Meet the judges: High School Track


Wifredo Fernandez is CEO and co-founder of The LAB Miami, a campus for creative entrepreneurs. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College and is a visiting fellow on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Miami School of Law. He is a board member-elect of the Wynwood Arts District Association and is director of Accelerated Growth Partners, a Miami-based angel investment group. Before starting The LAB, he was a Teach For America corps member.

Sal Ferradas is a senior vice president, private client advisor with U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. With more than 25 years’ of financial services experience, his primary responsibility is to identify and implement financial solutions for clients in the areas of traditional and alternative investments, trust services, estate planning and credit. He is active with Take Stock in Children, The Broward Public Library Foundation, Florida International University and the United Way.

Rafael Saldaña, longtime banker, business and community leader, is dean of Miami Dade College’s School Of Business. Most recently, he was president and chief executive officer of Banesco USA. He has also served as president and COO of RG Crown Bank, executive VP and commercial director of Banco Santander, and business director of marketing and analytics at Capital One. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Greater Miami Chamber and the board of the Miami Foundation and other organizations.

M ercedes A. San Miguel, a CPA, has practiced public accounting since 1979. After working with Sanson, Kline, Jacomino and Company CPAs and later with Coopers & Lybrand, she opened her own public accounting practice in 1990 and maintains an office in Coral Gables. In 2013, she became a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. She is currently a director and past-Treasurer of the South Dade Chapter of the Florida Institute of CPAs and is a mentor, judge and on the advisory board of NFTE South Florida.

Joanie Stringer is a senior wealth strategist for the East Region of Northern Trust. She started at Northern Trust in 1998, and she has also served as the president of the Mid-Atlantic Region based in Washington D.C., president of Connecticut and in other roles. She is on the board of NFTE South Florida and is a member of The Aspen Institute-Vanguard Chapter of the Society of Fellows, TARA, Women Corporate Directors, 85 Broads and and other organizations.

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