Business Monday

Senior-level hires and promotions in South Florida for the week of December 19, 2016



Clara T. Diaz Leal has been named executive vice president of BankUnited. She will lead the bank’s network of 26 branches throughout Miami-Dade. Diaz Leal was previously at SunTrust Bank in Miami, where she was senior vice president and business banking team leader. She also worked at Wachovia Bank/Wells Fargo for 25 years.


Cynthia Cabrera has opened a Miami-based consultancy, the Cating Group, where she will help organizations navigate business and regulatory environments, especially those in the vaping industry. She is former executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), a vapor trade group.


William Schipske has been named senior engineer at Miller Legg, a consulting firm, in the Fort Lauderdale office. He manages design, development and construction aspects of commercial, industrial and residential projects in South Florida. He was previously principal of his own firm. He also spent three years at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Schipske has an associate’s in civil technology from Nassau Community College and a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Florida International University.


At Conrad & Scherer:

▪ Michael E. Dutko Jr. has been named a partner in the litigation law firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. His practice focuses on government relations and public policy, and other areas. Dutko has a bachelor’s in foreign service from Georgetown and a J.D. from Florida State University.

▪ Noel M. Pfeffer also has been named a partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. He was previously city attorney for the City of Delray Beach. He was also, for 30 years, deputy county attorney for Broward. Pfeffer has a bachelor’s from American University and a J.D. from Nova Southeastern.

▪ Christy Hritz has been named marketing director. She previously was brand manager at CHG Healthcare Services. Hritz will oversee marketing strategies for the firm’s offices in Fort Lauderdale as well as in Brevard, North Carolina, and Quito, Ecuador. Hritz has a bachelor’s in marketing and advertising from the University of North Florida.


Michelle Griffith has been promoted from account director to vice president at BoardroomPR, based in the agency’s Fort Lauderdale and Central Florida locations. She has a bachelor’s in public relations from the University of Florida.


Hernando Perez has joined the Miami office of Franklin Street as director of multifamily investment sales. He specializes in brokering the sale of apartment properties throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Previously, he was sales manager for Marcus & Millichap’s Fort Lauderdale and Fort Worth, Texas, offices.

Jacqueline Blake has returned to Cushman & Wakefield as managing director in the firm’s Florida Occupier Services Group. She was previously senior vice president and national real estate director, AutoNation at Cypress Equities. She began her career in commercial real estate in 2000 with Cushman & Wakefield’s Office Brokerage Services Group in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Blake has a bachelor’s in advertising and business administration from UF.

Steven Wasserman has been named executive vice president on the industrial services team of Colliers International South Florida. He’ll focus on leasing and advising institutional property owners in Miami-Dade and Broward. He previously was a senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle and had earlier worked at Colliers. Wasserman has a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Miami.

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

Mover’s spotlight

Name: Mark Guthrie

New position: Chief financial officer at Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants in Miami.

From: Chief financial officer/chief administrative officer at Goldstein Schechter Koch PA.

Also: Guthrie succeeds Dave Kekich, who served as CFO for more than 20 years and will be taking a consulting role for firm clients. Guthrie has been finance director at Fidelity National Information Services and Spherion.

Education: Guthrie has a bachelors of business administration from Florida Atlantic University and a master’s in finance from Florida International University. He is a certified information systems auditor.

Best advice: Surround yourself with good people, empower them to do their best and get out of their way.

Choices for Spotlight are made from promotions sent to