Episode 337: 10-08-15
On this week’s show, Cesar Alvarez discusses today’s legal industry and how to build a national legal brand. We also discuss breakthroughs and new developments in breast cancer with Uhealth guest Dr. Alejandra Perez.
Building a National Legal Brand
Cesar L. Alvarez is Shareholder and Co-Chairman at Greenberg Traurig LLP. He previously served as the firm’s Executive Chairman for more than three years and as its Chief Executive Officer for 13 years.
During his tenure as CEO, which began in 1997, he directed the firm’s growth from 325 lawyers in eight offices to approximately 1,850 attorneys and government professionals in more than 36 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America, including strategic alliances in Milan and Rome, Italy.
Under Alvarez’s leadership, the firm was recognized as the fastest-growing law firm in the United States and is among the Top 10 law firms in the country.
We discuss how he built the firm, how he sees the legal industry today, and how the firm is preparing for the future.
New Developments in Breast Cancer Treatment
Our special UHealth guest is Dr. Alejandra Perez, M.D., the Medical Director of the Broward Breast Oncology Group for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Care Center team, part of Uhealth – the University of Miami Health System.
She is triple board-certified in internal medicine, hematology and breast oncology and has published more than 20 scientific papers and abstracts on breast cancer.
We discuss new developments in breast cancer treatment and why she goes home every day with a great feeling of accomplishment.
Episode 337: 10-08-15 (To download, right-click and select “Save Link As”.)
Jim Fried: Alright, South Florida and the world, we’ve got a great show for you today. We’ve got Cesar Alvarez the Co-Chairman of Greenberg Traurig. We’re going to talk to him about building a national legal brand, we’re going to talk about new developments and breast cancer with the head of the oncological department at UHealth up in Broward County, Dr. Alejandra Perez and then we’ll end the show with Dan Kodsi, the CEO of Royal Palm communities. We’re going to talk about the emerging markets in Miami and I have an announcement to make, Mr Alvarez is guest 1000 on the show so stick with us. We’ve got a super show for you. We are going to have an awesome show. Cesar Alvarez, Chairman of Greenberg. We’re going to talk breast cancer and we’re going to talk emerging markets here in South Florida. Back after this! AC, it is yours![commercial break]
Jim Fried: Alright, everybody, when the dollar went up today, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is our next guest Cesar Alvarez. He’s a shareholder and chairman of Greenberg Traurig LLP. He previously served as the firm’s Executive Chairman for more than three years and as its Chief Executive Officer for 13 years. During his tenure the firm expanded from 325 lawyers in eight offices to 1,850 attorneys and government professionals in more than 36 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. We’re going to talk to Cesar today about building a national legal brand and maybe we’ll get a couple of good stories in front of him too. Cesar, welcome to the show.
Cesar Alvarez: Thank you. Happy to be here.
Jim Fried: I forgot to mention, you’re a guest number 1000. High five to you for that!
Cesar Alvarez: Thank you. You think I can get a gift certificate or something out of this?
Jim Fried: I’m going to make sure you get Uber’d back to the office, not me, okay?
Cesar Alvarez: That’d be great.
Jim Fried: I make sure you get a cute driver on everything. Now, let’s talk a little bit about Greenberg. I would have to say it this way: how did you take it from a local firm, 350 people statewide, maybe regional to this big national conglomerate and maintain quality and culture. Your culture that you’ve got there is famous.
Cesar Alvarez: Yes. The truth of the matter is if I would tell you how we got there, we got there because we were too dumb to listen to good advice.
Jim Fried: That’s great advice right there.
Cesar Alvarez: The truth of the matter is that everybody told us that we can not do what we did. Every consultant that we talked to etc. was pretty adamant about what we dreamed, what we thought could be done could not be done. And as I like to say, we were too dumb to listen to really good advice because that probably was really good advice but it only shows you that with drive and tenacity and overcoming things that are sometimes very difficult to overcome is how you succeed. Every client that I ever had, everybody that I know who had done extremely well has succeeded because they have gone up again after a failure. And so we had our bumping the road but we always got up and went ahead.
Jim Fried: It sounds to me like you answered two questions at once there because you also gave me how you were able to replicate and continue moving along with your corporate culture which here in town is famous. Your corporate culture is so strong and so driven and as a problem solving firm in fact, what is it that you guys have on the front of your website there, what is it? Effectiveness. It’s not judged by the past but on the present and the future and it seems to me like that’s the way you’re talking right now what you’re trying to do.
Cesar Alvarez: Absolutely. Look, if you know anything about lawyers, you know that all our training, everything that we do is about looking to the past. You have precedence, you figure out how cases were decided 20, 30, 50, 100 years ago and that tells you what you should decide cases today. And I think what distinguishes our firm is that we have overcome that tendency to always look back.
Jim Fried: What a great way to spin that. You’ve been thinking about that one. So you were able to grow the firm, you’ve been able to keep the firm character intact but how have you been able to build that brand so that it crosses state lines and then the international lines? Even the international date lines for goodness sakes.
Cesar Alvarez: The way you brand a law firm at the end of the day is by the key partners that are in that firm, their ability to have great practices. Those practices once put together is what really brands the firm at the end of the day. And so we make sure that our partners are business-oriented people, they’re problem solvers, they’re not the kind of lawyer that you’d rather not have talk to. We are the kind of lawyer that when you have a problem, you call us because we have solutions. I suppose, a lawyer that you call with a problem and he or she tells you about other ten problems you did not have, now you had.
Jim Fried: I don’t need to expand my agenda, I need to finish the agenda. One of the other questions that I had is lawyers and legal advice sometimes is looked at by people as a commodity. People say ”I’m only going to pay a fixed price for this and whoever gives me the fixed price, that’s who I’m going to use”. It sounds in fact like a lot of the clients I work with on my end a lot of times. But how do you overcome the objection to that law service as a commodity. I think you already touched on that a little bit with your strong practice leaders.
Cesar Alvarez: What I use to do I tell clients when I practice and they would come and tell ”So and so, rates are 20% lower than yours” and I say ”Yes, but I think 30% faster than they do”.
Jim Fried: I need my snare drum in here today. You’re fabulous. Do you give after dinner talks too? This is absolutely amazing. What were some of the steps that you took? You come in, it’s the beginning, you and your executive team, you met a couple of the other folks who are sitting around and you’re going ”Okay, we’ve got ourselves into this, we made some statements, let’s go and start growing the firm”. What did you do?
Cesar Alvarez: The first thing is – let me tell you little about the legal market place and very broad bases but I think your listeners are going to appreciate it – the global market place for legal services is $180 billion a year. The United States that has 3% of the population receives 60% of that $180 billion on legal fees. So if you’re ever going to be in the legal market place, you want to be right here in the United States. We use lawyers for more things, lawyers get more involved in our community in so many different ways for a reason. What was happening in the legal industry when we started to do what we did was to grow up is that the market was consolidating. So people required answers very quickly. You can not have a client on the phone – I used to use this example because it happened to me – a client calls you and says ”Look, my stock has gone down 25% on the New York Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange has called me, they have suspended trading, they want me to put a press release and say what’s happening, nothing is happening, what do I do?”. This is not a good time for you to say ”What an interesting question, we’re going to research it, and we’ll come back tomorrow”. You got to come up with an answer right away. So what happened with the technology and the informational technology that has occurred is that you had to give quick answers. And the only way to give quick answers is by having experts in every area. And if you’re going to have experts in every area that you can access immediately, that requires size to be able to do that. We have now 1950 lawyers, almost 2000 lawyers, you have a lot of..I can pick up the phone and actually get an answer immediately and just about any topic, whatever you want to. So that was happening to the legal industry so they were consolidating. When an industry is consolidating around you, you have two choices: 1-you can become a consolidator or 2-you can hope that they will be nice to you and somebody would acquire you.
As I like to say, our firm was a bunch of Jewish guys and a bunch of Cuban guys and we didn’t think anybody else would want us. So what we decided to do is ”okay, let’s come up with a consolidation strategy”, and we did. And our consolidation strategy basically was focused on the fact that very few firms in any of the time cover the entire United States. For example, we were in Florida and we needed a matter handling in California, then if you didn’t have a California office, you got to find another firm in California, you got to clear conflicts, you got a whole bunch of things is not an efficient way of dealing with. So what we decided to do: Let’s give the client access to all United States immediately, one phone call, you have access. So that was the value that we added to the clients to do that. The value that we wanted to add to the lawyers was to have a culture of empowerment because most law firms, when they grow they get very bureaucratic and they have sort of main office and everybody has to go through there etc. so they take the power away from the people on the ground. We said no. What we wanted to do is the opposite. We want to give those lawyers on the ground the power. That’s where the best decisions are made. That is where you can really identify what the clients are doing. That culture was not available for larger law firms. One of the great benefits of a large law firm is the assets that you have, the human capital, the resources, etc. But one of the big negatives is they’re incredibly bureaucratic. And as a small firm it’s the other way around, you can be very entrepreneurial but at the same time you don’t have the resources you have in large law firms. So ultimately, what we wanted to be and what we became, we became the largest small firm in the world.
Jim Fried: That’s absolutely pretty cool actually because I think that is important. Because when I call my lawyer on the phone, I want to make sure that I got his attention and that I am at that moment the only person that he’s thinking about or talking to. And sometimes you get the feeling, you’re hearing him talking to somebody, you’re hearing the clicking in the background, and that person is going ”Oh, yes, definitely!”, and you know that that person is not hearing you and that’s not what happens when I call the folks that I know were at your firm. And now I guess when I call you too because I know-
Cesar Alvarez: Exactly. We try to be very business-oriented and that makes a big difference and in fact, one of the techniques that I ask lawyers to do from time to time is to really understand how they sound to their clients. So what I suggest to them is in the state of Florida many say you can not record a telephone conversation unless everybody has your consent. That’s not what we want. I suggest that they put a tape recorder next to their phone just to record their side of the conversation. That’s all I want to do. And I say to them ”For two days let that tape recorder go and just record what you’re saying to your clients and then a week later, play that tape and see how it sounds and see as yourself this question: would I be paying $450 an hour for what I’m saying?”.
Jim Fried: I’ll get you something else. It’s that I have got my little iPad right here. A lot of the times when I’m talking to the guests I’m looking at the iPad to see how I’m looking to the guests. So you got to observe, you’re 100% right, you have to observe what you’re doing. I listen to the show a lot to hear how I sounded, I’m going to listen to this one because you got me all flustered there upfront. I made a bunch of mistakes. Hopefully I’ll be better coming out of this. I’m getting the giggles in the back. AC, how much time do I got? Is it time? One minute? 30 seconds? Alright, so I tap dance a little? Alright, well now it’s time to go so AC, it’s yours. We’ll be back. We said something about some of the stuff at Greenberg. In the second part of the interview we’re going to get a little more personal and ask him for some good stories about his time at UF, his time with Mel Greenberg. We’ve got some great stories here with Cesar Alvarez, chairman, CEO, big shot from Greenberg Traurig. Back after this![commercial break]
Jim Fried: We are back with Greenberg Traurig’s CEO, big shot, head guy, Cesar Alvarez, I never get the titles right but I always get the guy’s name I hope. And thanks again for sticking with us for another segment. You’re a securities lawyer, we talked the adding a break was for EarlyShares. I’m not going to talk about their particular business model but let’s talk about online syndication for real estate deals and also I guess startup businesses and stuff like that. What is the implication that you see with that today? Because it’s something that’s coming, I think.
Cesar Alvarez: It is. I think as you see so many transformational and disruptive technologies that come in, what you see and my experience has been in the last 15 years or so is that you always, the first reaction certainly by people my age is that that really won’t work long thing. Because when you begin any of these technologies, there’re always challenges that they have to overcome. But what I see is over time those challenges are overcome and they move forward. I was a board member of the Knight Foundation and the Knight Foundation worries about journalism and what to do and worry about how you deliver that today particularly with the Internet. And I remember having a discussion and we had as to how can you bring credibility to sources in the INTERNET because anybody can publish anything and can say anything you never know..So it’s funny because when we were discussing that, you had the journalist and the journalist solution to the problem is generally, well, we got to get a lot of fact checkers to check the facts etc. We will get this entity that will brand and will do this universal fact checking incorporated etc. But when you talk to the engineers, they say ”No, what we need is algorithms”. It is day and night in the way people think about it and so basically what you’re going to wind up is that a lot of these times when you get these technologies, people are thinking differently. I think that Henry Ford had a great saying is that why he didn’t ask his customers what they wanted is because if I ask my customers what they wanted they’d day ”I want a faster horse”. So what happens is you get some of these new technologies to really implement that. And I see this happening again and again. They begin a little rough but they overcome challenges, they go along and eventually you’re there. Look at LegalZoom. When I started it, nobody thought they could do much of anything, now they’re pretty well entrenched.
Jim Fried: Why don’t we talk about that, for it’s a great little segue into one of the things I wanted to cover which was, what do you see is the future of the law firm? We talk about what you needed to do for today based on what you do with the time, but now you’re talking about change and disruption and the Internet and technology and you got doctors now that can see on a video conference. Does that work for lawyers too?
Cesar Alvarez: It’s going to have to. Because, here’s the fact that will drive the rest of it: when you look at the cost to a product or a service in the United States, for example, legal cost both legal services, judgments etc. as somewhere between 3%-5% to that cost. I can assure you that a product that is serviced in China doesn’t have 5% going to legal service.
Jim Fried: I think you’re probably right there. That’s the government services.
Cesar Alvarez: Exactly. Ultimately, we’re not going to get as good as China, to be almost close to zero, but we can not be spending that much. We have to become much more efficient as to what we do and the only way we’re going to get more efficient is using technologies to make us get there. And that’s in fact what’s happening now.
Jim Fried: We’re talked about the future. Now I want to talk about the past. I want a good Mel Greenberg story. I warned you I was going to ask you for one. Give me a good Mel Greenberg, and for the folks out there who don’t know, why don’t we start with who Mel Greenberg is?
Cesar Alvarez: The name of the firm is Greenberg Traurig. Mel Greenberg was the founder of the firm and there are some obviously great stories about Mel. Mel was a unique fellow and I can tell you stories about Mel Greenberg all day but I’ll tell you the one when he invited me down to interview for the firm.
Jim Fried: The Jewish guy inviting the Cuban guy down.
Cesar Alvarez: Mel Greenberg was the first person, Jewish and non-Jewish in Miami who figured out that the Cubans are not going back as quickly as everybody thought.
Jim Fried: They’re not turning around real fast.
Cesar Alvarez: We’re not turning around real fast. So I was starting law at the University of Florida. I was pretty content with the knowledge that once I finish with my brother Arthur, we would start hanging out shingle and start because at that time there couldn’t have been more that three of four others in the entire community by the lingual lawyers that could practice here. So we figured out we’re going to do just fine. And that would’ve been the case. But Mel called his buddy at the University of Florida that was one of my professors and said ”Do you know any Cubans there because I’d really like to hire Cuban because his Cubans are going to be here for longer etc. and I would like to be in that community”. So there were a total of three Cubans at the University of Florida who was my brother Arthur, myself and another guy that unfortunately I think is doing some time right now but we won’t talk about him.
Jim Fried: He’s making license place.
Cesar Alvarez: He has a different tact to his career. He called me up and said ”Would you come to Miami?”, and I said ”Yes, Mr Greenberg, I’d be happy to but I want you to know that I have every intention to start with my brother”, and he said ”No problem, I’ll fly you down”, because he knew what a great salesman he was. As you also know, my brother – I have another brother, so it’s three of us –
Jim Fried: The famous guy who throws passes into the end zone?
Cesar Alvarez: The famous guy who was absolutely..he was a receiver, he was great. And Mel was the ultimate football fan. My brother’s name was Carlos, my name is Cesar, so I get to Miami, I have my appointment with Mel at 9:00, I walk in, I said ”Hi Mr Greenberg, how are you?” and he says ”Hi Carlos, how are you doing?”, and I said ”You know, Mr Greenberg, my name is not Carlos, it’s Cesar”, and he said ”Oh, yes, yes, Cesar, Cesar”. So I continue and about three minutes later he said ”You know, Cesar”, and I said ”Mr Greenberg, my name is”, I mean, he said ”Carlos”, ”My name is Cesar” and so eventually I became Carlos because I wasn’t keep correcting him through the entire interview. I know what he did at the time was, he always liked to put you in the defense so what he said to me is ”Cesar, how much you think a real successful lawyer makes?” and I said ”I know this game, I’m going to give him a number so high that he’s going to have to say ”Well, nobody can make that”, so I’m ready for that reaction so he said ”What do you think a real successful lawyer makes?”, and I said ”$50 000”. I want you to know I never thought anybody can make $50 000.
Jim Fried: I still don’t think anybody can.
Cesar Alvarez: I mean this was 1972. And I’ll never forget Mel leans backwards and he starts giggling at me and he said ”Cesar”, I said ”If one of our junior partners in a bad year doesn’t pay $50 000 in taxes, it’s a really bad year”. He got my attention.
Jim Fried: You were ready to sign in. You were looking for a pen.
Cesar Alvarez: I said ”Mr Greenberg, my name is Carlos, I play football”.
Jim Fried: ”And I’ll do whatever it takes to pay $50 000 to taxes”.
Cesar Alvarez: So I can tell you I’m probably the only partner that has been hired by Greenberg Traurig that I believe Mel was trying to hire a different person, not me.
Jim Fried: I got to thank you because that was the best story that I’ve heard a long time on this show. We’ve out of time. I got to ask you would you please come back? I got more I got to ask you.
Cesar Alvarez: We’ll see how good this certificate that you gave me for the 1000th guest is and I’ll be back.
Jim Fried: I’ll get you the best Uber driver I know. Cesar Alvarez, I’m sorry, Carlos Alvarez. Thank you so much. Bring your famous brother the lawyer next time. Pray to meet the Gator pass catcher. We’ll be right back after this. We’re going to have great stuff. We’ve got breakthroughs in breast cancer from the folks that head up the breast cancer unit up at Sylvester’s unit in UHealth in Broward. I’ll get all the terminology right in the couple of seconds but they’re great. Cesar, you were great. I know my wife is great because she’s the Uber driver and AC, you’re great. That’s why I’m passing it to you. We’ll be back after this![commercial break]
Jim Fried: We always talk about this on the show, about UHealth and Sylvester Cancer Care Center and that they’ve got a great facility up in Plantation. Well, we’ve got one of their doctors on today. We’ve got Dr. Alejandra Perez. She is a breast oncologist with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Care Center that’s part of UHealth. That’s the University of Miami Health System and she’s based up plantation. Dr. Perez, welcome to the show.
Alejandra Perez: Hi, how are you? Thank you for having me.
Jim Fried: It’s my absolute pleasure. Sorry I’m coming on so strong but man, it’s been a great show and I know it’s only getting better. I’ve been into your offices to see one of the other physicians in the Sylvester Practice up there and I could’ve test that the fact that your environment up there is calming and soothing and wonderful and beautiful.
Alejandra Perez: It’s beautiful. That’s very important when you’re trying to heal somebody, the environment has to be perfect.
Jim Fried: You’re the medical director of the Broward Breast Oncology Group up there which means that you’re in charge, no?
Alejandra Perez: Yes. We take care of breast cancer patients and patients that are at risk of developing breast cancer.
Jim Fried: There’s a lot of places to talk about that they can be where you go for cancer care and stuff like that. What makes Sylvester unique?
Alejandra Perez: Sylvester has a big team of people taking care of you. The team includes radiology, pathology surgeons, plastic surgeons, a lot of other services like lymphedema therapy, acupuncture, psychology, nutrition. It’s a big team of providers to take care of you to develop our plan that is very personalized just for that particular patient because even though we treat breast cancer, not all patients are the same, they’re actually very different. So it’s all about personalized medicine and that’s all we do here. The other thing that is very important for us is that the research component. We have multiple clinical trials where we study new drugs and new therapies that may be beneficial for that patient and without clinical trials the patients would have to wait for those therapies to become available years later. And when you’re dealing with cancer you need those treatments right away. There are a lot of advantages when you come to an academic center where all the teaching and all the research is going on.
Jim Fried: You just laid that out there but you set me up for my next question because I’m somewhat knowledgeable about this stuff and I know that for a while now they’ve been doing these things like grinding up the cancer and trying to test it with different stuff and make customized medicine. They call that – I think I read somewhere – precision medicine. How is that evolving? We had some folks on about a year or so ago. It seems like they weren’t able to really, they were getting started but they hadn’t gotten there yet. How close are you to getting what you need to go today?
Alejandra Perez: We are doing it now. We were able to analyze the tumor for a lot of different abnormalities, genetic abnormalities and were able to identify targets that are very useful for us to know what kind of therapy is good for that particular patient. In the past, we used to treat everybody the same. You have breast cancer, you get the same type of chemotherapy but now we know that every tumor is very different and we do what we call the genomic profiling of those tumors and we identify abnormalities that we can treat, that we can find a clinical trial for that particular patient or can treat with drugs that are already available. So we don’t have to just try different things to see what’s going to work. We know what therapy is going to work and there’s a lot of research going on but it’s something that we’re doing now and is very helpful for patients.
Jim Fried: Somebody that’s facing the big C to hear that from somebody like you just must make their day now. You talked earlier as you were rolling this out about what makes Sylvester unique and you mentioned that not only do you have the – I got to just say it – the cancer doctors because I can never get oncologist, see I can’t even say it there. Oncology, I guess there’s not ”a” there. But you’ve got nutritionists, you’ve got the acupuncture so it sounds to me like that it only starts when you remove the cancer, that there’s a lot that goes on afterwards. Tell me a little bit about what a woman who has breast cancer, after she’s faced the fear and she’s had her treatment, what can you do to help this woman feel better and feel more whole?
Alejandra Perez: We’ve come a long way. In the past we used to concentrate us on the cancer and give the treatment, whatever that was what was recommended, a chemotherapy, radiation surgery and the patients were just grateful to realize but they didn’t feel good. And we all knew that. But the patients didn’t complain because ”Why should I complain? I’m alive, I’m doing well”, but we know the patients were miserable so that’s when we started to talk about survivorship and we develop all of these programs about survivors and how can we make that patient feel better again. Because there are some long term side effects from chemotherapy, from surgery so patients complain of pain or they have fatigue or they just don’t feel well, they have hot flushes, they have concerns with body image because of course these patients go through a lot of surgeries and so psychologically it’s difficult to manage, they could have sexual dysfunction. So there are a lot of issues that we’re treating one by one and again, every patient is different. That’s why we need a big team of providers taking care of every single side effect that that patient has. And we’re making a lot of progress and those survivalship programs are very useful for that reason because we know what’s the problem for that particular patient and we can target it. It could be that a patient is overweight which is something that is not good for breast cancer so we have an exercise physiologist and we have a nutritionist that can help us with that patient. Or if a patient has problems with body image or depression or anxiety, we have a psychologist on staff that can take care of that patient. The patient has hot flushes, we don’t necessarily have to recommend chemotherapy; we can recommend acupuncture for that particular problem. So it depends but it’s a multidisciplinary approach, it’s a bit team of people and we make sure that patient feels good again.
Jim Fried: Listen, Doctor, we’ve got to kind of wrap up the interview with you now so what I’d like to do is two things. Our next guest hasn’t come back to the studio yet and, have they called him yet, AC? No, right? So, Doctor, what we’re talking about is really important. I’m going to ask you, can you stick with us for a couple of minutes and let me continue the interview?
Alejandra Perez: Sure, of course.
Jim Fried: Alright. AC, it’s yours, hit the music and then we’re back with more breakthroughs in breast cancer treatment with Dr Perez. After this![commercial break]
Jim Fried: We are back. It is breast cancer awareness month a I can think of no better person to speak to than Dr Alejandra Perez. I’ve said ”Perez”, I said ”Perez”, which is better, Doctor?
Alejandra Perez: ”Perez” is fine.
Jim Fried: I’m just the..you know who I am, you can tell. So I’m doing the best I can. Dr Perez is a breast oncologist with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth. That’s the University of Miami Health System. Her practice is up in Broward where she is the Broward Breast Oncology Group leader. She’s port certified in internal medicine, hematology and oncology. She’s published more than 20 scientific papers and abstracts on breast cancer but we’re talking about what’s important to the people that are listening which is what’s new in breast cancer treatment. We talked a little bit about the customization of drugs, we talked about the fact that Sylvester looks to build you back up after you’ve had an incident of breast cancer, but what I really want to talk about in this next part of the show is what makes you happy when you leave that office every day? Why don’t you tell our listeners because I read that and I can tell that was beautiful?
Alejandra Perez: We take care of thousands of women with breast cancer. Every patient needs a very different, we learn so much from them, all these women are beautiful, they have so much courage and they teach us so much every day. I know what you read and what I said is that when I go home every night I go home happy because I know I did my job. When I see patients coming to invite me, I get an invitation to a graduation, a patient sends me her daughter’s graduation invitation thanking me because we made it possible for her to be there or when I get a patient that we treat for breast cancer doing pregnancy and then they come and they visit me with that baby that looks beautiful, you know you had a great day. There’re so many stories that I could tell you. A patient once sent me a birthday card and it was not my birthday so I looked at the card and I said ”What is this? Who’s sending me happy birthday wishes? It’s not even my birthday”, and she sent me the birthday card on her birthday to thank me for another year of life. So every patient is different, you know you can make a difference if you get to cure that patient that’s wonderful but even the patients that you don’t get to cure, if you can make the journey a little bit more easy then you know you did your job and that’s really what keeps us going. It’s a difficult field but we love it. My partners Dr. Carlson, Dr. Mani, they’re wonderful, they feel the same way and that’s what we do and that’s why we recharge our batteries every day with those stories.
Jim Fried: You just put me on the side line. I don’t know what to say after that. Why did you get into breast cancer research and treatment? I guess you just told me, didn’t you?
Alejandra Perez: Sure. It’s a fascinating field. Most of the patients are women and was always very interested in women’s issues. Of course we treat some men but it’s not the same numbers. And the field changes every day and you really need to keep up with it. We have fascinating research in breast cancer, you get to cure a lot of women and that’s very rewarding. And you get to make a difference with these women. I just love what I do and we work very hard but it’s worth it.
Jim Fried: I was just thinking about this. I recently was having to go to the hospital for just – I don’t want to say social visit, I was here on business obviously – but what I noticed was the way that the cancer patients, they weren’t necessarily the strongest constitution and so I got to believe that the fact that you have different treatment facilities around South Florida makes it easier for you to treat patients that are not from Miami Dade County. You’re in Broward but it seems to me that your ability to have the satellite centers all around really is beneficial. Maybe it’s another thing that makes you different. I don’t know.
Alejandra Perez: It is true. Patients like to be treated in their backyard because that’s where their support is, their friends, their family. They don’t want to travel. So we’re making it very easy for them. Of course we have our main campus in Miami where all the research basic science, all the researchers are there. Most of the teaching is done there. But the satellites are very important because we know that most patients are treated in the community and we want to be part of that community. So we have satellites in their field of Coral Springs in Plantation, there are many. And patients, it’s a ten minute drive, they can choose where they want to be treated and they’re right there. They need a ride, it’s easier for them. All the services are there and not just for treatment but also for all the imaging studies or the radiology, the blood work. The patients with cancer come for a lot of visits and we need to make it very convenient for them because it’s not easy.
Jim Fried: Let me tell you what the most important thing that you forgot to mention was. That they see the same doctor that they would see at the main hospital when they go to one of your satellite offices because that’s what I did. I usually see my pain doctor down here at UHealth main campus but I had to go see him one day really bad and I had to go to Plantation. That’s how I was into your office. So I’m telling you, the number one thing to me is the quality of the doctor you see out there at those satellites. It’s the same people.
Alejandra Perez: Yes, you’re right.
Jim Fried: Sorry, I didn’t mean to go overboard on that but I just when get one of these I just really love it. It’s just great sometimes. AC, how much time do we have left? Three minutes. Doc, we’re now to go but my question to you is how do people find you, how do they get you on the phone, websites, Internet? Because I know one thing, any lady that’s been listening, they want to meet you.
Alejandra Perez: Our number, the office number is 954 210 1168. The office is in Plantation 8100 SW 10th Street, Plantation, FL. The whole Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is here. The breast program is here but there’re all the oncologists as well that treat other two more types. And we also have a big clinic Bascom Palmer is here for anything related to eyes. And then we have a lot of other clinics, primary care, cardiology, gynecology, you name it, we have ortho-everything, pain management, everything. So it’s very easy to find our doctors here. So they can just call or they can go to our website, it’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s website and all the information is there as well.
Jim Fried: Dr. Perez, I want to thank you so much. Breast oncologist with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth, the University of Miami Health System. You were a home-run hitter for us today. Every lady I know has to be thanking you now.
Alejandra Perez: Thank you for the opportunity. Don’t forget to do the yearly mammogram especially now in October.
Jim Fried: Yes. My mom complains about it every year and then she goes. Thanks so much, Doctor, you’re the best. I want to thank Cesar Alvarez and Greenberg Traurig and UHealth and Dr. Perez today, our guests. I want to thank KIND Snacks, South Florida Business and Wealth Magazine, the CCIMs, Warren Henry Automotive, NFL Alumni, the Miami Dolphins, Social Media 305, The Aztec Group, Lauren’s Kids, Magnum Energy Solutions, Engineered Tax Services, Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, UHealth, EarlyShares, Xpresso Marketing, go to Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, the website www.friedonbusiness.com. Next week we’re going to have our multifamily update. Remember, I do this because I love it. This is not a rehearsal, this is your life. The person who wants to do something finds a way, the other finds an excuse. Now go out there and make it happen. AC![commercial break]