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5 Minutes With: Casandra Dominguez

5 Minutes With: Casandra Dominguez
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Originally from Madrid, Spain, Casandra Domínguez is the daughter of an American mother and Cuban father and is s the Director of Business Attraction & Retention for the Center City Districtthe business improvement district for downtown Philadelphia. She has a bachelor's degree in International Relations and aMasters in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

What fascinates her? The difference between European cities and American cities. What makes her tick? Economic development, the power of data to create a compelling story, being creative with personal style, and purposeful living.

Being a woman in the predominantly male-dominated worlds of finance and real estate, Casandra embraces what makes her different from her male counterparts and inspires other women to do the same.

Where are you from?

Madrid, Spain.

Education?

BA in International Relations and MPA, both from Penn. I loved it so much I had to come back for grad school.

Sign?

Taurus.

Who do you think embodies the Americae Woman, living or dead, and why?

Amal Clooney, Carolina Herrera, Zendaya, and Margherita Missoni to name a few. They are self-assured powerful women with a strong understanding of their own value and that of others. They fearlessly follow their passions and embrace their own personal style.

Describe your style and why is it authentically you?

Juxtaposition: I love timeless elegant pieces that look and feel modern; I love feminine pieces that are minimalist and structured; I love black, white and navy, but enjoy taking risks with color. I wear clothes that stand out in a crowd and express my point of view and am most confident dressed up in beautifully crafted clothes that perfectly compliment how I am feeling in that moment. 

Additionally, there are a couple of things I learned from my mother that has had a lasting impact on how I dress. First, what you wear is a representation of who you are, no matter where you are going. Growing up my mother used to dress us up in our best outfit when we traveled on an airplane, so you will never see me in sweats. Second, invest in pieces that are going to stand the test of time. A well-designed garment is timeless and some of my mother's favorite clothes are pieces she has kept from the 60s and 70s that are relevant to this day and do not necessarily look vintage.

Our ethos is 'Reality is Extraordinary.' What does that mean to you?

'Reality is Extraordinary' resonates with me because we are each on our own individual journey. While reality and the day-to-day might seem mundane, to me it represents the building blocks of our life stories. It is those experiences that make us who we are. Embrace your reality with purpose and you will have agency in your journey and ultimately in who you will become. 

What's on your bookshelf?

Pride and Prejudice, A Prayer for the City, as well as a lot of Mario Vargas Llosa, Federico Garcia Lorca, Michael Lewis, and urban development and foreign policy books. 

What's your favorite drink?

A glass of Txakoli or gin, with a lot of freshly squeezed lime juice and soda (and please don't ruin it with simple syrup or any sweeteners!)

Next or favorite travel destination?

Agua - Spanish for water - was my first word, so I love going anywhere near the ocean.Most recently I went to Cap Ferret and Arcachon on the south Atlantic coast of France. It was absolutely stunning: beautiful long sandy beaches lined with oyster shacks and surrounded by pine forests. So if you like oysters, French wine and beautiful sand beaches I cannot recommend it enough. However, if the Caribbean is more your pace, Los Roques in Venezuela, or Harbor Island in the Bahamas, are two of my favorite spots.

What's next for you?

I am about to start a new position as the Director of Research at Cushman & Wakefield's Philadelphia office. What I most love about what I do is telling compelling stories through data. I am excited to continue what I have been doing at the Center City District in the private sector and use data to help with the strategic growth of the company in Philadelphia.

Favorite Americae items?

Raw Emerald Earrings - I love emeralds and the unfinished raw texture of these statement earrings show the natural beauty of the stone. They have a timeless elegance, but at the same time feel very modern. I tend to wear a lot of black, white, and navy, so I always want my accessories to provide a pop of color and a wow factor. These deliver. They also remind me of something my Cuban grandmother would wear, who had impeccable taste in jewelry.

Tuxedo Blazer and Cigarette Pants - I always try to find pieces that no one else has. I love the juxtaposition of the masculine power of a tuxedo with this stunning and feminine tropical print. I also think there is nothing more elegant or sexy than a woman in perfectly tailored menswear.

Bogotá Embellished Top Handle Bag  - The color and the sculptural leather petals on the flap of the bag. Need I say more?

Coastal Knit Dress - I have never seen a knit dress like this before. The back of the dress is show stopping and I love making an entrance.

What's your own personal motto or what message would you like to share with women?

Know your worth, trust your voice, and demand respect.

Being a woman in the predominantly male-dominated worlds of finance and real estate, I have learned that my strengths lie in what makes me different from my male counterparts. Embrace being a woman. We are the superior sex. We stoically withstand pain men could never bear and are empathetic, giving us superior emotional intelligence.

Lastly, we need to take care of our own. Let's not cut each other down or compete with one another, but instead, shine a light on our individual strengths and lift each other up. Women should mentor one another and support each other's careers.

Reality is Extraordinary. You are Too.

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