Mission of the Heart is a Non Profit Organization Established November 13, 2013 that was CREATED from the heart with volunteers dedicating their time and talent to start the foundation. On October 22, 2013 our Founder Sandra M. Duque had a feeling in her HEART to start something that at that time could’ve been impossible due to her medical condition. 3 days later October 25, 2013 on a plane ride to Philadelphia, the feeling that she felt, words can’t explain, she had the WILL and DESIRE to DO IT and knew that it was a call from GOD!
Founder and Creative Director of Adriana Castro
I am originally from Boston, MA and have been a Miami Beach resident since 1994. I have been working in luxury real estate since 2001, and before that worked 7 years for a Spanish re-insurance company as the Director of Operations for their Miami office. I currently volunteer on a weekly basis since 2009 for an organization called Stand Up for Kids, which aims to assist homeless and underprivileged children. I really enjoy helping people and love doing it in a great city like Miami! I am fluent in Spanish, and enjoy traveling and collecting wine in my free time.
Anthony W. Tanona, Psy.D.
Anthony W. Tanona, Psy.D. The Executive Director of Delta Psychological Group is a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in Child Psychology, Adolescent issues, and Psychological Evaluations. He provides Individual, Family, and Couples Therapy, in addition to Psychological Testing, to children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Tanona has significant experience with the treatment of ADHD, depression, anxiety, coping with divorce, oppositional and defiant behaviors, and anger management. He works to help improve problematic symptoms, enhance interpersonal relationships, and decrease disruptive behaviors and conflict. Dr. Tanona also completes Psychological Assessments for ADHD, school evaluations, learning disabilities, gifted evaluations, autism, and psychological/emotional concerns.
CPA Mission of Heart
Brian A. George is the Managing Partner of CALAS Group LLC, a globally recognized Accounting and Financial Services firm, located in Coral Gables, FL. A 20+ year veteran of the industry, he specializes in providing accounting and advisory services to a number of closely-held businesses and non-profit organizations. Mr. George has dealt with a wide range of business operations, including: hotel, manufacturers; contractors; wholesale and retail operations, and other service organizations. As the Managing Partner, Mr. George has overall responsibility for achieving CALAS Group’s goals and growth plans. In addition, as the Managing Partner Mr. George has ultimate responsibility for employee and client satisfaction for CALAS Group.
Cofounder of The Gift of an Image & Founder of CR_eate
Camilo Rojas, a Colombian-born, Miami / Paris based Graphic Designer Graduated from New World School of the Arts [University of Florida]. His work is mainly based on typography and experimenting with it as an Art form, regularly using words & letters as a visual ‘medium’. His materials & subjects can be diverse, seeking to connect with the viewers to communicate a certain message and to make them think, to let you arrive at your own interpretation, analyze, and build a link with the work.
My name is Can Onat. Im a 15 year old boy living in Istanbul,Turkey currently ın high school. I am only 15 but in my 15 years, I have learned that “not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” Mother Teresa. My goal for my life is to change the world in a positive way, therefore, I think that Im a good fit to Mission of the Heart. There mission and vision fits to what I ultimately want to do in my life. I will serve as a volunteer for raising awareness and giving new ideas to Mission of the Heart. ” the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do” -Steve Jobs
Vice Chair of Mission of the Heart
Deirdre Nero is an Immigration & Nationality Law Attorney in private practice with her own firm, NERO Immigration Law, P.L. located in Coral Gables. Originally from New Jersey, Deirdre has lived in Florida for over 20 years. She earned a Bachelors Degree from Florida State University in Communication Studies and Spanish in 1999. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from FSU, Deirdre moved to Spain and worked as an English teacher for a year. Upon returning to Florida, Deirdre attended the University of Miami School of Law, where she graduated with honors in 2003 and passed the Florida Bar. Ms. Nero started her own law practice, NERO Immigration Law, P.L., in 2009 after having spent several years as an Immigration & Nationality Lawyer in two large law firms also in Coral Gables (Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. and Fragomen, del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP).
Daniel Castellanos, MD
Professor and Founding Chair, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health
The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University
Daniel Castellanos, MD is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has spent his career in academic medicine dedicated to the teaching and training of students, residents, and fellows in Psychiatry. He has given numerous presentations, published a book and several peer reviewed articles on topics related to children and adolescents. Dr Castellanos continues his research in the area of suicide and Hispanic youth and the use of “designer” drugs among adolescents and young adults. In 2012 he published the second edition of his book, the Psychotropic Medication Reference, addressing the use of psychotropic medications in children and adolescents.
Dr Castellanos is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Over the past six years he has led the rapid growth of his department including the hiring of several key faculty members, the development of the clinical and educational programs and the establishment of research programs.
Edward Del Valle
Born on April 21, 1975, in Miami, Florida, Edward de Valle II is the first of two children of Edward de Valle, a South Florida real estate developer, and Maria Christina Noya, a director and principal of education. Edward’s grandfather from Spain was a business owner; His great grandfather was the owner of one of the largest newspapers in Cuba, El Avance; and his great-great grandfather, Alfredo de Zayas y Alfonso, was Vice President of Cuba from 1909-1913 and the fourth President of Cuba. Born with a will to strive for excellence and high expectations from a family of educators, Edward’s organization and commitment to who and what he wanted in life has brought him to where he is today. From an early age, Edward excelled both socially and academically to become a rising to be a star. By the time he graduated from Coral Gables Senior High in Miami. His formal education includes a B.S. in Business Management and an M.B.A. in Business Professional Management.
Eric Gros-Dubois, Esq.
Attorney EPGD & Mission of the Heart
Eric Gros-Dubois is the founder and principal of EPGD Attorneys at Law, specializing in business transactions in Coral Gables. Earlier, Eric was an associate at a Washington, DC firm focusing on business transactions and tax litigation and a Miami, Florida law firm specializing in commercial transactions and business litigation.
Eric was raised in Dallas, Texas and attended Southern Methodist University. He has lived in Paris, France, New York City and Costa Rica. He attended American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., completed his Juris Doctor and his Masters in Business Management. He passed Level I of the Chartered Financial Analyst Exam. Mr. Gros-Dubois has been admitted to practice law in Florida, New York, Maryland, D.C., before the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Maryland, and the U.S. Tax Court.
Eric is a marathon runner and on a racing team at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. He is actively involved in charity work, the next president of the Rotary Club of Miami Brickell. He is a Trustee member of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, and a member of BNI Coral Gables.
Professional Tennis Player
Former professional tennis player, WTA Top 16 ranking. Winner of 5 professional WTA tournaments. Australia Open semifinalist in 2004 and fourth round at Roland Garros in 2004. Retired since 2005.
Currently devoted to her family.
Ignacio Vega- Penichet
Executive Director of Mission of the Heart
Canahuati comes to Mission of the Heart with almost half a decade of experience in a non-profit serving as a PR-Volunteer for Beyond Boundaries Children’s Foundation where she applied her skills in forging innovative ideas to position the foundation in the U.S. Her work focused on creating a solid institution, one that is known and respected for its honorable cause which is to focus on children’s education, infusing them a culture of positive attitudes towards life, family, and society, while raising their self-esteem. Only in this way will they be able to become caretakers of their society.
A Colombian born, Canahuati grew up in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where she first got in touch with the strong need for children’s education, being Honduras a third- world country with so much necessity. After her college studies in La Sorbonne and Babson College, she joined the family business where she served as a liaison between customers and the factories, developed and positioned new brands in the Central American Market, and managed distribution logistics. The latter, Jessica joined the Rio Garment Team where she performed as an Account Manager for the Aeropostale brand. Following this experience, Canahuati pursued her dreams of joining the Diplomatic World and left Honduras to come to the USA as an economic counselor for the Honduran Consulate in Miami, conducting all the necessary research to re-launch Honduras as the most attractive destination in Latin America, promoting foreign capital investment and collaborating in the process for the granting of Humanitarian Visas for Honduran families in despair.
Financial Advisor JP Morgan
Jorge Alfonso grew up interested in fixing things and finding simpler ways to get from point A to point B. As an Industrial Engineer, I figured out ways to streamline costs in companies from healthcare to chip manufacturing. Also a self-taught programmer I figured out how to apply my technical expertise and laser focus to the wealth management industry. I have been helping clients clarify their paths to achieving their financial goals for over ten years. I keep everything simple – it keeps costs down and makes happy clients.
Additionally, I have been instrumental with entrepreneurs, guiding them from company formation, capital raises, strategic planning, and liquidity events.
I am also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
Jose M. Martinez, MD
Laparoscopic surgeon University Miami Health Systems
Born on April 19 in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami Fl until departed to Washington DC for Medical school and General Surgery Residency at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He completed an advanced fellowship in laparoendoscopic surgery at the University of Miami. Currently he is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Laparoendoscopic and Bariatric Surgery in the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, at the University of Miami. He is the Chief for Section of Surgical Endoscopy and serves as Co- Director of the Hernia Center at the University of Miami. He is an devoted educator serving as the director of the minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery fellowship at the University of Miami. He is also the director of the Center of Excellence for Laparoendoscopic and Minimally invasive surgery where educational events are held daily for medical students, residents, fellows and physicians. Dr. Martinez is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Surgeons (SAGES) and active on the SAGES committee developing the Fundamental of Endoscopic Surgery.
Katherine is a management consultant based in Boston, MA. She has worked with public, private, and intergovernmental organizations across several industries including communications and technology, consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and education. She graduated with honors from Pepperdine University where she studied International Business and International Studies. She has experience traveling, working, and living in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Maria Claudida Naranjo
Maria Claudia Naranjo was born in Bogota Colombia in February 19. She is youngest of two girls, currently studying political science at the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. Maria Claudia comes to Mission of the Heart open to share her ideas and knowledge on volunteer work and passion to help others. Both of her parents have been involved in charity work, therefore, she grew up with a great example and a lot of knowledge to share with the team.
Melissa Jackson, MD
PA Board Certified Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychiatrist
Melissa Jackson is a Psychiatrist originally from the panhandle of Florida, who is double board certified in the treatment of children, adolescents, and adults. She completed her undergraduate education with Honors at the University of Florida and medical school at the University of Florida College of Medicine with Honors in research. She went on to complete an Internship and Resi- dency in Psychiatry at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Illinois, followed by a Fellowship in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Southern California, where she was Chief Resident. She is now in Private Practice in Midtown Miami.
Melissa comes from a background of community service. Her father is a Family Physician who has provided medical care to the Native American Indians in Arizona for the past 30 years. While working on the Apache Reservation early in his career, her father delivered both of his children exposing them to the reality of poverty within the reservation and instilling the value of service. During medical school Melissa participated in several medical mission trips, including Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and the Yucatan Peninsula. Now that she is established personally and professionally in Miami, she again has the opportunity to volunteer her time and expertise to an organization dedicated to helping individuals, charities and institutions in need locally and throughout the world.
Born October 18th in Mexico City, DF. Got her bachelors degree in textile Design specializing in interior Design. At age 20 she got married and is the mother of 3 beautiful children. At an early age after marriage she was a home stay mom and dedicating her life and time to her children. Moved to Miami 16 years ago. Was the owner of a gym in Key Biscayne for 30 years and decided to sell it. Paola has been involved as a volunteer in many non profit organizations. She joins Mission of the Heart as the Gala Volunteer excited to share her ideas and expertise committed from the HEART!
Founder of Autism and Music
My name is Patricia Kayser. I moved to Miami from Guayaquil, Ecuador about 10 years ago with my parents and my three brothers to start a better life for my youngest brother Christian. Christian is the happiest autistic child you will ever meet, he is 13 years old now, and he is doing great.
Living with Christian is amazing. He is constantly giving us life lessons only by the way he behaves because he does not even speak yet, which is why his guidance is extremely special.
I have had many great experiences with Christian, but let me tell you about one which changed my life completely. One day I was at a family reunion, and one of my cousins was playing the guitar. Christian approached him real quickly and started behaving in such a unique way, that I found buying a guitar to learn to play for him just a couple of days after. Since I started playing the guitar for Christian, his life changed completely. It enhances his abilities to socialize and communicate with other people and also it is helping him develop many other skills.
I thought the results where so unbelievable that I started playing the guitar for other autistic children. Everything that has happened from that moment has just been out of this world. For this reason I want to open a non-profit organization called Music 4 Autism, I am doing everything I can to reach that goal and help to enhance the quality of life of these angels. I am very grateful for having found a way to help others with the talents that God gave me. I know it might sound incredible, but wait until you meet Christian!
Born in Cleveland Ohio, I have three younger sisters and my parents who still live there. I earned a BSBA at Bowling Green State University and MBA at Cleveland State University. In 2004 after 3 years in Grand Rapids Michigan I moved to Tampa and now live in Fort Lauderdale working for Shire Pharmaceuticals.
I am married to Amanda Anthony since 2006 and we have travelled all over the world together. Some of our favorite countries to visit are Poland, Brazil, and Spain. Besides traveling, I am enjoy cooking, politics, and our two wild Yorkshire Terriers.
Born in Cuba, Rossana Diaz has always been the designer of her family. She migrated to Spain at the age of nine and arrived to Miami in 2013. Following the path to become an Interior Designer, Rossana is doing her master’s in Interior Architecture, became an active member of the American Society of Interior Designers and board member of the International Interior Design Association. Rossana Diaz is the Sales Manager for Richelieu – an importer, distributor and manufacturer company of specialty hardware and complementary products – and works with interior designers, architects, woodcraft houses and contractors. In addition, she manages various interior decorating projects. Nonetheless, her passion for design does not stop there, she keeps occupied with an assorted number of projects as a stylist, has created several fashion designs and a trends website, AvalonRoss.Ms. Diaz has participated as a volunteer and team leader with The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative, the Deering Estate, MDC Environmental Center, Panolam Surface Systems and Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center.
Stephanie’s 10 years of experience and abroad as a TV presenter, journalist, producer, Reality Star, and face of several advertising campaigns.In Colombia, Stephanie reached national and international acclaim as a TV presenter on “Noticiero del Senado”, a political television program that extended both nationally and internationally on Caracol television.Stephanie later became a TV presenter on “Tu Desayuno Alegre”, a national TV show in the United States that has aired on Univision for 15 years. Based on the positive ratings the show attained while Stephanie worked on the show, she became part of the team of “Tu Dia Alegre” on Univision’s sister channel, UniMas. On “Tu Dia Alegre”, Stephanie’s carisma, professionalism and abilities, led to her own segment on the show called “El Radar de Stephy”, a segment that she alone produced and presented. Her success led her to be contracted by Yahoo Sports, who made her the presenter of their online show “Deportes al Minuto”, which aired in the United States, Latin America, and Spain. Based on her experience with sports news, Stephanie joined MundoFox8 in Miami for their two live daily shows as their sports producer and presenter. Stephanie has been employed by Telecaribe, Caracol, Canal Uno, Señal Institucional, Yahooweb, Unimas, Univision, and MundoFox.
Cofounder of Shoot My Travel
Meet Valerie Lopez, a Colombian-raised / Miami based photojournalist graduated from University of Miami. She has a strong attachment to her camera, journal, and books. A gypsy by nature, with a charming personality, Valerie will always be a daydreamer with a great sense of humor, at times she can be a little clumsy. If you don’t find her shooting, she will be traveling, thrifting, buying lipsticks, or painting her nails minty green.
William T. DeFanti
William T. DeFanti a senior at Babson College, the number one entrepreneurial school in the world for the past 20, is concentrated in Finance. The young talent is from Kennebunk, ME, a small town more known for their lobster and President H. W. Bush’s family summer compound on Walkers Point. Basketball has been a very influential part of William’s life as he has been apart of an AAU National Championship team leading to a one-year career at a Division II powerhouse, Assumption College. Prior to transferring to Babson he had a large role in bringing the Assumption Greyhounds to the NCAA tournament as a freshman point guard. In order for William to push his creative and entrepreneurial mindset, it was essential to take the calculated risk and transfer to Babson leaving basketball behind to focus on his career and bettering this world. His number one goal is to become a real estate developer while touching as many people’s lives along his journey. In 2014 he spend a semester studying at The Singapore Management University while working in Marina Bay at Jones Lang LaSalle. After the Southeast Asia experience studying, working, traveling and most importantly touching hearts he ventured to Los Angeles to work at CBRE’s headquarters.
A large part of William’s life is attributed to giving back as he is heavily involved in several charitable organizations including: CBRE’s Youth Rising Professional’s, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and The Good Samaritan Hospital Mission Trip. The young professional’s train of thought is to advance him-self on a daily basis in order to reach other’s hearts.