Andrea Faria

President, Brazilian Business Group

Background: Faria, 45, is a Brazilian businesswoman who, for years, has helped run her family’s aircraft fleet management and sales business. Since the United States is the largest aviation market in the world, Faria was always making trips to the states. So in 2005, Faria moved here and made South Florida her base. She still travels back to Brazil, but it’s cool. She has some pretty solid aviation connections.

How she is making a difference: Brazil’s economy is booming right now, which means more and more Brazilians are looking toward South Florida for investment opportunities. The Brazilian Business Group helps unveil these opportunities, Faria says, providing assistance to the growing Brazilian population with networking connections, investment opportunities and crucial social relationships.

“What we are trying to achieve is to become a hub between South Florida and Brazil, giving support to the Brazilians who live and work here and also to the Americans who are willing to do business with Brazil,” she says. There’s still a lot of untapped potential, and she knows it. Faria recently took over as the group’s president, and says their membership stands at about 120. It’s a small percentage given the estimated 250,000 Brazilians who live in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. But their numbers are growing, and she thinks they’ve made some serious inroads, especially with marketing themselves to South Florida cities. (Pompano Beach works closely with their group, promoting key events, like Brazilian Citizenship Day.)

What are some of the obstacles? “The biggest challenge is the difference in cultures,” says Faria, who says Brazilians are a little bit more informal. “We try to teach our members to be prepared for these differences.”

What the future holds: Promote. Market. Hobnob. Then hobnob some more. “We definitely want to strengthen our relationship with cities like Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale,” she says. “But I would say that we are stronger than we have been in the past.”