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Advisory Boards

Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship Advisory Boards are comprised of business and academic experts who discuss emerging industry trends and advise on the development of NSU's forward-thinking programs to ensure that NSU Business graduates are well-prepared to lead as difference makers. 


Joey Epstein, CPA  CGMA, Managing Director, BDO


Managing Director with BDO’s tax practice, Joey Epstein has extensive experience providing accounting and advisory services to clients in a wide range of industries including law firms and other professional service organizations, as well as wholesale/distribution and software development companies.

He has worked with publicly-traded and privately-held middle-market companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 1000. He has handled financial audits, income, and sales tax audits, tax planning, and has assisted clients with their exit strategies. He is also certified in Florida sales and uses tax.

Prior to joining BDO, he was the CFO of a start-up technology company, the COO of one of Florida’s largest law firms, and the COO of a national chain of language schools, where he negotiated the sale of the language schools to a UK public company.


Mark H. Agulnik, CPA  CISA, CIS LI, JD, Regional Advisory Partner-in-Charge, Marcum

Mark Agulnik serves as the Regional Advisory Partner-in-Charge for the Southeast at Marcum. He steers the strategic growth of the advisory practice, which includes transaction support services as well as business valuations, litigation support, and SOC engagements.

Agulnik ensures a high-caliber client experience for advisory services provided in the region. He works with high-growth clients engaged on the buyer and seller sides of M&A activity and oversees due diligence engagements. Mark has extensive experience overseeing SOC engagements, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and implementation, internal control and internal audit, risk assessments, data security regulations, internal and external vulnerability assessments, and forensic audits.

His experience extends from conducting a gap analysis within a company’s IT and security environment to assisting with remediation efforts to assist with compliance to various regulations/frameworks, including HIPAA, PCI, SOX, ISO 27001.


David Childers  Treasurer of Rialto Management Group

David Childers currently serves as Treasurer of Rialto Management Group leading a team responsible for treasury operations, cash and debt management, corporate capital structure, insurance risk management, accounts payable, travel and expense management, and cash processing. He has strategically and operationally led Treasury, Capital Markets, Investments, Corporate Finance, and Investor Relations throughout his 30-year career.

Childers was Vice President – Treasury at WellCare Health Plans (2018 to 2020) and Vice President - Assistant Treasurer at Tech Data Corporation (2012 to 2018). David held multiple finance positions at The St. Joe Company during the diversified company’s period of restructuring and growth, last serving as Treasurer and Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations (1995 to 2012). He holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida and is a member of the Florida Institute of CFOs.


Roberto Esposito, Chief Financial Officer and Board Director, Stiles 

Prior to joining Stiles in 1994 as controller, Mr. Esposito worked in public accounting as an audit and tax manager for seven years, assisting a wide range of clients, including real estate development firms, REIT's, financial institutions, hospitality industry and construction companies. With Stiles, he has deployed effective cost containment and financial reporting systems across all levels of the organization to help drive profitability. 

He has continually improved the company's operational performance, while building the organization's internal financial capabilities to support long-term sustainable growth.

Mr. Esposito, his wife Theresa, and their son, Brendon, are residents of Coral Springs.


Blain L. Heckaman  CPA, Chief Executive Officer, Kaufman Rossin

Blain Heckaman is CEO of Kaufman Rossin, where his leadership has helped position the firm as one of the top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.

He has championed the firm’s innovation initiatives and expansion of specialized business consulting, risk advisory, and forensic advisory practices to complement its traditional services, always remaining focused on the firm’s core mission of improving clients’ businesses and helping protect them from risk.

Blain is active in the South Florida community and has been recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as a Power Leader, Ultimate CEO, and Key Partner. He chairs the YWCA's Economic Justice Council, a group of businesses dedicated to creating more inclusive industries, corporations, and workplaces. He is past chairman and current board member of Voices for Children Foundation, Inc., and a member of the Strategic Forum.

shawn-mostal.jpgShawn Mostal, CPA  Audit Partner, Grant Thornton

Shawn Mostal is an Audit Partner at Grant Thornton. With 20 years of experience in public accounting. Shawn’s work includes supervising and coordinating all services rendered to privately- and publicly-held clients.

Within these areas, he has significant involvement with in-depth work in audit and accounting, Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), complex partnership matters, consulting, acquisition evaluations, and various other services. Shawn has a focus on financial services and employee benefit plns on both accounting and consulting matters.


Michael Rabinovitch
Senior Advisor,
Lionheart Capital

Michael Rabinovitch serves as the Senior Advisor to Lionheart Capital and is the former Chief Financial Officer of BurgerFi International, Inc., one of the nation's fastest-growing premium fast-casual concepts. There, he brought extensive financial leadership skills to high growth, publicly held retail and distribution companies, completing and integrating over 25 acquisitions valued at over $2B during his career.

Prior to joining BurgerFi, Mr. Rabinovitch was Chief Accounting Officer at Tech Data Corporation, a Fortune 100 global technology distributor. He has held positions including Chief Accounting Officer and VP Finance, North America, for Office Depot Chief Financial Officer of Mayors Jewelers. He also served as VP Finance at Claire's Stores during a six-year period of rapid expansion, contributing to their growth from 1,200 to over 3,000 locations in 10 countries.

Mr. Rabinovitch began his career with Price Waterhouse (now PwC) as a licensed certified public accountant. He holds bachelor’s degrees from Florida State University in Accounting and Finance and is an advisory board member of the School of Accounting at both Florida State University and University of South Florida.


Jennifer RosatiChief Financial Officer, Broward Health

Jennifer Rosati has spent her 17-year career working in the healthcare finance sector. After graduating from the University of Miami with a B.B.A. in Accounting and Finance, she began working with Ernst & Young as an auditor, obtaining her CPA license and focusing on the healthcare industry. She was then hired by one of her clients, Memorial Healthcare System, to lead the Corporate Finance Department for more than nine years, while simultaneously earning her MBA in Complex Health from Nova Southeastern University. She then joined Broward Health Medical Center in 2022 as their Chief Financial Officer. At Broward Health Medical Center, Jennifer is responsible for the oversight of the hospital's fiscal operations, including administration, development, and implementation of hospital financial plans, policies, programs, and accounting processes. 

Jennifer is a wife and mother to two young boys, who are three and five years old. As a family, they spend a lot of time on different sports fields, exploring their own backyard in South Florida, and traveling. 


Michael Siegel, CPA  Audit & Assurance Managing Director, Deloitte & Touche

Michael Siegel, CPA is an Audit & Assurance Managing Director with Deloitte & Touche in Boca Raton, Florida.

Michael joined Deloitte in 1992 and has experience serving large public companies and privately held entities. Michael has served clients in a variety of industries including real estate, aerospace, manufacturing, hospitality, technology and insurance.

Siegel has extensive experience leading audit engagements, with debt and equity offerings, business combinations and audits of internal control over financial reporting.

Prior to transferring to Florida in 2004, Michael worked in Deloitte & Touche's Detroit office.


J. Stephen Wilder
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Information Officer,
City Furniture

Steve Wilder began his career as a C.P.A. with Waterbed City before the company rebranded to City Furniture and became one of South Florida’s most recognizable brands. He has been City Furniture’s Chief Financial Officer since 2001 and also served as the Chief Information Officer for eight of those years. His financial acumen has helped City Furniture become a top-30 retailer on Furniture Today’s list.

Wilder earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida and an M.B.A. from Florida Atlantic University. He maintains an active Florida C.P.A. License and is a member of the American Institute of C.P.A.s, the Florida Institute of C.P.A.s, Broward County Chapter, and Financial Executives International, Broward County Chapter.

Steve was the recipient of an Apogee Award as Broward County CFO of the Year by South Florida Business & Wealth magazine. He has participated in both CFO and CIO Forums sponsored by the South Florida Business Journal and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Journal.


Zorica Visosevic, CPA  Managing Director, Audit and Assurance Services

Zorica Visosevic, CPA, has twenty years of public accounting experience providing audit and advisory services.

She serves both public companies and private equity investors, primarily in the consumer and industrial products, transportation, hospitality, and services industries. Zorica has assisted numerous clients with private placements, debt offerings, and regulatory and accounting matters.

She has extensive experience working with multinational companies, including global coordination of audits in numerous countries and locations.

Her areas of specialization include revenue recognition, leases, restructuring, divestitures, consolidations, internal controls and accounting for income taxes.

Joseph Chalili

Joseph M. Chalil, M.D., M.B.A., FACHE
Chief Medical Officer, Novo Integrated Sciences

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil is Senior Director, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs for DBV Technologies SA, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company involved in the field of immunotherapy.

With more than 18 years of experience in medical affairs, clinical development in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, he has additional experience in academic and consulting roles.

He earned his M.D. at J.J.M. Medical College, an M.B.A. in Healthcare Management from Davenport University, and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

 Ety (and David) Alcalay

Ety Alcalay
Owner, VAS Aero Services

Ety Alcalay is the owner of VAS Aero Services. She sits on the board of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, as well as the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Doug Bartel

Doug Bartel, M.B.A
CHIE, Market Leader, Florida Blue

Doug Bartel is a regional executive with Florida Blue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida), leading business strategy, planning, development, and execution in the largest MSA in Florida.

He works to ensure the company responds nimbly to changing forces, technology as well as market and stakeholder needs, through strategic resource investment and utilization. Formerly, he was director of multimedia at the Dan Marino Foundation.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and an M.B.A. in Business/Health Sector Management from the University of Miami Herbert Business School.


William C. Hawk, M.B.A.

William C. Hawk is a retired Healthcare Senior Executive. Over 12 years with MEDNAX, he served in various leadership roles including President of the Ambulatory Services Division, Chief Operating Officer of the Clinical Services Division, and the American Anesthesiology Division, and Senior Vice President of Health Solutions Partner.

Formerly, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer at Severn Healthcare, Inc. He is a member of the board of directors of Jack & Jill Children’s Center and a member of the executive committee of the Northeastern University Health Care Entrepreneur Forum.

 Gary Mervak

Gary Mervak, J.D., M.B.A., Retired (former CFO)

Gary Mervak is a retired executive with 40 years of experience in all aspects of healthcare, including strategic planning and budgeting.

Prior to his retirement, he was Chief Financial Officer at HCA Mercy Hospital.

He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Concord Law School, and holds an M.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.


Matt Muhart
Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Memorial Healthcare System

Matt Muhart is the Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Memorial Healthcare System. With 20+ years of healthcare industry experience, he has also worked as a Division Controller for HCA Healthcare - a for-profit hospital corporation, and as a Staff Accountant for Ernst & Young.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Barry University and earned an M.B.A. at Florida International University.


Haroula P. Norden, M.B.A., FACHE

Haroula Protopapadakis Norden is Chief Operating Officer at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Prior, she served as the Associate Administrator at Memorial Regional Hospital and Director of Business Development & Physician Relations at Memorial Healthcare System.

She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a past president of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), and a board member of Leadership Broward Foundation.

Haroula earned her M.B.A. at Nova Southeastern University.


Luis Salmun, M.D.
Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Interim HealthCare of Fort Lauderdale South

Dr. Luis Salmun is the Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Interim HealthCare of Fort Lauderdale South. He is also the principal at LMS Consulting Firm, providing consulting services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Previously, he was senior vice president of Global Medical Affairs at DBV Technologies, Chief Medical Officer at the Kwivik Medical Group, and an executive director at Boehringer-Ingelheim. 

Kenneth C. Wong, M.B.A., FACHE

Kenneth C. Wong, M.B.A., FACHE, Member, Board of Directors, Past President

Kenneth C. Wong is a member of the Board of Directors for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) of South Florida. Over the past several years, he has served in various roles, including Chapter President in 2021. He is board-certified in healthcare management as a Fellow (FACHE) with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

For nearly two decades, Kenneth has enjoyed working closely with all healthcare stakeholders, including patients, providers, administrators, health systems/hospitals, academia, and the community, to improve access and outcomes.

Within healthcare management, Kenneth has held roles leading marketing, business development, strategic planning, physician and community relations.

In the private sector, Kenneth has worked for several Fortune 100 companies within the pharmaceutical and medical device industry and received numerous awards for his efforts related to new product launches and market development initiatives.

He earned an M.B.A. in international business from the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.


Célia V. Zinger, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.
Senior Medical Director of Medical Affairs, Ovid Therapeutics Inc.

Dr. Célia V. Zinger is the Senior Medical Director of Medical Affairs at Ovid Therapeutics Inc., a New York-based biotech company working to develop medicines that transform the lives of people affected by rare neurological disorders. She is also a principal at CVZ Consulting LLC.

An ophthalmology-trained physician with experience in the U.S. and international healthcare industry experience, she has also worked as the Director of Global Medical Affairs at Strategy at DBV Technologies, Director of Global Medical Affairs, Clinical Development at IMMUNE Pharmaceuticals Inc., Senior Analyst for LASER ANALYTICA, and as a Project Manager for MSD France (Merck & Co.).



Angelique Benda

Hi there, my name is Angelique Benda and I am a Senior at Nova Southeastern University in the Huizenga Business Innovation Academy pursuing a BSBA with a management major and double minor in entrepreneurship and venture creation.

In May 2022, I will begin my MBA degree at NSU. I’m a member of the NSU Collegiate DECA chapter, a member of the Strategic Forum Student Group, Treasurer for NSU’s Pre-Health book club, and I am on the HCBE Dean’s Student Advisory Board. I am an Administrative Coordinator/Junior Recruiter at the NSU Business College Graduate School and look forward to advancements within the NSU community. My interests are helping others, solving problems, and creating happiness.


Romy Bensoussan

My name is Romy Bensoussan. I am a senior in the Huizenga Business Innovation Academy. I live in Miami, but I am originally from France.

On the Dean's Student Advisory Board, our purpose is to improve the lives of students at Nova Southeastern University. I encourage you to reach out to any of us regarding anything NSU-related. We are here for the students and want to know of any questions, comments, concerns, and additions you would like to see happen here at NSU.


Sebastian Harada

My name is Sebastian Harada, and I am currently a final year finance major at the Huizenga College of Business of Nova Southeastern University. I am very involved on campus, holding leadership roles in the Strategic Forum Student Group, the Personal Finance and Investments Association, as well as running my own on-campus business, “After Hours."

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and in high school I played baseball competitively as a right-handed pitcher. My interests include reading, keeping up with the financial markets, and helping others in any way, shape, or form that I can. Upon graduation, I hope to break into the buy-side of high finance and help both institutional and individual investors create wealth through my analytical and interpersonal skills.


Kacie John

Kacie John. I am a third-year senior graduating this semester. I am studying Sport and Recreation Management with a minor in Marketing. I am also getting my certificate in Human Resource Management.

I am originally from Connecticut, but my parents have relocated to Florida. I came to NSU because I thought it would provide the best opportunities for me being a Sport major. I am a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon and am the Intramural Coordinator for our chapter. I have a Research position on campus and am the treasurer for the Sport Business Student Association. I worked for the Miami Dolphins this past season! I am excited to be on this Advisory Board and look forward to what the future holds! 


Julianne Mangano

My name is Julianne Mangano, and I am a Senior at NSU studying Entrepreneurship and Pre-Law. I am very involved on campus and hold a lot of leadership roles as I am in Razor's Edge Shark Cage (Marketing Co-Chair), Huizenga Business Innovation Academy, Strategic Forum (Secretary), Delta Phi Epsilon (Vice President of Academic Affairs) and HCBE Dean's Student Advisory Board Member.

In high school, I played Field Hockey, Basketball and Lacrosse. I love to stay active  and I am very competitive. In my free time I love traveling, going to the beach, and hanging out with my friends and family. After graduating next May, I plan to continue my education at NSU to get my master's in business and then go to law school. My goal is to become a corporate, patent, or real estate attorney. 



Rukiye Devres Unver

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Rukiye Devres Unver, is an avid supporter of the arts, archeology and education among other causes. Mrs. Devres Unver sits on the boards of several non- profit foundations. She is a trustee and board member of the Hisar Educational Foundation, a member of the Turkish Educational Association, a founding member and board vice chair of the 65+ Rights for the Elderly Association, a member of the International Advisory Board of the New York Philharmonic, and the Advisory Board of the Istanbul Technical University Turkish Straights Maritime Applications and Research Center, a member of the Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation, a Friend of Aphrodisias, a patron of Side, a member of the American Research Institute in Turkey, on the board of the Bebek Community Association, and a trustee of the Global Relations Forum.

Rukiye believes in the power of philanthropic efforts in informing policies of developing Turkey. In her daily life, she heads the Devres Real Estate Investment and Management Company, which she established in 2006 when her architecture practice lead her to the world of real estate. She is also a director of their family investment firm, True Value Capital Partners SA.

In the past, Mrs. Devres Unver joined projects designing in Pakistan with the Aga Khan Foundation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and in China, Puerto Rico and Eastern Turkey, concentrating on financially, socially and environmentally sustainable low income pilot projects for regions in need of a better future. Following the devastating Marmara Region earthquake in 1999, she supported and worked with a group of earthquake victims, in partnership with CEKUL Foundation, Habitat for
Humanity International, MIT Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, local and international academicians and philanthropists, local government, businesses, and NGOs to create a pilot village filled with sustainable and renewable solutions in Adapazari, Turkey.

Devres Unver graduated with a B.S. in Art and Design and later earned a Masters of Architecture, both from MIT. She currently is working towards a Master in Management in Philanthropy and Public Policy at Nova Southeastern University.


Shalima Mohamad

An immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago, Shalima K. Mohamed moved to Miami with her parents and three siblings as a young child. She excelled in grade school and is the first person in her family to graduate from high school and move on to higher education.

She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University. She began her career working for five-star hotels such as The Setai and Fontainebleau in Miami and then transitioned to local government.

For more than nine years, Mohamed has been an exemplary government professional in the South Florida community. During her tenure in local government, Shalima has assumed positions of increasing responsibility. Her background includes talent acquisition and retention, compensation, benefits, marketing, public relations, innovation programs, technology enhancements and executive management.

Mohamed is currently the Strategic Administration Officer for the City of Miramar, Florida, where she assists with overseeing the operations of the city’s administrative departments to include Human Resources, Management and Budget, Procurement, City Clerk and Finance. She is also a member of the Reopen Miramar Task Force, which oversees the processes and changes required to accommodate the unprecedented COVID-19pandemic. In addition, she is directly responsible for the municipality’s Office of Innovation and Technology, which spearheads Miramar’s smart city initiatives and Geospatial Information Systems division.

Throughout her career, Mohamed has played an integral role in the successful implementation of organizational enterprise systems as well as creating and building strategic divisions and programs within the organization. She has also been credited with implementing award-winning initiatives on behalf of Miramar.

Shamila is pursuing her Master of Public Administration degree at Nova Southeastern University and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. She is also a member of  United Way of Broward County’s Women’s Council.


Eileen Arrien

I am Eileen Arrien, Vice President of B-GEAR Services Inc., a boutique South Florida company providing consulting services in business operations. Before evolving to this venture with my husband, I taught accounting and personal finance at the University of Phoenix for nine years. Prior to transitioning to teaching, I worked for General Electric Medical Systems for over 12 years.

I have held various roles in Finance, including Senior Finance Analyst Latin America and Finance Manager Central and Andean Region – one of the four major regions which includes 22 countries in Latin America. To diversify my experience, I took a role in Quality Six Sigma for the Latin America Operations.

I earned a Bachelor of Accounting and International Business from Florida International University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. I also received corporate certification from GE Financial Management Program for Six Sigma Green Belt/Black Belt Certified.

I continue to cherish learning and growth.


Tanya Perez

Hello all! My name is Tania Perez and I am currently pursuing my MBA with a concentration in Complex Health Systems at Nova Southeastern University Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

My plan is to graduate in December 2022 and pursue a career in healthcare administration. AT NSU, I am also the secretary of the Complex Health Systems Student Association.

I was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Florida to attend NSU for my bachelor’s degree; I graduated in May 2017 with a B.S. in Biology. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family and friends, go to the beach, and travel.

I hope to someday soon work in a healthcare system that leads me to making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Graduate Business Student Association


Christie Jean
President, Graduate Business Student Association

My name is Christie Jean, and I am an international student from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I am in my last semester in the M.B.A. in Management program.

I am currently the president of the Graduate Business Student Association. Before attending Nova Southeastern University, I completed a Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in Entrepreneurship at Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY.

My goal is to be a leader who will bring innovation and a taste for change to my community. Additionally, I want to seek a managerial position to practice my skills and gain the experience necessary to own my business.

I am a horse lover. I enjoy cooking and dancing. I speak French and Creole.

Ryan Shea, President, Right Management’s Florida/Caribbean Region

Ryan Shea
President, Florida/Caribbean Region, Right Management

Ryan Shea brings client-first focus to his multifaceted role in leading business performance, growth, and strategic innovation throughout Right Management’s Florida/Caribbean operations. He began his career with Right Management in 2009 with the accounting team, and he oversaw the implementation of an updated accounting system. He quickly moved into sales and continually exceeded his goals, grew into sales management, and inspired the team to surpass their sales quotas, and then he became an EVP of Right Management in 2015.

In October of 2019, Ryan was promoted to President of Right Management Florida/Caribbean. He is responsible for the growth and development of the Florida/Caribbean region. Under Ryan's leadership, there has been tremendous growth in their outplacement business, thus overseeing additional team members and creating new consulting solutions to capitalize on the demand. During this time, Ryan has been an inspirational leader, driving activity and successful outcomes for associates and clients. Right Management’s Vision is to “Guide and Inspire,” and Ryan leads from these beliefs.

Previously Ryan worked with Regions Bank, where he was a Corporate Credit Analyst and Portfolio Manager. While he was there, he analyzed public and private middle-market-size companies ($10-$300 million in annual revenues) to determine loan amounts and investments for working capital, acquisitions, recapitalization, and real estate financing purposes and managed those investments. Before that, Ryan worked with Woodbridge Holdings (formerly known as the Levitt Corporation) and Merrill Lynch.

Ryan received a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Real Estate with a minor in Economics from Florida State University in Tallahassee. In 2008, Ryan received his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Ryan is a 2011 graduate of Right Management’s global Emerging Talent Program.


Jackie Chanin

Jackie Chanin
Vice President, Colleague Strategic Partner, Merchant Services Team, American Express 

Jackie Chanin is Vice President of Human Resources – U.S. Markets at American Express. Known for efficiency, thoroughness, and her well-rounded understanding of each and every part of an organization, Jackie’s business acumen makes her a valued and respected partner to leadership both within and outside of HR. She is highly respected by colleagues as a mentor and coach.

Prior to her current position, she was Director of Human Resources at TeamHealth, where she developed and led a team of 11 remote professionals collectively responsible for 6,000 employees in 27 states. She traveled regularly to hospital sites to onboard new and incumbent providers for multiple new contract start-ups and M&A’s resulting in a smooth and engaged transition process.

Jackie is PHR and SPHR certified and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Babson College and a master’s in Human Resource Management from Villanova University.

Jess Forero.jpg

Jess Forero
Senior Vice President, Director of Teammate Relations, Truist Financial Corp.

Jess Forero is the Director of Employee Relations responsible for leading an Employee Relations COE in the effective delivery of enterprise-wide employee relations consultation and regulatory compliance. She is experienced in building an effective Employee Relations program designed to manage employment-related risk from a regulatory, compliance and technology perspective allowing for solid business insights and consulting.

Forero has designed and implemented multiple Salesforce-based case management systems allowing for robust analysis and executive-level reporting of Employee Relations and Fraud metrics. She currently manages teams of HR Professionals responsible for remediation of employee relations risk through proactive support for mangers, advocacy on behalf of employees, and strategic coordination with other functions including Legal, Risk, Security, Audit and relevant HR partners. Jess provides thought leadership relative to enterprise initiatives including consumer sales practices, cyber-security threats, workplace safety and security, and organizational restructuring, mergers and acquisitions.

She also offers guidance on the development of employment-related programs and policies with the potential to impact large segments of the employee population subject to FRB, CFPB, FINRA, OFCCP, DOL, DOJ and acts as a representative of the corporation in employee-related litigation serving as a 30b6 witness, when necessary.

Forero has also served as a liaison with third parties to include EEOC, FEPA, NAACP, etc. and regulators to include FRB, CFPB, FINRA and others.

Melissa Martin.jpg

Melissa Martin
Senior Director, Global Employee Relations and EEO Compliance, Citrix Systems

Melissa Martin is an HR leader specializing in leading a global employee relations center of excellence. A dedicated, results-oriented human resource professional, she has extensive experience in change management, process improvement, succession planning, benefits and compensation, employee relations, HR strategy, talent development, engagement, client relations, and mergers/acquisitions.

A communicative leader who leverages strong interpersonal skills to build lasting relationships within and outside of an organization, Martin uses a broad mind and a keen eye for detail to resolve problems quickly and implement innovative processes for improvement while promoting continuous corporate success.

Upendra Mody

Upendra Mody
Co-Founder, Vervet Associates


Joe Penna

Joe Penna, PHR
Vice President of Human Resources, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Florida

As Vice President of Human Resources, Joe Penna leads the HR, Talent Management, Learning and Development strategies for Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits of Florida located in Boca Raton, comprised of 2,500 employees and $2.6 billion in revenue. The largest North American wine and spirits distributor, Southern Glazer's exceeds $18 billion in sales and employs a workforce of 20,000+ throughout the United States and Canada.

Prior to joining at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, Joe held the roles of Vice President of Human Resources at AIMCO, Regional HR Manager at Advance Auto Parts, and Division HR Manager at ANC Rental (Alamo and National Car Rental).

He is a results-oriented business partner with a comprehensive grasp of business efficiency, performance management and profitability concerns. Joe is widely recognized for creating partnerships between HR and business units, managing change, and elevating workforce competence to achieve organizational goals. He also has experience in Diversity & Inclusion as well as EEO Investigations.

Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from California State University. He received a master’s degree in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix in San Jose, CA.

Todd Rogers.

Todd Rogers
Principal, HR Peak Performance, LLC

Todd Rogers is a Human Resources professional with an extensive 25+ year career, working in diverse and fast paced organizations. As the Principal at HR Peak Performance, he consults with small to mid-sized organization’s HR teams.

Rogers' expertise is in helping organizations audit, create or enhance any or all of the eleven stages of their Employment Lifecycle from Attraction through Alumni. He also has extensive expertise in Executive Coaching, mentoring, guiding, and advising HR professionals who may be newer to the  field or in need of a peer partner to execute HR processes, policies, and programs – without adding headcount to payroll.

Brett Schneider

Brett J. Schneider
Partner, Chair of Labor & Employment Division, Boca Raton Office Managing Director, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman

A Partner with Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, Brett Schneider is the Managing Director of the Boca Raton office and Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Division. As a Florida Bar Board Certified attorney in Labor and Employment Law, Brett helps public and private sector employers resolve issues in a prompt and efficient manner.

Certified by the HR Certification Institute and by the Society for Human Resource Management, Brett advises employers on human resources issues including personnel policies and procedures, discipline and discharge matters, drug and alcohol testing, employee privacy rights, and educational and training programs for managers and supervisors. He works closely with employers to ensure that their practices comply with federal, state, and local laws.

Michael Cejas

Michael Cejas
Chief Marketing Officer, Coastal Steel Structures


Michael Cejas is Chief Marketing Officer of Coastal Steel Structures. He is proficient in planning, implementing, and overseeing high-value campaigns across several industries, including military, transportation, medical, consumer goods, and innovative construction materials.

Michael is recognized as an expert with a forward-thinking and disciplined approach to marketing strategy, social media, and sales and marketing leadership.

Prior to joining Coastal Steel Structures, he was Director of Market Strategy for Konnected Minds Group, a research & technology consultancy and accelerator based in South Florida.

A true entrepreneur, Michael has been the owner of Riot Hair Lounge, LLC, in Delray Beach since 2014. He also worked as a staff engineer at several recording studios and was Instructor of Music Production at SAE Institute, North America. 

An alum of NSU, Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Music and an M.B.A. in Marketing. He also earned a doctorate of Business Administration in Marketing from Liberty University. He also holds a bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, subsequently spending four years as Organization Manager in the United States Air Force.

Juan Carlos Sanchez

Juan Carlos Sanchez
Co-Founder, CVO, CEO, Familyplayland

Juan Carlos Sanchez is a career executive with 20 years of progressive experience in the advertising, media, and entertainment industries in the US, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia.Prior to co-founding FamilyPlayLand, Mr. Sanchez was vice president of Audience Insights and Analytics at Sony Pictures Television where he led the implementation of Big Data systems, enabling the organization to have real-time data across the region.He was also media planning lead at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, where he transformed the department from a linear focus silo into a multi-platform, data-centric campaign servicing hub. He has a proven capability to attract, mentor, and build high performance teams and excels as a trusted advisor to senior executive teams for resolving complex business challenges by constantly leveraging the power of consumer insights and data analytics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Universidad ICESI/University of Cincinnati.

Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer
Consultant, Author, Adjunct Professor

Neal Schaffer is an authority on helping innovative businesses digitally transform their sales and marketing. Founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social, Neal currently serves as a Fractional CMO to several companies.

Schaffer also teaches at Rutgers Business School and the Irish Management Institute. Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken on four continents in more than a dozen countries. He is also the author of four sales and marketing books, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley) and The Age of Influence (HarperCollins Leadership).

Rene Trasorras

Dr. Rene J. Trasorras, D.B.A.
C.P.P., President, Tampa Investigative Group, LLC

Dr. Rene Trasorras is the president of the Tampa Investigative Group, which handles investigations, background screenings, security consults, and competitive intelligence and security consultation assignments. Additionally, he is president of the Tampa Consulting Group, helping companies optimize their market strategies and setting up or reorganizing their security, both physical and technological. Formerly, he worked as a U.S. Secret Service Agent and is internationally recognized as a Certified Protection Professional (C.P.P.). Trasorras is also a licensed real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, specializing in commercial real estate transactions.He earned his doctorate in Business and Marketing at Nova Southeastern University, an M.B.A. with honors from the University of Phoenix, and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Florida. Rene is a court-qualified handwriting expert as well as an expert in security management. He is a member of AMA and ASIS International and the prestigious World Association of Detectives.

Patrick Cann

Patrick Cann, CPRP 
Director, Leisure Services Department, City of Wilton Manors

As Director of the Leisure Services Department, Patrick Cann manages 40+ full-time employees and a $5 million budget. A passionate problem-solver, he increased revenue 110% to more than $600,000 the past 9 years.

Patrick is an entrepreneurial leader who enjoys mentoring others on the path to enhance the quality of life for all in Wilton Manors. Under his supervision, Wilton Manors became the 17th City in America to earn "Community Wildlife Habitat." He sets high performance measures, collaborates and partners with diverse enthusiasts and stakeholders to bring parks, trails, waterways, open spaces, nature and cultural events and recreation programs, amenities and services to local, regional, national, and international guests.

He was Project Manager of the $6.3 million Historic and Nature Park and completed the design build with $4.8 million in grants. Patrick and his team operate and maintain 15 parks, a library, 13 miles of waterways, 42 medians/right-of-ways, and 25 public buildings and facilities with more than 69,500 SF of facility space.

Patrick is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Saint Leo University and a master’s in Management from Saint Thomas University.


Desiree Casanova
County Administrator Assistant, Sarasota County, Florida

Desiree Casanova aspires to be the next generation of leaders in local government. She currently is the Assistant to the County Administrator for Sarasota County, Florida.

She is originally from South Florida and started her local government career at the City of Coconut Creek within the City Clerk Department. In this position she worked on process improvement projects such as implementing the first digital board/committee system, updating and maintaining the department website for ADA compliance, developed the first lobbyist manual, and was in charge of the department budget.

After 3 years at the City, she moved to Sarasota County and became the 2021 International City County Management Association Local Government Management Fellow (ICMA LGMF). This fellowship allowed her the ability to be mentored 1:1 by the Deputy County Administrator and work on high level projects that enhanced her leadership and project management skills.

As Assistant to the County Administrator, Desiree works on special projects for county administration, assists Human Resources with the execution of job fairs, local school outreach, and recruiting. She also assists in monitoring and reviewing State and Federal legislation, and tracking legislative bills to understand and communicate to others on their impact to the county.

Desiree is a change maker who wants to inspire and lead. She is a true advocate for educating the youth/students about the public sector and the amazing career opportunities it holds.

Desiree holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Master’s Degree in Public Administration both from Nova Southeastern University (NSU). She is a proud member of the International City County Management Association (ICMA) and Florida City County Management Association (FCCMA).

Greg Chavarria

Greg Chavarria
City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale

Greg Chavarria joined the City of Fort Lauderdale in September 2020. One of the contributing factors hat attracted him to Fort Lauderdale, is the melting-pot of professionals, communities, and cultures that exist in the metropolitan City. Prior to joining Fort Lauderdale, Greg was the City Manager for the City of Hallandale Beach, a vibrant coastal community of South Florida.

Greg is a public servant professional with more than 23 years of experience in municipal local government. He holds a dual engineering degree in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering from the University of Miami and a Master of Science degree in Management of Information Systems from Florida International University. His portfolio includes supporting core services of notable communities like City of Miami and the City of Doral as well. Some of his accomplishments include completing smart city initiatives for water works, implementation of public safety technologies, managing infrastructure and public facility projects, and providing ongoing support for improved economic development outcomes for the South Florida region.

Greg is a constant advocate for innovation and transformational leadership and looks forward to further support strategies for enhancing the quality of life of communities and business growth.

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Alex Dambach, AICP 
Planning Supervisor, City of Oakland Park

As Supervisor, Alex Dambach leads the Planning unit for Oakland Park, FL. The City’s downtown and culinary district is currently undergoing an exciting redevelopment, a major step toward raising the City’s visibility as a South Florida destination.

Skilled at zoning and land use policies, economic development, and urban design, Alex is a planning and community development professional with experience in redevelopment of urban and inner-suburban areas. He facilitates public engagement and legislative processes.

Alex was Division Chief, Land Use Services for the City of Alexandria, Virginia for more than eight years prior to his move to Florida. Previously, he spent eight years as City of Newark’s Acting Supervising Planner.

In between, Alex was Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Des Plaines, IL, a town adjacent to O’Hare International Airport. In less than a year, he took the retail section of the downtown from 70% vacant to 80% occupied. Collaborating with the real estate community and property owners, he leveraged TIF district funds to recruit new key businesses to act as anchors to re-ignite pedestrian traffic.

Alex is certified by The American Institute of Certified Planners, and earned a bachelor’s degree in History from the College of Charleston and a master’s in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University.

Jennifer Frastai

Jennifer Frastai
Assistant Manager, City of Oakland Park

Jennifer Frastaiserves as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Oakland Park, Florida. Jennifer began her career as a Crime Victim Advocate, later serving as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County.

After working as a prosecutor, she pursued a position as an in-house Deputy City Attorney with the City of Hallandale Beach. There, she transitioned from law into municipal administration, and later promoted to Deputy City Manager, and eventually became Interim City Manager.

Jennifer has been at the forefront of bringing programs and improving residents’ quality of life through innovative funding approaches such as public-private partnerships, grants, and smart fiscal management. She helped build government facilities and improve access to services for low-income residents. Projects she worked on span in range from state-of-the-art public parks, fire stations, and community centers to multi-modal transportation hubs.

Jennifer received a Harvard University certificate of completion for the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Florida and Juris Doctor degree from American University. She is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and received the ICMA Credentialed Manager designation in 2016.

Kathleen Gunn

Kathleen Gunn
City Manager, City of Tamarac

Kathleen Gunn is a proven and experienced municipal executive with 20+ years of leading, managing and serving cities with populations from 50,000 to 175,000 in the states of Florida and New York.

City Manager Gunn is responsible for day-to-day operations of a full-service municipality. Tamarac is a majority minority community of more than 72,000 residents located in the heart of west-central Broward County. The FY 2023 budget is $242 million and the City of Tamarac has a bond rating of AA. In the latest community surveys, residents and businesses report satisfaction rates of 73% and 78% respectively, exceeding state and national averages.

The City of Tamarac has been recognized by the International City Management Association (ICMA) as a leader in Performance Measurement and Management. For the last eight years, Tamarac has won the Digital City in America Award for cities under 75,000 population. In 2022, the City of Tamarac won the International Public Management Association for Human Resources Small Agency Award for Excellence.

In her tenure as City Manager, Ms. Gunn’s primary achievements include major investment in economic development by private investors, the implementation of innovative public safety community engagement efforts, and in expanding employee wellness initiatives including meditation rooms at the BSO district and in City Hall.

Kathleen’s strengths lie in shaping and executing a city’s vision through strategic planning and implementation, completing capital improvement projects on time and on budget, teambuilding, organizational and individual employee development and project management.

Throughout her career Kathleen has successfully steered cities to find their niche, leverage their unique character and attract investors, while working to facilitate the expansion of existing businesses. Her extensive experience in working on complex projects to reach mutually established goals helped negotiate a deal with Broward County on the expenditure of $102 Million in CARES Act funding.

Kathleen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Pace University. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from St. Thomas University. She is immediate past Vice President of the Broward County City Manager’s Association and is a memberships of the International City/County Management Association and the Florida City and County Management Association.

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Tammie L. Hechler
Director of Human Resources, City of Hollywood

Tammie Hechler directs the Human Resources department for the City of Hollywood, Florida. She has special expertise in Workplace Safety/OSHA and Labor Unions.

She began her career as Employment & Diversity Coordinator at Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio, before moving on to the role of Human Resources Manager at Behavioral Connections of Wood County in Bowling Green, Ohio. Before moving to Florida, she was Human Resources Director of Grant County in Washington State for six years.

Hechler holds SHRM-SCP, IPMA-HR CP, SPHR and CLRP certifications.


Rosalind Osgood
Florida State Senator

Dr. Rosalind Osgood, is a Broward County native and graduate of Fort Lauderdale High School. She has earned both a Master’s and Doctoral Degree in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. 

In 2001, the late preacher extraordinaire, Dr. Mack King Carter licensed Dr. Osgood as the first female preacher in the history of the New Mount Olive Baptist Church. In 2002 she was ordained and in 2007, she earned a Master’s of Divinity Degree from New Orleans Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She currently serves as an Associate Minister at New Mount Olive Baptist Church. Additionally, and is the Founder of Dr. Rosalind Osgood's Ministry International and an anointed itinerate preacher. 

Dr. Osgood has over 21 years of experience in non-profit management. For the past 18 years, she has been the CEO of the Mount Olive Development Corporation (MODCO). She was also an Adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University Huizenga School of Business, where she taught Leadership and Public Policy Evaluation in the Masters of Public Administration Program. In 2012, she was elected to represent District 5 in the Broward County School Board, and served as the Chair twice; first in November of 2015 and again in November 2020. Amid tumultuous times, Dr. Osgood helped the school district navigate through the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas tragedy and the confusion and frustration endured by the coronavirus crisis.  

Dr. Osgood is the author of two academic articles and two books titled, “The Story Behind the Story” and “Influential Women Leader”. Her leadership extends to the Boards of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the Links, Inc., Broward Health Coalition Board, and the Circuit 17 Juvenile Justice Board. 

In 2013, Dr. Osgood became the First Female Chaplain for the City of Fort Lauderdale Police Department. She also received the JM Families African American Achievers Award, highlighting her commitment to community service.

Currently, Dr. Osgood proudly serves as a member of the Florida State Senator representing District 33, where she brings a fresh perspective and commitment to building a stronger community through faith, compassion and hard work.

Overcome Obstacles by Optimizing Opportunities and Obtaining Outstanding Outcomes.

Daniel Stermer

Daniel J. Stermer
Managing Director, Development Specialists, Inc.

Daniel J. Stermer is Managing Director of Development Specialists, Inc., a leading provider of management and consulting services on behalf of lending institutions, secured and unsecured creditors, shareholders, bondholders, and business owners. DSI specializes in corporate finance, turnaround consulting, and forensic/litigation accounting.

Previously, Stermer served as Mayor of the City of Weston, FL, as well as City Commissioner. During his terms in office, the City of Weston achieved a Triple A rating from Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, consistently had the lowest ad valorem tax rate in Broward County, and maintained reserves in excess of $50MM.

For nearly 10 years, he was a principal at Lewis B. Freeman & Partners, Inc., a forensic accounting and consulting firm. Before joining Lewis B. Freeman & Partners, Inc., Daniel served in the Economic Crimes Litigation Unit of the Florida Attorney General’s Department of Legal Affairs, where he commenced and participated in all facets of civil enforcement pre-complaint investigations and litigation, including bankruptcy litigation, related to Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, from the inception of investigation through trial.

While with the Office of the Bronx County, New York, District Attorney’s office, he served as Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Organized Crime Unit and as Assistant District Attorney in a federally funded task force prosecuting high-volume narcotics trafficking and related violent crime.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the State University of New York  and his Juris Doctor degree from Touro College. As an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University School of Law, Daniel regularly teaches “Receivership Practice and the Inter-Relationships between the Legal, Accounting, and Business Worlds.” His professional and community involvement includes his participation in local bar associations and the Florida Fiduciary Forum.

Denise Yoezle

Denise Yoezle
Retired Public Works Director and Emergency Manager,
City of Cooper City

Denise Yoezle worked in public works for more than thirty-five years. Public Works and Emergency Management functions include maintenance and capital projects related to streets, solid waste, parks, utilities, landscaping and arboriculture, building maintenance, grant writing and administration, along with storm preparation, training, and recovery. The Public Works Department is also the liaison with both public and private sector entities, such as the Florida Department of Transportation and Broward County Engineering. She ended her career as a Public Works Director and Emergency Manager, serving as the Incident Commander for multiple hurricane events in southeast Florida. She worked for municipalities of varying land size, population, and resident diversity, providing her an opportunity to lead as many as 80 employees in providing local government services at many levels. Her boots-on- the- ground approach led to effective and successful citywide implementations of multi-million dollar operational programs.

Denise built trust and credibility with businesses, residents, and civic associations which resulted in successful collaborations and support for neighborhood improvements. Denise focused on employee development and training, team management initiatives, and fiscal responsibility.

Denise earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Master of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University. She is a member of the American Public Works Association (APWA), International City Managers Association (ICMA), and holds the credentials of Licensed Plumber in Broward County, Certified Arborist, and multiple FEMA credentials. She remains active in the University of Florida IFAS continuing education program as an instructor for the Florida Green Industries program. Denise is an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Tracey Taylor-Prescod

Tracey Taylor-Prescod
Director of Programs, Education Rocks

Tracey Taylor-Prescod serves as Director of Programs for Education Rocks, Inc., an international global leadership development organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. Education Rocks believes that the world can be changed two kids at a time through education and envisions a world in which having access to education can shift lives, influence families, and impact communities.

Taylor-Prescod leads the implementation, execution, monitoring and data collection for Education Rocks in the United States, Indonesia, Haiti, Uganda, Guatemala, and India. She is directly responsible for the overall education program strategy and oversees the national and international program teams. As a member of the executive management team, Tracey plays a critical role in setting the strategic direction for the programs, growth, and sustainability of Education Rocks.

Having established her career working in radio promotions for iHeart Radio Richmond, Tracey became Marketing & Community Relations Director for FOX Richmond – WRLH. A natural storyteller, she utilized her expertise, experience, and resources to create compelling messages and stories for charities, community-based organizations, and businesses, which ultimately led her to her role as Chief Operating & Finance Officer for Trinity Family Life Center. As Chief Operating & Finance Officer, she developed and enhanced organizational processes and infrastructure, participated in the development and implementation of organizational strategy and oversaw day-to-day operations, utilizing a supportive and collaborative leadership approach.

Tracey earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond in Liberal Arts and currently serves as Secretary and Event Chair on the board of Bowtie Kids – Courage and Confidence for Kids With Chronic Pain™. She is a past board member for Girls Can, and former Advisory Board Member for Beacon Tree Foundation.

Karen Prescod

Karen Prescod
Founder & Chief Statement Maker,
The Bowtie Gurl
Visionary, Founder & CEO, Bowtie Kids

Karen Prescod is the Founder and Chief Statement Maker of the fashion brand, The Bowtie Gurl.™ She is also the Visionary, Founder and CEO of the charitable organization, Bowtie Kids.™ Both her business and non-profit organization are built on the foundation of Five Empowerment Principles: Self-Discovery, Self-Awareness, Self-Worth, Self-Expression, Social Engagement & Advocacy.

A serial entrepreneur, Karen joined The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce in 2014 with her insurance agency Prescod Life & Health. An active and highly visible advocate, she is committed to making an impact in the community and has served on the GFLCC Executive Committee, Government Affairs Committee and Nominating Committee.

As 2016 chair for the Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange (GLBX) Council, Karen took the GLBX to new heights during her tenure. Due to her exceptional leadership and vision, she has been awarded numerous community leadership awards, including the Chair’s Award in 2017 from The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Chair, Heiko Dobrikow. Also in 2017, Karen was elected by the Chamber leadership team to revitalize a dormant Women’s Council. As immediate past chair, she stoked the flames of success and the Women’s Council is one of the most active, engaged, thriving Councils for the Chamber to date.

A #1 International Bestselling author, influencer, empowerment speaker and moderator, Karen has been honored as one of Fort Lauderdale’s Most Powerful Women, by Gold Coast Media Group. She has been highlighted and featured in multiple media campaigns as a friend and advocate for a variety of groups and organizations, represented in the diverse Fort Lauderdale community. She is currently one of the featured faces for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau campaign for Pride of The Americas 2020.

As a leader, advocate, and philanthropist, Karen has dedicated thousands of hours in service and makes it a priority to incorporate and implement a philanthropic culture into every committee and organization she is connected with.

Jeffrey Berger

Jeffrey Berger, CNP, CFRE 
Scout Executive, CEO, South Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America

Jeff Berger is the Scout Executive/CEO of the South Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America. The South Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America serves Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties with over 30,000 in its programs. Programs consist of the traditional Scouting programs, Scoutreach programs, and its in-school character education program, Learning for Life.

Both boys and girls, ages 5–21, have access to advancement programs to prepare them for life to make ethical and moral choices. Jeff reminds us that the programmatic reach and impact are only possible because of its 3,000 adult volunteers and over 250 community partnerships.

Jeff started his career with the Boy Scouts of America in 1994, with experiences in various areas of the country. He started in Miami, FL, and has also served in Reno, NV; Pueblo, CO; and most recently in Bethesda, MD for one the movement's largest councils. In the various assignments, he has specialized in capacity building and debt elimination. His largest gift to date was securing $1.45 million to eliminate debt on a camp and also place $600,000 into the council’s endowment for future earnings.

Professionally, he is a Certified Nonprofit Professional. He is a graduate of the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program at the Center for Creative Leadership and a Certified Fund Raising Executive by CFRE International.

In the community, he has been the President of the Rotary #43 Foundation and served on various community task forces including the Packard Foundation’s Workforce Development group. Other task forces included community beautification, teen pregnancy reduction, and school volunteerism enhancement. He is currently a member of the 200 Club of Greater Miami and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Sandra Veszi Einhorn

Sandra Veszi Einhorn
Executive Director,
Coordinating Council of Broward, and The Nonprofit Executive Alliance of Broward

Sandra Veszi Einhorn is the Executive Director of the Coordinating Council of Broward, a coalition of senior executives from Broward’s largest health and human service stakeholders including government, business and nonprofits. The Coordinating Council works to provides collaborative solutions to some of Broward’s most critical issues.

Sandra also serves at the Executive Director of the Nonprofit Executive Alliance of Broward, a coalition of nonprofit CEOs working together for shared advocacy, increased education and further collaborations throughout Broward. She brings her strengths in operations, strategic alliances, relationship building and advocacy to these roles.

During her tenure at the Coordinating Council, Sandra led an effort to create the Broward Housing Affordable Housing Trust Fund through ballot referendum, and worked to update the County’s fair housing ordinance. Her leadership led to the revival of the Long Term Recovery Coalition of Broward, which became a need after Hurricane Irma. Sandra also brought together key leaders around the issue of seniors, forming the Dignity in Aging Task Force.

Previously Sandra served as the Executive Director of the Broward County affiliate of Rebuilding Together. Under her leadership Rebuilding Together Broward grew tremendously and became a recognizable and well respected brand in the non-profit industry. During her tenure, Rebuilding Together Broward received several notable accolades including a 211 Non-Profit Academy Award, Non-Profit of the Year finalist by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and the Innovation Award for the Safe at Home program Sandra developed.

Sandra has received a number of prestigious awards including the Up and Comers award from South Florida Business and Wealth magazine, recognized as a top “20 under 40” by InWeston magazine, “40 under 40” and Influential Business Women by the South Florida Business Journal. Sandra is a graduate of Leadership Broward, Leadership Fort Lauderdale, Women Leading Broward, Jewish Federation of Broward County’s Horizons Leadership Program and the Jim Moran Small Business Executive Program.

She currently serves on Broward County’s Children’s Services Board, the homeless Continuum of Care Board, Chair of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s Partner Council and the Broward Days Board of Directors, where she also chairs the Housing Impact team. She is also the co-founder of the Communities of Promise collaboration in the Sistrunk area.

Dennis Haas

Dennis Haas, Esq.
Retired/former President/CEO,
Arc Broward

Dennis Haas is the former President/CEO of Arc Broward, Inc. a 62-year-old nationally accredited non-profit organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, among others with various life challenges.

Arc Broward operates on 10 sites in Broward County and with its 450 employees operates 21 programs and two innovative social enterprises—Arc Culinary and Arc Educates in tandem with career development services through its Arc Works Division.

Previously, Mr. Haas was in private law practice for 18 years as a Shareholder in a large south Florida law firm and later in his own firm practicing in the areas of corporate healthcare, public finance and governmental relations.

He has served as a member and in leadership positions of many non-profit and community Boards including the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Broward County Special Needs Advisory Committee, United Way of Broward, Non-Profit Executive Alliance of Broward, and the Autism Grants Council, among others.

Daryl Hulce

Daryl Hulce
President, Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation, The Living STEM Project

Daryl Hulce is the founder and president of the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation (CKSF), a not-for-profit administered at Nova Southeastern in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. An employee of Nova Southeastern University for over 25 years, Daryl has served as the coordinator for the academic computer labs, director of IT for the Huizenga College of Business and scholarship coordinator at the Fischler School of Education. He currently serves part time as a special projects coordinator for the Fischler College of Education.

Through CKSF Daryl awarded over $400,000 in college scholarships using one of the first online quiz generators on the Internet. In addition to scholarships, CKSF developed scholarly and academic programs including an internet safety program with the Miami FBI Crimes Against Children Unit, a reading challenge for remedial readers, and an anti-bullying program for elementary and middle school students.

For thirteen consecutive years, Daryl received the Enlightenment Foundation Model Schools Grant for developing innovative student programs. In 2010 he received the FBI Directors Community Leadership Award on behalf of Nova Southeastern University. The affiliation with the FBI led to a client affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business undergraduate Management 100 and Wharton 101 programs.

Christine Klima, CPA
Chief Administrative Officer, Early Learning Coalition of Broward

Christine Klima, CPA, is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Early Learning Coalition of Broward. She has been a leader in non-profit financial and operations management for more than 20 years in a wide variety of settings and she understands the challenges of sustainable fundraising.

Prior experience includes the World Wildlife Fund and the Credit Builder’s Alliance in Washington DC; the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York City; the Child Care Coordinating Council in the San Francisco Bay Area; and the Children’s Services Council in Broward.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Accounting from Nova Southeastern University.

Kristie Messer

Kristi Messer, MPH LCSW 
Academic Administrator, Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Kristi Messer, MPH, LCSW relocated to Florida from Washington D.C where she had spent years working with the Department of Health and Human Services to successfully launch community health centers across the nation.

As a passionate public health professional, Kristi currently serves the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine as an Academic Administrator of the KPCOM Undergraduate programs, as well as the Director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program. Kristi is also an Assistant Professor of Disaster and Emergency Management and assists community health centers across the state with developing robust emergency preparedness and response plans.

Kristi successfully launched a non-profit organization, On My Own, which provides independent living and employment skills training to adults with disabilities. Kristi also serves on the Board of Directors for two local non-profit organizations dedicated to positively impacting homelessness. For more than twenty years, Kristi has dedicated her professional life to underserved and vulnerable population groups through her involvement with the homeless, individuals with disabilities, communities affected by disasters, and persons impacted by mental illness.

Kristi has presented her research and academic achievements at over 40 international, national, state, and local conferences. Kristi is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is committed to positively impacting children, families, and adults.

John Moreno-Escobar

John Moreno-Escobar, M.P.A.
Executive Director, YV Foundation

John Moreno-Escobar is a successful social entrepreneur, community leader, and executive not-for-profit innovator. His passion is education equality, and access to higher education for all. John is a native Colombian from Bogotá. He has more than 10 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector.

He moved to New York City from Bogota Colombia in 2003 and established his first not-for-profit while he was in college with the purpose of helping/supporting Latino immigrant students and parents in the process of preparing, applying and paying for college.

He also created the first-ever scholarship fund for Colombians in New York State. After college John has been in C-Level positions creating strategic partnerships to support students in need to go to college and beyond. John now lives in Broward County, Florida.

John was the first appointed Latino to work at the City University of New York (Largest urban university in the US) as the Director of Urban Initiatives in the office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. He was one of only two Latinos to work for the Broward County Superintendent of Schools as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the school system, the fifth largest school system in the country.

Currently, John is the Executive Director of the YouVisit Foundation whose mission is to reinvent education. He serves on multiple boards including President of the Board – PorColombia (the Largest network of Colombian students and professionals in the US); Co-Chair of Imagine Broward Council and Initiative of Broward Partnership for the Homelessness; and Advisory Board member for the National Academy Foundation and The Children Movement of Florida.

John holds a Master in Public Administration and a Bachelor's in Public Affairs from the City University of New York – Baruch College.

Barbara Norland

Barbara K. Norland,
MSL, Consultant

Barbara K. Norland is a consultant with a passion to mentor and guide not-for-profit organizations and its leaders to a higher level of impact for their mission. This includes consulting and advisement on all aspects of not-for-profit business operations, fund- and friend-raising, identification, cultivation, stewardship, events and board development. Knowledgeable of overall leadership and management for all aspects of non-profit management including the creation and implementation of robust new and/or expanded business development plans for events, major gifts, foundation, corporate and individual fundraising. Other capabilities include personnel, volunteer, board oversight, recruitment and management, contract negotiations, public relations, event design and execution, board development and donor tracking and stewardship. Expertise as an NFP generalist, grant writer & events and board development.

Most recently Barbara contracted with the Angel Hugs Foundation, Inc., South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (SPCA) Horse Rescue and Phil and Orianne Collins' Little Dreams Foundation, AQUA Foundation and Touching Miami with Love with primary responsibilities to form new philanthropic alliances through the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major corporate, individual donations and foundation grants as well as to lead initiatives to market and promote both organizations though multi marketing and social media campaigns. Professional tenures include Director of Development & Communications for the YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade, Inc., Philanthropy & Community Development Director for The Women's Fund of Miami-Dade; Executive Director of the Junior Orange Bowl; Director of Development at CHARLEE of Dade County, Inc.; Director of Major Gifts at Miami Children's Hospital Foundation; Director of Corporate Relations and Fundraising Events at Baptist Health South Florida Foundation and Executive Director of the Deering Estate Foundation.

Before entering the not-for-profit arena, Barbara worked in the entertainment industry at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Corporate Partnerships and Hospitality Manager where she was part of the initial team to promote the sport of racing throughout South Florida, nationally and internationally. At the speedway Barbara was instrumental in designing best practice policies, procedures, collateral, corporate, group & fan hospitality packages, annual and multi-year corporate agreements and managed all speedway partnerships, trades, contracts, vendors and event staff & volunteers.

Barbara has extensive experience in networking and cultivation with over 28 years' experience with sales and marketing in the public, private and non-profit sectors along with strong communication skills, extensive knowledge in creating, managing and executing charitable giving programs, fundraising, board and volunteer development and staff and volunteer management sales incentive programs and promotional opportunities. As the current President of BKVN Consulting, Inc., she has a priority to work with not for profit leadership to strengthen organizational knowledge, build capacity, implement and follow best industry practices. Additionally, she is a certified Executive Function Coach & Mentor.

Norland served as a board member with a variety of business and community organizations such as Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Miami Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP-Miami) President, AFP-Miami National Philanthropy Day Luncheon, AFP Florida Caucus Executive Committee, AFP Global Nominating Committee UN Women, Miami Chapter Board Member, Miami Dade Women’s Chamber Board, Women’s Power Caucus and a proud mentor for Women of Tomorrow at South Dade High School.

Barbara completed a Master of Science in Leadership and Management from Nova Southeastern University, H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business in Davie, FL., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. In 2018 she was received the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce AXA Advisors Businesswoman of the Year Outstanding Philanthropist Award.

 Shea Spencer

Shea Spencer
CEO, Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County

Shea S. Spencer is the CEO of the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, a local nonprofit dedicated to advocating for the homeless and providing food, housing and other essential services for homeless families and individuals. Spencer is responsible for providing leadership, fundraising & marketing expertise, and overseeing the day to day operations of the organization.

Shea has 15+ years of fundraising and community engagement experience and recently served as Assistant Vice President of Development, Marketing and Public Relations at HOPE South Florida, a nonprofit 501c3 organization that provides food, clothing, housing, employment assistance, mentoring, and case management for the homeless.

In her role as Assistant Vice President, Ms. Spencer was responsible for raising $1m annually through individual and corporate gifts and organizing large fundraising events. Ms. Spencer also has more than 10 years of United Way experience managing work place giving campaigns, conducting annual trainings & speaking engagements and a number of other initiatives.

She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Florida Atlantic University, is a graduate of Leadership Fort Lauderdale Class XXI, and is an alumnus of the American Express Leadership Institute. She also earned a certificate of completion from Indiana University’s Lilly School of Fundraising and was recently nominated and selected by Legacy magazine as one of South Florida’s "Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry" for 2019.

Jannette Taylor

Jannette Taylor 
MOL, MSNDR, Education Rocks

Jannette Taylor is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. Taylor currently serves as the Executive Director of Education Rocks in Delray Beach, Florida. Ms. Taylor is also the owner and Chief Executive Outlier of Social Impact Outliers, a consulting firm working with businesses and nonprofits throughout the Midwest. Prior to relocating to South Florida, she served as the CEO of the United Way in Lawrence, Kansas.

Jannette leads Education Rocks. Education Rocks is a global youth leadership program that supports the education of children worldwide. The organization provides leadership development programming to 52 schools nationwide and supports schools in India, Indonesia, Guatemala, Uganda and Haiti. The organization provides experiential learning opportunities for American students and a platform for global youth leadership.

Taylor founded a community-based nonprofit, Impact One Community Connection, and served as its Executive Director for several years. This small nonprofit grew from a annual budget of $500,000 to $2 million in the first year of operation. The organization provided gang intervention and prevention programs to youth and young adults.

She attended undergraduate and graduate school at the College of Saint Mary, earning a Bachelors in Business Leadership and a Masters in Organizational Leadership (MBA). She went on to earn a Masters of Science in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University School of Law Werner Institute, while also working on a Juris Doctor Degree.

She has a passion for social justice and has been actively involved in youth development programs and community revitalization projects. She focused her efforts on the Bridge to Success Program, an early entry college program for disadvantaged youth in Omaha Public School serving on the African-American Achievement Council and volunteering for their events. Through this program, she and others helped many high school students get a jump start on college, taking college courses at Metro Community College, Bellevue University and University of Nebraska Omaha.

She founded Impact One Community Connection in 2009 and began focusing her energy on the marginalized youth and young adults in North Omaha. Working with the Empowerment Network of Omaha, Impact One began managing the Great Summer Jobs Program that has provided over 1200 employment opportunities for high-at-risk youth and gang members in Omaha. Impact One provided gang intervention and prevention to young people on the street, in addition to providing intervention services at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University Medical Center.

Jannette's personal life experiences has aided her in working with at-risk youth in various cities and has positioned her to be the perfect advocate for the marginalized people in the community. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle acknowledged her hard work and dedication to the community by declaring December 5th "Jannette Taylor Day" in Omaha, Nebraska. While this is an impressive accomplishment, Jannette is most proud of her daughter Erika, who graduated from Regis University in Denver, Colorado and is currently attending graduate school.


Alfonso Costa.jpg

Alfonso Costa Jr., J.D.
Executive Vice President, Falcone Group LLC

Alfonso Costa Jr. serves as Executive Vice President and Head of Public-Private Partnerships (P3) for the Falcone Group, where he is responsible for leading the company’s workforce housing division and P3 opportunities. Headquartered in South Florida, the Falcone Group is a real estate development & investment firm that has developed and acquired more than 30,000 multifamily apartments, 15 million square feet of commercial space, and 30,000 single-family homes throughout the country.

Costa previously served in the Federal Government as Deputy Chief of Staff and Opportunity Zones lead for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In this public service role, Mr. Costa was responsible for overseeing policy for the $50 billion annually-budgeted Cabinet agency, which maintains a wide range of housing and community development programs, a $1.3 trillion mortgage insurance portfolio, and approximately 7,000 employees across 57 offices nationwide.

As an expert on the bi-partisan Opportunity Zones (OZ) program, Mr. Costa held the title of Chairman’s delegate and HUD’s lead representative on the Federal Government's inter-agency Opportunity and Revitalization Council, and for his efforts has been recognized as the Opportunity Zone Magazine’s “Top 25 OZ Influencers” list for both 2020 and 2021.

A former 5th-grade teacher with Teach for America, Mr. Costa is now an active social advocate through philanthropic and academic volunteer work at the national and local levels. Nationally, he serves as an Ambassador for the Fitwel® Certification System, Public Sector Fellow of the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board, Housing Advisory Council Member of the Bipartisan Policy Center, Full Member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and Emerging Leaders Council Member and basketball alumnus of New Heights Youth (New York City).

In his home State of Florida, Mr. Costa is the Program Chair of ULI Florida’s Affordable & Workforce Housing Council (AWHC) and recent Member of the City of West Palm Beach Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC).

Mr. Costa earned his law degree from Harvard University, master's degree (MSc) from the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), and bachelor's degree (BA) from Yale University. At Yale, he played both Division-I basketball and Division-I lacrosse while serving as Chair of the Yale Athletic Department’s Thomas W. Ford Community Outreach Committee.

Mark Peterson

Mark Peterson
Senior Vice President – Senior Relationship Manager, Commercial Real Estate, Fifth Third Bank

Mark Peterson began his banking career in 1982 in Fort Worth, Texas after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a senior client manager in commercial real estate with Bank of America starting in 1983, working out of the Fort Worth, San Antonio, Dallas, Washington, DC, and South Florida offices. He spent over 7 years in DFW and DC in the real estate special asset group.

He has been based in Broward County since 1993. In July 2014, he joined Fifth Third Bank in his current role. He is responsible for helping grow Fifth Third's brand in the real estate sector by delivering the full range of financial services to real estate developers.

He is the current past chair of Urban Land Institute (ULI) Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council and is presently chair of the Governance Committee. He is a past board member and is still actively involved with the Greater Ft Lauderdale Alliance. He serves on the Broward County Water Advisory Board representing the Alliance.

He is on the board of Jack & Jill's Children Center. He is a past board member of the Museum of Discovery and Science, Make A Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, and Community Financing Consortium.

Jessica Abramson

Jessica Abramson
Senior Development Manager, Stiles Corporation

Jessica Abramson is a Senior Development Manager for Stiles, where she is an owner representative for retail real estate development projects. Her responsibilities include project planning and coordination, due diligence, obtaining government approvals, budgeting, and scheduling. Jessica has worked with clients including Publix, The Fresh Market, Trader Joe's, Rooms to Go, Chase Bank, SunTrust Bank, and Starbucks.

Abramson holds a Master's in Real Estate Development, where she graduated Alpha Sigma Gamma, and a bachelor's degree from the University of New Orleans in Marketing and Business Administration. She is active on the Advisory Board for the NSU MSRED program and previously served as chair of the program's Alumni Association from 2012 — 2016. She is a graduate of Leadership Broward Class XXXVI.

Joshua M. Atlas

Joshua M. Atlas, Esq.
Chief Legal Officer, Kaufman Lynn Construction

Joshua M. Atlas, Esq. brings over 15 years of legal and construction experience and serves as KL’s chief legal officer responsible for the company’s legal affairs in both Florida and North Carolina.

Atlas, who is Board Certified in Construction Law by the Florida Bar, was most recently a partner in the West Palm Beach office of Saul, Ewing, Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, and served as the Vice Chair of the firm’s Construction Practice Group. Throughout his career, Atlas has represented contractors and developers in both litigation and transactional matters, including trying construction claims in state and federal court and negotiating complex construction and design agreements for residential and commercial projects. Atlas received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School.

Jeff Burns

Jeff Burns
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Affiliated Development

Jeff Burns is the Founder and CEO of Affiliated Development, a real estate development company headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Burns has more than 15 years of experience in the acquisition, development and finance of a wide array of property types in markets across the United States. With an extensive background and longstanding relationships, Mr. Burns has a proven track record to see real estate opportunities from conception through to reality.

Mr. Burns has been involved in the development of over 2.5 million square feet of commercial and residential real estate with a combined cost of a half a billion dollars. Included in that is over 1,600 residential apartment units that serve a wide variation of tenants, from luxury market-rate occupants to low-income housing residents. Every project has been a public-private partnership and has incorporated a substantial public finance component, such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Tax Improvement District financing (TID), Neighborhood Improvement District financing (NID), Community Redevelopment Agency financing (CRA), Special Assessment financing, Tax Exempt Bonds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), Department of Housing & Urban Development financing (HUD), and local government general revenue bonds.

Mr. Burns is a Kansas City native and got his start in the real estate industry as a commercial real estate lender with a role of project origination for BB Syndication Services, Inc., a national syndicate lender out of Wisconsin, where he originated, underwrote and funded construction loans for development projects across the country ranging in size from $11 million to $200 million in total cost.

In 2006, Mr. Burns left his role as a lender to partner on a development project named The Moderne, a 30-story high-rise residential tower located in downtown Milwaukee. Mr. Burns and his partners successfully closed on the financing of the $65 million project during the height of the US financial crisis in 2010 by utilizing local and federal government funding programs. The partnership completed The Moderne in 2012 and went on to develop other projects utilizing similar financing strategies.

Mr. Burns moved his family to Fort Lauderdale in 2010 and eventually shifted the company’s development focus to South Florida by partnering with Boston Capital to develop a 90-unit affordable housing project in downtown Miami, FL. Mr. Burns teamed with South Florida native, Nick Rojo, to expand Affiliated Development’s presence in Florida. As a result of the partnership, Affiliated Development has gone on to undertake numerous mixed-use multifamily projects in various Florida markets and has earned a reputation as one of South Florida’s most dynamic and impactful development firms.

Mr. Burns graduated from the University of Missouri Business School. He is actively involved in a number of local boards and charities and spends his free time with his wife and three daughters.

Gloria FernandezGloria Fernandez
Chief Operating Officer, HB Capital

Gloria Fernandez is Chief Operating Officer for HB Capital, a privately-held, real estate owner, investor, and developer based in Miami, Florida. The firm focuses on the acquisition, asset management, and development of value-add real estate assets in primary and secondary markets in various markets throughout the United States

Previously Gloria served as Managing Director of Asset Management for Elion Partners, a real estate investment firm headquartered in Aventura, Florida. Elion provides real estate equity for best-in-class developers and experienced operators in various strategic markets throughout the United States. Gloria oversaw Elion's asset management activities and administered strategies to enhance yields and reduce risks. Her responsibilities encompassed overseeing all aspects of the management process for the Elion portfolio, including qualifying assets with the acquisitions group, executing asset performance plans, and managing leasing and property management teams.

Gloria also served as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Finance at Ross Realty Investments, a South Florida-based commercial real estate doper and owner. In that role, she was active in the management, acquisitions, financial, and development operations of the company. She represented ownership interests before municipalities and community organizations.

Before Ross Realty Investments, she worked for Swerdlow Real Estate Group in a financial capacity. During her tenure, she was part of the team that established a private Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and was responsible for financial pr

Gloria earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Miami and is currently a Trustee of Broward College, and was past chair for Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School. She is a member of various professional organizations including the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and is licensed by the State of Florida as a Broker.

Evans Gedeon

Evans Gedeon
Principal, Neucor Construction

Evans Gedeon is a Partner and Vice President of Finance for Neucor Construction. In his role he oversees accounting and finance. He also participates in the development, operations and structuring of finance for commercial real estate investment opportunities for the company.

His experience includes acquisitions, development, operations and commercial real estate lending. Evans has worked for the most highly regarded real companies as an executive. The companies that Evans has worked for include Codina Partners, Trez Capital, Altman Companies and Procacci Development.

During his 12+ year career, Evans has successfully participated in projects totaling over $1 billion dollars with various complexities and capital structures. Evans holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Florida Atlantic University. He also holds a master’s degree in real estate development from Nova Southeastern University.


Kona A. Gray

Kona A. Gray
FASLA Principal, EDSA

Principal of EDSA, with 24+ years of experience, Kona Gray has been involved in many planning and landscape architectural projects, ranging from large-scale master planning to detail site design with emphasis on hotels/resorts, government, healthcare, and campus planning since he joined EDSA in 1997.

Site heritage, history, community interface, implementation, and sensitivity to each property’s unique cultural, physical and environmental characteristics factor strongly into his work. Kona's team of design professionals have worked on projects in Florida, Virginia, China, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Egypt.

In addition to leading a design studio, he has contributed his time and expertise to organizations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Landscape Architecture Foundation, and the Urban Land Institute.

Kona’s leadership involvement with ASLA has included the Professional Awards Jury, chairing the Student Awards Jury, and participating in the Diversity Summit. He is the past president of the Landscape Architecture Foundation. Kona studied architecture at the Boston Architectural College, Savannah College of Art and Design, and received a BLA degree from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design in 1997.

Steven Guasch

Steven Guasch
Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Defined Companies

Steven Guasch is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Defined Companies, a full-service real estate investment and development company. He is responsible for the financial feasibility and management of the overall development process of residential communities and mixed-use projects throughout South Florida.

Steven received his B.A. at Florida Atlantic University, where he majored in both Finance and International Business & Trade, graduating Cum Laude.

In 2013 Steven joined a Class-A multifamily developer, Altman Development, as a Financial Analyst and quickly expanded into his role of Development Manager. He was responsible for managing the financial feasibility, entitlement, design, acquisition, construction, and disposition of multiple apartment developments across South Florida, Orlando, and Texas, representing a capital investment in excess of $350 million. His involvement ensured the projects stayed on schedule, on budget and reached the investors' expectations.

Steven holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) where he was inducted into the International Honor Society, Sigma Beta Delta. During his experience at NSU, Steven received mentorship from Terry Stiles and met his business partner, Noah Leon. Steven is actively involved with students by participating in the classroom setting.

Erin Ladd

Erin Ladd
Director of Planning & Development, Brizaga, Inc.

Erin Ladd is the Director of Planning & Development at Brizaga, bringing her significant planning experience to the team and leading the growth of Brizaga’s resilient and sustainable development practice.

Her strong urban planning and real estate development background is highly sought after by landowners, investors, design teams, and communities in facing the challenges of the overall real estate development process – bringing these skills to the resilience and sustainability space.

Her prior project experience includes leading multi-disciplinary teams and clients through the technical aspects of design, entitlements, pro-forma modeling, construction management, contract negotiation, and community outreach for projects ranging from $3 million to $200+ million across all asset classes, including large-scale commercial, lifestyle mixed-use, vertical multi-family, hospitality, and industrial development projects. She has successfully received approvals for well over one million square feet of entitlements and counting. Erin previously worked for multi-disciplinary engineering, architecture, and development firms.

Erin holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida Atlantic University.

Erin is involved with the community and serves in appointed positions with the Management Committee for the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean District and the Advisory Board for Nova Southeastern University’s MSRED program. She is also active with the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce’s Real Estate & Construction Committee and the American Planning Association.

Dhaima Lindo

Dhaima Lindo
International Real Estate Developer, Zenith Investment Group

Facilitating real estate business sales valued at over $100 million and over 20 years of experience, Dhaima Lindo managed Fort Lauderdale-based Southeast Business Partners before launching her own firm, Zenith Realty Group. Since 2017, her investment firm Zenith Investment Group has acquired more than a dozen extraordinary projects across the US and internationally, building over 1,500 properties. Their current projects total $698 million in gross sales and $408 million in profits. As a marketing professional, Ms. Lindo secured and managed campaigns for clients including Starbucks, Checkers and the Miami HEAT. Her experience in both sales and marketing is what makes the difference in getting the best outcome for her clients. She founded Credit Chess, which bridges the gap to get funding and improve business credit. Business partners and clients say she has an outstanding “make it happen” reputation and describes Ms. Lindo as a strong communicator, negotiator and problem solver. She is now a member of the Advisory Board at Nova Southeastern University's (M.S.R.E.D.) Program.

Jason Morjain

Jason Morjain
Principal, Dragonfly Investments

Prior to his work with Dragonfly Investments, Jason Morjain worked with Beacon Investment Properties. During his 5-year tenure, he became the Acquisitions Manager where he spearheaded the purchase of more than 3 million square feet of office buildings across the country. He then took over as the asset manager of all Florida properties in Beacon’s portfolio. Prior to his work with Beacon Investment Properties, he was a mortgage broker with City First Mortgage and an assistant property manager for Rok Enterprises. Mr. Morjain holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of Maryland. He also holds a Florida Real Estate license and a Florida Mortgage Broker License.

Glenn Mowatt

Glen Mowatt
Co-Owner, Up, Up & Away ABA Therapy LLC

Glen Mowatt is the Co-Owner of Up, Up & Away ABA Therapy, a behavioral consulting agency that provides in-home & clinic-based applied behavior analysis (ABA) services for young children (15 months to 10 years of age) on the autism spectrum and related disabilities.

Before Up, Up & Away ABA Therapy, Glen was the Director of Acquisitions for Altis Cardinal LLC, a full-service real estate investment, development, and management firm based in Miami, Florida with $1.4+ billion in real estate assets. At Altis Cardinal LLC, he played a vital role in the acquisition, development, asset management, and disposition of the Altis Cardinal real estate portfolio. Mowatt's acquisition responsibilities were to perform financial analyses, prepare debt/equity memorandums, oversee the due diligence process and assist in the closing of potential development and acquisition opportunities. He was also responsible for working with property managers, leasing brokers, and lenders to maximize returns for the portfolio.

Prior to joining Altis Cardinal, Mr. Mowatt was the Director of Acquisitions for TMSA Florida, a Canadian-based real estate private equity fund. In this role, Mr. Mowatt was responsible for sourcing and evaluating new real estate investment opportunities in the Florida market providing market research analyses, investment underwriting, and performing due diligence and asset management of the company's portfolio.

Prior to joining TMSA Florida, Glen worked as a senior analyst and market consultant at Integra Realty Resources. In this role, he provided research, analysis, and reporting to real estate investors and developers of various property types on market trends, opportunities, marketability of development projects. Glen's experience includes assessing the market drivers, economic and demographic trends, supply and demand, and financial feasibility in South Florida. Other responsibilities involved conducting feasibility analyses and providing litigation support for a variety of clients and property types.

Mowatt earned a Bachelor's Degree in Real Estate from Florida State University and a Master's Degree in Real Estate Development from Nova Southeastern University. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a member of the Economic Roundtable for the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, and has been appointed to serve as co-chair of the NSU MSRED Alumni Association.

Debbie M. Orshefsky

Debbie Orshefsky, J.D.
Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, and Partner, Holland & Knight

Debbie M. Orshefsky is a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig and a partner with Holland & Knight, operating out of offices in Fort Lauderdale and Washington, D.C. She practices in the areas of land development and environmental law with specific experience in planning, infrastructure planning, and financing, zoning, subdivision controls, and community redevelopment, as well as state, regional and local roles in land use decision-making.

Debbie has represented private developers and government agencies as special counsel and has intimate knowledge of the land use planning process. In addition, she is a frequent speaker at state and national seminars on the land development process, as well as infrastructure planning and funding.

Harry Posin
Founder and President, Label & Co. Developments, Inc.

Harry Posin is the Founder and President of Label & Co. Developments, Inc. Prior to forming Label & Co. Developments, Inc., Mr. Posin served as President and Executive Vice President of Minto Communities, one of Florida’s largest private builders. He was also on the Canadian-based parent company’s Board of Directors.

Harry’s vision has been responsible for the development and building of over 20,000 units in every imaginable residential format including large-scale master-planned communities, recreational/resort communities, high-rise, and rental.

He was also Senior Vice President at Goodkin Research, a leading real estate research firm where he provided market consultation services to developers, builders, and lenders throughout America.

Harry is an insightful industry leader with a lengthy record of successful projects over the past 35 years. He is a frequent guest lecturer at industry panels and universities. He holds a degree in Construction Management from Pratt Institute.

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Andrew Remick
Principal, Highline Real Estate Capital

Andrew Remick is a Principal at Highline Real Estate Capital which is a Florida based, value-focused real estate investment company that acquires and operates office and retail properties throughout the Southeast. Andrew is responsible for acquisitions and asset management of properties owned by Highline and its Joint Venture partners. In this role Andrew formulates and executes Highline's strategic initiatives including sourcing, underwriting, capital market activities, dispositions and asset management. Remick has executed on more than $350,000,000 of acquisitions, representing more than 1.6 million square feet of office and retail assets during his career.

Prior to joining Highline, Remick was Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Asset Management at Continental Real Estate Companies (CREC) where he focused on sourcing acquisitions and overseeing the asset management of CREC’s portfolio. Andrew originally started at CREC in the brokerage department where he supported CREC’s third party brokerage department, specializing in multifamily and land. During this tenure Andrew worked with the firm’s clients including Lubert Adler Real Estate Funds, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, 13th Floor, Melo Development and Bank United among others, and closed on more than $375 million of brokerage and financing assignments.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration of Finance from St. John’s University, and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) from Nova Southeastern University.

Kenneth Stiles

Kenneth Stiles
Chief Executive Officer, Stiles Corporation

Kenneth Stiles took the helm as CEO of Stiles Corporation in 2017 as Terry Stiles transitioned to Chairman. The move followed the company’s long-established leadership succession plan that paved the road for its long-term growth and sustainability. Prior to becoming CEO, Ken served for two years as Co-CEO with Terry.

As CEO, Mr. Stiles serves on the company's board of directors, executive committee, investment review committee, and business development committee. As part of his chief responsibilities, he manages the company's ongoing communication with financial services partners and works directly with the investment team to identify new business opportunities. As a board member, he works closely with the family and fellow members in the development and implementation of the company's 50-year sustainability and growth plans. In addition, Mr. Stiles oversees the Stiles family office.

Mr. Stiles' passion for real estate began at an early age through years of watching his father Terry build the corporation from only two employees in 1951 to more than 300 today. With a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Elon University in North Carolina, Mr. Stiles began his career as an assistant development manager gaining experience on many of Stiles' most prominent office projects, including Lake Shore Plaza I in Sunrise. After advancing through several projects, he then shifted his focus toward the financial services and investments division.

An active participant in local charity, Mr. Stiles is Board Chair of the Museum of Discovery and Science and serves as an advisory board member of the NSU School of Real Estate. He is a graduate of the Leadership Broward Class XXXI and maintains an extensive history of involvement with the Broward Alliance and Young Presidents Organization, amongst others.

Mr. Stiles is a native of Fort Lauderdale and currently resides in the Las Olas area with his wife Brittany and two sons. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, and golfing.


Steve Borchert, DBA
Executive Lean Leader, General Electric Aviation Services


Dr. Steve Borchert is currently the Executive Lean Leader for General Electric Aviation Services where he has responsibility for the implementation of Lean.

Steve spent the balance of his career at UTC (United Technologies Corporation) where he held positions of increasing responsibility in continuous improvement, quality, operations, IT, and customer program management both domestically and internationally. 

Steve has also worked in aerospace, space propulsion, and fire and security divisions of both the manufacturing, and overhaul and repair sectors.

Steve holds a Doctor of Business Administration, an MS in Aerospace Management, an  MS in Manufacturing Engineering, and a Master of Business Administration. Steve is a certified ISO lead auditor, a certified lean transformation leader, and a certified Shainan Apprentice (Technical Problem Solving).

Andrew Koenig, Andrew Koenig, CEO, City Furniture

Andrew Koenig
CEO, City Furniture

Andrew Koenig graduated with degrees in Finance and Accounting from Elon University in 2005, and received his M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Nova Southeastern University. Andrew began his full-time career with CITY Furniture in January 2006 in the Receiving Department unloading furniture on containers, and has worked his way up through the company and in almost all divisions of the company. He spent a significant time streamlining the Operations Department in the first eight years of his career to become one of the industry’s best. Currently, Andrew is serving as President of CITY Furniture, overseeing all departments of the business.

Shortly before joining CITY Furniture, Andrew studied Lean Philosophy at Toyota’s headquarters in Toyota City, Japan. After learning from Toyota and other Lean companies in the United States and abroad, Andrew introduced Lean Thinking to City Furniture in 2007. Ever since, CITY Furniture has been on a Lean Journey to create a culture of mutual trust and respect, teamwork and a deep sense of urgency to continuously improve.

Since the implementation of Lean, the company has seen many major breakthroughs in turnover reduction, operational process improvement, customer experience, safety, associate satisfaction, strategic planning, financial success and much more. The journey is never over, and Andrew and the senior team are working very hard to implement Lean Thinking which has been named "The CITY Furniture Operating System (CFOS), throughout the company.


Dr. Thinh Tran
President and COO, Provider Network Solutions

Dr. Thinh Tran is the President and Chief Operating Officer for Provider Network Solutions (PNS). He has held executive positions at the University of Miami Health System, Baptist Health South Florida, and the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. 

He is both an experienced physician and a healthcare executive. Dr. Tran received his bachelor’s and medical degree from the University of Minnesota and his MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.

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