Top 20 Professionals Under Forty

We scoured The Magic City to bring you the next generation of leaders at the tip of The Sunshine State. These young professionals represent a variety of industries and excel at their respective fields with their own unique signature blend of style, savvy and sophistication.

Interviews: Jorge Arauz
Photography: Julio Carlos
Hair & Makeup: Cesar Ferrette for Red Market Salon
Location: Hgab Studios, Midtown

Katrina Fumagali, 33
CAP Government, Inc.

If you think that all architects do for a living is sketch houses, offices and skyscrapers, Katrina Fumagali has some news for you. “Architects have to wear many hats and collaborate with many other professionals to make a project successful,” she says. “We not only have to be skillful in design, but we’re also required to have knowledge in engineering, construction, environment, plan reviews, inspections, code compliance, zoning and project management in order to help guide projects to success.”

Matthew Ross, 25
Financial Advisor
Morgan Stanley

Working with business owners, entrepreneurs and successful individuals and families to prudently grow, protect and manage their personal wealth, Matthew Ross is in the business of helping people meet their life goals. “It’s usually the risks we don’t think about that cause the biggest corrections in investment portfolios; the questions we don’t ask that result in big, missed opportunities,” he says. “A true wealth management plan is like playing on a 3D chess board, always maintaining an aligned strategy between taxes, estates and investments. It never hurts to be thinking a few steps ahead!”

Shaquellia Holmes, 35
Director, Community Outreach MDCPS

Heroism literally runs through Shaquellia Holmes’ veins — her mom was a Police Chief for Opa-Locka and her dad a Deputy Fire Chief for the Miami-Dade County Fire Department. “They met while responding to an emergency, so I’m a true public service product,” she says. “The lifetime of community involvement of my parents has had a direct effect on my mission to ensure we all commit to working together in an intentional and strategic way for the betterment of our children.”

Maria Fernanda Melgarejo-Ainsworth, 39
Business & Talent Immigration Attorney

Attorney Maria Fernanda Melgarejo-Ainsworth helps artists, athletes, entrepreneurs and professionals achieve the American Dream. “I love learning about the niches and cultures of my clients through their stories, hopes and aspirations,” she says. “I treat all of my clients like family and always go the extra mile to help them realize their goals.” She has sage advice for anyone looking to excel professionally. “The best strategy I can offer is that you have to imagine that you have no competition,” she says. “Everyone who is aligned with your vision will follow your lead and energize you to continue evolving in every aspect of your life.”

Jean-Marc Narine, 32
VP, Mergers & Acquisitions
Antarctica LLC

For many of us, seafood is something on the menu at our favorite restaurant or on the dinner plate at home. For Jean-Marc Narine of Antarctica LLC, it’s a career. As VP of an investment bank specializing in the seafood industry, he guides transactions to maximize the value of businesses that people have spent their entire lives building, ensuring future generations benefit whenever possible.  “Oftentimes, things change quickly in our fast-paced world, both professionally and personally,” he says. “Learning from as many experiences as possible and adapting accordingly will always yield the best opportunities and outcomes.”

Gui Proença, 28
Foundation & Corporate Relations
Florida Grand

With more than 80 events during the course of its 8-month season, Florida Grand Opera is taking its 80th Anniversary very seriously. And Gui Proença is at the forefront of spreading awareness, increasing membership and raising funds for Florida’s oldest non-profit arts organization. “During the season, there’s never a dull moment — one moment you’ll hear an internationally acclaimed singer warming up in a practice room and just a few minutes later you’ll see a cast member in full costume, wig and makeup getting ready for a dress rehearsal,” he says. “It’s always a rewarding experience to witness someone’s reaction the first time they see an opera — it’s truly something special.”

Andrew Zidar, 39
VP, Dev. & Acquisitions
RK Centers

Andrew Zidar is in an industry that people come across daily but don’t think much about. “You know when you go to the supermarket and notice all the stores around it?,” he says. “That’s what I do!” Thankfully, his role at leading open-air developer RK Centers allows him to do what he enjoys most: interacting with others. “One thing that sets me apart is my natural ability to connect with people and find common ground with just about anyone,” he says. “This makes getting deals done a lot easier.”

Anda Malescu, 35
Managing Partner
Malescu Law

With a focus on helping foreign investors and entrepreneurs successfully enter the U.S. market, Corporate & Immigration Attorney Anda Malescu of Malescu Law in Downtown Miami has a fundamental understanding of business. “My favorite part of the job is that I get to work directly with individuals who are very talented, creative and motivated,” she says. “I feel the most rewarded when I successfully advocate for clients, especially on challenging novel issues that are out of the ordinary.”

Michael Sneed, 36
Dir. of Retail Marketing
Swire Properties
Brickell City Centre

At the center of it all, Michael Sneed is the man behind the world-class activities, activations and programming at shopping mecca Brickell City Centre, welcoming new brands and connecting neighbors and guests to the dynamic destination for IRL experiences galore. “I love people and creating an environment for them in which they love to spend their time,” he says. “Interweaving my passion for retail with such a unique neighborhood destination is very rewarding.”

Jessica Hope Elias, 35
Dir. of Program Mgmt.
Restaurant Brands Int’l

After nearly 20 years at the South Florida community bank where she started her career at the age of 14, Jessica Hope Elias chose to venture out into the great unknown at the beginning of 2020. Today, she is the Director of Program Management for Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King, Popeyes, Tim Hortons and Firehouse Subs. “It’s important to take the time to find your purpose — the things that inspire you and ignite you,” she says. “It will likely change from time to time, so be willing to adapt when needed, never stop learning, don’t ever give up and always pay it forward.” 

David Resnick, 37
Bilzin Sumberg

As one of Miami’s most respected deal lawyers, Bilzin Sumberg’s David Resnick focuses on joint venture transactions, working with developers, capital partners and other business operators toward achieving a common goal. “I thrive on the opportunity to come up with creative solutions to complex issues,” he says. “My clients appreciate my candor in explaining what’s practically achievable, rather than promising the world.” 

Tristen Epps, 34
Executive Chef Red Rooster

Chopped champ Tristen Epps is one of Miami’s most celebrated culinary minds, helming the kitchen at Red Rooster in Overtown, an artful award-winning restaurant offering Southern comfort food and cocktails with a twist, including their wildly popular weekend Gospel Brunch. “I put culture and passion into everything I do,” he says. “I encourage everyone to love what they do, take care of the people who share similar passions and always strive to live with balance.”

Jaclyn Bild, 33
Douglas Elliman

Jaclyn Bild is a Douglas Elliman real estate superstar with experience working at both a private bank and an interior design firm, bringing her industry perspective full circle. “Most transactions come with some curveballs, requiring quick adjustments in negotiation, financing, or dealing with third parties,” she says. “Building and nurturing relationships is essential in this business.” 

James Mendel, 28
Investment Associate

As the first hire in the Florida office of Industrial Real Estate Equity Firm Faropoint, James Mendel’s responsibilities include spearheading the sourcing, execution and management for new acquisitions, helping steer the direction of the company’s business plan and growth with a goal of deploying $300 million in the next few years throughout the state. “This industry requires not only brains but also lots of imagination,” he says. “Industrial real estate continues to be one of the most sought-after investments globally and Florida is leading the charge.”

Tomas Sulichin, 34
President, Commercial
RelatedISG Realty

Thriving on finding true, solid opportunities in the highly competitive, ever-changing South Florida market, Tomas Sulichin excels at creating value and structure deals by repositioning properties and assets. “I lead my team in representing anything from large-scale developers to small, private owners across all types and sizes of commercial deals and transactions,” he says. “I was born into a real estate family and grew up participating in real estate-related conversations at the dinner table. When the time came to choose my career, it felt right to translate what I learned into making my own impact in the industry.”

Sarah Porter, 36
Vice President

SWARM is South Florida’s Largest 360 live event agency servicing over 100 festivals per year from conceptualizing and strategizing through operation and execution. “I always say we’re in the best industry in the world because we get to be dreamers,” says SWARM VP Sarah Porter. “We produce experiences that people had no idea they even wanted because it never existed before we created it!”

Kristine Viera, 35
Founder & CEO
Clear Closer

As the mastermind behind ClearCloser, an enterprise-grade proprietary technology platform that automates the mortgage process, providing a frictionless mortgage experience and originating secure digital mortgage assets, Kristine Viera is at the forefront of the future of real estate. “It all started as a hypothetical idea of what might be possible if only…” she says. “From the time I wrote my first line of code to that 3 a.m. moment when my algorithm returned its first successful response, getting to watch my vision come to life one keystroke at a time has been the ultimate reward.” 

Philip Gebauer, 36
Intelligence Consultant
Aon Cyber Solutions

Philip Gebauer may quite possibly be the most interesting man in Miami. When people hear what he does for a living, images stir up of stakeouts in the bushes with long-lens cameras and top-secret missions. “I always say I’m a private investigator — which is technically true and way sexier than to lead with compliance, risk mitigation and litigation support,” he says. “More often than not, I conduct in-depth background checks on people or companies that my clients want to hire, invest in, sign contracts with or sue in court.” So what’s the biggest challenge? “Common names,” he says. “Most parents are really unoriginal when it comes to naming their kids — you sometimes have to get really creative about how to prove who is who!” 

Ariana Pareja, 36
President & Co-Founder
Pareja Family Foundation

Giving back to the world is Ariana Pareja’s calling. Through the Pareja Family Foundation, she helps women and minorities obtain an entry-level job in tech that could lead to a six-figure salary without the burden of college debt. It’s a labor of love that hits close to home. “I’ve literally walked in the same shoes as our program recipients and been in the same position as tech founders that acquire new talent,” she says. “Since I’ve sat on both sides of the table, it’s easy for me to connect the dots between our program graduates and our employer partners.”

Jonathan Vega, 25
Real Estate Agent
ONE Sotheby’s Int’l Realty

If Jonathan Vega looks familiar, it’s because you may have seen him in one of his viral real estate music videos on social media or followed him on virtual tours of Miami’s most luxurious properties. “I’ve always been a positive person with high energy, always joking and having fun,” he says. “ I’ve made that a part of my brand and it’s caused people to want to work with me for who I am.” Up next for the Miami native: creating a catchy song for every neighborhood in the city. “No idea is ever too crazy or too unrealistic,” he says. “Release your mind into the world and always believe in your dreams.”