2016 Miami Man & Woman of the Year

Miami Dade business leaders unite to raise nearly $250,000 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

2016 Miami Woman of the Year, Ali Samek;
Girl of the Year, Mairen Bello;
Boy of the Year, Gio Peña; 2016 Miami Man of the Year, Alex Pascual

A fierce yet friendly competition designed to raise important funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) concluded June 11 with BBVA Compass Senior Vice President Alex Pascual crowned as 2016 Miami Man of the Year, and the Business Owner & Sales Professional Ali Samek, as 2016 Miami Woman of the Year.

Pascual and Samek, were joined by eight local leaders and a national All Star candidate in raising $243,845 for LLS.

The announcements were made at the 2016 Miami Man & Woman of the Year Journey of Hope Gala, held at the InterContinental Hotel Miami. The winners are determined based on their fundraising support of the Southern Florida Chapter of LLS. Every dollar raised by Man & Woman of the Year counts as a “vote.” Fundraising began April 6 and concluded just after 9PM Saturday, June 11 at the Gala.

As candidates in LLS’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign, these distinguished members of the Miami-Dade County business and philanthropic communities have greatly helped in funding lifesaving blood cancer research and raise awareness of LLS’s mission: to cure leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Candidates are a select group of honored individuals that are nominated by their peers. They are dynamic, passionate, sometimes competitive and from both social and business communities.

2016 Journey of Hope Gala Emcees Ashley and Keith Jones

The 2016 campaign honors two local patient heroes: Gio Peña, the 2016 Boy of the Year, and Mairen Bello, the 2016 Girl of the Year. Biographies for our 2016 Boy and Girl of the Year may be found at http://www.mwoy.org/sfl/localchapter/mia/boy_girl

“We are extremely proud of our candidates, for their tremendous efforts in bringing hope to thousands of blood cancer patients in our community,” said DeAnn Hazey, CFRE, Executive Director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Southern Florida Chapter. “The 2016 Miami Man & Woman of the Year campaign has fully demonstrated how local leaders can showcase their fundraising and community outreach skills as well as their humanitarianism, and achieve positive results.”

Miami Man & Woman of the Year Chairman Alejandro Mendieta is part of MetLife Premier Client Group of Florida as a Practice Development Manager and Financial Services Executive. Mendieta is the 2013 Miami Man of the Year and Trustee of the LLS Southern Florida Chapter.

Miami Candidates for 2016 Man & Woman of The Year

  • Melissa Bales, Multivista
  • Angela de Cespedes, Akerman LLP
  • Brian Diaz, actor and entertainer
  • Janet Oñate, Bacardí
  • Alex Pascual, BBVA Compass Bank
  • Nick Peña, Cruise Planners
  • Hugo Perez, United Data Technologies
  • Ali Samek, Business Owner & Sales Professional
  • Yolanda Strader, Carlton Fields
  • Christina Telesco, Luxury Attaché/Paramount

Yolanda Strader, 2016 Woman of the Year Candidate; Jawan Strader; Ashley and Keith Jones, 2016 Miami Journey of Hope Gala Emcees

Lastly, Jay Granieri, a 2015 Fort Lauderdale Man of the Year candidate, is a candidate for the 2016 National All Star Man of the Year competition. Granieri is competing against other past candidates from across the U.S. during this 10-week period, rather than against our local candidates. Granieri is a successful realtor who serves as part of Team Jonathan Keith at Coldwell Banker in Fort Lauderdale. The announcement of the National All Star Man & Woman of the Year will be held later this month via a video conference call with participants.

For more information, contact DeAnn Hazey, CFRE at deann.hazey@lls.org or by phone at 954-744-5300.