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Senior-level hires and promotions for the week of Jan. 21, 2019

Benjamin J. Widlanski has been named partner at Kozyak Tropin &Throckmorton.
Benjamin J. Widlanski has been named partner at Kozyak Tropin &Throckmorton.


Elena Quevedo has been named chief development officer at Miami City Ballet. She was most recently senior vice president of advancement for The New Jewish Home, Inc. She has also worked with the New York city Ballet. Quevedo, a former academic, has a master’s in medieval architecture, and a Ph.D. in art history, from New York University.


Nic Bustle has been named market president and first senior vice president of commercial banking in Miami-Dade for Valley National Bancorp, the holding company for Valley National Bank. He was formerly with City National Bank as EVP/wholesale banking executive. Bustle has a bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s from Florida International University in international business.

Blas I. Cueto has joined the Miami office of Northern Trust as senior vice president and senior wealth advisor. He previously spent two years as a senior wealth planning strategist at Wells Fargo Private Bank. Cueto has a bachelor’s in business, and an LL.M. in estate planning, from the University of Miami, and a law degree from the University of Florida.


Martin Wilkinson-Brown has been promoted to chief marketing officer at Miami-based Sitel Group. He was previously vice president of global marketing and communications at the company. Wilkinson-Brown has a bachelor’s from the University of Sunderland in Great Britain.


Dr. Ivan Espaillat has been named medical director of Kendall Lakes Health and Rehabilitation Center. The new facility, part of Greystone Health, will be at 5280 SW 157th Ave. Espaillat, an internist, was previously in private practice, with privileges within the Baptist Healthcare system. Espaillat has a medical degree from the Universidad Tecnológica del Cibao in the Dominican Republic.


Rosa Albert has been named director of sales and marketing at The Hilton Miami Dadeland, a full-service 184-room hotel set to open in February on the Baptist Hospital campus on Kendall Drive. She was previously director of sales and marketing at Yve Hotel Miami Downtown. Albert has a degree in hospital business from Columbia College.

At Virgin Hotels:

Owen Deignan is director of food and beverage operations. He is based in the Miami area and was previously based in Chicago for the company. Deignan has an AAS in culinary arts from Kendall College in Chicago.

Denise Walker is vice president of information technology and is based in Miami. She was senior vice president of information technology at Atlantis Bahamas. Walker has a bachelor’s in mass communications management from Florida International University.


Matt Kenny has been named tourism and culture director for the City of Miami Beach. He was a director with Community Agency, a marketing and branding agency. His experience includes more than five years as supervisor, economic development, culture & tourism with the city of Toronto. Kenny has a bachelor of fine arts from Ryerson University.

Adele R. Valencia has been named director of code compliance for the City of Miami effective Feb. 4. She has been chief operations officer for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava since 2014. Valencia has a bachelor’s from the University of Miami and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.


Lindsay Haber has been promoted to partner at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine and will be based in the firm’s Miami office. She was previously an associate in the firm’s family law group. She focuses her practice on family law disputes. Haber has a bachelor’s from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Nova Southeatern University.

At Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A., two attorneys have been named shareholders:

Arya Attari Li focuses her practice on insurance coverage and bad-faith disputes. Bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Miami.

Michal Meiler also focuses her trial practice in the areas of insurance coverage and bad-faith litigation. Bachelor’s, George Washington University; J.D., Georgetown.

At Jones Walker, key attorneys from the former international law firm Fowler Rodriguez have joined the firm. Three are joining Jones Walker’s Miami office as partners:

Santiago J. Padilla is in the labor and employment practice group, and focuses his practice on immigration an nationality law matters. BBA, University of Toledo; J.D. Ohio State University.

Mark D. Rich is in the tax practice group and focuses on international tax planning, pre-immigration tax planning, and more. Bachelor’s Louisiana State University; J.D., Loyola University; LL.M., University of Miami.

Juan E. Serralés, IV, is in the litigation practice group and focuses on commercial disputes. Bachelor’s and J.D. from the University of Miami.


Jenny Starr Perez has been named editor in chief of INDULGE, which is published by the Miami Herald Media Company. Perez was formerly the editor in chief at Selecta magazine before coming to the Miami luxury lifestyle magazine, which is distributed to Miami Herald subscribers in predominantly affluent neighborhoods in Miami-Dade and Broward counties; its content is online at Perez steps into the role vacated by Evan S. Benn, who is moving to his home state of Pennsylvania to become director of editorial marketing for the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Ali Dominguez has been promoted to vice president of accounting at Codina Partners. Dominguez joined Codina Partners in 2010 as controller and was later promoted to director of accounting. Dominguez has a bachelor’s from Florida International University and an MBA from St. Thomas University.

David M. Valdez has been named senior vice president and chief operations director at Blanca Commercial Real Estate. He was previously vice president of corporate services and real estate, real estate transactions at Goldman Sachs in New York.


Mary Beth Garcia has been promoted to president of MOHR Retail, with offices in Miami and Ridgewood, N.J. Garcia, who is based in Miami, has been the company’s vice president of client solutions.

This space lists promotions of executives at the director level and above who are based in Broward, Miami-Dade or Monroe counties. Announcements, also at, are for full-time, paid positions — not for board or volunteer positions. Send items, with jpeg of a head shot, to .

Mover’s spotlight

Name: Benjamin J. Widlanski

New position: Partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton.

From: Of counsel at the firm.

About: Widlanski focuses his practice on class action practice, high-stakes commercial litigation and Ponzi schemes.

Also: He served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Miami for nearly five years. Before that, he served in the U.S. Army, for which he volunteered after he received his law degree. He received the Bronze Star and also received other awards for his service in Afghanistan, and he was promoted to captain while serving in the JAG corps. Widlanski was an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner in the New York City area for about nine months before joining the Army.

Education: Bachelor’s in philosophy and religious studies, and a J.D., from Columbia in New York.

Best advice: Your reputation and integrity are the most important assets you have — and once they’re damaged, they’re very hard to repair.

See past senior-level hires and promotions in South Florida for 2017-2018: Jan. 2, 2017Jan. 9, 2017Jan. 16, 2017Jan. 23, 2017Jan. 30, 2017 Feb. 6, 2017Feb. 13, 2017Feb. 20, 2017Feb. 27, 2017 March 6, 2017 March 13, 2017 March 20, 2017 March 27, 2017 April 3, 2017 April 10, 2017 April 17, 2017April 24, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 8, 2017May 15, 2017May 22, 2017May 29, 2017June 5, 2017 June 12, 2017 June 19, 2017June 26, 2017July 3, 2017July 10, 2017July 17, 2017July 24, 2017July 31, 2017 Aug. 7, 2017Aug. 14, 2017▪ Aug. 21, 2017▪ Aug. 28, 2017▪ Sept. 4, 2017Sept. 11, 2017(No Movers ran on Sept. 18, 2017)Sept. 25, 2017 Oct. 3, 2017Oct. 9, 2017Oct. 16, 2017Oct. 23, 2017 Oct. 31, 2017Nov. 5, 2017Nov. 13, 2017Nov. 20, 2017(No Movers ran on Nov. 27, 2017)▪ Dec. 4, 2017▪ Dec. 11, 2017Dec. 18, 2017(No Movers ran on Jan. 1, 2018)▪ Jan. 8, 2018Jan. 15, 2018▪ Jan. 22, 2018▪ Jan. 29, 2018▪ Feb. 5, 2018▪ Feb. 12, 2018▪ Feb. 19, 2018▪ Feb. 26, 2018March 5, 2018▪ March 12, 2018▪ March 19, 2018▪ March 26 )(No Movers ran on April 2, 2018)April 9, 2018▪ April 16, 2018▪ April 23, 2018▪ April 30, 2018May 7, 2018 May 14, 2018 May 21, 2018 May 28, 2018 June 4, 2018 June 11, 2018June 18, 2018June 25, 2018 (No Movers ran on July 9) July 16, 2018 July 23, 2018 July 30, 2018 Aug. 6, 2018Aug. 13, 2018 Aug. 20, 2018 Aug. 27, 2018 Sept. 3, 2018Sept. 10, 2018 Sept. 17, 2018 Sept. 24, 2018 Oct. 1, 2018 Oct. 8, 2018 Oct. 15, 2018 (No Movers ran on Oct. 22, 2018) Oct. 29, 2018 Nov. 5, 2018 Nov. 12, 2018 Nov. 19, 2018 Nov. 26, 2018 Dec. 3, 2018 Dec. 10, 2018 Dec. 17, 2018 Dec. 24, 2018 (No Movers on Dec. 31, 2018) Jan. 7, 2019 Jan. 14, 2019