Orlando’s 50 Most Powerful People of 2021: Business

Meet the 50 Most Powerful leaders in business!

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1 John Morgan

Attorney/Businessman/Philanthropist & Founder of Morgan & Morgan

Most influential person in your life? My grandmother. Alternate career if your current position was not viable? Wall Street dealmaker. Best advice you’ve ever been given? Do what you say you are going to do. Three things you can’t live without? My family, my dogs and Maui. What is No. 1 on your bucket list? An African safari. What do you want your legacy to be? My children and their conduct. What does the Democratic Party need to do in Florida to become a viable party that can consistently win statewide office again? Move towards the middle. Something is better than nothing. —DT


2 Terry Shaw

President & CEO AdventHealth

What was your motivating force during your 30-year climb from intern to CEO at AdventHealth? First and foremost, I am inspired by AdventHealth’s mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ. The commitment to provide whole-person care has always been a motivating factor in my growth, leadership and service. What have you learned from the pandemic experience? A few things stand out: the importance of taking care of our team members; the need to have a more reliable supply chain for personal protective equipment (PPE); and how to better deploy technology. What was your greatest achievement over the past year? I am most proud of how our leaders kept our team members safe and how we were able to keep them whole—fully employed with expanded benefits—throughout the pandemic. To take care of our community, it was essential to keep our teams intact. What are you currently reading? Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric by Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann, and The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. —PL


3 David Strong

President & CEO, Orlando Health

What was your proudest moment over the past year? How the team members and physicians across Orlando Health and Bayfront Health St. Petersburg have selflessly responded to the needs of others throughout the last 18 months. What is one of the challenges facing health care workers? Those who work in healthcare make a difference in the lives of others every day. Our greatest challenge is getting them to take care of themselves because they are so focused on meeting the needs of their patients and loved ones. How has Orlando Health led during difficult times, such as the pandemic? Orlando Health has led with credible science, and dispassionate calmness and objectivity, rather than panic. What can you tell us about Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Hospital, currently under construction in Downtown Orlando? Orlando Health has partnered with Jewett Orthopedic Clinic to build a $250 million Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Hospital at its downtown campus. With all of the pieces in place—physician training, top quality providers and the busiest trauma program in the state—we expect the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Hospital will care for more patients upon opening [in 2023] than any other orthopedic facility in the Southeast. —PL


4 Craig Ustler

President, Ustler Development

What has been your biggest accomplishment with Creative Village over the last year? We kept things moving forward with Electronic Arts and their new building, which is on schedule for completion this month. It’s an impactful corporate anchor at Creative Village. What are you most proud of? We completed The Julian Apartments under extremely challenging COVID-19 circumstances and were tremendously successful with our leasing efforts. We opened The Monroe restaurant there, creating a social gathering space that connects with the community. Why did you pursue a career in real estate development, particularly urban design? Great cities have always inspired me. Real estate development never stays the same and requires lifelong learning. I like the challenge and I like to build things. I enjoy setting a vision and leading a project team. Favorite vacation? New York City, the greatest urban laboratory in the country and a place I can walk forever.  Best advice you’ve ever been given? Use your talents and energy to make your hometown better. Work harder and smarter—it takes both. —PL


5 Rasesh Thakkar

Senior Managing Director Tavistock Group

You’ve been called a trailblazer and a visionary, a force behind Lake Nona’s success. What propels you to be an innovative businessman? Innovation is the creation of dreams. Creativity without strategy is simply art, which is necessary to inspire, but Lake Nona is the collective dreams of many seriously talented strategists. What propels me is knowing my colleagues are just as inspired as I am to make a difference in people’s lives—the residents, employers, employees and families. I love seeing the passion multiply. I’m honored to be among them and humbled by the responsibility. From everything you’ve accomplished with Lake Nona’s development, what is the one thing you’re most proud of? Our innovative collaboration. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? Never confuse activity with accomplishment. Three words that describe you? Leadership through love. Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? Attend a New Year’s Eve all-night beach rave in Goa. How do you stay fit? Yoga. Tennis. Weights.  Favorite local restaurant and dish? Mynt restaurant in Winter Park. Everything. —PL


6 Tim Giuliani

President & CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership

Something surprising about you? I love to paint and write—two hobbies I’ve picked up during the pandemic. What person would you most like to meet? Fred Terman, a leader regarded as the father of Silicon Valley. I’d like his perspective on how he fostered the alignment of industry, government and education. The biggest change you would like to see? I’d love the media landscape to change so we quit making stupid people famous and quit living in echo chambers where wild narratives appear to come true and are called “news.” Your most important personal discipline? Reading. I find it a gateway to perspectives, context and often a challenge to my thinking. Books have opened my world. Personal measure of success? Whether my wife and kids believe I’m being a good husband and father. Favorite local hangout? For our family, it has become Hungry Pants. For business, the University Club. —CH


7 Chuck Whittall

President, Unicorp National Developments

What has been your proudest accomplishment in the past year? I wrote a book called Perseverance: Broke to Billions [published by Simon & Schuster]. What cause is important to you? Mentoring young people and pushing them along the path of success. What new hobby have you picked up during the pandemic? I became a professional driver on the North American Ferrari Challenge circuit. I love race-car driving. It’s my newest passion. How do you start your day? Visioning projects and proformas, reading emails, preparing for the work ahead and doing a couple of miles on the treadmill. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Find the cheese. If you put a mouse in a maze, it will go around every turn, down every hall, over a wall or through a wall until it finds the cheese. Don’t give up until you find the cheese. What is your definition of success? It’s not money. It’s accomplishing your objectives without giving up.  —LB


8 Mark Tester

Executive Director, Orange County Convention Center

What has been your defining moment? Getting hired at the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, now called Choose Chicago. I had the opportunity to sell a first-tier convention city and work for and with outstanding leaders and mentors. What have you learned as a result of the COVID-19 crisis? The need to get together, face-to-face, remains an important part of business and society. What are three things you can’t live without? Faith, family and friends. My wife, Sherie, and I recently celebrated 29 years of marriage. We have two adult daughters, a son-in law and a new granddaughter. How do you start your day? Coffee, catching up on industry news, doing the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle, and enjoying a wonderful smoothie my wife makes for me most mornings. What do you love most about Orlando? We enjoy the restaurants and attractions that have made Orlando the No.1 visitor destination. Favorite getaway? We have been to Cancun many times and look forward to another trip there this fall. The quality you most respect in others? Some of the most successful people are humble and treat everyone with respect and honor. —CH

9 Inez Long

President & CEO Black Business Investment Fund

What do you want your legacy to be? In business, that I pierced the financial system by creatively cracking open a door to financial services by establishing the largest community development financial institution in Florida. We have provided millions of dollars in loans and financial training to thousands of Black and [minority-owned] businesses, resulting in economic development for underserved communities. Who is your role model? My parents, J.B. and Cora Lee James, taught me perseverance and the belief that “I can do.” What gets you up each morning? The love of life, the blessing of family and the opportunity to assist people with their dreams. What is your life philosophy? I believe that most people are good people; treat them as such until they prove you different. I believe everyone reaps what they sow; and I believe that one should strive to do one’s best, understanding that you will make mistakes. What are you reading? Black Boy Joy by Kwame Mbalia. When are you your happiest? When I am vacationing or just hanging out with my husband and family. —CH

10 Cliff Long

CEO, Orlando Regional REALTOR Association

What was your greatest achievement over the past year? Selecting the site and closing out the loan for the new headquarters for the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association. It was a 10-year project that had stalled prior to my hire. What is your vision for the new ORRA headquarters? First, it’s a testimony to 100 years of Realtors who have given everything they can to their organization. It’s evidence of what we’ve done with the money they invested in their careers. It’s going to be a marker along I-4 and help boost property values in the community. Best advice you’ve ever been given? Stay focused on the mission. Everyone is going to have an opinion. Don’t let all the experts cause you to be unfocused on what you’re trying to accomplish. Three words that describe you? Passionate, charismatic, leader. What is a cause that is important to you? Organ donation. My wife is a kidney recipient. I think the gift of giving life to someone is one of the greatest things we can do. —PL

11 Gaby Ortigoni

President & CEO Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Who is the most influential person in your life? My mom. She became an anthropologist, received her doctorate in human resources, and became a corporate executive in the 1970s and ‘80s when women didn’t have many leadership opportunities. As a trailblazer, she pushed me to think as a leader, have confidence in my strengths, be humble, and recognize my areas of improvement. If you pursued a different career, what would it be? Plan corporate events and lead a team of graphic designers. I enjoy creating unique, memorable experiences. What cause is important to you? Professional and leadership development for minority groups. How do you start your day? Read the news, get ready for work, prepare breakfast for my mom, and walk my 17-year-old chihuahua. What is No. 1 on your bucket list? Visit all Seven Wonders of the World. So far, I’ve been to Chichén Itzá, Petra, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid [of Giza] in Egypt. —LB

12 Pamela Nabors

President & CEO, CareerSource Central Florida

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever given or received? Focus on getting one important thing done each week. What new hobby have you picked up during the pandemic? I started doing jigsaw puzzles, mostly collages. They’re a great problem-solving task. What is your favorite way to spend a day off? I love going to the movies, complete with a big popcorn and soda. What is the best thing you’ve learned in your current position? Trust the people around you, let go of what needs to be done, and allow them self-accountability. Get things done through the leaders around you. What is your definition of success? Loving your work, doing it well and having balance in your personal life. What is something surprising about you that most people don’t know? I’m a huge rock-and-roll music lover, especially The Beatles. I tend to break out into Beatles songs wherever I am. What is the best birthday you’ve ever had? In 2000, I got to sit in the second row to watch Jimmy Buffet, then go backstage and meet him. I can never top that! What are your favorite podcasts? Billboard [Hot] 100, Hit Parade, This American Life, and Radiolab. —LB

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