20 under 40
Latinos Going Places
It’s a well documented truth: the U.S. Latino population is growing faster than any other. As Hispanics gain ground in politics, sports and entertainment, they’re just beginning to get a foothold in the highest echelons of the corporate world. That change begins with younger generations. To give homage to the Hispanics on this new frontier, PODER compiled the following list of 20 top executives under the age of 40.
One example of swiftly achieved success is Cesar Conde, leading Univision Networks at the age of 39. Conde is driving performance at the network, which posted strong ratings and revenue in the first quarter of the year. He’s also capitalizing on the rapid growth of the Latino population by launching FUSION, a new joint network with ABC that will serve an estimated 50 million Hispanic viewers.
On the following pages we present 20 more Latinos we’re keeping our eyes on, as they may eventually replicate success like Conde’s. They range from Eliana Murillo, Google’s 24-year-old director of multicultural marketing, to social entrepreneur Bertrand Sosa, and from advertising wizard Jorge Plasencia to mobile startup founder Iñaki Berenguer and Klout founder Joe Fernandez—plus financial industry executives from companies such as UBS, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan.
It became evident as we compiled our list that there aren’t enough young Hispanic executives in the corporate suite. But that is bound to change as more Latinos earn MBAs, start companies, and find their way to the top. We hope that this list inspires those on the way.
Founder and Partner
When he was 11 years old, Bertrand Sosa didn’t speak a word of English. By the time he was 20, he was the top representative in the call center of a telecommunications company. He has leveraged that same determination throughout his career, using his networking, branding and entrepreneurial skills to help the disadvantaged. In 2007 he co-founded MPOWER Ventures, an investment fund that focuses on financially empowering WWthe world’s underserved, and took on development of the company’s business strategies and management of its product development, advertising and marketing initiatives. Sosa, 35, also co-founded Mango Financial Inc., a retail and online financial services company, and Rev Worldwide Inc., which operates prepaid and mobile payment products for the underserved. Bertrand and his brother Roy co-founded NetSpend Corp., which is one of the world’s largest marketers and processors of prepaid debit cards. In 2004 Sosa was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award to honor NetSpend’s success.
Univision Networks, Executive Vice President of Operations
Far from the trials and tribulations of the struggling English-language media, Spanish-language media is an area of growth and opportunity. That means Beau Ferrari, 35, wields a lot of power. He’s Executive Vice President at Univision, the largest media company serving the U.S. Hispanic community, and one of the top five networks in the U.S. regardless of language. Ferrari manages operations and the growth and profitability of the network’s diverse entertainment, news, sports and cable content. He’s also the interim CEO of FUSION, Univision and Disney/ABC News’ joint venture providing 24-hour English language news and lifestyle programming. Ferrari’s experience isn’t limited to media. A graduate of Columbia University’s MBA program, he began his career as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley. He also helps lead economic development initiatives for the state of Florida and was appointed to a non-profit organization that boosts venture capital efforts in the state. His stops include a stint at the White House in the office of the Vice President.
BNY Mellon Wealth Management Vice President
Just out of college, Daniel Brea started at BNY Mellon as an investment specialist. Over the past 13 years, the 36-year-old has risen to become a vice president as a portfolio officer, managing investments for high-net worth clients with $2 million or more in liquid assets. Brea establishes investment objectives, implements strategies and works with clients to achieve their goals. Born in Miami to Cuban-American parents from Havana, Brea has a bachelor’s and an MBA from the University of Miami and is a Certified Financial Planner. “If I were to name my two greatest accomplishments, they’d be my family and my career,” says Brea, who has two children with Frances, his wife of 10 years. He has a passion for fishing and boating and enjoys playing golf. Brea is also a voting member of BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s Southeast Trust Administrative Committee and the Florida Account Review Committee. BNY was ranked the safest bank in the U.S. according to Global Finance Magazine’s World’s 50 Safest Banks ranking in 2013.
Google, Inc. Director of Multicultural Marketing
Small business owners often don’t know how to use search engines and Internet advertising as tools for growth. Eliana Murillo, 24, aims to change that. The Harvard University graduate of economics and sociology leads the company’s efforts to engage multicultural small business owners with products and services. She founded its U.S. Hispanic business development team. With the company since 2010, Murillo previously worked in global sales, diversity business development and human resources for Latin America. Murillo, who hails from Oxnard, Calif., and now resides in New York City, also works as chief marketing officer for Tequila Alquimia, her family’s company that produces USDA certified organic tequila. Before joining Google, Murillo worked on supply chain optimization and internal buying strategies in Target Corp.’s food merchandising division. She was included on the list of the Top 20 Most Prolific Latinos to Follow on Twitter by Vista Hispano, a Hispanic marketing blog.
George Stone Crab
When Roger Duarte received birthday gifts as a little boy, he would sell them to make a profit. Always an entrepreneur at heart, his skateboard went to the gardener, his Gameboy went to a friend and a Nintendo was sold to his cousin. Soon enough, he landed a $40 million project for an investment bank while only an intern and ascended the ranks shortly thereafter. That experience helped him understand finance, but he yearned to be his own boss. So at only 24 years old, he capitalized on his love of seafood and began selling stone crab claws door-to-door where he grew up, in Key Biscayne, Fla. Those small beginnings have given way to the largest stone crab home delivery service in the country, offering never-frozen product always less than 24 hours off the boat. Duarte, 29, also has a take-out counter at the Miami International Airport, two restaurant locations called My Ceviche in South Beach and downtown Miami, and the largest stone crab export business to Latin America, which ships product to Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil and Guatemala.
SunTrust Investment Services
Alexander Hernandez forged his work ethic while growing up alongside his father, an immigrant from Colombia. He started working for a family friend in construction and property management at the age of 10 and learned to persevere through failure. By high school he was analyzing projects for the builder, which led him to study finance and real estate analysis at the University of Florida and later to a position with Prudential Financial Services. The 38-year-old from Gainesville, Fla., has more than 14 years experience specializing in financial planning to help business owners and executives find their risk tolerance, create an investment plan and get results. Hernandez is a Certified Financial Planer, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. Hernandez serves on the Orange County Board of Children and Families, a children’s cancer organization, and a local Hispanic chamber. In 2012 he completed a two-week expedition to raise cancer awareness in the Amazonian rain forest of Ecuador. He has five children with his wife Deann.
República, Chairman and CEO
Jorge Plasencia leads one of the country’s fastest growing independent advertising agencies. República’s clients include Google and Aetna. Earlier, Plasencia, 38, was vice president and operating manager for Univision Radio, and also oversaw marketing and publicity for Estefan Enterprises. He helped launch the crossover career of Colombian pop star Shakira in U.S. and European markets. He was the first director of Hispanic marketing for the Florida Marlins, earning him the Hispanic Marketer of the Year Award from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce in 1997, the year the Marlins won the World Series. He helped produce a September 11 tribute at the White House, Super Bowl XXXIII, the 1997 World Series and the Latin Grammy Awards. He was the first Cuban-American, first Floridian and youngest ever to be elected chairman of the board of NCLR, the Hispanic civil rights organization. He co-founded Amigos For Kids, a non-profit group serving underprivileged children.
KeyBank, Vice President
As vice president and senior business banking relationship manager at KeyBank in Indianapolis, Juan Gonzalez helps find solutions for commercial customers’ financial needs. Juan “is not only an outstanding banker, he is an instrumental part of the execution of our growth strategy and our community development efforts,” says Gary Hentschel, president of KeyBank in Indiana. “Juan brings energy, focus and leadership to every opportunity or challenge, and is inspirational both internally and externally in our organization and community.” The Colombian-born Gonzalez, 39, also serves on a local United Way board of directors, the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, Goodwill Education Initiatives, the Cancer Support Community and is on the Hispanic Business Council of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. He has also been co-chair of the city mayor’s commission on Latino affairs and was the recipient of the 2013 Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers award given by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility.
Co-founder and CEO
Iñaki Berenguer has the best of both worlds: he’s a risk-taking entrepreneur, but a researcher and engineer, too. In 2009, the Spaniard met Andres Blank and Alberto Sheinfeld on the MIT campus, and soon they founded Pixable, a mobile startup that shares hundreds of millions of photos and videos a day. “We launched Pixable because we noticed that no one was doing anything with the 40 billion photos on Facebook, the largest photo repository in the world,” Berenguer, 36, told Time Out magazine. “Three months later we turned down lucrative job offers and committed to Pixable full-time.” The company, featured in dozens of major media outlets, offers a free application that aggregates photos from social networks, sorting them into user-friendly feeds and allowing users to follow the photo activity of their friends. Berenguer helped the company raise over $7 million in venture capital. SingTel acquired Pixable for $30 million in 2012. He has a PhD in Engineering from Cambridge University, and has authored 25 research articles and has been awarded three patents.
Director of Human Resources
In its first six years in operation, Twitter gained more than 200 million registered users, or some 7 percent of the world’s population. In 2012, it was the platform for more than 340 million tweets. Given the staff required to support such enormous traffic, the company’s human resources department must be on point. Contreras, 39, is helping to make that happen. Having worked at Disney for 14 years with a brief stint at Sony before Twitter brought her on as director of human resources, Contreras is helping the company overcome its growing pains and evolve from a startup company. Contreras is working on the social network’s international expansion, which presents a unique challenge of keeping employees close when they’re spread out all over the world. Contreras, who went to law school at Loyola Marymount University, says her Mexican-American family’s value of hard work, embodied by her mother’s willingness to work two to three jobs to support her children, has helped her in her role at Twitter.
PNC Bank Senior Vice President, Trade Finance Group
Daniel Pinho, who was born in Brazil and came to the United States in 1999, has more than 17 years experience marketing, structuring and underwriting the credit of small and medium-sized Latin America companies. For PNC, he brings his special expertise in understanding accounting practices, financial statement reporting, and political and commercial risk factors of the Brazilian market. Previously Pinho, 39, who is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, managed export credit agency operations at UPS Capital Business Credit and was director of trade finance at NetPlan Bank. He holds an MBA degree from the University of Connecticut, a bachelor’s degree in Business from Mackenzie University and a bachelor’s of science degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Sao Paulo. Pinho’s interests extend outside finance as well. He serves on the board of a Pittsburgh non-profit organization focused on fair trade and a committee for international children’s theater. He is married with two sons, ages 14 and 6.
Bendixen & Amandi Int’l
The overwhelming Hispanic support for Barack Obama in the 2012 election was one of the major stories of the presidential election. Behind the scenes of that outcome was Fernand Amandi, 37. He manages operations at Bendixen & Amandi International, a Miami-based opinion research and consulting firm, and has more than a decade of experience in research and strategic management. The company led research on the Hispanic vote for Obama’s reelection campaign, as Amandi carried out polling in Latino battleground states and led research to determine the most effective messages to win Hispanic support. In the end, his work helped the president win an overwhelming 71 percent of Hispanic voters, which underscored the importance of the Latino vote unlike ever before. Amandi’s client list has included the World Bank, the United Nations, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and the Inter-American Development Bank. Amandi is also responsible for the company’s television, radio and Internet campaigns, including well-known commercials for the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Adrian Garcia-Aranyos has been vice president of Media Relations for Latin America at J.P. Morgan since 2011. He manages the firm’s external media engagements for all its Latin America operations as well as developing and executing its communications strategy in the region. This includes managing relations with local media outlets, as well as analyzing the effectiveness of the media strategy and understanding competitive environments. Prior to joining the firm, he was marketing director for the Americas at the Economist Group, associate managing director at InTrust Global, where he worked on a private equity fund, building partnerships with indigenous communities in Latin America, and was also foreign trade manager at the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the top link for business between Spain and the United States. He also co-founded intoSpain, an organization that brings together people in the U.S. who appreciate Spanish culture. Garcia-Aranyos, 36, is a political science graduate from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Despite his young age, Javier Maynulet is a veteran of finance. As CFO of Telemundo Media, he is responsible for the finances of the network, its 15 stations, cable networks, digital media, international distribution and studios. He oversees financial planning and analysis as well as broadcast operations, engineering, environmental health and safety, and commercial operations. Previously, Maynulet, born and raised in Puerto Rico, was senior vice president and CFO for Universal Media Studios and Universal Cable Productions at NBCUniversal. He helped produce a record operating profit in 2008. In 2001 Maynulet, 39, helped lead the financial integration of the first NBC/Telemundo duopoly in the country. In 2003 he was nominated to the Experienced Financial Leadership Program, carrying out a business project with GE Healthcare in Brazil and an audit at GE Corporate. The Imagen Foundation named him the most powerful and influential Latino in Entertainment in 2008. Maynulet was part of GE’s Financial Management Program and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and information systems from Boston College.
Cisco, Senior Manager of Community Relations
Ricardo Benavidez, 36, was still in college when he joined Cisco in 1999 as an intern helping to grow the company’s social responsibility program. After moving on to work in sales and engineering operations, he’s now come back to community relations as senior manager. He’s responsible for corporate citizenship strategies that enhance Cisco’s brand in markets all over the world, has helped establish Cisco as a philanthropic leader, and is accountable for corporate and foundation budgets and grant-making. His extracurricular work makes him perfect for the job, as he works to create a “college-going culture” among Latino high school students. In his first year at the company, he joined a mentoring program in his native San Jose, Calif., helping students with poor grades and involved in gangs. He also speaks at high schools with high dropout rates, helping students overcome peer pressure to excel in school. The San Jose Chapter of Cisco employee resource group Conexion named Benavidez Hispanic Hero in conjunction with the Hispanic
CEO and Founder
Joe Fernandez started Klout in 2008 with one idea: everyone has influence. The site uses algorithms to assign users a score based on how influential they are on social networks. Fernandez came up with the idea while he was recovering from surgery, his jaw wired shut for three months. When he founded Klout, Fernandez couldn’t get the domain name he wanted because someone else owned it and wouldn’t sell. Determined to prevail, he followed the owner on Twitter. When he saw him check into a local restaurant one day, he showed up with $5,000 and offered to buy the name on the spot. He succeeded. Since then, Klout has increased its clout, announcing partnerships like the one with American Airlines that offers high Klout scorers access to VIP lounges. Fernandez also faced harsh criticism, including being called “possibly evil” by a CNN guest columnist and “the Internet equivalent of Herpes” by author Charles Stross because it sells people’s scores to companies like airlines and banks. Fernandez, 35, downplays the criticism; he revamped the way Klout calculates scores and keeps moving forward.
Gabriela Teran is a New York-based managing director for Credit Suisse in private banking and wealth management, focusing on clients in Latin America. Teran, 39, opened and built out the New York-based Latin America private banking office, which is one of the fastest growing in the United States. Previously, the Nicaraguan native was the first Latina branch manager in the history of Merrill Lynch. She spent 14 years at that firm as a sales manager for Latin America, sales manager for New York City, associate director of the New York global office, and the director of the Rockefeller Center Complex, where she oversaw more than 90 relationship managers. Teran has an economics degree from the University of Michigan and an investment strategist certificate from Wharton Business School. She lives in New York City and has two sons. She’s also a board member of the American Nicaraguan Foundation, where she has worked with a group that feeds more than 70,000 children per day and boosts education and health care in local communities.
UBS Head of Client Services,Americas
In 2011, Omar Medina became client relationship manager at UBS Investment Bank, leading a team that explains the bank’s initiatives and providing market intelligence and industry information for its most important clients, as well as helping with their future plans. In April 2013, he was named regional head of client services for the Americas, where he is putting in place a new client service model to establish consistency in governance, organization and management. Previously, Medina, 39, worked for 15 years in the asset management division of Goldman Sachs, where he became a vice president and was responsible for risk assessment due diligence. Medina is also an active member of the Latino business community, working with the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, and aiming to expand Latino leadership in the global workforce. He has a bachelor’s in business administration from the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University and lives in Bergen County, N.J.
Ernst & Young
Danica Dilligard is a partner with Ernst & Young’s assurance services practice. She helps clients navigate regulatory requirements and stakeholder demands around the world. Her practice offers services such as financial statement audits, accounting compliance and reporting, fraud investigation, and climate change and sustainability services. Dilligard has more than 17 years of experience helping clients navigate through the acquisition process as well as private and public offerings. Dilligard, 39, who has a bachelor’s in business administration and accounting from Bernard Baruch College in New York, is a certified public accountant in New York and New Jersey and is a member of the New Jersey State Society of Public Accountants, the Association for Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, and the National Association of Black Accountants. She is also involved in her company’s recruiting efforts, serves as a mentor in the firm, and takes an active role in inclusiveness initiatives. The Panama native is a mother of three, coaches her daughter’s cheerleading squad and mentors young girls.
Director of Community Affairs
With impressive experience in both the private and public sectors, Ivette Fernandez, 37, manages News Corp’s external diversity council, developing partnerships to promote investment in the community, supplier diversity and multicultural business initiatives. She also works on News Corp programs to reinvest in the community. Before News Corp, she was Pfizer Inc.’s director of advocacy and professional relations for the northeast region. Fernandez was also associate director at the White House’s Office of Public Liaison, where she handled outreach and education on policy relating to Hispanic affairs, women, immigration and Catholic issues. The Fairbanks, Ala., native was also a political appointee at several different departments in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where she worked on efforts to improve security between the United States and Latin America. In addition, Fernandez worked in the Senate for two senators from her home state. Fernandez speaks three languages and has traveled to more than 30 countries and 30 states. She won Miss Alaska USA and Miss Congeniality titles in the year 2000.