Biggest influence on CEOs’ careers? Most say it was a parent

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The question: In three to four sentences at the most, tell us who, or what, has been the biggest influence (for good or bad) on your career.


I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors throughout my career. They’ve demonstrated outstanding vision associated with operational and strategic excellence, and have built great teams in which I’ve been able to participate. My goal is to bring that same team approach toward realizing our lofty goals at UHealth, to the benefit of our patients and employees.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and chief executive officer (CEO) of UHealth - the University of Miami Health System


My biggest influencer and mentor was my father, who, encouraged me to diversify into banking besides active real estate development in Miami. Looking back, it was the correct decision and rewarding plus measured, given the change in the skyline of our community. I am very proud of those achievements.

Jim Angleton, CEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.


The biggest influence on my career is recognizing that success depends on a combination of factors. It requires building the right team, working hard, and recognizing that if you always try to do the right thing, good things will generally happen. It also requires that at some point you slow down and enjoy your successes.

Wael Barsoum, M.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida


Although I didn’t fully realize it until my forties, my late father has been the biggest positive influence on my business career. The life lessons he taught me as a child guide all of my business decisions every day. One overriding theme is to always do the right thing and treat others the way you want to be treated, but never get taken advantage of.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)


My father was the most influential person in my career. I was lucky enough to grow up with a mentor who was not afraid to take chances, start something new and create opportunities when there were none. The optimal entrepreneur and visionary who was truly ahead of his time. He taught me to be relentless and a problem solver; to never take ‘no’ for an answer.

Jacqueline Dascal Chariff, chairman, Continental National Bank and CEO of


The biggest influence on my career was, without question, my father Tony Goldman. He was a visionary who believed that anything was possible no matter how challenging or complex. He had a work ethic like no other and was driven to change the world in a positive way. He believed that diversity and inclusion elevated community. He was my teacher, in business and in life, and for that I am forever grateful.

Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts


My father has been the biggest influence on my career, teaching me the importance of hard work, surrounding yourself with loyal, ethical people and establishing long term relationships. Over my 30-year career in banking, I’ve been able to accomplish most my goals by applying the basic lessons I learned from him. There’s no substitute for consistent commitment to the basics and willingness to work hard to achieve success.

Jorge Gonzalez, president and CEO, City National Bank


The high school teacher who told me in front of a packed NYC classroom that if I were ever accepted to a college I would never survive, and the college faculty member who told me in private that I was the best student he had ever had. The former fueled me; the latter humbled me.

Gregory Adam Haile, president of Broward College


I was fortunate to grow up with a supportive family. My parents are the children of immigrants who worked hard to live the dream of equal opportunity and to lead successful and prosperous lives. Their words and actions are instilled in me to respect our elders, work hard, honor family, focus on education, and give back to the community. From this upbringing I learned to believe in myself, which is critical for an entrepreneur, and to be compassionate and invest in people who share my convictions and want to help me on the things that I want to improve about the world.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital


I had the good fortune to work alongside my father until his passing a few years ago. I saw in him and learned from him the intangibles – integrity, a good moral compass and how to treat others. He surrounded himself with people of similar character, and several of them carry on that legacy on the board of directors of Ocean Bank. I’ve recruited senior management who also follow in the same vein.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, president and CEO of Ocean Bank


The single biggest influence in my career has been my father. I went into business with my father when I was 18 years old and we were partners for eight years before I became a lawyer. His work ethic, integrity and his unqualified and relentless commitment to customer service continue to inspire me, perhaps all the more even after his death.

Paul Singerman, co-chair of Berger Singerman


My parents, Joni and Stanley Tate, laid the foundation for my future and taught me the importance of having a strong moral fiber as well as instilled the ethical characteristics necessary to achieve success in business. Their influence not only helped to define who I am as a man, but have also led me to be a good son, brother, husband, father and community leader. Most importantly, they showed me there’s more to success than money and that financial gain can often be an empty pursuit if you don’t feel content with who you are and what you stand for.

James “Jimmy” Tate, co-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.


My close friend, attorney Roy Black, taught me that it's not just about succeeding or winning, it’s about learning from each mistake. Failures and mistakes have been the biggest influences in my career. I have utilized these as my essential learning tools in becoming the professional and person that I am today. Cultivating this motto at MV Group has allowed me to create an organization in which team members come together to learn and grow when they encounter a set back and turn those situations into wins time and time again.

Manny Angelo Varas, president and CEO of MV Construction Group


My mother has been the biggest influence on my career. Poor, and with 10 mouths to feed, she taught me two simple things: one, that education is the key to getting out of the ghetto; and two, be kind to everyone you meet and blessings will continually come your way. I have seen the truthfulness of her words, and have spent my entire career using these philosophies and teaching them to others.

Dorcas L. Wilcox, CEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services


My career has been positively influenced by the women who mentored, coached, and guided me over the years. I have never had a male boss, I’ve always been directed and led by other women. Always reporting to women taught me that being the Manager, Executive Director, or CEO was within my reach. Most importantly, I learned from these women that it is possible to have a successful career and a fulfilling personal life: We can have it all, but the percentages are constantly changing.

Chelsea Wilkerson, CEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida


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