President and Founder of Harwood Financial Group
For Robert Harwood, being active with local charities is personal. Truly. Several years ago, the president and founder of Harwood Financial Group made it a goal to celebrate each member of his family’s birth by donating to their charity of choice. There’s American Cancer Society for his father’s honor; The Peace House for his wife, Ana; Shriners Children’s Hospital for his son, Adam; and the SPCA for his mother and daughter, Sofia. And then there are the charities that, Harwood—an Air Force veteran— personally supports, such as Wounded Warrior Foundation, The Fisher House and The USO. His dedication to giving back made Harwood the ideal candidate for our 2013 Leading Man feature.
How did you become involved with your charity? I served in the military for close to 10 years as a pilot. I had the honor and pleasure to serve with great individuals, and I appreciate the sacrifices our current military members make for our country. They are truly heroes. I want to do what I can to thank them, and to help provide support for those whom have given so much on our behalf.
What is one of your favorite memories when working with your charity? It’s so inspiring to hear the personal side of our military members. I have had the opportunity to meet and spend time with many service people from many different walks of life, and it is great to hear their stories—it’s a reminder that I am very blessed, and it is important to help others.
As a leading man, what is one of your proudest accomplishments? My family. It’s all about family, and being able to wake up each day and look forward to what the day will bring with them. But it’s not only about my family—I care about having a positive impact on other families as well. That’s why I love my work of helping others create a financially secure and rewarding retirement.
What’s the best dish in Tampa Bay? Tampa is lucky to have many great restaurants. I am not sure I have one favorite, but a nice Italian dish prepared by Massimo is great. I also enjoy Chef BT and her unique menu, as well as Kevin’s ability to put together at great meal at Pane Rustica.
What’s one food you won’t eat? There is not any food that I am absolutely opposed to, but I prefer to stay with fish. Like everyone, I try to avoid fried or unhealthy foods. I am not a big eater, but when I go out I like quality.
How do you like to unwind? With friends and family. I am an avid traveler, and will take my family on trips skiing, biking, and sightseeing around the world.
Who do you most admire in Tampa Bay? Those in the military who protect our freedom
Outside of charity work, what inspires you? I enjoy being around successful people. Success is not defined by what you have accumulated; it is about enjoying who you are and what you do. I am inspired by people that have put their lives together in a way that can have a positive influence on others, either by their example or their ability to give to others.
Which Bay-area spots do you take your out-of-town guests to really show off our city? I enjoy taking guests to Curtis Hixon Park, and then out to eat at any of the great restaurants in the area.
What advice would you pass on to younger generations? Work hard and dream big.
What are you currently reading? “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” by Bill Bryson
What does your dream vacation look like? A family trip to the mountains for skiing
If you could have a super power what would it be and why? Teleportation. I love to travel, and with this skill I could avoid long waits at airport security.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? An astronaut and a pilot. My dad was an engineer working on space projects and aviation.
Favorite album of all time: Supernatural by Santana. I’m a big fan of Andrea Bocelli and U2, too.
Favorite childhood television show: Phineas and Ferb. I am still a big kid, and I enjoy watching this show with my children— it’s much better than any of the kid shows on TV when I was young.
If a movie were made about your life, whom would you want to play you? Ben Affleck
Do you have a motto or words of wisdom that you live by? Life is simply a journey, and it is important that you take the time to appreciate each day.