2018 Speakers and Presenters
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Laura Lane joined UPS in November 2011 as President, Global Public Affairs, where she is responsible for all worldwide government affairs activities for UPS among the more than 220 countries and territories the corporation serves. Prior to joining UPS, Laura was Managing Director and Head of International Government Affairs at CitiGroup; and VP for Global Public Policy with Time Warner.
Laura previously worked in the U.S. government, where she was responsible for bilateral trade affairs with the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries at the United States Trade Representative (USTR). There, she also negotiated market access commitments on trade in services with China as part of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and served as U.S. negotiator for the WTO Financial Services negotiations, which resulted in a first-ever global agreement in 1997.
Laura served in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1990-1997. She worked in the Trade Policy and Programs office in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 1995-1997. She served as the State Department representative on the U.S. Basic Telecommunications negotiating team, which concluded the first-ever global agreement on basic telecommunications in 1996. She also worked in the State Department Operations Center from 1994-1995 as watch officer under Secretary Warren Christopher. In her State Department career, she was the recipient of two Superior Honor awards and a Meritorious Honor award.
In her overseas assignments, Laura was the economic and political-military affairs officer at the American Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, from 1993-1994. She led the evacuation effort of American citizens from Rwanda in April 1994 with the outbreak of the civil war and returned in August as political advisor to U.S. forces providing humanitarian relief to Rwandan refugees. She also served as consular officer in Bogota, Colombia from 1990-1992.
Romaine Seguin, president of UPS Americas Region, is responsible for all UPS package and cargo operations in Canada and more than 50 countries and territories across Latin America and the Caribbean. Additionally, she has oversight of the UPS Supply Chain Solutions operations throughout Latin America, Miami and the Caribbean.
Romaine delivered a TED Talk in 2016 on global trade and is a frequent speaker at community and business events internationally. She has received multiple awards and recognitions for her work in the international business community.
Romaine began her career with UPS in the Missouri district in 1983 as a part-time hub supervisor. She held a variety of operational and management roles in Missouri and was later promoted to hub manager. In 1989, she accepted a five-year assignment in Europe and lived in both the UK and France. She returned to the U.S. in 1994 as controller for the air district, based in Louisville, Kentucky. She held several posts in Kentucky, Michigan and Minnesota before moving to Milan, Italy, as managing director of UPS South Europe. She was promoted to chief operating officer for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, based in Brussels, Belgium. In September 2010, Romaine was promoted to her current position, which is based in Miami.
Romaine servess on several boards, including the Florida International University (FIU) School of Business Dean’s Council, the board of trustees of William Woods University, the United Way of Miami-Dade board, the Conferencia Latinoamericana de Compañías Express board – Latin America Conference of Express Companies, and the World Trade Center Miami board, which she currently chairs. She is a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee.
Susan Harper is the Consul General of Canada in Miami. Prior to moving to Miami, she held two consecutive positions in Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa: Director General and Senior Arctic Official (2013-16) and Director, Trade Controls and Technical Barriers (2009-13). In 2004, she had been posted to the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C., where she became Minister (Economic) in 2008. She had previously been Ambassador in Montevideo, Uruguay (2001-04), after having held trade positions in Yaoundé, Paris and Buenos Aires. Before joining the Government of Canada, Susan taught at both Cambrian College in Sudbury and George Brown College in Toronto.
Jane Geddes has been appointed as chief executive officer of the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA), the largest women-focused amateur golf association in the United States. She succeeds Pam Swensen, who resigned from the organization in early 2017 after 15 years of service to pursue other opportunities. As head of the EWGA, she is dedicated to helping the organization expand membership opportunities into currently underserved markets and provide additional playing opportunities for existing and new female golfers. Jane formerly served as executive director of the International Association of Golf Administrators (IAGA). She previously competed as an LPGA touring professional for 20 years, winning 14 tournaments worldwide, including two LPGA major championships. She achieved her highest rank of third on the LPGA Tour’s money list and won the U.S. Women’s Open Championship (1986), LPGA Championship (1987) and Women’s British Open Championship (1989). Following her playing career, Jane earned a law degree from Stetson University College of Law and re-entered the game as an executive at the LPGA Tour.
Lisa Kaiser Hickey is founder, owner and chair of the board of DPrint, a multi-technology graphic communications company with an international clientele. She is an owner and manager of Good Works LLC, an asset investment company. She has been consistently named as a leading entrepreneur by multiple organizations in Central Florida, including the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2013 Woman Business Owner of the Year for the South District of Florida.
Lisa writes for business publications and has appeared in articles on entrepreneurial women in national publications including The New York Times, USA Today, Entrepreneur’s Exchange and the international e-zine Dialogue.
She is an advocate for gender equity and the empowerment of women worldwide. She is an authority on the global state of women’s entrepreneurship. Lisa has served on multiple state, national and international boards that were strategic to her international interests.
Lisa served at the invitation of the White House on a steering committee for the 2003 Women’s Entrepreneurial Summit in Tampa. She was a member of The Executive Committee (TEC, now known as Vistage), an international organization of CEOs, for nine years. She served as national president of the National Association of Women Business Owners and global president of The International Alliance for Women.
Lisa became an independent certified John Maxwell Team coach, teacher and speaker in 2016 and is a cohost of the local annual Live2Lead simulcast. She is certified to teach 16 John Maxwell courses and has also completed a 14-week international course in the science of marketing.
Lisa Vlooswyk is a seven-time Canadian Long Drive Champion and placed Top 5 at the 2016 World Long Drive Championships. She is an LDA Tour Champion and Callaway Golf sponsored athlete. Lisa was the first woman to ever hit a golf ball the length of 3.5 NFL football fields in competition and currently holds the Canadian Women’s Long Drive record at 350 yards 2 feet 2 inches. Lisa recently won Golfweek magazine’s Golf Fest Entertainer of the Year award.
In addition to her competitive career, Lisa is a golf journalist for several publications including Inside Golf magazine and has had her own column in Golf Digest Canada. Lisa uses her vast experience as a world-class athlete to be a successful keynote peak performance speaker at conferences and conventions. She is a golf entertainer for many corporate/charity golf tournaments across North America, including the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championships and the Champions Tour Greater Hickory KIA Classic, and runs her own golf school for women both in Canada and the United States.
SPEAKERS AMD PRESENTERS
Roz Alford is the managing director at Women Impacting Public Policy. She is a retired principal of ASAP Solutions Group. Prior to launching ASAP Staffing in 1989, Roz completed corporate assignments focusing on linguistics and human resources with Fortune 500 corporations, including Kraft Foods. In 1998, she partnered with Nancy Williams to create the entity now known as ASAP Solutions Group. Roz leveraged her skills for identifying, developing and promoting talent to help build a high-performing ASAP team of professionals and consultants. She worked closely with all business units and functional areas of the company to ensure operational excellence. Under her guidance and leadership and in partnership with Nancy, ASAP launched consulting, workforce compliance and managed services business units to augment the staffing business. ASAP also expanded globally by establishing an offshore facility in Hyderabad, India. In 2011, Roz was appointed by Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), a bi-partisan federal advisory council created to provide advice and policy recommendations to the president, Congress and the SBA on economic issues of importance to women business owners. She devotes significant time and energy to supporting programs in the women’s business community and actively participates in the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), among other organizations. She is also an advocate for many charitable organizations including Junior Achievement, The American Red Cross and The United Way.
Nancy Allen is the president and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council of Florida/Her Company Inc., a not-for- profit organization whose mission is to certify, connect and champion women in business. The WBDC/Her Company is the Florida regional partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which certifies that businesses are owned, operated, managed and independently controlled by women. Certification opens the door for national and federal contracts as well networking opportunities with powerful and successful women business owners. Over the years, Nancy has been recognized for her work on behalf of women in business through numerous prestigious awards, and she is an award winning international speaker on women’s issues. Nancy’s most coveted honor is the Mary Schnack Award, which she received from the Go for the Greens Foundation in 2016 for her work in helping the global women business owner community. Nancy recently achieved certification as an Energy Leadership Master Practitioner from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching. This distinction, combined with her many years of business development expertise, enables Nancy and her team to coach and consult women business owners through all phases of their lives. Nancy is a founding member of the Go for the Greens Board of Directors and serves on the Go for the Greens Executive Planning Committee, where she serves as Procurement Chair
Tracy Barber is the Human Resources vice president, Strategic Employee Engagement, for UPS. Tracy oversees UPS’s leadership and talent management, organizational development, and employee experience, advocacy and communications strategy and practices. Tracy began her UPS career in 1991 as a hub clerk in Chantilly, Va., while earning her bachelor’s degree in business management from George Mason University. She served in several operations and human resources assignments before being promoted to communications supervisor later that year. After serving on a special assignment to Corporate Training Communications in 1993, she accepted a position in the group and relocated to Atlanta. Tracy was promoted in 1995 to Southwest Region Employee Communications manager in Dallas.
While there, she also earned her MBA at the University of Dallas. Tracy then accepted a similar assignment in the North Central Region in 1999 in Chicago. In 2003, she was promoted to Corporate Employee Communications staff manager, where she served in a variety of roles until accepting an assignment in 2013 as a customer communications segment communications director. In October 2013, Tracy was promoted to Employee Communications Department manager. She was promoted to her current position in January 2016. In addition to her job responsibilities, Tracy is active in the company’s Women’s Leadership Development programs and enjoys participating in mentoring and reverse mentoring programs for UPS’s high-potential talent. She also serves as a member of UPS’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Council.
Debbie L. Berry works with Lockheed Martin Training and Logistics Solutions as a senior staff analyst in the business development organization and as business development manager of the Innovation Demonstration Center. She has supported both domestic and international opportunities for the company as a systems engineer, project engineer and program manager. Debbie has 32 years of experience in the simulation and training industry spanning product design through delivery of fixed and rotary wing simulators, tank gunnery trainers, battle management training devices, instrumented training range systems and reconnaissance systems. As customer engagement liaison, she is responsible for management of capabilities demonstrations, business development and strategies. Debbie is a founding member of the Central Florida Chapter of Women In Defense and served as the inaugural chapter president. She served as president for the Central Florida Chapter of National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and for the Association of the U.S. Army Sunshine Chapter. Debbie currently serves as a WID CFL Advisor, CFL NDIA Director, and Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation board member. She was conference chair emeritus for I/ITSEC 2001 and ITEC 2009, and she is a charter member of the Modeling and Simulation Professional Certification Commission (CMSP) and an alumnus of Leadership Orlando (Class 78). She serves on the I/ITSEC Council of Chairs, the I/ITSEC STEM Committee and the ITEC Conference Committee. Her credentials include lifetime memberships in NDIA, WID, Navy League of the United States, and the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA). In recognition of her distinguished service, Debbie is the second recipient of the prestigious NDIA Silver Medal. She has been awarded the AUSA Sunshine Chapter Royal of the Flamingo medallion and is the inaugural recipient of the CFL WID Debbie L. Berry Legacy Award. Debbie is a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee.
Patrick Browne serves as Director of Global Sustainability for UPS, a worldwide leader in supply chain and logistics solutions. Working with cross-functional teams and executive leadership, Patrick leads strategies and initiatives to advance the company’s long-term sustainability vision. Patrick has managed UPS’s sustainability programs since 2008, including overseeing the company’s global GHG inventory and reporting, and has held various assignments in Plant Engineering and Environmental Affairs during his 29-year tenure with UPS. Patrick is an active participant in organizations focused on advancing sustainable business practices around the world, including BSR’s Future of Fuels working group and Global Reporting Initiative’s GOLD Community.
Alexandra Bunker is the national program director for the nonprofit Recycle Across America, where she is helping fix recycling by implementing society-wide standardized labels for recycling bins. Previously, Alex worked with sustainable businesses as the deputy executive director for the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce Southeast Region. She served the citizens of her county as an elected supervisor for the Seminole Soil and Water Conservation District for more than four years. Alex’s commitment to the environment has been vividly demonstrated over the past 15 years through her diligent work with several conservation organizations and committees, including the Florida League of Women Voters’ Climate Change Committee and the League of Conservation Voters.
In acknowledgment of her strong advocacy on behalf of the federal Wild & Scenic Wekiva River, Alex was invited by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to speak at the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act signing in 2004. One year later, she received the prestigious “Conservation Award” from Friends of the Wekiva River Inc.
Jean Cannon is the founder of MyStartupSuncoast.com, which focuses on jump-starting entrepreneurs and small businesses to create living-wage jobs. The company provides centralized, online information, connecting contacts, providing training, and identifying resources to assist new entrepreneurs with existing local skilled experts to quickly locate what is needed or to provide answers to questions to assist businesses. Entrepreneurial employment will attract and retain current population as well as continue to support community growth by attracting new residents with skills to move in and start businesses. Jean has a passion for addressing and engaging the 55-plus workforce, which brings the experience, resources and abilities to contribute to new business growth. Jean built her career around defining and solving problems, working with global teams to design and deploy solutions to resolve issues. She has worked for large companies, small startup companies, nonprofits, and as a part-time university professor. She has been a consultant, a project team leader and an educator.
Susanna Carson is an entrepreneur building her personal and corporate legacy through the business of sustainable/compostable packaging. She is the founder and CEO of BSI Biodegradable Solutions, a compostable packaging distribution company, and more recently Besics Packaging Corporation, a compostable retail products company. She has more than 22 years of education and work experience in environmental issues and business development. Susanna serves as co-chair of the Product and Packaging Working Group of the National Zero Waste Council; is a topic expert for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition; and is a founding member of Women for Nature, supporting environmental conservation and education programs. One of her more personally satisfying roles is as a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee, where she serves as Sustainability Chair.
Tim Center is an attorney and statewide leader focused on building better communities. He serves as the executive director of Sustainable Florida, which promotes sustainable practices in Florida that protect natural resources, strengthen the economy and improve quality of life. Tim is also the CEO of the Capital Area Community Action Agency, a $9 million nonprofit that helps people who have the will to move out of poverty positively change their lives. He also operates Centerfield Strategy, a consulting firm. A fourth-generation Floridian, Tim received the 2014 Hero of Service Award from City Year and is a graduate of Leadership Florida and Leadership Tallahassee. He is a founding member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee and a member of the Go for the Greens Board of Directors, where he is chair of the Governance Committee.
Cathi Coan is the founder and chief executive officer of Techway Services Inc., based in Dallas, Texas. She defines and oversees the company’s strategic initiatives to propel Techway growth and foster its reputation as a new-generation company providing excellence in IT asset management and managed services. Techway is a tier 1 partner to many Fortune 500 companies and has grown more than tenfold since opening its doors in 2004. Cathi is also a cofounder of Give10back.com an e-commerce company focused on turning overstock, excess and returned retail goods into a powerful fundraising vehicle for schools, religious organizations and nonprofits. Give10back.com offers values on electronics, kitchenware, toys and much more with the added benefit that 10 percent of every dollar consumers spend is donated to their favorite cause. Cathi’s leadership extends beyond Techway Services to her work with several philanthropic, civic and non-profit organizations. In 2012, she was a member of the board of directors of The Women’s Business Council Southwest, and Cathi continues to serve this organization on the strategic advisory council. She was a member of the Electronic Resource Recovery Council, and the Greater DFW Recycling Alliance. Cathi is a member of the board of directors of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, where she was previously recognized as a Star award recipient.
Cindy Chace is the director of sales for the government sector at UPS, where she has worked for 31 years. She is active in the corporation’s Congressional awareness program, working with elected officials who have included Robert Wexler, Ted Deutch and Clay Shaw, all of South Florida. Cindy represents UPS on the Corporate Board of Advisors for the Cuban American National Council and served on the President’s Advisory Council at Radford University, her alma mater. She actively participates in activities with minority and women’s business organizations, including The International Alliance for Women, which recognized her as a Leader in Global Development in 2012, and the National Association of Women Business Owners, which recognized her work in presenting UPS with the 2008-09 National Chapter Corporate Partner of the Year Award. In 2014, Cindy was recognized with the Corporate Advocate Award for the WBE Hall of Fame. Cindy is co-founder and co-chair of the Go for the Greens conference and is a founding director of Go for the Greens Foundation Inc. She chairs the sponsorship committee and serves on the golf, mentorship, finance and programming committees.
Nirali Chokshi is a CPA at her family’s firm, Chokshi Accounting & Tax Services Inc. She serves on the Leadership Council for the Indian American Chamber of Commerce in Central Florida Nirali also is a Bollywood dance instructor for little girls for C Studios, and is one of the key leaders for Bollywood Magic, a Bollywood performance show partnered with the Orlando Magic professional basketball team.
Lee Cristou is the founder of KROMA® Makeup as well as an educator and celebrity makeup artist. Kroma means “color” in Greek. KROMA® was born in 2000 to cater to the healthy-conscious. The collection is unique because of its rich pigment, durability, high-grade minerals and natural preservatives safe for the most sensitive skin. It is widely used from everyday wear, to photo shoots, print, HD TV, post-op procedures and ideal for any skin conditions. Lee has applied her exacting standards for more than 20 years, creating looks for thousands of women. Her past experience in modeling, aesthetics and development of beauty lines moved her to create a collection of products that cater to customization. Kroma products are exclusive, luxurious, doctor recommended, organic, age-defying and planet-friendly.
Lisa has more than 16 years of experience in real estate advisory and has worked with a diverse array of clients including cities, counties, developers, lawyers, national homebuilders, equity funds and large landowners. She has worked on projects throughout Florida and across the nation and brings the perspective of national success and lessons learned while framing them through a local lens. Her work and client recommendations are recognized as being creative, market supported and financially feasible. Lisa started her career with Ernst and Young’s Commercial Real Estate Services Group, where her primary focus was valuation of commercial properties and site selection for industrial and government users, including the National Archives and Records Administration and Serologicals, a biotechnology company. She also worked with RCLCO, a nationally recognized knowledge solutions provider to the real estate industry. Her work at RCLCO included market feasibility studies and analysis of residential and commercial opportunities to maximize market share and financial returns. In addition, she worked for Beazer Homes as a strategic market analyst, where she advised on land acquisitions, target market audiences, repositioning of existing communities, and expansion strategies. Lisa is an active member of the Urban Land Institute of Central Florida, serving in a leadership role on the state Product Councils and Central Florida’s Executive Committee. She was selected as a recipient of the Orlando Business Journal 40 under 40 award.
Kay Douglas is president of Douglas Marketing Group, a full-service advertising agency in Michigan and Ontario since 1991. Driven by connections that stimulate communications, Kay recognizes the importance of relationship-based marketing with global reach. Specializing in brand culture, Kay creates comprehensive big-picture online-offline strategies and puts them into action. DMG Big Picture Landscape® is the company’s proprietary software that manages brands and fully integrates return on investment ROIALLY® software dashboards to track results for their clients. Kay has received multiple recognitions, including the 2014 Perfect Pitch Award, 2014 Athena Award, NAWBO Top 10 Michigan Women-Owned Businesses, and six international design and communication awards in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. She has served as an ambassador for the “International Region” of Detroit and Ontario and has been at the forefront of progressive collaborations. She serves on the Canadian U.S. Business Association board of directors, the Detroit Athletic Club membership development committee, the Community Foundation and Oakland University School of Nursing Board of Visitors, Corp!, and 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in Michigan.
Josh Ferguson is the director of sales and operations for the West Coast of Florida at Enterprise Holdings, where he has worked for the last 10 years. Enterprise Holdings and its affiliates offer extensive car rental, car sharing, truck rental, fleet management, retail car sales and other transportation services. The company operates 9,600 fully staffed neighborhood and airport locations worldwide. Josh actively participates in the corporation’s formal mentoring program. After several years of participating in the Go for the Greens conference golf event, Josh joined the Executive Planning Committee in 2017. He serves as co-chair of the golf committee.
Sgt. Chantal Farrah is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which she joined in 2002 after completing a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree specializing in communications (public relations/journalism). During her career, she has worked as a frontline police officer responding to calls to assist the public. She also served for several years as the provincial media relations officer, where she was the spokesperson for the RCMP on many high-profile cases of local, provincial and national magnitude. Sgt. Farrah is currently managing the RCMP’s Operational Telecommunication Centre in New Brunswick, which takes all police calls for service from the public and manages all communications with police officers in the field.
Clayton Louis Ferrara is a poet, a naturalist, and the executive director of the United Nations-accredited NGO IDEAS For Us. He is a classically trained biologist and world traveler who has conducted research on five continents on evolution, conservation and ecology. His work as leader of IDEAS focuses on advancing sustainability through the creation of solutions that benefit people and the planet and generate profit to transform communities and lift families out of poverty. He is a celebrated alum of Rollins College, the first American to be named a Darwin Scholar, a member of the SDSN Youth group for Pope Francis, and a handpicked member of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s GreenWorks task force. He was born in Chile and currently lives in Winter Park, Florida.
Benita Fortner recently retired as director of supplier diversity for Raytheon Company. She served in the supplier diversity space for 28 years. In her previous position as procurement manager at Hughes Aircraft Company, Benita was instrumental in significantly increasing the number of corporate agreements awarded to small, minority and women-owned suppliers, implementing supplier customer feedback sessions and second-tier alliances. Benita is the immediate past chair of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and served in numerous leadership roles with government, industry and advocacy groups focused on business owner diversity in the supply chain. Benita served as the chair of the advisory board for the Tuck Minority Business Executive Education Programs and served on the Tuck School of Business Board of Overseers. Benita has been inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame from the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce and was recognized with a Clarion Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
Judson Freeman is one of two deputy division directors for the Department of Management Services’ Division of State Purchasing. He was previously the department’s program manager for MyFloridaMarketPlace, Florida’s eProcurement platform, from May 2014 to September 2016. Judson joined DMS in June of 2013 as a business analyst for the MyFloridaMarketPlace program, where he served as the program’s subject matter expert for sourcing and reporting. Prior to joining the department, Judson worked for the Department of Revenue’s Division of Child Support Enforcement for two years in procurement and contract management, where he managed Florida’s Depository Unit, which is responsible for the distribution IV-D funds from non-custodial parents to custodial parents. Judson also spent nine years in the private sector as the vice president of a construction material supply business in the Florida Panhandle. During this time he accumulated a great deal of knowledge on supply chain management and supervisory experience.
Latasha Griffin is a commodity manager with UPS, where she has worked for nine years supporting various finance and analytics functions within sales operations, legal and procurement. She manages a portfolio of commodities including marketing, sponsorships, communications, public relations, audit, and cafeteria services. Latasha is also aligned with UPS’s commitment to creating a rich and diverse workplace for its partners, serving as the community connection chair for the UPS LGBT & Allies Business Resource Group since 2014. In this role, Latasha works closely with the UPS Foundation to sponsor and participate in the annual Atlanta AIDS Walk and Atlanta Pride Parade.
Debbie Gust is president and owner of WOW! Factor Desserts, a Canadian upscale frozen dessert supplier to restaurants, hotels, banquet halls, cruise ships, healthcare institutions and airlines. In business for 35 years, the company is family-run and prides itself in excellence, quality and customer service. Debbie comes from a family of entrepreneurs on both sides, each of which run several different businesses in various industries, from construction and development to energy, storage, and the golf course and banquet business. Debbie is a member of Women Presidents’ Organization and Women’s Foodservice Forum, and a graduate of Western University Quantum Shift Ivey Program for Entrepreneurs. She was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Entrepreneurs in 2016. She was accepted for a scholarship for this November for Harvard University’s executive program Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director.
Desiree Hanson serves as the manager of supplier diversity for Moffitt Cancer Center and has more than 25 years of supply chain experience in the public and private sectors in the manufacturing, information technology and healthcare fields. Desiree administers the supplier diversity program and is responsible for policy development, implementation, and management of the center’s supplier diversity vision and strategy. She actively pursues purchasing opportunities and promotes the inclusion and utilization of diverse suppliers in the center’s procurement and supply chain processes.
Desiree represents Moffitt Cancer Center in the business community in leadership roles through involvement in minority and women-owned business associations and organizations. She currently serves as a board member for the Minority Enterprise Development Corp and previously served as president of the West Coast Chapter of the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council. She also has conducted supplier diversity webinars and is a frequent speaker and moderator on supplier diversity-related issues for local and national organizations. Desiree has received numerous awards for her leadership, outreach, and mentoring of diverse suppliers. In addition, under her leadership, the supplier diversity program at Moffitt Cancer Center has received both local and national recognition and is a recipient of numerous supplier diversity awards and recognitions from the Florida Minority Business Opportunity Center, Central & North Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, Tampa Bay MedWeek, Tampa Organization of Black Affairs, and Premier Inc. Prior to joining Moffitt Cancer Center in March 2009, Desiree served as the supplier diversity manager for the University of South Florida. She previously worked for the Fulton County government in Atlanta as a cable franchise manager administering cable television/telecommunication franchise agreements for the county.
Dana Hill is the manager of procurement programs for BlueCross BlueShield of Florida. Within 18 months after he started in 2010, the organization increased its overall spend with diverse suppliers from less than 1 percent to more than 5 percent, and in 2013 hit 117 percent of its diversity supplier goal. Dana formerly served as director of MBE development for the St. Louis Minority Business Council, director of procurement analysis for Peabody Energy, manager at Xerox, purchasing manager at American Airlines, and buyer at Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work in supplier diversity, including the Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award in 2012 from the Minority Business Development Agency, Buyer of the Year in 2012 from the Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, and Business Corporate Champion in 2013 from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Retu Jalhan is the director of business development at The RMP Group, where she is responsible for the detailed financial analysis and valuation of acquisition opportunities, preparation of legal and marketing documents, and assistance with due diligence items. In addition to buy-side activities, she has been charged with the development of an offshore fund and oversees all fund administration items such as transaction support and limited partner reporting. Retu previously worked in the banking, investments and insurance sectors. She served as group account manager for the Cooperators Insurance Company, where she managed a portfolio of group insurance clients valued at more than $160 million in premiums. In her spare time, Retu teaches yoga and volunteers with organizations including the Indian-American Chamber of Commerce and the Kesri youth organization. She is the founder of the We Are Your Sisters (WAYS) Yogathon aimed at raising funds for rape and trafficking survivors. Retu is a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee, where she serves on the programming and finance committees.
Diana LaTour is the managing partner of LaTour & Associates, an international consulting firm focused on innovative business development, and the operating partner for LFE Capital in Minneapolis, Minn. She has extensive experience in the successful formation and development of new enterprises, the repositioning of under-performing organizations, development of effective and winning management teams, and creation of global market strategies. Her career has focused on the high-tech, healthcare and consumer industries. Diana previously served as president and CEO of World Telehealth Corporation, an online healthcare company serving the G77 countries; CEO of ContourPak International, a cold therapy healthcare products company (acquired by Futuro); founder, CEO and president of Theranetics Inc., a physical therapy media products company (acquired by Kaiser Permanente); Founder and CEO of RedCreek Communications, an industry leader in network security systems (acquired by SonicWall (SNWL); president and CEO of Cross Access Corporation, an industry leader in data access and data warehousing software technology, (acquired by IBM); vice president and general manager, Data Communications Group, AST Research; international consultant and partner of Latco International, an international business consulting organization (residing overseas); and founder and vice president of Tra-Tech, a training and educational company (acquired by McGraw-Hill). Diana currently serves as the board chair of Earthrise Space Inc., PN Medical Inc., and Zuke Music Inc.; a board member of Karman Space Inc.; and a board observer for TAO Connect Inc. She also serves on community boards at the Crummer Business School Entrepreneurial Program at Rollins College; the Regional Joint Partnership Capital Task Force for Orlando Inc., BizLife and Factur. Formerly, Diana served as the board chair for Futori International Ltd. and a board member of World Telehealth Corporation, Contour Pak International Inc., Palm Tree Software Inc., Contempo Health Inc., Theranetics Inc., International Nutrition Consultants Inc., RedCreek Communications Inc., and Cross Access Corporation. She was a founder, executive director and board member of The Enterprise Network, a non-profit organization in Silicon Valley focused on improving the success rate of new ventures. In addition, she served as a member of the IBM board of advisors for Silicon Valley.
Lori Lemmon is an integrated customer communications manager for UPS. As a passionate advocate for the company’s customers over the last 23 years, she applies her expertise in marketing and communications to manage communications with customers during crisis events. Lori also oversees a team responsible for communications about UPS services and technology products and directs UPS’s sponsorship of organizations for women business leaders including Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Past roles at UPS include recruiting MBAs for marketing and leading UPS’s 2007 Centennial celebration. She holds a master’s in telecommunications from Indiana University and an MBA from the College of William & Mary.
Nadine Manjaro operates Beyond Machine to Machine Communications LLC, a consultancy that provides business development and guidance involving the Internet of Things (IoT). In late 2016 she began delivering IoT training for high school students and started delivering this training in late 2016. Nadine formerly served as director of IoT programs for Tech Mahindra, where she was responsible for IoT pre-sales, solutions, and North America ecosystem partner development. She previously worked on projects with Verizon, Sprint, Huawei, Telefonica, Etisalat and Telcel. She contributed to Industry Standards for HL7 and DSL technology in her former role as co-chair of the DSL Former Service Provider Action Council while at Sprint LTD. Nadine also worked as an industry analyst for ABI Research for three years, providing global coverage of the wireless infrastructure market. She has written extensive research on LTE, WiMAX, IMS, global spectrum, managed services, cell site infrastructure and mobile backhaul. She has been quoted as an industry expert in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, International Data Group, RCR Wireless, Fierce Wireless and several other publications.
Emily Marron has been the head coach of the UCF women’s golf program since June 2012. Less than three years after stepping into that role, she was named American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and led the Knights to their first conference title since 2000. She repeated those feats again in 2017, when the Knights captured the American Athletic Conference championship and swept the conference’s major awards. Coach Marron was named Coach of the Year, Ashley Holder was named Player of the Year for a third time, and Maria Balcazar was named Freshman of the Year. Prior to her tenure at UCF, Coach Marron spent nine seasons with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Under her leadership, the Spartans finished runner-up in the Southern Conference Tournament. She was named coach of the year by the league and coached Fanny Cnops, who later transferred to UCF, to Southern Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. Before UNC-Greensboro, Coach Marron spent three seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Penn State, where she was the recruiting coordinator and helped lead the squad to the 2003 NCAA East Regional Tournament.
Ashleigh McLaughlin is the manager of digital marketing and brand strategy for the LPGA Women’s Network, an online platform created by the Ladies Professional Golf Association to help connect more women to golf and the stories that inspire them to better enjoy the game. Ashleigh has made it her mission to attract more women and girls to golf through creative branding and marketing strategies. During her tenure with the LPGA, she has served as the national tournament director for the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals membership, and manager of programs and marketing for the LPGA Foundation, spearheading the re-brand of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program. Ashleigh is a former collegiate golfer.Coming Soon
Gina Medlock is a commercial banking relationship manager with PNC Bank, where she started her career in 1998 with the retail management trainee program. She is able to offer strategic insight and financial solutions for businesses and nonprofit organizations with $5 million to $50 million in annual revenue/budget. Gina acts as an advisor with a strong background in credit analysis to help businesses grow and treasury management solutions to help accelerate receivables, optimize payables, maximize performance, and protect company assets against fraud. Companies can optimize cross-border cash flow, manage currency risk, and streamline foreign trade transactions with PNC’s international services. The bank’s capital solutions include M&A advisory, loan syndications and risk mitigation strategies to support growth.
Beth Merrick has been a cast member with the Walt Disney Company for 24 years, including 15 as a recruiter with the Parks and Resorts division. Her story began with her opportunity to work as a tour guide at the Magic Kingdom after college. This was very exciting because her father also worked as a Disney cast member on the opening team of Epcot. Her career has included time in theme park guest relations and resorts concierge, as well as management roles in parks and resorts and workforce management. Some highlights Beth is most proud of include writing and creating the orientation program for the Magic Kingdom cast members, “Once Upon a Time is Now”; opening team for the first “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party”; part of the events team for the “Remember the Magic” 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Magic Kingdom; many company and local volunteer events; and being the recipient of the Recruiter of the Year Award for the National Hispanic Corporate Achievers. Beth currently supports recruitment for the sales and marketing and new vacation operations segments.
Lourdes Mola is president and founder of Lourdes Mola Solutions, which partners with businesses and nonprofits to “Fuel Their Business.” After more than 25 successful years in Fortune 100 companies, including Walt Disney World, she is utilizing her expertise to help businesses optimize their profits. Lourdes is a national award-winning bilingual professional with a proven track record in leading business development efforts, creating multicultural strategies, training and communications. Lourdes is an active member of the Central Florida community, where she currently serves as interim president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.
She also serves as a volunteer on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Central Florida Economic Development Commission, Prospera, and the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando. Additionally, Lourdes contributes to the social and economic well-being of the community by partnering with the Hispanic American Professional Business Women’s Association, Girl Scouts of America, United Arts and National Association Women Business Owners (NAWBO). In 2014, Lourdes was appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County, and in 2016 was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Executive Council.
Josie Mousseau joined Global Affairs Canada in 2003 after working in other government departments and the private sector. She leads a team committed to addressing the specific needs of women business owners and coordinating programs that support and engage women in international trade. Josie is widely recognized as a strong advocate in promoting business women in international trade and played an instrumental role in bringing together partner departments, representatives of women’s business organizations and corporations from across Canada to establish certification for businesswomen in Canada. Under her leadership, the initiatives taken by her division sparked numerous business success stories. She has received numerous awards for her work, including an Excellence in Service Award by the Government of Canada, a 2015 World of Difference 100 Award from The International Alliance for Women, a Leadership in International Trade award from the Toronto Chapter of Organization of Women in International Trade, and the 2014 WEConnect International Supplier Diversity Champion of the Year Award. She was also recognized in the Profiles in Diversity Journal Women Worth Watching. Josie is a founding board member of the Ottawa Chapter of the OWIT and is an active volunteer in her community.
Kris Oswold is a leader in global business process design and organizational transformation. With more than 28 years at UPS, Kris has built a career designing and executing global organizational change. As the director of supplier diversity, she brings a unique perspective to the role. In addition to being passionate about expanding opportunities for diverse suppliers to transact with UPS, Kris brings experience from across the UPS enterprise identifying where results fall short of desires and redesigning metrics, processes and systems to better achieve goals. Prior to her current role, Kris had responsibility to execute, and then to redesign, UPS processes across the globe, including all aspects of customer support, technical support, billing, payment processing, and collections. In addition to pioneering enterprise-level process design and ownership at UPS, Kris has opened and operated UPS offices in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Carolyn Parrs is the CEO and founder of Mind Over Markets, a creative marketing communications company started more than 13 years ago that is devoted to helping purpose-driven products and services build their brands and a better world. She speaks internationally on women’s leadership, sustainability and purpose-driven marketing. Carolyn is a certified business, marketing and life coach and the co-host and producer of the online summit Women As Game Changers featuring 27 powerful women who are changing the game in the world right now. She is the creator of Women Of Green, an online community and news source that turns up the volume of the feminine voice in green. Carolyn began her career on Madison Avenue working for big brands including General Foods, Proctor & Gamble, IBM, AT&T, American Express, Time-Life Publications and more. This prompted her to start her own consumer products company, Poochi, a high-end pet fashion and accessory business. In less than four years it was acquired by a multibillion-dollar corporation. She and her products have appeared on television shows such as Good Morning America, ABC News and CBS News and on cable TV on HBO, CNN and the Lifetime Channel. Print coverage includes The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, People magazine and Cosmopolitan.
Ruben Olmos Rodriguez is the president and managing partner of Global Nexus LLC, an international advisory firm that specializes in government and public affairs, business development, political analysis and communications. Clients include Fortune 500 companies and subnational governments. Ruben has more than 20 years of government and political experience operating at the nexus of the U.S.-Latin American relationship advising clients on a range of federal, state and local administrative and legislative matters with a particular focus on international relations, trade, logistics and travel and tourism. He has combined his professional and academic life in Washington, D.C., New York City and Mexico City. In the think-tank and international organizations arena, he has served in different capacities at The World Bank Group, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Council of the Americas in New York. There, he developed his expertise in all topics related to Mexico, focusing on business, politics and social issues, and helped several constituencies understand the broad range of subjects that encompass the U.S.-Mexico bilateral agenda. Ruben brings an insider’s understanding of the political process in both the U.S. and Mexico. He has served as a congressional aide and has worked in the federal government as well as in local political campaigns. Ruben is a regularly scheduled newspaper, radio and TV columnist, analyzing U.S.-Latin America relations.
Pamela Rogan is the president and CEO of Rogan Marketing and Communications. She brings with her a depth and breadth of experience that directly benefits her company and indirectly enhances the companies she works with for the past 30 years. Pamela is known by colleagues and clients for her natural leadership ability, team-building skills and a commitment to “Blue Sky” thinking, where ideas can be shared collaboratively without fear of being judged. While working in New York City, Pamela successfully ran two in-house advertising agencies and went on to turn around a third. The final, near-failing agency, was on the verge of losing its key client when Rogan stepped in to purchase the company and completely revamp operations, turning the small design firm into a full-service marketing, advertising and communications company. She successfully ran the agency for eight years, with 11 employees, before closing the company to relocate to Atlanta, where she opened a similar company and then transferred it when she and her husband relocated permanently to Orlando in 2010. Throughout her career, Pamela has been committed to volunteerism. The majority of her efforts have been directed towards encouraging the growth of women and young adults who display entrepreneurial leanings while continuously educating herself in order to best foster diversity and help her clients grow their businesses. In Orlando, she previously served as president of NAWBO Orlando for four years. Her current volunteer efforts include serving on the governing board for Athena Powerlink for seven years and joining the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a board member. Pamela is a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee, serving as the marketing chair.
Billie Bryant Schultz is CEO of CESCO Inc., an award-winning printing equipment and software solution provider focused on managed document services and sales of copiers, smart multifunctional devices, scanners, plotters, 3D printers and supplies. Since joining the company, Billie has transitioned CESCO from a coin and office equipment service company to one that has extensive experience and knowledge cultivated through partnerships with leading printing equipment manufacturers and software providers, all for the benefit of sustainability and cost reduction in document printing. Those partnerships include Xerox, Lexmark, HP Ricoh, Dell, Epson, Brother and Y Soft SafeQ Software. Billie served on the formation boards of the Women’s Business Council Southwest and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, where she served for 10 years. She was the first chair of the WBENC Leadership Forum and a chair of the certification committee and task force, and she currently serves on the program committee and is a Leadership Forum chair emeritus. Billie continues to serve on the WBCS board of directors, in addition to the board of directors of the American Institute for Diversity and Commerce’s Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame. For her advocacy for women, minorities and small businesses, she has won numerous awards, including the WBENC Applause, WBE Hall of Fame, WBENC Star vendor, WBE WBCS award of the year, TXU/CESCO Star Vendor, EFH CESCO/Xerox Partnership award, Enterprising Woman of the Year. Billie serves on the Go for the Greens Foundation board of directors and is a member of the Go for the Greens conference Executive Steering Committee, where she chairs the mentorship committee and serves on the sponsorship committee.
Diane Sears of Orlando, Florida, is founder and president of DiVerse Media LLC, which assists clients with content marketing projects, including nonfiction books, research, white papers, TED Talks, executive speeches, event planning, media relations, online marketing and social media. The company has coached authors of more than 100 nonfiction books. Diane is the author of Tapping Your Inner Entrepreneur: Making the Move from Employee to Business Owner and Inside AP: A Guide to Today’s Accounts Payable Profession, as well as thousands of magazine and newspaper articles. An award-winning journalist, she has served as editor-in-chief of two business magazines and as a writer and editor for several others. She also served as an editor and news reporter at The Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today newspapers. Diane is the Orlando Chapter chair of the Women Presidents’ Organization, a founding governing body member of Athena PowerLink in Orlando, and the Central Florida regional director for the Women’s Business Development Council of Florida, which certifies companies as
women-owned for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. She was inducted into the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame in December 2015 by the American Institute of Diversity & Commerce. Diane also was presented with a 2015 World of Difference 100 Award by The International Alliance for Women, and the National Association of Women Business Owners named her National Member of the Year in 2006 and again in 2009. Diane is co-founder and co-chair of the Go for the Greens conference and is a founding director of Go for the Greens Foundation Inc. She chairs the programming committee and serves on the finance, marketing, sponsorship and mentorship committees.
Cheryl W. Snead is the president and CEO of Banneker Industries Inc., a world-class provider of supply chain management solutions, including product sourcing, value added warehousing and logistics services. Headquartered in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, Banneker has three operations in the state and has a national footprint, including California, Illinois and Alabama. Cheryl is chair of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s Women’s Enterprise Forum and serves on the WBENC Board of Directors. In 2016, she was named Women’s Business of the Year by the Center for Women & Enterprise. In 2014, Cheryl was inducted into the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame. In 2009, she was named a Women’s Business Enterprise Star by WBENC and the New England Businesswoman of the Year by Bryant University’s Women’s Summit. Banneker Industries has been featured nationally in Inc., MBE, Essence and Black Enterprise magazines. Banneker industries was named the National Subcontractor of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2008. She is a charter member and officer of the Greater Providence (RI) Chapter of the Links Inc.
Leonard Spencer leads the supplier diversity function for The Walt Disney Company. In this role within the Sourcing and Procurement organization, he sets the vision and business strategy for the identification and utilization of diverse suppliers that help the company reduce costs, deliver quality, drive innovation and enhance economic inclusion reflective of the guests Disney serves and the communities where Disney operates around the world. In previous roles with The Walt Disney Company, Leonard used his leadership and change management expertise to guide the Strategic Sourcing and Procurement organization’s decision-making with respect to the development, adoption and implementation of best-in-class procurement programs, processes, procedures and tools. His team led the strategic planning and budgeting activities for the Theme Parks and Resorts segment and provided in-depth spend analysis. He provided segment leadership for teams based in Asia, Europe and the United States. Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, Leonard held leadership roles with the General Electric Company and the Federal Reserve Bank. He is a graduate of Leadership Orlando and currently serves as treasurer of the East Winter Garden Improvement District and chair of the Florida Supplier Diversity Roundtable. He is a member of the Roper YMCA Board of Directors and the Central Florida Smithsonian Advisory Council. As a dedicated alumnus of Tuskegee University, he is the President of the Central Florida Tuskegee Alumni Club and a member of the Tuskegee University School of Business and Industry Advisory Council. He also is president of the Winter Park Kappa Foundation and a guest lecturer at the Rollins College Crummer School of Business.
Dein Spriggs is president of the Florida Amateur Driving Club, an organization of licensed harness racing drivers who compete on a professional level and donate 100 percent of their race earnings to charity. The organization began partnering with the Go for the Greens Foundation in 2013 to provide an annual donation to help a woman business owner who has survived breast cancer. As a racer, Dein has in excess of 400 wins. When he is not on the horse track, Dein is a real estate consultant.
John Stephenson’s journey with Disney began in the 1980s in what was then known as The Magic Kingdom College Program. His travels with the Walt Disney Company have led him to all 12 Disney theme parks around the world. John has also worked in the company’s headquarters in Burbank, Calif., with Disney Consumer Products. In the early 1990s, he was part of the opening management team of Mickey’s Kitchen, the first Disney restaurant ever opened outside of a Disney theme park. In 1992, John left Disney to pursue a career with the Starbucks Corporation. He was the first recruiter to be hired outside of the corporate office of Seattle, Wash. John recruited for all levels of the organization, including IT, management, sales, marketing and coffee roasters. After 13 years, he returned to Disney. The highlight of his career came in 2005, when he was selected as the recruiter to launch the Disney College Program at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., introducing the Disney College Program to Southern California students who were not aware of it. In 2006 he was awarded the highest honor a cast member can receive: the Spirit of Disneyland award. After the successful launch of the program at Disneyland, he rejoined the cast at Walt Disney World in Florida as a college program recruiter. He has recruited for Disney professional internships since 2013, starting with technology positions and now for sales, service and events.
Monica Stynchula is the CEO and founder of REUNIONCare Inc., located at the Innovation Lab @ Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. REUNIONCare is a healthcare provider portal connecting doctors, agencies and community-based services into one central communication without an expensive electronic health record system. She is a member of the AARP Florida Executive Council and serves on the Florida Agencyfor Healthcare Administration Telehealth Advisory Council to craft recommendations for Florida’s first telehealth law. Monica is the program director of the Caregiver Accelerator, helping new companies enter the $72 billion caregiving marketplace. In 2016, she was a featured speaker representing the USA at the Seoul 50 Plus International Forum in Seoul, South Korea. Monica is a member of the Tampa Bay Bold Goal Elder Hunger Task Force. She is a graduate of the USA Office of National Coordination HITECH health information specialist program.
Mike Taylor has worked at Disney for 18 years. He has spent the last five years on the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Environmental Integration Team. Mike is responsible for environmental documentation, training and standards development efforts. He also leads a team of environmental project auditors who assess various emissions, waste and water reduction efforts.
Karen Townsend is the founder and principal of Integrated Building Maintenance Services Inc., which is woman- and minoritiy-owned (Native American). IBMS provides building maintenance and cleaning services. The company has a corporate turnover rate of less than 7 percent, compared with the national janitorial industry average of 28.5 percent. Karen opened her first janitorial business in Indiana in 1996 and sold it in 2004. After moving to Florida, she started IBMS later in 2004 and has grown it to operations in 15 States and Canada. In 2008, she introduced ProMaka, a proprietary line of chemicals that are completely sustainable and eco-friendly.
Dr. Diane Trees is the director of the University of Central Florida Metro Center. She is the host for WUCF TV’s Metro Center Outlook, which explores issues impacting Florida’s economic development and prosperity and gives Central Florida PBS viewers a front-row seat for discussions about government, business, education and more. Associated with UCF since 1994, Diane joined the Division of Community Relations in 2000, where she serves as the division’s associate vice president and the director of the UCF Metro Center. Developed in 2001, the Metro Center focuses on increasing community awareness and an understanding of economic issues affecting Central Floridians. Diane holds five degrees, including a doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis on the role of universities in regions; a master’s degree in health science; a bachelor’s degree in nursing; and a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in environmental studies. Her record of academic accomplishment, business leadership and community involvement provide an ideal combination for her university role in helping the region envision and prepare for the future.Karen Townsend is the founder and principal of Integrated Building Maintenance Services Inc., which is woman- and minority-owned (Native American). IBMS provides building maintenance and cleaning services. The company has a corporate turnover rate of less than 7 percent, compared with the national janitorial industry average of 28.5 percent. Karen opened her first janitorial business in Indiana in 1996 and sold it in 2004. After moving to Florida, she started IBMS later in 2004 and has grown it to operations in 15 States and Canada. In 2008, she introduced ProMaka, a proprietary line of chemicals that are completely sustainable and eco-friendly.
Elizabeth Vazquez is the CEO and co-founder of WEConnect International, a corporate-led non-profit that helps empower women business owners to succeed in global markets. She is a world leader in women’s economic empowerment and global supplier diversity and inclusion and is the co-author of Buying for Impact: How to Buy from Women and Change Our World. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51 percent owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women, and then connects them with member buyers. The WEConnect International eNetwork supports and promotes women-owned businesses based in 100 countries. Elizabeth works with many corporate leaders, including WEConnect International members with more than US $1 trillion in annual purchasing power. She sits on Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative’s International Advisory Council, the P&G Supplier Diversity Advisory Council, the Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE Girls’ and Women’s Committee, and is a Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Jury Member and a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. Elizabeth, who was born in Mexico, received the 2018 Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award.
Rains Vickery is a Sustainability Consultant at ecoPreserve: Building Sustainability, a certified Small Business and DBE/MWBE/LDB, where her work experience includes planning and implementing high-efficiency, low-impact, building design and operational strategies for universities; state and local governments; and businesses, including the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. She has recently taken on the role of Board Chair of the Florida Chapter of the U.S Green Chamber of Commerce, where she hopes to strengthen relationships between local governments and businesses to promote socially, economically and environmentally inclined policies and initiatives. Rains has received accreditation from the U.S Green Building Council as a LEED-Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction and from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as a Florida Stormwater, Erosion and Sedimentation Control Inspector.
Nicole Wickens is the founder of Validus Construction Services LLC, a commercial construction company that opened in 2012. Validus reached $6 million in its first year, exceeded 9 million in its second year, cleared $15 million in its third year, and closed 2016 with more than $17 million in annual revenue. Validus Construction offers a comprehensive package of services including design build, interior/exterior renovation, construction management, consulting, and joint ventures. Nicole and Validus have earned several recognitions over the past few years, including: Enterprising Woman of the Year Champion in 2016 and 2017; Orlando Business Journal Business Owner of the Year in 2017; and Orlando Business Journal 2017 Top 25 General Contractors in Central Florida ranking 19.
Patti Winstanley is president of the Aztec family of companies, all certified woman-owned businesses. With locations in Tucson, Arizona, and Austin and Waco, Texas, and an additional sales office in Dallas, Texas, Aztec has 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Aztec specializes in screen-printed and embroidered apparel including uniforms, promotional products, wide-format print, chenille for banners, signs, buttons, auditorium logos and jackets, sublimation, employee incentives, fulfillment and design. Patti serves as vice chair for small business for the Greater Austin Chamber and is co-chair of the AISD Reagan Early College High School community advisory committee. She is on the board of directors for the Women’s Business Council Southwest, and won Regional Advocate of the Year in 2010, the Women Working Together and the Lilly Knox Investing in Growth Award in 2011. Patti also represents WBCS as an advocate on the WBENC Forum, where she is the vice chair for the government committee, and served as chair of the 2015 WBENC National Conference and Business Fair host committee. She is a member of WBEC-West, where she was nominated for WBE Advocate of the Year in 2012, and serves as Forum Chair for Tucson. She was named an Enterprising Woman for 2013 by Enterprising Women magazine, and as a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization she served on the steering committee for WPO’s 2013 annual conference. Patti serves on the board of directors of the Go for the Greens Foundation and is a member of the Go for the Greens conference Executive Steering Committee, where she works with the sponsorship, programming, procurement and mentorship committees.
Jessica Wright is a dumpster-diving diva who helps organizations reduce material, labor and waste, creating circular economies in their communities and engaging their teams in sustainability planning. She works as a project manager for Orlando’s premier 360-degree Resiliency consulting company. Jessica’s specialized knowledge in zero waste, waste minimization and diversion, sustainable purchasing, and sustainable waste design have earned her the lead of ecoPreserve’s Resource Lifecycle service area. Her specialized material composition evaluations have resulted in increased diversion rates, cost savings, and employee engagement. Jessica has been awarded a LEED Green Associate designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. She is a member of the Sustainable Florida, Beyond 34, USGBC, Keep Orlando Beautiful, and Central Florida Engineers. Her volunteer activities include work with USGBC CAP, Orange County Schools, Keep Seminole Beautiful, Center for Green Schools, and Sierra Central Florida.
Kimberly Wyant is president of UPS Florida, where she directs all staff, departments and operations for 56 package centers, four hubs, six gateways, an air facility, and Trailer Conditioners Inc. Nearly 14,500 UPS employees support UPS’s sophisticated transportation network, delivering approximately 970,000 packages and documents daily. Kimberly began her UPS career in 2000 as a part-time supervisor in the Central Pennsylvania District. She was promoted to business manager in 2003. Following several job rotations in operations, Kimberly was promoted to package division manager in 2005. She accepted the assignment of feeder division manager the following year. Kimberly accepted a similar assignment for the Laurel Mountain District before becoming a package division manager in the Mid Atlantic District in 2008. Kimberly was named Central Plains District Operations Manager in 2011. She accepted a promotion as Central Plains District Manager in 2015. In May 2016, Kimberly accepted her current assignment. Kimberly serves on the Atlanta Federal Trade and Transportation Advisory Council.
Kirsten Wynn is director of marketing for the Women Presidents’ Organization, where she oversees member recruitment, the Platinum and Zenith membership programs, and additional programs such as the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies. She plays an active role in planning annual meetings and conferences, and represents the WPO at events around the world. Since joining in 2008 and working under the direction of WPO President and Founder Dr. Marsha Firestone, as well as with the board of directors, Kirsten has worked for the organization in a variety of roles, mostly focused on her graduate work in communications.
Bonnie Yauilla is a business diversity specialist at Tampa International Airport (Hillsborough County Aviation Authority), where she is responsible for actively seeking out women- and minority-owned businesses to introduce them to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) program in the state of Florida. She helps businesses understand the benefits of becoming certified and guides them through the DBE application process. Bonnie has more than 12 years of experience and is a passionate and enthusiastic champion for the DBE program. Tampa International Airport’s Business Diversity Office has a reputation of being one of the best in the state. Bonnie oversees the DBE application process and actively participates in the Florida Unified Certification Program (UCP). She takes an active role in promoting and representing the airport at events throughout the Tampa Bay area, including Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council, Planning Committee for the Tampa Bay Minority Enterprise Development Conference (MED Week), Hillsborough County Open Doors, SBDC Annual Government Small Business Conference, NIGP – The Institute for Public Procurement Annual Reverse Trade Show, and the National Association of Black Women in Construction. The Business Diversity Office at Tampa International Airport received an Award of Appreciation from the Tampa Bay Community Advocacy Committee for its support during the construction of the newly opened $750 million Rental Car Center. About $179.3 million of that project was committed to be spent with more than 145 woman- and minority-owned businesses.