After 5 at Bristol-Myers Squibb

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay recently hosted a joint After 5 networking event at Bristol-Myers Squibb.  The exclusive After 5 events hosted bi-monthly are usually by invite only for our top tier members.  However, the Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay members who work at Bristol-Myers Squibb saw this as an opportunity for up-and-coming leaders and established business professionals to network and make new contacts, which is exactly what happened.  The After 5 event brought together over 200 people from the Tampa business community, and both the Chamber and Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay members walked away with new perspectives and connections.


Chamber installs new leadership at 132nd Annual Meeting

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce held its 132nd Annual Meeting presented by HCI today at the Tampa Convention Center. A sold-out crowd of almost 1,000 attendees came together to celebrate the Chamber’s 2017 achievements. 2017 Chamber Chair Mike Griffin of Savills Studley Occupier Services, passed the gavel to 2018 Chair Steven Bernstein, Esq., Fisher Phillips. The Chamber also received greetings from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Chairwoman Sandy Murman. The Chamber collected toys at the event, teaming with Metropolitan Ministries to help bring gifts to the Holiday Tent, which serves more than 19,000 children in the Bay area.

On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Clark Thomason recognized the Chamber with a 5-star accreditation designation – the highest designation. “There are only 112 5-Star Chambers in the U.S.” Thomason said. “That puts the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in the top 1.6% of all Chambers in the nation.”

Griffin highlighted the Chamber’s 2017 accomplishments, which aligned with the 10-year vision plan, Vision 2026. He also announced the inaugural cohort of the Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) program. Chameleon Custom Solutions, Matcon Construction Services, Inc., McKenzie Contracting, LLC, and MidFlorida Armored & ATM Service will begin the two-year program in January 2018. Founding sponsors of the program are Tampa International Airport, TECO, Vinik Family Foundation and Valley National Bank previously USAmeriBank.

Bernstein said that he hopes to build strong relationships not only in Tampa but throughout the entire Bay area by working cooperatively with other business organizations. He introduced the Chamber’s 2018 Executive Committee Members, including:

Chair Steven Bernstein, Esq. Fisher Phillips
Chair-Elect Jamie Harden Creative Sign Designs
Treasurer Maryann Ferenc Mise en Place
Finance Scott DeThomas GTE Financial
At Large
Hugh Campbell AC4S
Laura Crouch TECO
Scott Daigle TD Bank
Steve Griggs Tampa Bay Lightning
Christopher Rogers Sykes Enterprises Incorporated
Yvette Segura USAA
Kareem Spratling, Esq. Bryant Miller Olive P.A.
John Tomlin Tomlin St. Cyr & Associates
Legal Counsel Andy Mayts, Esq. GrayRobinson

The Chamber also presented the 2017 H.L. Culbreath Jr. Profile in Leadership Award to Alex Sink. The award is presented annually in recognition of an individual whose leadership has made a positive impact within the greater Tampa community.

Alex Sink served as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from 2007 to 2011 as one of four statewide elected officials. She managed over $15 billion in state treasury funds, was responsible for state accounting, and implemented reforms in contracting and transparency for citizens. Before elected office, Alex had a 26-year career with Bank of America. She retired as President of Florida operations in 2000, managing the state’s largest bank leading 9000 employees. From 2011 to 2013, she was Senior Advisor to Hyde Park Capital Advisors, a middle market boutique M&A firm. Alex founded Florida Next Foundation, a non-profit devoted to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Florida. She subsequently joined the board of Tampa Wave in 2016 to continue her work in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Florida. She is a Life Trustee at Wake Forest University, serves on the boards of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, United Way Worldwide Leadership Council, United Way Suncoast, and Junior Achievement.

In addition, the guest speakers for the first two signature events of 2017 were also revealed. The 20th Annual Military Appreciation Awards on February 15th will feature Corporal Michael Jernigan, USMC (Ret.). While deployed in Iraq, Michael suffered life-changing injuries including the loss of both eyes.  The guest speaker for the Women of Influence Luncheon on April 26th is Linda Alvarado, CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc. – a large, Denver-based industrial contracting/site design firm. Linda made history as the first female owner and the first Hispanic owner of a Major League Baseball franchise, the Colorado Rockies.

Emerge Tampa Bay Welcomes New Leadership, Honors Young Professionals


Over 200 local professionals attended Emerge Tampa Bay’s 3rd Annual Emerging with Influence event, presented by ChappellRoberts, Leadership Tampa Alumni, Northwestern Mutual and Tampa Steel Erecting Co., Nov. 6 at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre. The event recognized young professionals in the Tampa Bay community and announced the organization’s 2015 leadership team.

Leading Emerge Tampa Bay for 2015 will be:

  • Program Chair:
    Erin Cassidy, Majesty Title Services, LLC
  • Program Vice Chair:
    Trent Kennelly, The Kennelly Law Firm
  • Professional Development Committee:
    Chair: Richard Rippy, Synovus Bank
    Vice Chair: Alison St. Cyr, Coldwell Banker
  • Membership Committee:
    Chair: Jennifer Lawson, HCI Group, Inc.
    Vice Chair: Chris Brooker, 21st Century Financial
  • Public Policy Committee:
    Chair: Andy Peluso, Hill Ward Henderson
    Vice Chair: Leonardo Dosoretz, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
  • Community Outreach Committee (CONNECT):
    Chair: Daniel Farmer, M.E. Wilson Co., Inc.
    Vice Chair: Sarah Schwirian, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

Debbie Lundberg of Presenting Powerfully and member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors presented on “The ABC’s of Next Level Leadership.”

Emerge Tampa Bay also presented the Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award to Jessica Muroff, Executive Director of Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc. for her service and dedication to the Tampa Bay business community. In addition to the award, a $1,000 donation will be made to the charity of Muroff’s choice, Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc., courtesy of ChappellRoberts. The award’s namesake Deanne Roberts was the co-founder of Emerge Tampa Bay and founder of ChappellRoberts, which is the Founding Sponsor of Emerging with Influence.

About Emerge Tampa Bay:
Emerge Tampa Bay is the premier young professionals organization in Tampa. A program of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, it is designed for emerging leaders, ages 21-35. In an effort to enhance the greater Tampa area, Emerge strives to support, cultivate and attract young professionals by providing access to business resources, educational opportunities and community partnerships. Visit for more information or contact Emerge Tampa Bay Manager Catlin Layton at (813) 276-9448.

Chamber to Pay Tribute to Veterans on November 10


The Greater Tampa, South Tampa and Brandon Chambers invite the Tampa community to the 2014 Veterans Day Celebration at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square in downtown Tampa at 10 a.m. on Monday, November 10.  Hosted by the Military Council of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, South Tampa Chamber and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, the event will feature the always popular parade of flags, a concert by local school children and remarks by Vice Admiral Sean Pybus, Deputy Commander, Naval Special Warfare (NSW) SEAL Officer, United States Special Operations Command.

Invited guests include families of those county residents killed in action, combat-wounded patients being treated at the James A. Haley VA Hospital, elected officials, civic leaders and senior military representatives from MacDill Air Force Base. The Progress Village Middle Magnet School band and Orange Grove Middle Magnet School chorus will perform patriotic musical selections, and there will be a reading of the names of Hillsborough Country veterans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ceremony is co-presented with Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa and Tampa Downtown Partnership and sponsored by USAA, Bank of America, Saint Leo University, Celestar Corporation, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union, Boeing, The Tampa Tribune, and Sam’s Club.  A light lunch and beverages will be served after the ceremony.

Joe Chillura Courthouse Square is located on Kennedy Boulevard between Pierce and Morgan streets in downtown Tampa.

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. 

Facebook Small Business Boost Comes to Town

By: Pat Huston, Business Consultant – SBDC Hillsborough County

Just in case you missed it……here are a few of their suggested tips.

 For your Facebook page:

  1. Cover photo: NO text please. This is your biggest piece of real estate!
  2. Profile pic: think logo or brand. It can be a picture of you if you’re the brand!
  3. Fill out your complete profile, don’t forget the links! (Web page) and other social stuff.
  4. Post regularly but no more than once per day. Don’t compete against your own posts!
  5. Create photo and video posts with a call to action. Please little or no text.

OK … get that, but what does it look like? What about my business? Is there a way to see an example of what we do? Can I look before I leap? The short answer is yes. Here’s how. Go to

Scroll down till you see this:

More success stories

You can sort by size, goal, industry and region, or you can just scroll through all the examples that follow.  You are bound to find an example that will inspire you before you spend. Like the page and then watch for a while. (Stalk 🙂 ) When are they posting? What did they post? How is their page set up? What posts are getting the most attention?

Did you see a connection? What grabbed your attention? And by the way, thanks for the coffee buddy…that is Buddy Brew Coffee on Kennedy Boulevard! 🙂

Pat Huston is a Business Consultant with SBDC Hillsborough County. She can be reached at 813 285 0195 or

Join Emerge Tampa Bay for the 3rd Annual Emerging with Influence


By: Sarah Schwirian

You’ve heard us talking about Emerging with Influence (repeatedly, I’m sure!), but what exactly IS it? Emerging with Influence is Emerge Tampa Bay’s premier signature event that provides Emerge Tampa Bay members, as well as the Tampa Bay business community, the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the organization throughout the previous year. Past leadership is celebrated as the new Emerge Tampa Bay Leadership Team is welcomed.

We hope you will join us on Thursday, November 6, at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre for the 3rd Annual Emerging with InfluenceThe highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award to one deserving Emerge Tampa Bay member who exhibits Deanne’s remarkable leadership. Deanne founded Emerge Tampa Bay in 2004 while she was Chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. The 2014 finalists include:

    • Jessica R. Aspiras, Tampa Bay Partnership
    • Jessica Muroff, Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc.
    • Aakash Patel, Elevate Inc.
    • Brian Seel, The Beck Group

This year, we welcome special guest Debbie Lundberg of Presenting Powerfully, who will present on “The ABCs of Next Level Leadership.” We will also be joined by Mayor Bob Buckhorn and many members who have made this and the last ten years a success. Read more…

As a new addition to the event, we will highlight the Protégé Program. This exclusive mentoring program, headed up by the Grow committee, is a pillar of Emerge Tampa Bay and has connected hundreds of young professionals with influential leaders throughout our community. We will recognize participants and have remarks from Leadership Tampa Alumni Chair, Troy Atlas.

We are thankful to our sponsors of this event: Leadership Tampa Alumni, Northwestern Mutual, Tampa Steel Erecting Co., ChappellRoberts, Tampa General Hospital and PNC Bank.

Hope to see you there!

Recap: “Tomorrow’s Tampa: An Idea Summit”


Justin Laden, Public Policy / Voice Committee Member

Young professionals want more out of the Tampa Bay area – more options and more influence. This was the unanimous message that Emerge Tampa Bay members and other young Bay area professionals endorsed at Tomorrow’s Tampa: An Idea Summit, hosted at the newly-renovated District 3 in downtown Tampa on October 2, 2014.

An enthusiastic Mayor Bob Buckhorn kicked off the summit, and encouraged the educated and thoughtful crowd, packed with Tampa’s next leaders, to stay together and to focus on an achievable goal: producing positive change in our community.

Architect Mickey Jacob, the night’s keynote speaker, followed the mayor’s remarks with an earnest discussion of his transformation from young(er) professional to respected leader in the community. He detailed how Emerge members can best prepare to lead, shared his wisdom on forging relationships across town, and looked to other cities for inspiration.

After the keynote, attendees transitioned to heart of the event, the idea exchange. This year, Emerge members co-led breakout sessions with Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce members. The four sessions were:

  •  Expanding Downtown Transportation Options: Mickey Jacob, FAIA, BDG Architects & Emerge Member Alana Brasier, Renaissance Planning Group 
  • Increasing Downtown Tourism: Alex Kaptzan, Visit Tampa Bay & Emerge Member Selina Radlein, Moffit Cancer Center
  • What do Young Professionals want from Channelside?: Thom Stork, Florida Aquarium & Emerge Member Leonardo Dosoretz, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
  • What do Young Professionals want from Downtown?: Ashly Anderson, Tampa Downtown Partnership & Emerge Member Joel Brown, Office of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater

District 3 was an appropriate location for Emerge members to discuss their ideas. The former warehouse, now a polished and atmospheric event space, was originally a market for goods transported from the Port of Tampa by rail. Just as goods and services were once exchanged here in the early 1900s, on this night, so were ideas.

If this young professional event sounds timely, that’s because it is. Mere blocks from District 3, Emerge’s temporary think tank, major swaths of both the Channelside and Harbour Island neighborhoods have been purchased for the purpose of redevelopment. As Tampa’s future leaders, we want a say in what happens to these areas.

As Erin Cassidy, the 2015 Chair of Emerge, noted, Tampa is at a critical point for future development. This summit was Emerge’s first step towards producing a coherent recommendation regarding what Tampa will look like for the near and distant future.

Chamber Names Winners of the 2014 Small Business of the Year Awards

Tampa, Fla. – The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2014 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony on Friday, September 19, at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.  More than 600 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay’s small business community and toasted the evening’s big winners.

This year’s event was presented by Bay Cities Bank & Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors and represents the 34th year the Chamber has recognized this key segment of the region’s economy.  Small business awards were presented in three categories based on the number of employees and a fourth business category honoring a startup company.  Companies are evaluated on financial success, community involvement and ethical business practices. An award was also presented to the Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year.

The 2014 Small Business of the Year Award winners are:

Madelyn Butler

Dr. Madelyn Butler

Outstanding Leader: Dr. Madelyn Butler, The Woman’s Group

Dr. Madelyn Butler founded The Woman’s Group in 1998 with a vision of a practice dedicated to high-quality obstetrical and gynecological care and education for women of all ages. She started the company with just six employees. Today The Woman’s Group boasts a staff of nearly 100 with four office locations and serves three Greater Tampa area hospitals. Dr. Butler’s commitment to health and education led her on a mission trip to Haiti where she provided free care to hundreds of Haitians in the Village of St. Suzanne.

Shooters World

Bruce Kitzis, General Manager

 Startup Company: Shooters World

Shooters World was created to be a family-friendly gun store with deep inventory, a state-of-the art shooting range and professional instruction. They offer more than 30 courses to the public including introductory classes, women-only sessions, junior firearm safety and more. Shooters World opened its 62,000 sq. ft. facility in December 2012, making it Florida’s largest firearm store, indoor public shooting range and training facility. Shooters World is expanding throughout Florida and expects to open its Orlando location next year.


Pete Slade, CEO

 5 – 20 Employees: Nitro Mobile Solutions

Nitro Mobile Solutions is a software development company providing enterprises and financial institutions with full-service mobile applications and platforms. Nitro was founded in 2009, but the vision developed in 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at the World Wide Developers Conference. The company started the “Nitro Mobile Solutions Scholarship in Computer Science and Engineering,” which awarded its first recipient from the University of South Florida in April 2014.


Brian Murphy, President/CEO & Founder

21 – 50 Employees: ReliaQuest

ReliaQuest is one of the fastest growing, cutting edge information technology security consulting firms in the United States. The company started in 2007 and handles both commercial and top secret clearance work in IT security. Currently, 20 percent of ReliaQuest’s technical team is composed of former members of the military, supporting the company’s commitment to supporting veteran and military community initiatives. ReliaQuest also sponsors events for local community groups and nonprofits such as Palma Ceia Little League teams, AirFest Tampa Bay and Moffitt Cancer Center.


Ted C. Abrams, President & CEO

51 – 250 Employees: Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company’s philosophy can be summed up in four words: “unsurpassed quality coffee experience.” Established in Tampa in 1984, Joffrey’s imports and distributes premium coffees and teas using the finest beans and tea leaves from around the world, carefully selected by its head roastmaster. Joffrey’s coffees are all roasted, blended and flavored by hand. In 2013, Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co. was named the official specialty coffee of Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disney Vacation Club.

Tomorrow’s Tampa: An Idea Summit

Join Tampa Bay’s leading young professionals to develop a young professional’s vision of Tampa. How do you want Channelside to look in five years? How would you develop downtown Tampa? What transit options are important to you? Come share your ideas for the future of Tampa and be a part of developing a plan for Tomorrow’s Tampa: An Idea Summit.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Mickey Jacob, FAIA, BDG Architects will be the keynote speakers for this event followed by these breakout sessions:

Breakout Session 1:
Breakout Session 2:
Expanding Downtown
Transportation Options
What do Young Professionals
want from Channelside?
Increasing Downtown Tourism
What do Young Professionals
want from Downtown?
Click here to register today!

    Thank you to our Sponsors:

Here are the Top 3 Reasons why Your Boss/Coworker/Employee Doesn’t Get It

Adrienne Morgan, Grow Committee Chair
Generational differences can create a great deal of issues in the office.
  1. They do not communicate effectively. We say: Yes, texting is a perfectly normal form of communication and I should be able to work from home; it’s more productive!
  2. They aren’t clear on expectations. We say: I have no idea how/why this reporting structure make sense. What exactly is my job description?
  3. They don’t respect my opinion all the time. We say: We’re on the same team! Stop hiding my genius!

This is called workplace conflict. Workplace conflict can occur when one party does not understand the other party’s perspective. It is a natural part of business, and is even good for business! Let’s be honest, if there weren’t workplace conflict, we would not create change or develop new ideas. As millennials, we need to learn how to understand different perspectives and channel this conflict into constructive actions that make impact, not chaos.

Emerge members, join us on for Resolution Revolution: A Millennial Guide to Conflict Management to work on ways to deal with workplace conflict.

When: Tuesday, August 26 from 5:30-7:30pm

Where: HCI Group, 5300 W. Cypress St., Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33607

Why: Because the event is unscripted. The interactive workshop is created in real-time, so the questions you want answered will be.

How: We have awesome HCI Group as our sponsor

This event series has sold out all year! Get your seats early so we don’t have to awkwardly turn you away at the door. 

Click here to register today:  

Member price: $15

Non-member price: $25