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Meet the latest panel of the Business Monday CEO Roundtable

For the next six months, the CEOs will give their views on the most important civic and economic issues of the day. We’ll also ask them to share personal stories of their successes and setbacks and tips on how to succeed in the business world. (The next cohort will be chosen in April-May, 2020.)
For the next six months, the CEOs will give their views on the most important civic and economic issues of the day. We’ll also ask them to share personal stories of their successes and setbacks and tips on how to succeed in the business world. (The next cohort will be chosen in April-May, 2020.) Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Miami Herald CEO Roundtable continues with a new group of participants selected from among South Florida’s top business leaders.

For the next six months, the CEOs will give their views on the most important civic and economic issues of the day. We’ll also ask them to share personal stories of their successes and setbacks and tips on how to succeed in the business world.

The CEOs come from a variety of companies and nonprofits — both big and small — across Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The industries they represent include technology, real estate and architecture, insurance, law, the arts, banking, nonprofits and small business.

Thanks to all who sent nominations to Business Monday for this roundtable. In this round, there were well over 100 nominations. If you weren’t chosen this time, we invite you to try again when the next cohort is chosen, likely in April-May of 2020.

Here are the members of the new group. And if you have a question you’d like to ask the CEOs, please email Miami Herald staff writer Rob Wile at rwile@miamiherald.com.

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Andy Ansin is the vice president of Sunbean Properties. He oversees development, management, marketing and leasing at the Miramar Park of Commerce, which is home to more than 160 companies including GE, Siemens, HEICO, Toyota, Tommy Hilfiger, Neiman Marcus, Humana, Stanley, Black & Decker, Pepperidge Farm and Nissan. The park employs more than 10,000 people.

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Michael Balaban is president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Broward County. His nonprofit management experience spans more than 28 years; he has been chief development officer for the Atlanta Jewish Federation, director of development for Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a development consultant for several organizations. Balaban, who has a master’s degrees in public administration from the University of Southern California and in Jewish communal service from Hebrew Union College, is a volunteer firefighter in his off hours.

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Uhriel Bedoya became Florida general manager for Lime, a shared “smart mobility” provider of electric scooters, or e-scooters, in July. He oversees the company’s statewide operations and also works with state and municipal officials to meet local demands. Bedoya was previously a country manager for Mastercard, directing emerging payments technologies in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bermuda and Haiti. He has also worked for Visa, RBC Business Lines and Capital Markets, and M&T Bank. Bedoya has an MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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Claudia Busch is founding principal of Berenblum Busch Architects in Miami, an architecture, planning and interior design firm. Busch, who has more than 25 years of experience in the field, has designed for major architects such as Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Nalbach Architekten and Bernard Tschumi. She is also a senior instructor at Florida International University’s School of Architecture. Busch, who was raised in Germany, was trained in Hamburg and also has a master’s degree from Columbia University.

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Anita Byer is CEO of Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk, a $35 million independent insurance agency based in Plantation. The firm, which is more than 30 years old, provides property, casualty and group benefit products and services to businesses and families. Byer, a graduate of the University of Florida, has more than 20 years experience in the field. As a principal shareholder in the firm, she has focused her attention on business development and improving the risk management offerings. Byer also has published over 50 online training courses on risk management and is a continuing-education teacher to human resources professionals and small businesses.

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Ricardo Dunin is a founding partner of Lionheart Capital in Miami, a real estate development and capital investment firm engaged in the acquisition and development of residential and commercial properties. He has nearly 40 years of experience in the South Florida, Caribbean and Brazilian real estate markets. Before joining forces with OZ Holdings to found the company nearly nine years ago, Dunin was CEO of the Flagler Group, which was a pioneer of the condo-hotel concept and which developed the Mutiny Hotel and the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel in Coconut Grove. Most recently, Lionheart completed The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach, after selling out The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Singer Island, in Palm Beach.

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Carlos R. Fernandez-Guzman is a member of the board, president and CEO of Pacific National Bank (PNB). He has 44 years experience in the private sector and the banking industry. Fernandez-Guzman also serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s community depository institutions advisory committee, and he is on the board of trustees of the Miami Dade College Foundation. He has also been a senior executive at BankUnited. Fernandez-Guzman has chaired multiple community boards and key committees, including the Chapman Partnership board (2014-2018); the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (2008-2009); United HomeCare; and FIU’s master’s of science program in finance advisory board.

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Christine Franklin is president, Cherokee Enterprises, which is based in Miami Lakes. The firm offers environmental engineering and sciences services, heavy construction management, fueling services for the aviation industry, and fueling services for motor vehicles. Franklin oversees the minority-owned firm’s mission to achieve fueling solutions for a sustainable world. Franklin, who is a Florida registered professional engineer and a building contractor, has an MBA from the University of Florida. She is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Florida Engineering Society.

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Arnaud Karsenti is managing principal of 13th Floor Investments, a real estate investment and development firm based in Miami. Karsenti founded the firm in 2008, focusing on value investments. Since then, the firm has delivered everything from high-end condos, to single-family home communities to mixed-use transit-oriented projects such as Motion at Dadeland apartments. The firm’s recent projects also include 1010 Brickell, and the Harbour luxury condos in North Miami Beach.

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Yaeli Merenfeld is president of Anny’s Bread Factory in North Miami Beach. The wholesale bakery sells to retail chains and restaurants in South Florida, and the company also has a fast-growing food-service line. Merenfeld had founded a catering company to serve Fortune 500 companies in Venezuela before she immigrated to the U.S. in 2010 and took over Anny’s. Merenfeld, who has an MBA from IESA in Caracas, is an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Program and the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative education program (scaling).

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Bernie Navarro is founder and president of Benworth Capital Partners in Miami. He has worked in private equity, lending and real estate for more than 20 years. He has also founded the LBA Academy, a business charter high school; serves as board chairman at Miami Dade College; and has been a member of the University of Miami Business School Real Estate Advisory Board.

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Sanket Parekh is founder and managing partner of Secocha Ventures, a Miami-based firm focused on early-stage consumer products and services, financial technology (fintech) and healthcare technology companies. A third-generation entrepreneur, he sits on the board of several companies including Ossio Ltd., Le15 and CarePredict. He also heads Pidilite Industries’ corporate venture capital arm. Parekh has a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Mumbai, a master’s in marketing from Bentley College, and an MBA in global management from Babson.

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Julio Ramirez is president and CEO, JEM Global Consulting. He provides support to companies interested in franchising, marketing and general management, with particular expertise in the Americas. Ramirez had a 26-year-long career with Burger King Corp., leaving the company as a senior executive in 2010 after it was acquired by Brazilian equity firm 3-G Capital. He has been an adjunct professor in the international master’s business program at FIU as well as a board member of the United Way of Miami-Dade, the Whole Coffee Company, the Orange Bowl committee and St. Thomas University.

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Kelley Shanley is president and CEO of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and he has held various other leadership positions in his 20-year career there. Under his leadership, the Broward Center completed an ambitious $60 million capital project in 2014, ENCORE! Building Community through the Arts, to re-imagine and revitalize the venue and the campus. Kelley also initiated an affiliated-venues management program during his tenure, and today the Center manages the historic Parker Playhouse, Aventura Arts & Cultural Center and Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center on the NSU campus.

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Stuart Singer has been the administrative partner in charge of the Fort Lauderdale office of Boies Schiller & Flexner since 2002. At the high-profile litigation firm, Singer represents many of the top public companies in South Florida. He is also the board chair for the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, which sponsors debate programs for urban high school students throughout the U.S., and teaches on the adjunct faculty of the University of Miami Law School and Harvard Law School. Singer, a Miami native, is a graduate of Northwestern University and Harvard Law School, where he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review. He was then a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White.

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Evelio C. Torres has been president and CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in Florida since January 2, 2007. He has expanded the organization’s reach, programs and budget, which now totals over $215 million annually. The Early Learning Coalition serves over 50,000 children and families annually, with a focus on high-need communities and children ages 0 through 5. Community-based services are delivered by a dedicated team, in partnership with over 1,400 early-care and education programs and other community partners. Torres, who has a bachelor’s and master’s in public administration from FIU, was also an adjunct instructor there for 13 years.

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