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Universal Engineering Sciences: Development and Conservation

Visit Orlando: Innovative Experiences

Social Entrepreneur: Embrace Families

®

$4.95

MARCH 2020

Inspiring

WO M EN

WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

DR. DEBORAH CROWN


Girl Scouts of Citrus has a long tradition of recognizing Central Florida women who demonstrate courage, confidence and character while championing our community’s youth, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to make our world a better place.

Congratulations to the 2020 Woman of Distinction Sharon Hagle Founder, SpaceKids Global

Girl Scouts of Citrus is excited to convene the world’s largest gathering of girls October 23-25 at G.I.R.L. 2020. Designed for and planned by girls from around the world, the convention is expected to attract 11,000 attendees.

*Sponsorship and Exhibitor space available* Learn how to be involved by contacting the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council at 407-896-4475.


MACF IS A MUST Learn About the Value MACF Will Add to Your Company A Panel Discussion and Interactive Learning Experience

APRIL 16, 2020 | 3:00-5:00 PM FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 407.897.3384 OR VISIT US AT MACF.BIZ/EVENTS For Existing Members, New Members, and anyone interested in becoming a member o MACF


Orlando’s Tech Community Converges •••••••••••••••••••••••

Digital Orlando 2020 will explore how technology and innovation will shape our culture, companies, and community.

APRIL 8, 2020 Learn More & Register at www.DigitalOrlando.co


®

Photo

by Se a

mus

Payn e,

courte

sy of Skans ka

 500-acre technology district located in Osceola County, less than 20 minutes from the Orlando International Airport and within a mile of Florida’s Turnpike  100,000 square feet of Class A office space

SPACE COAST

 Entitled for up to 11 million GSF of mixed-used spaces  Home to BRIDG, imec and future companies to come  Featuring NeoCity Academy high school, a new project based, inquiryfocused STEM learning environment

NeoCityFL.com


BRIDG  Not-for-proďŹ t, public-private partnership for advanced sensors and next-generation nanoscale electronic systems  ITAR-certiďŹ ed, DMEA trust-enabled versatile 200mm fabrication facility for the development and lowvolume production of microelectronic devices  Nearly 60,000 square feet of cleanroom/laboratory manufacturing space with space to accommodate a variety of partner-funded activities  Offers process technologies and R&D capabilities for system miniaturization, device integration, hardware security and product development key to aerospace, defense and the IoT/ AI revolution

GoBRIDG.com


INSIDE⊲⊲ MARCH 2020

18

SPIRIT OF PROGRESS

20

SPIRIT OF MENTORSHIP

22

SPIRIT OF ADVOCACY

24

SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION

26

SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

28

ATHENA NEXTGEN EMERGING LEADER

30

GIRL SCOUTS WOMAN OF DISTINCTION

Dr. Deborah Crown | Crummer Graduate School | Rollins College

Dana Bledsoe | DBledsoe Consulting

Lauren Nelson | Nemours Children’s Hospital Dr. Laine Powell | Tech Sassy Girlz

Brianna Sheehan | Brianna Michelle Interior Design

Noni Holmes-Kidd | Parkway Properties Investments

SHARON HAGLE | SpaceKids Global

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

33


i4 Business Advisory Board

This Month's Featured Advisory Board Members

WE’D LIKE TO THANK OUR ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS FOR KEEPING THEIR FINGERS ON THE PULSE OF OUR COMMUNITY AND HELPING US BRING YOU THE BEST STORIES FROM AROUND CENTRAL FLORIDA.

Thank You

Judi Awsumb, Awsumb Enterprises Becca Bides, Visit Orlando Jim Bowie, University of Florida Incubator Program

Mary Shanklin Recognizing the disruption in newspapers, veteran journalist Mary Shanklin retooled with a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and launched Fifth Estate Media publishing company in 2015. Her group works with authors to deliver hardcover, softcover and e-books. Shanklin brings to the table experience covering business, politics and education for newspapers including the Orlando Sentinel, where she was part of the Pulitzer Prize finalist team for coverage of the Pulse tragedy. Last year she cycled cross-country to raise funds for the Adult Literacy League and now serves on its board of directors.

Jackie Brito, HR Asset Partners Cari Coats, Accendo Leadership Advisory Group Andrew Cole, East Orlando Chamber of Commerce John Davis, Orlando Regional Chamber Laura Dorsey, Florida Black Chamber and National Cultural Heritage Society Stina D'Uva, West Orange Chamber of Commerce Carol Ann Dykes Logue, University of Central Florida Business Incubator Program Susan Fernandez, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Lena Graham-Morris, HORUS Construction Mark Allen Hayes, Stockworth Realty Group Gwen Hewitt, United Negro College Fund Vicki Jaramillo, Orlando International Airport Karen Keene, ATHENA Orlando Women's Leadership and Dean Mead Attorneys at Law Shelley Lauten, Consultant Yolanda Londono, Harvard Group International Catherine Losey, Losey PLLC law firm Laureen Martinez, Orlando Economic Partnership Yog Melwani, Align Commercial Real Estate and Indian American Chamber of Commerce Hope Edwards Newsome, Triloma Financial Group Rob Panepinto, Florentine Strategies Romaine Seguin, UPS Global Freight Forwarding

Rob Panepinto

Rob Panepinto is president of Florentine Strategies, which provides strategic consulting and investment capital for early stage companies. He is also the CEO of Entrepreneurs in Action, managing a local social venture fund. Panepinto is a senior strategic advisor and director of the Downtown Innovation District for the University of Central Florida. Previously, he was part of the founding executive team for Connextions, helping it grow from a small manufacturing company to an innovative health care technology/services organization with more than 5,000 employees. Panepinto is chairman of the Rally Social Enterprise Accelerator and past chair of the Central Florida Foundation.

Catherine Losey

The founder of Losey PLLC, Catherine Losey represents companies from a diverse range of industries on workplace issues. In both her experience with Losey PLLC and previous work as counsel and a commercial litigator, Losey has worked to use her knowledge to help her clients understand and navigate policies and potential risks. Her knowledge of legal, compliance and technology issues lends itself to an invaluable skill set for businesses and their leadership.

Mary Shanklin, Fifth Estate Media Marni Spence, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) Robert Utsey, Consultant i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 7


®

INSIDE⊲⊲ MARCH 2020

WOMEN IN BUSINESS SPOTLIGHTS

DEPARTMENTS

36

10

Autumn Mercer Universal Engineering Sciences Inc.

Publisher’s Perspective

13

38

From the Editor

Judi Awsumb WE - Women Entrepreneurs, powered by CEO Nexus

14

Business Briefs

39

42

Maria Triscari International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce

Take 5 with Visit Orlando It Now Takes 121 Days to Explore Orlando

54

Social Entrepreneur The Right to a Childhood: Embrace Families Changes the Face of Foster Care

SPOTLIGHT

41

58

Paul Dietrich and CEO Leadership Forums

Downtime Unique Experiences for Your Day Off

Swann Hadley Stump Dietrich & Spears P.A

62

BEST PRACTICES

Business Seens

64

GUEST EXPERT COLUMNS

44

Watercooler

Guiding Your Team Through the Big, Scary “Unknown”

ON THE COVER

Romaine Seguin | UPS International

46

Universal Engineering Sciences: Development and Conservation

Visit Orlando: Innovative Experiences

Social Entrepreneur: Embrace Families

Using Data Visualization in Your Own Marketing

®

Cherise Czaban | i4 Business

$4.95

Matthew Armstrong & Douglas Starcher Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

Get the Most Out of Attending Conferences

WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

WOMEN

Awards 2020

Nancy Allen | Women’s Business Enterprise Council of Florida

52

Hiring a Salesperson Can Be Difficult Bill Reidy | PWRhouse Consulting

8 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Julie Fletcher

WO M EN

Hiring the Right M&A Lawyer for Your Most Important Transaction

50

MARCH 2020

Inspiring

48

FOLLOW US⊲⊲ #i4biz

DR. DEBORAH CROWN

DR. DEBORAH CROWN


®

SUBSCRIBE Visit i4biz.com or send $24.95 for a one-year (12 issues) or $39.95 for a two-year (24 issues) subscription to: i4 Business, 121 S. Orange Avenue, Suite 1500, Orlando, FL 32801. Please include name, mailing address, city, state, ZIP code, phone number and email. Please allow 4-6 weeks for subscription to start.

Promoting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship

SPECIAL SECTION

LEGAL PROFESSIONALS

DIGITAL EDITION A digital edition of the current issue is available online at i4biz.com.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you are moving or changing the mailing address for your subscription, send your complete old address (where the magazine is currently being mailed) and your complete new address, including ZIP code, to info@i4biz.com.

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REPRINTS Reprints and commemorative plaques may be ordered from Meaghan Branham with i4 Business, 321-7598977. No other companies offering similar products or services are affiliated with i4 Business.

CONTRIBUTE Send press releases, article submissions, announcements and images to press@i4biz.com. Please provide 2-3 months advance notice for requests for event announcements and/or coverage. i4 Business® is published monthly by i4 Business, LLC, 121 S. Orange Avenue, Suite 1500, Orlando, FL 32801. Tel. 407-730-2961 | i4biz.com The contents of i4 Business magazine, i4biz.com and any other media extensions related to the brand, including advertisements, articles, graphics, websites, web postings and all other information (“contents”) published, are for informational purposes only. i4 Business® and all other affiliated brands do not necessarily endorse, verify, or agree with the contents contained in i4 Business. i4 Business makes no warranties or representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness, timeliness, or usefulness of any information contained or referenced. i4 Business shall not be held liable for any errors or omissions. © 2020. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, in whole or in part, is prohibited without written permission from the publisher.

Central Florida’s legal professionals stay up to date on the processes and policies that make up the infrastructure of our businesses. In our July issue, i4 Business will spotlight your stories: who you are, what you do, and what the future holds. In telling each of your stories, we build your relationship with our audience and get closer to the heart of what makes our community one of a kind.

Each profile will be: •

Published in our print and digital editions of i4 Business

Published on i4biz.com

Shared on our social media channels

Spotlighted in our Special Sections newsletter LEGAL PROFES SIONALS MARIO, GUND E, PETERS, RHODEN & KELLEY, LLC

COMING July 2020 O

ur firm was establi shed in 1976. With combined experie over 130 years of nce our attorneys have the knowle the law and of the dge of legal system to assist matter. Mario, Gunde you with your legal , Peters, Rhoden & Kelley has been in the courtrooms practicing of Brevard County and before the County judges Circuit and here for over 41 years. A full service firm, we primarily practic e in the areas of Criminal Law, Person Family Law, al Injury, Wills, Probate, Civil Litigati Appeals. Our attorne on, and ys have litigate d tough death heartbreaking child penalty cases, custody cases, dog bites, and proper They have also represented clients ty rights. in evictions, patern matters, bankru ity, criminal ptcies, elder matter s, estate plannin personal injury g, probate, and cases. As attorneys and counselors at law part of our job with not just the is to help you cold law and facts of your case but case affects your also how your life as a whole. Aggressive represe compassion are ntation and provided to every client we represe nt. Our seven attorne ys are David Gunde , Barbara Helm Peters, Rhoden, Michae l J. Kelley, Bonnie Kenneth Klein Rhoden, Christina Farley 48]JULY2017 SpaceC oastBusiness.co

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Long, and Barton W. Hogreve. Our founding partne Mario, has retired r, Anthony P. and is of counse l to the firm. Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley, LLC will treat you like is a family and part of our family. we For more firm and our attorne ys visit www.Legal-Ea information on our for a free consul gles.co m or call today tation.

MAIN OFFICE COCOA 319 Riveredge Blvd., Ste 107 Cocoa, Florida 32922 (321) 631-0506 Attorneys Availab le 24/7

MELBOURNE OFFICE 1735 W. Hibiscu s Blvd., Ste 300 Melbourne, Florida 32901 (321) 676-2150 www.Legal-Eag les.com

i4Biz.com Tel: 407.730.2961 i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 9


Publisher's Perspective

VISION, PASSION AND COMMITMENT

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” — Gloria Steinem

I

was reading an article recently that shared that when they started construction on Walt Disney World, Disney told the crew to “build the castle first.” The park was a huge project, and he knew the vision of the castle would serve as a symbol of motivation, inspiring the crew to stick with the job until it was completed.

In this month’s edition, we are highlighting seven Women’s Inspired Leadership Award honorees. Their vision, passion and commitment truly shine through in their stories. Whether they envisioned their current career as a young child or changed their career path along the way to where they are today, a common thread was their desire to have an impact — to make a difference in the lives of others. I’m sure you’ll find inspiration and encouragement reading their stories, and we hope you join us in celebrating them and meeting them personally at our awards luncheon on March 5 at the Country Club of Orlando. To your success,

CEO and Publisher

Favorite Quotes From This Issue

“We need to reach out and support younger women and let them know, ‘You can do all of the above.”

P.S. In the spirit of recognition and celebration, I’d like to introduce our team of talented women. We could not do what we do each month without these amazing professionals:

Diane Sears is our editor-in-chief and one of my business partners. An award-winning writer and editor, she sees her lifelong career in print and digital media as a calling. She is also cofounder of the Go for the Greens Foundation, a nonprofit that serves women business owners. One of her greatest achievements in her extensive career was being named to the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame in 2015.

— Dr. Deborah Crown, page 18

“You can’t do your job well and lead others if you don’t take stock of both your strengths and your weaknesses.” — A. Noni Holmes-Kidd, page 28

10 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

Donna Duda is our director of encouragement and another partner. She’s currently director of corporate communication and family relations at DUDA, a legacy business founded in 1926. She is an incredible leader, and her work has always focused on connecting those around her and fostering positive impacts in our community. She loves to read about real people and the experiences that shaped them — completely in line with our mission.


Meaghan Branham is our communications manager and an essential member of our team. I’ve had the privilege of working with her since she graduated from the University of Central Florida almost three years ago. She’s one our writers and also works with our clients and partners in addition to overseeing production. What she loves most about her job is the opportunity to talk to people who are doing amazing things in Central Florida.

Julie Fletcher is our fabulous photographer. As with many members of our team, we often hear how great she is to work with, and everyone loves her photography. She’s been a photographer for more than 25 years, covering everything from breaking news to corporate needs, events, portraits and family moments. She’s passionate about her work, and her mission is to tug at your heart and create timeless images.

Susan Howard, APR, is our copy editor. A key member of our editorial team, she brings over 30 years of experience in public relations and corporate communication to ensure our articles are concise, consistent and grammatically correct — a very important role in the publishing industry. She takes pride in our publication and is passionate about sharing our magazine with more people in the business community.

Tanya Mutton is our talented art director. I have had the pleasure of working with her for close to four years now. She brings our stories in the magazine to life with her remarkable design capabilities and experience. Her loyalty, initiative and talent are such an asset to the team. She has won awards from the American Advertising Federation for her magazine and print work including i4 Business magazine.

CEO | PUBLISHER Cherise Czaban EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Diane Sears DIRECTOR OF ENCOURAGEMENT Donna Duda COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Meaghan Branham PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR Julie Fletcher ART DIRECTOR Tanya Mutton - SidekickCreations.com COPY EDITOR Susan Howard, APR CONTRIBUTORS Nancy Allen, Matthew Armstrong Meaghan Branham, Cherise Czaban, Todd Persons, Bill Reidy, Diane Sears, Romaine Seguin, Douglas Starcher ADVERTISING Cherise Czaban - 321.848.3530

i4 Business is a participating member of:

HAPPY

‘ MARCH 8th i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 11


WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

Parkway Property Investments congratulates

A. Noni Holmes-Kidd for being named ATHENA NextGen Emerging Leader About Parkway Parkway Property Investments, LLC (“Parkway”) is a privately owned, full service real estate investment firm led by a team with a strong track record of investing in high-growth markets across the U.S. and across economic cycles. Parkway owns, operates, and manages institutional quality commercial office assets throughout the Sunbelt region. In addition, Parkway identifies and structures acquisitions and provides best-in-class property and asset management, leasing, accounting and construction management services. Parkway currently operates and/or provides accounting services for approximately 21.7 million square feet of high-quality office properties located in attractive submarkets in California, Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. 800 N. Magnolia Avenue, Suite 1625 | Orlando, FL 32803 | 407.650.0593 | www.pky.com


From the Editor

Women Leaders Must

Step into Our Greatness

T

here’s been a lot of talk about how women earn at least 15% less than men for doing the same work. New research from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard Business School might shed some light on why.

It turns out women don’t promote themselves the way their male counterparts do. In the study “The Gender Gap in Self-Promotion,” researchers conducted several experiments and found that repeatedly, through several different sets of circumstances, women undervalued their own work. One experiment involved recruiting 1,500 workers to take a 20-question multiple-choice test. Both genders performed about the same, with the women actually slightly ahead in scoring, answering an average of 10 questions correctly compared with 9 for the men. Afterward, when asked to predict how their scores would come out, men generally answered higher and women typically answered lower. Researchers said they still haven’t determined why women undervalue their work. “We are eager to see whether there are interventions or policies that can close the gender gap in selfpromotion,” said Judd Kessler, a Wharton professor of business economics and public policy, who worked with Harvard business administration professor Christine Exley. “We would also love to better understand the underlying causes of the gap. If we have a better sense of what causes the gap, that may help us design solutions to mitigate it or — ideally — close it.” In this month’s issue, we’ve profiled the Women’s Inspired Leadership Awards recipients for 2020, accomplished women in our community who were nominated for these honors. By shining a spotlight on them, maybe we can encourage other women to toot their own horns instead of being overly humble. Maybe we can help women feel more comfortable speaking up about what they’ve accomplished and what they deserve when they’re competing for jobs, promotions, higher pay, contracts, political office and other signs of professional advancement. When Publisher Cherise Czaban and I and our partners, all of us women, first purchased the magazine from the men who owned it before, we decided not to make a big splash about it. That was almost two years ago, and to this day we still run into people who think the men hired us and are our supervisors. Should we have tooted our horns louder?

When I first started my company DiVerse Media 20 years ago, I enlisted a male colleague to help me handle the workload. He and I met with a potential client at my “downtown office,” the former Panera at Lake Eola, for an exploratory meeting about the project. When the potential client asked how much we would charge for our work, my colleague took the lead, blurting out a rate that was at least 20% higher than I would have quoted. I tried not to spit out my coffee in a gasp. About that same time, another of my male colleagues was trying to get me to hire his wife to do some contract work. When he asked what I would pay her, I gave him an hourly figure. He said, “That’s too low,” and he quoted me a rate he determined her work was worth. I told him, “That’s more than my clients pay me!” And he said, “Well, then, you’re not charging enough.” Ouch. I’ve learned a lot since those early days. But the reality is that my gender, as a whole, is still not speaking out about our worth as much as men in all kinds of workplaces all over the U.S. – even those where we are in charge of the money. What will it take for women to stop underplaying our accomplishments and step into gender equity? The researchers at Wharton and Harvard are on it. Stay tuned. Have a great month!

Editor-in-Chief

i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 13


Business Briefs

Jewett and Orlando Health Combine Orthopedic Operations Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic, a staple in Central Florida’s health care community for more than 80 years, has become part of Orlando Health’s $3.8 billion not-for-profit healthcare organization that operates a community-based network of hospitals, physician practices and outpatient care centers across Central Florida. Jewett’s outpatient and clinical practice, which has cared for more than 250,000 patients a year across eight offices, is now combined with Orlando Health Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group, formerly known as Level One Orthopedics. The newly formed orthopedic group will lead the development of the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Hospital, a $250 million, 195,000-squarefoot inpatient facility that is expected to break ground this spring in downtown Orlando. When complete in 2023, the facility will include up to 75 inpatient rooms, 20 operating suites, five internationally virtually connected operating suites that can be used to train surgeons around the world, and 167,000 square feet of medical office space. It will be one of the only orthopedic-specific hospitals in the Southeast.

Orlando Health is home to Central Florida’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and children that are among the busiest in the state.

Jewett has been an innovator in the design and development of several total hip, knee and shoulder replacement systems used worldwide.

The addition of Jewett will enhance Orlando Health’s orthopedic residency program, which has been ranked fourth in the nation by the Journal of American

Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In addition to 20 residents, which will expand to 25 by 2023, the program includes three fellowships, one each in orthopedic trauma, pediatric orthopedics and orthopedic sports medicine, making it one of the most extensive and advanced orthopedic educational programs in the region.

CenterState and South State Banks Announce Merger The parent companies of CenterState Bank, based in Winter Haven, and South State Bank, from Columbia, South Carolina, announced they have entered into an agreement to merge as equals. The merger is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and will create a Southeastern regional bank with a total market value of about $6 billion. The new company will have a combined $34 billion in assets and $26 billion in deposits.

Business 14 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

CenterState increased its Central Florida presence in 2018, putting its name on a 16-story office tower in downtown Orlando and on the scoreboard and premium club space at Camping World Stadium. However, the combined company will operate under the South State Bank name and will trade under the South State ticker symbol SSB on the Nasdaq stock market.

Innovation

The company will be headquartered in Winter Haven and will maintain a significant presence in the Carolinas and Georgia. Robert Hill Jr., the CEO of South State, will serve as executive chairman of the combined company, and John Corbett, CEO of CenterState, will be CEO. The board of directors will consist of 16 members evenly split between the two legacy companies.

Education


Business Briefs

UCF Downtown Innovation District Opens Incubator Space A new incubator space in the downtown Orlando business district signals the official launch of the emerging University of Central Florida (UCF) Downtown Innovation District. The space opened in mid-January in the Church Street Exchange building and provides client companies a chance to use a wide range of programs as they grow.

Leidos Becomes First Partner of UCF Innovation Districts Fortune 500 science and technology company Leidos has become the first enterprise partner of a newly launched program with the University of Central Florida (UCF) Innovation Districts. The enterprise partnership program provides early-stage companies with tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high-growth, high-impact organizations. The program offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect with larger companies that can provide a multitude of benefits. Under the partnership, life sciences companies in the innovation districts will have the opportunity to work the Leidos Health Group through activities such as mentorship, pilot projects and access to capital. Leidos, which had already been working with UCF’s incubator programs, has been looking to identify and bolster new life sciences companies. “Having the opportunity to see how these young companies are developing transformational medical technologies is beneficial to our mission,” said Dr. Harold Modrow, division manager of life sciences for Leidos. “These types of programs help keep us on the forefront of what could change an industry in the future.”

WANT TO SHARE YOUR NEWS?

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve shown how incubation spaces can truly help grow businesses, and it made sense for us to return as downtown’s tech community has blossomed over the past decade,” said Rob Panepinto, director of Innovation Districts strategy and partnerships for

Tourism

The new facility is the eighth incubator in the UCF Business Incubation Program and the third connected to the new Innovation District strategy. Last year, UCF launched three Innovation Districts in Lake Nona, Research Park/Space Coast and downtown Orlando. Each includes traditional incubation services along with other benefits, such as unique corporate partnerships, innovation labs and a focus on specific specialties. The downtown district works with technology companies in the digital media, smart city, education, financial and hospitality segments.

O-Town West to Host New Marriott Vacations Worldwide Headquarters

Marriott Vacations Worldwide has signed a contract to build a new global headquarters in the proposed new city center at O-Town West. At nine stories and nearly 300,000 square feet, the office building will be the largest anchor tenant of the planned mixed-use development at Interstate 4 and Daryl Carter Parkway. The O-Town West project, valued at more than $1 billion, is set to include restaurants, offices, entertainment, retail, hotels, luxury apartments and homes. The company is currently based in the Westwood Corporate Center near SeaWorld.

Do you have some news you’d like us to share with the community? Please be aware that we work two to three months in advance of our publication date. Submit press releases and announcements to press@i4biz.com.

UCF. “While this is a significant milestone for this district, it’s just one piece of the overall strategy to build a unique service to support the growth of innovative companies in our targeted industries.”

“It is essential that we centralize our core corporate support teams to optimize efficiencies on one campus,” said

Growth

Stephen Weisz, president and chief executive officer of Marriott Vacations Worldwide. “We are confident of the expertise of Unicorp on the overall development and HuntonBrady Architects as interior designers to create an innovative and cutting-edge work environment where our associates can thrive in their work life, and we can continue to build upon our recent successes and carve the path for our future growth.”

Inspiration i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 15


Business Briefs

Orlando Mayor Appoints First Director of Placemaking and Competitiveness Frank Billingsley has become the City of Orlando’s first director of placemaking and competitiveness, a position that focuses on innovative approaches, priorities and enhancements that ensure Orlando surpasses other cities in attracting and growing high-value jobs that diversify the economy. Billingsley served as Mayor Buddy Dyer’s chief of staff for 10 years. The position will also focus on bringing together public and private resources to create and activate public spaces and create unique experiences to further generate economic development and enhanced quality of life for the citizens and customers of the city, a press release said. Billingsley has more than 30 years of experience in the field of economic development, previously serving with the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce and with the city in roles that included director of permitting services, the Downtown Development Board and economic development. Heather Fagan, who has been deputy chief of staff for almost eight years, has stepped into Billingsley’s former job. She led the strategic communications for several transformational projects for Orlando, including the approval and construction

Technology 16 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

of the community venues, the revitalization of downtown and Parramore, the growth of Lake Nona Medical City and the creation of Orlando’s 10 Main Street Districts. She was also responsible for launching the city’s social media efforts across multiple platforms, and she led the city’s communications response following the Pulse tragedy. Fagan previously served as the mayor’s press secretary for six years. Kevin Edmonds has been named chief administrative officer, a role he had held on an interim basis since December 2018. Edmonds has been with the city for 30 years, leading a variety of departments and divisions, including solid waste, human resources, economic development and fleet and facilities. He previously served as deputy chief administrator starting in 2008. F.J. Flynn has been named deputy chief administrative officer. He started with the city 19 years ago as a transportation planner and has served as manager of the transportation planning division, deputy director of economic development, deputy director of transportation, and acting deputy chief administrative officer.

GO Sports Submits Bids to Host 68 NCAA Championships

Central Florida is vying to host 68 championship bids in 11 different sports for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The events would be spread across 10 venues and five host institutions in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties and the City of Orlando. The sports include basketball, tennis, golf, lacrosse, softball, soccer, gymnastics and beach volleyball.

"THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA, AS ORLANDO IS FAST BECOMING ONE OF THE NATION’S PREMIER SPORTS DESTINATIONS." — Jerry Demings The Greater Orlando Sports Commission, which submitted the bids and is spearheading the initiative, announced the bids in early February and said the NCAA will disclose more than 500 host sites nationwide in October. As part of the NCAA’s bidding process, 86 of 90 annual championships are up for bid from fall of 2022 through spring of 2026. During the previous cycle, the NCAA received total of 1,765 bids. The partners worked for six months on the bidding process and obtained letters of support from the governor’s office. Since 1997, GO Sports has hosted at least one NCAA national or regional championship every year. To be chosen for an NCAA championship, the bidder must have a collegiate institution or conference office as a co-host. For bids in Division I, the largest schools, Go Sports has partnered with the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida and Stetson University. The Division II co-host is Rollins College, and the Division III partner is Oglethorpe University in Georgia. “These are exciting times for Central Florida, as Orlando is fast becoming one of the nation’s premier sports destinations,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “The opportunity to host NCAA Championships will contribute millions to our local economy.”

Sustainability

Competition


SPIRIT of PROGRESS WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

Dr. Deborah Crown Dean of Crummer Graduate School of Business Rollins College

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sk most people what they wanted to be when they were kids, and they say teacher, firefighter, pro athlete, doctor, nurse, ballet dancer. At age 6, Deborah Crown wanted to be president of the United States. Later, she thought maybe she’d like to be the general manager of a National Football League team. It didn’t matter that a woman had never held either of those roles — and still hasn’t to this day. “I did not have the typical aspirations,” Crown said. But it worked out just fine. As dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College, and throughout her career, she has been able to live her dreams by helping students achieve their life goals and guiding organizations toward excellence. “I have pure joy in watching what students do and the successes they’ve had – and that’s true whether they’re in the NFL or the telecom industry,” she said. “It is one of the benefits of being in higher education. I think I have the best of all worlds.” Crown became the dean at Crummer in July 2016. She was recruited away from her position as dean at the largest private university in Hawaii. And even after working in Silicon Valley and in numerous countries around the world, she is steadfast that Central Florida is her favorite business community, and Rollins is a special institution. When Rollins was interviewing her for the job, she noticed something different about Crummer right away. It’s a place, she said, where academic and business leaders collaborate to solve problems together and uplift the

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By Diane Sears

whole Central Florida community. Crummer is focused on shaping the leaders of tomorrow, yes, but also the leaders of today through its executive MBA and DBA programs. “I’ve been told I am tirelessly passionate about helping to develop, harness and participate in activities in using business acumen and assets for community good,” she said. “Our students and clients participate in advancing our community as a part of their learning experience. In all of our programs, it’s a major component. Having students learn to positively impact the community as an ongoing part of their lives is central to our mission.” With an undergraduate degree in psychology from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and master’s and doctoral degrees in business administration from the University of Colorado, Crown has developed an extensive resumè that includes numerous awards for teaching, research, mentoring and service. Her expertise has been showcased in professional journals as well as media outlets including CNN, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and Entrepreneur magazine. She started her career at the University of Alabama, and promotions took her to San Jose State University, Ohio University and Hawaii Pacific University. Her grandmother, who died when she was in high school, inspired her to go after what she wanted in life. Her father’s mother arrived in New York as a young girl after many of her family members lost their lives in the passage aboard a ship from Italy. The young immigrant found a way to get an education and go into the workforce as a nurse before marrying and raising a family.


Dr. Deborah Crown

Crown remembers her grandmother saying to her, “Don’t ever be afraid to use your mind. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.” “I was quite young, but that really stuck with me,” Crown said. “Both of my parents are very strong on, ‘You have an obligation to serve others.’ Coupling those two things together, that taught me you should make sure you are availing yourself and learning as much as you can but doing it in a way that serves others.” Today, as a single mother, Crown makes time for physical exercise in the morning, even if it means getting up at 4:30. That’s a time for what she calls “head up” activities that help her be strategic and visionary and prepare her for the daily grind of a demanding job. And every night, before she goes to bed, she takes time to reflect on the joys of the day. “Some days it’s a little harder to find the joys than others, I will confess,” she said, laughing. “But there hasn’t been a day when I couldn’t find some element of joy. Reflecting on that and savoring it helps me get up the next morning with a sense of not just enthusiasm, but purpose and passion and a sense of privilege for being here and being able to be part of an amazing team.” ■

I LOVE THAT SOCIETY HAS MOVED AWAY FROM THE BELIEF THAT EDUCATION ONLY COMES DURING EARLY STAGES OF LIFE. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH PROFESSIONALS AND EXECUTIVES WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT LIFELONG LEARNING. — Dr. Deborah Crown i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 19


SPIRIT of MENTORSHIP

By Diane Sears

WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

Dana Bledsoe Founder DBledsoe Consulting

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hen Dana Bledsoe moved to Central Florida four years ago to take on a new job, invitations kept coming in from local women who wanted the hospital president to have coffee, join them for lunch or become their mentor. There was no way she’d be able to meet all of their individual requests. So she asked a member of her team to help her plan a meeting. “I said, ‘Let’s have a breakfast and invite these women, and we’ll have a conversation.’ We thought that would be the end of it,” Bledsoe said. “We had a great turnout, and I was like, ‘OK, well, good luck.’ But they wanted to know how we could do it again.” Bledsoe and her team member, Lauren Nelson of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona Medical City, began conducting the meetings quarterly at 7:30 a.m. on a Friday. The continued attendance and on-going feedback has shown how serious the women are about the sessions. The group, now called Mentoring Matters, has used different formats over time: round-robin discussions, topic-specific focus on a general topic, book club-type dialogue, workshops and others. Even though Bledsoe moved on from Nemours in January 2020 and is now a consultant, she is continuing the meetings.

other parts of personal and professional growth. “We talk through scenarios and we talk through life,” Bledsoe said. “We’ve had babies and marriages. We’re all walking through that, although we’re all at different stages. It’s a diverse group, and not in a single industry. It has been so fulfilling to see the achievements and successes and confidence of these women. It has been so gratifying and such a privilege to be able to spend time with them.” Bledsoe praises the Central Florida community for showing a warm welcome to someone who grew up on her family’s Angus cattle ranch in Montana and didn’t see her first city until she traveled to Denver in high school. She can remember the exact moment in college when she was studying to be an operating room nurse and decided instead to focus on helping children. She was a nursing student in Denver, doing her pediatric rotation, when she met a young patient. The girl was about 4 years old and had been in the hospital for three days, much of that time without her mother.

“These women are making a personal commitment,” Bledsoe said. “Most of them aren’t at their jobs at 7:30 in the morning. They are making life adjustments for this time. And we’ve just kept going.”

“She was so happy and playful,” Bledsoe said. “Here she was, ill and by herself, and she still had the world by the tail. I spent a lot of time with her, and it was so fun. She was getting ready to go home, and I was walking her out with her mom. We got to the elevator, and she had her stuffed animal, and she said, ‘I named my baby. Do you know her name? It’s Dana.’

The women have shared their experiences in addressing conflict, gaining confidence, standing up for a promotion at work, joining a board of directors and

“And I said, ‘That’s it. I can make a difference. I can help these children, and I can help families. This is where I’m going to spend my time.’”

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Dana

BLEDSOE

Bledsoe also recalls how she got into hospital administration. A woman who was in leadership at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, now known as Children’s Hospital Colorado, started mentoring her and offering her career advice: Go back to school for a master’s degree. Volunteer for this project. “She started identifying opportunities for me,” Bledsoe said. “She believed I could have a bigger impact than what I was having.” The new phase of her career was stressful at first, she said. “Oh my gosh, I felt like I had the weight of the world on me. … At the same time, it was such an honor to think I could work with people to build teams and change our processes and drive the patient outcomes and experiences at a larger system level.” She has since gone on to earn a doctorate of executive health administration and has held several leadership roles, including president of Children’s and Women’s Hospital, part of the Ascension Sacred Heart Health System, in Pensacola; and vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California. Wherever she goes, Bledsoe continues to pull other women along with her. “I feel strongly that the further up you go, the more responsibility you have to be looking out for others.” ■

THE THING THAT CONTINUES TO SURPRISE ME IS HOW GRATEFUL PEOPLE ARE FOR GENUINE CONNECTION AND THE INVESTMENT OF TIME. SEEMS LIKE SUCH A SMALL THING, AND YET IT HAS BIG IMPACT AND IT IS SOMETHING WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF DOING. — Dana Bledsoe i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 21


SPIRIT of ADVOCACY

By Meaghan Branham

WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

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Lauren Nelson Philanthropy Associate Nemours Children's Hospital

dvocacy and storytelling often go hand in hand. For Lauren Nelson, a philanthropy associate at Nemours Children’s Hospital, those two roles are inseparable.

“You have to tell stories to connect the community and your donors to the work that’s happening,” she said, “and to share the impact their support makes in the lives of children and families in need.” Roughly 70% of children at Nemours have chronic and complex medical needs, and about 70% are on Medicaid or uninsured. “These families face incredible hardships,” Nelson said. “But what I love about my role as an advocate and professional fundraiser is that I’m a conduit to connect compassionate people to opportunities that provide hope and healing.” Nelson is actively involved in fundraising efforts to build innovative programs and services at Nemours. One such program is PedsAcademy, a hospital education program in partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF). When children go back to school after extended periods of time in treatment, Nelson explained, they can easily fall behind and feel overwhelmed. “Participating in PedsAcademy helps them to feel inspired, excited and hopeful about their future. If we can use things like Lego robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality, we’re giving them fun ways to stay engaged in learning while they’re healing.” She is also engaged in efforts to support the Nemours Graduate Medical Education program in Orlando aimed at solving the projected disparity between the growing — Brian Walsh number of children in Florida and the limited number of

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available medical professionals who specialize in children’s medicine. “We are training the next generation of doctors, and studies show that 70% of those doctors stay within a 100-mile radius of where they trained,” Nelson said. “At Nemours, we want to help elevate the level of care available to children in Florida for generations to come.” Nelson’s work with donors has enabled other exciting developments at Nemours, including a program that uses technology and simulation to empower parents with the knowledge they need to care for their children once they’re discharged from the hospital. Another donor-funded project is a renovated sensory gym designed with input from Nemours physical therapists that includes an indoor play structure to provide therapeutic health benefits for children while they play. “When the work I’m engaged in with a donor can help alleviate issues or change the hospital experience in a positive way, those are the experiences I draw upon when I feel overwhelmed and stressed,” Nelson said. “It’s such a privilege and honor to go to work every day knowing that the work my organization does is impacting, changing and even saving lives.” For Nelson, that spirit isn’t limited to her full-time work. She is an adjunct professor teaching in the same nonprofit management program at UCF where she received her master’s degree. Nelson is also actively engaged with a women’s mentoring group she helped organize and co-leads with Dana Bledsoe, the former president of Nemours in Orlando. She is a mentor and Advisory Board member for the Valencia Horizon Scholars program; actively involved in the ATHENA Orlando NextGen program that


Lauren

Nelson

develops women leaders; and president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Lake Como School K-8, which her sons attend. “There are so many wonderful causes someone can choose to advocate for in Central Florida. I’ve been fortunate to work for organizations whose missions I believed in strongly — and still do,” said Nelson, who has also held professional roles at the Orlando Science Center, Best Buddies International, the Orlando Repertory Theatre and the American Cancer Society. She says the best way for people to get started and stay motivated as advocates is to find something they feel passionate about. If you want to give back but aren’t exactly sure how or where, Nelson said, volunteering is a fantastic first step. “I’ve had many friends, family members, colleagues and students who found ways to advocate for a particular mission after they started volunteering,” she said. “Some opportunities have turned into new career paths or board leadership roles, or even led someone to become a donor.”

WHEN YOU’RE GENUINELY PASSIONATE ABOUT A CAUSE, IT’S VERY EASY TO ADVOCATE AND TO GET INVOLVED. — Lauren Nelson

When you’re passionate about the work you’re engaged in — professionally or as a volunteer — it’s easy to stay inspired and motivated as an advocate, Nelson said. “Anything I can do to help a child or family in need is motivation enough to keep going in this work.”■ i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 23


SPIRIT of COLLABORATION By Meaghan Branham

WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

Dr. Laine Powell Founder Tech Sassy Girlz

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omen hold only 25% of technology career roles, according to a report by the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Asian women make up 5% of that number, African American women make up 3% and Hispanic women account for 1%. Dr. Laine Powell, the founder and executive director of Tech Sassy Girlz, sees a different future. “I’m a firm believer that you can’t be what you don’t see. Representation matters. Diversity and inclusion are important not only as it relates to race and gender, but also in varied thoughts and perspectives. It allows for creative solution development to whatever problem you’re trying to solve. When perspectives of women and minorities are not included, you miss a big piece of the innovation puzzle.” When she founded the nonprofit in 2012, she set out to complete that puzzle by bringing young women to the table to explore their vast potential and widen the world of STEM. When Powell needed a computer for her freshman year at the University of Florida, her brother built her one. “I was fascinated by the process of how he built it. And the fact that it actually worked!” Around the same time, she was spending her date nights with her now-husband, Courtney, a double major in electrical engineering and computer science, in the engineering library. “Lucky me, right?” she laughed. Powell was drawn to the field and excited to attend conferences and tech events with him — and it was at those events that something became apparent to her. “The one theme that was consistent was that there were hardly any women who attended, especially any women who looked like me.” Powell knew she wanted to change that. “I really wanted — Brian Walsh to address the lack of representation in STEM, to make a

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difference in diversifying the tech pipeline. How can girls develop that curiosity if they are never given that opportunity?” She set out to give them one. Tech Sassy Girlz started at the National Entrepreneur Center in Orlando with 40 students in 2012. At the annual Tech Sassy Girlz Day Conference in October 2019, the number had jumped to 500. “We couldn’t do that without partners who are genuinely interested in not only the success of the girls, but in ensuring that they have a wide range of opportunities within STEM,” Powell said. The University of Central Florida College of Engineering and Computer Science and UCF CREATE donate space for Powell and her team to hold the conference and to host their summer camp programs. At the conference, partners show up in droves. “NASA does an engineering design challenge, Oracle Academy conducts a coding class for first-timers, and there’s a financial literacy workshop. Our partnership with the Ford Motor Company helped us introduce the automotive industry to the girls in a significant way. In 2017, Ford brought a brand new Ford Mustang from Michigan. The car wasn’t even on any lots yet! Ford’s vehicle operations launch engineer, a woman who actually worked on the vehicle, discussed the engineering and technology behind it. We literally went under the hood. She also discussed how she became interested in cars.” Women in unique jobs hold court on a “Cool Careers in STEM” panel, where roles like gamers, instructional designers and other nontraditional fields are spotlighted. “Every year, we work hard to organize a compelling conference that will challenge and stimulate our girls to have the courage, enthusiasm and interest to pursue STEM careers.”


Dr. Laine Powell

Working with Amazon, Tech Sassy Girlz was able to introduce the Sassy STEM lab. The mobile lab can go into spaces that otherwise do not have the connectivity or computer systems necessary to allow access to these programs, bringing opportunity to more students. In another program, Tech Treks, the girls can visit companies across industries to see what STEM careers at each look like. Hosts for the groups have included Orlando International Airport, Lockheed Martin, the City of Orlando, the University of Florida and woman-owned tech company Simetri. Orlando City Soccer invited the girls out to Exploria Stadium, walking them through the behind-the-scenes technology that goes into producing a game. Powell and her partners are changing how girls understand STEM and their role in it, and in that way they are changing the world. By encouraging girls to work together, embrace their passions, break stereotypes and lead the pack, Powell believes a more diverse, innovative and exciting future is possible. “Sometimes all it takes is showing an interest and encouraging the girls,” she said. “We try to be positive reinforcement. When you’re in a room full of people who care about you and are interested in your development, if you don’t get it right the first time, it’s OK. We can figure it out together.” ■

I THOUGHT IT WOULD TAKE ‘BILL GATES AMOUNTS’ OF MONEY, BUT WHAT IT REALLY TOOK WAS PASSION, DRIVE AND A VILLAGE WHO CAN LEND ITS UNWAVERING SUPPORT FOR OUR MISSION. — Dr. Laine Powell

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SPIRIT of

ENTREPRENEURSHIP By Meaghan Branham

WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

Brianna Sheehan Founder and Principal Designer Brianna Michelle Interior Design

rianna Sheehan could see her future in second grade. “I started telling everyone I was going to be an architect or an interior designer,” she recalled. Decades later, Sheehan has more than made good on that promise, and now as the founder and principal designer of Brianna Michelle Interior Design, she’s defining both design and entrepreneurship on her own terms.

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decision-making to capitalize on growth opportunities. Entrepreneurs need to know not only themselves, she said, but also their market and their competition.

After earning a degree in interior design from Michigan State University and making the move to Central Florida, Sheehan spent years in some of the top local design firms, including Marc-Michaels Interior Design and Brooks Interior Design, learning the industry from top to bottom and getting to know the market.

Like function without form, an entrepreneur without creativity just doesn’t get anywhere. “Whether it’s for a client project, or envisioning the future for my business, creativity has always been a part of achieving success,” Sheehan said. “I get really excited about what something ‘could be,’ and a natural curiosity keeps me driving toward the goal until we reach it.”

"I saw the opportunity in the market for a designer who focused on function and architectural detail,” she said, “so I took a chance and started my own firm. We live in a Pinterest and Instagram world. People fall in love with the aesthetics of a space often without thinking of their own lifestyle and if it will work for them." The lifestyle of the clients should be intrinsically linked to the design of their home, she said. How do they use the space? Do they entertain? Are they OK with items that need maintenance, or do they want easy cleaning? Answers to these questions and so many more fuel Sheehan’s work, guiding her to create custom homes that balance aesthetics with function to make her clients’ lives easier. Sheehan always had a clear vision for her company. But honing in on what else would make up her entrepreneurial approach took a mix of intuition, experience and guidance. A responsible entrepreneur, she learned, needs clear vision but also has to be able to balance a predisposition for risk-taking with informed 26 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

So how has she struck that balance and honed that knowledge? She has two secret weapons: Creativity and community.

That creativity is made even more exciting through collaboration. Brianna Michelle Interior Design works with local artisans to bring their visions for one-of-a-kind fixtures to life and into homes. That collaboration has empowered Sheehan at every turn. She said she’s grateful for the support of her family, including her husband Ryan, a fellow entrepreneur and custom builder who helped her build out their shared office space and Winter Park store, which now includes a furniture boutique. She also has gotten support from mentorship programs, including ATHENAPowerLink, a nonprofit based at Rollins College that supplied her with a free board of advisors for a year. The program helped her make tough decisions that allowed her business to grow, such as how to set up a team that could handle the day-to-day tasks and allow her to think creatively and strategically as well as spend time with her two young sons, Ryker and Beckett. Her firm experienced record growth in 2019, surpassing even her own goals.


Brianna

SHEEHAN

“Having access to women with experience in areas like HR, legal and finance gave me insight I hadn’t had access to in the past,” she said of her time in the ATHENAPowerLink program. “The team really challenged me, helped give structure to my business plan and held me accountable.” With an emphasis on abundance and a grateful mindset, Sheehan finds that the more she gives, the more she gets. “I have always believed in community over competition,” she said. “It’s fun to see others being successful, and if I can help in any way, I’m going to. Empowering others only opens up new avenues and dialogue that gives back to the whole community.” Going into its ninth year in business, Brianna Michelle Interior Design now employs a staff of six and shows no signs of slowing down. Sheehan approaches every day ready to learn from the people and the world around her. What inspires her, she said: “The possibilities of what the business can be, and the opportunity to learn and do something new, something out of the box, with people I love working with.” ■

WHETHER IT’S FOR A CLIENT PROJECT, OR ENVISIONING THE FUTURE FOR MY BUSINESS, CREATIVITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PART OF ACHIEVING SUCCESS. I GET REALLY EXCITED ABOUT WHAT SOMETHING ‘COULD BE,’ AND A NATURAL CURIOSITY KEEPS ME DRIVING TOWARD THE GOAL UNTIL WE REACH IT. — Brianna Sheehan i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 27


ATHENA NextGen

EMERGING LEADER By Meaghan Branham

WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

A. Noni Holmes-Kidd Vice President and General Counsel Parkway Property Investments

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hen Noni Holmes-Kidd, vice president and general counsel at Parkway Property Investments, moved to Central Florida with her husband in June 2014 to accept a position as senior counsel at what was then Parkway Properties Inc., she had no idea how career-defining that move would be. After earning her juris doctor from the University of Virginia and working for several years at law firm Hogan Lovells LLP in Washington, D.C., she left a city she loved to try something new. Nervous yet excited, she embarked on her new role, and within just two weeks, she made a discovery that would see her through the next stages of her professional life. “I was invited to a lunch,” she remembered of that summer. “At the end of it, someone said, ‘You should apply to ATHENA.’ I did, and I was accepted into the second-ever class.” That someone was Pamela Brown, a partner at Foley & Lardner and a friend and mentor of Holmes-Kidd. She was one of many leaders both in and outside of the program who would help Holmes-Kidd continue her own journey. Holmes-Kidd knew she wanted to be general counsel for a publicly traded company, but that isn’t how she started with Parkway, a real estate investment firm. “I was hired by the general counsel to come on as a senior counsel, and I accepted the job because I knew there would be opportunities to do and see more than I had before,” she said. When the firm went through a merger and spin-off in 2016, years of hard work converged with good timing.

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“The board and management team really believed in me,” Holmes-Kidd said, “and I became general counsel.” Holmes-Kidd was 33 when she reached that goal. “It was intimidating,” she admitted. “I wasn’t sure at all that I was ready.” Enter ATHENA NextGen. The program helps women enhance their professional skills through a series of eight leadership development sessions. Led and taught by prominent women in Central Florida, the curriculum is based on the guiding principles ATHENA International Founder Martha Mertz outlined in her book ATHENA: Eight Principles of Enlightened Leadership. Holmes-Kidd remembers one class in particular during the program. “It was the ‘Advocating Fiercely’ chapter. Our teacher asked us to give one example of a time we had advocated for ourselves,” she said. “I was stunned by how hard it was to think of something, to articulate that.” The experience drove home a now-integral part of her leadership style. “You can’t do your job well and lead others if you don’t take stock of both your strengths and your weaknesses,” Holmes-Kidd said. “And hearing those stories and creating that bond with other women was so powerful.” In her career, Holmes-Kidd often finds herself in rooms where she is “the only woman and the only person of color.” In those situations, she draws on the wisdom acquired through ATHENA NextGen — including advocating fiercely. When she does that, she explained, she can bring the voices of others to the table. “You can


A. Noni

HOLMES-KIDD make the case for people who will rise to leadership after you, and that’s a strength.” In addition to ATHENA NextGen, Holmes-Kidd credits the development of that strength to her career, her friends and mentors who have led by example — including women she met in the program, like fellow Athena alumna Hope Newsome — and most importantly, her own family. “When I think of an incredible leader, I think of my dad,” she said. “He taught me to treat everyone well, and to treat them equally. Everyone you work with plays a role in your success, even if you don’t see it.” Holmes-Kidd has continued to expand her life through

relationships, community work and travel — including a trip to Antarctica two years ago that rounded out her mission to see all seven continents. She has also continued to expand her idea of leadership. A year after Parkway’s 2016 merger and spin-off, HolmesKidd led the legal efforts for yet another merger and spin-off, which ultimately led to Parkway Property Investments becoming a privately owned real estate firm with office, multifamily and industrial holdings. Now mom to a 16-month-old son, she finds herself focused on finding balance. “Making sure he is happy and healthy and has a beautiful life, and that he has a mom and dad who are engaged and interested, are top priorities now. I think that has made me even more intentional and deliberate as a leader.” ■

YOU CAN’T DO YOUR JOB WELL AND LEAD OTHERS IF YOU DON’T TAKE STOCK OF BOTH YOUR STRENGTHS AND YOUR WEAKNESSES. — A. Noni Holmes-Kidd i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 29


WOMAN of DISTINCTION WOMEN’S INSPIRED

LEADERSHIP

Awards 2020

Girl Scouts of Citrus Council Sharon Hagle

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haron Hagle was listening to a guest lecture by Dr. Michio Kaku at Rollins College, and one bit of wisdom from the famed physicist resonated with her: If you don’t get children interested in math and science by 6 or 7 years old, you’ve lost them. Then she read a quote by British business magnate Sir Richard Branson: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are too small.” “That did it,” Hagle said. “I thought, ‘Somebody needs to do something, and we need to start now,’ and that’s when I started SpaceKids Global.” Today, five years later, the nonprofit has reached more than 30,000 children with its mission of inspiring them to learn more about science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics + Environment or STEAM+. Hagle said she’s aiming for 1 million children in elementary schools, and she won’t stop there. SpaceKids Global recently launched a program with the Girl Scouts as part of a growing effort to get more young women interested in STEAM careers. “Kids need to know they can make a difference,” she said. “I just felt something had to be done to get these kids excited because they are the next generation of space travelers.” Hagle is just the person to lead that initiative. She and her husband, Marc, are known for their work in commercial real estate and development and for their philanthropic endeavors. In 2007, they were among the first people to enlist as future civilian astronauts with Virgin Galactic, founded by Branson, which today charges $250,000 per person to be on the list. The Hagles are part of a nonprofit they formed with fellow future Virgin Galactic fliers called Galactic Unite, which promotes the study of STEM and entrepreneurship.

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By Diane Sears

Hagle started visiting Central Florida elementary schools with a 30-minute video and interactive presentation. She and SpaceKids Global’s mascot, Hagle’s five-pound Pomeranian Saba, wear their space suits. She challenges the children to draw a mission patch they’d like to see on their own space suits someday. Hagle remembers when she was introduced to space travel. “I was in the sixth grade listening to a PA system when Alan Shepard was launched into space as the first American. I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Well, yeah, that’s really cool, but what does it have to do with me? I’ll never go to space.’ And here we are today.” The concept for SpaceKids Global came to Hagle after she and her husband were brainstorming with Branson at Necker Island, his private retreat in the Caribbean. “We did not want to be known just as the pioneers of civilian space travel, but we wanted to give back,” she said. “We want to be known for how we’ve been able to inspire others.” The partnership with the Girl Scouts was a natural fit, she said, and is expected to bring 2.5 million girls to the SpaceKids Global program. The national Make Space for Girls campaign, sponsored by IT services and systems engineering company ProXops, will encourage Girl Scouts across the country to submit their ideas in a contest about space experiments. The winning project will fly aboard a SpaceX mission from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station this August. In the meantime, Hagle and her husband continue to train for their own spaceflight, although a date hasn’t been set. The two signed up after taking a zero-gravity flight at Kennedy Space Center. “It was his idea,” she said, laughing.


“We did that while still on an adrenaline rush … I give full credit to Marc. He takes me out of my comfort zone.” The two have trained at NASTAR in Philadelphia, where NASA astronauts complete their centrifuge training. They spent four days at Star City near Moscow with the Russian cosmonauts training program, which includes mock-ups of a Soyuz capsule and the space station, along with a flight aboard a Russian MiG-29 fighter jet at Mach 1.8. Through it all, she said, they have experienced no motion sickness. In Russia, one of the tests requires the astronauts to touch their ears to their shoulders while being spun in a chair for two minutes. “Their pilots on the MiGs have to complete that test or they can’t become pilots,” she said. “It sounds easy, but it’s like being inside of a spinning top. If you lose your focus, you kind of wobble out of control.” Focus is one thing Hagle has no intention of losing, in the air or on the ground. “It’s all about the kids,” she said. “When I’m tired and really pushing myself, all I have to do is walk into a classroom, and I see those little inquiring eyes looking up and saying, ‘Can I be an astronaut?’ You just melt.” ■

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS. WHEN I’M TIRED AND REALLY PUSHING MYSELF, ALL I HAVE TO DO IS WALK INTO A CLASSROOM, AND I SEE THOSE LITTLE INQUIRING EYES LOOKING UP AND SAYING, ‘CAN I BE AN ASTRONAUT?’ YOU JUST MELT. — Sharon Hagle

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Ladies

FIRSTS

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we take a look at some of the women who have shaped history and are leading the way into the future.

AVIATION

FIRST WOMAN TO FLY SOLO ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN (1928)

Amelia Earhart Set records and wrote bestselling books before disappearing on flight around globe in 1937 “Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” FIRST WOMAN AVIATOR TO FLY SOLO AROUND THE WORLD (1964)

Jerrie Mock Flew in a single-engine Cessna from Columbus, Ohio, in trip that took 29 days and 21 stopovers “I thought of the crowd back in Columbus. I thought of the sponsors who had risked their money on a flying housewife. Those people believed in me. How could I let them down?”

FIRST WOMAN IN SPACE (1963)

Valentina Tereshkova Soviet cosmonaut and engineer whose solo mission aboard Vostok 6 orbited Earth 48 times “One cannot deny the great role women have played in the world community. My flight was yet another impetus to continue this female contribution.” FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN IN SPACE (1983)

Sally Ride U.S. astronaut and physicist whose mission aboard Challenger included using robotics arm “For whatever reason, I didn’t succumb to the stereotype that science wasn’t for girls.” FIRST FEMALE SHUTTLE PILOT (1995) AND COMMANDER (1999)

Eileen Collins On Discovery to Russian space station Mir and on Columbia to International Space Station

MILITARY FIRST WOMAN TO WIN CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR (1917)

Dr. Mary Walker Abolitionist, prohibitionist and surgeon held prisoner by Confederates during the Civil War “Let the generations know that women in uniform also guaranteed their freedom.”

FIRST FEMALE FOUR-STAR GENERAL IN U.S. MILITARY (2008)

Ann Dunwoody Received fourth star in the U.S. Army in a ceremony at the Pentagon after many career firsts “Today, what was once a band of brothers has truly become a band of brothers and sisters.”

32 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

AERONAUTICS

“I don’t think of myself as being a woman and having anything to prove.” SPORTS FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN TO WIN AT WIMBLEDON (1957)

Althea Gibson Won 11 Grand Slam tennis tournaments and was inducted into tennis and sports halls of fame “I have never regarded myself as a crusader. I don’t consciously beat the drums for any cause…” FIRST WOMAN INDUCTED INTO WORLD FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME (2013)

Mia Hamm American pro soccer player who won Olympic gold and FIFA Women’s World Cup twice each “My coach said I ran like a girl. I said if he could run a little faster, he could too.”


BUSINESS AND COMMERCE FIRST WOMAN TO WIN A NOBEL PRIZE (1903) AND WIN TWICE (1911)

Marie Curie For physics with husband Pierre and Henri Becquerel, and later for chemistry

ENTERTAINMENT FIRST WOMAN TO WIN GRAMMY FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR (1962)

Judy Garland American actress, singer and dancer who won for her live recording Judy at Carnegie Hall

“We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

FIRST WOMAN TO WIN A PULITZER PRIZE (1921)

FIRST WOMAN INDUCTED INTO ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME (1987)

Edith Wharton For The Age of Innocence, her book about New York high society during the 1870s “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” FIRST WOMAN TO WIN NOBEL PRIZE FOR PEACE (1931)

Jane Addams Recognized as founder of social work profession and first woman public philosopher in U.S “Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.” FIRST WOMAN CEO OF A FORTUNE 500 COMPANY (1963)

Katharine Graham CEO of The Washington Post during the era that included reporting the Watergate scandals

Aretha Franklin American singer, songwriter, pianist and civil rights activist known as “The Queen of Soul” “Women absolutely deserve respect.” FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN TO WIN THE GOLDEN GLOBE CECIL B. DEMILLE AWARD (2018)

Oprah Winfrey Called the “Queen of All Media,” she was North America’s first black multibillionaire “Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.”

POLITICS FIRST WOMAN TO ORGANIZE WOMEN’S RIGHTS MOVEMENT (1848)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton American suffragist, social activist and abolitionist who fought for voting and other rights

“The thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

FIRST WOMAN MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE (1967)

FIRST WOMAN TO RUN FOR U.S. PRESIDENT (1872)

Muriel “Mickie” Siebert Known as The First Woman of Finance, she joined 1,365 male members on the exchange “Do not be afraid to go into uncharted territories. You might find some pretty good things there.” FIRST WOMAN DEPICTED ON A U.S. COIN (1979)

Susan B. Anthony Social reformer and women’s rights activist who worked with Elizabeth Cady Stanton “There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”

Victoria Woodhull A leader of the women’s suffrage movement who campaigned but was not taken seriously “Why is a woman to be treated differently? Woman suffrage will succeed, despite this miserable guerilla opposition.” FIRST WOMAN IN CONGRESS (1916)

Jeannette Rankin Suffragist and anti-war politician elected to the U.S. House as a Republican from Montana “Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn’t make sense not to use both.”

i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 33


POLITICS CONTINUED FIRST WOMAN IN THE CABINET (1933)

FRANCES PERKINS Sociologist appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, serving till 1945 “The accusation that I am a woman is incontrovertible.”

LOCAL GOVERNMENT FIRST WOMAN MAYOR OF ORANGE COUNTY (1990)

Linda Chapin The position was called Orange County Commission Chair at the time and elected countywide “If you want to accomplish something, the best advice I have is to show up. Just show up.”

FIRST WOMAN ELECTED TO LEAD A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT (1960)

Sirimavo Bandaranaike Elected prime minister in Sri Lanka as the first nonhereditary female head of government “As a woman and mother, I call upon the nations of the world to desist from violence in their dealings with each other.”

FIRST WOMAN TO RUN FOR U.S. VICE PRESIDENT ON A MAJOR PARTY TICKET (1984)

Geraldine Ferraro Attorney who joined former Vice President Walter Mondale on the Democratic ticket “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”

FIRST WOMAN TO SERVE AS U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE (1997)

Madeleine Albright

FIRST WOMAN MAYOR OF ORLANDO (1992)

Glenda Hood Held the post until 2003 and served as Secretary of State for Florida from 2003 to 2005 “We need to reach out and support younger women and let them know, ‘You can do all of the above.’

FIRST WOMAN POLICE CHIEF OF ORLANDO (2007)

Val Demings Served in the department 27 years, four as chief, and now serves in the U.S. House “My mother would not allow me to get caught up in the stereotypes or to feel sorry for myself or wish I was richer or a different color or a different gender. She let me see the strength in me. She said, ‘Nobody defines you; you define you.’”

Czechoslovakian-born U.S. diplomat, she served until 2001 under President Bill Clinton “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

FIRST WOMAN ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT (2012)

Dr. Barbara Jenkins FIRST WOMAN ON U.S. SUPREME COURT (1981)

Sandra Day O’Connor Former state senator from Arizona, she was appointed by President Reagan and retired in 2006 “The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender.”

34 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

She and the district have continued to receive numerous awards during her tenure “If there are more women making the decisions, then I think you’ll see more equality or at least that wage gap start to dissolve. If we have more females coming into power, you will continue to see more change.”


STRENGTHENING THE

ORLANDO REGION’S BUSINESSES

For more than 100 years, the Orlando Regional Chamber has helped Central Florida’s business community by preparing and empowering business leaders. Connecting our members through our strategic pillars:

Talent Development

Tools for Innovation

Business Opportunities

Join today.

OrlandoChamber.org The Orlando Regional Chamber is a core componant of the Orlando Economic Partnership.


WIB

WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Dream Job

UES Project Manager Blends Development and Conservation By Todd Persons

Amateur animal blogger Autumn Mercer has both a Facebook and an Instagram page with 3,000 total followers titled “All about Animals with Autumn.” If you assume the lighthearted title sums up the pastime of a basement blogger, then you don’t know Autumn Mercer. If TV producers wanted to create a show about a next-generation environmentalist, Mercer would surely be cast as the lead. Mercer, 25, is an Orlando native who “loves everything about Florida” and whose goal is “to educate the world 36 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

on the importance of conserving and protecting endangered species.” Although she grew up watching every episode of Steve Irwin’s “The Crocodile Hunter,” Mercer is definitely not a couch potato. With a full head of fiery auburn hair, she has the healthy “outdoorsy” appearance of someone at home in the natural world. After receiving an environmental sciences degree from the University of Central Florida and some early work experience, Mercer got her dream job as a project manager with Orlando-

based Universal Engineering Sciences LLC (UES), the largest geotechnical engineering firm of its type in the U.S. Her group works with landowners and developers on a variety of issues, including protected species assessments and evaluations of environmental sites and wetlands. Clients often need help navigating the complex environmental regulatory systems designed to protect endangered and threatened species like scrub jays, burrowing owls, Eastern Indigo snakes and other Florida wildlife.


Autumn Mercer Project Manager

Universal Engineering Sciences

"

I see my profession as seeking a realistic balance between development and environmental concerns. — Autumn Mercer

Mercer gets to go nose-tobeak with creatures like the gopher tortoise, a large, natural excavator that can dig holes in undeveloped Florida soil 30 feet deep and 50 feet long with multiple tunnels where it nests and hides. Her job is to assess these burrows for activity. If the burrow is active, she will excavate the tortoise, then record and relocate it as the law requires. If a planned development site is not properly cleared of protected creatures, no development can occur.

"

There are good laws on the books that protect endangered and threatened species and the environment in general. Clients want to get their projects completed, but they are starting to understand the benefits of working cooperatively with existing rules. There are new generations with new attitudes on both sides of the equation. — Autumn Mercer

“One of the challenges we have in the environmental field is to have clients understand the 'why' of why we do this," Mercer says, adding that she believes people in the development arena are becoming more enlightened to the importance of species protection, just as professionals in her line of work are trying to shed the image of overzealous "tree huggers." “I see my profession as seeking a realistic balance between development and environmental concerns,” Mercer says. “There are good laws on the books that protect endangered and threatened species and the environment in general. Clients want to get their projects completed, but they are starting

to understand the benefits of working cooperatively with existing rules. There are new generations with new attitudes on both sides of the equation.” When she isn’t rescuing gopher tortoises that may not want to be rescued, Mercer tends to her five-acre Orange County farm, caring for a menagerie of five goats, five hens, a rooster, a rabbit, two dogs and a cat. Mercer sees gopher tortoises as bridge builders between the worlds of development and conservation. They are nature’s apartment landlords. “Tortoise burrows are deep with many passageways and usually large cul-de-sacs at the bottom,” she says. “Even after a tortoise abandons it, a burrow can become home for other protected creatures that might otherwise have trouble fending for themselves.” Gopher tortoises are protected by law as much for the safety their burrows provide other species as for their own protection. She admits that “tenants” can occasionally include an opportunistic coyote dropping in for a quick buffet. In Mercer’s TV universe, that part might be left out of the final script. ■ i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 37


WIB

WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Judi Awsumb Founder

WE - Women Entrepreneurs, powered by CEO Nexus

A Business Journey In August 2017, the first WE - Women Entrepreneurs, powered by CEO Nexus, was launched with a group of accomplished Central Florida women business owners whose companies were generating more than $1 million a year in annual revenues. The members were invited to be part of the inaugural group of women who made the commitment to proactively work on their business growth. The mission of WE is to accelerate growth and leadership in a confidential, supportive, professionally facilitated environment where other successful women business owners can learn from each other for mutual benefit. The focus is on growth strategies, operations, leadership and succession planning. The Edward Lowe Foundation process is used in all monthly meetings, which are held at Rollins College. The program includes executive coaching with a focus on customized 38 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

solutions for each company. Business speakers are brought in based on the needs of the members and vary with such topics as trends in human resources, succession planning, assessments and hiring best practices. Each member develops a business plan based on quarterly objectives that are tied to revenue and net profit growth. These plans are measurable, and the owner is accountable for achieving her plan results. Being part of CEO Nexus gives members added benefits of quarterly CEO Forums, the CEO Nexus annual conference, and association with GrowFL, as well as the University of Central Florida and Rollins entrepreneurial programs. The journey of these entrepreneurs has resulted in their not only achieving business growth goals but also developing a sisterhood of women who trust each other and genuinely support each other with friendships that go beyond business. ■

"

I look so forward to our monthly meetings to share like problems, but more so I always leave the meeting with a resolution. — Claire Evans

This group has been the key for my organization making quicker and betterinformed decisions that saved me time, money and stress. The monthly meetings are my favorite day of each month. — Sue Messner


WOMEN IN BUSINESS

WIB

Maria Triscari President/CEO

International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce

A Driving Force on I-Drive

L

ife as a pearl diver was Maria Triscari’s first glimpse into her calling. While attending the University of Central Florida, she took the job at SeaWorld, where she would spend her mornings educating excited guests about dolphins and sea lions and her afternoons diving for oysters in the Japanese Pearl Diving Show.

"

You never know how your actions will affect others. I try to move in a positive direction so that whatever I do, I provide a positive impact on the lives around me. — Maria Triscari

"That job was my first introduction to the tourism industry," she recalled. "I loved going to work, meeting people from all over the world, being part of providing a unique experience." Now president of the International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce, Triscari has followed that calling down a path that has proved to be for the greater good of Central Florida. At the chamber, she works to support and connect the hotels, restaurants and attractions that

make up I-Drive, which include Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, the Rosen resorts and the Orange County Convention Center. She serves on the board at the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management as well the I-Drive 2040 Visionary Board, among her other commitments, and created the Tourism Orlando Leadership Program, a 10-month-long educational initiative with the chamber that prepares participants for every aspect of the industry. Her leadership has supported decades of growth with the chamber. "I think good leaders have to be passionate about what they do,” she said. “They have to have vision and strong determination. A leader should be laserfocused on the end goal." For Triscari, that end goal is about more than just the numbers. It’s about the people. “You never know how your actions will affect others,” she said. “I try to move in a positive direction so that whatever I do, I provide a positive impact on the lives around me. Doing something that will make a positive impact on someone else’s life inspires me.” ■ i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 39


TAKE YOUR ORGANIZATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL JOIN RECOGNIZED CEO INDUSTRY EXPERTS

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“CEO Leadership Forums provide an environment to help leaders hone their skills.”

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of our client family by embracing them as our own. Commercial insurance is one of the tools we use to achieve our mission; but, it’s not

Thursday, August 27

what we do.

John Will Tenney | The Adminator / EmployerNomics

Thursday, October 22

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See website to register and review Forum topics and details.


Spotlight

Paul Dietrich

Real Estate and Corporate Attorney

Swann Hadley Stump Dietrich & Spears, P.A.

Intuition and Luck

P

aul Dietrich’s earliest memories are of being in his father’s law office near Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. “His respect for the way good lawyers help frame our lives in positive ways clearly influenced me, as did his pride in serving the community and being part of the legal system,” Dietrich recalled. Dietrich was sure there was a place for him in the same field. When he returned home after law school, he often found himself drawn to real estate law. “Not sure if I was intuitive or just lucky,” he said of the soon-to-be powerful real estate market in Central Florida. With a growing interest in building his own practice, in 1995 he joined what would become Stump, Dietrich & Spears. A change came in April 2011, when Dietrich took a call from Richard Swann, an already well-respected member of the Central Florida legal community and partner at Swann & Hadley. Swann was looking to join forces and combine the two firms. Dietrich and his partners agreed, and they haven’t looked back since. Recently voted Winter Park’s Best Law Firm of 2019 in a poll conducted by the

Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Swann Hadley —now known as Swann Hadley Stump Dietrich & Spears, P.A.— is entering its 96th year in business with an eye on collaboration and continued contribution to the growth of Central Florida. “I’ve always enjoyed being on teams,” Dietrich said, “and I wanted my law firm to be one where everyone felt they were contributing their unique talent toward not just their own success, but also the success of the firm and the firm’s clients.” That spirit led him to a leads group with a few other Central Florida professionals that would soon evolve into CEO Leadership Forums with the help of the program’s founder, Geoffrey Gallo. As a founding sponsor, Dietrich and his firm were able to see the groups move beyond the traditional leads groups structure by adding a formal education component through free, regular seminars open to local business owners, and use those seminars as a way to support Valencia College students through internships and financial incentives, Dietrich said. “It’s a winning combination and a great way to give back to the community.” ■

"

If whatever skill I have helps to guide people toward sound decisions, or to ease tensions, or to put together the pieces of a deal that helps them reach their goals, then I feel like I’m doing my part. — Paul Dietrich

i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 41


TAKE

with Official tourism association for America’s most-visited destination.

IT NOW TAKES

The MORlando Challenge showcases our destination’s diverse offerings

T

en years ago, Visit Orlando determined it would take 67 days to experience everything there is to do in Orlando. After a decade of growth, grand openings and expansions, it was time to update that number — and showcase the diversity and breadth of our destination. So we launched the MORlando Challenge, sending three Visit Orlando ambassadors (Tiffany, Kelley Jo and Carly) on a nonstop tour of theme parks, water parks, thrill rides, outdoor adventures, golf, shopping, art museums and much more. The final tally: Experiencing all that Orlando offers now takes 121 days, nearly double what it was a decade ago! Here is a small slice of what our team discovered:

Be Part of the Adventure

Go along for the ride with our MORlando Challenge ambassadors on Visit Orlando’s blog, YouTube and Instagram channels, and see their video episodes and trip planning advice at visitorlando.com/morlando.

42 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

nture

Adve Universal's Islands of

Big ge r, Bo lde r Th eme Pa rk

s

In the past decade, Orlando’s theme parks have all rolled out expansions and updates to keep visitors coming back for more. Our ambassadors took a whirlwind tour of the latest and greatest offerings at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Fun Spot America and Gatorland. From Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, Orlando’s spirit of innovation and adventure shines through.


GEORGE AGUEL President and CEO of Visit Orlando

PROMOTING ORLANDO’S BREADTH AND DEPTH There’s always something new and exciting to explore

A

s our MORlando Challenge proves, our vibrant tourism community continues to evolve, adding innovative new experiences for visitors to enjoy. We’re a far more dynamic destination than we were a decade ago. And much larger too, as it now takes double the time (121 days!) to experience everything Orlando has to offer.

…TO EXPERIENCE ALL OF ORLANDO

This helps us promote our destination as a place where anyone can create a memorable vacation, no matter their age, interests or budget. Whether someone visits every year or hasn’t been here since childhood, there’s definitely something new and fun waiting to be explored. We have the world’s best and largest collection of theme parks and attractions, one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts, significant arts and cultural venues, sophisticated dining options, eco-tourism adventures, historic neighborhoods and more. The Wheel at ICON PARKTM

New Attrac tions A decade ago, Orlando didn’t have The Wheel at ICON Park™, SEA LIFE Orlando, the Orlando StarFlyer, Madame Tussauds Orlando, Topgolf, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games or Crayola Experience. Now, these attractions and many others offer fresh ways to play indoors and outdoors, providing even more options for a memorable vacation experience.

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

. . . An d So Much Mor

e!

Beyond the parks, our ambassadors explored Central Florida’s pristine lakes and springs, spotlighted cultural gems like downtown’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, and window-shopped in distinctive spots like Winter Park’s Park Avenue and the Mall at Millenia.

This variety adds to our appeal, making visitors want to come back again and again. In turn, our community benefits from tourism’s $75 billion economic impact. In the spirit of our MORlando Challenge, I invite you to take another look at everything our destination has to offer. You might be surprised with what you find!

i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 43


Best Practice

Leadership Guiding Your Team Through the Big, Scary Unknown

Romaine Seguin

is president of UPS Global Freight Forwarding, where she oversees air, ocean and rail freight forwarding, as well as brokerage and supplier management, for the 220 countries and territories UPS serves around the world. She can be reached at rseguin@ups.com.

Do not give executives what they want to hear, or just positive information. Instead, the information needs to be factual.

44 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

When your business gets completely disrupted by the “unknown,” what steps do you take to protect the employees, customers and shareholders? How do you communicate with your people in times of crisis, and what do you share as opposed to holding back? I trust I will know more by the time you read this article than I did as I wrote it, because that’s how fast the world is changing.

have global operations with employees stationed on every continent, we’ve implemented processes to ensure all workers, customers and shareholders are in the best situation as we move through the days, months and quarters of dealing with the coronavirus. I’d like to share with you some tips we’ve learned as we’ve navigated through global crises like this one:

The current unknown I am referring to is the coronavirus. There are other unknowns your organization might face through the years, including hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, economic downturns, terrorist acts and workplace violence. These are unknowns that affect the whole population but also have a profound personal effect on your employees.

ɟ Rely on employees for detail, and have one point of contact. My office receives a daily recap from local employees, including total working and total infected. I am very fortunate to write that as of today, no employee is infected out of 8,000-plus in our workforce in China, which is ground zero for the coronavirus.

As we go to press, there are more than 2,400 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. At my company, where we

ɟ If possible, get the supplies needed to have employees come back to work. The very first question is,


The R-Squared team facilitates

what do you need? We have sent more than a million surgical masks to our employees since the outbreak. When Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico, we flew in more than 500 generators and safety kits for our employees. ɟ Monitor the local situation. With the coronavirus, we have had to stay aware of each province’s policies to conduct business and prepare for daily changes. With Hurricane Maria, we kept in constant communication with our employees and were able to fly a cargo plane to the island to see what was needed, carry in vital supplies, and transport people in and out.

ENGAGING AND DYNAMIC WORKSHOPS that empower organizations like yours to reach greater success.

ɟ Reach out to your customers. In times of crisis, they are suffering just like your employees. We’ve been meeting with as many customers as possible who are operating in China. It can be in person or via videoconference. We’re asking, “What are your plans? Are your employees affected, and how is that affecting your operations?” What are their major pain points? Communication and education are key. We have held one internal webinar and two external webinars. These educational sessions discuss the current situation, operating plans and capacity in the market. There is a survey after each one to improve the way we meet the needs of our customers and our employees. Keeping the customer first is a must on these webinars, and keeping sales professionals informed is a big win. ɟ Stick to the facts. This is probably the most challenging. There are all kinds of media reports, some conveying better coverage than others. There is misinterpreted information out in different markets. Information keeps changing daily on issues such as government policies, flight cancellations and border closings. ɟ Manage information to executive leadership and board members. Because the company I work for is publicly traded, many questions are asked about how the current situation will affect the market financially. I have been asked every day whether the market will bounce back in March. We are evaluating attendance of employees at manufacturing plants. We are monitoring production output. It is still too early to give financial updates. The point here is, do not give executives what they want to hear, or just positive information. Instead, the information needs to be factual — no matter how difficult it can be to deliver that. I know all of us would like to wake up and hear that someone has provided a vaccine for the coronavirus, but that has not happened. In situations like this, I truly believe there are many lessons. Crisis can bring teams closer together as they try to solve issues that arise from the unknown. Use it as a learning opportunity to help your team grow and strengthen your customer relationships. ■

WE MOLD HIGH-PERFORMING INDIVIDUALS INTO RESULTS-DRIVEN TEAMS Looking to take your organization to the next level this year? Give us a call to discuss your goals

Phone: [240] 577- 9017 http://r-squaredsolutions.net i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 45


Best Practice

Marketing Using Data Visualization in Your Own Marketing If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a pie chart worth? We’ve known about the value of visualization in reporting and processing information for a long time, but data visualization is offering new tools in the age of big data and information.

Cherise Czaban

is the publisher and CEO of i4 Business. She can be reached at cherise@i4biz.com.

It’s human nature to be more drawn to an image than a paragraph of text — we’re just wired that way. Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, with the brain processing those images in 13 milliseconds. And we are exposed to more of those visuals than ever, with some social media platforms even dedicated entirely to images, so the need for advertisers to create more interesting and engaging images to cut through the noise is top of mind. The natural solution in an age fueled by data and analytics is data

It’s human nature to be more drawn to an image than a paragraph of text — we’re just wired that way.

46 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

visualization: the graphical representation of statistics or other data. It’s not just for boardroom presentations anymore. Today, it’s a language understood by even nontechnology consumers.

The Age of Big Data

We are living in what many call the “Age of Big Data,” where software designed to gather analytics and data on campaigns and consumers quickly delivers insights that previously required painstaking work. At every touch point, data is being collected about consumers — what they’re interested in, what they interacted with, what they’re looking for — which is then used for the personalization of products or messaging to each customer as the consumer profile becomes more detailed. Data is also used to measure more general trends in consumer behavior, progress on a particular project, effectiveness of online marketing and more.


The West Orange Chamber’s

Why Visualizing is More Powerful

Why turn those numbers into a picture? There are a number of reasons: ɟ

ɟ

ɟ

ɟ

It grabs people’s attention. It doesn’t take a study to understand that a list of numbers is not as engaging as a bright and cleverly designed chart. A paragraph of databased copy can turn some people away, while a colorful graph makes them take a longer look. Whether you’re communicating your value to your consumer, or your internal findings to your team, you want to use every tool available to be sure they’re listening. It looks professional. A well-designed infographic or clear and engaging timeline indicates to audience members that you took the time to not only collect this information, but to present it in a way they would enjoy. This care instills trust and encourages the kind of engagement that keeps consumers coming back. It also establishes you as a thought leader on the cutting edge of trends. It is more likely to be shared. In the internet age, shareability is not to be discounted. According to Pixlee.com, visual content is 40% more likely to be shared across social media platforms than other forms of content. This helps increase your reach and expand your audience. It tells a story. Seeing numbers represented visually lends itself to a narrative created in the mind of the person processing this information. It can convey everything from cold hard facts to feelings and experiences.

Steps for SUCCESS Become a West Orange Chamber Member Seize the Opportunities Get Results Repeat Daily

Kinds of Data Visualization

There are countless ways to display data. Choosing the best method that works for you is just a matter of figuring out what will best convey the point you’re trying to make with the data. Information can be presented as: ɟ

Graphs – Bar graphs, line graphs, bullet graphs.

ɟ

Charts – Bar charts, Gantt charts, area charts.

ɟ

Maps – Heat maps, area maps, dot distribution maps.

ɟ

Infographics – Timelines, process descriptions, numbered steps, data sets.

Getting Started with Your Own

Choosing what data will make the biggest impact visually for your point, which graph to use to show it, and how to create that graph might seem like a difficult project to tackle if you’ve never done it before. The good news? Creating a good, simple visualization doesn’t have to require hours of painstaking work. Today, there are enough websites and software products specializing in this topic that you can find one which works best for you. ■

Facilitating Opportunity for Over 45 Years

(407) 656-1304 wochamber.com Dr. Phillips | Gotha | Horizon West | Lake Avalon MetroWest | Oakland | Ocoee | Orlo Vista Pine Hills | Windermere | Winter Garden i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 47


Best Practice

Legal Hiring the Right M&A Lawyer for Your Most Important Transaction

Douglas E. Starcher

is the managing partner of the Orlando office of Nelson Mullins and head of the firm’s Florida corporate team.

Passing the bar doesn’t qualify a lawyer to do all things legal. The authors have been licensed to practice law in Florida for more than 42 combined years and have achieved the highest ratings for competency and ethics, but you do not want us to write your will, handle your adoption or chair your company’s litigation. In today’s legal environment, a lawyer needs to be a specialist to be competent, but intense competition often forces many lawyers to try to be all things to all people. We routinely see this issue arise in the context of selling a business. Unfortunately, not only does the general business lawyer not know what he doesn’t know, neither does the owner of the business. As an entrepreneurial business owner, you have spent a good portion of your working life creating something of great value. Now, when

Matthew D. Armstrong is a partner in the Orlando office of Nelson Mullins and concentrates his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private investments and raising capital.

48 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

it’s time for the most complicated and important transaction in which you might ever be involved, you should not hand your life’s work to a lawyer who may be well-intentioned and enthusiastic but is a novice at these types of deals. How do you know if your lawyer can competently protect you from the risks that could reduce, or even completely eliminate, the amount you ultimately net from the sale? Any lawyer representing you in the sale of the business should be able to answer these four questions to your satisfaction:

1

How many business acquisitions have you handled?

You want to interview lawyers who represents buyers and sellers in the sale of businesses as a regular part of their practice. In other words, corporate

Even if your buyer is not an equity fund out of Chicago or Boston, you want a lawyer who is experienced in the issues raised and tactics employed by those buyers.


Aerospace

Medical

Defense

Facilities

Marine

Government

Commercial

acquisitions are what they do routinely, as opposed to being something they dabble in. Ask for a list of transactions and seller references for deals in which the lawyer has been involved. In addition to quantity, the quality of the transactions is critically important. Ask whether the lawyer has worked on a deal involving a buyer that was a sophisticated private equity group or a public company. These buyers are often the most intense and thorough, bringing out the widest range of complex issues and establishing “market” terms. Even if your buyer is not an equity fund out of Chicago or Boston, you want a lawyer who is experienced in the issues raised and tactics employed by those buyers.

2

Do you have a corporate/partnership tax lawyer (LLM degree in income tax) on staff and available to work on this deal?

Every sale of a business invokes complicated and critically important tax considerations. The purchase price in your letter of intent is a top-line gross number. What ultimately stays in your pocket is a bottom-line net number. Numerous issues affect the net number, not the least of which is taxes. Competent M&A tax lawyers can potentially save millions in taxes by identifying an issue, pointing out the implications and restructuring an element of the deal that would have gone unnoticed (until tax time) without experienced tax counsel. Remember, the net amount you keep is more important than the gross amount listed in the agreement.

3

Does your team have the breadth of expertise and experience to handle issues that arise in a variety of legal disciplines?

The sale of your business will require assistance in some or maybe all of today’s legal specialty areas, such as real estate, data privacy, employment and employee benefits, intellectual property, environmental law and estate planning. Buyers routinely look for issues in these areas and can make demands to hold back substantial portions of the purchase price resulting from unexpected shortcomings in these areas. Your lawyer needs to be able to call upon reliable and available specialists from his or her firm in these areas.

4

(321) 267-8100 www.rushinc.com

Building with

Integrity

Since 1984

Can you tell me a little about indemnities, caps, baskets, limitations, exclusive remedy and R&W insurance?

As a business seller, there will be 100 things you and your lawyer could fight about with the buyer. One benefit of experienced deal counsel is knowing which issues are important and which issues are not. If you fight about all 100, you will never sell your business. If you fight about none, you will probably have a result you will regret. The buyer will make considerable efforts to negotiate the right to get money back from you in various circumstances and through various methods, including indemnities. This nuanced negotiation is never outlined in the letter of intent and is usually negotiated toward the end of the deal, when the seller is emotionally and mentally drained. However, the outcome could make all the difference to you, so your lawyer should be able to communicate to you a strategy for limiting indemnity risk. ■

i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 49


Best Practice

Professional Development Get the Most Out of Attending Conferences One sure way to make new contacts and learn more about how to be a better leader for your organization is to attend conferences where you can network with peers and meet potential customers. Instead of just showing up, however, there are ways to get the most out of the event.

Nancy Allen is CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council of Florida, a certifying agency of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and author of the book The Decision to Scale: 25 Tips for WomenOwned Businesses Looking to Grow. She can be reached at nancyallen@womensbusiness.info.

I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky. — Oprah Winfrey

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Make the investment of your time and money a success by preparing before, actively participating during, and keeping engaged after. Conferences can be overwhelming, so here are some pre-, during, and post-conference strategies to help you get the most out of the experience.

Pre-conference

„ Stock up on business cards and marketing materials. Don’t spend a lot of money on multiple copies of brochures or bound project information that you expect to leave behind. Would you carry dozens or hundreds of people’s papers back on the plane with you? Instead, create a slick one-of-a-kind business card that helps you stand out from the crowd. Create just a few bound copies of your presentation that you can show, and then offer to send it along electronically if needed.

„ Do your homework. Visit the conference website and identify the major sponsors. Are they on your target list? „ Identify five prospects. Determine what you could bring to them and how you can offer your products or services to them. Prepare to find a way to meet with them. „ Consider reaching out to target organizations in advance. Be purposeful. Connect with them on LinkedIn or Twitter. Send your marketing materials and links to your website, and let the contacts know you look forward to seeing them at the event. „ Decide on your expected outcome. Who do you want to connect with? How many workshops do you want to attend? Who will you visit during the business expo? „ Organize and participate in pre-conference meetups. Get to know people who are attending the conference and get the camaraderie going.


„ Download the conference app and complete your profile. This makes it easy for people to find you during and after the event. „ Download or print out the exhibit hall map. Familiarize yourself with the map of the venue and schedule of events on the conference website. Study the locations of the organizations you want to visit at a tradeshow. Be strategic with your time.

During the conference

„ Wear your name badge at all times. Shorten the lanyard so people can easily see your name. This helps you avoid the awkward moment when someone can’t remember your name and has to steal glimpses at your belly. „ Attend the workshops and ask questions. Always state your name and company name when you step up to the microphone. Thank the speaker or panelists for the great information and then ask your question. Consider thinking of questions and writing them down ahead of time so you’re prepared when the Q&A portion starts.

WHEN YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR BRAND STORY

„ Use the conference hashtag. Take photos during the event and post them along with positive comments on social media. „ Introduce yourself. People expect that. Be a connector and introduce and welcome people into the circle if you’re sitting or standing in a group. „ Make allies and believers. Focus on relationship building. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Offer to make introductions or give referrals, and ask people to do the same for you. Set yourself up as a great resource and solutions provider.

Post-conference

„ Write thank you notes. A handwritten note is best. This will set you apart because most people will send emails. An envelope will be opened more readily than an email. Who should you thank? Conference organizers, conference sponsors, workshop panelists, guest speakers and anyone else who helps you. Besides showing good manners, a thank you note gives you an opportunity for branding. Use a note card with your logo. „ Ask the contacts you made if you can put them on your mailing list. This is a good way for you to stay in touch with each other.

HIRE A SIDEKICK design media specialist

„ Get onto LinkedIn later and connect with everyone you met. Again, this is a great way to stay in touch and expand each of your networks. Sometimes you might even want to connect on the spot. „ Establish a follow-up calendar for leads you made. When you want to connect with people, consider sending them books, magazines or articles on topics that are relevant to them. Nurturing relationships is key to building trust and remaining top of mind.T

SIDEKICK Creations

sidekickcreations.com 307.202.3920 i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 51


Best Practice

Business Development Hiring a Salesperson Can Be Difficult

Bill Reidy is president of PWRhouse Consulting, an authorized Sandler Training center and sales force development company in Orlando. He can be reached at www.pwrhouse.sandler.com, bill.reidy@ sandler.com or 443-418-6033.

Sandler Rule #23: Create a Culture of Accountability. Help your people own their success. — Sandler Training

52 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

The current unemployment rate in Central Florida has been hovering around 3%. That means hiring a productive salesperson can be a competitive endeavor, if not downright difficult.

candidates’ preferred communication style. Are they outgoing and gregarious? Are they reserved and more apt to be “thinkers”? For different roles and different team compositions, this insight can be valuable.

Salespeople tend to be outgoing and engaging. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ve found the right person for the job simply because that person is likeable. Before interviewing any sales candidate, make an objective list of what kind of salesperson is an ideal fit. Construct questions to uncover whether a likeable sales candidate actually matches up well or not.

One of our preferred assessments evaluates candidates’ selling skills. The question is not CAN they sell, because any candidate you talk to probably sold SOMETHING for another company and will tell you how great he or she is at selling. What the skill assessment will help you identify is the likelihood that candidates WILL sell — and will be able to sell your product or service. This type of assessment will provide insights into candidates’ drive and work ethic, their detail orientation, their drive to persuade others and their level of assertiveness.

If you’ve hired a lot of salespeople over the years, you’ve probably already discovered the wisdom of using benchmarking assessments to get a better gauge of the sales candidate’s true likelihood of being successful in the role. Some assessments help us identify

If we only vet candidates through interviews and their anecdotal responses to our questions, we can be easily misled. For


®

Promoting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship example, we interviewed a sales candidate for a client of ours. The candidate — we will call him Chuck — claimed to have generated millions of dollars in revenue for the last five years. He meticulously laid out the numbers for us to see. It looked very impressive until we asked, “Chuck, these numbers look great, but are they a lot for your previous company? Were you exceeding projections?” Chuck admitted that his numbers were about in line with projections. After doing some homework, we found that Chuck was actually underperforming his quota by several hundred thousand dollars. Chuck had been let go from his previous employer for missing quota four years in a row. He primarily missed quota because he sold virtually no new clients, but rather had renewal and up-sell deals. The person who ended up being hired — who we will call Denise — had numbers that looked much less impressive. Her best year was $750,000. But when taking a deeper look at the performance, Denise was much better suited to the job. She had built her sales up from about $100,000 to $750,000. Furthermore, the increases were steady with at least a 20% increase every year. Given the fact that the sales position required developing a new territory, Denise was clearly a better fit.

SPOTLIGHTING HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS Central Florida’s health care professionals are making vital contributions to our community. In our June issue, i4 Business will spotlight your stories: who you are, what you do, and what the future holds. In telling each of your stories, we build your relationship with our audience and get closer to the heart of what makes our community one of a kind.

When cross-referencing what we learned in Denise’s interview with her benchmarking assessments, we found that she was built to prospect. She had a high “people orientation,” as well as a low “need for approval” — that is to say, she could take the necessary rejection that prospecting a new territory brings, and she could still bounce back. Be careful not to let a sales candidate’s anecdotal stories, or even stated quantitative performance, over-influence you. It takes a combination of business intelligence gathered through benchmarking assessments, along with some careful questioning, to get a proper perspective on whether a salesperson’s previous performance actually was impressive — or not. Impressive-looking numbers and likeability do not make a candidate the right person for the job. One of the biggest sales hiring mistakes we see with our clients is that they “fall in love with a candidate” without an objective check on things like an assessment of behavioral competencies, communication style and, most importantly, a thorough vetting of REAL metrics on productivity and performance. Be sure to gauge what the numbers really mean, and that the sales candidate’s past experience lends itself to the unique needs of your business. An interviewing manager with this skill has the ability to be curious, skeptical and detached from the outcome — not necessarily common hiring and interviewing skills. ■

Each profile will be: • Published in our print and digital editions of i4 Business • Published on i4biz.com • Shared on our social media channels • Spotlighted in our Special Sections newsletter

Coming June 2020!

i4biz.com Tel: 407.730.2961 i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 53


Social Entrepreneur

THE RIGHT TO A CHILDHOOD

EMBRACE FAMILIES CHANGES THE FACE OF FOSTER CARE

T

wenty years ago, Glen Casel was making the rounds at a family visitation center in Central Florida. He had been working in child welfare for years. As he stood in the lobby, a young mother walked in holding her 2-year-old son by the hand. Then she let go, turned around and walked away. After a moment of shock, everyone jumped up. One of the social workers scooped up the child and handed him to Casel. 54 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

“He started to cry like he understood what was happening,” Casel recalls. “At the time, my daughter was the same age. I thought, ‘What if this was my daughter? What if she didn’t have me? What would her life be like?’” Today, Casel is the president and CEO of Embrace Families of Central Florida, a nonprofit that provides foster care and other services to child victims of abuse and neglect. His mission is to ensure Florida’s foster children receive the care and opportunities they need — and to change the way they’re perceived.


Social Entrepreneur

HE STARTED TO CRY LIKE HE UNDERSTOOD WHAT WAS HAPPENING. AT THE TIME, MY DAUGHTER WAS THE SAME AGE. I THOUGHT, ‘WHAT IF THIS WAS MY DAUGHTER? WHAT IF SHE DIDN’T HAVE ME? WHAT WOULD HER LIFE BE LIKE?' — Glen Casel

Top: Glen Casel, president and CEO of Embrace Families Bottom: Tim Smith (right) of 15 Lightyears shares his career and life skills with teens participating in the Career Builder Summer Apprentice Program “Our society paints foster kids as if they’ve done something wrong,” he says. “They haven’t. They were born to families who couldn’t or wouldn’t care for them, and that’s not their fault. All kids have a right to a childhood, and we can’t strip those opportunities away from them.”

Embracing Change

In the late 1990s, Florida’s social workers and child advocates struggled to keep up with a governmentrun foster care system. Casel, who worked for the Department of Children and Families at the time, described the experience as “schizophrenic.” “Our goals would swing with political intentions,” he recalls. “Should we keep kids in safe custody or send them home? Keep families together or separate them? Whenever elections rolled around, we’d change direction. Over 50 years, that creates a really dysfunctional system.” Over time, a concept known as Community Based Care, or CBC, became an increasingly popular alternative. If the state outsourced foster care — child placement, medical care, housing and other daily needs — to local nonprofits, it would create a flexible, grassroots system that was insulated from politics. When Jeb Bush was elected governor in 1998, he promised to take the CBC model statewide. The idea appealed to Casel. He left his job with the state to join the nonprofit Children’s Home Society, where he helped found nine of the original 15 CBC agencies across Florida. He agreed to take a leadership role at the ninth agency, which is now Embrace Families. i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 55


With the new model came a new mission: Keep children out of foster care. “Children should not be in foster care,” Casel says. “It’s as simple as that. Foster care is purgatory, and you don’t save children by bringing them in. If a child’s home isn’t safe, and we can’t make it safe, we want to get that child into a new adoptive home as soon as we can.”

When our community is better, all of our businesses are better. — Glen Casel

Embrace Families has made rapid progress toward that mission. Since its founding, it has reduced the number of children in foster care and group care by 90% and 62% respectively. In 2004, 300 children whose parents’ rights had been terminated — but who weren’t slated for adoption — were “waiting for a home.” Now there are about 30. “But if you think about our 30 kids waiting to be adopted, what difference have we made for them?” Casel says. “Until we find a path for every one of our kids, there’s more to do.”

Expanding the Toolbox

To provide for about 3,000 children across three counties, Embrace Families manages a diverse network of providers throughout Central Florida. Balancing that network is a perennial challenge.

Cars for Kids 2019 recipients Hope Fuller and Ashley Roberts with Aaron Hill (center), managing partner of Reed Automotive Group

“Effectively, we’re the parents. It’s our job to get our kids what they need — from tennis shoes to open-heart surgery,” Casel says. “That’s a longstanding problem for foster care, because there’s never enough resources or influence to meet those needs. That’s why organizations fail.” Embrace Families is funded by traditional nonprofit channels like grants and fundraisers, but diversification has always been a strategic objective. Currently, non-state funding represents 30% of the agency’s revenue. To reach its goal of 50% nonstate funding, Casel and his team are banking on social entrepreneurship. “We’re experts in what we do, which is foster care, and we can use that

56 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com

expertise to help other organizations solve problems,” he says. “We do that every day. It’s just a matter of doing it in for-profit ways.” Technology is a good example, he says. “Foster care groups are restricted to government-approved technology systems, so it takes an expert to understand and work around those restrictions. We can do that better than a standard IT company.” Through entrepreneurship, the agency reaps more than financial benefits. Recently, it formed a partnership with Sunshine Health, a Medicaid managed care organization, to provide a care plan for foster children. In Florida, a $29 billion industry is built around the delivery of Medicaid services, and foster care groups are key consumers. “Everywhere else in the country, foster care systems have no say in health care — which, candidly, is absurd,” Casel says. “With this project, we’re afforded more resources and more flexibility, and we have more influence over the care we give our kids.” Embrace Families has also found innovative ways to work with local businesses to help children. From volunteer drives to hosting fundraisers, there are plenty of ways Central Florida companies give back. Reed Nissan donated vehicles to the Cars for Kids program, which helps foster children obtain reliable transportation. Several dozen local companies, including 15 Lightyears, are working with Embrace Families to establish summer apprentice programs. Focused on skilled trades and STEM jobs, these will allow teenagers in foster care to earn work experience and, at the end of the four weeks, the possibility of a job offer. “When our community is better, all of our businesses are better,” Casel says. “Social change can be a part of any venture, and it’s often a win-win. We celebrate that.” Moving forward, Casel and his team will continue to pursue business opportunities that advance Embrace Families’ mission for child welfare. “I think we’ve barely gotten started,” he says. “The problems will get harder to solve, but we’ll still solve them. Until we’ve found an answer for everyone, our work isn’t done.” ■


METRO ORLANDO BOY SCOUT GOLDEN EAGLE DINNER The Golden Eagle Dinner brings together Central Florida’s top corporate and community leaders each year to honor an outstanding member of our community. Guests are invited to enjoy a fun-filled and entertaining presentation along with delicious food, drinks and the feeling that comes with philanthropic compassion. All proceeds benefit the Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Presented By:

Tom Yochum Retired Chairman of the Board Seaside National Bank & Trust DINNER HONOREE

Event Chairman

Save the Date APRIL 21 2020

Jeff Jennings Jack Jennings & Sons, Inc. DINNER CHAIRMAN

Amway Center

400 W. Church Street, Orlando, FL 32801 | Reception 6 p.m. Dinner 7 p.m. To donate online, please go to: GED.CFLSCOUTING.ORG To RSVP, please contact: Randy Steil Randy.Steil@cflscouting.org or call 407.703.0282

Dinner Sponsors:

THE MARTIN ANDERSEN-GRACIA ANDERSEN FOUNDATION, INC.


Downtime

Unique experiences for your day off ORLANDO Shen Yun Travel back in time and across the world at a performance of Shen Yun at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. Started by a group of Chinese artists in 2006, Shen Yun showcases the rich cultural and artistic heritage of ancient China. Elaborate costumes and backdrops and a live orchestra combine with the performances to transport audiences. Coming March 18-22nd .

http://bit.ly/2uEhdZ6

MAITLAND Maitland Art Center One of the only remaining examples of Mayan Revival or fantasy architecture in the Southeast, the Maitland Art Center engages visitors before they even enter the building. In 2005, it was named Central Florida’s first national historical landmark, thanks to its history as a haven for artists to collaborate dating all the way back to 1937. More than just a museum, the center encourages guests to engage in the artistic process and the history itself, with contemporary art exhibitions in the galleries, two residency programs for professional artists, and educational art programming available.

http://bit.ly/2UNOLPo

To scan the QR Codes, just point the camera app on your smartphone toward the page and follow the instructions on your smartphone screen.

Follow us on Facebook and share some of your favorite local places to visit: @i4biz.com 58 | MARCH 2020 | i4Biz.com


Downtime

DISNEY SPRINGS Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant Originally built in Ireland, the Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant was then disassembled, shipped to Orlando, and reassembled at Disney Springs. Within its walls, top chefs from Dublin create traditional and modern dishes with the finest local and Irish produce, while guests are treated to the best Irish entertainment in the U.S., including live music seven nights a week and the Rhythms of Raglan Dance Show. Whether you’re looking for brunch, lunch, dinner or just a place to grab a beer or cocktail on a night out, Raglan Road serves it up with authenticity.

http://bit.ly/31MSdLs

CLERMONT Revolution Off Road “You will get dirty, maybe very dirty,” boasts Revolution Off Road. All of the activities available on the attraction’s more than 230 acres are guaranteed to make good on that promise. From ATV driving to shooting to fishing, there is something for every outdoors enthusiast. Be sure to check out the two signature experiences: the Mucky Duck, an eight-wheel amphibious vehicle that carries guests through lakes and ponds, and the Myakka ride, a muddy off-road adventure through some of Florida’s roughest terrain. Bring a couple of friends or a big group for a day of fun.

http://bit.ly/3bHRQGK

ORLANDO Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Put your detective skills to work at the longest-running mystery dinner show in Orlando. At Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner on International Drive, you’ll start by getting to know a cast of characters over appetizers, then enjoy dinner during a comedy show, where you’ll have a chance to gather all your intel and conjure up your own theories. Your table and others will crack the case by asking the right questions at the interrogation led by the detective, all culminating in the final guess and the grand reveal of the culprit over dessert. The venue also hosts stand-up comedy and variety shows throughout the week.

http://bit.ly/37rKeVz i4Biz.com | MARCH 2020 | 59


Business Seen

JA INSPIRE CAREER EXPO Almost 250 career mentors, education coaches and volunteers from 57 industry exhibitors interacted with more than 3,700 students on January 23, 2020, at the JA Inspire Career Expo, held at Osceola Heritage Park. JA Inspire, led by Junior Achievement of Central Florida, is Florida's first-ever hands-on interactive career exploratory program. Now in its third year in Central Florida, the event has proved to be the area’s largest and most successful career development program for eighth-graders.

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1 – More than 3,700 eighth-graders from the Osceola County school district arrive in choreographed intervals

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2 – Students learn about Disney’s Aspire education program for Walt Disney World cast members 3 – imec, an R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, demonstrates simulation training 2

4 – Duke Energy demonstrates the safety and mechanics of being a line worker

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5 – Home Builders Institute provides handson tools to showcase the building industry 6 – The Allied Health program at Valencia College highlights careers in the medical field 7 – Orlando Health’s interactive photo booth lets students show off their personalities

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8 – Students learn essential steps of cardiopulmonary resuscitation from Orlando Health

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Business Seen

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11 9 – American Student Assistance shows video content that helps teens explore career options 10 – Valencia College provides a look at careers in engineering, computer science and technology 11 –Students learn about electrical panels, heat pumps, HVAC and energy savings from Ferran 12 – Kathy Panter, CEO of Junior Achievement of Central Florida, provides a JA Inspire overview 13 – Alter 75 to 90 minutes of visiting 57 career fair stations, the student head back to school

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Business Seen

AFRICAN AMERICAN CHAMBER 2020 EAGLE AWARDS The African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida and Walt Disney World Resort presented the 2020 Eagle Awards on January 18, 2020. With the theme “Soar into Africa,” the event recognized individuals, small businesses and corporations that have made a positive impact on the Central Florida community. Attendance was record-breaking with more than 650 attendees.

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1 - Business Enterprise of the Year Award: Hair in Motion of New York 2 – African American Chamber President Tanisha Nunn Gary with Board Chair Leticia Adams 3 – Corporate Recognition of the Year Award: Duke Energy 4 – Hosts Stewart Moore and Summer Knowles of WESH-TV Channel 2

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5 – Eagle Awards fashion lineup – traditional 2

6 – Eagle Awards fashion lineup – sequins 7 – Eagle Awards fashion lineup – blue 8 – Emerging Business of the Year Award: Osborne & Francis

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Business Seen

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9 – Eagle Awards fashion lineup – tuxedos 10 – Humanitarian of the Year Award: Desmond Meade 11 – Dancers from Just Dance Too Studio 12 – Mayor Jerry Demings

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13 – African American Chamber President Tanisha Nunn Gary 14 – Outstanding Individual Community Achievement Award: Laine Powell 15 – Outstanding Community Achievement Awards: Wayne Densch Charities 16– The Eagle Award: Ardmore Roderick 17 – Small Business Advocate Award: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

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Watercooler

Stuff you didn’t know you wanted to know

175

$105 billion Projected impact of the U.S. military on Florida’s economy in 2020, up from $97 billion in 2019

$20.4 billion Projected impact in 2020 on East Central Florida, which includes Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Sumter and Volusia counties

Years since Orange County was officially named and founded in January 1845 out of what was established in December 1824 as Mosquito County

IT’S UP THERE WITH HARRY POTTER. … NINTENDO IS VERY RAREFIED AIR.

207,568 Estimated military and defense jobs in East Central Florida in 2020, out of 997,440 statewide

— Steve Burke, chair of NBCUniversal, during an earnings call for parent company Comcast, speaking about the video game company’s characters that will be part of Universal Orlando Resort’s planned third theme park Source: Orlando Sentinel

70 Source: Florida Defense Industry Economic Impact Analysis Report, 2020 Update

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Years of operation at Camp La-No-Che, a 1,600-acre Boy Scout Camp that opened in 1950 in Lake County

330,605 Number of people moving to Florida every year — the equivalent of adding a city about the size of Orlando annually

“Some form of automation is critical in order to compete against other states and against our competitors.” — Shane Hunt, president of the Manufacturer’s Association of Central Florida

“We’re creating a workforce now of ‘super-technicians.’ They’re handling it all, from production to quality to maintenance — and that skill set is dramatically different than what manufacturing looked like even 10 years ago.” Source: Florida High Tech Corridor


There’s more than one way to a great career.

Liefke M. - VP of Investor Relations

Noble T. - Electrical Manager

Rafael F. - Fine Dining Manager

Meagan J. - Intensive Care Unit Nurse

Orange Technical College continues to grow and evolve, always focused on improving the lives of students and positively impacting workforce needs in Central Florida. Throughout our technical college campuses and district schools, students are learning the technical skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace, paving the way for a meaningful career in some of the region’s fastest-growing industries. OTC’s accredited, affordable, career-focused programs are helping shape the region’s workforce, and showing our community that there is more than one way to a great career. Working in collaboration with our partners and integrating the input of local business and industry leaders, we are proud to be an essential component of the area’s unique educational ecosystem, getting students from where they are, to where they want to be.

orangetechcollege.net


© 2015 Southwest Airlines Co.

Without a Heart, it’s just a machine. So in 1971, a little Heart built a different kind of airline—one that made sure everyone could fly. Everyone has important places to go. So we invented low-fares to help them get there. To us, you’re not 1A or 17B. You’re a person with a name, like Steve. Here, we think everyone deserves to feel special, no matter where you sit or how much you fly. And with all the places we’re going next, we’ll always put you first, because our love of People is still our most powerful fuel. Some say we do things differently. We say, why would we do things any other way? Without a Heart, it’s just a machine.

Profile for i4 Business Magazine

Central Florida Celebrates Women's History Month