Fernanda Bressan

FERNANDA BRESSAN

This Brazilian, brainy businesswoman shows her spiritual side

From feijoada to Florida, the story of Fernanda Bressan is as smooth and intoxicating as a caipirinha 

Born in Sao Paulo, Brasil in 1972; Fernanda was the first of two children (her brother, Flavio, was born less than two-years later). 

Fernanda’s father, Oscar, was a civil engineer, her mother, Sylvia an attorney.  

“I enjoyed an active and embracing childhood in Brasil, surrounded by family and weekends at the beach. My parents were professionals and so we enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.” 

“My mother stopped working in 1970, shortly before she married my father. Once married (in a religious/civil wedding), they spent a year traveling all over the world.”   

A quick learner, Fernanda was fluent in Portuguese by the time she was three-years old. But by the age of seven, it was English that she would have to master. 

“At the time, the stability of Brasil was questionable. There was censorship in the media, the economy was floundering. Simply put, my parents sought a better future for their children.” 

As it turns out, Oscar had investment opportunities in Philadelphia. He moved his family to Miami (because of its proximity to Brasil) and would travel to PA weekly.  

“I was enrolled in a public school in Coconut Grove. I learned English within six-months and made lots of friends. And while my parents spoke English before relocating to the United States, they preferred to speak Portuguese at home, as they valued our culture and language and wanted us to learn/speak Portuguese at home in order to maintain the language.” 

Unfortunately, Oscar’s entrepreneurial enterprise in Philadelphia went bust, forcing him to seek other avenues of income. 

“My father created a rhetorical question which he was fond of asking. ‘How do you make a small fortune in the U.S.? You come to the U.S. with a large fortune!’ 

“He adapted quickly, however, and did what he had to do to keep his family afloat, including, at one point, delivering the Miami Herald as an extra source of income until his business took off. My mom took on work at a high-end fashion store before joining my father in the Real Estate business.  

 {Writer’s Note: Oscar caught on with a real estate company which catered exclusively to foreign investors. Eventually, he started his own real estate company—her mother working with him side by side.}  

The family moved to Kendall where Fernanda continued her elementary school studies while embracing a Rockwellian, suburban American lifestyle. 

“As stated, my parents preferred to speak Portuguese at home and the cooking was primarily Brasilian.  

“I recall my father going to the Varig offices in downtown Miami on Friday mornings to pick up the Brasilian newspaper. This was one way we stayed connected to Brasil in the pre-internet days. 

“During my early teens, my parents would send me to summer camp in Brasil. This further allowed me to stay grounded and also offered me the opportunity to reconnect with family and culture.”   

“When I started high school I was presented the option of either attending the Miami Killian Sr. High or to participate in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in Coral Gables. I chose the latter.  

The IB program groomed students for college and Fernanda excelled. So much so, that with the help of an Education Consultant, Fernanda applied and was accepted to vaunted Amherst College in Massachusetts.  

“I always thought I wanted to live in a big city but after visiting Amherst in the fall, decided on the small liberal arts college. I vividly recall the colors, the changing leaves. It was so different than seasons in Miami. I went straight to the admissions office and signed on.” 

{Writer’s note: Acceptance to Amherst is no easy feat. The acceptance rate at Amherst hovers around 14%. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious colleges in the country.} 

  “I started feeling very Latina, perhaps because I was in a very WASPY New England college.”  

While my parents spoke English before relocating to the United States, they preferred to speak Portuguese at home, as they valued our culture and language and wanted us to learn/speak Portuguese at home in order to maintain the language.

“I joined La Causa, the Latino organization, lived in Newport House (Spanish/French house) and participated in Tertulias and other Hispanic activities. I took Spanish language classes and for the first time appreciated languages and my diverse culture (and even my name!)” 

 “I studied Art History and Spanish Literature, with a concentration in Latin America studies. Given the school did not have any Latin American Art courses at the time; I was allowed to create an independent study program and enlist other students to participate. The school’s flexibility and the desire to see and experience various cultures, led me to travel abroad, and spend the spring of my sophomore year in Madrid and the spring of my junior year in Rome.” 

 The worldly young woman soon found herself in demand; recruiters from such high-powered entities as Goldman Sachs (et al) sought her out. 

“What I really wanted was to pursue either a business or law degree and I wanted to ply my skills in Brasil. However, at the time the economy and business foundation of the country was unstable and in transition and so I opted to gain business experience, starting with my father’s real estate business.”   

“Things seemed to move rapidly. Unbeknown to me, the Univers

e had a plan for me! I got my real estate license, started dating and after being pitched by a mortgage banking company, decided to give it a try.” 

Fernanda thrived in an environment which put her in contact with foreign investors. Her fluency in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, plus a little French didn’t hurt. 

“There was an influx in investment money into South Florida from various Latin American and European countries. As situations changed at home, investors would seek rental opportunities, 2nd homes, even condo-hotels as an income producing opportunity and a safe-haven for their kids in Miami.” 

The always ambitious Fernanda left the original company and joined a competitor before eventually starting her own business. 

Editor’s Note:
For more information about Foundfully
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In 2005 Fernanda met Pablo and love blossomed.  

“It’s ironic, but Pablo and I soared into marriage in 2008 while at the same time the mortgage market crashed!” 

The crafty couple didn’t flinch. Rather they started a telecom business (think international long distance phone cards etc.) Their success was such that within two-years they were bought out. A non-compete clause had them striking out in a different direction.  

E-commerce came next and the couple flourished for the next four years. The business was focused on fitness products and supplements, causing them to realize there were some missing pieces to the wellness puzzle. This insight led the couple to seamlessly create a Wellness business for women—one which focused on mind, body and heart. 

 Embracing the phenomenon, Fernanda continued to grow personally and professionally. She trained and received certifications in Yoga coaching and even Reiki and began workshops for moms (she, herself, became a mother in 2011 when daughter Luciana was born). 

Unfortunately (or fortunately) a difference in vision with their partners led to the unraveling of the business, and the couple struck out on their own once again, leading us to Foundfully (www.foundfully.com). 

 “Foundfully is a coaching and facilitation practice that helps entrepreneurs and organizations excel. We support and provide tools and accountability so individuals, teams and businesses can thrive. By connecting with each other, improving communication, and understanding the bigger vision; companies and their founders can grow both businesses and lives they love.” 

Simply put, Fernanda Bressan is a proven champion in any arena—a leader, with wisdom, insight and experience to share. 

Latinarrific salutes Fernanda Bressan! 

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Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent at Latinarrific
Kent Wallace has worked in the mainstream media for over 30 years. He has been a journalist, publisher, performer, art critic and marketing strategist. He has written for such magazines as Esquire, Source, Ear, ArtSpeak and Notorious (to name a few).

Wallace was a contributing writer for “High on Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City,” he co-authored and authored several published books.

Wallace has hosted radio shows on ESPN (Reno) and KPLY (Reno). Wallace has appeared on Montel, The Tyra Banks Show, The John Walsh Show and the Rikki Lake show. Wallace also served as a consultant on an HBO’s hit series.
Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent
Kent Wallace has worked in the mainstream media for over 30 years. He has been a journalist, publisher, performer, art critic and marketing strategist. He has written for such magazines as Esquire, Source, Ear, ArtSpeak and Notorious (to name a few). Wallace was a contributing writer for “High on Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City,” he co-authored and authored several published books. Wallace has hosted radio shows on ESPN (Reno) and KPLY (Reno). Wallace has appeared on Montel, The Tyra Banks Show, The John Walsh Show and the Rikki Lake show. Wallace also served as a consultant on an HBO’s hit series.

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