Charles P. Garcia, CEO
In June 2014, Charlie Garcia was selected to lead the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). Founded in 1972, ALPFA’s mission is to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the global economy. With 81,000+ members assembled in 44 professional chapters and over 160 student chapters, it is now the nation’s largest Latino professional organization. In June 2015, he was elected to the national board of Junior Achievement, the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.
Known as someone who thrives on building authentic relationships, Charlie was profiled by the Huffington Post as being one of the Top 20 most connected individuals in the world on LinkedIn which he leverages for the benefits of others. He also chairs the South Florida and Puerto Rico Chapters of TIGER 21, a peer-to-peer group of 500 ultrahigh-net-worth individuals in 25 cities who control over $50 billion in personal assets.
Charlie’s career spans a broad spectrum of industries, all focused on leveraging his in-depth understanding of Hispanic consumers. In 1997, he became the CEO of Sterling Financial Group, a privately held financial services firm which he grew from a small business to 60 offices in seven countries, 20,000 Hispanic clients and $2 billion in assets prior to selling it in 2005. The company was named by Inc. magazine as the #8 fastest-growing privately held company in the country and Charlie was named Entrepreneur of the Year by three national organizations.
With an expertise in finance, marketing, and strategy, Charlie served for six years (until the company was sold in 2012) on the Board of Directors of Winn-Dixie Stores, a Fortune 500 supermarket in the southeast. He also chaired an Advisory Board for Aetna Inc. reporting directly to its CEO, focused on growing the Hispanic market share of this diversified healthcare company.
Charlie has worked for four Presidents--both Democrat and Republican--and served on high profile federal and state government boards. In 1988, he was awarded a White House Fellowship by President Reagan, where he served in various high-level positions in the federal government, receiving the Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez Public Service and Integrity award. From 2003-2009, for his work on a congressionally mandated oversight panel, he was awarded the Director of National Intelligence Medallion for his leadership to foster diversity and inclusion within the Intelligence Community.
From 2001-2005, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed Charlie as one of seven members to the State Board of Education, overseeing all public education in Florida with an annual budget of $15 billion. Charlie led the strategic planning process on behalf of the board, and the Governor’s statewide reading task force. In the next ten years, Florida’s ranking in reading for low-income fourth-graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as “the nation’s report card,” moved from the national cellar to first in the nation.
From 2006-2011, he was appointed by both President Bush and President Obama, as the Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy, to oversee all operations at the Air Force Academy. The fifteen member board is composed of four U.S. Senators, four U.S. Congressmen, and seven Presidential appointments. He was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal by the Secretary of the Air Force who also credited him with leading “a historic transformation of the Board of Visitors to ensure it operates more like a corporate board of directors ... and for increasing candidate diversity at all the nation’s service academies.”
Charlie has an M.P.A. from the University of Oklahoma and a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he was awarded the Class of 1983 Honor and Ethics Trophy given to the graduate who “most personified the ideals of personal integrity.” He also has a J.D. from Columbia Law School where he was the first person in his class to publish an article in Columbia Law Review which was cited as a must-read in three legal categories by the National Law Journal. The Florida Supreme Court extensively cited his scholarship in a landmark Fourth Amendment case ending the abusive police practice of making unannounced forcible entries into the private homes of Florida citizens when searching for small amounts of narcotics.
He has authored two best-selling leadership books: A Message from Garcia (John Wiley, 2003) and Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows (McGraw Hill, 2009). Charlie has extensive public speaking and media experience, and writes regularly for CNN, CNN Money, Fox News, and the Huffington Post. In February 2011, nine months prior to the last general election, by leveraging CNN’s research staff to help analyze Latino voting patterns in all twelve swing states, he predicted live on CNN that President Obama would win by an electoral landslide due to Mitt Romney's self-deportation immigration policy.
Hispanic Today magazine featured Charlie in a cover story "Committing to Hispanic America" and Univision selected him for their series "Orgullo Hispano," a feature that spotlights Latinos who have made "an exceptional impact on the culture and life of American society." He is profiled in three recent books: Think and Grow Rich: A Latino Choice; Building the Latino Future; and Hispanics in the USA: Making History -- where he was chosen as one of fourteen Hispanic role models for the nation.
Charlie and his wife Cristina, a native of Quito, Ecuador have four children and live in Boca Raton, Florida.