When most of us were riding our bikes or practicing piano, Bruno Portigliatti, President and Chancellor of Florida Christian University (FCU), was shadowing his father, former President of FCU, and learning the ins and outs of the business. In 1999, when Portigliatti and his family moved to Orlando from Brazil, FCU was known as Florida Theological Seminary. Portigliatti’s father acquired the seminary and converted it to FCU. Portigliatti helped in various roles throughout high school and middle school and, after earning his undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Spanish at The University of South Florida and Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law, returned to Orlando to work full-time for the family business.
“I started as Chief Operating Officer,” he said. “I was in that position from August 2013 to August 2016. I then spent a year as Executive Vice President before moving into my current position as university President on Dec 9th, 2017.” Portigliatti explained his decision to come back and what he likes most about the job. “Upon graduation from law school, I was faced with a decision of pursuing a legal career or coming back home and helping to manage the family businesses,” he said. “I was more interested in purpose and FCU meant purpose to me, rather than career. We’re a very different institution. Because we combine our faith based approach and foundation with an emphasis on the behavioral, intellectual and spiritual side of things, our students go through a real transformation process. I’ve seen it my whole life and I’m very happy to be a part of it. I also love the ability to affect change, to set the direction and to chart the course. It’s a real privilege to be in this position.”
Looking ahead, Portigliatti has high hopes and aspirations for the future of FCU. “Our three main objectives for 2018 are to continue to increase enrollment, consistently look to improve the quality of our education, and obtain more recognition and a stronger presence locally,” he said. Portigliatti places the heaviest emphasis on the last goal. He explained that FCU has become the go-to university for some places in South America, but that a larger local presence is important for the long-term growth strategies of the university.
When Portigliatti was in college, he was extremely involved in politics and student government, serving as student body vice president, board member of the USF Alumni Association, president of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Today, he remains active in several causes that he feels passionate about, such as education, seniors care, and facilitating business growth.
Bruno enjoys supporting the local entrepreneurial ecosystems and hosting outside investors interested in learning more about Orlando’s economic market. “We host several conferences in the areas of business, leadership, coaching, ministry and counseling,” he said. “When we host these conferences, we have participants from all over the world. Besides the educational opportunity, most are also interested in internationalizing their career and operations. They’re looking to invest. We introduce them to the City of Orlando, give them a tour of City Hall, introduce them to elected officials, to other companies to promote collaboration opportunities and to attorneys that can give them access to tools to internationalize their businesses. Our own building is kind of a hub for people moving to Orlando and not knowing where to begin. We have accountants, attorneys, marketing companies, business consultants, and more.”
Portigliatti offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. “The most important thing to have is clarity,” he said. “Where do you want to be? What do you want to do? What drives you? What are you passionate about? These are the questions you should ask yourself. Clarity is power. Most people don’t get what they want because they don’t know what they want. Lack of clarity can lead to a mediocre life. Define success and determine what you have to do to get there. Prioritization is also huge. Successful people understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishments. Prioritize so that what you’re doing is intentional and leads you to where you want to go. You are who you attract. Surround yourself with the right people. Lastly, create good habits. According to Jon Maxwell, the secret of success is found in our daily agenda. He talks about the power of repetition and the importance of believing in prayer with action.” In terms of books, Portigliatti recommends The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Jon Maxwell, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland and, of course, the Bible.