Johnnie Walker, Brett Graff & SocialMiami host Young Business Leader Awards
 
Felice Gorordo, Michael Laas, Brett Graff, René van Weenen, Marcy Rudershausen, Christian Infante, Juan Luis Betancourt


Honoree Felice Gorordo receives his engraved Johnnie Walker Blue Label from Marcy Rudershausen

Miami businesses have a close eye on the current state of affairs – the city does after all have a great view of several continents. But for a glimpse of the future, Johnnie Walker, Brett Graff and SocialMiami.com set out to find the young leaders destined to shape our community in the decades to come.

We selected just five professionals: Cuban youth advocate Felice Gorordo, medical technology wiz René van Weenen, environmental engineer Michael Laas, executive search consultant Juan Luis Betancourt, city beautifier Christian Infante (click here for more on the Young Leaders). And honored each of them with the most esteemed of business gifts: a personally engraved bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

It all happened at Crazy About You, the latest hotspot to open on Brickell Bay Drive. Located just blocks from bustling downtown Miami but on the breathtaking water’s edge of Biscayne Bay, the restaurant pumped out sultry sounds and passed around hors d’oeuvres including goat cheese pizza with caramelized onions, Spanish tortillas, Serrano ham croquetas, and tomato mozzarella skewers, as 75 of Miami’s most gorgeous young professionals — including Jessie Stein, Ernesto de la Fe and Tony Jimenez — sipped Johnnie Walker whisky neat, on ice, and in the Blushing Johnnie, A Crazy About You signature cocktail.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better evening,” says Marcy Rudershausen, Johnnie Walker’s Senior Master of Whisky. “The honorees were valuable and interesting people, who are forward-thinking and progressing so dramatically in their given fields. They truly exemplify the story of Johnnie Walker.”

Just before the event, Rudershausen took the winners though a private guided tasting of the whisky-maker’s five famous marks – Johnnie Walker Red Label, Black Label, Green Label (Rudershausen’s choice for sipping in steakhouses) Gold Label (she says to pair it with dark chocolate any chance you get) and the whisky legend that the young leaders were longing to taste, Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

“It opened a whole new world for me in terms of whisky and the art that goes into making and sipping it,” says honoree Felice Gorordo, founder of the non-profit, Roots of Hope. “And it was a great honor to be chosen for this award. I was incredibly humbled.”


Jose and Christian Infante

Claudine Coto and Kent Krantz


Marcia Martinez and Michael Laas

Jesse Stein and Brett Graff


Cristy Verdeja and Robert Zaldivar

Melissa Mitchell and Megan Smith

Marcy Rudershausen and Michael Laas


Fahed Alasfour, Jasem Alasfour, Stefan Ahrens, Michael Laas, Edward Mamau

Madeline Johnson, Juan Luis Betancourt, Jesse Stein, Ingrid Luhn


Rene Van Weenen, Ingrid Van Weenen, Wil Van Weenen

Jason Biondi, Laura Cruz, Chris Dimitropoulos


Marcy Rudershausen and Juan Luis Betancourt

Maya el Naffy and Nick Paray


Hayden Obyrne and Erin Andres

Ricardo Suarez, Marisa Fortunait, Guillermo Trias


Marinella Rengifo, Dora Diaz, Amy Ross, Maria Elena Yedra

Christian Infante and Marcy Rudershausen


Steve Shaer, Mileva Zurijic

Madeline Johnson, Jesse Stein, Ingrid Luhn, Amy Rosenberg


Jose Ferrera, Felice Gordoro, Ernesto De La Fe, Tony Jiminez

Aaron Glickman and Brett Graff


Marcy Rudershausen and René van Weenen

Nicole Grimal, Tony Jiminez, Maritza Aldir, Veronica Nurvaldes


Melissa Mitchell, Juan Luis Betancourt, Megan Smith

Johnnie Walker Blue Label


Scene at Crazy About You

Andres Diaz, Robin Conn