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Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Execs named at nonprofit, government, Casa Bacardí

This edition of Climbing the Corporate Ladder includes new executive appointments in a Puerto Rico nonprofit, a local federal agency, and a rum producer.

José Buenaga

American Cancer Society board names local volunteer
The Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society at the United States level, named José C. Buenaga-Ortiz as board member. Buenaga has been board chairman of the American Cancer Society of Puerto Rico since 2021.

This appointment makes him the first volunteer from Puerto Rico, in the organization’s nearly 50-year trajectory on the island, to be an active member of the ACS Inc. board. He will hold this position from January 2023 to December 2024.

Born in San Juan, Buenaga, has a bachelor’s degree from Bryant University in Rhode Island. He earned his MBA from the Fuqua Businesses School at Duke University and an HSM certificate in the Healthcare Management Industry.

He currently works as territory partner of Trupanion, a company dedicated to medical insurance for pets.

For the past 32 years, Buenaga has belonged to the American Cancer Society of Puerto Rico as a volunteer, being one of the first members of the Hogar Niños Que Quieren Sonreír in 1990. In addition, he was member of the Finance Committee of the American Cancer Society Inc. from 2014 to 2016.

“Buenaga has been instrumental through the years in the fight against cancer, especially with our children and their families. I’m happy and honored that he is the first Puerto Rican volunteer to be selected as part of this Board of Directors,” said American Cancer Society  CEO Lillian Santos.

Maximiliano Trujillo

USDA names State Director in Puerto Rico
The US Department of Agriculture recently announced the appointment of Maximiliano Trujillo as State Director for Rural Development in Puerto Rico.

He brings to the post 20 years of combined experience working in the US Congress, the government of Puerto Rico, and the private sector.

Most recently, Trujillo worked as a policy and strategic government affairs consultant in Washington, D.C. providing advice on federal telecommunications, health care, and economic development.

He has also served as the senior policy advisor for Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez on a broad portfolio of Puerto Rico related issues, among others. Prior to his work in Congress, Trujillo was the Advocacy Director for AARP in Puerto Rico.

In this position, he educated policy stakeholders and the public on federal issues including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as advocated on pro-consumer protection and utility regulatory issues.

He also served as a Deputy Advisor to the governor of Puerto Rico on economic security and the protection of citizens’ rights, and as Legislative Counsel at the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on economic development.

Trujillo is a graduate of Marquette University and holds a law degree from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Law and a Master of Laws in International Legal Studies from American University’s Washington College of Law.

RD State Directors serve as the chief executive officer of Rural Development in the states and territories and are tasked with carrying out the agency’s mission.

Gabriel Solano

Casa Bacardí Puerto Rico names GM
Casa Bacardí Puerto Rico, the brand home of the rum and one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island, announced the appointment of Gabriel “Gabe” Solano as General Manager, responsible for the complete visitor experience.

The visitor center, located just outside San Juan, Puerto Rico, showcases mixology, stories about the rich history of the Bacardí family and brand, and an insider’s view of the unique production process for the world’s most awarded rum.

Solano is a hospitality professional, with more than 15 years of management experience in food and beverage, leading teams at some of the finest hotels and institutions in the industry including the Edition in Times Square, the Mandarin Oriental in New York City, and the W in Washington, D.C.

Solano graduated from the University of Delaware, where he began his journey in hospitality as a barman, igniting his passion for crafting cocktails and bringing people together with unique drinks experiences.

“The call to helm Casa Bacardí is an aspiration come true. I’m thrilled to reconnect with my Puerto Rican roots and contribute to the success of Casa Bacardí and its impact in the surrounding community,” said Solano.

“I look forward to applying my experience in luxury food and beverage to ensure this iconic brand home continues to share its rich history in exciting, new ways and remains a world-class destination for years to come,” he said.

Solano joins the team led by Thibault Ruffat, Global Brand Homes Director for family-owned Bacardi.

“For us at Bacardi, it’s a privilege to create memorable moments for our guests while sharing unique stories over delicious cocktails at our beautiful campus,” said Ruffat. “Under [Solano’s] leadership, Casa Bacardí will continue to focus on outstanding spirits tourism experiences and sharing the legacy of the iconic Bacardí rum with visitors from across the globe.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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