Member News 1/11/18 – 1/18/18

Member News

Member Events

Member Job Openings

Member New Hires & Promotions

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Chamber Hires New Leadership Programs Director

HeadshotMichelle Ciudad Real was born and raised in the Tampa area and graduated from Sickles high school. Michelle is a graduate from Valencia Community College with an AA in Dance Performance and Florida International University where she majored in Marketing. Michelle started her career at Fontainebleau Hotel and worked her way up within the company. She worked in multiple departments, including front desk, group sales, and marketing. Her most recent work experience was at Triad Retail Media where she was a Conference and Event Specialist working with one of the major ecommerce players in the market. Michelle was promoted to Account Manager working with national brands and managing around 100 digital marketing campaigns within a year advertising on

She is ready to make a meaningful impact in the future of Tampa Bay. Please welcome Michelle Ciudad Real to the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

LT’18 Health Care Day

Jennifer Yeagley, M.A., Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services

It’s not every day that you step into an air shower before touring a mouse clinic, but at Leadership Tampa, anything can happen.

Leadership Tampa ‘18’s Health Care Day began with a trip to Moffitt Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the state of Florida. Moffitt, which is also ranked the #6 cancer hospital in the nation by US News World & Report, sees sixty thousand patients per year who travel from across the globe to receive its top-notch services and benefit from its research.

Our class not only learned about Moffitt’s wide reach and the $2.1B impact it has on our state’s economy, but also heard from a panel of experts discussing the future of healthcare. The consensus of the panel, which included leaders from CIGNA, Florida Blue, BayCare and Tampa General Hospital, was that data and technology will drive the more patient-centered approach to which the healthcare industry is – by necessity – shifting. Technology is often viewed as a barrier to meaningful engagement, but in the healthcare industry, the opposite is true. Technology solutions can help drive more information on trends in population health, cut healthcare costs over the long run, improve physician engagement and allow patients to become more proactive in management of their healthcare needs. The panel also stressed the importance of considering social determinants in determining and implementing healthcare solutions for diverse populations: technology alone cannot solve the structural and behavioral challenges that many patients face in accessing quality care.

Next up: air showers.

Following the panel discussion, the class of 2018 descended underground for a tour of the Moffitt Vivarium, or “mouse clinic,” as tour guide and Director of Comparative Medicine, Robert Engelman, called it. To enter the clinic, we first pulled booties over our feet and paper lab coats over our clothing, after which we were sealed in a small glass chamber and doused with air. This readied us to enter the vivarium, where we got a crash course in how studying the molecular genomics of mice translates to much of the cutting-edge research done upstairs at Moffitt.

We spent the afternoon at the Center for Advanced Medical Learning & Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa. Adjacent to the planned site for University of South Florida’s (USF) new medical school campus, CAMLS is a state-of-the-art simulation training center, using the latest advances in healthcare to train tomorrow’s medical practitioners. At CAMLS, we heard from the CEO of Tampa General Hospital, John Couris, who spoke to the importance of the Hospital’s role as a teaching center affiliated with USF’s medical and nursing schools and its pivotal position as an institution serving those with financial and other barriers to accessing care. Tampa General Hospital provides 50% of the free medical care received in the state of Florida.

While at CAMLS, we also learned from Dr. Charles Lockwood, the Dean of USF Health, about the exciting opportunities that the new USF medical school campus, part of the Water Street development project, will bring to both the school and to the downtown area. The tour of CAMLS was both fascinating and surreal as we saw life-sized, fully computerized mannequins move in response to medical intervention, like wrapping a tourniquet around an injured leg.

Perhaps the most moving part of our day, however, was hearing from Dr. Debbie Rinde-Hoffman, director of Tampa General Hospital’s cardiac transplantation team, and a panel of three heart transplant recipients. These individuals are what drove everything else we learned over the course of the day home: in the end, healthcare is about the people on the receiving end. It’s about the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and friends who are in need of care, understanding and support. Behind all of the data, technology, research, theory, learning, positioning, financial planning and strategy are patients. People. And in the case of the panel we heard from, people who were days, if not hours, away from death who are now thriving because other people cared for them at a critical time in the best possible way. Without people’s capacity for compassion and empathy, the business of healthcare would neither be possible nor would matter. Of all the fascinating takeaways of the day, this reminder of the power of compassion and care was maybe the most poignant.

Chamber Hires New Government Relations Manager

011_GTCC_LopezKatie_1-5-18webKatie Lopez holds a Master of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Western Kentucky University. A native of Clearwater, Florida Mrs. Lopez moved to the Fort Campbell, KY region in 2013 while her husband was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). She began working for the Christian County Chamber of Commerce in 2014 as the Director of Military Affairs and was named the 2017 Staff Member of the Year by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Currently she serves as Co- Chair for the Association of Defense Communities National Military Family Council, and her past community involvement has included serving on the AUSA Fort Campbell Chapter Board and West Kentucky Workforce Board. Katie’s portfolio includes legislative advocacy for defense communities and chamber membership.

Member News 1/4/18 – 1/11/18

Member Events

Member Accolades

  • PrimeGroup Insurance Senior Insurance Consultant Stacey Owen Named to 2018 Hot 100 by Insurance Business America
  • Vology Debuts on Talkin’ Cloud 100 List of Top Cloud Services Providers

Member Job Openings

Member New Hires & Promotions

  • Vology Adds David Wirta as Chief Revenue Officer

If you would like to submit news, events, job postings, new hires/promotions, or accolades  for the Member News section of eView, please go to

Member News 12/21/17 – 1/4/18

Member News

Member Events

Member Job Openings

Member New Hires & Promotions

If you would like to submit news, events, job postings, new hires/promotions, or accolades  for the Member News section of eView, please go to

LT’18 Media Day

“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being” – Thomas Jefferson

As our country’s founding fathers recognized, the power and importance of the press is a critical corner stone for our society.  Media drives awareness which leads to knowledge; empowering all citizens to be informed and educated about our local & national issues.  As technology advances, how we consume media may have changed. However, one truth remains the same; people want information from trusted sources.

On a day with front-page, headline-worthy news, our LT ’18 class experienced that first hand by meeting with a number of those trusted sources in the Tampa media.  While many of our LT days focus on Tampa-specific challenges, Media Day was unique in that many of the challenges and issues the media face are global and industry-wide.  We got a peak behind the curtain at how Tampa media outlets are addressing and embracing those changes and challenges.

Industry-wide, two challenges appeared multiple times over the course of Media Day: Technology & Fake News. From the Tampa Bay Times to WFLA, we learned how technology has changed our behaviors and the way we consume media and how the media is evolving to address that shift. The question isn’t: will the public consume media.  The question is: HOW will the public will consume media and how will the media adjust and evolve to reach consumers as their consumption habits change.

Similarly, fake news was top of mind and clearly a daily struggle for all outlets in the media.  Although it has almost become a self-parody and ‘fake’ is more a euphemism for something that doesn’t conform to one’s beliefs, it is still a daily struggle.  Today, anyone with a computer and internet can be a journalist or a news source, so fake news has highlighted the importance of verification, vetting, and a relationship of trust that must be earned with consumers.

“There is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn’t write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn’t any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.” – John F. Kennedy

Our day began at the Tampa Bay Times Printing Press where we learned that it truly is “our newspaper” as it is one of the only independent and locally owned papers in the country.  Delivering over 200,000 papers a day, the Tampa Bay Times is a “daily miracle”.  While there is a public perception that newspapers are dying, the media plays a large role in facilitating the misconception that the industry is falling off a cliff.  From their perspective, the Tampa Bay Times must equate to truth, high caliber journalism, and provide high quality, local news to remain relevant.

In an interesting dichotomy of perspectives, we also heard from David Capece, the Founder and CEO of Sparxoo, a digital marketing agency.  Digital marketing is the fastest growing part of the media industry and is constantly evolving.  In 2017, digital will overtake television in terms of overall media spend, and brands must keep up!  While digital has become incredibly more sophisticated and targeted, at the end of the day humans still rule.

We see this across all elements of the media industry: as things change, what stays the same?  The basics: customer acquisition and retention (awareness and engagement).  How we reach them has changed and the platforms continue to evolve, but the need for content, the need for brand awareness remains the same.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech” – Benjamin Franklin

For lunch, we traveled to iHeart Media and learned about the power, influence and reach of the radio industry.  As a whole, we spend 31% more time in our cars since 2003, and radio is able to reach more adults than leading broadcast television shows.  “Radio likes a good traffic jam” and with the average commute in Tampa at 30 minutes, the Tampa radio market is large and ranked #18 in the country with iHeart Media owning 11 stations locally. iHeart Media owns over 850 radio stations nationally, but they also have an incredibly large digital platform and have relationships with many of the world’s largest artists and events.  They are evolving as technology evolves and are keeping a pulse on what is relevant in this ever-changing media landscape.

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington

Our final stop on Media Day was at WFLA, the local NBC station.  NBC News ‘On Your Side’ aims to bring stories and news that matter the most to the people of Tampa, which is the 13th largest market in the country.  While TV viewership is up, the audience is much more fragmented with so many options to choose from making it more difficult to reach and retain an audience.  Echoing what we heard throughout the day, for WFLA, creating trust with their audience and being known as a reputable news outlet is of the upmost importance.  We had the privilege of touring the station and getting a better understanding of the different roles and responsibilities involved with making the news!

In 2017, information moves at lightning speed.  On a daily basis, every media outlet we visited is responsible for vetting, researching, and reporting accurate news in the fastest way possible.  At the same time, they are trying to stay one step ahead, not just from a news perspective but from a technology perspective.  There is a convergence of media with overlap and duplication of content. So how does each media outlet ensure they are still relevant and still being consumed, regardless of platform?  This isn’t just a challenge locally but globally, and the ones who will continue to thrive will be those who are trusted, innovative, and daring.