Today, the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) announced 11 fellows for its leadership training program, “L.E.A.D. with CABA.” The Leadership, Education, And, Development (L.E.A.D.) program is designed to provide CABA fellows with the knowledge, skills and tools to be effective leaders within CABA, The Florida Bar and their communities.
“Leadership is not just about guiding others, but about self-discovery and continuous growth,” stated Giselle Gutierrez, president of CABA. “We designed ‘L.E.A.D. with CABA’ to empower our fellows with the knowledge, skills and experience to become effective leaders while challenging them to explore their values and strengths. By raising awareness and engaging in ethical and public service matters, participants can use their leadership skills to make a positive impact on their communities and the world.”
The “L.E.A.D. with CABA” Committee, led by Gutierrez and Co-Chair, Gustavo J. Ceballos, announced 11 inductees to Class I: Ian Corp, Kyle Forges, Alani Fraga, Andy Hernandez, Juliette Hernandez, Yoe Lopez, Joshua Padron, Fabian Ruiz, Magbis Sanchez, Isis Pacheco Velasco and Jonathan Vita.
Inductees are in the company of a diverse professional cohort working in the public and private sectors, large and small law firms, different practice areas, backgrounds and geographical areas of the state. The class shares a commitment to elevating awareness and fostering engagement among legal practitioners. Their active participation in the program’s four training sessions through the fall of 2023 will serve as a catalyst for their professional growth and development.
The first program session, Exploring the Opportunities of Servant Leadership, was made possible by the generous support of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. Session 1 guest speakers will include Gary S. Lesser, President of The Florida Bar; Jorge Piedra, Managing Partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton and Governor on The Florida Bar Board of Governors; The Honorable Chief Judge Nushin Sayfie, Eleventh Judicial Circuit; and The Honorable Bertila Soto, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, among others.
Ian Michael Corp, Esq.
Ian Michael Corp is a business, real estate and bankruptcy litigation attorney at Agentis PLLC. Corp received his B.A. in political science from Florida International University in 2014, and graduated from St. Thomas University’s College of Law in 2018. He is a Florida Bar Business Section fellow 2023-2025, a committee member of the Florida business law section for Blockchain and Digital Assets, and is also a committee member of CABA’s Young Lawyers and Marlins Night.
Previously, Corp was an attorney at Cole, Scott & Kissane as well as Lydecker Diaz.
Kyle Forges, Esq.
Kyle Forges is a criminal defense Assistant Public Defender for the Miami Public Defender’s Office, Eleventh Judicial Circuit. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University in 2019, and earned his J.D. in 2022 from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
During law school, Forges placed well in the Chicago Bar Moot Court Competition and the New York Bar Regional Moot Court Competition. He also presented oral arguments to the Florida Supreme Court and was inducted into the Order of Barristers.
Forges was a law clerk at the Strategic Legal Group, summer associate at Carey Rodriguez Milian, and became a certified legal intern at the Law Office of the Public Defender in the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida before becoming an Assistant Public Defender.
Alani L. Fraga, Esq.
Alani Fraga is an associate at Bilzin Sumberg in the Real Estate Group. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. During her undergraduate studies, she was active in student government, served as a teaching assistant and was a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. Throughout law school, she was a member of the Latin American Law Organization, Virginia Law Ambassadors and the Virginia Law and Business Review.
Fraga began her career at Deloitte & Touche LLP as an international tax intern, followed by a position as an SEO Law Fellow at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. She then went on to become a judicial intern for the Honorable Cecilia Altonaga in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She also interned at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for the Honorable Adalberto Jordan. Previously, she worked at White & Case as a summer associate and then as a real estate associate.
Andy Hernández, Esq.
Andy Hernández, Esq. is an associate at Martínez-Cid Law. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Florida International University in 2016, and received his Juris Doctor from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in 2019.
Prior to Martínez-Cid, Hernández was an associate at Carey Rodriguez Milian LLP and started his career as an associate at León Cosgrove, LLP. He was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Aileen M. Cannon in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Juliette Hernandez, Esq.
Juliette Hernandez is an associate at Stearns Weaver Miller, P.A. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in industrial labor relations from Cornell and graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2022. During law school, she served as the Cuban American Bar Association Student Chapter secretary and then as president. Hernandez was also Articles and Comments editor for the University of Miami Business Law Review.
Hernandez has interned at Prospera, Morgan Stanley and Walt Disney World. Before joining Stearns Weaver Miller, she was a law clerk at EPGD Business Law and a student clinician at the Investor Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law.
Yoe Lopez, Esq.
Yoe Lopez is a Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami Beach. He attended the University of Central Florida and received a Bachelor of Science degree in legal studies, and Florida State University for his Juris Doctor. While obtaining his undergraduate degree, Lopez was a legislative scholars’ intern for the Florida Senate. After graduation he worked as an administrative intern for the Leon County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller.
During law school, Lopez worked as a law clerk at Flury & Atkins LLC, as a summer associate attorney for Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, and as Assistant State Attorney in the Office of the State Attorney, 2nd Judicial Circuit.
Lopez is also a part-time instructor for the Law Enforcement Academy at Miami Dade College, School of Justice.
Joshua P. Padron, Esq.
Joshua Padron is a personal injury associate at the Haggard Law Firm. Padron graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in finance in 2015, and received his J.D. from Florida International University College of Law in 2019. Padron’s activities during law school included the FIU Law trial team, the Cuban American Bar Association’s Student Chapter, and the Business Law Society, where he was a founding vice president.
Before his current position, Padron worked for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office as a Felony “B” Assistant State Attorney. He was also a judicial intern for the Honorable Antonio Arzola, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.
Fabian A. Ruiz, Esq.
Fabian Ruiz is a labor and employment shareholder at GrayRobinson P.A. Ruiz graduated from Rutgers in 2011 with a B.S. in Spanish literature and communication, and from Rutgers University School of Law in 2015. In law school he was vice president of the Student Bar Association, president of the International Law Society, and president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
He is a founding member of the ABA’s Men of Color Project, and has been recognized by “Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch,” 2021 to 2023, and a “Rising Star” for Florida Super Lawyers in 2022.
Previously, he served as a judicial law clerk to United States District Court Judge Jose L. Linares, and he was a senior associate at FordHarrison LLP. Fabian also recently joined CABA’s Board of Directors.
Magbis Sanchez, Esq.
Magbis Sanchez is of counsel at R+C Litigators, PLLC. Sanchez received a Bachelor of Applied Science from Miami Dade College, and her Juris Doctor from Florida International University College of Law. During law school, Sanchez was awarded for her exceptional contribution and work in the Community Lawyering Clinic, as well as the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Criminal Law. She has worked with various legal associations such as CABA and the Hispanic National Bar Association.
While obtaining her degree, Magbis was a student attorney for FIU Law’s Business Clinic, a legal intern for the City of Miami-Office of the City Attorney, and a judicial intern for the Honorable Migna Sanchez-Llorens in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. Magbis will also be joining the upcoming class of the Florida Bar Leadership Academy.
Isis Pacheco Velasco, Esq.
Isis Pacheco Velasco is a vice president at Interamerican Bank. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history in 2004 from the University of Miami, and attended St. Thomas University School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor in 2007. Velasco went on to receive a Master of Laws in real property development from the University of Miami School of Law in 2010.
While obtaining her degrees, she was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Peter T. Fay, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. Prior to that, she was a congressional intern for former U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Most recently, Velasco completed a certificate in business management essentials at Cornell and a certificate in corporate governance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Her current professional affiliations include director of the nonprofit, Facts About Cuban Exiles (F.A.C.E.), and the Florida Bankers Association Government Relations Council and BankPac. She is on the board of advisors for the St. Thomas University School of Law.
Jonathan Vita, Esq.
Jonathan Vita is an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP. Vita graduated from Florida International University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology, and later obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2019. He received his L.L.M. in taxation from the New York University School of Law.
Previously, Vita was an associate at Peterson & Myers, P.A. in Lakeland, Florida and was an intern in the Office of Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service.
About the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA)
Founded in 1974, CABA is one of the largest bar associations in the state of Florida. Its membership is comprised of lawyers and law students from various backgrounds whose interests include not only those affecting the Cuban community, but human and legal rights issues impacting minority communities. CABA also founded CABA Pro Bono Legal Services and the CABA Foundation, both created on the association’s fundamental values to aid those in need through legal advocacy as well as offering scholarships to law students.