Monday, July 28, 2008

Alberto Cardenas >

Alberto R. Cardenas, a partner in the law firm of Tew Cardenas LLP

Being Hispanic – does it have any influence on your business?
At this stage, my ethnicity is not much of a factor professionally. At the beginning of my career, it was tough for a young Hispanic attorney to be welcomed into South Florida’s top tier law firm.
Upon graduation I had been editor of our law review at a fine law school and watched peers with lesser credentials being offered better jobs.
Today – South Florida is far different and it’s probably an advantage for a young professional to be a minority or a female.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Adversity is an exciting, incredible opportunity to learn life’s most lasting lessons, plus it’s hard to match the personal satisfaction one can achieve when overcoming adversity at either a personal or business level.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Personally: Losing my father early in my life at a time our family had very limited financial resources and needed his love and guidance.

Business: Losing all of our investments at the end of the 80’s during a real estate and banking crisis. I am proud that, instead of filing bankruptcy as most advisers suggested, we opted to repay our debts and rebuild our future. It was definitely the most character building experience in my life to date.

Politically: Heading Florida’s Republican Party and George Bush’s presidential campaign in 2000 during the 37 days of “Florida’s Presidential Recount”.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I would have made better use of my late teens and early twenties. I don’t regret having had the great times of youth; but should have had less of it – that’s for sure.

What was your childhood ambition?
My childhood ambitions weren’t very serious: I watched every cowboy movie available…..wanted to have a “fast draw” and be a great horseback rider. Then in my early teens it switched to be a great athlete in many sports.

I didn’t begin thinking about a career passion until college.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
How about 3 types of people?

Privileged minds – those who come around every 200 years or so, like Leonardo DaVinci, Isaac Newton; Albert Einstein.

Unsung heroes - those who dedicate their hearts to healing and helping the less fortunate, the homeless; terminally ill with contagious deceases, orphans.

Those who have fought for our country and received Congressional Medals of Honor – our bravest fighting for our freedom.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I travel 3 or 4 days a week. So I actually have breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings almost every work day.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Advice: Stay single or marry an exceptional partner. To be truly successful in any endeavor takes a 24/7 mind set. I was fortunate to marry a true partner. Thanks to her; we lead a balanced life. It is very difficult to do but it’s the way to a fulfilled life. After all, the only thing that really counts in your death-bed is your family or human legacy.

What is your favorite quote?
To thine own self be true.
You can’t be successful in your private or business life unless you follow the principles of that quote.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Being unconventional is not difficult if it represents who you truly are. If that is you – then that’s how you should be.

Biggest mistake made?
O boy……I’ve made many.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
If innovator means being the FIRST to do something – then yes!
* I started an ATO Chapter at FAU. First fraternity on campus.
* I was FIRST Hispanic to run a major congressional campaign in Florida, vs. Claude Pepper.
* I was FIRST Hispanic elected chair of Florida’s Republican Party.
* I was a founder of the Cuban American National Foundation.
* I was a founder of the Cuban American Bar Association.

About the Firm
Tew Cardenas LLP is a full service law firm with offices in Miami, Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. Our Firm represents, advises, and advocates for a wide array of clients, including domestic and international companies, federal, state and local governments as well as foreign governments and individuals. Our team possesses vast experience across industries including aviation, communications, construction, energy, financial services, food & beverage, hospitality, real estate development, retail and pharmaceutical.

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