Parke Wright, III Spotlight: Gregory C. Yadley (LT ’88)

8a4e7f75-c88f-4707-bbf8-0c84e3ceaffcWhat do you see as the biggest change in Leadership Tampa since 2004?
Leadership Tampa provides an unparalleled opportunity for new leaders to quickly become exposed to critical issues for Tampa’s future. Over the past 10 years, with the maturity of our community, there are as many relative newcomers on the knowledge-transferor side of things as there are on the transferee side. Originally, LT provided the forum for the “old guard” to challenge the next generation to take over the leadership of the community. Today, with a more fluid population, the emergence of new economic sectors, a steeper and a more volatile business cycle, the proposition has changed. We need new leaders more than ever and they have to come up to speed faster and act more decisively. The “old guard” now changes every decade, not just every generation. The ability of LT to foster new leadership and encourage broader participation in an increasingly faster-paced, more competitive world has never been more important. Participate in Leadership Tampa and go for it!

What’s new with Greg Yadley?
I’m having more fun as a lawyer than I’ve ever had. With an improving economy, I have had the true joy of helping clients grow and capitalize on their business opportunities. I relish their successes and feel proud I can help them from a strategic standpoint in structuring, financing and executing on their business plans. I am fortunate in also being able to influence the legal landscape through some wonderful professional activities. In addition to serving as chair of the American Bar Association’s Middle Market and Small Business Committee, I’m enjoying sharing my experience with the next generation of lawyers as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida Law School and the University of Warsaw in Poland. I also have the privilege of serving as one of only three lawyers on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Businesses. Engaging in teaching and advising on national policy matters energizes me and makes me confident for our future. Beyond that, I try to visit France every year and drink great wine.

What would you like to see happen in the future with Leadership Tampa?  
I would like to see Leadership Tampa continue to thrive. The key ingredients are the support of the sponsoring companies and firms and engaged class and program leaders. As a past LT Chair (of the greatest ever Class of 1991!), I had the opportunity to challenge incredibly talented individuals to move beyond their comfort zones and become involved in the community. This was possible because the organizers of the sessions were the top leaders in their area who shared their true concerns and asked for help. This requires commitment, and the Class of ’91 responded. Our constant concern must be to ensure that this continues to be the case with each LT class in the future.

Gregory C. Yadley (LT ’88)
Partner, Corporate Practice Co-Administrator
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Sold Out Crowd for Emerge “Tampa To The Core” Discussion on Transportation and Downtown Redevelopment


By Michael Maurino, Director, Government Relations – Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

013_GTCC_Maurino_1-22-14WebMore than 120 people filled the Tampa Bay History Center TECO Hall for the Emerge Tampa Bay “Tampa to the Core” event on Thursday, August 20. Presented by RSA Consulting, “Tampa to the Core” focused on transportation improvements and redevelopment in Tampa’s urban core.

Attendees heard from Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, Tampa Downtown Partnership President & CEO Christine Burdick, and Strategic Property Partners COO and Tampa Bay Lightning Executive Vice President & General Counsel Jim Shimberg. The panel was moderated by Marilyn Mullen Healy of Adams and Reese, LLP. Following the panel discussion, Emerge members tweeted their questions to the panel during the Q & A session. (click here for more)

Commissioner Hagan touched on Hillsborough County’s transportation proposal called Go Hillsborough. The proposal is for a 2016 sales tax referendum to fund transportation improvements in Tampa and Hillsborough County. Commissioner Hagan also discussed the possibility of new transportation fees paid for by developers in order for new construction to pay for a larger share of transportation improvements.

Christine Burdick echoed Commissioner Hagan’s comments about developers paying a larger share of transportation improvements. She also noted the tremendous growth of downtown Tampa in recent years, as downtown businesses fight back against the notion that downtown is a ghost town in the evening. With dozens of new projects planned for downtown, it will truly be a live-work-play neighborhood.

Jim Shimberg spoke about the major live-work-play development coming to the urban core: the Channel District land controlled by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. The land, which will be developed by the Vinik owned Strategic Property Partners, will include commercial, residential, and retail spaces. The USF Medical School will also relocate to the site. Shimberg also expressed confidence in the Tampa Streetcar as a valuable transportation and economic development tool. Click here for more pictures from the event.

Upcoming events for Emerge Tampa Bay include the Emerge Tampa Bay Professional Development Speaker series on September 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Glazer Children’s Museum.  Robert Graves of Dale Carnegie Training will present on a “Guide to Perfecting Your Network”.  Click HERE for more details and to register.

On September 24 the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Emerge Tampa Bay will team up for Buzz-ness After Hours at the Harbour Island Athletic Club & Spa from 5:30-7:00 pm.  Click HERE for more information and to register.

Member Highlights: August 16 – 22, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

GrayRobinson Attorney Served as Faculty Member at Annual IADC Trial Academy

Marlewski, ChristineGrayRobinson Shareholder Christine A. Marlewski served as a faculty member for the International Association of Defense Counsel’s (IADC) 43rd Annual Trial Academy that took place at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California from August 1 – August 7, 2015. The Trial Academy is one of the oldest and most respected programs for developing defense trial advocacy skills in the country.

The faculty consists of leading defense trial lawyers selected on a national basis from different regions of the country. Each faculty member was assigned to a group of seven students, which allows for individualized attention and instruction. The faculty performs an entire trial for all 100 students, coaches them on trial techniques, and critiques the performance of their group on all aspects of a trial.

The IADC Trial Academy was initiated by the IADC in 1973 at the University of Colorado in Boulder. After 31 years at that location, the Trial Academy moved to the prestigious Stanford Law School in Stanford, California in 2004.

The purpose of this continuing legal education program is to enhance advocacy trial skills of less experienced lawyers. Major emphasis is placed on the learning-by-doing method of instruction. For more information go to

Christine is an AV Preeminent-rated and Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with jury trial experience in State and Federal Courts litigating both commercial and civil cases focusing on intellectual property (trade secret, Computer Fraud and Abuse, trademark, and copyright), non-competition and non-solicitation disputes, breaches of contract, tortious interference, fraud, and toxic tort claims. Christine is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and also teaches litigation skills to students at Stetson University College of Law as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy.

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TampaBay-Job-Links Helps Recent College Grads Enter the Workforce

Sheila and Michael photo

Sheila Solomon Rudd, TBJL Executive Director (left), and Michael Lebovitz, an August 2014 University of Kansas graduate (right), talk about the self-marketing materials that helped Michael land in a job that he enjoys in Tampa.

Traditional college graduation season ended in June and new graduates who don’t have jobs can be feeling anxious as summer progresses. While students expect to spend four years or more earning their degrees, they often don’t realize the next milestone in life – landing that entry-level job – can take time and require skills they haven’t been taught. TampaBay-Job-Links recognizes that job-search coaching and career planning are essential to a successful search in today’s world and is working with recent college graduates to prepare them to take that critical next step. Read more…

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Member Events

August 24 – 31: Special Ticketmaster Presale Offer for the Outback Bowl


The Presale begins at 10:00 a.m. Monday August 24th!  This is your chance to purchase tickets to the January 1, 2016 Outback Bowl through Ticketmaster before they go on sale to the general public on August 31.

Enter Code:  OUTBACK30

Game is played January 1, 2016 with 12:00 PM ET kickoff at Raymond James Stadium


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September 4 – 6: Check out Residential Acoustics Showcase at the Tampa Home and Garden Show


Residential Acoustics will be exhibiting at the Tampa Home and Garden Show September 4th, 5th and 6th at the Tampa Convention Center. They will be showcasing their sound blocking curtains manufactured right here in downtown Tampa!

Click here for more information on the AcoustiCurtain™

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New Hires &  Promotions

Elevate, Inc.’s Mariaelisa Lichoa Promoted to Account Executive

MariaElisa-TwitterMariaelisa Lichoa was promoted to Account Executive at Elevate, Inc. Mariaelisa was previously a PR & Communications Assistant for Elevate, Inc.

Originally born in Venezuela, Mariaelisa grew up in Central Florida. She enjoys keeping her body active with yoga, her mind engaged in interesting books, and serving the Tampa Bay community through volunteer work.

There is much work to be done with the great opportunities in the rise of Tampa’s business world, and Mariaelisa is thrilled to be a part of the movement with Elevate, Inc. Watch out for Mariaelisa and all of #TeamElevate as they display why #TampaHasSwagger!

Be sure to follow Mariaelisa’s journey on Twitter @MarAtElevate!

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New Hires and Promotion at Majesty Title Services, LLC

Elizabeth HernandezElizabeth Hernandez: Majesty Title Services, LLC is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Hernandez has joined the firm as a Title Processor in our South Tampa office, responsible for the communication between clients and banks and clearing title issues. She is bilingual and handles residential and commercial real estate transactions.

Claudia Sanchez

Claudia Sanchez: Claudia Sanchez has joined the firm as a bilingual Escrow Closer for our North Tampa office. With over 5 years of experience, she works with buyers, sellers, lenders and realtors to clear title issues, prepare closing documents and  maintain files for efficient real estate closings.

Jason Tillis:
Jason Tillis has joined the firm as Jason Tillisa Title Processor in our South Tampa office with responsibilities that include communication between clients, and examining and clearing title issues for residential and commercial transactions. Jason is new to the title industry and comes to us with an extensive background in Special Events Management.

Annie BelisleAnnie Belisle: Annie Belisle has joined the firm as an Escrow Closer in our South Tampa Office responsible for communication between clients and banks, clearing title issues and preparing closing documents. She handles residential real estate transactions with a focus on foreclosures and investor relations. She has over 33 years of experience.


Tami Sturdevant: Majesty Title Services, LLC is pleased to announce that Tami Sturdevant has been promoted to Office Manager at our North Tampa location, overseeing the operations and personnel for that office. In addition, she is a Licensed Title Agent and Escrow Closer with over 13 years of experience in the industry.

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Member Accolades

Elevate, Inc. Chief Strategy Officer Accepted into the Tampa Connection Class of 2016

Ansley HeadshotAnsley Kahn, Chief Strategy Officer at Elevate, Inc. was accepted into the Tampa Connection Class of 2016.

Each year, a select group of business professionals is chosen to participate in The Tampa Connection. The year long program exposes these professionals to community service and leadership development opportunities while immersing them in the local community.

Ansley is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida where she majored in International Relations and minored in Economics. As a student, she was an officer and charter member of the United Nations Association club and had the opportunity to travel to New York City and the District of Columbia for internships within the federal government.

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Ambassador of the Quarter: Victoria Jorgensen, A Media Marketing

Victoria Jorgensen

Congratulations to Victoria Jorgensen on being named Ambassador of the Quarter! Victoria is an award-winning Tampa-based producer/director who has helmed the 46 year old A Media Marketing since 1987, providing video production, social media management and training, as well as web and print services. Jorgensen grew up in Tampa and is the area’s #1 cheerleader. She considers giving back an integral part of leadership.
Victoria has been a Chamber member for over 20 years and an Ambassador for a media marketingapproximately 5 years. Jorgensen says her return on investment has increased exponentially in the past few years due to the amount of time she has invested in working on the Ambassador Committee.

“It’s fair to say that over 75% of our new business is derived from Chamber referrals and introductions made at various Chamber networking meetings. The Greater Tampa Chamber is hands down the best networking opportunity for the serious business owner. The energy you provide comes back tenfold!”

Victoria’s latest project, the creation of the Tampa Bay Transformer series, is her way of giving back to the community and allowing others to get to know the best of Tampa Bay.

The Ambassador Spotlight is a quarterly award given to an Ambassador who best exemplifies a spirit of volunteerism and dedication to the Chamber’s Ambassador Committee’s focus of serving as member relations support and assists with efforts to retain members through consistent personal interaction and involvement. For more information about the Ambassador Committee contact Tracy Wilson at 813.276.9464.

Member Highlights: August 9 – 15, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

Member Accolades

Copa Airlines Specials from U.S. to Venezuela


from Tampa


Click here for more information!

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August 20: Operation Helping Hand Monthly Dinner


This month’s Operation Helping Hand dinner will be on Thursday, August 20, at 6PM at the James A. Haley VA Hospital SCI Building.

Since 2004, Operation Helping Hand has extended all necessary efforts to assist and support over 950 military wounded/injured being treated at the James A. Haley VA Hospital, and many of their visiting families.  We’ve been blessed with very generous donations from so many generous individuals, organizations, corporations, etc. We are indeed fortunate to have outstanding volunteers and the required support over the past 10 years, and we will continue our mission as long as we are needed.

For more info, please contact:

Bob Silah, Captain, USN (Retired) 
Chairman, Operation
Helping Hand or 

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Tudi Mechanical Systems Recognized as the 17th Fastest Growing Privately Held Company in Tampa


Tudi Mechanical Systems was recently recognized as one of the fastest-growing privately held companies in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Business Journal’s annual Fast 50 list is the fastest- growing companies in Tampa Bay based on three years of revenue by percentage growth over that time. The companies have to be headquartered in the Tampa Bay area and have a minimum revenue of $1 million in 2012. Tudi Mechanical Systems of Tampa was 17th on the list with 99.09% growth.

Click here to read more:

Tudi is a family owned commercial Heating, air conditioning, and building automation contractor specializing in large office, hospital, and industrial facilities.

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Member Highlights: August 2 – 8, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Florida Bar President-Elect Bill Schifino: The Campaign Behind the Campaign

In the fall of 2014, Bill Schifino — respected Tampa attorney, managing partner of Burr & Forman – Tampa, and husband of our very own Paola Schifino — began his campaign for the position of President-Elect of The Florida Bar. The next six months were a test of endurance for both parties. Bill met the voters while speaking at conferences, offices, receptions and events all across the state. Schifino Lee went to work behind the scenes, developing messaging, advertising, and a website for his campaign.

We focused the campaign message on Bill’s “show, not tell” integrity. Our strategy used social media, videos, and email marketing to effectively showcase his strengths. We made it clear that his extensive experience in the field of law paralleled his sincere focus on family and community. This resonated well with voters as they were able to see how Bill’s proven leadership would extend beyond Burr & Forman to The Florida Bar.

Unlike normal product advertising, this political campaign challenged us to adjust our way of thinking. The concept was built with a foundation based solely on the merit and skills that Bill possessed, not in comparison to his competitors. We wanted his past alone to dictate his future. This meant keeping our social media efforts up to date with Bill’s intense campaign schedule. As his endorsements came in, they were captured in the website database to keep track of them for future correspondence and support.

“Not only did we work hard, but the quality of what we, as a team, put out there was tremendous. I can’t count the number of compliments I’ve received about the campaign. The website was amazing and I’m sure the eblast with the letter to all the membership cemented the victory,” said Bill of the support our team provided him and his campaign.

Bill Schifino’s campaign for President-Elect, and the work developed by Schifino Lee in support of it, proved to be abundantly successful. He was sworn in on June 26, 2015, as President-Elect and will serve one year before being sworn in as President of The Florida Bar in June 2016.

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Member Job Opportunities / Now Hiring

Prida Guida & Company, P.A. Seeks Administrative Assistant

Job Description:

Provide assistance to management and office staff to keep office running efficiently. Perform clerical duties, such as answering telephones, prepare outgoing mail, copying, scanning, faxing and filing (electronically). Read more and apply…

City of Tampa Seeks Events Coordinator I

JOB PURPOSE: The selected candidate will be responsible for performing tasks of average difficulty involving event coordination for the municipal convention center. Read more and apply…

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New Hires & Promotions

Conversa Adds Two New Employees to Accommodate Unprecedented Growth

Conversa, a minority and women-owned public relations, public affairs, multicultural and graphic design firm, recently hired two new employees – Jennifer Dunn and Sarah Schwirian – in late June and early July 2015, respectively. Dunn, Conversa’s director of public relations, boasts nearly 10 years of experience in public relations. Her expertise in media relations, social media, crisis communications, event management, and community outreach enable her to fluidly work with the firm’s diverse range of clients to strategically and creatively exceed their goals.

Schwirian, Conversa’s senior account executive, offers more than five years of experience in the public relations, marketing, branding and public affairs spaces. She manages many client activities and implements a wide range of integrated communications activities, including content creation, public relations, public affairs, event organization and social media engagement.

For more information, visit

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Tindale Oliver Welcomes New Urban Designer/Planner Angela Coullias

AngelaTindale Oliver welcomes Angela Coullias, our new Urban Designer/Planner. Angela has background in both architecture and planning, with several years of experience working in both the public and private sector, in engineering consulting as well as the statewide pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign. Angela has joined the Community Planning & Design Team in Tampa!

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Member Accolades

Laser Spine Institute’s Chief Legal Officer/General Counsel Receives Joseph P. Milton Professionalism and Civility Award from the Florida Chapters American Board of Trial Advocates

CKChris Knopik, Laser Spine Institute’s Chief Legal Officer/General Counsel, recently received the Joseph P. Milton Professionalism and Civility award from the Florida Chapters American Board of Trial Advocates (FLABOTA).

The Joseph P. Milton Professionalism and Civility award is given from time to time to a FLABOTA member for trial practice with the highest degree of ethics, professionalism and civility and always exhibiting integrity, honor, courtesy, and a sense of fair play. The award is named after the late Joseph P. Milton, a trial lawyer in Jacksonville who was recognized in Florida and nationally for his high level of expertise, integrity, ethics and professionalism.

Knopik was presented with the award in Ft. Lauderdale at the convention of the state’s 11 local chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

Christopher S. Knopik chose to enter the field of law because he wanted to help others and saw the legal profession as an effective avenue to pursue that goal. He joined Laser Spine Institute with more than 30 years’ experience as a trial and litigation lawyer. As Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for Laser Spine Institute, Chris brings a unique perspective to his position because of his prior experience of representing patients. He understands the patient’s point of view and strives, whenever possible, to find solutions that benefit both parties.

He previously founded and managed Knopik Deskins Law Group, a firm of trial lawyers in Tampa, Florida. Chris is experienced in medical negligence litigation, personal injury litigation, products liability litigation and commercial litigation in state and federal courts. He previously served as a plaintiffs’ attorney for many years, as national trial counsel for one of the world’s largest product manufacturers and as defense trial counsel for three of Florida’s largest electric utilities.

Chris graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and is board certified in civil trial advocacy by the Florida Bar. He is also certified in civil trial advocacy by the American Board of Trial Advocates and the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. Martindale-Hubbell has given Chris the highest possible legal and ethical rating. He is a well-respected attorney in the Tampa Bay area, gaining recognition as one of “Tampa’s Best Lawyers” by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Chris values working in an organization that supports a unique company culture such as Laser Spine Institute’s. He is skilled in working within a team and has been recognized by his peers and Florida Trend magazine as a member of “Florida’s Legal Elite.” Chris’ family is his pride and joy, and he considers his four children to be his proudest accomplishment.

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Recap: Emerge Tampa Bay Professional Development Speaker Series

Photo by: Senior Airman Jenay Randolph, 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Photo by: Senior Airman Jenay Randolph, 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

By: Sara Greco, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

Sara-Greco_webCol. Daniel Tulley, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander on MacDill Air Force Base, spoke at Emerge’s Professional Speaker’s Series event on July 15. It was a unique event for me to attend because I am a United States Air Force veteran and reservist who has successfully transitioned to civilian life and now works at the Chamber.

Before I separated from the Air Force, I had the opportunity to work with Col. Tulley for a short period of time as his public affairs officer. I witnessed his leadership techniques as he took command for the 6th Air Mobility Wing. He strived to be engaged with Airmen, saw the big picture of his decisions and was extremely approachable. Overall, I considered him a great commander during my short time working with him.

It was enlightening to see Col. Tulley speak to a diverse audience of young professionals, including military members, from around the Tampa area. To be completely honest, I had expected the same leadership briefing I had received over and over throughout my military career. However, what he did was turn a military leadership lesson into a very exposed discussion about what he had learned throughout this career and how everyone, young professionals and military alike, could use those lessons in their careers. I have rarely seen this side of a commander throughout my short career, but when I have, I have grown huge respect for them because it shows they are human as well as a humble leader.

Another great part of the event was the interaction between the military and the civilian young professionals. The one thing I have learned in my short time at the Chamber is that the military world can seem mysterious, as not many people in the public get to interact with it. This was such a great opportunity for young professionals to get to see a military leader in a more relaxed setting as well as talk to military members at their same stage in life.

Overall, I know everyone took away small bits of advice from the event like, “in communication, brevity and clarity are lost arts,” as well as a list of leadership books he recommended.