Advisory Board

 

Our advisory board members are business leaders who are committed to making Florida's business climate conducive to economic success by encouraging and supporting diversity in the workplace.

 

Senior Vice President, Human Services Group and Chief Human Resource Officer


"Florida Blue is proud to support the work of Equality Means Business. We take seriously our responsibility to at all times promote an environment of inclusion, acceptance and respect for all employees. In the increasingly competitive employer marketplace, the ability to attract and retain talented professionals is driven by a company’s recognition of the individuality of every employee. The same rule applies to the state. As leading organization working to achieve those goals, Equality Means Business is an important partner in helping to bring openness and equality to the workforce, while helping to make Florida a more competitive business climate. Florida Blue strongly supports these efforts and I am proud to be a part of this organization."

Amy Ruth is Florida Blue’s Chief Human Resource Officer. In this role, Ruth brings her extensive knowledge of human capital development and talent management to provide executive leadership for the company’s human resources, diversity, corporate services and strategic facilities. In her previous role with the company, she served as Senior Director, Workforce Optimization in Human Resources.

Prior to joining Florida Blue in 2014, Ruth was the president of Incepture, a subsidiary of Florida Blue focused on professional staffing and printing solutions. As President, she was responsible for the strategic direction and successful execution of the company’s objectives. That effort led to the successful divestiture of Incepture’s staffing business at the end of 2014. Under Ruth’s operational and human resource leadership, Incepture was recognized by Florida Trend magazine as one of the “Best Companies to Work For” in 2011 and 2012. Prior to her tenure at Incepture, she served in various leadership roles with a variety of organizations including TriServ Alliance, InterContinental Hotels Group, Towers Watson and SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Ruth has been active in community and professional organizations across Northeast Florida. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for GuideWell Source, Inc. and is the immediate past Chair for the Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center, for which she has served on the Board since 2013. She is the 2018 LUNG FORCE Chair and the Executive Sponsor for Florida Blue’s 2017-2018 United Way campaign. She is also a member of the Equality Means Business Advisory Board and provides support for the Mali Vai Washington Youth Foundation and the American Heart Association. She was recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal in 2012 as an “Ultimate HR Executive” and again in 2014 as one of Northeast Florida’s “Women of Influence.” In 2017, she was honored by the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council as a “Woman of Distinction.”

Ruth holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia.
 


Regional President; Florida West


"Florida is diverse, and PNC can make the best decisions through varied thinking when it comes to identifying and developing business opportunities and supporting our communities. By fostering inclusion, we can better meet the needs of our clients in our increasingly diverse marketplace. It's why we're committed to our LGBT employees, communities and customers throughout the state and throughout PNC's footprint."

Education: MBA from University of Florida and B.S. in Finance from Florida State University; Series 79 & 63 licensed

Experience: Mr. Loar was recently named as Regional President. He previously served as Corporate & Commercial Banking Manager for Florida West for PNC. In that role, Mr. Loar leads and manages team of relationship managers focused on delivering the bank’s suite of products and services to corporate (with annual revenues greater than $50 million) & commercial (annual revenues between $10 million and $50 million) companies, in Central and West Florida.

Mr. Loar joined PNC in March 2013 from Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he was a Senior Client Manager in their Global Commercial Banking Group. There, he managed a portfolio of companies, with revenue in excess of $100 million, to deliver traditional banking, capital market and investment banking solutions.

Professional Affiliations: Mr. Loar is Past President of the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation as well as Chair of their infamous event titled ‘Brinner of Hope’. Mr. Loar also serves on the Governance Board of Directors for Tampa Metropolitan YMCA and board member for St. Petersburg Chamber of​ ​Commerce and Central Florida Partnership. Mr. Loar is also an alternate board member for Enterprise Florida and a member of Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), alumni for Leadership Tampa Class of 2013 and Tampa Connection Class of 2008.


Director, Diversity & Inclusion

Gina Barnhill currently leads HR Diversity and Inclusion team at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, shaping the strategies that drive an inclusive, diverse and vibrant workplace. Diversity and Inclusion develops customized solutions that anticipate and meet the evolving needs of our diverse Guests, workforce and global communities.

Gina has been with Disney for nearly 20 years, and has held multiple senior level positions in Human Resources and Recruitment for Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. She is a leader with a track record of quickly building valuable and trusting partnerships that fuel her ability to dissect complex, challenging and sensitive business models, identify best implementation options and deliver relevant results.

She represents Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on the Walt Disney Company Diversity Roundtable. She is a member on the Conference Board for the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council, which is an organization that facilitates conferences and peer-learning groups, conducts economic and business management research and publishes several widely tracked economic indicators.

She is also a silver sponsor representing Walt Disney World on the Central Florida Diversity Learning Series Leadership Advisory Board, which is a consortium of businesses and non-profits that identify emerging Diversity and Inclusion trends and schedule industry experts to deliver training to HR, Recruitment, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Compensation and Learning and Development professionals.

Gina received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (WDP&R) is one of the world’s leading providers of family travel and leisure experiences, providing millions of guests each year with the chance to spend time with their families and friends making memories that will last forever.

At the heart of WDP&R are five world-class vacation destinations with 11 theme parks and 47 resorts in North America, Europe and Asia, with a sixth destination currently under construction in Shanghai. WDP&R also includes the Disney Cruise Line with its four ships - the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy; Disney Vacation Club, with 13 properties and more than 200,000 member families; Adventures by Disney, which provides guided family vacation experiences to destinations around the globe; Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Ko Olina, Hawaii; and Walt Disney Imagineering, which creates and designs Disney parks, resorts, cruise ships, attractions and entertainment.


Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer

John Tonnison is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Tech Data, Florida’s largest company and the world’s leading end-to-end IT distributor. He is responsible for the company’s worldwide innovation strategy, IT capabilities and operation, and leads a global technology team, driving innovation through Tech Data’s global enterprise systems and world-class e-business solutions. These technologies support the entire Tech Data corporation, which generated $36.8 billion in net sales and shipped tens of millions of technology products to more than 115,000 IT reseller customers in more than 100 countries during its last fiscal year.

Tonnison joined Tech Data in 2001 as Vice President, worldwide e-business, leading the development of Tech Data’s e-business strategy and tools, growing the e-business share by 300%. He was subsequently promoted to Senior Vice President, Information Technology for the Americas, continuing to drive Tech Data’s e-business vision and taking responsibility for all business systems technology, application software and operations in the Americas. He was named Tech Data Executive Vice President and Global CIO in 2009.


Executive Vice President & General Manager, American Airlines Arena & The HEAT Group


"We are so proud of the fact that the staff of the Miami HEAT and AmericanAirlines Arena is every bit as vibrant, unique and diverse as the city we love and the community we represent. Valuing inclusion and championing diversity is a sound business strategy—but more importantly, it's the right thing to do." -Eric Woolworth, President of the HEAT Group’s Business Operations

A veteran of the dynamic South Florida sports market for more than two decades, Kim Stone’s experience spans almost every functional area of a professional sports team. She has been an integral part of building the success of the Miami HEAT and American Airlines Arena by developing and implementing sound business strategies and management practices.

Promoted to her current position of Executive Vice President & General Manager in 2006, Stone is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Arena. In her role as EVP, she oversees several departments including the team’s Business Intelligence and the partnership with Sapient Nitro to create and develop the HEAT’s Mobile App initiative. Additionally, Stone is responsible for the service and retention of the Miami HEAT’s season ticket holder base, which ranks among the top five in the NBA in seats and revenue. This unique combination of responsibilities allows Stone to create an atmosphere at AA Arena that begins and ends with a laser focus on exceptional guest service.

To that end, the Arena ranked among the top in the overall fan satisfaction and in-game experience according to the NBA’s annual game experience survey. It is home to the three-time World Champion Miami HEAT (2006, 2012 and 2013) and four consecutive NBA Finals from 2010-2014. Every year hosting a variety of sold out shows by megastars such as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Madonna, Marc Anthony and Billy Joel, just to name a few. In 2014, the facility became the first arena in the world to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Recertification by the U.S. Green Building Council for design and energy efficiency (the arena first earned certification in 2009).

In September 2015, Stone was named by Sport Business Journal as a Game Changer, and in the summer of 2013, she received the 2013 Women of Influence award from Venues Today magazine.


President and CEO

Bob Rohrlack, CCE, serves as the President and CEO of The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the voice of business for the Tampa Bay area. He leads the Chamber’s mission to “Serve our members and enhance the community by building business success” overseeing the daily operations of the Chamber. He began in this role in 2009. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce was 2013 Florida Chamber of Commerce of the Year.

He has over 30 years’ experience in the Chamber of Commerce/economic development profession having worked at the local and state level. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President for Enterprise Florida (“EFI”), the state’s public-private partnership for economic development. While at EFI, he led the team to retain and recruit domestic and international business to Florida. His department won the “Deal of the Year” from CoreNet, the international corporate real estate organization. He is a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE).

Mr. Rohrlack’s experience in the Chamber of Commerce industry includes program and financial management, innovation development, technology transfer, economic development, military policy, government policy and international trade. He also led the first Chamber of Commerce to be an Accredited Economic Development Organization in the state of Florida. Since joining the Greater Tampa Chamber, they have seen top tier membership increase 260%, increased results and were the first of 15 Chambers nation-wide to be invited to the White House for an Economic Briefing discussing Healthcare, Transportation and relations with Cuba, all strong positions within-the Chamber. The Greater Tampa Chamber is the first and, currently, only Chamber to achieve the 3-Star “Chamber of Valor” Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for their work on military issues.

He was appointed by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Dean Cannon to the Government Efficiency Task Force. Their goal is to recommend $3 billion in savings over four years. He chairs the subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

He also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals, Visit Tampa Bay, University of Tampa Trustee, and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He is a past board member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Rohrlack is a graduate of Troy University majoring in Journalism and The University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Economic Development. He graduated from the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and the Institute for Organizational Management, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the University of Georgia.

He grew up in Florida. He just celebrated his 25th anniversary with his wife Sue and they have three sons. He enjoys running and travel.


Co-President


"The evidence is clear that diversity makes good business sense in today's economy, regardless of what industry you work in. Studies all show that the greater the diversity of your work force, the more likely you are to come up with creative and unique solutions to the problems you are trying to address. At Greenberg Traurig, we have always been committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It is in our DNA and has been one of the core values on which we were founded nearly 50 years ago. Throughout our history and as we have grown, we have always strived to create an environment where differences are embraced and utilized creatively."

As Co-President of international law firm Greenberg Traurig and a prolific trial attorney with a highly successful 30-plus year career, Hilarie Bass is one of the most recognized women attorneys in the United States. Hilarie is currently President-Elect of the American Bar Association, the world’s largest voluntary professional organization with more than 400,000 members. At Greenberg Traurig, she helps chart the course for the multi-practice firm with approximately 2,000 attorneys across 38 offices worldwide. She currently serves on the firm’s Executive Committee and previously served an eight-year term as national chair of its 600-member litigation department. Hilarie is also the founder and former chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Women's Initiative.

Hilarie has successfully represented high-profile corporate clients in jury and non-jury trials involving hundreds of millions of dollars in controversy. She has worked and settled more than 100 cases, tried more than 20 cases to conclusion, and argued numerous appeals. In recognition of that success, she was inducted into The American College of Trial Lawyers. Hilarie is widely recognized for her pro bono work on behalf of two foster children that led to the elimination and declaration as unconstitutional Florida’s 20-year-old ban on gay adoption.

Mentoring others in the legal field and giving back to the community has always been a top priority for Hilarie. She has led top legal and community organizations and received numerous prestigious awards for her achievements. She has dedicated herself to supporting the mission of the ABA for more than 30 years, beginning as a young lawyer and now serving a one-year term as President-Elect before becoming ABA President in August 2017. She previously served as Chair of the Section of Litigation, the ABA’s largest section, where she spearheaded the creation of a Task Force on Implicit Bias in the Justice System. She also served as Chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendar, and as a member of the Board of Governors, House of Delegates and the State of Florida representative, on the Nominating Committee. Hilarie serves as Vice Chair of University of Miami’s Board of Trustees. She was formerly Chair of the United Way of Miami-Dade County and a member of the ABA Commission on Women.

Her work is recognized throughout the industry, as Hilarie is consistently ranked in leading legal guides including Chambers USA Guide, The Best Lawyers in America, Lawdragon 500, Legal 500 United States, South Florida Legal Guide, Super Lawyers magazine, Florida Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite” and many others. Hilarie was most recently named “Lawyer of the Year” in Litigation – Securities in 2016 by The Best Lawyers in America.


Assistant Vice President of Customer Service Operations


"Realizing the value of an engaged workforce and in support of our Core Value "People Make a Difference", CSX has made tremendous strides in reaching out to all employees, listening to what is important to them and acting to ensure fairness in all aspects. I am proud to work for CSX, helping to shape our strategy and environment to be a reflection of the diverse world in which we live and work. Broadening the scope of that work by joining with others to improve the lives of the citizens of Florida is an honor."

Susan Arko has been with CSX Transportation since 1988 and is currently Assistant Vice President – Customer Service Operations. Susan’s role provides leadership to Customer Service Operations in fulfilling the Customer Service Mission Statement – “To deliver a customer-valued, error-free and cost effective business process for every shipment, resulting in timely, complete and accurate information.” Susan is active in many diversity activities at CSX and is currently the executive sponsor of the company’s LGBT Inclusion Group (EQ=AL).

Throughout her career, Susan has been active in community organizations, including as a member of the Board of Directors, Ronald McDonald House Charities in Jacksonville. She is currently the Ambassador Chair for the CSX United Way Campaign.

Susan is married to Commander Patrick Arko, United States Navy and has five children ranging in age from 19 to 29.

CSX Corporation, together with its subsidiaries based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation's leading transportation suppliers. The company’s rail and intermodal businesses provide rail-based transportation services including traditional rail service and the transport of intermodal containers and trailers.

Overall, the CSX Transportation network encompasses about 21,000 route miles of track in 23 states, the District of Columbia and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Our transportation network serves some of the largest population centers in the nation. More than two-thirds of Americans live within CSX’s service territory.

CSX serves major markets in the eastern United States and has direct access to all Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, as well as the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. The company also has access to Pacific ports through alliances with western railroads.

CSX moves a broad portfolio of products across the country in a way that minimizes the effect on the environment, takes traffic off an already congested highway system, and minimizes fuel consumption and transportation costs.


Executive Director


"The Florida Beverage Association and its members are dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all of their employees and does not tolerate discrimination and harassment. Our members value the diversity of the people with whom they work and the contributions they make. We are committed to maintaining workplaces that are free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, sex, color, national or social origin, religion age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, political opinion, veteran status, pregnancy, gender identity, marital status or any other status protected by applicable law."

Elizabeth serves as the Executive Director of the Florida Beverage Association where she oversees public policy initiatives, and works with local and state governments on issues impacting the Beverage Industry.

She previously worked as the Manager of State Government Affairs for the world’s 3rd largest petrochemical company, LyondellBasell, overseeing all legislative and regulatory strategy for the company’s portfolio in the United States. She ensured that business objectives were met through both direct advocacy and liaising with trade associations. In addition, she managed the Political Action Committee (PAC) and all grassroots activities for LyondellBasell.

Elizabeth worked for BP beginning in 2007, as the Director of the BP Civic Action Program, where she successfully launched a nationally recognized grassroots program. In 2008, she became the Director of BP Civic Affairs, overseeing both grassroots and PAC efforts. In 2010, she served as the Public Information Officer and Operational Liaison in the Joint Incident Command for MC252 (BP Oil Spill). In this role, she managed relationships and communications with key stakeholders at the local, county and state levels.

Elizabeth graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from Northwest Missouri State University, as well as, a Master’s of Business Administration.


Executive Director, Lightning Foundation & VP, Philanthropy & Community Initiatives


"We at the Tampa Bay Lightning are committed to welcoming everyone to the great game of hockey…we are honored to have the opportunity to use the platform of hockey and other events we host at Amalie Arena to heighten awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in our community at all levels, and to encourage teamwork and conversations in the workplace and throughout the entire Tampa Bay community."

Elizabeth Frazier is entering her seventh season with the Tampa Bay Lightning as Executive Director of the Lightning Foundation and Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Initiatives. Elizabeth has led a transformation of the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Relations departments, including the development of the Lightning Community Heroes program to recognize and celebrate inspirational individuals throughout the community and to honor their efforts through the donation of over $20M over a ten year period to eligible non-profits the launch of an organization-wide employee volunteer program called C.H.A.R.G.E, the launch of the Community Heroes of Tomorrow program, and the coordination of dozens of impactful programs throughout the greater Tampa Bay community.

Prior to working with the Lightning, Elizabeth lived in the Washington D.C. area, where she held Director positions in Operations, Communications and Senior Board Governance and Philanthropy with The SEED Foundation, a national non-profit that provides innovative educational opportunities to at-risk youth. Prior to SEED, Elizabeth worked for a consultancy, a financial services firm and an international economic development agency, serving as a consultant to clients in a variety of Fortune 500 companies. She has expertise in marketing & strategic planning, organizational transformation, performance measurement, communications and donor cultivation.

Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature with a Certificate in European Cultural Studies from Princeton University and a Masters in Business Administration from Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Elizabeth is a community volunteer and has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Europe.


Senior Vice President, Community Engagements & Site Leader


"Nielsen's commitment to Diversity and Inclusion helps drive innovation and growth that makes our company stronger and financially more successful. We, therefore, invest in our diversity and inclusion efforts via internal and external advisory councils, our leadership team, Nielsen's supplier diversity program, Employee Resource Groups, and community engagements."

Amy Rettig is Senior Vice President, Community Engagements and a site leader at Nielsen's Global Technology and Innovation Center in Oldsmar, Florida - Nielsen's largest facility. Over her 23 year tenure at Nielsen, she's held positions in Training, Client Services, Communication, and Public Affairs.

After acquiring her BA in Communication from the University of Central Florida, Amy began her career as a Traveling Leadership Consultant for Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity working with colleges and universities across the U.S. She then worked as Director of Student Activities at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY before joining Nielsen.

Community outreach and corporate social responsibility are not only big parts of Amy's job, but they are her passion. She is involved in many areas of the Tampa Bay community, including:

-American Heart Association's Circle of Red; Chairwoman for the 2016 Go Red for Women campaign; Executive Cabinet Member in 2017-2018

-Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County Board Member

-Pinellas Education Foundation Board Member

-University of South Florida Women in Leadership and Philanthropy

-St. Leo University Tapia School of Business Advisory Board

-UCF Nicholson School of Communication Board of Advisors

-University of Tampa Board of Fellows

-Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

-AMIkids Pinellas Board Member

-Better Business Bureau of West Florida, Inc. Board of Directors

-Tampa Bay Partnership Leadership Council Member

She is also a proud member of Leadership Florida's Class 29.

Amy has lived in five counties in Central Florida since 1980 and currently resides in a 91-year-old St. Petersburg home with her husband and teenage daughter. She is an active member and lector at St. Paul's Catholic Church. When she is not working or volunteering, Amy enjoys travel, outdoor exercise, spending time with her extended family, wonderful friendships, and her Swiss heritage.


President and Chief Executive Officer

Steve Halverson is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Haskell Company, one of the nation’s largest integrated design-build organizations, with operations throughout the United States and Latin America and headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.  During his 11-year tenure as CEO, Haskell expanded its operations internationally in Latin America and more recently into Asia; and its stock value increased 827%.

Steve received his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s University, his Juris Doctorate degree from American University in Washington, D.C. and has completed executive business education at Dartmouth University and Wharton.  He is co-author of two books, as well as numerous articles in professional publications.

Steve is active in professional and civic organizations.  He is Vice Chairman of the Construction Industry Roundtable and past Chairman of the Design Build Institute of America and the National Center for Construction Education and Research.  He is also a corporate director of CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX), PSS World Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSSI) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida (Florida Blue).

In terms of civic activities, Steve is Chairman of the Jacksonville Civic Council, Immediate Past Chairman of the Florida Council of 100, and Past Chairman of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  He also is a life trustee of the Council for Educational Change in Miami, Chairman of the Teach for America Jacksonville Advisory Board, past chairman of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and past Vice-Chairman of Regis University and the University of North Florida.  He is a member of the Jacksonville University Public Affairs Institute Advisory Board.  He was 2002 campaign chair for the United Way of Northeast Florida.  Steve is a 2007 recipient of the Prime Osborn Distinguished Business Leader Award and in 2008 was elected by the Florida Council on Economic Education to the First Coast Business Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of  the Governor’s Business Leader Award (2012), the UNF Presidential Medallion and was named Citizen of the Year by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 2008.

Steve lives with his wife Diane in Jacksonville.  They have two children, John and Anne.


President


"Since my tenure as president of UCF began in March 1992, one of my five goals for the university has been “to be more inclusive and diverse.” Our success in achieving diversity is reflected in our student body, which now mirrors the demographic composition of Central Florida. Our inclusivity is evident every day by observing the rich commingling on campus of students and staff members from all backgrounds."

John C. Hitt became the University of Central Florida's fourth president on March 1, 1992, and more than two decades of remarkable results have followed under his visionary leadership.

When Dr. Hitt became president, UCF's enrollment ranked fifth in Florida and 115th in the nation. Since then, enrollment has nearly tripled, making UCF the largest university in Florida and the second-largest in America. More importantly, the quality of academic programs, faculty, and students has increased dramatically; UCF has become a major metropolitan research university of global impact; and the university has launched more than $1 billion in new construction.

The projects include a new stadium, arena, medical college, student union center, regional campuses, student wellness center, a visitor information center, and community health clinic. Of the 293,872 degrees earned by students during UCF’s history, President Hitt has awarded 238,524 of them – or 81 percent.

Currently, he is the longest-serving president in the State University System of Florida, and he has been president of UCF for nearly half the years since the university opened in 1968.

Meanwhile, President Hitt’s drive to establish UCF as America’s Leading Partnership University has made UCF synonymous with the economic progress and prosperity of Central Florida and the Sunshine State.

For instance, the president’s persistence in working with state, local, and federal government officials and private businesses led to construction of the UCF College of Medicine at Lake Nona. A cluster of related facilities has resulted in a Medical City that is the biggest economic boost for Central Florida since Disney World. By the end of 2017, this collaborative effort is projected to generate up to 30,000 jobs and an annual $7.6 billion economic benefit for the region.

Since President Hitt’s arrival at UCF, research funding has escalated from $28.4 million to more than $100 million annually for the past 10 years. Research professors and students from various fields work with companies throughout Central Florida to develop new technologies and innovations that create well-paying jobs as part of the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council.

President Hitt founded the 23-county corridor council in 1996 with University of South Florida President Betty Castor. The University of Florida has since joined on, anchoring a public-private effort that has generated more than 3,200 jobs with a direct and indirect economic benefit of $1.3 billion.

The president’s unique approach to tackling opportunities, challenges, and problems has taken UCF from promise to prominence – and it has earned him many accolades. Those include being twice ranked No. 1 on Orlando Magazine’s list of Orlando’s 50 Most Powerful People, earning the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Floridian of the Year award, and being recognized by Washington Monthly magazine as one of the 10 most innovative college presidents in America.

He serves the public and higher education with distinction through a wide variety of organizations. For instance, he is an original member of the national University Innovation Alliance, a coalition of large public research universities seeking to improve educational access and academic success for low-income students. Dr. Hitt is also a member of the board of directors of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and represents the American Athletic Conference on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors.

Prior to arriving at UCF, Dr. Hitt served as the interim president at the University of Maine. His leadership experience also includes a decade as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bradley University in Illinois and other distinguished academic work at Texas Christian University and Tulane University.

Dr. Hitt grew up in Houston, Texas, and he was the first in his family to graduate from college. He and his wife, Martha, whom he met at Austin College in Texas where they both attended, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2011. They have two children and two grandchildren.


University of North Florida


"If you're going to build a nationally recognized university, you want to recruit the best faculty and students you can. And all of them need to be welcomed and treated equitably on campus and throughout the community. It's the smart thing to do and it's the right thing to do."

John A. Delaney became UNF’s fifth president in 2003. In that capacity, he oversees a campus of more than 16,000 students, 600 faculty and more than 1,000 staff. The 1,381 acre campus in Northeast Florida is considered a driver in the region, with an annual economic impact of nearly $1 billion. Each year, 4,000 students graduate from UNF’s five colleges: the Brooks College of Health, the Coggin College of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, theCollege of Computing, Engineering and Construction and the College of Education and Human Services

Under Delaney’s direction, UNF reaffirmed its commitment to students, by offering individualized attention and offering transformational learning opportunities. The University of North Florida is also known for its flagship programs, areas where UNF leads the nation. Flagships include Community NursingInternational BusinessTransportation & Logistics,Coastal BiologyMusic and Nutrition

UNF is currently undergoing the biggest construction spree in its history. Within the last few years, the University recently the Osprey Fountains residence hall, the Student Union, the College of Education and Human Services building, the Biological Science Building, theStudent Wellness Complex and Osprey Commons, with a new cafeteria. All new construction on campus reflects UNF’s commitment to the environment and many new buildings are LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified. 

Delaney is considered UNF’s chief fundraiser, nearly doubling the University’s privately-funded endowment. The Power of Transformation campaign is currently underway, with a goal of raising $110 million. 

Delaney’s presidency continues a distinguished career as a public servant. He served two terms as mayor of Jacksonville, the country’s 13th largest city, spearheading major initiatives including The Better Jacksonville Plan, a $2.2 billion improvement plan that gave the city new public facilities and other amenities. He also created the Preservation Project, a massive land conservation program giving Jacksonville the distinction of having the largest urban park system in the United States. Prior to that, he served as the chief assistant state attorney, the number two prosecutor for Northeast Florida and as the general counsel for the City of Jacksonville. He has served on numerous non-profit and corporate boards. 

He and his wife Gena have four children. 


President


"One of the most important ways in which universities can be exemplary is by embracing diversity in all its dimensions -- race and ethnicity, national origin, gender, language, economic assets, sexual orientation, religion, age, physical capacities."

Dr. Frenk became the sixth president of the University of Miami on August 16, 2015. He also holds academic appointments as Professor of Public Health Sciences at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and as Professor of Health Sector Management and Policy at the School of Business Administration.

Prior to joining the University of Miami, he was the dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, a joint appointment with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Julio Frenk served as the Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. There he pursued an ambitious agenda to reform the nation’s health system and introduced a program of comprehensive universal coverage, known as Seguro Popular, which expanded access to health care for more than 55 million previously uninsured Mexicans.

He was the founding director-general of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, one of the leading institutions of its kind in the developing world. He also served as executive director in charge of Evidence and Information for Policy at the World Health Organization and as senior fellow in the global health program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among other leadership positions.

Dr. Frenk holds a medical degree from the National University of Mexico, as well as a master of public health and a joint Ph.D. in Medical Care Organization and in Sociology from the University of Michigan. He has received honorary degrees from six universities.

His scholarly production, which includes over 160 articles in academic journals, as well as many books and book chapters, has been cited more than 13,000 times. In addition, he has written three best-selling novels for youngsters explaining the functions of the human body.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico, and is on the board of the United Nations Foundation. In 2008, he was a recipient of the Clinton Global Citizen Award for changing "the way practitioners and policy makers across the world think about health."


Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor

Kimberly Bleach is a Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor with U.S. Trust®.  In coordination with her partner Paul G. Hudson and the Sarasota based U.S. Trust wealth management team, Kimberly focuses on advancing new client engagements, deepening existing relationships and developing community relationships.

Utilizing her 12 years of past experience as a Private Client Manager, Regional Credit Advisor and Trust Officer, Kimberly offers a holistic approach for helping to meet the unique estate planning, business succession and leveraging needs of high net worth families. Kimberly graduated from Stetson University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  

Additionally, she holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Certified Trust & Financial Advisor (CTFA), and Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor (ADPA) designations

 

 

 


President/CEO


"The West Orange Chamber of Commerce, the largest association of businesses representing West Orange County, is committed to: 1)Valuing organizational diversity in our membership including gender, religious, racial and ethnic affiliations, and categories of membership, geographic area, public and private sectors, size of business. 2) The pursuit of equity, inclusion and pluralism in our policies, procedures and business relationships. 3) Seeking opportunities to collaborate with culturally diverse area businesses and/or organizations."

For over 25 years, Agostina “Stina” D’Uva has been an integral leader in the Orlando community. As the President/CEO, her direction has helped grow The West Orange Chamber of Commerce into the driving force of business that it is today. Under her leadership, the Chamber earned the coveted Chamber of the Year award from the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals in 2009, 2012 and again in 2015.

D’Uva’s influence extends deep into the Orange County business community. In 2015, Mayor of Orange County Teresa Jacobs appointed D’Uva to serve as a member of the Orange County Charter Review Commission. Stina also serves as the 2015/16 Chairman of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals, the professional development association for the state of Florida for chamber executives and staff.

Stina continues to serve her community today through volunteer service, and cites her recognition as Orange County District 1 Citizen of the Year in 2007 as one of the greatest honors of her career, as well as being awarded the 2013 Central Florida Women’s League Heart of Florida Woman Award. In 2014, she was elected and continues to serve as Secretary of the MetroWest Master Association, and has served as a Board Member of the Health Alliance Family Care Center since 2012.

D’Uva is a proud resident of MetroWest, a master planned community in the city of Orlando, married to Nick to 34 years and has three adult children: the twins, Paul & Steven and Marc.


Senior Director of Research and Development in the Office of the CTO

Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips is Senior Director of Research and Development in the Office of the CTO for Symantec Corporation. In this position, Gary manages a diversity of responsibilities, including open source operations and strategy, product security, interactions with all standards bodies, standards compliance, shared development tools, shared code management, technology control planning and software supply chain assurance.

Gary is currently a member of the SAFE Codeboard of directors and the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) board of directors. He is also a former member of the International Committee for IT Standards (INCITS) executive board, the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) board, and the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) board. Gary has served in a number of leadership positions in each organization.

Prior to joining Symantec, Gary held several senior management and technology leadership positions for Compaq, Schlumberger,Western Geophysical, and Fairchild. He earned his Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and attended graduate school at the University of South Florida.

Gary is also Co-Champion of Sympride, Symantec's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Allies ("LGBTA") Employee Resource Group.


Regional Managing Director, Southeast Florida

Jeff Haines is a regional managing director for the Southeast Florida region located in our Miami and Fort Lauderdale Wells Fargo Private Bank offices. Mr. Haines is accountable for delivering an exceptional experience for clients of Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Private Bank; driving business planning and execution; and recruiting, retaining, coaching and developing talent. He actively leads advisors who help clients meet their wealth management needs through a variety of wealth planning, investment management, private banking, trust services, insurance, and integrated financial solutions.

With more than 15 years of experience in wealth management, Mr. Haines most recently served as national practice leader for business owner planning with Wells Fargo Private Bank in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Mr. Haines worked at Venable, Baetier, and Howard, LLP. for 3 years, where he was an estate and business planning attorney, however he is no longer practicing.

Mr. Haines earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree from the University of Maryland and also holds a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Baltimore.

Mr. Haines serves on the Board of Directors of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation and NSU Art Museum.


Senior Vice President, Florida Director of Human Resources


"Today, our employees and customers are a mosaic of ethnicities, ages, genders, abilities, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities. Fifth Third Bank is dedicated to living our commitment to diversity—including to our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and customers. Fostering a diverse workforce and inclusive culture enhances our ability to attract and retain the best talent and enables us to serve the needs of each and every customer. Fifth Third is proud to sponsor LGBT community events and feature employee business resource groups. We also offer benefits such as same gender domestic partner medical benefits, adoption assistance, gender reassignment and fertility treatments as part of our employee Total Rewards package."

Diana McAfee is senior vice president, Florida director of human resources for Fifth Third Bank, which includes 158 banking centers and more than 1,000 employees. In this role, Diana is responsible for working closely with Fifth Third’s senior leadership on strategic and tactical human capital initiatives including strategic planning, consulting, coaching, organization development, change management, workforce planning, talent management, total rewards and employee relations.

Diana has over 27 years of experience in the human resources industry. She joined Fifth Third Bank in September 2001 in West Virginia after serving as vice president, regional employment manager for BB&T. Diana has served in several markets throughout Fifth Third Bank’s footprint and is a past recipient of the Engaging Culture Award at Fifth Third’s Summit Awards.

She has earned a Master of Science degree in industrial and labor relations and a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in business and office administration from West Virginia University. Diana is a graduate of the Scarlett Leadership Institute in Nashville. She is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and is SHRM-SCP certified.

Diana serves on the Hillsborough County Human Relations board and is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, HR Tampa, Florida Diversity Council and the Women’s Exchange Forum. She has previously served on the Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity board of directors and volunteers for United Way, the Red Cross, Metropolitan Ministries, Girls on the Run and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

She is originally from the St. Louis area and enjoys running, cycling, golf and kayaking.


Shareholder Attorney

Nancy Faggianelli

Carlton Fields, P.A. was established in 1901 and is one of Florida's oldest and largest full-service firms, with more than 300 lawyers and government consultants. They serve national, international and local clients in all areas of business transactions, litigation and government matters. Nancy Faggianelli represents business clients, financial institutions, and insurance companies in class actions and complex litigation in state and federal courts. She has substantial experience defending and prosecuting a wide variety of claims. Ms. Faggianelli has tried cases in the areas of breach of contract, insurance, infringement of intellectual property rights, defamation, employment discrimination, and products liability, and she has won injunctions in cases involving intellectual property rights, non-competition agreements, and tortious interference with business relationships. She also has extensive experience in products liability cases, having tried two smoking and health cases for a major tobacco company, one of which was featured as the “Verdict of the Week” in the National Law Journal, and having defended over twenty other cases that were dismissed or resolved on summary judgment.


LGBTQ Managing Director


"Diversity, Equality and Inclusion are essential here at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, in fact they are a core principal and strategy for us. It allows us to be more innovative and paves the way in Greater Fort Lauderdale becoming a more successful open and welcoming destination for ALL travelers."

Board Chair of the Florida Diversity Council & Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc.


"The Florida Diversity Council’s vision is to transform our workplace communities into environments where people are valued for their uniqueness and differences, and are confident that their contributions matter. We aim to enhance the appreciation for and understanding of the value of diversity and inclusion. We will achieve success through promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and community, developing leaders who are educated and aware of all aspects of diversity and inclusion and championing programs that support diversity education and awareness."

As the executive vice president of human resources, Sarah King is responsible for leading all human resources operations including recruitment and retention, leadership and employee development, employee relations and the alignment of more than 18,000 employees across Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

During her career, King has served as vice president of human resources for Wyndham Exchange and Rentals, based in the UK. In that role, she was responsible for all human resources strategies for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI), including nine businesses with approximately 4,000 employees across more than 20 countries. Previously, King was responsible for overseeing all human resources operations in Australia, Africa and the United Kingdom for RCI.

King is a member of UCF Rosen’s Timeshare Advisory Board and serves as the board chair of the Florida Diversity Council. She is chair of the American Resort Development Association’s (ARDA) AIF Education Committee and the ARDA WIN-Advantage Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce. She has earned several honors including the National Association of Professional Women Award (2011) and the Glass Ceiling Award from the Florida Diversity Council (2013).


President & CEO


"The GMBHA embraces the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Global Community. With our partners we work together to celebrate diversity with our employees, our visitors and our partners. We will continue to work with local, statewide, national and global governments to ensure equality for all."

Wendy Kallergis works closely with various tourism and hospitality partners to continue to grow Miami as a top-tier worldwide travel destination. The GMBHA is a membership-based organization comprised of 180 hoteliers and 300 allied members across Miami-Dade County. The association’s goal is to unify the travel, tourism and hospitality industry with business and government leaders locally, nationally, and internationally in order to enhance the visitor experience through education, advocacy and networking.

Kallergis and her team work closely with the hospitality schools’ internship and training programs to provide jobs locally for graduates. The GMBHA Sustainable Hospitality Council is spearheading best practices in sustainability to include implementing the Florida Green Lodging Program Certification. The GMBHA’s partnership with the National Immigration Forum’s New American Workforce has received national recognition by helping hospitality employees become new American citizens. Kallergis was recognized as a White House Champion of Change October 22nd, 2014 for promoting citizenship in the workplace awarded National Immigration Forum’s New American Workforce Ambassador Award in May 2015.

Kallergis was born and raised in Maine and grew up with a love for food and cooking as part of a restaurant family. After earning a B.A. in French Language from George Washington University, she immediately set out to France. There she attended the University of Paris earning a degree in French history, language and art followed by the prestigious Cordon Bleu L’Ecole de Cuisine earning a Diplome French Cuisine. She subsequently concluded her studies at the Modern Gourmet Cooking School in Annecy, France with a Diplome Professional Chef and Diplome Professional Teacher.

Upon returning to the United States, Kallergis continued her career in the culinary arts as a Chef Garde Manger in Restaurant Nora in Washington D.C. then as Executive Chef of Finesse Fine Foods, an off-premise Catering & Prepared Foods Boutique, also in Washington D.C. that catered many events at the Smithsonian and pre-inaugural dinner for Ronald Reagan.

Kallergis resides in Coral Gables with her husband, Nick. They have two grown children; Nicholas, 26, Assistant City Attorney, City of Miami Beach and Katherine, 23, Reporter, The Real Deal

She serves on the following Board and organizations:

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors
FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality’s Management Dean’s Advisory Council
Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Board of Directors
Black Hospitality Initiative of Greater Miami Board of Directors
Miami Int’l Hospitality Center Advisory Council
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Member of Les Dames d’Escoffier
Member International Women’s Forum, Miami Chapter


President and CEO

As the President and CEO of the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Kelly works with business owners and community leaders each day to enhance the South Tampa area for both our local businesses and the people who live there. Kelly is a native of Tampa and a graduate of the Florida State University. Kelly was a finalist for the 2014 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Business Woman of the Year. An avid volunteer and fundraiser, Kelly works with several local non-profits each year to help raise awareness in the community.


Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel


"HSN, Inc. is a diverse and inclusive employer which has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community for many years. I am proud to work in an organization that values me as an individual and supports me on this advisory board. It is very important to me to participate in Equality Florida's mission to make sure all Floridians are given the same rights inside and outside of the workplace."

Christopher Gassett currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for HSN, Inc., a $3 billion interactive multichannel retailer with strong direct-to-consumer expertise among its two operating segments, HSN and Cornerstone. Based at their corporate headquarters in St. Petersburg, FL, Mr. Gassett oversees the legal function related to regulatory compliance and intellectual property for the company, and previously worked with HSN’s international and Spanish language programming. He was employed by HSN from 1999 until 2005, and then returned in November 2010.

Previously, Mr. Gassett was the General Counsel for Match.com and the Assistant General Counsel for Timberland footwear. At Match.com and Timberland, Mr. Gassett was involved in the legal department that focused on the companies’ employment practices, marketing compliance and international operations.

He is actively involved in his community and volunteered at the Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders organization in New England by answering calls on that group’s free legal helpline.

Mr. Gassett earned his B.A. degree from Boston College and his J.D. from Northeastern University. 


Vice President Government Affairs

Klayton  Fennell  is  the Vice  President  of  Government  Affairs  for  Comcast  providing  government affairs  support  and  guidance  to  Comcast’s  market-based government  affairs  teams, and  to  the  headquarter  based  business  and  operations  teams.  In  his  role,  Fennell develops, coordinates, and executes Comcast's local political and regulatory strategy in  over 6,400 communities in 40 states and the District of Columbia.  In addition to his Government  Affairs  duties,  Fennell  serves  as  Comcast’s  key  contact with  LGBT  advocacy  organizations,  serves  on  Comcast’s  Internal  Diversity  Council  and  is  an  Executive  Champion  to  Comcast’s  LGBT  employee  resource  group,  OUT.  Fennell  has  an  extensive  background  in telecommunications, policy  development,  public  affairs,  corporate  communications,  advocacy,  relationship building and community investment.

Prior to his current role, Fennell was Comcast’s Regional Vice President of Government Affairs  in South Florida - responsible for shaping and advancing the company's government, public and  community  relations  strategies  in  the  greater  Miami,  Fort  Lauderdale, Palm Beach and FL Keys  area. Fennell began his career  with Comcast in 2001 as  a Director of Government Affairs for  Comcast  headquarters,  where  among  other  things  he  shepherded  Comcast's  acquisition  of  AT&T Broadband through the local and state regulatory approval processes.

A Florida native, Fennell earned his B.A. in Political Science from Jacksonville University and  a doctor of laws from The Florida State University College of Law. Fennell and his husband, Valentine Vigil-Fennell, split their time between the Philadelphia area  and South Florida.


President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Michael W. Bayley is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises International as of January 2015. Previously he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Celebrity Cruises, Inc. and President of Celebrity Cruises, Inc. at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. since August 2012. Mr. Bayley served as an Executive Vice President of Operations at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. from February 2012 to August 2012 and served as its Executive Vice President of International since May 2010. Mr. Bayley has been employed by Royal Caribbean for over 29 years, serving in a number of roles. He served as a Senior Vice President of International at Royal Caribbean International until June 2010 and served as its Vice President. He served as a Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations of Royal Caribbean International and the British tour operator First Choice Holidays. Mr. Bayley began his career with Royal Caribbean International in 1981, working in a variety of shipboard and Shoreside positions with increasing management responsibility, including vice president of Total Guest Satisfaction, Fleet Operations. He served as Managing Director of Sunshine Cruises Limited (a/k/a Island Cruises Plc) of First Choice Holidays PLC since June 2002. He served as Vice President of human resources for Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino, one of the world's largest premium gaming resorts, in Las Vegas. He served as Chairman of Island Cruises. He serves as Director of The Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association (Bermuda) Limited. Mr. Bayley serves as a Director of TUI Cruises AG, the German cruise line which is a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and TUI, Germany and is a member of the executive committee of the European Cruise Council. He serves as a member of the American Society of Training & Development. He is a Certified Hotel Administrator with the American Hotel and Motel Association; a Maitre d'table with Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, Maitre d'table. He graduated with a degree in business administration from the University of Bournemouth in England. Mr. Bayley is a Certified Hotel Administrator with the American Hotel and Motel Association and has attended management programmes at Harvard Business School and Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.


President

Auld joined the Rays in June 2005 as director of planning and development, where he worked closely with Matt Silverman to define organizational priorities and assist with the transition in ownership. Since then, he has worked to build an employee-friendly organization, including helping establish the Employee Community Outreach Team (ECOT). All Rays staff are encouraged to spend up to one day each month volunteering in the community and ECOT assists by finding opportunities.

Prior to joining the Rays, Auld attended Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA focusing on managing human capital, marketing and finance. Auld's previous work experience includes serving as lead teacher and director of development for the East Palo Alto Charter School in California.

Auld received a bachelor's degree in economics and master's degree in education from Stanford University, where he also captained the lacrosse team. He was born in Berkeley, Calif., and attended high school in Dallas. Brian is proud to claim that he once trekked to the bottom of Mount Everest. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Rays Baseball Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay and Leadership Tampa Bay. He and his wife, Molly, reside in St. Petersburg and are proud parents of a daughter, Lucy (2), and newborn son, Jack.


Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manger

Tony E. Black has been working in the banking industry for more than 25 years. Since 2014, he has served as Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager at Regions Bank, primarily working in the Commercial Middle Market space.

Mr. Black is an experienced, self-motivated, sales professional and mentor with a history of developing high energy sales teams that ensure execution of strategic sales planning under all market conditions. He has a proven ability to develop a loyal customer base through showcasing full relationship management, offering a comprehensive set of solutions that offer value and convenience to small business owners, investment and asset protection and providing lending needs to an affluent market, small business and consumer customer base.

At Regions, Mr. Black holds a seat on the South Florida Diversity and Inclusion Council. He is also actively involved with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, and previously served on the GLBX Board. Mr. Black also works with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, as well as Equity Florida and Equality Florida Means Business Board. He also sits on the Alzheimer’s Association Corporate Relations Committee for the Southeast Florida Chapter.

Mr. Black received his BBA from Morehead State University in 1995. He lives in Wilton Manors with his partner of six years.


Senior Vice President, Sales Development, Recruiting & Training

As Senior Vice President of Sales Development, Recruiting and Training, Maria Ruiz Margenot is responsible for leading all sales development, talent transformation and talent acquisition efforts for Wyndham Vacation Ownership brands. She is based at the company’s headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

A vacation ownership industry veteran with 36 years of experience, Maria is a highly strategic and results driven business executive and sales leader with extensive vacation ownership experience. She has played a key role in developing and implementing a myriad of industry leading training and talent acquisition programs. Maria began her illustrious Wyndham Vacation Ownership career in 1991 and has been actively involved in nearly every sales and marketing aspect of the organization. Maria is know as a leader with a success history that includes maximizing immediate performance of people, business economics and profits. In her roles she has been a leader, developing marketing strategies, creating and implementing sales systems, and managing multiple sales and marketing lines along with leading the sales and marketing efforts of WVO’s South Florida resorts to record success.

Maria is a member of several organizations committed to diversity and inclusion including, the Hispanic Chamber of Congress of Metro Orlando Trustee Member, the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Florida and Equality Means Business. She is also the founding executive sponsor of FUERTE!, Wyndham Worldwide’s Hispanic Associate Business Group, which now boasts over 1,000 members. She is a board member with Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Orlando. Additionally, she fundraises and performs community service in support of the historic preservation efforts and sustainability, LGBT and women’s rights.

• Gold Stevie® Award Winner - Sales Support Team of the Year - WVO Training Team, 2016
• American Resort Development Association (ARDA) Sales Team Award Finalist – WVO Training Team, 2016
• Silver Stevie® Award Winner - Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year, 2015
• ARDA Circle of Excellence (ACE) Award Finalist – Sales - Training Program, 2015
• ARDA ACE Innovation Award Winner – WVO Sales iPad Initiative: Swipe.Click.Sell., 2014
• National Professional Women’s Association, Woman of the Year, 2013-2014
• Multicultural Leadership Award- Florida Diversity Council, 2013
• Represented Wyndham Worldwide – Top 50 Latina Women Award at the White House, 2010
• Distinguished Vice President Award – Wyndham Vacation Ownership
• Keynote Award, RCI (Resort Condominium International)
• President’s Club Award recipient, Wyndham’s highest honor, 23 of the last 25 years


Principal, Advisory Services


"EY is committed to providing a work environment that feels, and is, inclusive for all our people. Here, individuals are respected for the skills and talents they contribute and the impact they make. Our differences energize our culture at EY. As part of our overall inclusiveness efforts, we have initiatives geared toward our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies that are designed to promote a welcoming work culture and make inclusiveness real for everyone."

Ed Hunt is a Principal in the Advisory Services practice of EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services with over 190,000 employees in 150 countries. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

Ed’s experience is concentrated in overall business transformation services, providing these services to clients globally in a wide range of industries. Focus areas include CFO advisory, operational excellence & strategic alignment of support operations, chapter 11 restructuring and divestitures, business planning, ERP, business process outsourcing, program & project management, and leading major account relationships for EY.

Ed is also the Executive Sponsor for EY’s southeast Unity LGBT employee resource group and is based in Miami. Unity is a network that supports and promotes an LGBT-inclusive culture. Unity’s support of the LGBT community at EY has earned many external awards and recognition, including: FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for 16 consecutive years, Human Rights Campaign’s Best Places to Work, Trevor 2020 Award, DiversityInc’s Top 10 Companies for LGBT, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Awards, Out & Equal Outie Awards, and others.

Ed holds an MBA and a MS in Accounting from Northeastern University as well as a BS in Industrial Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Ed is also a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor.


Executive Director


"Tampa The Tampa Museum of Art is committed to diversity in the workplace, and values the long term relationships shared with the LGBT community of the Tampa Bay region. For ten years through its successful Pride and Passion Gala, the Museum with the LGBT community has succeeded in bringing awareness to the unique challenges of the population who have faced inequality in the workforce and social and cultural inequity in the community, while furthering the role of the Tampa Museum of Art as a safe and secure respite for culture and art. We look forward to partnering with Equality Florida to expand beyond Pride and Passion its role in the community with a special effort to better reach and provide programs to the LGBT community."

Michael Tomor, Ph.D, is a 22-year museum professional, currently Executive Director of the Tampa Museum of Art, having relocated to the Tampa Bay region in April 2015 from Texas where he directed the El Paso Museum of Art. Michael specializes in community engagement and fundraising and with his teams. He has made new in-roads with regional community education partnerships for patients suffering with Dementia and Alzheimer’s and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, museum visual art education program partnerships for preschool age students to build the literacy skills needed to be competitive and reading ready by age five, and long-term partnerships with performing arts organizations including those with the theatres, the Opera, the Symphony, and Chamber Orchestras. Michael’s community engagement programs extend to national organizations, and he has developed with the Guggenheim Museum of Art, the first partnership of its type for both institutions, featuring the works of Cézanne, Picasso, Kandinsky, Delaunay, Chagall and others. As a fundraiser, Michael has had great success in raising program, operation and endowment support and has with his teams been able to increase museum memberships and annual exhibition and education sponsorships. He received a PhD in Art History in 1993 from Pennsylvania State University and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. Michael and his husband of 28 years, Tom Trexler, love the Tampa Bay region and are looking forward to taking advantage of all the community has to offer.


Managing Director


“Northern Trust has proudly provided financial and fiduciary services to LGBT clients and their families for decades, in full knowledge of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Recognizing, valuing, understanding and celebrating diversity - in clients, employees and communities - are fundamental strengths of Northern Trust that helps us succeed as a business enterprise and community advocate.”

Daryn Kirchfeld serves as a Managing Director for Northern Trust, a private bank and trust company in the business of wealth management for high net worth individuals, their families, businesses, and foundations. During 2015, Northern Trust was named a “World’s Most Ethical Company”, by Ethisphere Institute, and one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” by the Corporate Equality Index. In her role, Daryn leads a team of trust and investment advisors, private banking lenders, and bankers. Together they help clients protect, grow, and distribute their wealth based on the client’s unique goals. She has been with Northern Trust over 10 years. Daryn lives in Palm Beach Gardens with her husband and son.


Director of Marketing and Outreach


"The inclusive, compassionate care Jackson Health System delivers, along with our policies and practices relating to patient and employment non-discrimination, visitation, and cultural competency training for staff, is reinforced by our consistent recognition as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) report. We take great pride in this achievement and in our strong commitment to diversity and the LGBT community."

Adam Taylor is director of marketing and outreach at Jackson Health System, managing Jackson’s public image through marketing, advertising, community outreach, and digital media. Jackson is among the nation’s largest and most respected public hospital systems, with nearly 2,500 beds and global leadership in more than 40 specialties. Jackson is also recognized year after year as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) report. Prior to joining Jackson in 2008, Adam was director of external relations and communications for university advancement at Florida Atlantic University, holding various communications and marketing roles over the course of his seven-year career with the university. He has a master’s degree in intercultural communication from Florida Atlantic University and a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Adam is a graduate of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Miami program, and an advocate and volunteer for LGBT initiatives in the Miami-Dade community.


Senior Vice President, Branch Banking Region Executive


"SunTrust has long-believed that a diverse workforce is a key business strength. Leveraging our different backgrounds, experiences and ideas allows us to better serve our clients. Our inclusion strategy focuses on: • Attracting and retaining the most talented and innovative workforce • Fostering a culture of respect that values our uniqueness • Reaching out to diverse segments of the community and cultivating mutually-beneficial relationships • Providing proactive supplier opportunities for diverse-owner."

Kevin Hart is Senior Vice President, Branch Banking Region Executive for SunTrust. In his role, he oversees operations of twenty-three branch locations. Kevin is also the Diversity and Inclusion Lead for the West Florida LGBTA Teammate Network. Kevin along with his team volunteers with various local organization providing financial literacy courses throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.

Prior to joining SunTrust, Kevin has held various leadership roles in banking, hospitality and airline industries. Originally from the Northeast, Kevin and his husband live in Tampa, FL with their two Jack Russell terriers.


Partner


"Akerman LLP is proud to be distinguished as one of the nation's Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality. We believe that many of the greatest ideas and discoveries are born from a diverse mix of minds, backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment enriched by our people, our clients, and the communities in which we practice."

Thomas Yaegers is a partner in the Orlando office of Akerman LLP. He has a diverse litigation practice focusing on litigating complex commercial disputes involving a wide array of tort and contract claims. Most of his work centers around franchise, real estate, and other hospitality industry related litigation. Thomas' representative clients include restaurant franchisors, timeshare developers, condominium developers, real estate developers, hoteliers, and other commercial entities throughout the United States and abroad. Thomas is a member of the Equality Florida Council, Equality Florida Greater Orlando Steering Committee, and a Member of the Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando (LGBT Chamber of Commerce).


Director of Employee Business Resource Groups


"Sodexo’s leadership in diversity and inclusion stems from recognizing that being a dynamic company requires people with rich backgrounds and diverse perspectives. After all, we live and do business in a diverse world with diverse needs. At every level, the best performance will come from people who understand and appreciate this."

John joined Sodexo in 2009 as a Senior Manager of Talent Development within Corporate Services where he created succession planning and learning action plans for all Division employees. During that time he also implemented an Operational Effectiveness program for which he won the Gold Spirit of Sodexo Award. He then ran a similar program within Sodexo’s Health Care Division.

From the start of his career with Sodexo John engaged with the Office of Diversity by becoming certified in most of Sodexo’s Diversity Learning Labs. Then he became chapter leader of PRIDE - Sodexo’s LBGTA network group and then became the Program Manager on the National Leadership team. He volunteered for several projects within the Office of Diversity to expand his diversity experience and worked with each Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG) developing the 2013 EBRG National Leadership Team Meeting.

In August 2013, John realized his goal of becoming a member of Sodexo’s Office of Diversity and became the Director of Employee Business Resource Groups. He currently leads and supports nine EBRGs:

1. AALF – African-American Leadership Forum
2. HONOR – Honoring our Nation’s finest with Opportunity and Respect
3. i-Gen – Intergenerational Network Group
4. NAAC – Native American and Aboriginal Council
5. PANG – Pan Asian Network Group
6. PRIDE – People Respecting Individuality, Diversity and Equality
7. SOAR – Sodexo Organization for disAbilities Resources
8. SOL – Sodexo Organization of Latinos
9. WiNG – Women’s Network Group

Before joining Sodexo John was with AchieveGlobal, a leader in the talent development space managing learning and development implementations for many Fortune 500 companies and their global employees. His professional life started as a Social Worker creating and implementing case management programs in the Chicago area.

As a graduate of St. Louis University, a Jesuit institution, John learned that being of service to others was not only a personal mission but also became his career goal. Today, his role as Director of EBRGs combines both.


Associate Vice President, Cultural Tourism


"For more than 20 years the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau has been the industry leader in LGBT marking nationally and internationally. Additionally, the organization has supported equality here in Miami-Dade County and supported LGBT legislation that has been proposed through the years. The staff at the GMCVB is very diverse and continues to support equality in all of our work programs and our marketing efforts."

George Neary has been Associate Vice President of Cultural Tourism for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau since 1998. He is in charge of the creation and implementation of a new arts and cultural program for Miami-Dade County. He directs promotional programs which encourage and increase visitor attendance at local cultural events and attractions. His job also includes creating linkages and partnership between Greater Miami businesses and the arts community. His targets are cultural tourism, heritage tourism and gay & lesbian tourism.

Prior his current position, George was the Executive Director of the Miami Design Preservation League of Miami Beach, Florida, where he was responsible for creating marketing and public outreach programs to preserve the historic Art Deco District, better known as South Beach for seven years. He is currently serving as a Trustee for Dade Heritage Trust, a past Trustee of Miami-Dade Art in Public Places, a board member of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, Chair of The Miami Beach Sister Cities International Miami Beach Committee, and a member of The Miami Beach Cultural Arts Council. Additionally, he serves on the Miami Beach Gay Pride Committee, is a member of the OutGames 2017 committee, the largest LGBT sporting event in the world; consultant to Mayor’s LGBT Business Enhancement Committee, holds membership in the Black Archives is a founding board member of the Greater Miami Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and is an Advisor from Florida to The National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. He is an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College and the Chair of the Board of Advisors at Design and Architecture Senior High School.

He was President of Neary Enterprise in Brooklyn, New York, which created, directed and administrated marketing, advertising and promotional plans. He was Director of U.S. Marketing for AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc. the International student and teacher exchange program in New York. George was with the Peace Corps for seven years as training and orientation coordinator, recruiter/publicist and a volunteer in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, West Indies.

He received his B.A. from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, and has been involved in many community organizations over the years.


Senior Managing Director | Florida Market Leader


"Being an employee at Cushman & Wakefield means joining a team that is committed to you. We find that combining different backgrounds and unique perspectives gives us the best competitive edge –people from different walks-of-life inspire diverse thinking and better, more creative solutions for our clients."

Larry D. Richey is Senior Managing Director and Market Leader for Cushman & Wakefield’s Florida offices. In that position, he is responsible for the company’s offices in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. Before joining Cushman & Wakefield 34 years ago, Mr. Richey was a Certified Public Accountant with the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand in Atlanta. He is also an attorney and a member of the Georgia Bar. The Florida offices of C&W consistently rank at or near the top of the competitive commercial real estate services industry in their respective markets. The company also manages and leases a fifteen million square foot office, industrial, and retail portfolio in the state.

Professional Affiliations

National Association of Industrial & Office Parks
Florida State University’s College of Business and Real Estate Executive Board
University of Florida Real Estate Advisory Board
CEO Council of Tampa Bay, Inc.
Real Estate Investment Council
Economic Development Commission and the Downtown Orlando Partnership
Board of the Central Florida Commercial Real Estate Society (Founding President)


Professional Recognition

Immediate Past Chair on the Board of the Tampa Downtown Partnership
Past Chairman of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
President of the Board of the Florida Gulf Coast Association of Realtors

Community Leadership

Board of The Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk
Recognized as one of the Most Influential Names in Tampa Bay Business by Tampa Bay Business Journal

Education

Florida State University – Bachelors in Accounting
Georgia State University - Juris Doctorate


Associate Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator


"The USF System is proud to be a welcoming university. We support an inclusive campus culture, and we collaborate with representatives of the LGBT community to achieve equal educational and employment opportunity together for a better Florida."

Dr. Jose E. Hernandez has been serving since July 2013 as Associate Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity at University of South Florida System which includes USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota/Manatee.

From 2008 through 2013 he served as Associate Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He has completed a total of 29 years in faculty and administrative positions in higher education including USF Mc Nair Scholars Program Coordinator, faculty member at Bethune-Cookman University from 1987 through 2000 and distance learning instructor for St. Leo University.

Dr. Hernandez was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Chief Diversity Officers (NADOHE) for 2016-2019. He is the USF institutional affiliate of Excelencia in Education. He serves in the leadership council of the Hillsborough College Access Network and previously served in the Board of Directors for Phoenix Employment Ministry of Wilmington North Carolina.

Jose has received numerous awards including the 2016 Florida Multicultural Leadership Award from the Florida Diversity Council. He has received leadership awards from the USF Latin Community Advisory Committee and the Tampa Hispanic Heritage. He received the President’s Award from Bethune-Cookman University in 1993 & 1998. And he has been recognized in every organization he has served.

He earned the doctorate in education at the University of Central Florida; the master’s degree in counseling and the bachelor’s degree in psychology both from Florida State University. He completed his first year of college at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Dr. Hernandez has been a Florida licensed mental health counselor since 1985. He is native of Habana, Cuba.


Partner


"Holland & Knight’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has long been recognized by others. We have repeatedly received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for our LGBT-friendly policies, practices, and initiatives. Our commitment to these values strengthens the firm and enhances our service to our clients and communities. Consistent with this commitment, we are proud to join other Florida businesses in supporting Equality Means Business in its important work."

Brett Alan Barfield practices in the area of business litigation with an emphasis on domestic and international commercial disputes, construction litigation, commercial landlord/tenant disputes and litigation under the Hague Convention on international parental child abduction. Mr. Barfield represents clients in diverse industries to resolve their disputes through the most effective and efficient means possible, from informal negotiations, mediation and arbitration, to litigation and trials. With his extensive experience, Mr. Barfield is well-versed in litigation in federal and state courts, and has secured recent multimillion-dollar trial victories for commercial clients in both jury and non-jury trials.

In addition, Mr. Barfield represents clients involved in the manufacture and distribution of a wide variety of products both domestically and internationally, in importation and exportation, and in various service industries and professions. In his construction practice, Mr. Barfield represents owners, contractors, and manufacturers in a range of commercial, infrastructure and municipal projects involving various claims related to design, construction and material defects.

Mr. Barfield has represented more than 40 clients seeking the return of their children under the Hague Convention on international parental child abduction. From time to time, he also represents parents defending against petitions under the same Convention, and in April 2015 succeeded at a federal trial to prevent the return of a child to Venezuela where the court found the situation to be so dangerous for the child that a very narrow exception to return under the Convention applied in the case. In an important February 2016 decision, the federal appellate court affirmed the victory.

Mr. Barfield is a national officer for the Federal Bar Association and is a past president and current board member of the South Florida Chapter of that association. He has been recognized numerous years by Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Trend magazines as a leading business litigation attorney in Florida.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Barfield served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edward B. Davis, chief judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Before practicing law, Mr. Barfield spent several years in retail management.


Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer

Donna N. Kimmel is a trusted Human Resources leader with more than 30 years of active experience in creating and implementing successful global organizational development and talent strategies that drive business results. Throughout her career she has delivered comprehensive people programs, led large scale end-to-end business initiatives (including corporate reorganizations, spin-offs—from public to private to public—and integrations for global M&A activities), and catalyzed cultural transformations. Donna has built a strong reputation as an influential leader during times of change by maintaining a clear vision and consistently delivering excellence.

She proudly serves as Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer for Citrix, a leading $3B USD multinational technology company that makes the world’s apps and data secure and easy to access, empowering people to work anywhere and at any time. Based in South Florida, Citrix solutions are in use by more than 400,000 organizations and over 100 million users globally. The company relies on the contributions of more than 9,000 employees in more than 50 countries to enable the extraordinary and power a world where people, organizations, and things are securely connected and accessible. Donna is responsible for all aspects of identifying, fostering and developing top talent at Citrix as well as overseeing organizational strategies that maximize engagement and position the company to win in the marketplace.

Before joining Citrix, Donna was the Senior Vice President, Human Resources for IGT, PLC a $6.5B USD multinational commercial operator and provider of innovative technology in regulated worldwide lotteries and gaming markets operating in more than 60 countries with 14,000 employees. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources, for Sensata Technologies, a $2B technology and manufacturing organization that operates in more than 20 countries with 13,000 employees. Donna also held leadership roles within Texas Instruments in Dallas and Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C.

Having earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Delaware, Donna later received a Master’s of Science in Organization Development (MSOD) from Pepperdine University.

She is a dedicated member of the community and in addition to serving on the Equality Means Business Advisory Board she is on the Board of Directors for the University of Rhode Island’s International Engineering Program and recently served as Chair of the Board at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, a 100-year old independent community hospital.


Minority and Small Business Enterprise Manager


"As democracy’s college, Miami Dade College changes lives through accessible, high-quality teaching and learning experiences. The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community."

Sheldon L. Edwards is the Minority and Small Business Enterprise (MSBE) Manager for Miami Dade College (MDC). MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the most highly regarded colleges in the nation. For over 21 years, Sheldon has worked as a Minority Business Officer for Supplier Diversity. He began his duties with the college in April 2008. His responsibilities span many areas ranging from conducting outreach programs and workshops; compliance with federal laws; and developing policies and strategies regarding minority and small owned businesses. Sheldon developed MDC’s first ever Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) Program and Policy.

Sheldon, who is originally from Washington, D.C., worked for one of the largest water and wastewater companies in the nation, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) for 20 years. While there, Sheldon was instrumental in establishing a Small, Local Business Enterprise and Supplier Diversity Program that contributed to small local businesses receiving over $13 million dollars in contracts during its first year. Prior to his work at WSSC, Sheldon also spent ten years in banking as a bank manager for Bank of America.

Sheldon was an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Washington, D.C. And he helped develop programs for the communities and advised the city council on many programs for youth. He also found time to serve as a PTA President, on school boards’ advisory committees and local chambers of commerce.

While here in Miami Florida he is involved in many community and professional organizations, including Miami Dade Economic Advisory Trust (MDEAT, 1st Vice Chair), Miami Dade Public Schools (MDCPS), Diversity, Equity and Excellence Advisory Committee (DEEAC), former board member Florida Association of Minority Business Enterprise Officers (FAMBEO) and Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) of Florida Board of Directors) and is a member of different Chamber offices and small business associations.

Sheldon holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management from the University of the District of Columbia, and attended the University of Maryland, Graduate School of Public Policy as a Mid-Career Fellows Member.


President & CEO

Lorna Taylor is the President and CEO of Premier Eye Care, a leading expert in national managed eye care that provides services and administration of everything from routine vision exams to complex ocular surgical procedures.

Taylor is an accomplished leader, both in directing fast-growing Premier and in making an impact in the community.  Premier, ranked as one of “Florida’s Best Companies to Work For” for six consecutive years, has also ranked as one of the state’s fastest-growing companies two of the past three years by the Florida Business Journals.

Premier manages full-risk medical and routine ophthalmic care for over 4 million people and is recognized for its industry-leading technology-based solutions, as well its successful corporate culture. Taylor promotes associate engagement through an organizational model that encourages innovation and self-direction to her team members, half of whom are millennials.  With commitments such as diversity at every level of leadership, paying a living wage and gender pay equity, Premier has a 4 percent turnover rate, significantly lower than the 21 percent industry average. Premier has been ranked nationally as one of the 75 Best Places to Work for Millennials by the Center for Generational Kinetics.

Taylor, one of the top business leaders in Florida, was the winner in the Health & Wellness category of the 2013 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Business Woman of the Year awards, while also receiving Angie’s Award, given to the finalist who best exemplifies commitment to community service. The award reflected Premier Eye Care’s far-reaching community involvement, which ranges from supporting arts and culture to the prevention of domestic violence.

A past chair of The Spring of Tampa Bay, Taylor was honored with the organization’s Angel Award, and was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida in 2013. In 2014, she received the Light of Sight Award from the Lion’s Eye Institute Foundation, and the Jan Roberts Sustainability Leadership Award from the Sustainable Business Coalition of Tampa Bay. The Business Observer named her as one of its 2015 top entrepreneurs of the year, and she was named as a Florida finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Award. In October, 2017, Taylor will be presented with the Tampa Bay Ethics Award by the University of Tampa, Sykes School of Business, Center for Ethics.

Personally, Taylor is involved in a wide variety of community and nonprofit causes. Taylor also serves on the Board of Trustees for The Dalí Museum, and on the Moffitt Medical Directors (MMD) Board, Preserve Vision Florida, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Foundation, University of Tampa Board of Trustees, Arts Conservatory for Teens, and Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts.

Taylor is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master’s degree in Divinity, concentrating in Social Ethics. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she enjoys her three rescue pups, travel, art, and the vibrant cultural life of the Tampa Bay area.


President & CEO


At First Green Bank, we are committed to promoting diversity and equality, protecting labor rights and ensuring the well-being of our employees. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our business, and reducing inequalities is embedded in our strategy. At First Green Bank, we promote an environment where everyone feels valued and accepted regardless of their race, color, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, disability or handicap, marital status, age, veteran status or any other protected class.

Prior to working as the CEO at First GREEN Bank, Mr. Costello, was President of E & K Financial, a bank consulting firm currently working with an investor on the acquisition of a community bank. Until October 2015, Mr. Costello served as Division President, South East Florida Region with Centennial Bank.  He began this role as a condition of the sale with a one year agreement, after Broward Bank of Commerce was purchased by Home BancShares, (HOMB: Nasdaq), of Conway, Arkansas in October 2014. At the time of the purchase Mr. Costello served as President and Chief Executive Officer and was an Organizing Director of Broward Bank of Commerce, headquartered in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Broward Bank of Commerce was one of the last new banks chartered in the United States opening in January of 2009. The bank quickly became one of the highest performing banks in the state at a time when the south Florida economy was in a deep recession. The bank achieved a highest 5 star rating from Bauer rating services and has been listed as one of the 368 safest banks in America by MSN. A 25 year veteran of financial services, Mr. Costello has been featured in numerous local, regional and national media and often serves as a speaker and panelist for various financial events and conferences. Prior to his appointment at Broward Bank of Commerce, Mr. Costello was President of Private Banking and Senior Lender of Bank of Florida Southeast. Prior to joining Bank of Florida, Mr. Costello served in numerous senior leadership roles at City National Bank of Florida and NationsBank (predecessor of Bank of America). He started his business career as a Financial Consultant at Merrill Lynch in 1987 after leaving active duty military service in the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of Captain. Mr. Costello holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tampa and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami. He received his Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1996 and is a member of the CFA Institute. Mr. Costello is involved in several local charities and organizations and currently serves on the Economic Development Advisory Board for the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the Boards of Directors of Broward Days, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce where he serves as Chair of the Government Affairs Committee and on the Executive Committee.


Administrative Fellow


Florida Medical Center intentionally grows a culture of inclusion in order to promote equal access to healthcare services for every person we treat. Equality in healthcare requires a compassionate culture, a shared vision, and a community presence. FMC actively pursues these values and has been recognized since 2016 as a ‘Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality’ by the Foundation of the Human Rights Campaign.
Joel Leone is the Administrative Fellow at Florida Medical Center – a campus of North Shore. In this role, Joel manages various service expansion projects and assists in hospital operations management. He also is responsible for leading the FMC Equality Taskforce, whose mission is to foster positive relationships between the hospital and the LGBTQ community of Broward County. The Equality Taskforce collaborates with external community groups to ensure that the delivery of healthcare services at FMC is inclusive of all people. Joel holds a Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Florida, as well as a Bachelor of Communication degree from Florida State University.

Vice President Financial Advisor


RBC Wealth Management, and their parent company, Royal Bank of Canada, have been actively and visibly involved in supporting LGBT equality for many years. RBC Wealth Management has received the top score from The HRC Corporate Equality Index and recognition as a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality” for the eighth time. Their focus is on LGBT clients, LGBT employees, and the communities they serve. To quote RBC’s President and CEO, Dave McKay, “Diversity and growth are not just integrated, but inseparable. This belief is at the heart of RBC’s Value of Diversity & Inclusion. We embrace diversity for innovation and growth.
Ellen Ford Krider is a First Vice President-Financial Advisor with RBC Wealth Management. She has been in the financial services industry for 34 years. As a Certified Financial Planner™, she is well equipped to help clients with all aspects of their financial life. RBC’s support of diversity is what drew Ellen to join them in 2009 after 25 years with Merrill Lynch. As a longtime ally of the LGBT community, she has built a significant portion of her business serving the community. In addition, she regularly works to build diversity awareness both within RBC and the local community. She has been involved in the RBC Employee Resource Group, PRIDE, and locally supports The Pride Center at Equality Park, Our Fund, Equality Florida and other local efforts. She has been married to Ed for 35 years and has 2 grown children and 2 granddaughters.

Partner


At Grant Thornton LLP, we have seen firsthand the power of bringing one's whole self to work- from different races, ethnicities, gender identities, nationalities, religions, generations, sexual orientations, backgrounds and experiences- and the dynamic and innovative environment that results. Our people thrive personally and professionally because all perspectives are valued and heard. In turn, our inclusive culture enables us to craft creative solutions for ourselves and the clients we serve.

Julie has over 20 years of experience in public accounting, spending the majority of her career at Deloitte. She has served public and private companies in a variety of industries, including distribution, manufacturing, transportation and financial services. Julie has substantial experience with SEC registrants having played integral roles in numerous public equity and debt offerings as well as going private transactions and SEC pre-clearances. In addition to her client service role, Julie was a Global Audit Coach for Deloitte’s Greece and Norway member firms where she worked with firm leadership and engagement teams to help them understand PCAOB expectations and coach them through an inspection if selected.She has been named honored as a Jacksonville Business Journal as a Top 40 under 40, and a 2016 Woman of Influence, and received the UNF STAR 'Pay It Forward' Award in 2016. Her community involvement includes the UNF Business Advisory Council, Rotary, United Way of Northeast Florida (campaign cabinet member 2014), Jax Chamber of Commerce. She received her BA from University of West Florida and her MBA from UNF.


Head of Florida Public Policy


Airbnb is, at its core, an open community dedicated to bringing the world closer together by fostering meaningful, shared experiences among people from all parts of the world. Our community is incredibly diverse, drawing together individuals of different cultures, values, and norms. At Airbnb, we are committed to promoting the diversity of our workforce, our guests, our hosts, our marketplace platform, and the world.
Tom Martinelli is the Florida Public Policy Director at Airbnb, a people powered online marketplace that provides access to millions of unique accommodations from apartments and villas to castles and treehouses in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries. Prior to joining Airbnb, Tom was on the Government Relations team at the Florida Department of Transportation, served in Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's administration, and worked on numerous statewide and local campaigns. Today, Tom is working with government leaders and elected officials across the State to achieve safe, legal and fair regulations for Floridians who responsibly wan to rent their properties - or rooms - on a short-term basis.

Director of People Development and Administration


The Jacksonville Jaguars are firmly committed to diversity and inclusion.  Among other things, our focus on diversity and inclusion is driven by our business sense: we believe a workforce that is reflective of our customer base will be better able to relate to that customer base. In addition, we believe that a diverse work force brings unique perspectives, backgrounds and talents to the business.  We are committed to creating a culture where all employees are treated with dignity and respect, as we believe that is a proper end in and of itself.

Jessica Jones is the Jaguars Director of People Development and Administration where she oversees HR and administration for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bold Events, Union Jax and the Jaguars Foundation. Jessica leads HR strategy, and is responsible for development and implementation of all HR programs, including recruiting, diversity and inclusion, talent management, employee engagement, and compensation. Prior to joining the Jaguars, Jessica worked in a variety of roles in employment law, contract management and litigation. Jessica serves on the Board of Directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum, is a member of the Florida CHRO Summit Governing Body, and was named in the Winner’s Circle for Top Corporate Leader Over 35 by HR.com in 2017.


Founder and VP of Community Relations


Orlando Sports Holdings, LLC and Orlando City SC are proud to be equal opportunity employers. It is our policy to welcome diverse candidates without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any classification protected by federal, state, or local law.

Kay Rawlins is a Founder and owner of Orlando City Soccer Club and serves as the VP of Community Relations and President of the Foundation. Originally from the UK, Kay has lived in the US for over 14 years and recently became an American citizen. She owned and ran children’s pre-schools in the UK, served as an educational assessor, lectured on signs and symptoms of child abuse to pre-school educators and taught parenting classes.

The last seven years has seen the rise of Orlando City, playing their first season in Major League Soccer in 2015, adding a women’s team, Orlando Pride in 2016 and a new downtown stadium which opened in 2017. Kay’s role includes speaking engagements on behalf of the Club, most of the community outreach, sending players to schools and youth groups to talk about exercise and healthy choices and encouraging staff and fans to join community projects. She also heads up the Orlando City Foundation, is on the Community Leadership Council for the Howard Phillips Center, and is a board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Cannonball Kids cancer, Central Florida Foundation and the Commission on Homelessness, leading the Youth Homelessness Committee. Kay was awarded 2016 Businesswoman of the Year by the Orlando Business Journal and recently gave a talk at TEDx Orlando 2017.


Director of Selection


Northwestern Mutual is committed to reflecting our community and seeking talented individuals who share our core values from all walks of life. As a part of our vision, we are committed to building and fostering a diverse organization of talented individuals. We take pride in our unique strengths and the expertise we share with all individuals. We will continue to be committed to reaching all members in the community in which we live and conduct business.

Lindsey Collum is a Director of Recruitment for Northwestern Mutual Greater Tampa Bay, which includes six offices that are striving towards achieving financial security for all community members and are continually expanding talent and leadership on each team. In this role, Lindsey is responsible for selecting top-level talent and partnering with the New Tampa office leadership team including Managing Director, Nicole Stokes, on strategic and tactical talent expansion. Her initiatives include strategic planning, hosting networking events, building community relationships, full life-cycle recruiting, online sourcing, culture building execution and continual communication with high-level candidates. Lindsey joined the Northwestern Mutual firm in December of 2017, with a diverse and developed background of outside sales, marketing and recruiting experience. She joined Northwestern Mutual after previously being a Business Consultant for payment processing and technology onboarding with First Data, covering the Southwest region of Florida in supporting small businesses. Lindsey has also supported expansive marketing initiatives with ALHI and Disney Cruise Line, as well as lead and trained and IT, Finance, and Engineering Recruiting team through Insight Global in Orlando. Prior to her previous experience, she earned her Bachelors of Science in Advertising at the University of Florida, as the first U.F. Alumna in her family full of Gator fans. She is striving towards achieving additional recruiting certifications in the industry along with her PMP certification by the end of 2020. Lindsey currently is a member of the Greater Pasco and Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce and is consistently looking for new ways to give back to her community. A born and raised Florida Native, she enjoys running, photography, and meeting new people.


Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs


We have to be aware of the intersections that make up South Florida and the Miami Dolphins are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Our goal is to serve as an inspiring and uniting force to level the playing field in our community.

Jason Jenkins is in his 10th season with the Miami Dolphins and was named senior vice president, communications and community affairs in January 2015. Jenkins oversees the organization’s front-facing brands, including media outreach, public relations, digital and social media and community efforts. Jenkins previously served as the team’s vice president of communications, being named to that position in May 2013. Prior to joining the Dolphins, Jenkins working in the media relations department for the San Francisco 49ers as the Director of Public Relations, Operations and Assistant Public Relations Director. During his time in the National Football League, Jenkins has been selected by the NFL to coordinate public relations for the Pro Bowl seven times (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012) and one time for the NFC Championship Game (2006). He has also conducted seminars at the Rookie Symposium and NFL Business Summit on media relations. Prior to his move to the 49ers, Jenkins served as the Associate Athletics Director at Texas Southern University from 1999-2002 and the Athletics Sales and Promotion Manager and Sports Communications Assistant at Lehigh University from 1997-99. A native of Houston, Texas, Jenkins earned his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Tech University in 1997. Upon graduation, Jenkins worked in various positions within the athletics department at Texas Tech. In 2017, Jenkins was selected by faculty and alumni as an Outstanding Alumni Award winner. He resides in Coral Springs with his wife Elizabeth and two children Liya and Aiden.


Senior Vice President of Administration


SPP makes efforts in earnest to provide and promote a diverse and inclusive environment for all of its staff. Our mission in the development of Water Street Tampa is to create a vibrant neighborhood for Tampa, and we believe that is only possible through representation on all levels. We have grown our internal workforce with an awareness that commercial real estate as an industry known for its lack of diversity. We openly acknowledge that being a woman, minority, or member of the LGBT community has historically been a barrier for entry and promotion in our field. SPP intentionally departs from these dated traditions to build an inclusive workplace that celebrates and champions differences.
Geoff Guidera is Senior Vice President of Administration with Strategic Property Partners (SPP), a real estate development joint venture between Cascade Investments and Jeff Vinik. SPP is developing Water Street Tampa, a mixed-use development with up to 9,000,000 square feet of new commercial, residential, educational, entertainment, cultural and retail space with a total investment exceeding $3 billion on more than 50 acres in southern downtown on the Tampa waterfront. Geoff is responsible for SPP’s human resources, information technology, facilities, and administrative services. Prior to SPP, Geoff was the founder and CEO of Amplified Incentives in Phoenix, Arizona, a management consulting company focused on human resource strategy and post-merger-and-acquisition integration. Geoff and his husband, David Schintzius, are parents to twin daughters, Paige and Emma (b. 2009). Geoff and family relocated to his hometown of Tampa in 2016 after stints in Phoenix and Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology as well as a Master in Business Administration from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Recruiting and Culture Coordinator


College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving values and embraces diversity during all recruiting efforts. College HUNKS has a World Class culture and is committed to diversity for all – to include our LGBTQ community of team members, clients, and friends. Fostering an inclusive environment allows us to be the melting pot of Tampa and a safe and best place to work. We are honored to be an ally and dedicated to continuing to promote inclusion and equality for all.
Toni Harvey is College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving Recruiting and Culture Coordinator. Toni has been with College Hunks since 2013, and worked in varies departments with her tenure. Toni started in the Sales and Loyalty Center as a Sales Representative, where she moved into the supervisor to help the support and manage the World headquarters call center. Currently, Toni recruits and retains Top “A” Players for both our call center and Corporate side of the business.

Sr. Human Resources Manager


Verizon's customers are as diverse as the world we live in. We have cultivated a workplace where employees value diversity and actively pursue inclusiveness, personal growth, and professional excellence. To embrace diversity throughout our business, we operate from an integrated, shared accountability model that: -Builds a diverse workforce that reflects our market -Creates an inclusive workplace where diversity is respected and there is zero tolerance for discrimination -Cultivates diverse community partnerships by providing charitable grants to organize and benchmark with best-in-class service providers -Does business with diverse suppliers -Serves diverse customers by offering services and products that meet their needs and lifestyles

Nicole Flaherty is the Sr. Human Resources Manager at Verizon Wireless. She has worked at Verizon for 12 years in Human Resources and oversees the HR Operations of 900 employees. Nicole manages leadership development programs that help foster upward mobility to highly motivated and diverse employees. Nicole advises leaders on employee relations issues and supports engagement efforts with the Verizon workforce such as volunteerism, health and wellness, continuing education and work/life balance. Nicole supports and trains programs to employees that support Verizon's efforts in strong diversity and inclusion.

Nicole is proud to work for an organization that recognizes the importance of diversity in the workplace. Verizon has supported the LGBTQ Community in several different ways: 1)Verizon earned a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign 2018 Corporate Equality Index. 2)In 2017, GLOBE was recognized by Out and Equal as an LGBTQ ERG of the year finalist at the Workplace Summit. 3)Verizon spends more than $5 million with LGBTQ businesses every year as part of our supplier diversity program. 4)Verizon provides LGBTQ-inclusive HR benefits such as same-sex couple adoption benefits. Nicole has a Bachelors degrees in Psychology and a Masters degree in Human Resources Management. Nicole also has a Six Sigma Greenbelt certification. Nicole was born and raised in Tampa. In her personal time, Nicole and her husband Ryan keep busy by raising their two young boys.


Global Business Solutions – Global Travel/Global Meetings Management/Expense & Card


Diversity matters at Amgen. We believe that an environment of inclusion fosters innovation, which drives our ability to serve patients. Our global presence is strengthened by having a workforce that reflects the diversity of the patients we serve. To ensure our ongoing success, Amgen is committed to promoting and maintaining an inclusive, high-performing culture where all team members embrace and leverage each other's talents and backgrounds. Our commitment to diversity is articulated in our values and reflected in every part of the organization. Diversity and Inclusion at Amgen is about all employees taking responsibility for creating a welcoming, inclusive and productive work environment where all employees feel valued, regardless of their differences, and feel that they are able to contribute to their full potential.
Craig A. Banikowski is a Senior Manager at Amgen in Tampa, FL. He oversees a variety of Employee Services, to include global travel, meetings, corporate cards and expense processes. He has been with Amgen over 5 years, and recently relocated to Tampa from Thousand Oaks, CA. He makes his home in Lutz, FL. Having worked in the travel industry for the majority of his career, he has held several key roles within the Global Business Travel Association, including President and Chairman of the Board. He has a Master’s Degree in International Business, various designations from the GBTA Association, as well as his Certified Meetings Manager designation from Meeting Professionals Inc. He enjoys road cycling having participated in the Aids Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles raising funds for Aids Support in SoCal and is active in LGBTQ issues related to workplace diversity.

Regional Diversity Inclusion Leader

Cathy Aull is an Edward Jones Financial Advisor and Regional Diverse Inclusion Leader. As a financial advisor she listens to understand what is important to her clients and uses an established process to build personalized strategies to help them achieve their goals. She then partners with them throughout their lives to help keep them on track. In her role as Diverse Inclusion Leader, Cathy works to recruit, retain, and support diverse financial advisors. Additionally, she provides insights and guidance on diversity concepts and strategies to the region and its leadership team. During her time at Edward Jones Cathy has served as a Mentor, Legacy Host, Secondary Recruiting Leader, member of several planning teams, and presented at regional and area meetings. Prior to joining Edward Jones, she served as an advisor, director, and executive director in higher education; where she specialized in reviving languishing programs and divisions. Cathy has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, a master’s degree from Millersville University, and a doctor of philosophy from Auburn University. Cathy and her partner, Dawn, each have two children and are active members of the community; attending many charitable events annually. Furthermore, Cathy served as a national advisory board member for Out & Equal and is currently a member of their Orlando affiliate’s board. She has also served as a member of her local Equality Florida Gala planning committee. Along with her LGBT community activity, Cathy is Board President of Alachua Habitat for Humanity and serves on the board of the Gainesville Woman’s Club. She is also a proud member of the Gainesville Women’s Forum and the Gainesville Rotary Club.


Managing Director of Diversity & Inclusion


Diversity and Inclusion are a way of life at Schwab, transcending ethnicity, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, and life stages to include diversity of experiences, strengths, perspectives, and thought. Our commitment to building an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued is what sets us apart. Schwab is dedicated to building and maintaining a dynamic organization and culture that reflect the individual strengths of every person who is a part of the company. Through diversity, we gain a wider range of perspectives and experiences, which benefits everyone and helps us 'see through clients' eyes.' And by seeing our business through the eyes of our clients, we are able to deliver the best client experience possible.
Deloria Nelson Streete is the Managing Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Charles Schwab & Company where she leads Inclusion efforts for the firm. Dee works by leveraging our ERG’s to maximize their contributions to the company, building our pipeline to include diverse talent, strategy development and a plethora of other exciting accomplishments. Dee specializes in high energy facilitation, keynote speaking, leadership development and employee relations. Deloria is a published author who has worked professionally in Human Resources for more than 25 years with various Fortune 500 companies including Lithonia Lighting, HD Supply, and Walt Disney World. Deloria’s personal brand is positive energy, courage, authenticity and an uplifting spirit. Her commitment to Diversity & Inclusion stems from her personal mission statement which encapsulates helping people find and leverage their unique gifts. In her spare time, you will find her writing poetry, helping with resumes or on the farm. Dee is the mom of 4 and has twin granddaughters who are 4 years old.

Senior Diversity & Inclusion Relationship Manager


At TD Bank, we know that our greatest asset is our people. That's why our mission is to cultivate a service-oriented, barrier-free culture that attracts, invests in, and promotes all talent, reflecting the diverse communities we serve. In turn, we gain a wealth of innovative ideas and unique perspectives that empower us to meet the needs of our customers in an ever-evolving financial market. We believe the true essence of diversity and inclusion is providing a safe and productive environment where every individual feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. We take pride in creating a culture that celebrates the unique talents and contributions of each individual. We recognize that by fostering an atmosphere of belonging, our colleagues will feel motivated to perform to their highest potential and inspired to help us be the better bank. TD Bank's commitment to diversity and inclusion is not only core to who we are; it’s critical to our business success. As the human bank, it's imperative that we seek ways to better understand and respect one another, and reflect the brilliant diversity of the communities we proudly serve.

With over 20 years in banking, Andre Khan Senior Diversity & Inclusion Relationship Manager responsible for working directly with members of the Management Committee, HR Business Partners, and other key stakeholders as a strategic consultative partner to develop, maintain, and expand our D & I strategy deliverables. Since joining TD Bank in 2008, Andre has held various roles within Retail Store Operations, such as Operational Risk Manager, Senior Retail Operations Officer, and Retail Operations Officer. His most recent role was AML Program Director where he lead a team that was responsible for providing AML compliance advice to all Commercial businesses including Regional Commercial Banking, Corporate & Specialty Banking, Commercial & Payment Operations, TD Auto Finance, and Global Trade Finance. Andre has been very involved with TD's Diversity & Inclusion Office. He provided executive support and lead efforts in coordinating the Diversity Leadership Team (DLT) activities, nationally co-chaired the African American & Caribbean Leadership Business Resource Group and served on the bank-wide Minorities in Leadership subcommittee. Andre is a 2010 WOW CEO Leadership Award Winner. This annual award is awarded to TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank top performers. One of Andre's proudest achievements, also in 2010, is being honored with TD's Vision in Action award. This is the highest recognition at TD, and is presented to just 1 in 80 employees globally. Andre is a proud graduate of Florida International University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He resides in South Florida with his daughter and loves to travel the world in his spare time.


Vice President Senior Financial Advisor, PIA Program Portfolio Manager


We make financial lives better through the power of every connection. Together, we are a company that recognizes the potential of every employee by actively encouraging a diverse and inclusive workplace – in thought, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age, and experience. This commitment helps make Merrill Lynch a great place to work where every employee is welcomed and given the support to build careers where they can make a difference and contribute to the responsible growth of our business.
Robert Yan, Senior Financial Advisor, Vice President, began his financial services career in 1992. As a Senior Financial Advisor Robert has assisted clients by managing their individual wealth through multiple and complex market cycles meeting their individual needs. Robert is a frequent and sought-after speaker on investment planning for retirement which has been a primary business focus for Robert and his team for decades. Robert focuses on delivering a comprehensive approach to managing wealth that begins with listening to a client's needs and helps to ensure every strategy is grounded in understanding what each client wants to achieve. Robert is an avid golfer and enjoys traveling with his partner of over 25 years.
Creative Cities Productions

Co-Founder & Producer

Peter Kageyama

Peter is the co-founder and producer of the Creative Cities Summit , an interdisciplinary event that brings together practitioners around the big idea of the city. The most recent Summit, held in Detroit, Michigan in October of 2008, drew over 700 attendees and speakers from all over the world. Peter is also one of the founders of the Sarasota International Design Summit presented by the Ringling College of Art & Design. He has been the show’s coproducer and the host and moderator since 2007. He has worked with Richard Florida and his team on several projects, and with Charles Landry, author of “The Creative City” and founder of Comedia, the U.K.’s leading cultural development consultancy. He is currently producing a documentary film about Landry.

He is the past president of Creative Tampa Bay (2005-07), a grass roots, not for profit organization championing the creative economy in the Tampa Bay area. In 2007-2009, he organized and led groups of community leaders from Northern Ireland on their learning tours of the United States, looking at creative cities and innovative community development projects in Washington DC, Chicago, Baltimore, Austin, Memphis and Tampa Bay. In 2009 he is working on conferences in Toronto and Philadelphia and will be working in England over the summer with the Creative Industries Development Agency.

Recent engagements include: • Hillsborough Co. Task Force on Economic Stimulus • Creative Cities Summit - 2004, 2008 • Sarasota International Design Summit - 2006-08 • Florida Redevelopment Association – 2008 • Sarasota Young Professionals - 2008 • ULI Tampa Bay – Young Professionals -2007 • Great Towns Conference, York, UK – 2006 • World Culture Open, Kigali, Rwanda – 2006 • Global Creative Economy Convergence Summit – Philadelphia, US – 2006 • Global Village on the Move , Perth Australia- 2005 • Creative Catalysts, Perth, Australia - 2005


Fortune 500 Diversity Trainer

Brian McNaught

Named "the godfather of gay diversity training" by "The New York Times," Brian McNaught works with Fortune 50 and U.S. government senior managers in offices around the world, helping them build competence and confidence in their proactive response to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees.

A Fort Lauderdale resident, he has worked with heterosexual audiences in churches, classrooms, and boardrooms since 1974. His six books and six DVDs are extensively used as educational resources. From 1982 - 1984, Brian served as the Mayor of Boston's Liaison to the Gay and Lesbian Community. More recently, he was an advisor to former Surgeon General David Satcher on matters of national sexual health. For more information, go to www.brian-mcnaught.com.


President


"Johnson & Wales University's North Miami Campus was recently ranked No. 1 for diversity amongst colleges in the south and No. 3 in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. Awarded as a result of our racial and ethnic mix of students and faculty, the number of international students and the number of students from less-fortunate financial backgrounds, this ranking further affirms our commitment to creating a campus culture where all feel welcome and at home. I am a firm believer that an inclusive environment is not just something that happens on accident. An inclusive environment comes from the mindset each individual brings to his or her community. Our sense of community is a significant strength that individuals notice, almost immediately, when they step foot on our campus for the first time, and it is something to both celebrate and protect."

Larry Rice Ed.D. is the President of Johnson & Wales University's North Miami Campus. Rice has spent more than two decades in the education field, serving as an academic leader and administrator in numerous capacities, including the culinary, hospitality and business education fields. Rice has been an advocate for increased access to higher education, college-ready students and ensuring graduates are well-prepared for professional success.

Rice has deep roots in the university and South Florida-community as a graduate from JWU's Charleston, S.C. campus and as a resident of Plantation. Prior to his appointment, he held several positions at the North Miami Campus, including chairperson of academic affairs, department chair of academic services and dean of academic affairs. In 2008, he assumed a dual title as campus vice president and dean of academic affairs, reflecting his increased oversight for areas outside of the academic arena, including university operations. In 2014, he was named interim president at the North Miami Campus. In addition to his work with the university, Rice previously owned A Chef for Hire, a training and consulting firm for the hospitality industry, was co-owner of Rice Training Solutions serving clients such as Accor North America, Marriott, the Turks & Caicos government, Florida Education Fund, and several educational institutions in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

Rice continues to serve as a consultant for government, nonprofit and educational institutions. He has served as a member of the board of directors and chair of the Education Committee of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Trust; an appointed member of the Miami-Dade County's Mayor's Miami International Airport Consumer Advisory Task Force; a member of the Tourist Development Council Nominations Committee; a member-at-large and past chair of the Board of the Visitor Industry Council of Greater Miami; and a member of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Rice has donated his time to a variety of community service initiatives, providing training and mentoring on conflict resolution, diversity and strategic management planning to the local community and abroad. He has also published several book chapters and journal articles on topics ranging from conflict management to combining theory with practice in higher education. Rice recently completed a manuscript for a leadership book entitled, The Recess Effect.

He is the co-author of an upcoming Journal of Learning in Higher Education article entitled, "Building an Academic Culture of Praxis" which highlights ways colleges and universities can build a culture which supports both theory and practice.

He was the recipient of the South Florida Business Journal's 2007 "Up & Comers Award"; a 2006 finalist for the March of Dimes "Building Our Community Award"; and an honoree of the Legacy Magazine and The Miami Herald as one of the "50 Most Powerful Black Professionals in South Florida" in 2010. Rice was recognized by South Florida CEO as a successful young leader as part of its first Next Gen series and by South Florida Business Journal as an 'Up & Comer.'

After graduating from JWU's Charleston Campus with an associate degree, Rice received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida International University and his doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University. Rice resides in Plantation, Fla., with his wife, Michele, and two daughters, Claire and Victoria.


Vice President of Information Technology Application Solution Delivery


"Diversity and inclusion in our company is something we truly believe in, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it's important to the growth of our people and business. We will become a great company only when we take advantage of the creativity that comes from multiple perspectives."

Terri Cull is Vice President of Information Technology Application Solution Delivery for Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie. Bi-Lo Holdings is the nation’s ninth-largest grocery retailer with nearly 700 stores and 60,000 employees throughout the Southeastern U.S. The company is based in Jacksonville, Fla.

Cull currently leads Application Solution Delivery for all Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC store banners. In addition to leading the application delivery organization, she has served as a member of the Integration Management Office that unified Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery store systems and helped position the company for seamless store systems integrations.

Cull has served the last 25 years as an IT professional in the Retail sector. Prior to Bi-Lo Holdings, she served as Director of the PMO and Application Development Director at Advance Auto Parts in Roanoke, Va.

Terri is a graduate of University of Virginia, where she received a Master’s degree in IT Management and completed her undergraduate studies at University of Louisiana at Monroe, focusing on business and computer information systems. Additionally, Cull has served for a number of years on the United Way Community Impact/Resource Management Council.


President/CEO


"Education is key to developing an inclusive and equitable business culture. As leaders it is our responsibility to create a culture where everyone’s perspective is heard, accepted and appreciated."

Hope Allen assumed the role of President/CEO in July 2013, and is a Florida Certified Chamber Professional. Under her leadership, the North Tampa Chamber of Commerce has seen significant growth, recently becoming a two-county regional chamber by acquisition of the New Tampa Chamber of Commerce. The Tampa Bay Business Journal has recognized the Chamber as The Largest Chamber in 2014, and Best in Biz.

Allen’s work to support businesses of all sizes spans her entire career. Before joining the Wesley Chapel Chamber in 2012, she served Pensacola Chamber members as the organization’s Vice President of Membership. During her tenure, Allen was instrumental in the recovery efforts, post hurricane Ivan, and the BP Oil Spill. In this role, Allen also successfully designed and implemented strategies resulting in the engagement of more than 200 of Pensacola’s business leaders in a campaign to attract Southwest Airlines. Allen has also led membership and business development for United Way of The Capital Area as well as the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, both in Jackson, MS.

Allen currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals, and is active with the Florida Chamber, and American Chamber of Commerce Executives. In 2005, the Mississippi Business Journal recognized Hope as a “Top 40 under 40”for the State of Mississippi. The American Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2008 awarded her for “Outstanding Membership”, and in 2010 the Independent News in Pensacola named Hope a “Rising Star”.

Hope graduated from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management.

Hope is married to Justin, they have a 10-year-old daughter, and currently reside in New Tampa.


JetBlue Airways

Director of Corporate Communications

Sebastian White

Sebastian White is a spokesman for JetBlue Airways, which operates two of its five hubs in Florida (in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando), a training center in Orlando, and its LiveTV subsidiary in Melbourne. With more than 2,000 crewmembers in the state, JetBlue is a significant local employer. Mr White joined JetBlue in 2006 as a member of the airline's award-winning marketing and brand department. Today he works in corporate communications and is primarily responsible for internal communications to the airline's staff of 12,000 crewmembers spread across 60 cities and 12 countries in the Americas. Mr. White is active in JetBlue’s sponsorship of organizations including PFLAG and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association as well as community promotions including JetPride, the first-ever LGBT-themed flight by a U.S. airline, which took flight in 2010. Mr. White joined JetBlue after three years with Carnegie Communications, a higher education marketing consultancy in Boston. He attended Boston University and Alfred University in New York, where he studied economics and sociology. An avid traveler, Mr. White makes his home in New York when not globetrotting.


President

Kenneth D. Colen, is company president and has overseen development and operation of On Top of the World Ocala since the earliest stages of construction in 1981. On Top of the World Communities, Inc. is an award-winning building and development company founded in 1947 by the Colen family, who have owned and operated it for more 60 years. The company is Florida’s oldest privately owned land developer. The vision to pioneer an active-adult community and lifestyle has been realized with On Top of the World communities in Ocala and in Clearwater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dr. Julian Sanchez is a colorectal surgeon in the Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center. He is Assistant Professor of Surgery and Assistant Professor of Oncologic Sciences at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He is board certified in both general surgery and colorectal surgery.

Dr. Sanchez’s clinical interests include colon and rectal cancer, anal cancer, genetic cancer syndromes, minimally invasive surgery, and inflammatory bowel disease related cancers. His research centers on HPV infection and associated anal cancer. He is especially interested in the progression of anal dysplasia in immunosuppression and in screening programs for high risk patients.

Dr. Sanchez is originally from South Florida and graduated Summa cum Laude from the University of Florida with a degree in Biochemistry. From there he graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2003. Dr. Sanchez came to the University of South Florida for his general surgery residency. During residency he spent additional time conducting research on colorectal cancer genetics. His research centered on hereditary causes for colon cancer. He presented his findings at international meetings and published multiple articles on the subject. Dr. Sanchez was awarded a grant for his work and subsequently won the Harry Bacon Award and a Research Award by the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. After completing general surgery residency, Dr. Sanchez received additional, specialized training in colon and rectal surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

After fellowship, Dr. Sanchez practiced as a colorectal cancer surgeon in Los Angeles. While there he was twice named a “Top Doctor” in Los Angeles by Pasadena Magazine. Dr. Sanchez returned to Moffitt Cancer Center in 2013 as a colorectal cancer specialist. He has published multiple journal articles and written several book chapters. He has presented lectures at national meetings and has been interviewed by national media outlets including TIME Magazine and WebMD.

He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and the Collaborative Group on Inherited Colorectal Cancer. Dr. Sanchez is fluent in Spanish.


Vice President

A fifth-generation Floridian, Barclay Harless has been involved in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. He is currently the downtown St. Petersburg, FL manager for Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ: OZRK) after previously working for C1 Bank.

After graduating from the University of South Florida (USF) in 2010 with a bachelor’s in history, he went to work in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg for State Representative Darryl Rouson during the height of the economic recession. He currently serves on the board of R'Club Childcare, Inc., and the Louise Graham Center for Regeneration. Barclay has been the state policy chair in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and has served on grant boards for the Suncoast United Way and the 50th Anniversary Alumni Committee for USF St. Petersburg. He was appointed to the Pinellas Charter Review Commission in 2015 and sponsored a county amendment that stipulated citizen-drawn redistricting for the county commission. Barclay is a resident of St. Petersburg.


Associate Dean of Career Development and Engagement

Tim Harding currently serves as the Associate Dean of Career Development and Engagement at The University of Tampa having moved to Tampa, FL, in August 2005. Mr. Harding is originally from the state of Indiana where he worked in the Center for Career Planning and Development at Butler University for over 12 years.

Mr. Harding is active in the professional associations affiliated with the student affairs and career services fields including the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Southeast Association of Colleges and Employers, the Florida Career Professionals Association, and the Colleges of Central Florida Career Consortium.

Mr. Harding has served as President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers. He is also on the Board of Directors for CareerSource Tampa Bay and the Board of Advisors for Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute. He has served on conference committees and facilitated conference breakout sessions for the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers, the Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers, and the Florida Career Professionals Association.

He is a past president of The Career Development Professionals of Indiana and served for over eight years on the Board of Advisors for a software company, Experience, Inc., located in Boston, MS.

Mr. Harding earned a Master of Science in Education from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts from Anderson University. In 2009, he completed the Stetson College of Law/NASPA Student Affairs Policy and Law Certificate Program.


President


"We have an urgency about closing education gaps, knowing that everyone wants their own version of the good life. We understand that inclusivity and opportunity go hand in hand with education."

Mark B. Rosenberg is president of Florida International University. A public institution of higher education, FIU is the face of the country’s future in higher education demographics: it is a majority-minority institution that leads the country in the production of minority degrees in the sciences and engineering.

Dr. Rosenberg has served as the fifth president of FIU since August 2009. A political scientist specializing in Latin America, Dr. Rosenberg is the first FIU faculty member to ascend to the university’s presidency.

Under his leadership as president, FIU has increased enrollment to almost 56,000 students, improved graduation rates by nearly 13% and hired over 500 new faculty. As President, Dr. Rosenberg has provided leadership to grow the institution’s budget, improve student graduation and retention rates, expand internships for enrolled students, and coordinate FIU’s emergence as a leading producer of graduates in priority national and state areas focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The university has been named as a Carnegie “Highest Research” as well as an “Engaged” institution, and has developed path-breaking partnerships with the Miami Dade County Public Schools, JP Morgan Chase, Florida Power & Light and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Research expenditures have grown by nearly 30% to nearly $160 million, and over sixty new student advisers and counselors have been hired for a restructured and expanded student graduation initiative.

From 2005 to 2009, Dr. Rosenberg served as the second Chancellor (first that was formally selected by the Board of Governors) for the State University System of Florida. Which includes all of Florida’s public universities – over 325,000 students and an all-accounts budget of nearly $9 billion. As chancellor, Dr. Rosenberg led the system’s strategic development and financial planning and policy initiatives, working closely with Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Charlie Crist and the state legislature to secure support for SUS priorities. During this era, major new strides were made in research support for the system, over $1 billion was provided for new facility construction, and a new SUS strategic plan was developed and approved.

Prior to becoming chancellor, Dr. Rosenberg was integrally involved in the expansion and development of FIU into a major public research university. As Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1998 to 2005, Dr. Rosenberg spearheaded the establishment of a law school in 2002 and a medical school in 2006. Under his leadership, FIU increased enrollment, implemented major campus construction projects, and was invited to join the select national honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Rosenberg was also instrumental in moving FIU into the top tier of Carnegie Foundation research universities.

Dr. Rosenberg’s academic career began at FIU in 1976 as an assistant professor of political science. In 1979, he founded the FIU Latin American and Caribbean Center, which today is one of the nation’s premier federally-supported research and teaching centers focusing on the region. Dr. Rosenberg subsequently served as the Founding Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs and Vice Provost for International Studies. He has also been a Visiting Distinguished Research Professor at The Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and a Visiting Professor at the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico.

Dr. Rosenberg earned a B.A. in 1971 from Miami University of Ohio and a Ph.D. in Political Science with a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 1976. He has written or co-edited seven books and numerous scholarly articles in leading journals. His latest book, The United States and Central America: Geopolitical Realities and Regional Fragility (2007), is a Harvard University project co-authored with Luis Guillermo Solis of Costa Rica. Governmental and media organizations have frequently sought Dr. Rosenberg’s expertise on Latin America. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has testified before Congress numerous times, and has served as a consultant to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Firmly committed to service with national and local educational impact, Dr. Rosenberg serves as Chair of the Association of Public Land-Grant University’s (APLU) Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence (CADE); Chair of the National Academies’ Committee on Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education; and serves on the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) where he is Co-Chair of the Student Performance Strand.

Within Miami-Dade County, Dr. Rosenberg is the Chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (GMCC), one of Florida’s leading business associations. He serves on the Board of Directors of City National Bank of Florida, and recently ended a 5-year term as Chair of the Academic Leaders Council (ALC) for the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development organization. Dr. Rosenberg has also been active in a variety of other civic organizations, including the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, Florida Council of 100, and United Way.

Dr. Rosenberg is a first-generation college graduate whose two children, Ben and Ginelle, are both graduates of FIU. He and his wife of over 40 years, Rosalie, are members of Temple Menorah in Miami Beach.



"The most successful businesses are those that attract the brightest talent and appeal to the most customers - That's just basic common sense."
Alex Sink

Alex Sink recently served as a Senior Advisor with Tampa, Florida based Hyde Park Capital. The firm offers investment banking services focused on mergers, acquisitions, and capital raising. She is also currently serving as Founder and Chair of the Florida Next Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on diversifying Florida’s economy through the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurship.

Alex served as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from 2007 to 2011 as one of four statewide elected officials. She managed over $15 billion in state treasury funds, was responsible for state accounting, and implemented reforms in contracting and transparency for citizens. She also directed the state’s insurance consumer advocacy work, focusing on strengthening laws to protect seniors against insurance fraud. In 2010, she was the state’s Democratic nominee for Governor.

Prior to elected office, Alex had a 26 year career with Bank of America. She retired as President of Florida operations in 2000, managing the state’s largest bank with $40 billion in deposits, leading 9000 employees in over 800 branches.

Alex has been a statewide business leader, serving as Chair of Leadership Florida, Chair of Take Stock in Children, Chair of The Nature Conservancy Florida Chapter, Chair of the Hillsborough Education Foundation, Vice-Chair of Florida Taxwatch, Vice-Chair of the board at Wake Forest University, and a member of the Florida Council of 100.

Alex has been honored as an inductee into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame. She is also the recipient of numerous awards including the Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay Laureate Award, Tampa YMCA Community Impact Award, Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award, Associated Industries of Florida Champion of Business Award, Florida Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year, and Wake Forest Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Alex resides in Thonotosassa, Florida. She and her late husband Bill McBride had two children; Bert, a graduate of Stanford University and current law student at the University of Florida; and Lexi, a graduate of Wake Forest University and current medical student at the University of Florida.


Vice President of State and Local Government Relations

Susan Connelly is the Vice President of State and Local Government Relations for Darden Restaurants. Susan leads the Government Relations and Community Affairs teams which include government and environmental affairs, community affairs and the Darden Foundation.

Darden owns and operates more than 1,500 Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House restaurants in North America, employing 150,000 people and serving more than 320 million meals annually. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the fourth year in a row.

Susan brings more than a decade of related experience to her role at Darden. Most recently, she was Government Relations Manager for McDonald’s USA where she directed state and local advocacy for the Eastern United States. Prior to that, she was Director of State Affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, serving as their primary legislative and regulatory advocate in the Northeast. She also has worked for the Office of State Rep. David T. Donnelly, Chairman of the Massachusetts House Committee on the Judiciary. There, she managed a professional staff of 15, advised the Chairman on legislative initiatives, and researched and drafted testimony for committee hearings and floor debates.

Susan serves on the boards of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Foundation and the Enterprise Florida. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., and an MBA in Finance and Organizational Behavior from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.


President


"The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber, founded over 30 years ago as the Tampa Bay Business Guild, is committed to serving the community and providing an environment for business owners and local organizations to come together and continue to grow within Tampa Bay. The organization has evolved through the years, demonstrating the importance of consistently re-evaluating the community and local business needs. The 2015 introduction of Diamonds in Diversity celebrates the LGBTA best in business and community in Tampa Bay. A fun night of dinner, dancing, and recognition highlights the importance of bringing together like-minded businesses and community leaders to keep Tampa Bay on the forefront of leadership and growth in the LGBTA community."

Ashley Brundage is a highly regarded Inclusion Consultant for PNC Bank, based in the Tampa Bay area. Hired into her current position as a male to female transgender person, she self-identified during the interview process. She was appointed into her position as a Vice President with the department of Diversity and Inclusion after beginning her career as a part time teller, then working almost 5 years as a financial sales consultant. Ashley recently celebrated 13 years of marriage to Whitney and together they have two sons, Bryce and Blake.

Ashley is very active within the LGBT community. Since transitioning in 2010, she has worked tirelessly to promote awareness and acceptance of gender identity within the entire community. Ms. Brundage is involved in many local and national Non-Profit Organizations. She is the President of the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and holds board or advisory positions with the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Balance Tampa Bay, and Equality Florida. She is also involved with many events, including the Equality Florida Gala for St. Petersburg, Florida, the Equality Florida Tampa Gala, and The Tampa Bay LGBT Diamond Awards.

Ashley was awarded a commendation from The City of Tampa, in December 2015, for her community engagement and outreach. She was named One of Tampa Bay’s Community Leaders Under 35 in the LGBT community. She is currently focusing on expanding her community partnership within the whole community. Ashley is involved with PFLAG, Out and Equal, PNC Diversity Council, and the Trans Support Network. Ashley is a knight preceptor in the Krewe of the Cavaliers, a Gasparilla Krewe.

Ms. Brundage speaks locally and nationally about her transition, workplace equality, diversity and inclusion. Ashley has presented seminars at The University of South Florida, The University of Tampa, MetLife, Out & Equal Workplace Summit, The Morsani College of Medicine, Ernst & Young, Boehringer Ingelhiem, PWC, Raymond James, Stetson Law School, Ameriprise, BayCare, Bay Pines VA Hospital, The Southern Comfort Conference, and The Keystone Conference. Ashley was the Keynote speaker for Macdill Air Force Base’s First Annual Pride Luncheon. She has also been interviewed in several publications and media outlets, including Tampa Bay Times, Watermark Magazine, Creative Loafing, The Tampa Bay Business Journal, The Miami Herald, Fox 13 News Tampa, ABC News 7 Ft Myers, and CBS 10 Tampa.

Ashley has been recognized in many areas and has received numerous awards including: 2015 PNC Performance Award, PNC’s highest employee achievement, one of only 206 all-time winners. 2014 and 2015 PNC Bank Circle of Excellence Award, as well as 2014, 2015, and 2016 PNC Market All Star Award, The University of South Florida 2014 Community Pride Award, 2015 St Pete Pride Grand Marshal. St. Pete Pride is the largest pride event in the southeast USA with more than 250,000 attendees. Ashley was nominated for the 2014 and 2015 Tampa Bay Business Journal Business Woman of the Year. Ashley was named 1 of 14 Most Remarkable People of 2014, by Watermark Magazine and was nominated for The Trans 100.

Ashley is a PNC certified Women’s Business Advocate. She knows it is a great honor to be with a company that consistently receives score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.


President


"MDGLCC seeks to create exposure and a diverse and open environment where LGBT & allied members can create new business opportunities. Through our Supplier Diversity Council, MDGLCC promotes inter-company business opportunities between the MDGLCC Certified businesses and their affiliate NGLCC chamber counterparts."

Steve Adkins is presently the President of the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the largest not-for-profit corporation in the county for gay and lesbian businesses. In the two years since Mr. Adkins took over the reigns MDGLCC membership has grown more than twentyfold.

In 1999, Steve moved from his native San Diego, California to South Florida and immediately became interested in promoting Miami as a year-round, gay and gay-friendly tourist destination, when he owned and operated the Jefferson House, a South Beach Boutique Bed & Breakfast Hotel.

Prior to his move to the East Coast, Mr. Adkins held several positions in the banking world. Steve spent the majority of his banking career first at Bank of America (1975 to 1984) and Security Pacific Bank NA (now part of BofA; 1984 to 1995). From 1995 to 1999, he served as Vice President International Trade Finance Manager for the Union Bank of California (part of Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi), Southern California; his portfolio included prestigious accounts such as the San Diego Padres, Jenny Craig, Aldila, Inc. (Golf); Cubic Corporation, Titan, Inc., ASI Aerospace Group; and University Contractors (UMEC).

Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree from San Diego State University’s school of Business Administration (Management with Concentration in Finance).

Steve Adkins is immediate past Chair of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority. Mr. Adkins currently serves on the board of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Coalition of Chambers, and the Pride Coalition. He is also Vice Chair of Miami Beach Gay Pride and, the Miami Gay & Lesbian and Ft. Lauderdale Film Festivals. Mr. Adkins received the 2009 Eddie McIntyre Community Service Award from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the 2010 Bacardi/Grey Goose Icon Award and the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce received Equality Florida’s first "Equality Means Business" Award 2012.


General Manager


“As part of celebrating our cities, Uber celebrates individuality, equality and progression by bringing better access and reliable transportation to everyone across the State of Florida. We are proud to accept an invitation to join Equality Florida.”

Tom Maguire is General Manager for Uber. Hailing originally from Massachusetts, he spent much of his early career at Goldman Sachs in a variety of roles in the New York, London and Salt Lake City offices. Since then, he joined Amazon helping with their international expansion efforts as well as served as a corporate strategist with AT Kearney. Tom holds a Bachelor's degree from New York University's Stern School and a MBA/Diplomacy from Georgetown University. He is the co-founder of NiteOwl, a company focusing on providing innovative solutions for college facilities.


Founder President/CEO

Keith Blackburn is the President / CEO and Founder of the GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Keith began his transition to South Florida in 2001 and soon founded Rainbow Realty. In 2003, he closed Keith Blackburn Real Estate in Washington DC to focus full time on his brokerage and real estate investments in Florida.

With a passion for tourism, he fulfilled a dream by purchasing, renovating and creating a unique boutique resort in 2005. The Historical Fort Lauderdale property, built in 1928, became the award winning Mary’s Resort.

In 2011, he founded of the GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce where he currently serves as President / CEO. Prior to the GFLGLCC, he was Chair of the Rainbow Alliance of Greater Fort Lauderdale, where he promoted member hotels and Greater Fort Lauderdale as a welcoming LGBTQ destination.

Today, the GFLGLCC is the largest LGBT business organization in Broward County, FL and the exclusive affiliate chamber (serving Greater Fort Lauderdale) of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Together, LGBT consumers and tourists make a significant impact on the Greater Fort Lauderdale economy. As an LGBT chamber, we promote our LGBT and allied owned business members and partners as well as community non-profits.

In 2015, the GFLGLCC partnered with Equality Florida to integrate the Equality Means Business program as a member benefit to all qualified members. Keith is very excited to serve on the Advisory Board, alongside representatives from other organizations and businesses with the common goal of expanding the simple message that equality means business!


Recruiting Lead,Citi Professional Recruiting


"When you have a 200-year business heritage, including more than 35 years in Florida, and are active in more than 160 countries worldwide, diversity is part of your core, part of your fabric - you live it, you breathe it and you respect it."