Congratulations Class of 2018-2019!
The Tampa Connection class of 2018-2019 celebrated the conclusion of their year at a memorable graduation program on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at F.I.V.E. Labs. Before the official start of graduation, class members mingled at the Chair’s Reception with Directors of the Board, nonprofit agency representatives, company sponsors, and special Keynote Speaker, Suzanne McCormick, President & CEO of United Way Suncoast.
After the reception, this year’s Chair, Erin McKenney, kicked off graduation with a description of Tampa Connection, including its mission, vision, and its impact in the community. Ms. McKenney expressed gratitude for her time as the Chair and thanked all of the class members, sponsors, and nonprofits for their dedication to Tampa Connection.
Following Erin’s introduction, our Keynote Speaker, Suzanne McCormick spoke about her journey to becoming the President and CEO of United Way Suncoast. Ms. McCormick provided six pieces of advice to the class on how to make sure they are living out their purpose and creating a better world: (1) accept the invitation; (2) channel your younger self; (3) find opportunities in the nonprofit arena that can give you that “I’m doing my dream job” feeling; (4) don’t play Santa Clause while volunteering – dig in and solve issues; (5) embrace responsibility and hold yourself accountable for what you do and don’t do; and (6) leave a legacy – write your memoir in six words.
After Ms. McCormick’s inspiring guidance, each team presented the team’s deliverables produced for their nonprofit agencies. The class deliverables for this year’s nonprofits ranged from five-year business plans to digital marketing campaigns for their nonprofits. This year, in between each presentation, as has become the tradition, Chair Erin McKenney walked the class down memory lane with a recap of the monthly programs along with examples of how Tampa Connection focused on building relationships, enhancing leadership skills, and giving back to the community. Members from the Tampa Connection Alumni Committee, Jeff Burns, Cristina Howell, and Steve Edinger, also provided a sneak peek into ways to stay involved with Tampa Connection after graduation, including Alumni Committee events and monthly alumni socials.
Following the class presentations and recap of the year, Ms. McKenney introduced this year’s Betty Tribble Award Winner, Robert Buesing! Mr. Buesing is an alumnus of the Tampa Connection Class of 1989-90. He is a Shareholder at Trenam Law and truly exemplifies the qualities required for our Betty Tribble award recipients. Mr. Buesing is very dedicated to the community, especially organizations that develop our youth. For example, Mr. Buesing is involved in the Tampa Metro YMCA, serving for 25+ years in various capacities, including three years as Board Chair. In addition to his work with the YMCA, Mr. Buesing has been on the Early Learning Coalition board since 2005 and is currently on their Executive Committee. He has also served on the board of The Children’s Forum since 2003. Mr. Buesing was very moved by the award and spoke to the class about his experience in Tampa Connection. He urged the graduates to maintain their relationships and provided examples of how Tampa Connection class members have helped him over the years. He also encouraged the class to be intentional about their nonprofit engagements and provided guidance on how to use Tampa Connection as a springboard for additional leadership opportunities in the community
After presenting the Betty Tribble Award, it was time for the main event: Graduation! Each class member was called up to receive their graduation certificates. Team members of the year were announced as follows:
Blue- Devon Long
Red- Robyn Hurrell
Green- Eric De Campos
Purple- Trevor Williams
Orange- Michelle Caicedo
After the presentation of graduation certificates, the current Tampa Connection Board of Directors thanked the six board members rolling off the Board for their service to Tampa Connection: David Pearlman, Christopher Toye, Daniel Sykes, Cecile Barre, Liana Fuente, and Adam Zaki.
The incoming Tampa Connection Board Members were also announced: Cristina Howell, Devon Long, Oliviana Catrone, Robyn Hurrell, Sara Accardi, and Tiffany McElheran,
Closing remarks were then given by Erin McKenney. Ms. McKenney took Suzanne McCormick’s challenge to come up with a six-word memoir for Tampa Connection. To Ms. McKenney, the six words that describe Tampa Connection are: Build relationships. Give back. Develop yourself.
After closing remarks, the evening was concluded with a well-attended reception in the lobby of host, F.I.V.E. Labs. Congratulations to the Tampa Connection Class of 2018-2019!
2017-18 Nonprofits and Class Graduates:
OnBikes – Blue Team
The Blue Team assisted OnBikes with creating a “program in a box” to provide third parties with a step-by-step guide to reference in planning a fundraising event naming OnBikes as the beneficiary. The Blue Team’s “program in a box” will help organizations support OnBikes year-round and create more awareness of the importance of OnBikes’ mission.
OnBikes – Blue Team
Mentors: Colin Cook, Adriana Williams, Adam Zaki
Chris Trappy– Prida, Guida & Perez, P.A
Denney Holloway– CBIZ MHM, LLC
Dennis Paleveda– Rivero, Gordimer and Company
Devon Long– Fifth Third Bank
Hunter Williams– M.E Wilson Company, LLC.
Jacquelyn Colina– Hillsborough County
Jaran Day– Opinicus Capital
Laura Hurd– PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Megan Young– Elevate, Inc.
Michael Maguire– True Partners Consulting LLC
Spencer Jackson– InvestRes
Tyler Moore– Health Insurance Innovations
Exalted Warrior – Red Team
The Red Team helped Exalted Warrior on several fronts: (i) the creation of an adaptive yoga book, including a digital version, for veterans to cultivate a home yoga practice using the best practices already identified by the foundation; (ii) production of marketing materials for the new yoga book resulting in increased overall awareness of the foundation’s programs; and (iii) the creation of a platform to help Exalted Warrior increase its volunteer base, including the possible development of an advisory board.
Mentors: Cécile Bare, Eric Cruz, Djeneé Dunn, Sara Sheffield
Carter Helling – Valley Bank
Chris Monfort – Founders Professional
Daniel Hess – Prudential Retirement
David Diaz – Guaranteed Rate
Kasey Feltner – Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Thompson, P.A.
Michalis Galanis – Hillsborough County
Michelle Hamilton – Florida Blue
Nathan Paulich – Thompson, Sizemore, Gonzalez & Hearing, P.A.
Nigel Holder – Nextech Solutions
Ricardo Padro – Padro Construction
Robyn Hurrell – Colliers International
Sara Accardi – Quarles & Brady LLP
Todd Gelbaugh – CenterState Bank
Starting Right, Now (SRN) – Green Team
The Green Team assisted Starting Right Now (SRN) in its creation of a 5-year strategic plan for its organization, including its social enterprise and growth plan. The team helped identify best practices to expand the program into new markets and created collateral materials and communication strategies for infiltrating the new markets.
Amanda Porupski – CBIZ MHM, LLC
Austin Schonbrun – Northwestern Mutual
Courtney Turnquist – Nelson Law Group
Eric De Campos – WellCare Health Plans
Kendall Wilson – Holland & Knight LLP
Lauren Humphries – Banker Lopez Gassler PA
Marino Zeller – Baker Barrios Architects
Mary Charles – Cherry Bekaert LLP
Matt Corley – RSM US LLP
Michelle Aihe – Romark,LC
Paul Martinez – The Beck Group
Stephanie Markese – NextPath Career Partners
Stay in Step Recovery – Orange Team
The Orange Team assisted Stay in Step by enhancing its network through the creation of a digital media marketing campaign to reach key strategic partners, along with the creation of a business plan and road map for long-term sustainability.
Mentors: Greg Mitro, Danielle Portiz, Daniel Sykes
Andrew Abrams – Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co.
Austin Toscano – BBVA Compass
Cyrus Alipour – Refresco
Edward Carey – CiftonLarsonAllen LLP
Luy Teitelroit – ITSupportGuys Inc
Mark Edgerton – Analgesic Healthcare, Inc.
Matt Lastinger – Holland & Knight LLP
Michael Schwartz – Trenam Law
Michelle Caicedo – The Bank of Tampa
Nicholas Andrews – FordHarrison, PA
Nicole DiBlasi – IST Discover-E
Sergio Perez – ARU Cpa & Wealth Managament
Meals on Wheels- Purple Team
The Purple Team worked with Meals on Wheels to revise the Meals on Wheels of Tampa 5K and Fun Run into an annual, signature event. In addition to making the 5K a yearly event, the Purple Team assisted with marketing efforts to expand the footprint of the 5k for both attendees and community sponsors.
Mentors: Carol Crofton, Chris DeCort, Liana Fuente, Brad Knudsen
Ailen Cruz – Wiand Guerra King P.A.
Alison LaPointe – The Bank of Tampa
Cameron Diehl – Raymond James
David Wright – Carlton Fields
Elizabeth (Libby) Joyce – The Florida Aquarium
Hannah Becker – GrayRobinson, P.A.
James Young – Suffolk Construction
Jeffrey Fabian – Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
Kathleen DiSanto – Bush Ross, P.A.
Paige Crane – Refresco
Trevor Williams – Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners
2018-19 Board Members
Erin McKenney – Chair, InvestRes
Chris Toye –Vice-Chair, Morgan Stanley
Brad Knudsen – Treasurer,Cherry Bekaert LLP
Rick Garrett – Secretary, Garrett Roofing, Inc.
David Pearlman – Immediate Past Chair, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
Natalie Raymer– Administrator, M.Silver, LLC
Cécile Bare – The Bank of Tampa
Colin Cook – Tampa Bay Lightening
Carol Crofton – First Citrus Bank
Eric Cruz– Bivins & Hemenway P.A.
Chris DeCort – Johnson & Cassidy, PA
Djeneé Dunn – D.TAMU
Melissa Fields – Bank of America
Liana Fuente –Fuente Companies
Rachel Grannan – Hays
Traci Koster – Nelson Law Group
Gretchen Lehman– Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Bianca Mieses– CI Group
Greg Mieses– Raymond James
Danielle Poritz– PWC
Niti Shah – Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences
Sara Sheffield –Jackson Dental
Daniel Sykes – Awesome Concepts
Adriana Williams – Suntrust Private Wealth
Adam Zaki – PWC