2017 40 Under 40
Saluting Southwest Florida's young achievers.
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Luis Cartagena (34)
Vice president and bank manager, Florida Community Bank
Fort Myers-born Luis Cartagena has held the role of vice president/branch manager of Florida Community Bank’s Immokalee banking center for the past four years. In that capacity, he leads the largest retail team in the company’s footprint. However, Cartagena’s beginnings were humble.
He remembers not being able to receive help from his parents in school due to their lack of education and working his way up from a part-time bank teller to the position he’s in now. Today, he’s focused on helping children break the cycle of poverty, just as he did.
Cartagena is a member of The Immokalee Foundation (TIF) board of directors, and through the program he’s conducted networking sessions for high school seniors and prepared them to meet Southwest Florida business leaders. He currently mentors two high school students—Elizay Bravo and Lodjina Louis—and stays in contact with his previous mentee, who’s now in college. Last year, he delivered the keynote address at TIF’s graduation celebration at Ave Maria University. He’s since inspired some of his colleagues to become TIF supporters and Florida Community Bank to be a past presenting sponsor of the foundation’s Charity Classic Celebration.
Cartagena is an accomplished musician and signer, who made it through a series of The Voice callback auditions prior to airing. He has three sons: Trey, Jayden, and Xavier. —Melanie Pagan
Laura Dal Santo (37)
Personal trainer and lead diva, Bella Diva Fitness
Laura Dal Santo specializes in women’s fitness, helping clients find their strongest selves both physically and mentally. She takes a multifaceted approach to fitness, educating women on weight loss, strength gaining, nutrition and meal planning, so they can adopt long-term healthy lifestyles outside of the gym.
A past National Physique Committee bikini competitor and figure champion in Maryland, Dal Santo also provides weekly personal training sessions to teen girls in the Wellfit Girls program and mentally coaches them through journal writing and feedback. She also gives the girls occasional cooking demonstrations in her home. She’s a strong believer in encouraging healthy habits at an early age.
DalSanto is certified by the American Counsel on Exercise and International Sports Science Association as a master personal trainer, sports nutritionist, and hormone and health expert. She’s also a level one cross-fit coach and TRX group trainer. She is an avid world traveler. —Melanie Pagan
Tracy Duhaney (27)
Senior catering and convention services manager, Hilton Naples
For Tracy Duhaney, it’s all about going the extra mile. The senior catering and convention services manager is not only known for providing exemplary hospitable service and well-planned events within Hilton Naples, but she’s also deeply involved in the community. Duhaney is a member of the Naples Area Young Professionals, Naples Zoofessionals, NAACP, Women’s Network of Collier County and has assumed various roles with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Naples. She also contributes to the United Way of Collier County, Gulf Coast Humane Society and PACE Center for Girls, and can be found helping out in the St. Matthew’s House soup kitchen from time to time.
Duhaney has been recognized numerous times for her professional and personal efforts, earning the 2017 Q1 Hotel Bronze Shining Sales Star Award from Cooper Hotels, which owns Hilton; and the 2015 Spirit of Blue Energy Award, a Hilton Hotels corporate social responsibility award. She’s also a 2016 GAIN graduate.
Duhaney likes to spend time with her dog, Biscuit, and family in Jamaica in her spare time, in addition to advocating for homeless animals. —Melanie Pagan
Tiffany Esposito (30)
President and chief executive officer, Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
Tiffany Esposito has had a longstanding passion for the growth and sustainability in her hometown of Southwest Florida, so she became a natural fit with the area’s chambers of commerce after graduating from FGCU with her Bachelor of Arts in communication in 2009 and MBA in 2012. Esposito served in key leadership roles with both the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce before being named president and CEO of the Bonita Springs chamber in 2016. She’s also been involved with the FGCU Alumni Board, Leadership Bonita, and Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council.
Esposito is accredited in public relations and holds a designation from the Institute for Organizational Management. She’s also earned the FGCU Soaring Eagles Society Award and FPRA Rising Star Award. She travels with her husband in her downtime and played hockey for many years. —Melanie Pagan
Barrett Farmer (37)
Director of the Naples Winter Wine Festival
When it comes to helping local underprivileged and at-risk children, it is comforting to know that much of their success is in the caring hands of Barrett Farmer. As the director of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, Farmer cites the importance and dedication that is involved with “putting together a world-class event that inspires guests to bid with extraordinary generosity so the [Naples Children & Education] Foundation can continue to transform the [children’s] lives.” In addition to the importance of the organization, Farmer’s passion and the fulfillment of the experience is what keeps her motivated every day.
When she is away from the office, Barrett takes care of her own wellbeing by engaging in yoga, working out and spending time with her family and newborn niece. —Tess Raines
Rafael J. Feliciano (28)
Co-founder, Naples and Fort Myers Restaurant Week and SWFL “First Bite.” Co-owner, Food Idea Group
Rafael Feliciano has a lengthy history of creating organizations and movements that make a difference. Before co-founding Naples and Fort Myers Restaurant Week, which raised more than $20,000 for local charities from 2016 to 2017, and Food Idea Group, a marketing company aimed at busy chefs, he co-founded the First Multicultural Greek Organization at FGCU, which is now the largest multicultural men’s organization in Southwest Florida. Also at FGCU, he started a program called “Betas Wrap It Up,” where fraternity brothers and other students would partner with Miromar Outlets to wrap and deliver gifts for underserved Immokalee preschoolers during the holidays.
In 2016, Florida’s Paradise Coast granted Feliciano with the Innovative Star Award for the positive impact Restaurant Week had on the region’s tourism industry. In his downtime, Feliciano enjoys traveling, sports, and spending time with his two dogs, Bourbon and Kahlua. —Melanie Pagan
Penny Fisher (36)
Editor, Naples Daily News
Many of Penny Fisher’s coworkers view her as the go-to person for help due to her problem-solving abilities. She’s been called on to fill in gaps when the company has had openings and served as interim executive editor before being named news director. Fisher has since created several internal taskforce groups to focus on writing style and audience growth.
Fisher, who oversees four robust community publications and a magazine, is credited with changing the paper’s newsroom culture to create a collaborative team environment that supported the production of each publication with an even workload.
Fisher regularly speakers to civic groups, fellow media professionals and students on the impact of local journalism in the community, and she’s always trying to find more ways to make the newsroom an integral part of the community. Fisher, who is part of the GAIN class of 2017, is married to Adam Fisher, a sports reporter at the Naples Daily News. They have two children, Audrey and Alec, and she has gotten active with families affected by Nephrotic Syndrome after her 2-year-old son was recently diagnosed with the disease. —Melanie Pagan
Brian Galligan (38)
Director of horticulture, Naples Botanical Garden
Part of what makes Southwest Florida special is its subtropical landscape, and Galligan is all about expanding and preserving it. He’s responsible for every plant that grows within Naples Botanical Garden, and helped developed it from a 170-acre wasteland of invasive plants to the nationally recognized botanical garden it is today. The certified arborist is especially skilled with ornamental plants and tropical fruits and offers his expertise to many community organizations, guiding their efforts in sustainable landscaping. In addition, he’s volunteered with the National Park Service to eradicate invasive exotic species and preserve natural ecosystems.
Galligan loves all things outdoors, including mountain biking, fishing, hunting, hiking, backpacking and camping. He has two children with his wife, Rebecca. —Melanie Pagan
Kiranjeet Gill (38)
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Aesthetic Surgery Center
Since moving to Naples in 2015, Dr. Kiranjeet Gill has quickly become a respected plastic surgeon by providing an avenue for the women of Collier County to undergo breast reconstruction. She customizes treatment plans for each patient, whether they seek aesthetic surgery or reconstruction after breast cancer. Gill also participates in the Physician Led Access Network of Collier County (PLAN), a referral network program of 250 volunteer physicians, clinics and health care providers who provide quality healthcare for qualified low-income and under-insured adult residents in the region. She joined PLAN specifically to provide breast reconstruction for women after mastectomy.
Gill is an accomplished volleyball player and has three children—Kayden, 6, Kaleb, 4, and Kareena, nearly 2, with her college sweetheart, whom she married in 2010. —Melanie Pagan
Sarah Hawes (29)
Director of community relations, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida
With a long list of accomplishments and community involvement at the ripe young age of 29, it’s no wonder that Hawes is quickly ascending the professional ladder. She works tirelessly to maintain communication and incorporate new programs within the 21 Naples locations for Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida. Sarah, who holds degrees from Clemson University and Florida State University, is currently enrolled in a course at University of South Florida to obtain her Executive Masters of Business Administration.
When she and her husband aren’t cheering on the Clemson football team, Hawes enjoys playing pickleball and tennis, or doing yoga. —Tess Raines