Five things to know about Lionheart Capital’s new CMO

Rendering of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach and Gigi Ganatra Duff
Rendering of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach and Gigi Ganatra Duff

After more than 20 years in marketing, brand development and communications, Gigi Ganatra Duff has joined Lionheart Capital in a new role for the company: chief marketing officer.

Ganatra Duff, who opened Gen Art’s Miami office in the early 2000s, also helped build Terra Group’s brand, helped expand Harrison Shriftman’s Miami office, worked with developer and investor David Edelstein to launch the W South Beach, helped open the St. Regis Bal Harbour and then joined Starwood Hotels.

Now, she’s back in South Florida to help expand Lionheart’s portfolio and shape the firm’s marketing and sales efforts.

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Her backyard is the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach, a luxury, waterfront development with 111 residences and 15 stand-alone villas that’s slated for delivery next year. And Lionheart also owns development sites in the Design District, Little Haiti and Miami Beach. The Real Deal sat down with Ganatra Duff at the temporary sales gallery for the Ritz (and one of the developer’s future units) to talk about her career.

  1. She has literally always had a job.
    • “I’m a workaholic. When I was 11, I had a paper route. I worked at Burger King as the party girl for the kids parties. I worked in retail at the mall. I’ve always had a job. I love to work.”
  2. Moving around was her normal.
    • “I grew up overseas. I was born in Tokyo, my sister was born in Korea. My dad worked for General Motors so we moved every three years. We lived in Zaire, we lived in Cairo. But we were always based in Detroit, Michigan. So we were going back and forth.”
  3. Her first real estate position was with David Martin.
    • During her time at Gen Art, Ganatra Duff spent a lot of time bringing cultural events to neighborhoods like Wynwood, the Design District and the Margaret Pace Park area, until David Martin hired her: “[Terra] had finished a project in Doral. Pedro [Martin] was still at Greenberg Traurig. They were just opening their office at 1200 Brickell. They didn’t even have a logo yet. So I came on and focused on building the Terra Group. I worked very closely on Nautica, Quantum and Biscayne Bay.”
  4. Her last job was vice president at HSNi, the publicly traded multi-channel retailer. After working as the senior director of global communications for Starwood Hotels, Ganatra Duff left to oversee corporate and consumer communications for the Home Shopping Network’s nine brands.
    • “I really wanted to do something that made life balance a priority. At Starwood, life balance was not a priority. I didn’t realize I was operating on the type of cylinders I was operating on because it was my way of life. At the time, that was OK with me,” she said.
  5. Even though she’s settled down in Miami Beach, Ganatra Duff is also tasked with helping to expand Lionheart Capital’s growing portfolio, including two projects in the development phase in Nicaragua. One is a mixed-use project with a hotel, horse ranch and villas, and the other is a roughly 400-acre development that will surround an existing beachfront tree house resort.