Chamber hosts the 4th Annual Champions of Business Luncheon

Misha Kuryla-Gomez

Young and notable business professionals from around the community joined the Emerging Leadership Council of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce (MBCC) to experience and learn from the best of the best at the 4th annual “Champions of Business” Luncheon. On August 13, 2010, individuals had an opportunity to not only enjoy the divine creations of the newly improved and most iconic restaurant in town, The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar, but interact with a discussion by a panel of champions in their field. “ Tomorrow’s Leaders, Leading Today,” is the Emerging Leadership Council’s guiding principle and with guidance from Chairman Jason Hagopian, Principal of TSAO Design Group, they created an event that teaches individuals what it takes to grow a business from vision to success story.

This year’s 2010 “Champions of Business” panelist discussion began at 11:30 a.m. and was moderated by Michelle Villalobos, principal of Mivista business skills training, and Willard Shepard, investigative reporter for NBC 6. Panelists participating were:

Misha Kuryla-Gomez, owner and creator of Misha’s Cupcakes. Misha began her empire from the comfort of her own home and used the power of word of mouth and business administration expertise, to flour- ish as a pillar in the South Florida area. While continuing to spread the sweet aromas of her confections, she opened a location in South Miami and is continuing to distribute a wide variety of local restaurants, markets, hospitals, and salons, with custom creations available. With newborns in the house, it was difficult for Misha to stay away from her children, so she pursued her passion and creativity and has built an empire with plans to expand internationally.

Ricky Arriola, President & CEO of Inktel Direct Corp, a leading service provider in the direct marketing industry, specializing in call center, e-commerce, distribution, operations, consulting and database marketing services, is a leader in his field. Ricky has been selected as one of Poder Magazine’s 23 leaders under 40 years of age making a difference in South Florida and received the 2010 “Ultimate CEO Award” from the South Florida Business Journal. Among other things, Ricky is Chairman of the Board of the Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and serves on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and on the National Finance Committee of the Democratic National Committee.

Ricky Arriola

Shareef Malnik, owner of The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar, is a dynamic entrepreneur whose principal desire is to redefine the dining experience. Growing up with a father who loved fine food, wine, and hospitality, Shareef got his first taste of the restaurant business as a busboy at his father’s restaurant, eventually becoming the sole proprietor in 1991, creating an true dining and entertainment experience. As the Forge approached the 40th anniversary in 2009, Shareef decided to take his culinary grande dame into a new era and has now created a living space where people can enjoy a five-course meal with wine pairings or order a burger and a glass of wine by the fire. He is an avid aventurer and active in the community and while serving on numerous arts and civic organizations, including Chairman of the InterContinental Make-A-Wish Ball, he continues to provide a living entity with a history and a future.

Shareef Malnik

The event was open to the public with approximately 200 in attendance. Individuals who registered prior to August 1st received exclusive access to “The List”, an advanced listing of all reserved attendees used for networking purposes.


The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1921 to promote the economic well-being of Miami Beach’s citizens, to improve the quality of life for the entire community, and to communicate the view of the business community on major issues of public policy.

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