Get Involved: Education Connection Committee

Education Connection Podcast featuring Jennifer Lawson and Jeff Chernoff

The Education Connection Committee serves as a hub for educational and business partners to work together to ensure our workforce is prepared for tomorrow. They serve as a catalyst for change and work with the Chamber’s policy committee to advocate on behalf of innovative educational initiatives. In 2017, in conjunction with the Chamber’s Vision 2026, the committee significantly changed focus by addressing the gaps that exist in workforce development and workforce talent. The mission of the Education Connection Committee is to develop workforce talent, advocate for innovative educational initiatives and inspire meaningful academic and business partnerships.

Education Connection Committee Chair Jennifer Lawson and Vice Chair Jeff Chernoff are asking for volunteers from diverse industries to join the committee.  The goal is for the committee and programming to be reflective of the Tampa community.  While all industries are encouraged to participate, there is a critical need for the following:

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
  • Construction
  • Government/Public Administration
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Manufacturing
  • Real Estate/Rental/Leasing
  • Transportation
  • Warehousing
  • Utilities
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Crop and Animal Protection
  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction

Education Connection Podcast featuring Jennifer Lawson and Jeff Chernoff


Member News 5/10/18 – 5/17/18

Member News

Member New Hires and Promotions

  • Vology Welcomes Mike Ehresman as Vice President of Sales Enablement

Member Events

Member Job Openings

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LT’18 Sports Day

Emily Farkas, MacDill Air Force Base

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi

As a member of the military, there is an unwritten, courteous rule that where ever you are stationed you cheer for the home team.  Thankfully, being stationed at MacDill Air Force Base makes it very easy to support the local Tampa Bay sports teams because what we learned during LT’18’s Sports Day is that the good plays extend beyond the ice, pitch, diamond, or field!

We started our day on the ice at Amalie Arena with LT’17 GOAT providing breakfast and a behind-the-scenes tour of Amalie Arena with Adam Lawson, Manager of Inside Sales and Nikki Gregory, Corporate Sales Manager. LT18 were “benched” for a rare photo opportunity in the players’ area and a fun picture with the Zamboni. After the tour, we received a warm welcome and sponsor remarks from Day Chair, Scott Garlick (LT’10), Senior Director, Managing Principal-Tampa Bay, Cushman and Wakefield, who certainly shared his passion for Sports Day. Next we were introduced and impressed by Jay Feaster, Vice President, Community Hockey Development, Tampa Bay Lightning. He presented the remarkable outreach and impact the Tampa Bay Lightning have on the community through their “Build the Thunder” and “Build the Thunder 2.0” programs, which is made possible by the Industry Growth Fund, a specific allocated fund built into the National Hockey League’s collective bargaining agreement that allocates a portion of league revenues to community programs. Starting in 2015, Lightning Chairman and Governor, Jeff Vinik, committed a 5-yr, $6M plan to put hockey sticks in the hands of 100K youth, 500 sets of hockey gear with Physical Education programs, target 100 7th graders for gear/training, and finally create 10 Junior Varsity Hockey Teams. In 3yrs, it’s clear by the numbers that the Lightning will exceed their goals. Furthermore, “Build the Thunder 2.0” uses the physics of hockey to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) lessons in the schools. These programs as well as the numerous camps and clinics provided in the Tampa Bay community leave no doubt that the Lightning have a strong fan base to cheer them on during playoffs. Go Bolts!

Following Mr Feaster’s presentation, we received a brief on The Value of Sports Tourism from Rob Higgins, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Sports Commission and which he shared the economic impacts of bringing events like the NHL All-Star Event, the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, and the NFL’s Super Bowl to Tampa Bay. For example, the NHL All-Star Event had an increase in hotel reservations by 2K and private/commercial air travel by 60% & 18% respectively. Rob also highlighted that the event had over 5K media mentions that directly supported the overall economic impact of $16M.

Perhaps the best part of the Amalie Arena visit was the special guest appearance by Brian Bradley, Tampa Bay Lightning ’92-’98. His passion for the Lightning makes him the perfect community relations representative and makes you think he could still hit the ice for the playoffs! We even received a special edition, autographed copy of “25 Years of Thunder.”

Our next bus stop was Al Lang Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies pitch, across the bridge conveniently located in downtown St. Petersburg.  Lee Cohen, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, Tampa Bay Rowdies, provided a welcome & tour of the facilities to include the pitch and ended at the Rowdies locker room. While we only had one LT classmate wearing a Rowdies shirt, all of us left with a generous Rowdies swag bag (including the new “Kick in the Grass” craft brew by Big Storm Brewery) that we could use to support our local #1-ranked USL team. Following the tour, Bill Edwards, Chairman, CEO and Governor, Tampa Bay Rowdies, shared a marketing video about the Rowdies program and shared his enthusiasm for his relatively new found love for soccer. The visit ended with Mr Cohen providing tickets to the next Rowdies match. Note: My young boys and their friends had a great time and enjoyed the access to the players at the end of the match!) Let’s Go Rowdies!

After the Rowdies, we headed down the street to Tropicana Field to visit the Tampa Bay Rays. We heard a State of the Rays brief from Brian Auld, President, Tampa Bay Rays; he spent a good deal of time discussing the pending move of the team to Ybor. We were provided a first-class baseball fare lunch and had the opportunity to watch an inning of the Rays vs. Texas Rangers game (Rays won!). We never left empty-handed all day…we left Tropicana Field with a bobble head and sunglasses.

Our final stop of the day was at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We started with a behind the scenes tour of the practice field, cafeteria and the team locker room. Next we heard from Atul Khosla, Chief Corporate Development and Brand Officer, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, about the recent efforts to update the Bucs brand. A panel discussion continued on the brand discussion and allowed Q&A. The end of the day concluded with a debrief in the lobby of One Bucs Place to reflect on the days events and a generous swag bag.

While not mentioned enough during the day, all of the organizations we visited support the military and their families in a way I’ve never seen in 20 years of military service. Along with providing free tickets, youth camps, visits to the base with team members/coaches/cheerleaders, and more, It is easy to applaud these Tampa Bay home teams!

Special thanks to our sponsor for the day Cushman&Wakefield!


Member News 5/3/18 – 5/10/18

Member News

Member Events

Member Job Openings

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Chamber Celebrates Leadership Tampa Graduates

(TAMPA, FL) – Leadership Tampa, a program of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the graduation of 46 members of the class of 2018 on May 2, 2018 at Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa, FL.  The 2018 class marks the 47th class to graduate from the nationally recognized leadership program established in 1971.

Members of Leadership Tampa are local business people who hold to mid-to upper-level management positions within their companies or organizations.  They represent a wide variety of industries across Tampa and Hillsborough County and are accepted into the program following a selective application process.

The 2018 Leadership Tampa class was led by Class Chair Josh Bullock of University of South Florida, a 2012 Leadership Tampa graduate and Vice Chair Julie Serovich of University of South Florida, a 2014 Leadership Tampa graduate.

Leadership Tampa Class of 2018 graduating class members:

Jolyon Acosta, Bush Ross, P.A.

Chris Adkins, Tampa Marriott Waterside

Josh Adkins, Moffitt Cancer Center

Robbie Artz, Tampa Bay Rays

Heather Brock, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney

Nick Buchanan, Keller Williams

Ernest Coney, Jr., Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc.

Adam DePiro, Visit Tampa Bay

Emily Farkas, MacDill Air Force Base

Craig Federer, Raymond James Financial

Rachel Feinman, Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation

David Ferreira, Warren Averett

Nikki Foster, Mosaic

Jessica Fugate, Florida Southern College

Christine Glover, City of Tampa

Kari Goetz, Tampa International Airport

Leslene Gordon, Hillsborough County Department of Health

Lindsay Grinstead, Tonic Consulting Group

Sarah Ham, AACSB International

Dale Hoffman, Hillsborough County Tax Collector

David Judd, III, Wehr Constructors, Inc.

LaKisha Kinsey-Sallis, Johnson Jackson, LLC

Jennifer LaRocco, GrayRobinson, P.A.

David Loos, Beaux-Arts Group

Leah Millette, BayCare

Linda Olson, Tampa Bay WaVE

Sara Palmer, USAmeriBank

Dustin Pasteur, IV, Tampa General Hospital

Stacey Pittman, Bank of Tampa

Kevin Preast, Tampa Bay Lightning

Randy Prescott, KCI Technologies, Inc.

Ryan Reynolds, Cushman & Wakefield

Natalie Roberts, Flagship Law, PLLC

Kay Schwartz, USAA

Matthew Serynek, RS&H, Inc.

Eric Stewart, Synovus Bank

Rolfe Thompson, GTE Financial

Susan Thompson, CS&L CPAs

Charles Tiernan, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

Marshall Tucker, TECO

Elias Vazquez, Tampa Police Department

Virginia Veit, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Caroline Vostrejs, The Beck Group

Jennifer Whelihan, Hillsborough County Economic Development

Kiana Wilson, A Sharper U, LLC

Jennifer Yeagley, Gulf Coast Jewish Family Community Services

Applications for the 2019 Leadership Tampa class are available online at The deadline for application submission is May 4, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.  For more information on Leadership Tampa, please contact MaryBeth Williams at (813) 276-9445 or at

About the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is committed to serving our members and enhancing our community by building business success. The Chamber provides a greater return on investment and involvement by providing innovative leadership, inside access, influential advocacy and increased opportunities.

Member News 4/26/18 – 5/3/18

Member News

Member Events

Member New Hires and Promotions

  • Jill Quigley, AICP, joins Tindale Oliver as a Senior Associate
  • Vology Appoints Julie Clement as Chief People Officer

Member Job Openings

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Chamber Presents Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award to Colleen Chappell

Colleen_retouched.jpg smaller for eViewColleen Chappell, president and CEO of ChappellRoberts, was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award, presented by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

As a premier business leader in Florida, Colleen was named both Tampa Bay’s Businesswoman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and University of South Florida’s School of Mass Communications Outstanding Alumnus. She and her team have been recognized as winners of the coveted international Gold Stevie Award for Management Team of the Year and the international Bronze Stevie Award for Business Services Female Executive of the Year. With a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from the University of South Florida, Colleen is a Dale Carnegie graduate and accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America. She has served on the executive boards of the Tampa Bay Partnership, and the American Marketing Association Global Headquarters Professional Chapters Council. Most recently, she served as the Chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

The Woman of Influence Award recognizes a woman whose leadership has made a positive impact in Hillsborough County.  It pays tribute to an individual who exemplifies outstanding professional values; demonstrates the ability to go above and beyond the normal expectations of a leader; and serves as an inspiration to the community. Colleen Chappell received recognition during the Chamber’s annual Women of Influence Luncheon featuring Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc. and owner of the Colorado Rockies.