Following Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale’s welcome, and an introduction by former Miami Herald Publisher David Lawrence, Mr. Fernandez then addressed the audience in his characteristic charismatic way, telling stories of his early professional years when he lived on a $250/month salary. As he recounted, his first investment was a failure and he was on the verge of filing bankruptcy, but a strategic business turnaround resulted in the company selling at a profit a short time later – the first of many successful business ventures for this well-known serial entrepreneur.
One of the lessons learned and shared with students was that “life is about sacrifice to get somewhere.” Students and guests heard a recurrent message: “If you are not failing frequently in life, you are not trying hard enough; life is about taking risks and learning to manage risk.”
When his daughter told him she would be making the “El Camino” pilgrimage, a hard trek of over 500 miles from France that culminates in Santiago de Compostela in Spain, he decided to accompany her. As they travelled up and down hills for thirty-two days feeling thirsty, totally exhausted and sometimes sick, he would remind her that “life is about walking up and down through hills with grit, leaving fear behind.”
The book project came about thanks to his beloved wife Constance, who urged him to write a book about his life and the lessons he would want to share with family and others. From El Camino, he talks about realizing the significance a stranger – like a villager along the Walk- can have in one’s life.
Following the address, the new author signed copies of his book for students, 200 of which were donated by St. Thomas University Law School alumni and Law School Advisory Board member, Alex Hanna, Esq.
For more about Mr. Fernandez and his new book: http://miami.cbslocal.com/video/11030630-billionaire-businessman-mike-fernandez-humbled-by-the-journey/