Board of Trustees
Helen Aguirre Ferré
Helen Aguirre Ferré (Chair) is an award-winning, bilingual journalist who maneuvers through various media platforms to deliver the news and analysis in print and broadcast media. At Univision Radio she co-hosts “Prohibido Callarse,” the highly rated daily political talk show, specializing in news, commentary and analysis. Aguirre Ferré is a political analyst for Univision Network’s “Destino 2012,” covering the national political election cycle on national newscasts. For the English-language audience, she is known for moderating the weekly WPBT2 public affairs series Issues, reaching audiences from the Treasure Coast to the Florida Keys. In print, Aguirre Ferré is the Opinion Page Editor and weekly columnist at Florida’s oldest independent Spanish-language newspaper, Diario Las Americas, and contributes to UnivisionNews.tumblr.com.
Aside from her career in journalism, Aguirre Ferré is passionate about providing access in education to students of all ages and backgrounds. She is the first woman to chair the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College, the largest community college in the country, and serves on the board of directors of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in the United States.
Additionally, Aguirre Ferré is a member of the Florida Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, a national member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Community Television Foundation of South Florida, a member of the Inter-American Institute for Democracy, and an advisory board member of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, the Angels of Mercy, Mercy Hospital, The Mater Center and the American Nicaraguan Foundation.
Read more about the Chair of the Board.
Armando J. Bucelo Jr.
Armando J. Bucelo Jr. is an attorney in private practice. His firm, the Law Offices of Armando J. Bucelo, Jr., has been based in the Coral Gables area since 1982. For over fifteen years, he has served as Special Counsel to the Code Enforcement Board of the City of Miami, Special Advisor to the City of Miami, Trustee for the Cuban-American National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Committeeman for the Republican Party.
He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Co-Chairman/Director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, one of the administration’s highest appointments made to a Hispanic. He was also appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Housing Development Corporation, one of the most prestigious national institutions dealing with affordable housing. Under former President George Bush, he was the first Hispanic and first Floridian selected as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).
He has been involved in a myriad of community activities, including the Board of Directors of the YMCA International, the American Red Cross, as past President of the Downtown Miami Business Association, and as past President of the Cuban-American Bar Association. He has been honored as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics on numerous occasions and has received proclamations from the U.S. House and Senate, the Florida House and Senate, and the cities of Coral Gables, Miami, Hialeah, West Miami, Sweetwater, and Miami-Dade County.
Trustee Bucelo earned his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami and is an alumnus of Miami Dade College.
Benjamin León III
Benjamin León III is president and COO of Leon Medical Centers, a managed healthcare system offering superior comprehensive services to the residents of Miami-Dade County. Trustee León has served at the helm of the organization since 1996, guiding the delivery of primary care, outpatient services and various specialty services to Medicare members.
He began his career as a customer service representative for Clínica Cubana, which his family opened in the 1960s to satisfy the healthcare needs of South Florida’s growing Hispanic population. León serves on the board of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce (CAMACOL) and is involved in numerous charitable causes, such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society.
Trustee León holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from St. Thomas University.
Marili Cancio is an attorney specializing in transactional matters involving corporate, international, real estate, trademarks, and financial affairs. She is the managing partner of Cancio Johnson & Echarte PL. Previously, she served as a shareholder at Fowler White Burnett PA and senior counsel at Holland & Knight LLP.
The daughter of Cuban exiles, Cancio is very involved in the community. She has served as chair of the Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board Miami-Dade County, as a member of the Community Relations Board of Miami-Dade County, trustee of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, member of Orange County’s Women’s and Minority’s Business Certification Board, member of the Republican Executive Committee for Miami-Dade County, member of the Florida Federation of Republican Women and in other important organizations. In addition, she has served as Pro Bono Counsel for La Liga Contra el Cancer and as a past member of other charity boards and committees.
Cancio was born in Miami Beach, but moved to Brazil as a young child attending Portuguese-speaking schools and graduating from high school in Rio de Janeiro. Marili moved back to the U.S. to attend Arizona State University. She later completed her bachelor’s degree at Eastern College in Pennsylvania. She also completed classes at Miami Dade College. She obtained her law degree from Temple University. She most enjoys spending time with her family traveling, boating and playing tennis. She is married, has two adult children and a granddaughter.
Jose K. Fuentes
Jose K. Fuentes is a government relations consultant for Becker & Poliakoff’s Government & Law Lobbying Group. He previously served as managing partner of The Fuentes Rodriguez Consulting Group.
Community involvement is a top priority for Trustee Fuentes. As part of his civic and community endeavors, he presently serves as a board member of the City of Miami Waterfront Advisory Board, City Year Miami and St. Thomas University. He is a member of the Mayor’s International Council and has served on the Executive Committee of the Miami-Dade County Republican Party.
Trustee Fuentes is a past chairman of both United Home Care Services and the Miami-Dade County Asian American Advisory Board. Trustee Fuentes has been honored by the Diabetes Association with the “Valor Award” for community service and by the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with the “Annual Sunshine Award” as Public Official of the Year. Prior to founding The Fuentes Rodriguez Consulting Group, he served as director of the South Florida Water Management District’s Miami-Dade Regional Office; assistant to United States Senator Connie Mack; director of the Office of the Speaker of the Florida House Representatives; legislative assistant to State Senator Rudy Garcia; and governmental/public affairs liaison for the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County.
Trustee Fuentes is a proud Miami Dade College alumnus and earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University.
Armando J. Olivera
Armando J. Olivera is the retired president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. and one of the largest investor-owned electric utilities in the nation. He was appointed president in 2003, CEO in 2008 and retired in 2012 after observing his 40th anniversary with the company.
Under Trustee Olivera’s leadership, FPL grew its assets 79 percent to $31.8 billion, its revenues by 28 percent to $10.6 billion and its net income by 50 percent to $1.1 billion. Trustee Olivera managed a multibillion dollar capital investment program that included expanded nuclear capacity, a new highly efficient, natural gas, combined-cycle power plant, and three new solar energy centers. FPL also has one of the nation’s leading energy efficiency programs. Trustee Olivera is a director of AGL Resources Inc. and Fluor Corp., and previously served as a member of the Nicor Inc. board.
He is a member of the board and a past chairman of the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council, as well as a member of the board of Enterprise Florida and the Florida Council of 100. Trustee Olivera is a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and he holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami.
Bernie Navarro is the president and founder of Benworth Capital Partners, a privately held real estate company focused on asset-based lending and real estate services in Florida. Founded in the wake of the 2008 mortgage crisis, Benworth was designed to mitigate the risks that caused the meltdown, a strategy that has helped the firm become one of the most successful private lending entities in Florida. Prior to Benworth, Trustee Navarro established HomeMortgage, a leader in South Florida’s new-construction residential mortgage market. In 2005, he sold HomeMortgage to the largest U.S lender at the time. He has also held finance and mortgage positions at Citibank, GMAC, and JP Morgan Chase. Named to the South Florida Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” he is recognized as one of the region’s best and brightest young business leaders.
He also has deep roots in the area’s civic community. Most recently, he served as president of the Latin Builders Association, the largest Hispanic construction and real estate professional association in the nation, and serves as chairman of the LBA’s Children and Families Foundation, where his vision helped pioneer the establishment of the LBA Construction & Business Management Academy, the first business charter high school started by a business association in the United States. Because of it's overwhelming success, the LBA Academy has emerged as a national model for educational partnerships. Previously, he served on several boards and councils, including the City of Miami Beach Zoning Board, and was chairman of Miami-Dade County Community Council Area 10.
Trustee Navarro holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and earned his master’s degree in government from Harvard University.
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón
An American by choice, Eduardo Padrón arrived in the United States as a refugee at the age of 15. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 175,000 students. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.” In 2010, Florida Trend magazine named him “Floridian of the Year.” In 2011, The Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S. Also in 2011, he was awarded the prestigious 2011 Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. In 2012, he received the Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service, the coveted TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, and the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. Dr. Padrón’s energetic leadership extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the immediate past chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE) and is a past chair of the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). He also serves on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences' Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences.
President Padrón is widely recognized as one of the top educational leaders in the world and is often invited to participate in educational policy forums in the United States and abroad. In 1993, President Bill Clinton recognized him as one of America’s foremost educators. President George W. Bush nominated him to the National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board and the National Economic Summit. More recently, he represented the U.S. at UNESCO’s World Conference on Higher Education at the invitation of the Obama administration and President Obama appointed him Chairman of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. During his career he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by six American presidents.
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