October 2, 2017

MBAF's Tony Argiz was honored as one of the Ultimate CEOs to raise more than $46,000 for United Way and the Urban League of Broward County.

South Florida’s business community came out in full force Thursday to honor some of the region’s top leaders in a gala awards ceremony that raised more than $46,000 for charity.

The Business Journal held its 2017 South Florida Ultimate CEO Awards at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, where more than 325 people gathered to honor 15 of the tri-county region’s top business executives.

The award honors top chief executive officers from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties for their business acumen, leadership skills and community involvement.

The ceremony features a “Charity Clause” which calls for the CEOs to donate $75 for every 15 seconds over the two minutes allotted for their award acceptance speeches. This year’s donations benefit local United Way chapters and the Urban League of Broward County.

Last year marked the inaugural regional Ultimate CEO Awards, after years of honoring the chief executives by county. It also debuted the Charity Clause, with the 2016 Ultimate CEOs raising more than $36,000 for the United Way.

“Honoring excellence in business is key to the Business Journal’s mission as it can inspire others and propel them to great success,” said SFBJ President and Publisher Melanie Dickinson. “But I’m thrilled that our community leaders raised even more money for charity this year because it shows their deep commitment to improving our region.”

Tony Argiz, chairman and CEO of MBAF, was the first honoree to take the stage, speaking eloquently about the importance of not letting others define your professional path and then kicking off the donations with a $5,000 pledge.

“It’s up to every individual to carve their own road to success, and then when you succeed remember to give back,” he said.

Argiz also touched on a common theme that permeated most of the Ultimate CEO acceptance speeches: the importance of building strong teams.

“No one can be an Ultimate CEO without an ‘Ultimate’ team,” said Lisa Lufoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. “And I have a great one.”

Several of the honorees also paid tribute to building icon Stiles”>Terry Stiles of Stiles Corp who lost his battle to cancer on Sept. 11.

“Terry has done so much for Broward County and South Florida… and I know his son Ken will continue that legacy,” said Dev Motwani, president and CEO of Merrimac Ventures.

The awards program wrapped up with a tribute to Stiles”>Terry Stiles by Dickinson, who spoke of his impacts on South Florida, and his passion for improving the region, which she experienced firsthand working with Stiles on various boards. A slideshow of Stiles’ many developments followed, eliciting thunderous applause from attendees.

Stiles Corp. CEO Ken Stiles then took to the stage to accept the award on his father’s behalf.

“The past few weeks have been very hard for the family. But we appreciate everyone’s support,” he said. “It’s our commitment to work tirelessly to complete his vision and make him proud.”

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