Meet the 2023 CFO Awards honorees

The honorees of this year's CFO Awards reflect the changes and challenges faced by financial executives across employers of all stripes, whether privately held, publicly traded, or nonprofit.

Meet the 2023 CFO Awards honorees

The CFO Awards for this year reflect the challenges and changes faced by financial executives in all types of organizations. These organizations, whether privately owned, publicly traded, or nonprofits, face similar challenges and opportunities.

Each has discovered that their roles and responsibilities go beyond accounting and finance. By getting to know their business outside of their office, they said, they gain a better understanding of people, processes, and performance which can either bolster or hinder growth.

Their organizations aren’t the only ones to be successful. They have a positive attitude, embrace the latest technologies, and want to share their successes with their teams. They have seen their own career and that of their employees blossom. These are results worth highlighting, and they deserve to be a CFO Awards Honoree.

The 2023 CFO Awards were held on May 4, at Signature Grand, Davie. StevenDouglas presented the event, which was sponsored by Berkowitz Pollack Brant CPAs + Advisors, CIBC, Out of the Box sponsor Amazon, and centerpiece sponsor OZ Digital Consulting.

CFO Neocis


2800 Biscayne Boulevard, 600, Miami, 33137


Birthplace: Antwerp (Belgium)

Education: Master of Business Engineering (Technology Management), University of Antwerp, and a master of Financial Management from Vlerick Business School.

Career: Senior Finance Director, Verb Surgical, Johnson & Johnson

Key achievements in the past year: Raised funding from Intuitive Surgical’s venture arm. Expanded the Miami footprint of Neocis, from 10,000 square foot to 30,000 square foot.

Teachable: A tip for protégés. Be open to new ideas, be willing to gain a different perspective and to constructive criticism.

My 1-year-old child is my main source of professional distraction.

Second career: I would like to be a pharmaceutical scientist, whose work directly impacts the lives of patients.

If I had to ask one executive a question, I would ask Jack Welch, former CEO of GE: What's one decision that you wish you hadn't made?

E.M. Forster said: "Spoon-feeding, in the end, teaches us nothing more than the shape of the teaspoon."

Fresh Blends CFO


955 N.W. 17th Ave., Suite H,Delray Beach 33445


Birthplace: Deerfield Beach

Education: B.S. and M.S. in accounting from the University of Central Florida

Career: Controller, Exactus Corp., and accounting associate at Grant Thornton.

In the last year, I was able to navigate and optimize margins in spite of supply chain disruptions and inflation levels that were at their highest in four decades. The result was a stunning 210% growth in net income and 154% growth in EBITDA since joining the company.

Protéges should always remain curious. They should embrace the journey of continuous improvement. They must be grateful. Your reputation precedes you.

Professionally, my excitement about our company's success and achieving our goals keeps me up at night. The state of the economy is a more negative response.

My second career choice would be to teach and mentor at an university. Wine is the best beverage in this world, whether you are a sommelier or not.

If I had to ask just one executive a question, I would ask Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO: What qualities made you a transformational leader during the growth of your company? Looking back, what things would you do differently now?

What was the most important thing my mentor taught me?

You can do it. You can make a difference every day. Enjoy it and be grateful. You can achieve anything if you are willing to embrace the journey and do the right thing.

Florida One Insurance Agency


Miami Lakes, 33014. 200.


Havana, Cuba; Virginia when she was 2 years old and Miami in her teens

Education: Associate degree, Miami Dade College

Recent achievements: I have helped to increase the company's revenue by 40% over the past three years, by focusing on growth and not requiring external capital investment.

Protégés: Do everything you can to make it perfect, even if that means taking twice as long.

Professionally, the commitments that we made to our employees and business partners keep me up at night. All of our daily decisions and their impact on those we love.

I would choose to pursue a second career in politics. I think we need more business-savvy politicians who can create jobs in our local economy.

If I had to ask just one question of a CEO, I would ask Elon Musk this: How do manage multiple companies simultaneously?

Never chase money. Create, and the money will follow.

The Restaurant People CFO


221 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale 33301


Hometown: Miami

Education: Bachelor of Arts in hospitality management, Florida International University

Career: Manager at Tarpon Bend Raw Bar and Grill, beverage manager at YOLO Restaurant, general manager of Tarpon Bend Fish and Tackle (then Vibe Ultra Lounge), then S3 Restaurant, partner, director, and then CFO for The Restaurant People

Key achievements in the last year: I developed and implemented a proprietary tool for daily reporting that compares data to historical data, and budget. Also, I implemented software which compares prices of food and beverage products and raw materials across multiple sources.

Protégés, know your operations. It may seem simple, but the impact is huge.

Unknowns keep me awake at night professionally. What you don't understand as the person in charge of the financials can be detrimental to the company and its employees.

I would like to teach people in the hospitality industry who are willing to learn.

If I had to ask just one question of an executive, I would choose Danny Meyer, founder and executive chairperson of Union Square Hospitality. What advice can you offer a fellow restauranteur in order to maintain the drive for excellence service within the company?

Do not get stuck in the trenches.

CFO of KW Property Managementand Consulting


33rd St. Suite 300, Miami 33122


Birthplace: Nicaragua

Education: Accounting, Florida International University, Bachelor's and Master's degree.

Career: Successful roles including CFO of KW Property Management and Consulting, audit supervisor at Berkowitz Dick Pollack and Brant, and managing director, finance and technologies.

Key achievements in the last year: several contract renegotiations which provided savings of more than $175,000 per year; continued development of new bots to provide efficiency in our accounting processes.

Protéges, have a positive outlook.

The fact that we have not done our best to serve our clients keeps me up at night.

My second career choice would be as a chef, since I enjoy being creative and learning about other cultures and cuisines.

If I had to ask one executive a question, I would ask Katharine Graham, former Washington Post publisher and her thoughts on diversity in the C suite.

What was the most important thing my mentor taught me?

SuViche Hospitality Group CFO, partner and shareholder


24th Ave.


Birthplace: Cuernavaca in Mexico

Education: B.B.A. in accounting and finance from University of Miami; Boston University.

Key achievement in the last year: We mitigated the increase in supply chain costs through reevaluating all of our vendor relationships, from goods to service, and wherever possible, cutting the layers in the chain and leveraging the commissary kitchen.

Protége: Be curious. It will motivate you to learn about your work, situations, skills and people, but most importantly yourself. Improve by reflecting on the past.

In my professional life, I am kept awake at night by the fact that we make dozens of important decisions each day, which can affect up to 300 families. This is no small task.

I would choose a second career in tech because that is the direction of the future. AI is already a part of our lives, but we cannot imagine what it will be like in 10 years.

Richard Branson is the one person I would ask if I had to ask just one question. How did you manage to build so many billion-dollar businesses in different industries?

What was the most important thing my mentor taught me?

Never be the smartest individual in the room from an entrepreneurial perspective. Otherwise, your company's growth is at risk.

Senior Vice President and CFO of the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Grand Prix and Miami Grand Prix


347 Don Shula Drive, Miami Gardens 33056

Birthplace: Petoskey, Michigan

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from Northwood University

Career: Senior Vice President, Business Unit, CFO, IMG Worldwide

Key achievement in the last year: We created a new business through the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, in May 2022. Sports Business Journal named it the best new event in 2022.

John Wooden's quote: "It takes time to achieve excellence." If it was possible to do quickly, then more people would try it.

Professionally, the following keeps me up at night: The acquisition of talent in a highly competitive market and our organization's desire to be among the best.

My second career: I would probably support youth student-athletes. I am passionate about supporting the education and athletics of my three children at Westminster Academy.

If I had to ask just one executive a question, I would ask John Wooden how he won 10 NCAA National Championships in UCLA and was able win on and off court.

Tom Garfinkel is the vice chairman, president, and CEO of Miami Dolphins, as well as Hard Rock Stadium. He consistently shows that he's 'always learning and improving.' Garfinkel also constantly re-evaluates the standard and innovates, while always seeking to raise it.

Atlantic Southern Pavingand Sealcoating


6301 W. Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise 33313


Born in Miami, raised near Pembroke Pines

Education: B.S. in finance from Nova Southeastern University and MBA, Florida State University

Career: A succession of roles culminating as VP, Finance, Ultimate Software, Director, External Reporting, Office Depot, Senior Manager, KPMG

Eight acquisitions were integrated into our business.

Protégés: be present and fully involved.

Professionally, the things that I haven't done during the day keep me up at night.

I would like to be a fitness instructor. Why not make fitness my career? I enjoy it as a hobby.

If I had to ask just one executive a question, it would be Barbara Corcoran, from "Shark Tank": How do manage the expectations that everyone has of you professionally and personally. How do you evaluate yourself?

What was the most important thing my mentor taught me?

Spend time getting to know all the levels of your organization. A successful organization is built on a culture of collaboration.

CFO, BHG Financial


10234 W. State Road 84, Davie 33324


Hometown: Syracuse, New York

Education: B.S. in finance and economics with MBA from Syracuse University

Career: Senior Program Planning and Risk Management, Finance, Lockheed Martin. VP, Financial Consultant, Charles Schwab. Advisory roles at JP Morgan Chase, UBS Financial, and CIBC. Trading desk analyst.

Key achievements in the last year: In 2022, we doubled the level of funding commitments by increasing the revolving credit lines to $1.65billion from $825m.

Tip for prodigies: Develop good habits and self-awareness to improve your work product.

Interest rates and uncertainty surrounding forward-looking rate curves keep me awake at night.

My second career would consist of: Using my skills in finance and leadership to work in a totally different industry. It would be in high school or college athletics. I love sports and coaching young people.

If I had to ask just one executive a question, I would ask Jack Welch about the aspects of running a successful company that he feels are most important.

Al Crawford, the co-founder of BHG and its CEO, taught me a valuable lesson that I have tried to pass on to my direct report: to listen and ask everyone's opinions before making any 'business-changing decisions'.

Public Companies

Executive Vice President and CFO of World Fuel Services Corp.


41st St. Suite 400, Miami, 33178


Birthplace: Long Beach (New York)

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration in public accounting from Hofstra University

Career: Internal auditor and assistant Treasurer at Culbro Corporation; VP and treasurer of Arrow Electronics, followed by VP and treasurer for investor relations and corporate growth.

Key achievements in the last year: We have negotiated the largest purchase in the history of our company, which has contributed significantly to profitability. Then, we expanded and extended our revolving loan facility, providing crucial liquidity for future expansion.

Protégés: Be curious, and don't be afraid to ask for feedback or questions. Try to learn new things every day.

Professionally, everything keeps me up at night. This includes obsessing about long-term goals for our business and what I can do differently tomorrow, next week or next month to improve the chances of us achieving these goals.

I would like to run a small hospitality business, combining my entrepreneurial spirit with my social nature. This way I can avoid the stress of quarterly earnings calls.

If I had to ask just one question of an executive, I would ask Andy Grove who led Intel Corp. successfully for 25 years, what his experience as a survivor of the Holocaust has contributed to his success.

CFO of U.S. Century Bank


87th Ave. Doral 33172


Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio

Education: B.S.B.A. in accounting from The Ohio State University, MBA in finance from Pepperdine University

Career: Senior VP of business operations, Bank of America, senior VP of CFO commercial banking at Capital One, senior manager of CFO services, IBM

The implementation of my strategic plan has contributed to the highest level of assets for the bank in a decade. In 2022 the assets have doubled since 2014, to exceed $2 billion.

Protégés, remember: you are your brand. What you do reflects who you are as a person and what you have to offer your employer.

In my professional life, I am kept awake at night by: Recent industry events make it important for U.S. Century Bank to continue earning the trust of its clients.

My second career choice would be professional golfer. It can be scary and rewarding to depend solely on your own abilities and dedication.

If I had to ask just one executive a question, I would ask Jamie Dimon this: What can bankers do to improve the industry in terms of safety and security and maintaining our clients' trust and confidence?

Executive Vice President and CFO