Senior hires and promotions for the week of March 13, 2017

Di Mauro
Di Mauro


Monica Agurto has joined VS/Brooks Advertising as senior media buyer. Previously, she worked for Zubi Advertising Services in Coral Gables as senior media buyer. Agurto has a bachelor’s in psychology from Florida International University.


Luisa Rebecca Abella has been named senior vice president, director residential mortgage and community reinvestment, at Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust. She was previously a sales manager at Caliber Home and has also held senior positions at TotalBank and Bank of America.


David M. Chason has been named a partner at AEI U.S. Studio, the North American office of commercial design firm AEI headquartered in Bogotá. He was formerly principal of David M. Chason Design. Chason has an associate’s in interior design from the New York School of Interior Design and a bachelor’s from George Washington University.


Christopher Barker has been named director of operations of ZenCrate, based in Sunrise. The company makes anti-dog-anxiety crates. Barker was previously in operations management positions for AmerisourceBergen and Ports America in Washington state.


Leigh Byers has been named executive director of Wellspring Counseling, a nonprofit mental-health-counseling organization based in Palmetto Bay. She has been as a ministry director, specializing in programs for women, children and families, at Wayside Baptist Church in Kendall. Byers has a bachelor’s in public affairs from Rollins, a master’s in management and leadership from Liberty University and a doctorate of business administration in leadership from Walden University, headquartered in Minnesota.

Dr. Robert Udelsman has been named chief of endocrine surgery and director of the Endocrine Neoplasia Institute at Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. He previously was at Yale University School of Medicine, where he had been surgeon-in-chief at Yale-New Haven Hospital since 2001. Udelsman’s educational background includes medical training at George Washington and a surgical residence and chief residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Real Estate

Jordana Smith has been named regional business manager at Cresa South Florida and will be based at the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Cresa is a tenant-focused commercial real estate firm. Previously, Smith was with FirstService Residential.


Matthew Jafarian has been promoted to vice president, mobile strategy and innovation by the Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena. He was previously director, mobile strategy. Before joining the Heat in 2016, Jafarian was a partner at Simplikate, a tech startup that was acquired by Phunware.

This column lists high-level promotions of senior executives at the director level and above who are based in South Florida. These announcements, which also are at, are for full-time, paid positions. Send items, including previous job; educational background; and jpegs of head shots, to

See past senior-level hires and promotions in South Florida for 2017:

▪ Jan. 2, 2017

▪ Jan. 9, 2017

▪ Jan. 16, 2017

▪ Jan. 23, 2017

▪ Jan. 30, 2017

▪ Feb. 6, 2017

▪ Feb. 13, 2017

▪ Feb. 20, 2017

▪ Feb. 27, 2017

▪ March 6, 2017

Mover’s spotlight

Name: Cristina di Mauro

New position: Senior executive vice president and Florida commercial banking executive at BankUnited.

From: She most recently was executive vice president in charge of corporate banking for Florida at the bank, which has its headquarters in Miami Lakes.

Responsibilities: She’ll oversee the bank’s Florida commercial line of business, which encompasses $4 billion of credit commitments, $3.3 billion in outstanding loan balances, $1.2 billion in deposits and a statewide sales team of 92 associates.

Also: Di Mauro is on the advisory board of the Florida International University School of Business. She also has been on the Board of Governors for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and involved with the March of Dimes.

Education: Di Mauro has a bachelor’s in finance from Florida International University. She completed the High Performance Leadership program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Best advice she ever received: One piece of advice I’ve taken to heart throughout my career comes from the famous fashion designer, Coco Chanel, who once said, “Keep your heels, head and standards high.” I aspire to apply that advice to my life and career and believe we can all do so by embracing feminine strengths in the workplace; displaying confidence based on preparation and hard work; and conducting ourselves in all circumstances in a manner we can be proud of.

Choices for Spotlight are made from promotions sent to