Advancement Board president, Mike Bracken, has announced that Phil Cabrera, Class of 1967, has been selected to be this year's recipient of the National Catholic Education Association's Distinguished Graduate Award. "We thank those who submitted nominations," he said, "and we congratulate Mr. Cabrera for his professional body of work and for living out the ideals of the Catholic education he received at Saints Peter and Paul, Benet Academy, and Bradley University."
Following his freshman year at Bradley, Phil was drafted into the Army and served 19 months in Korea, near the DMZ at Camp Hovey; he was a Team Leader in a Redeye missile unit. After his discharge, he resumed his studies at Bradley University where he received a BA degree in Business Administration.
After college, Phil enrolled at the Thunderbird School of International Management in Arizona where he received his MA in International Management with a Finance concentration. He began his professional career in International Banking with Harris Bank in 1978 with responsibilities for Panama, Ecuador, and Venezuela. He was transferred to Brazil in 1981 and in 1986 transferred back to Chicago, where he headed their European operations until 1989.
After a short stint at the Chicago Board of Trade, Phil returned to banking with First Chicago and returned to Brazil. One year later, in 1990 Phil joined Continental Bank and was a Senior Partner in the Latin America Group and President of Continental International Finance Corporation (CIFC), a company with direct investments in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Mexico. In 1994, he joined McDonald's Corporation, as Treasurer for Latin America and retired 21 years later as Corporate Vice President and International Treasurer, where he worked closely with McDonald's subsidiaries, joint ventures, franchisees, and suppliers in 120 countries around the world.
Mr. Cabrera participated with his Capital Markets team as guest lecturer at the University of Notre Dame covering financial issues and McDonald's Capital Markets, Risk Management and Investment practices. He also presented at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and was a recipient of Chicago United award. He served as a Thunderbird Council member and on the Advisory Board member of Citibank Global Transaction Services, Citibank, NY.
Since retiring from McDonald's, Cabrera has served as an advisor and consultant to Air Products and INDURA in Santiago, Chile. He also serves on the board of directors of Byline Bancorp, Inc. and Byline Bank and this past January left the board Institutional Cash Distributors, upon its sale to private equity. He served 10 years as a Trustee of the DuPage Foundation and was Chair of the DuPage Arts Foundation. Phil was recently named to the Edward Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees and serves as an Industry Advisor to McNally Capital, a merchant bank in Chicago.
Phil and his wife of 34 years, Zeila, had two children who matriculated through his alma mater, Felipe '02 and Kristen '10. Although his travels precluded him from volunteering as much as he would have liked, he was a valued member of our Advancement Board for 12 years and helped formulate the policies for the governance of our three endowments.
An immigrant from Cuba, Phil recalls his days at Saints Peter and Paul School fondly. "I was fortunate to play on the basketball team under a great coach, Irwin Prasse, and was active in student government. I also had a great teacher Mr. Geary and pastor, Monsignor Stenger. I made lifelong friends, many of whom I still see regularly to this day. Our band Today's Tomorrows, had Dave Bickler as our lead singer, I played base guitar, and Dave went on to fame as he sang the theme song for the movie Rocky, Eye of the Tiger. I know I could not have succeeded at Benet and beyond without the strong academic foundation I received at Saints Peter and Paul School," he added.
We are proud of all Phil Cabrera accomplished in his professional career and will honor him with this award during the Catholic Schools Week 8:00 am all-school Mass on Thursday, January 31.