23 Under 40
Our first annual list of entrepreneurs, executives, leaders and artists under 40 who are shaping South Florida and its perception around the world.
R. Marcelo Claure, Chairman, President and CEO, Brightstar Corp. Age: 38
USA Today, Lista, PODER, America Economia—the organizations that have recognized R. Marcelo Claure validate his place as an up-and-coming leader. A long-time telecommunications professional, Claure founded Brightstar as a customized distribution and supply chain company—admittedly “a risky undertaking, especially since I was only in my mid-20s.” Self-described as “tenacious,” in 10 years he steered Brightstar to 50 countries on six continents —and $4.8 billion in 2007 sales. The economics graduate of Bentley College participated in Harvard’s Global Leadership & Public Policy for the 21st Century program and the World Economic Forum in Davos. Claure is a committed philanthropist who in 2005 co-founded One Laptop Per Child, an effort to give low-cost laptops to children in emerging nations. He’s president of Club Bolivar, the largest soccer team in his native Bolivia—a team he hopes to make Latin America’s top club within the decade. Yet his greatest accomplishment remains his wife and children. “I have great hopes for their future.”
Cesar Conde, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer Univision Communications Inc.
Cesar Conde is a graduate of Harvard University and Wharton Business School. He’s a former investment banker who has risen steadily in rank and responsibility at Univision. But little in his career has had the impact of one year spent as a White House Fellow for then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. “The lessons I took away from it help me to this day in all aspects of life.” Conde learned from his parents to treat all with respect, be willing to tackle unpopular paths or most difficult tasks, and that no job is either too big or too small—advice that’s “simple but very powerful if taken to heart.” That’s true both at Univision and the Futuro program, a non-profit formed by Conde and his brothers to help Hispanic high school students apply to leading colleges. “I am proud of whatever small role Futuro may have played in the success of our students.”
Marco Rubio, Speaker, the Florida House of Representatives. Age: 37
A Florida boy born to Cuban exiles, Republican Marco Rubio is a well-placed face on the political scene. An engaging speaker, Rubio is effecting change along his political path. From his first public office on the West Miami City Commission, to which he was tapped in a special election in 1988 (and re-elected three times), to his first term in Tallahassee in 2000, Rubio has tried to inspire those around him with ideas and change. In 2006, he was designated Florida’s Speaker of the House—the first Hispanic and second-youngest person to hold that post. As Speaker, Rubio has promoted “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future,” a unique effort and Website (100Ideas.org) to help the people of Florida chart the state’s future. So far almost three score of the ideas have been adopted (from funding of inner-city youth programs to a health insurance initiative), and the concept has been embraced by several other states. Rubio graduated from the University of Florida in 1993 and cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1996. A father of three (another is expected in September), Rubio’s aspirations have taken him from humble beginnings to Florida’s capital. His leadership may well take him farther.
J. Ricky Arriola, CEO, Inktel Direct Corp. Age: 39
Attorney, investment banker, ecommerce entrepreneur and entertainment executive, J. Ricky Arriola tapped all his education (economics from Boston College, law from St. John’s University, MBA from Harvard) and expertise to assume at 31 the helm of his family’s direct marketing, call center, distribution and ecommerce business. He quotes Winston Churchill and Warren Buffett and today finds fortitude in his convictions. “I don’t worry about the naysayers,” he says. A Miami son who’s seen the city blossom into a multinational hub, Arriola prides himself in having had little come too easily. “It’s one thing to have and see the opportunities presented to you,” he says. “It’s quite another to kick open the door.” Yet to be married, Arriola has ample time to focus on business, a dozen community organizations—and his marathons. Yet, he doesn’t see himself single forever. Family, he says, “is my next big goal.”
Pepe Fanjul Jr. Senior Vice President, Florida Crystals Corporation Age: 37
Pepe Fanjul Jr. knows sugar. A child of one of America’s largest sugar families, sugar wasn’t always in his blood, though. After graduating from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA in international management, he entered investment banking—only to join the family business six years ago. Today, Fanjul oversees land development, real estate and government relations for Florida Crystals Corporation and Flo-Sun Incorporated. The company owns some 400,000 acres of land and controls operations throughout North America, the Caribbean and Europe, producing some 4.5 million tons of sugar a year. Working on the advice of his father, J. Pepe Fanjul, and his uncle, Alfy Fanjul, to always be calm, honest and prepared no matter what the situation, Fanjul still believes luck has played a role in his life. “I was able to join a wonderful organization consisting of trusted family members and highly skilled professionals.” Married with two children, Fanjul believes no greater accomplishment exists. Ten years out, he’d like to see corporate plans come to fruition, and life remain sweet. “I can ask for no more.”
Daniel Arsham, Artist. Age: 27
The work of artist Daniel Arsham is striking, charismatic, dramatic, inspiring, unforgettable—seemingly like the man himself. Called one of Miami’s fastest-rising young artists, that description is only wrong in one respect: Arsham’s work is becoming known the world over. Interesting for a man who believes the key to his success has come through “paying attention to subtlety.” His work has been displayed in Paris and Amsterdam, London and his own Miami. Next year, his set and costumes for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s eyeSpace will make their debut. That, he says, will be his defining moment—thus far. A native of Columbus, Ohio, who was raised in many places and studied fine art at New York’s Cooper Union school, Arsham returned to Miami to launch his career. Arsham works with simple advice in mind—that “everything will fail eventually”—yet his career, it seems, is on the cusp of immortality. In 10 years, Arsham hopes to be engaged in collaborative efforts and feed his passion for this calling he calls not a vocation, but a personal interest. “Everything I do is personal,” he says. “If I can still make my work in 10 years I’ll be happy.”
Chad Oppenheim Founder, OPPENHEIM architecture + design. Age: 36
One word summarizes Chad Oppenheim’s approach to architecture: “Essence.” Daring and sensible, romantic and seductive, evocative and essential, Oppenheim considers himself an “alchemist of atmosphere.” A New York native raised in New Jersey, he graduated from Cornell University in 1994 and in 1999 founded OPPENHEIM architecture + design, today a 35-person firm in Miami. An adjunct professor of architecture at Florida International University and a global lecturer, he’s considered by many an emerging and award-winning international star, one whom Miami Vice creator Michael Mann noted for work that “represents the architecture of Miami in the new millennium.” Uniquely Miami with a global appeal, Oppenheim—along with his wife and muse, Ilona (about whom he says, “all your senses are enhanced when you are in love”)—are re-defining architecture in tropical South Florida and the world by “never being satisfied with the work we are doing...always striving to create something better.”
Arian Campo-Flores, Miami Bureau Chief, Newsweek magazine. Age: 37
As Newsweek magazine’s lead in the Miami market, Arian Campo-Flores is in a unique position to see this hemisphere’s news unfold—and impact the world. Yet the two defining moments of his career happened much farther away. One came as a Newsweek New York correspondent covering 9/11, where he saw firsthand the magnitude of the devastation and its impact on the city and its people. The other came as an embedded reporter during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “Witnessing war is an intense experience,” he says. Throughout it all, Campo-Flores credits three keys for his success: working hard, treating others as potential teachers, and—as evidenced by his work in Iraq—“pushing myself past my comfort zone.” A career journalist married to a woman who both inspires and grounds him, Campo-Flores doesn’t see a dramatic change in his post in 10 years—save working on a non-fiction book. His career choice stems from advice given by his uncle, Juan Carlos, many years ago. “Pursue my passion, in my case writing,” he says, “I’d eventually sort out how to make a living off of it.”
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