The Faces of South Florida Business & Wealth

Nine months ago, we transformed the magazine and its covers. Read the stories behind these wise eyes

A head honcho at Bacardi. A dazzling chief investment officer at the University of Miami. The development exec who helped put the modern Ritz-Carlton on the map. Did you miss any of our cover stories since our October 2020 redesign? Maybe now is the time to catch up, be engrossed in their stories, and be inspired.

October 2020: Charmel Maynard, CIO and treasurer of the University of Miami told SFBW, “I’m extremely aggressive in my investments, with tech stocks and high-growth stocks. But I also have a portfolio managed by third parties. Owning property is something my parents always preached to me. I still have my apartment in New York and I rent that out. I have my home here and two other properties that I rent out in South Florida. I do a couple of private investments in venture capital, startup funds.”

November 2020: Gino Santorio was the president and CEO of the Broward Health when he graced our cover. Now, he’s the president and CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center Miami Beach. He told SFBW about his personal style: “Laying out your clothes the night before saves a tremendous amount of time and saves me from getting yelled at by my wife for turning on the light in the morning. I really like my Cole Haans. They’re really light and very comfortable and they pretty much go with everything. I have three pairs—one in every color. And I wear an Apple watch. I like not having to pull my iPhone out of my pocket for notifications. You can get the general gist of it and deal with it later or take care of something now. I have another watch, a Breitling that was given to me when I was younger. I put it on and then I’m always checking for notifications that don’t exist.”

December 2020: Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, CEO of Miami Parking Authority, recalled her start at MPA: “I didn’t realize I would like the job as much as I did. At that time, parking was predominantly male, so it was interesting to be at the table with men who would not even consider speaking to me, and this was only 14 years ago. As you can tell, I have a particular voice, and because my nickname is Alex, I would schedule a meeting and the men would expect me to be male.”

January 2021: Manish Hirapara, CEO of PeakActivity, explains how he’s maintained and grown his business: “You learn from the market and you apply that. When you apply that to one customer, they talk to other customers. Customer Two talks to customers Three and Four; Customer Three and Four go on social media and then all of a sudden you’re at Customer 10. It’s the power of exponential conversations, and soon you’re growing like crazy. One of the things I like to say is that an organization is nothing but a network of conversations.”

February 2021: Joe Cox, president and CEO of the Museum of Discovery and Science, told SFBW what kind of dinosaur he’d like to be: “If I could be a dinosaur, it would be a velociraptor. Quick, fast, running around, agile, smart. Working in teams, collaborative. There’s something about dinosaurs. You know we have saber-tooth cats and megalodons and mammoths as well. But I think it’s something about the size: Dinosaurs are big to us, but when you’re 5, dinosaurs are huge. Kids just have this excitement about them: the mythicalness and a bit of the coolness of dinosaurs. Of course, dinosaurs have been part of the cultural landscape for so long now. We have this incredible movie, Dinosaurs of Antarctica—it’s playing at our museums and has been for a while. One of the paleontologists in the movie talks about how there’s this explosion of paleontologists now becauseJurassic Park came out in 1990. A lot of us kids who watched Jurassic Park went on to become paleologists.”

March 2021: Pete Carr, Bacardi’s regional president of North America, talked leadership style: “I manage the business based on one sheet of paper. The more you can give people simple, consistent direction as to what you want from a leader, it really opens the door in terms of how they perform. I stress the three F’s: founders, fearless and family. This is what we preach to the folks in the organization—we call them primos (cousins, in Spanish), not employees. When the pandemic hit, we trusted everybody out in the field to manage their own piece of business. We knew they would spend the money like it’s theirs. They came up with to-go kits—cups with straws, pre-made margaritas—everything they could possibly do. And we had them come back and share ideas with the team on Zoom and we saw people really step up.”

April 2021: Carlton Washington & Deniz Duygulu, founders of 4Ever Young, turned their shared passion for fitness into a thriving business: “Deniz and I met in 2014,” Washington told SFBW. “I had recently moved back here from Atlanta and at the time I moved here because my wife got a promotion. It was a reluctant move for me, and I was really upset, disappointed and depressed. I didn’t know many people, so I got deeper into fitness to keep myself sane. I wanted to do a bodybuilding show and I was introduced to Deniz around the gym community. Before I moved here I was a member of a wellness facility and I needed to get back on my hormone replacement. I went to Deniz to see where I could go. We started toying around with getting into this industry. It seemed like there was an opportunity.”

May 2021: Maggie Vo, CIO of Fuel Venture Capital, shared a success story: “I sit on the board of Ubicquia, a 5G company. I heard about the company in 2019. They have a technology to leverage 360 million streetlights. This is tied to my philosophy—you leverage what is already there, because building from scratch takes a lot of time and capital. But streetlights are already everywhere, and you can transform them into smart streetlights and turn them into Wi-Fi access points, free public Wi-Fi. We invested in the company last year and it has grown exponentially. It is solving problems, making the city smarter and more connected—and safer. The audio and the video can help with crime solving.”

June 2021: Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, president of Flag Luxury, discussed combining the The Ritz-Carton, South Beach and the Sagamore hotel: “It’s going to be a spectacular campus and we’re really excited to do this. And we’re really excited to work with the Ben-Josef family. They are a wonderful family with great values, just like the Lowenstein family. We love the Lowenstein family and their values. We all have a lot in common. One of the reasons we love the Sagamore is that Paul and I are collectors. The Lowenstein family are also collectors, and [Alfredo’s wife] Diana Lowenstein curated The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach’s collection; as a gallerist, she’s very passionate about art. We would never want to take away the Sagamore’s history and heritage.”

Drew Limsky
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