Senior-level hires and promotions for the week of June 6, 2016



Ira Z. Leiderman has been named managing director at Cassel Salpeter & Co., a middle-market investment banking firm providing financial advisory services. Previously, he was the founder and managing partner of Long Trail Advisors, a life sciences advisory firm and mergers and acquisitions boutique.

Dena B. Kennedy has joined City National Bank as senior vice president and senior corporate banking relationship manager and will be based in Fort Lauderdale. She most recently was senior vice president in the commercial banking division at Bank of America.

At CenterState Bank:

▪ Manuel “Manny” G. Alvarez was recently promoted to assistant vice president/credit underwriter and will be in the Homestead office. Previously he was senior credit analyst. Alvarez has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University.

▪ Albert Rodriguez has been named first vice president and director of the residential lending department and will also be based in Homestead. He previously was director of residential lending for Community Bank of Florida.

At FirstBank Florida:

Gonzalo Chaves and Felipe S. Tolomelli have been named residential business officers focusing on lending within the Brickell and Broward markets, respectively.

▪ Chaves will be based out of the bank’s Brickell branch. He most recently was a mortgage consultant with BB&T Bank. Chaves studied business administration at Catholic University.

▪  Tolomelli will be based out of FirstBank Florida’s executive offices in Miami as the bank expands into Broward. He most recently was premier mortgage consultant with HSBC Bank USA. Tolomelli graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s in sport administration.

At Stonegate Bank:

Gabriella Cioli and Maiko Xavier have been named senior vice presidents of corporate lending in Miami-Dade County. They were both previously senior vice presidents, corporate lending at City National Bank of Florida. Cioli has a bachelor’s in business administration from Nova Southeastern University. Xavier has a bachelor’s in business finance from FIU.


Eva Garza has been named vice president of consulting services, specializing in corporate real estate workplace strategy, at JLL, based out of the Miami office. Previously, Garza was consulting lead for HOK Miami. Garza has a bachelor’s in architecture from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico, and a master’s in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.


John D. Murray has been named provost and professor of psychology at Barry University. His tenure begins July 1. Murray comes from Indiana State University, where he has been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Murray has a bachelor’s in psychology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Robert Lee has been named CEO of Plantation General Hospital. He has been with HCA’s East Florida Division since 1992, holding leadership roles in Broward, Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast. He most recently was CEO at Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee. Lee, who began his career in healthcare as a licensed radiologic technologist, has a bachelor’s of business administration from CUNY, Baruch and an MBA from New York Institute of Technology.


Meieli Sawyer has been promoted to director of communications at The Weinbach Group, based in Miami. Previously, she was communications specialist. Sawyer has a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University.

This column lists high-level promotions of director and above of executives based in South Florida. These announcements are for full-time, paid positions; we do not publish news about board memberships. Send items, including previous job; educational background; and jpegs of head shots, to

Mover’s spotlight

Name: Patricia Elizee.

New job: Managing partner at Elizee Law Firm, P.A., a Miami law firm dedicated to immigration and family matters in South Florida.

Previously: She co-owned Elizee Hernandez Law Firm for four years.

Also: Elizee currently is president of the Haitian Lawyers Association. In 2016, she was the first non-Hispanic to be appointed to the Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board for Miami-Dade County. She also has a legal column in Le Floridien newspaper.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications, with a minor in marketing from the University of Miami; J.D. from UM; and LLM from the University of Washington.

Best advice ever received: Keep doing things outside of your comfort zone because that is the only way to grow professionally and personally.

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