Ashwin is Counsel in the Tampa office of FordHarrison LLP, a national labor and employment firm representing employers. Ashwin is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and has represented FordHarrison at a number of events over the years, including at the Minority Mentoring Picnic in Hialeah, Florida, and the Hillsborough County Bar Association Diversity Networking Event in Tampa, Florida. Ashwin also is involved in FordHarrison’s initiatives to promote and increase diversity and inclusion within the firm.
Ashwin earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Florida. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Economics, Ashwin completed an advanced Spanish language and culture program at the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo in Barcelona, Spain.
SVP & Chief Talent Officer
Barbara is an accomplished senior HR executive with more than 25 years in the HR field within the hospitality industry’s domestic and international markets, joining us in January 2013.
In her role as Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Barbara is responsible for building a comprehensive employee structure and team environment that attracts and retains the talent necessary for Orange Lake Resorts to meet its operational, growth and financial targets. This includes recruiting, training and organizational development, compensation and benefits, recognitions and rewards, employee relations, resources systems and reporting, corporate events and diversity/inclusion. Today, her team supports more than 3,000 corporate and resort employees throughout North America.
Prior to joining Orange Lake Resorts, Barbara worked for Marriott International, where she was serving as the Vice President of Human Resources for the Caribbean and Latin America markets for both Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels. She worked in many divisions of Marriott, including Marriott Vacation Club where she worked both in Human Resources and later on as a sales Project Director.
Barbara is a graduate of the University of Maryland University School with both a B.S. in Business Management and a M.S. in Business and International Marketing. She is also a Florida certified mediator.
Bright House Networks
Brittany occasionally contributes to HR and diversity related blogs. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Howard University in Washington, DC, and is working towards completing her Masters of Professional Studies in Human Resources Management, with a concentration on Diversity and Inclusion Management, from Georgetown University.
Diversity & Inclusion Manager
Cal Jackson is the Diversity & Inclusion leader at Tech Data Corporation and a certified NTL Diversity Practitioner. He joined the global technology distributor in 2014. Cal is most known in the Diversity and Inclusion community for his design, development and delivery of engaging and thought-provoking cultural competence workshops. Topics include generations, gender, lookism, self-awareness, discrimination, bias, classism and enhancing the cultural competence of managers.
He has received various accolades for his work from Centers for Disease Control, FL Blue, The Florida Diversity Council, the Conference Board, Jacksonville Business Journal, Indo-USA Chamber of Commerce (Jacksonville, FL), and the First Coast Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
Cal Jackson has been an advocate for social justice through his many associations which include the board of directors of the Florida Diversity Council, Hispanic Institute for Life & Learning, OneJax’ Project Breakthrough, Blueprint for Prosperity, Jacksonville Diversity Council, Northeast FL United Negro College Fund Advisory Board, and Community Hospice of Northeast FL Board of Directors.
Chief Talent Officer/CHRO
Cheryl G. Brown is a capable and confident hands-on Senior Executive with exceptional experience in Human Resources in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Employee Relations, Compensation and Benefits, Change Management, Organizational Development, Performance Management, Cultural Diversity & Inclusion, and Succession Planning. She is a champion of creating a “Praise” culture® in the workplace, which fosters performance synergy and employee development that inspires engaged employees to excel to their fullest potential while ensuring the organization builds a pipeline of future leaders and employee bench strength that are “best in class.” Cheryl has won numerous awards for her leadership in business and her community outreach such as a finalist for “Best Places to Work”, a finalist for Healthiest Employer, The “Ruby Class” Volunteer Award, a finalist for Business Woman of the Year, and a recipient of the Florida Diversity Council Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award.
Cheryl has earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from North Carolina Central University and her MBA from Walden University in addition to earning her Professional Human Resources (PHR) credentials in 2002 and earning her Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) credentials in 2012. She is also a partner with her husband as the Founder and President of Demonstrative Truth Ministries International where they travel to bring Zoë life, healing, and encouragement to people all over the world. (www.dtmi.us).
Deena DeThomas is the Executive Director, Human Resources Region Operations for the Tampa Region. She joined USAA in July 2012. Deena has over 20 years of Human Resources experience with 16 years in leadership roles.
In her current role, she is accountable and responsible for delivering integrated HR strategic solutions for the Tampa regional market. She is also a member of the expansion team for the Tampa regional office. In addition to this role, she recently was the Human Resource Business Partner supporting the Local Market organization (Wealth Management/Financial Centers) and the distributed workforce.
Prior to joining USAA, Deena was the Principal/Owner of ECM HR Consulting, LLC in the Orlando, FL area where she was a strategic business partner providing executive level leadership through consulting services and programs designed to add value and increase organizational effectiveness in HR strategy, culture development, program development, talent management and executive leadership consulting.
Prior to ECM HR Consulting, she was the VP, Human Resources for Access MediQuip in Lake Mary, FL, where she was responsible for building the HR function from the development and to the implementation of the HR corporate strategy, infrastructure and programs.
Deena has crossed many industry lines as a Human Resources professional to include, healthcare (Orlando Health), technology (Symantec Corporation), cable (Adelphia Communications), consulting (Mountain States Employers Council), education (Colorado Technical University) and DOD (Lockheed Martin).
She graduated from Warner University with a B.A. in Human Resource Management and graduated magna cum laude from Webster University with a M.A. in Management and Leadership.
She also holds a Professional in Human Resources certification.
Deena is a military veteran having served in the U.S. Air Force.
Founder & CEO
National Diversity Council
Dennis Kennedy has an unwavering passion for people and works to ensure that all individuals receive equal opportunities in the workplace regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. In 2004, Mr. Kennedy walked away from his job to start the Texas Diversity Council (www.texasdiversitycouncil.org). He realized the need to create an organization that would champion Diversity & Inclusion across the state. Four years later, Mr. Kennedy found himself launching the National Diversity Council (NDC) for the exact same reasons he started the state council. NDC is currently active in more than fifteen states. His vision is to have state and regional diversity councils across the United States (www.nationaldiversitycouncil.org). Mr. Kennedy spent several years as a college professor at the following universities: University of Houston Downtown, Texas Southern University and University of Texas at San Antonio. Courses he taught include: Business Statistics, Economics, HR Management, Compensation Management and Diversity Management. He also spent 5 years working in a corporate environment in the field of Human Resources. Mr. Kennedy graduated from the University of Houston with undergraduate degrees in economics, business management and political science. He earned a MBA from University of Houston as well.
Director of Community Outreach, Center for Community
Jennifer Kaminsky is the Director of Community Outreach at Empath Health, where she also chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Jennifer’s department is responsible for all community education regarding the integrated network of care provided by Empath Health. Her responsibilities include creating and implementing strategic plans for outreach to diverse communities, Speaker’s Bureau presentations, and staff training/education regarding cultural competency in the health care setting. Jennifer has 15 years of experience in both health care/hospice care and non-profit management. She earned her Master in Social Work at the University of Central Florida and her Master in Business Administration from Baker College of Business (the University of Michigan). Jennifer became a Licensed Clinical Social worker in 2003. Other accolades include Leadership St. Pete 2008 and the (inaugural) Master’s Academy at the Greater St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce 2008.
Director of Business Operations
Jessica Munford is with the Allegis Group of companies, starting with TEKsystems, Inc. in 2003. She served as a technical recruiter for the TEKsystems’ Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale offices, as well as a corporate facilitator, training new recruiters. She was later promoted into TEKsystems Government Services vertical as an Account Manager in Orlando Florida, tasked with providing IT staff augmentation and services to multiple Federal agencies in Orlando and on the Space Coast. In 2012 Jessica was asked to transition to Aerotek, Inc. as the Director of Business Operations in Orlando, FL. She also currently serves as the Southeast Regional Chair for Aerotek’s board of Diversity & Inclusion.
Jessica has a BA degree from the University of Central Florida was a charter member of the Central Florida Chapter of Women in Defense, serving as the Director of Awards and Recognition. She currently lives in Oviedo with her husband and two daughters and volunteers as a Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts.
FLDC Vice-Chair of the Board
Chief Human Resources Officer
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
Kim graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology/Sociology, and began her career in management through the Executive Management Training program at May Company. As a Human Resources professional, her career has taken her to Blue Cross/Blue Shield and later to PharMerica, where she served as Vice President of Human Resources before joining Grow Financial Federal Credit Union, (formerly MacDill Federal Credit Union), in 1999. In her position with Grow Financial, Kim is responsible for the implementation of and compliance of all human resource policies, as well as payroll management, staffing and employee training. Kim has earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification and is a member of the national Society of Human Resource Management, (SHRMA). She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Florida Diversity Council. In addition to speaking on diversity, Kim has co-chaired the annual Young Women’s Leadership Symposium in Tampa. She currently resides in Tampa with her husband and three daughters.
EVP & CFO, Florida/Caribbean
As a key member of the senior executive team, Lisa develops financial strategy to achieve the company’s vision, capital requirements and profitability goals. She also ensures seamless interaction within our global network. She provides effective reporting, analysis and forecasting in her advisory capacity to the CEO and President. Prior to this role, Lisa had served as senior vice president and as controller of Right Management’s Florida/Caribbean Region. With over 16 years of experience in finance, operations and customer service, she is responsible for ensuring financial strength and operating efficiency while managing all aspects of the accounting operations and team. Lisa has been a significant partner in creating behaviors that increase profitability and productivity concurrently with producing and analyzing financial results with respect to sales, cost, profit, trends and budgets. Lisa’s experience has been influential in managing business finances in correlation with the company’s vision and strategies.
Prior to joining Right Management, Lisa worked with Precision Response Corporation, a Business Services provider delivering Customer Management and Sales & Marketing solutions for leading brands. She was instrumental in forecasting, creating and analyzing billings for the corporation. Lisa also held supervisory and lead positions with Starcrest Products, a California mail order catalog company. While in those roles, Lisa successfully set group and department goals aligned with company objectives. Having lived in Belarus for more than two years, Lisa understands the complexity of the global business world.
Lisa received her Master’s Degree from Florida Atlantic University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics from the University of California. In addition to her educational coursework, Lisa served as president of FAU’s Florida Atlantic Planning Society (FAPS), where she spearheaded local waterway cleanups. She remains active in that association, and is committed to the community through groups such as the WBENC, American Cancer Society, United Way, Girl Scouts, Flamingo Gardens and Early Alert Canines Foundation for Diabetics.
Lorrie McGovern, D.B.A.
Associate Dean, Graduate Studies in Business
Saint Leo Unviersity
Dr. Lorrie McGovern is the Director of Graduate Studies in Business and Associate Professor of Management and Marketing at Saint Leo University. She is responsible for all graduate business degree programs which currently include Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters of Accounting. Before joining Saint Leo in the Fall of 2010, Dr. McGovern served as Dean of the School of Business at King College in Bristol, Tennessee. Prior to that appointment, she served as Director of Leadership and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Bachelor of Business Administration programs. Dr. McGovern has owned three successful businesses and served as Director of Community Development for the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. Dr. McGovern holds a Bachelors of Science from Virginia Intermont College, Masters of Arts from Tusculum College and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Argosy University. In addition, she earned the SPHR credentials.
Melissa Mickle is an Executive Vice President with PNC Financial Services Group. Currently she services as the Market Manager for Florida in the Retail Banking Division. In her role she oversees the 11 regions totaling 200 branches.
Melissa joined PNC in 1997, and prior to being named to her currently position, was the the Area Manager for Central and West Florida. She has also served as Regional Manager in the Tampa Bay Region and the Space Coast Region, as well as the Market Executive in the West Michigan Market (National City) after starting her career in the Louisville Market where she held various management positions (National City).
Melissa received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in Finance.
Pam joined Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) in 2011, as part of the National IFS Recruiting team where she has been supporting the US IT organization. Her experience includes some to the largest financial service and staffing firms in the industry; spending over 15 years as a Corporate Recruiter for such companies as KForce, SunTrust Banks and Raymond James.Originally from the Tampa Bay area, Pam earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Pam also holds the position at PwC as the Tampa ESC Diversity Leader. Her involvement in external organizations, highlights the importance of networking in the community to collect and share best practices around diversity. Pam also recognizes the need for cultivating and encouraging an inclusive workforce.
VP, Organizational Effectiveness
Olesea Azevedo is Florida Blue’s vice president, Organizational Effectiveness. In this role, Azevedo has accountability for strategic business partnership, change leadership, organizational development, cultural inclusion and diversity, employee relations and the employee value proposition/employee engagement.
Azevedo brings to her leadership role deep human resource experience across multiple industries. Prior to joining Florida Blue in 2014, she served as assistant vice president, Human Resources and Employee Communication, for Baptist Health South Florida. Prior to that, she held HR Leadership roles in both the Consumer and Commercial business units at ConAgra Foods. Azevedo also brings a unique multi-cultural perspective to her work and speaks five languages.
A compassionate leader, Azevedo takes great pride in developing employees and strengthening her teams. She also is very committed to making a difference within the community through organizations that include Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS) of Greater Miami and the School to Work program.
A member of the Society for Human Resource Management, she is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence including recognition for her work in leadership and business impact.
Azevedo holds a Master of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University as well as a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Andrews University.
Director of Human Resources
Pat Kimberly is the director of Human Resources for Wells Fargo’s Florida Community Bank where she and her team support retail, small business, and business banking with more than 8,500 team members and 670 banking stores. Before assuming her current role in March, 2009, with the Wachovia/Wells Fargo merger, Kimberly most recently served as the director of Human Resources for the Wachovia Wholesale Bank, supporting team members from the Carolinas to the Keys. Prior to that, she served in several leadership roles supporting a variety of business units, where she was responsible for all aspects of Human Resources with a focus on change management, merger integration, diversity and establishing a common culture. Kimberly has 39 years of banking industry experience, 20 of those in Human Resources. She attributes her background in banking to being the key to her success as an HR business partner, consultant and director. Kimberly started her career in a credit training program and followed the traditional career path of a commercial banker: credit analyst, loan underwriter, loan officer and a number of management positions. She gained expertise in change management and cultural integration as a result of working on 56 mergers and acquisitions with Wachovia and its predecessor companies. Within Wells Fargo, Kimberly also serves as a member of the Executive Coaching Group; as a Diversity Practitioner, supporting diversity councils and initiatives; as an executive mentor; and as an advisor to a Team Member Network – Persons with Disabilities.
SVP & CHRO
Southeastern Grocers LLC
Rebecca Sinclair is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Southeastern Grocers, parent company of BI-LO, Harveys and Winn-Dixie. Southeastern Grocers is the nation’s fifth-largest grocery retailer based on store count with more than 800 stores and 70,000 employees throughout the Southeastern U.S. The company is based in Jacksonville, Florida.In this role, Ms. Sinclair is responsible for all aspects of Southeastern Grocers’ human resources strategy, programs and policies, including talent acquisition, talent management, organizational effectiveness, training, leadership development, diversity platform, employee relations, compensation and benefits.
HR Operations Manager
Florida Virtual School
Mr. Richard Montes believes his life’s mission is to help develop others to fulfill their potential. Mr. Montes is able to help drive his mission through his professional career in Human Resources. His background in the discipline spans 10 years in many diverse environments including corporate and site level manufacturing. He currently works at a leading innovator of education, Florida Virtual School as an HR Operations Manager. Mr. Montes is able to leverage his relationship building tools and apply to the business concepts to realize operational improvements that impact his customers; the people of his organization. Mr. Montes earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Human Resources track) from the University of Central Florida in 2006; his Master’s in Business Administration in Management and Leadership from Rollins College in 2012; is actively certified as Professional in Human Resources, and is certified as a Six Sigma Green Belt practitioner. In his spare time, Mr. Montes routinely volunteers with local community groups and was the previous President of the local chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. Mr. Montes is happily married to his wonderful wife Natasha and together they have an awesome feline friend named Coco.
FLDC Chair of the Board
Executive Vice President, Human Resources
Wyndham Vacation Ownership
As the Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Sarah King responsible for leading all human resources operations including recruitment and retention, leadership and associate development, employee relations and the alignment of more than 13,300 associates across Wyndham Vacation Ownership. Prior to her most recent position, Ms. King served as vice president of human resources for Wyndham Exchange and Rentals, based in the UK. In that role, she was responsible for all human resources strategies for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI), including nine businesses with approximately 4,000 associates across more than 20 countries. In addition, she also had oversight for EMEAI’s facilities and real estate management and corporate communications. Previously, Ms. King was responsible for overseeing all human resources operations in Australia, Africa and the United Kingdom for RCI. In these roles, she led strategies designed to attract, retain and engage associates and drive business performance improvement through effective people strategies. Ms. King holds a Diploma of Communications from Auckland University of Technology and several Certificates in Workplace Training and Assessment as well one from the Foundations of Human Resources Management. She is a member of the American Resort Development Association’s Human Resources Council, as well as the National Association of Professional Women. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc. is the world’s largest vacation ownership company with more than 800,000 owner families and more than 160 resorts located throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. The company employs more than 13,300 associates worldwide.
Quarles & Brady LLP
Tina M. Eckert is an attorney at the national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP, in the firm¹s Naples office. Ms. Eckert is a member of the firm¹s Labor
Director, Human Resources
Tracy is a senior leader with over 25 years human resource experience gained in global multi-national organizations across all facets of HR. She has spent the majority of her time based in Sydney with regional HR responsibility across South East Asia, North East Asia and the Pacific before transferring to Tampa in August 2015. Her specialties are in, transformational change, leadership development, talent management, diversity & inclusion, organizational design, execution excellence, divestitures & acquisitions, program and project management and outsourcing.
She is known for developing strong relationships with executives and senior managers, understanding their business, their issues and challenges and have the ability to influence and appropriately challenge and coach them to adopt new ways of thinking and working. She have a track record in managing transformational change, developing diverse talent pipelines and implementing innovative, commercial and sustainable HR solutions in a complex and highly matrixed organization with a focus on diversity, cultural awareness and inclusion. She is passionate about partnering with the business to drive results, initiating and leading change, and enjoys developing teams and mentoring upcoming talent.