Adjudication Support at HHS/OMHA in Miami, Florida, and prior to that as a Program Analyst for Community Relations at the HHS Administration for Children and Families in New York, NY from 2009 to 2012. Before moving to New York, Dan was the Director of Social Outreach at a large non-profit in Holland, MI from 2003 to 2008. Daniel earned his Bachelor's of Social Work in 2003 from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.

Beyond work and school, Dan is regularly involved in swimming and water polo. While at Columbia, he played with the men's water polo club and coached the women's club, and currently swims with a Master's club in Miami.   

Liz Bello-Matthews - Secretary. Liz Bello-Matthews is a senior marketing officer for Zebra Technologies, where she oversees campaigns for Latin America. Liz has led marketing for Samsung and Sony and began her career supporting the PR strategy for AT&T and Motorola among other clients. As an avid supporter of the arts, Liz founded Florida Performer Magazine in 2006 to celebrate the state's most extraordinary talents. In 2009, the magazine expanded to a now 501c3 organization called ACE of Hearts, which provides access to the arts, culture and education at the community level. Today, she continues to support ACE initiatives as the President of the Board of Directors and serves as the Editor of the magazine. Liz has a degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism with a focus on management from Columbia's Graduate School of Business.

Board Members (Listed alphabetically)

Cristina Calzadilla - Chair for External Affairs. A Miami native, Cristina earned her MBA from Columbia Business School in 2012. After ten years in New York, Cristina returned to South Florida in 2014 to open and run the Miami office of New York-based public relations firm, DKC, which was recently ranked #1 on The Observer's PR Power 50 List. Cristina steers major national PR campaigns, launches, and programs for leading brands in travel/hospitality, real estate, and technology. Cristina feels strongly that your most important years at Columbia University come long after graduation, when relationships are enriched through meaningful, sustained engagement. As Chair of External Relations, she hopes to further deepen and extend the Club's relationship with Columbia University, as well as the broader alumni community. During her free time, you might find Cristina in Miami's Arts + Entertainment District, a burgeoning downtown neighborhood which she helped launch in 2014.

Betty Charles - Chair for Community & Events. Betty earned her BA from the University of Miami (2002), JD from Boston College (2005), and most recently her MPH from Columbia in 2014.  She recently moved back to Miami in September 2014 and is excited to serve as the club's Chair of External Affairs. Betty believes in the importance of reaching out to alumni from other institutions and increasing the club's visibility in South Florida. 

Samantha Spiegel - Chair for Recent Alumni. Born and raised in South Florida, Samantha is excited to strategize new ways to involve Recent Alumni in our South Florida chapter.  She graduated Columbia College in 2007 majoring in Drama/Theatre Arts and concentrating in Creative Writing.  Samantha loved having New York City as a laboratory for her college education, taking inspiration from local jazz clubs, avant-garde theatre performances, and stunning dance ensembles.  Miami offers a similar international cultural landscape and playground of thought-provoking and poignant fine arts events throughout the year.  While living abroad in Tel Aviv, Samantha interned for the HaBima theatre group as well as taught English to high school students.  She hopes that her Fine Arts background will assist in curating some exciting cultural experiences for our alumni group.  Samantha currently heads the Marketing and Leasing Department for Samco Properties, a privately owned Commercial Real Estate firm based out of Deerfield Beach, FL.