LLS Man and Woman of the Year 2015
Meet the Candidates
The Man & Woman of the Year campaign is a spirited competition to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), designed to raise funds to help find cures for blood cancers.
Candidates are a select group of honored individuals who are nominated by their peers. They are dynamic, passionate, sometimes competitive and from both social and business communities.
The 2015 Miami Man & Woman of the Year will be announced at the Journey of Hope Gala set for Saturday, June 6, 2015 at the Trump National Doral Miami.
This year’s Champions of Hope, seeking the respective titles of Man & Woman of the Year, are:
Adriana Fajet, Mary Kay Cosmetics – Miami Springs
Danilo Jimenez, Reality Check Legal Solutions and participant, CBS-TV’s The Amazing Race
David Kurz, Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Brickell
Casey Munck, Amadeus
Alex Pinelo, Norwegian Cruise Line - Miami
Edna Talavera, Fortune International Realty - Brickell
Miami Man & Woman of the Year Nominating Committee Chairs are Irene Korge and Keith St. Clair of Conexus. Honorary Chairs for the 2015 Man & Woman of the Year are Michael Parrish of Aon Risk Solutions, and Michelle Fee of Cruise Planners-American Express Travel.
The 2015 Champions of Hope are raising funds in honor of LLS' 2015 Miami Boy and Girl of the Year, Melanie Mederos and Francisco Diaz, Jr.
DANILO G. “DANNY” JIMENEZ—PARALEGAL AND REALITY TV STAR
Danny Jimenez is a Cuba-born, Miami-based entrepreneur Danny Jimenez has successfully piloted several start-up business ventures, including property management companies DGJ Inc. and Manatee Holdings. He presently serves as a senior consultant at a firm that assists foreign nationals with U.S. taxation laws. Danny is a paralegal experienced in commercial litigation and medical malpractice, and has also been a business development specialist in the sales and marketing arm of Animus Entertainment Group. At Animus he pitched and finalized agreements with companies such as Burger King, Chevrolet, Coors Light and Home Depot. If Danny looks familiar, you may have seen him on TV: Danny joined longtime friend Oswald Mendez as partner contestants on CBS-TV’s The Amazing Race in 2007; the duo also appeared in The Amazing Race All-Stars.
Click here to support Danny Jimenez's campaign.
DAVID KURZ—VETERAN BROKER AND REALTOR
David Kurz has served as a broker and realtor for nearly a decade and presently leads a group of real estate professionals from Miami’s Brickell district. Born and raised in The Bronx, Kurz is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having received an honorable discharge in 2005. He holds an MBA in International Business. His decision to seek the crown as 2015 Miami Man of the Year stems from a life-changing event on November 18, 2013. “On that day, coincidently, a friend of mine was working at Baptist West Kendall Hospital when my wife Betty took my 15-year-old stepdaughter Emily Nicole Bossano in for back pain and a dry cough. An X-ray revealed that Emily had a mass between her lung and heart. I could almost hear my heart break as millions of thoughts raced through my head.” Kurz continues, “I have seen both my daughter and fiancé go through one of the hardest times of their lives. I feel blessed to have been there to support them. Emily's doctor, Dr. Doured Daghistani and his wife, are two of the most amazing people we have ever met." Emily passed away on February 27, 2015, surrounded by her family and a lot of love. Her mass was attended by more than 1,200 people, and her Facebook following reached people all over the world, chanting what has now become a hashtag used across social media for Kurz’s campaign: #EmilyLivesOn. You can visit www.emilyliveson.com to be redirected to Kurz' official Man & Woman of the Year fundraising webpage.
Click here to support David Kurz's campaign.
Casey Munck is a young-at-heart, creative marketing communications professional living in Miami. She loves telling stories, inspiring people to achieve greatness, seeing the bright side of things and upon occasion, participating and winning a dance off.
She is currently the Manager of Marketing Communications for Amadeus, a global travel technology company, where she oversees branding, social media, digital strategy and communications. She previously worked in management positions in public relations and advertising.
An Arkansas native, Casey was a journalist prior to her communications career. While working as a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.
She is active in a variety of charities, including Haiti relief efforts, the Miami Marine Stadium restoration project, senior citizen dance therapy and many other local charitable organizations.
She loves fitness, fun, and adores her dog Betty.
Click here to support Casey Munck's campaign.
ALEX PINELO—NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
Alex Pinelo joined Norwegian Cruise Line in 1984. As Vice President, National Accounts, Pinelo is responsible for the company’s overall account direction. This includes sales, marketing, strategic and tactical negotiations, reporting and relationships with all the larger consortia, online, strategic and home-based travel partners. Pinelo is a Certified Travel Counselor from The Travel Institute, a Master Cruise Counselor from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and is Freestyle Certified by NCLU.
Click here to support Alex Pinelo's campaign.
ADRIANA FAJET-MARY KAY COSMETICS
Adriana Fajet is the owner of a successful Mary Kay Cosmetics franchise in Miami-Dade County. Based in Miami Springs, Fajet has attended Florida International University and is a highly active member of the community.
Click here to support Adriana Fajet's campaign.
EDNA TALAVERA—FORTUNE INT’L REALTY
Edna Talavera is an entrepreneurial Commercial Real Estate Advisor, active in South Florida since 2002. She has had ample experience in developing business strategies and integrating business functions with profitable results for her clients, which include British American Tobacco, Schick-Ever Ready and Nabisco Int’l. Talavera, who is bilingual, holds an Industrial Engineering degree from Universidad Católica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela.
Click here to support Edna Talavera's campaign.
GET TO KNOW MELI: 2015 MIAMI GIRL OF THE YEAR
Melanie Mederos, age 13, has been selected as the 2015 Miami Girl of the Year. Melanie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on July 18, 2014. A student at M.A. Milam K-8 Center, Meli immediately began treatment at Miami Children’s Hospital, which continues today. She is receiving blood and platelets on an ongoing basis. Melanie’s father is a Miami-Dade Police Department Domestic Violence Detective/Special Victims Bureau Officer. Her mother, Mayte, is an ESOL second grade teacher with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Melanie has two siblings—Meagan, age 14, and Eran, age 7.
GET TO KNOW FRANCISCO: 2015 MIAMI BOY OF THE YEAR
The 2015 Miami Boy of the Year Francisco Diaz Jr., age 14, returned to school at the beginning of the year after fighting AML Leukemia. He was diagnosed with the blood cancer two years ago, on March 27, 2013. “I have been in and out of Holtz Children Hospital,” he says. “I went through chemo and a bone marrow transplant. The recovery was painful.” He was confined a hospital room and later his house from late September 2013 until October 2014. “I went through a very strict diet, and everyone around me had to wear masks and disinfect their hands,” Francisco adds. “I was completely isolated and very bored at home.” While homebound, Francisco discovered that he enjoys cooking and baking — a hobby to take his mind off of the 35 pills per day he ingested. Today, he makes a great companion at a fine steakhouse or California-style Mexican restaurant. “I can never say no to a good-looking burrito,” he admits. Raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, Francisco is still a fan of the Lakers and Dodgers. He is proud to call Miami home and loves the warm, aqua-colored waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.
Francisco Diaz Jr.