Women’s Series Luncheon: Leaders Defining Healthcare

Women’s Series Luncheon: Leaders Defining Healthcare 

October 11, 2019

The Chamber hosted its Women’s Series Luncheon, Leaders Defining Healthcare, at the Embassy Suites Tampa Downtown Convention Center sponsored by Greenberg Traurig. It was a panel style presentation featuring Kelly Cullen, Tampa General Hospital, Kimberly Guy, BayCare Health System, Lauren Key, AdventHealth, and Yvette Tremonti, Moffitt Cancer Center. The panel was moderated by Danielle Vona, The Marketing Posse.

The discussion started out with each of the panelists giving a brief overview of their current positions and how they got there. Kelly kicked it off, stating that she knew from a young age she wanted to be a nurse thanks to her Aunt serving as a mentor to her. She realized the impact and value she could have on someone’s life. Starting her career in the ER as a nurse, she was given a leadership opportunity to become a charge nurse, and once she did, she knew she wanted the rest of her career to be in leadership.

Lauren entered the healthcare field right out of college and never left. She’s worked and been exposed to almost every type of medical field and organization you could imagine. She’s been with AdventHealth for the past 8 years.

Kimberly spent the first part of her healthcare career in Raleigh, North Carolina and was eventually recruited to run St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. Once here, she was offered to run the Children’s Hospital and a Retirement Community as well. Now, she runs St. Joseph’s main hospital, as well as 6 other hospitals in the network.

Yvette started her career at Ernst & Young, initially working on an audit of Tampa General Hospital as her first experience with healthcare. She left to become the Director of Accounting at Moffitt and has been with the organization for 22 years, spending 9 years in her original role and then becoming the Vice President of Human Resources. She eventually moved into strategy and then into partnerships, which lead her to her current role overseeing IT, finance, planning, design & construction, strategy and more. From a personal side, her son was diagnosed with leukemia 6 years ago, and she experienced Moffitt from the patient side as well. She was happy to report her son is in remission.

Danielle started off the questions by asking what each of the panelists felt was the biggest challenge the industry and the community are currently facing. Each panelists agreed the rising cost of healthcare and prescriptions and the access to healthcare were at the forefront of challenges. Kimberly also went on to say that mental health and substance abuse are issues that we are facing across the country. Lauren touched on educating the consumer to know the type of healthcare they need. For example, when you need the ER versus when you may just need urgent care.

Following up from that, they were asked what each of their organizations are currently doing to help consumers deal with the high cost of healthcare. Kimberly explained at BayCare they have a medication assistance program emphasizing the importance of keeping patients that need medication on it, despite the cost. They partner with existing agencies to meet needs in the community and to help decrease the cost of care. Kelly stated that Tampa General Hospital also provides a prescription assistance program. Tampa General just acquired 18 imaging centers which give patients access to various tests at a lower cost. She emphasized that healthcare needs to be much more preventative and not so reactive as it has been. Lauren informed us that AdventHealth is working hard at providing pricing transparency, and trying to educate patients before their procedure even begins to estimate costs and ensure there are no surprises when they receive their bill, in addition to helping patients understand what the various charges mean. Yvette echoed that Moffitt is dedicated to pricing transparency as well and being upfront with patients about the cost of the care they’re receiving.

Touching on Kimberly’s earlier statement regarding mental health and substance abuse, Danielle asked the panel what they thought were mental health issues that we are addressing and not addressing. Kimberly discussed a community-wide initiative that was started by BayCare to create a nonprofit to increase awareness of where to go for mental healthcare and decrease the stigma of getting help. According to a recent study in our Bay Area, there are big opportunities that exist in these 5 counties to address suicide and other mental health concerns on the front end. The plan is to start at the schools and hopefully work towards ensuring people never end up in the position of needing to be in a mental health institution. But, in order for that to happen, people need to be able to access the services to get help, which is the goal of this nonprofit. Lauren echoed Kimberly’s sentiments, emphasizing that BayCare truly was the pioneer to bring this initiative to life.

The panelists were then asked to share something exciting that is on the horizon for each of their respective organizations. Kelly explained that TGH has partnered with GE to coordinate care more efficiently and effectively using AI (artificial intelligence). This helps to improve quality, safety and costs. They also have rolled out a program called OnMed, which allows you to go into a booth (similar to a photobooth) to see a doctor virtually and be scanned using infrared scanning technology to get health information about you and receive medical information and advice from the doctor specific to your current ailment. The plan for TGH is to hopefully be able to put these booths out in the community. Lauren announced that AdventHealth is planning to roll out a partnership with Phillips where patients will have the control and opportunity to send health information (at their discretion) to their healthcare providers from the comfort of their own home. The goal of this is to help give physicians a better picture of your overall health, if you’re so inclined. AdventHealth will be the first hospital in the country to test this pilot program which is anticipated to start rolling out in December/January time frame. Yvette discussed Moffitt’s CAR-T clinical trial and how they have treated the most CAR-T patients out of any cancer center in the country, which is exciting because CAR-T has a very good prognosis. In addition she touched on Moffitt’s expansion to a new hospital on a new campus with anticipated opening in 2023. Kimberly revealed that St Joseph’s Children’s is the first hospital in Florida to launch a program called Surgical Theatre, a virtual 3D program that allows children to see inside their own bodies and see what’s going on. Doctors are using it to plan their surgeries, and it has already changed some of the ways that they can perform and approach surgeries. St. Joseph’s is also expanding facilities, and as of next year the women’s hospital will be connected to St. Joseph’s main hospital.

The session winded down with a few audience questions, one being if you could personally solve one issue, what would it be? Yvette simply stated to to cure cancer. Kimberly said to find a way to ensure the next generation doesn’t have to deal with some of the major health issues we’re currently faced with. Lauren declared that healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. Kelly hoped to improve the coordination of care, creating some type of navigation for patients and families.

Each of these women had incredible insight into the healthcare challenges and successes that we have as a community and as a nation. Each touched on how great the hospitals are in this area and how they all partner and work together collaboratively for the betterment of the people who live in Tampa Bay. There are many exciting opportunities on the horizon for healthcare as a whole, and this community is bound for success with these women at the forefront of care.

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Benchmarking 2019: TPA 2 CLT

The Chamber’s 2019 Benchmarking trip to Charlotte, North Carolina


The group arrived on Sunday, October 6th and started the trip off with a welcome reception at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Monday, October 7th consisted of sessions on demographic realities, workforce housing, the LYNX blue line, and transportation.

Tuesday, October 8th was the final day and had sessions on attraction and retention, the state of the city of Charlotte, Charlotte’s brand, and social impact.

Below is a recap of the sessions that the group attended over the two days.

Demographic Realities (Dr. Johnson)

The group heard from Dr. James H. Johnson Jr., distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprises at UNC. This session was designed to help attendees learn about the changing demographics in the United States, Florida, and Tampa Bay and how they will impact their businesses.

Dr. Johnson discussed the “Browning” and “Greying” of America.  The demographic data backs up the growing Hispanic and non-white population.  With this shift, companies need to understand the impact that a changing demographic has on hiring and retaining talent (ex. elder care benefits), advertising and marketing and how the multi-generational workforce affects all of us. Most relevant to us here is that Florida has a positive 326 people per day net migration.

Workforce Housing

A robust panel consisting of Pamela Wideman, Director of Housing & Neighborhood Services for the City of Charlotte, Brian Heide, SVP of Community Development for Banc of America Community Development Corporation, Rob Ledford, Managing Partner for Baker Barrios, Eileen Pope, SVP of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Erin Smith, Vice President of Bank of America, and Dennis LaCaria, Managing Partner of gruppoETICO presented on this topic. This session was designed to explore what Charlotte is doing to enhance the affordability for workforce housing and what can be taken back to Tampa.

The panel addressed how it requires a partnership between private, public local and public federal to solve the housing shortage. “You can’t build your way out of this.” The availability of quality workforce housing is critical to all communities and employers.


The group took the afternoon to ride the LYNX Blue Line from uptown to Tyvola and heard a presentation from John Lewis, CEO and Director of Public Transit for CATS (Charlotte Area Transit System) and Benjamin Limmer, CEO for HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority). This session was to find out how proven successful strategies in Charlotte can be implemented in Tampa.

The major key takeaway from this session was that it takes time to execute a comprehensive plan.  Charlotte has had great development along their rail system, specifically at the station stops. This is something we can look to and try to implement here.

Attraction & Retention

Presented by Rod Gavin, SVP of Talent Development an Workforce Innovation for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, John Martin, CEO and President of YBLA (Young Black Leadership Alliance), and Effin Logue, Chief People Officer for Dixon Hughes Goodman, this session discussed how Charlotte is aggressively recruiting outside talent while retaining their home-grown talent.

One of the most important points addressed during this session was that showing youth a path to success is critical, and understanding the unique methods of communication that Gen Y and Gen Z prefer is crucial to “attract & retain” the best talent, especially diverse talent.

Charlotte: State of the City

Michael Smith, President & CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners presented on how live, work and play is driving a robust downtown.

Michael addressed the importance of arts and culture in attracting and retaining companies.  Charlotte has been misunderstood on their availability of tech talent, and that was an impediment to growth in that sector.

Charlotte’s Brand

What is Charlotte’s “brand” and why? Gina Sheridan, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, and Thomas Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority presented on how Charlotte puts an emphasis on arts and culture and outdoor activities in an effort to appeal to a broad range of visitors.  Their slogan of “Charlotte’s Got a Lot” is rather open ended, and that seems to be the intent.

Social Impact

Brian Collier, Executive Vice President for the Foundation for the Carolinas presented about workforce development and ensuring social capital.

The major takeaway here was that you need to understand if geographic segregation exists and how to change it, because it inhibits mobility.  It’s crucial to focus earlier (even prenatal) not just in later education and career to make greater changes for the future.

Overall it was a positive trip packed with valuable takeaways that we can hopefully begin to implement in the coming years.

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LT’20 Arts & Culture Day

By Heather Rubio, 10 News WTSP

For the 50 classmates of Leadership Tampa Class of 2020, Arts & Culture Day brought to life the rich history of Tampa and how it formed the city into what it is today.  The perseverance of early Cuban entrepreneurs who settled here instilled in their subsequent generations an entrepreneurial spirit of hard work, family values and teamwork and allowed them to establish successful businesses.  However, all of them overcame adversity in one way or another.


The City of Tampa was built on an economy of cigars, phosphate, and military.  The businesses that thrived here survived on hard work, perseverance and joining together during difficult circumstances.

“Tampa is the anti-St. Augustine” – Brad Massey, Tampa Bay History Center

The Spanish settled in St. Augustine, but Tampa, by contrast, was a settlement of Cubans who were displaced first to Key West and then to Tampa.  A series of Spanish came to Tampa in the early days of exploration, but they were always unsuccessful against the Indian population here.  As a result, the Spanish never returned to settle in Tampa.  The Seminole Indian Wars began a slow trickle of settlers into Tampa because Fort Brooke was a staging area to fight the Seminoles.  One of those settlers was a pirate named Juan Gomez.  Gomez told stories about a pirate named Jose Gaspar, which created a myth that is still celebrated today in Tampa.

When Henry Plant built the railroad in Tampa, it changed the city by allowing the phosphate and cigar industries to flourish.

Vicente Martinez Ybor was a Cuban cigar manufacturer who fled from war in Cuba. Ybor originally set up business in Key West, but after encountering labor issues, eventually came to Tampa in 1880, negotiating land for his cigar factory for $4,000.


The signature for Ybor’s initial land transaction with the Tampa Board of Trade, along with many of Ybor’s business transactions, are found in the Tampa Board of Trade books in the Tampa Bay History Center. 

Tampa became known as “Cigar City”.

“The Cigar industry was the economic engine of the city” – Eric Newman, J.C. Newman Cigar Company

By 1894, there were more than 150 cigar factories in Tampa, producing more than 18 million of the hand-rolled cigars the area become famous for.

Another Cuban who settled in Tampa in the 1890s was Casimiro Hernandez, Sr, great grandfather of Richard Gonzmart of The Columbia Restaurant, a restaurant that is synonymous with Tampa today.  Hernandez Sr. opened a brewery called Columbia Saloon.  Then came prohibition.  In what would be the first of many ways this business faced adversity and persevered, Columbia Saloon merged with the café next door in order to survive. The new Columbia Café was open 24-hours a day and was the main place Tampa’s cigar workers came to eat.

Meanwhile, Vicente Ybor became more than just a cigar factory owner.  He was a benefactor of the city, selling homes to most of the workers in his factories.


Vicente Ybor was such a well-loved patriarch of the city that all of the cigar factories shut down the day he died on December 14, 1896, so the cigar workers and the entire town could join the procession from Ybor’s home all the way to the Oaklawn Cemetary. 

As the cigar industry flourished in the United States, there were five main cigar companies dominating national sales and smaller factories struggled to compete.  But one company in Tampa’s “Cigar City” made a name for itself as a premium hand-rolled product.  Two struggling cigar companies, J.C. Newman Cigar Company and Arturo Fuente Cigars joined forces to stay afloat.


Today Fuente Cigar Company is thriving and has a reputation as one of the world’s finest hand-rolled cigars. 

“Fight, determination, love for the business and trying to make it work” – Cynthia Fuente, 3rd generation owner of Fuente Cigar Company says of the reason her company survived.


Richard Gonzmart, now 3rd generation owner of The Columbia Restaurant, believes it’s important to preserve the history of Tampa by telling the stories of the families who banded together to overcome hard times.

“If you want to be different in your business, you’ve got to do that which others aren’t willing to do” – Richard Gonzmart, The Columbia Restaurant Group owner


Richard Gonzmart speaking at The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City which has come a long way from when it opened in 1903 as a 24-hour cave for cigar workers with no front door. 

Cynthia Fuente, a 3rd generation owner of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company, grew up in the cigar business. Fuente remembers the values her parents and grandparents instilled in her from a young age being love, respect, dignity, and trust.  Even the kids worked in the factories rolling cigars.  And the company that her grandfather started with seven employees now employs 1,100 people, three of the original employees are still with the company today.

“Through any obstacle, he fought and fought” – Cynthia Fuente, speaking of her grandfather Arturo Fuente, Cuban founder of Fuente Cigar Company

Arts in Tampa

The Cuban American history of Tampa permeates the artistic community of the city.  As the LT’20 group toured the Tampa Museum of Art, they encountered amazing works by Cuban artists (among others).

“Art should be in every conversation your companies have. Artists process the world differently” – Michael Tomor, Tampa Museum of Art Executive Director


LT’20 class members even got to create a work of art of their own


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2020 LTA Renewals


Renew/Join Now

This list is for PAID 2020 LTA Dues as of 10/10/19 . If your name is NOT on this list, then you have not paid your 2020 LTA Dues yet.

Josh Adkins
Jeffrey Ames
Neal Anderson
Karen Arnold
William Arnold
John Astrab
Patrick Baskette
Ceci Berman
Cathy Beveridge
Michael Blasco
David Bode
Hank Brenner
Clayton Bricklemyer
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Stephen Busbee
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Janette Carter
Wyatt Castellvi
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Bob Clark
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Linda Cox
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Megan Dempsey
Donald Dietrich
Sam Ellison
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Emily Farkas
Bret Feldman
Irene G.M. Ferguson
Jaret Fuente
T. Truett Gardner
Frank Ghannadian
Kari Goetz
Andrea Graham
Stanley Gray
B. Lee Green
Steven Grieco
Melanie Griffin
Steven Grove
R. Alan Higbee
Lynne Hildreth
Michele Hintson
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Lilly Ho-Pehling
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George Howell
Robyn Huber
Richard Huckaby
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Chris Karlo
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Martha Kaye Koehler
Timothy Kubal
Nagi Kumar
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  • Beaux-Arts Group Orlando is opening a new office at the SunTrust Center.
  • Florida Polytechnic University celebrates ABET accreditation achievement.
  • Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP’s corporate practice group expands with the addition of Conor T. Burns; their litigation team grows with the addition of Matthew A. Ceriale; M. John Burgess elected as second Vice President of the Florida West Coast employee benefits council; Community Advocate, Erin Smith Aebel, appointed to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay Board of Directors.

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