Edgardo Defortuna Leads Condo Empire
The word family has many meanings. Two obvious definitions are for the nuclear family and the extended family. In the case of Edgardo and Ana Cristina Defortuna, they lead families that fall under both scenarios. SocialMiami was fortunate enough to be invited into their Key Biscayne estate to meet their nuclear family and discuss why their company, Fortune International, is a family affair.
Resting along Biscayne Bay is the opulent four-story structure that Edgardo and Ana Cristina currently call home. Known as the “Greek House,” the architecture features multiple domes, interior arches and fountains, an elevator and spacious balconies on floors two and three. It’s here that Edgardo and Ana Cristina work, play and raise their two boys, Andres and Alexander.
It’s apparent after spending time with the Defortunas that they are a loving and compassionate family who adore their children. The act of watching Edgardo, this powerful real estate mogul, gently dealing with his young sons breaks down any preconceived notions that anyone could have. Family is truly the most important thing and this line of thinking extends to their professional family as well.
The seeds of success were planted early for Edgardo. His father, Jose Andres, was the head of a power transformer manufacturing plant that employed more than 1000 workers. The ability to manage an organization of this magnitude is no easy task and Edgardo learned from his father the disciplines of effective leadership. This knowledge enabled him to build an immense corporation of his own that is one of the most respected companies for the development of luxury properties, as well as the sales and marketing of outside ventures.
Yet, with all of the power and success that Edgardo and Ana Cristina have, they remain humble and grateful, realizing that much of their accomplishment is predicated on the talented people who surround them. For this reason, the Defortunas go out of their way to ensure that their extended family understands how grateful they are. Simple gestures, like opening their new home to employees to watch the World Cup, demonstrate an emphasis on having a tight-knit group.
“Ana Cristina worked so hard to get everything ready for the World Cup party,” Edgardo said. “She literally made herself sick. Ana Cristina wanted everything to be perfect. That’s the way she is.”
And those who work for Fortune value the personal atmosphere that Edgardo and Ana Cristina have created. “I wrote a song for Edgardo,” said Andrea Greenberg, vice president of marketing for Fortune International. “The music was from Abba, and a lot of us sung the lyrics for his birthday video. It was sweet.”
These gestures of kind demonstrate a general feeling of respect. That respect has been earned through years of dedication and an understanding of how solid relationships are a key aspect to success.
“The importance of relationships was stressed to me when I was very young,” Edgardo explained. This was another facet of leadership that was learned during his youth. “I remember going on trips with my father and seeing engineers who worked in his factory join us. He was very generous.”
Edgardo took this concept of generosity and expanded upon it. For example, he buys his team lunch every Friday. “It started with just a few of us, but now many participate. It allows us to see people that we normally don’t.”
This Friday afternoon lunch, however, is merely the tip of the iceberg. Once a year Edgardo and Ana Cristina, with the help of Greenberg, organize a company trip that involves everyone – from top-level executives to designers and architects to valets. And it’s not just the company; it’s their spouses and children as well.
Much of the process of having a loyal and unified working environment begins from the moment a potential employee goes through the interview process. No one is hired by chance. “We need people who have respect and who are loyal and put the company ahead of their individual goals,” said Edgardo. “We also look for people who will contribute to an environment where we can enjoy our work.”
Ironically enough, the familial atmosphere extends to the conception of Fortune’s signature brand – Jade. At first glance, one may assume that the name is a reference to the stone alone, but in reality it’s an anagram for Edgardo’s father’s initials. “We couldn’t figure out what the name should be. Nothing was good enough. Then Andrea (Greenberg) asked what my father’s name was – Jose Andres Defortuna – JADE. At first I wasn’t sure, but we learned that in China jade is a stone of good fortune and it is given to people for good luck.” explained Edgardo.
Once the team learned the true meaning, the decision was made. There are currently three Jade developments and Edgardo wants to save the name for his most special projects. “If we overuse it, then it no longer remains unique.”
A healthy family is often an important attribute of success. In the case of Edgardo Defortuna, the concept of family has extended from his childhood to his nuclear family to his professional life. His wife, Ana Cristina, is a strong-minded and intelligent woman. Together they work as a team to raise two healthy boys and run an immense real estate company. They lead by example and those who surround them are the beneficiaries.
Aaron Glickman is a writer, actor and filmmaker. Through his contributions to SocialMiami, he has had opportunities to document many fascinating people and organizations in the fields of philanthropy, the arts, fashion, design and real estate including Carolina Herrera, James Rosenquist, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Russell Simmons, Nicole Miller, Christian Louboutin, Lin Arison and many more. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami Theater Center (MTC) and is on the Executive Committee of the National YoungArts Foundation.