Connecting with Community Service: How LTA Gives Back

Welcome to the giving season! Even though it’s our focus in December, Leadership Tampa Alumni do it all year long.

Two examples of how we’ve connected with the community to give back this past year are the Operation Partnership and Diploma-See programs.

Operation Partnership

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In May, June and October civilians connected with active duty, veterans and reservists to help strengthen ties.

The focus for each event was employment opportunities. Attendance more than doubled for each successive event which culminated on the evening of October 26 aboard the American Victory Ship.

Business cards were passed, introductions made and former classmates reconnected to share news about opportunities and refer talent.

Wendy Brill, Sr. Director of Government Relations for the Chamber, assisted in organizing all three events and shared these insights: “As Operation Partnership continues to grow, it has become a significant tool in helping those who are transitioning out of the military meet members and learn more about the local business community. The work of Leadership Tampa Alumni, Emerge, Women’s Committee, and the Military Council has helped many military members find opportunities to stay in Tampa Bay after their service is completed.”

Brill also noted that the Chamber’s partnership with USAA on this three-tier program has been key to its success.

Diploma-See

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For the past 11 years, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay for the Diploma-See program.

The program, developed by former Chamber Chair Jose Valiente, aimed to provide practical information at a critical time in an 8th-grader’s life. Volunteers from across Hillsborough County spent the morning in Title-1 schools talking to students about personal finance and the importance of identifying education and career goals based on a student’s skills, interests, and values.

This past year’s program, which wrapped up on October 27 and was sponsored by Mutual of Omaha Bank, saw 311 volunteers across nine schools directly impact 2,723 middle school students. Over its 11 years in existence, 3,173 volunteers have gone into classrooms and instructed 31,092 students. The program has been recognized for its success over the years, including most recently at a 2016 Lightning game when Jose Valiente was named a Lightning Community Hero for his work with the program.

Just like our summers, the season of giving in Florida can be enjoyed all year long. For ways to connect with the community and give back in 2017, contact MaryBeth Williams at mwilliams@tampchamber.com.

Renew your membership at renewlta.com.

Kerry O’Reilly, Leadership Tampa ’15, is the Marketing Director for the Tampa Bay Times and Politifact.

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