By Aaliyah Wilkerson
On September 7, 2017, Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry welcomed special guest and chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners, L.P., Miguel “Mike” Fernandez to FAMU’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield Auditorium for a motivating and life-changing forum experience.
Fernandez has served as the founder and majority shareholder of many healthcare-related companies such as Physicians Healthcare Plans, CAC Medical Centers, Prescribit Rx, CarePlus Health Plans, Navarro Pharmacies, Medical Specialties Distributors, Hospitalists of America and more.
As students, faculty, and staff poured into the auditorium, they were handed a free book titled “Humbled by the Journey: Life Lessons for My Family … and Yours” written by Fernandez. The book focuses on his experiences as he participated in a 508-mile pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago from France through Spain.
“Can I just say, it feels good to be in a room where you aren’t the only one dressed up? You all look great! You are the only school I’ve seen to look so good,” Fernandez said, impressed by the hundreds of students dressed sharply in business attire, as they do on a weekly basis.
Fernandez began his presentation by asking the audience to remember to always be grateful for life’s little gifts and the bigger ones that will come. He showed a video that has served as his personal inspiration. The video was about diversity and the varied experiences that people of all walks of life face.
Afterward, Fernandez reminded the audience that his accomplishments did not make him any better than anyone sitting in the room.
“You are more special than I am, you accomplished what I never accomplished, I was highly undisciplined, I was a mediocre student in high school. You made it to college and I didn’t.”
Throughout his career, Fernandez said he has had his share of failures, however, he shared with the audience how these failures shaped his career and ultimately his character.
“…I broke every rule in the school and never got caught. Yet, someone in the school took interest in me. The priest, he made me go to his office every day from 3-4 p.m. … When a principal tells you to go to school you think, ‘man I’m in trouble.’ But he never talked to me about math or anything related. He taught me values, integrity and ‘your word is your bond,’” Fernandez explained.
Before closing, Fernandez made sure to leave pearls of wisdom on progression, faith, and humility for the students, faculty, and staff in attendance.
“I had cancer and I had two heart attacks, but I’ve always had a smile. I wasn’t about to let anyone know that I was going through hell…. Don’t wish you were anyone else than the person you are today because you never know what that person may be going through.”
Fernandez motivated the audience to take on life’s challenges no matter what. According to Victoria Roberts, a fourth-year animal science student, who sat in on the presentation, Fernandez’s speech was exactly what she needed to hear.
“He just really spoke to me. I’ve been contemplating my next move, as far as life after graduation, and he helped me realize that I have to be humble and hungry in order to get to where I want to be in life.”
Fernandez has truly left a positive and motivating footprint on Rattler territory.