Board of Trustees
Helen Aguirre Ferré
Helen Aguirre Ferré is a bilingual, award-winning journalist working in print and broadcast media.
She is known to English language audiences as the host of the weekly public affairs series Issues, which airs on WPBT2 (PBS affiliate) and has been reaching audiences in the Greater South Florida area for over 12 years. She also hosts a live, national radio show, “Zona Politica con Helen Aguirre.” Airing daily on the Univision America Network, the program presents news, interviews, commentary and analysis to Spanish-speaking audiences.
Helen has worked for the Univision Network, covering the national political election cycle as an analyst for “Destino 2012,” and the public affairs show “Al Punto.” She writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, and is a contributor to UnivisionNews.tumblr.com. Her guest appearances include the nationally acclaimed PBS News Hour, CNN Headline News, and CNN.com, among other news outlets.
She is the first woman to chair the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College, where she also serves as a mentor and frequently addresses student groups. Additionally, she is on the board of directors of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB).
Helen Aguirre Ferré holds a B.A. in Political Science from Barry University and an M.A. in Inter American Studies from the University of Miami.
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Armando J. Bucelo Jr.
Armando J. Bucelo Jr. is a senior partner and statewide chair of the expanding Real Estate and Banking practices at Roig Lawyers in Coral Gables. 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.
Daniel Diaz Leyva
Daniel Diaz Leyva, Esq. is an attorney with the global law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP. Admitted to practice law in Florida in 2004, Mr. Diaz Leyva has a broad range of general transactional experience with a primary focus in the areas of real estate and finance representing investors in structuring, acquiring, financing, leasing and developing industrial, retail, office and residential properties and financial institutions in loan transactions. Additionally, he has ample public affairs experience having counseled clients with issues before governments. He has been selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star and is Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review rated AV Preeminent.
Mr. Diaz Leyva is actively engaged in the South Florida community and has been recognized by several organizations for his service including the Ruth Shack Leadership Award from The Miami Foundation in 2012. This award is given annually to an emerging leader who embodies the qualities of ethical leadership, dedication and service to Greater Miami. He was recently appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott to the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College, the Nation's largest and most diverse public institution of higher education. Appointed by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, he serves on the Board of Directors of Florida Health Choices, a corporation charged with increasing access to affordable, quality care by creating a competitive market for purchasing health insurance. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Anthem Bank & Trust, a federally chartered savings association. He helped establish and serves as the executive director of the US chapter of the Consejo Empresarial de America Latina (CEAL), an organization consisting of some of the most prominent business leaders in Latin America to promote economic development in the region. He has also served on the Boards of the CHARLEE Homes for Children, Banyan Health Systems, Latin Builders Association, Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and the University of Miami Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.
He graduated from the University of Miami with Honors with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (Finance) and St. Thomas University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. He resides in Coral Gables with his wife Cristina and their two children, Daniel Jr. and Adriana.
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.
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 president of Benworth Capital Partners, a privately-held real estate investment company headquartered in South Miami. He founded the firm in 2008. Since then, he and his team have built one of the most successful alternative and traditional private lending entities in Florida, including a crowdfund platform.
Navarro has been serving on the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College since 2014, providing leadership oversight for the College’s Idea Center as a member of the entrepreneurial institute’s board of directors. He also serves as Chairman of the LBA Construction and Business Management Academy, the first business charter high school founded by a business association in the United States. The nonprofit Academy has received recognition by Fortune 500 companies, national educators and U.S. government officials specializing in educational issues.
Navarro has also been active in the Latin Builders Association (LBA) including serving as Past President. He was a panelist to select candidates to participate in the President’s Commission of White House Fellows, one of the nation’s premier programs to provide young leaders with first-hand experience in Federal government.
He has held a number of trade missions on behalf of the South Florida business community, working with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the City of Miami Mayor’s Office and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Throughout his career, Navarro has received numerous honors and awards, including recognition in South Florida Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” issue as one of the region’s best and brightest.
Navarro earned an A.L.M. degree in Government from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Miami. He lives in South Miami with his wife and their three children.
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 165,000 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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