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There are essentially five characteristics of great leaders: Flexibility, Communication, Courage, Humility and being Responsible for the team. Although there are many definitions, what all of them have in common is the ability to connect on a personal level with your team: to understand what motivates them and how to work with them to accomplish common objectives. A great example of these qualities is Mario Murgado, a Cuban American businessman raised in Chicago who later moved to Miami in 1978. Many young kids dream of becoming a baseball player, but he always loved cars and wanted a career in business. One day he walked into Braman Imports and got a job as a salesman rapidly becoming a rising star. After a series of promotions over the following years, he became president and managing partner at Braman Imports and Palm Beach Imports.
Mario Murgado took a leap of faith and decided it was time to follow his lifelong dream of owning his own business. He founded Brickell Motors and almost 20 years later the company has many dealerships across the US and over 500 employees of which over 200 work in their Miami operations. His story and accomplishments in business are impressive. He has won many awards including the American International Automobile Dealers Association’s prestigious Impact Award and Time Dealer of the Year for Florida.
We met him for an interview at his very first location on 8th street and he shared his thoughts: “Be a good citizen in the community and provide a great place to work for employees”. He takes pride in seeing people develop. “I love when an employee starts with us. When someone is learning English here with us. When someone buys his first apartment.” Mario has thirty-nine years in the automotive industry and has a long career in sales and building teams, automotive management and developing people. In that time, he has prospered alongside many of his employees watching them grow professionally and personally as they got married or formed a family. His formula is simple: “If your people are successful, you'll be successful. So, if I can help you achieve what you desire to achieve, what you want to achieve… you help me.” He always tells his employees that one of the greatest virtues a person can have is humility. That sense of respect, loyalty, and empowerment to his team is the key that enabled Brickell Motors to sell over 8,500 vehicles last year. The future of the company continues to look promising with new store openings on the horizon.
In a deep conversation with Mario Murgado, we spoke about the process of creating a strong company culture. It is important for employees because workers are more likely to enjoy their time in the workplace when they fit in. Employees tend to enjoy work when their needs and values are consistent with those of the workplace. They tend to develop better relationships with coworkers and are even more productive. That is why Mario goes down to the sales floor every day, talking to customers, giving advice to associates and making sure that every person who walks through his dealership doors are treated as a friend. "My approach to business has always been a combination of attitude and action. Positive attitude, team development, and synergy within an organization that heightens the awareness of individuals and motivates them to act positively. Your success in business depends on being a participant in the community” Mario says.
As a proud Cuban American, Mario Murgado feels the need to speak up and talk about Cuban history: “I wish we did even more with the rich history we have. When people come here and they want to know more about Little Havana, I love to teach them. I want them to know about who we are and, our history before 1959. At one time, Cuba was the 8th largest economy, and considered a very powerful country. What our parents did coming to the U.S., escaping from the Communist Regime, was a tremendous act of love. An incredible journey and story to tell and respect."
What we can all learn about Mario Murgado's experience is that hard work has its benefits and rewards. And when there is nothing to fall back on, you can only move forward. “In this great country where dreams are still possible and as a grateful immigrant, I thank God each day for everyone that has played a part in my life and the privilege to live and raise my family in America. It’s up to you what you can achieve and whatever you dream of as long as it is with commitment, perseverance and determination can be accomplished. Be prepared and committed to see the end as you envision it and make it happen. Make it a Great Day!”