Skip Alford is originally from Clinton, Mississippi. After graduating high school, he spent twenty years serving our country in the United States Air Force retiring in 1998 with Masters Degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University. Skip has been married to Suzanne Alford for 35 years, and they have three sons (all military veterans themselves) and four granddaughters. He has extensive training and experience as a classroom instructor, facilitator, and public speaker. Skip’s 15-year chamber career includes service with the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, and his current position as President & CEO of the Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce. He holds a blackbelt in Kenpo Karate, but his favorite thing to hit is a golfball! Skip currently serves on the FACP Board of Directors, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Management Board of Regents.
Amber Batchelor serves as the President and CEO of Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce which is nestled between the Treasure and Space Coasts. Her chamber serves as one of two primary Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) that work on behalf of Indian River County. She is a proven civic trustee and chamber professional. She has worked for chambers in Northern Virginia supporting Washington, DC and Greater Raleigh in North Carolina both with award winning destination marketing agencies. She was a part of the team that hosted over 100,000 visitors each year for the Taste of the Town and Flavors of Fall festivals in a small community called Reston; and another team that brought over 25 million dollars in new development to support an innovative tourism eco-system in a historic downtown area.
She is a strategic alignment expert pairing and connecting organizations with the resources that catapult them to achieve their next big idea. She is passionate about economic development and community engagement with a soft spot for workforce development. Her workforce specific skills supports rebranding, talent acquisition, talent retention, talent pipeline creation, and much more. Through her work with Millennial and Generational Strategy, Corporate Negotiations, or Supply Chain Management she has worked with clients like Oracle, UPS, Freddie Mac, National Urban League, United Way of the National Capital Area, Microsoft, Leidos, Bechtel, and Georgetown Cupcake to name a few. She has been featured in Bloomberg Magazine, BET, the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, and other media outlets.
She received her Business Administration and International Studies degrees from Saint Augustine’s University in Historic Oakwood of Raleigh, North Carolina. She currently resides in Sebastian, FL with her husband and is ready to put an end to the long dreaded shoulder season.
Samantha Bergeron’s first “real job” out of college was with the Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce as the Administrative Assistant and Edgewater Office Manager and she later served as the organization’s Executive Vice President. Since that time, she has held many titles with her current roles being that of the Economic Development/Redevelopment Coordinator and the Director for Parks & Recreation for the City of Edgewater. She loves the challenge of wearing both hats as she feels that Parks & Recreation is the “Quality of Life” part of Economic Development.
Dean Blinkhorn has established the visibility of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership’s talent development efforts considerably in a short time. Prior to working at the CEP, he was in local publishing for more than 20 years and was named Editor of the Year by the Florida Magazine Association and Alumni of the Year by the College of Central Florida. He was also a high school English teacher and later served as President of the Board of Directors for the Public Education Foundation of Marion County after leaving the classroom. Most of his career has been spent with businesses that employ a lean model of low-cost, high-profitability methods. He brings this efficient background expertise, along with a deep knowledge of the local education landscape, into this new talent development role.
Greg Blosé has been a member of the Florida Chamber team for six years and currently serves as the Board of Governors Program Director. Greg also leads disaster response initiatives at the Florida Chamber and was appointed by the Governor as a Commissioner on the Florida State Emergency Response Commission. In 2018, Greg was recognized by Influence Magazine as a “Rising Star.” Greg earned his MBA in 2013 and is currently studying to complete the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organizational Management (IOM) and the American Society of Association Executive’s Certified Association Executive (CAE) programs. Previously, Greg was President/CEO of the Volusia Home Builders Association and a News Radio Talk Show Host at WNDB in Daytona Beach.
Cindy Brief, IOM, FCCP has served as the President/CEO of the Coral Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce since 2006, after joining the organization as a member and later as a sales executive. Prior to her chamber career, Cindy practiced accounting at one of the top ten CPA firms in the country, but later decided that accounting wasn’t her passion and opened EventsPlus. Under her tenure, the cham- ber has started numerous programs, including the Professional Women’s Alliance, Chamber For Good, Biz Academy, Platinum Circle, an Education Foundation, as well as several additional signature events.
Brenna Dacks is the VISIT FLORIDA Regional Partnership Manager based out of the greater St. Augustine and Jacksonville area. She handles partnership service and sales across the North Florida region, which encompasses 35 counties and spans from Pensacola to New Smyrna Beach. Brenna started at VISIT FLORIDA in 2001 and has worked in PR, promotions, travel industry sales, advertising sales and industry relations. In her current role, Brenna helps current and prospective Partners engage in VISIT FLORIDA programs.
With over three decades of experience designing and managing chamber membership and retention programs, Jim knows a thing or two about the business. He has personally secured thousands of new members and has hired, trained and managed more than 600 full-time membership development and retention professionals. Additionally, he has provided full-time guidance and representation to hundreds of organizations from coast to coast, leading many of them to national recognition for achieving the highest rates of retention, member growth and market share in the country.
An experienced recruiter, trainer and leader, Jim has proven success growing membership programs in the “new disruptive economy,” and he knows what the companies of today are looking to gain from their chamber affiliation. As a membership strategist, he is an expert at building successful development and retention programs from the ground up and his front-line membership experience has made him a valuable and relatable trainer and consultant.
In addition to the full array of chamber client services, Jim's weekly publication, Membership Monday, is read by subscribers in all 50 states, as well as Canada, and his webinars are always full. Written with both the newly minted and veteran professional in mind, Membership Monday’s development and retention program offers skilled guidance and support, proven to assist membership and retention professionals as they learn, lead and exceed.
Jennifer Ladkani Fryns, Ph.D. is currently Associate Vice President, Career and Professional Programs at College of Central Florida (CF). A part of the CF family for over 12 years, Dr. Fryns oversees the programs in Health Sciences, Criminal Justice and Public Service, Teacher Education and Business and Technology, as well as the Corporate College and other non-credit programs. She is also a part-time instructor at CF. Dr. Fryns has led a number of projects and initiatives on campus, in the community and at a regional level to promote access to higher education and the role of high-impact practices in improving student success. She has a long history of work in both administration and the community college setting, as well as in the private sector in sales, marketing and contracts.
Dr. Fryns is a current member of the Advisory Board of the Outreach Autism Services Network (OASN) and Appleton Museum of Art Advisory Committee. Born in Miami, Florida, Dr. Fryns earned a Bachelor’s from University of Miami, a Master’s in from University of Cincinnati’s and a Ph.D. from Florida State University, where she was named a Distinguished Dissertation Fellow in 2000-2001. Additional honors and achievements include being named a Fulbright Scholar to Jordan in 1998, being selected for the Florida College Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar in 2017, and completion of the 2019 Roueche Future Leaders Institute by American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C.
When not at work, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband, their three children, (Lowell,13, Mallory, 11 and Jonah, 9) and their energetic miniature Australian Shepherd, Ruby.
Moore Hallmark is executive director of the Southeastern Region for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hallmark oversees the congressional and public affairs for eight southeastern states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The mission of the Southeastern Regional Office is to develop and maintain the region’s legislative, political, and grassroots resources to achieve the U.S. Chamber’s public policy goals.
Before joining the Chamber, Hallmark was governmental affairs director for
the Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia, where he served as the association’s chief lobbyist. In addition, he was governmental affairs director for the Community Bankers Association of Georgia, district legislative director for Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA), and senior district director for the Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Hallmark has a political science degree from the University of Mississippi and a public relations degree from the University of North Alabama. He has been active in various community and alumni organizations including the Rotary Club, the Cobb County Republican Party, Sigma Chi Fraternity, and the Ole Miss Alumni Association. Hallmark and his wife, Kim, and their son, Landon, live in Marietta, Georgia.
President/CEO of the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.)
Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs for California Chamber
Author of “Chamber Champions: Wisdom for the Ages” which was released in April 2019.
Prior to joining California Chamber, he had a successful career in local chamber management as CEO of the Modesto (CA) Chamber.
He is a former Chair of US Chamber’s Western Institute and a member of the US Chamber’s Committee of 100 and their Public Affairs Committee.
He is a self-described movie, Disney & trivia nut and is a poli-holic (Yes – he actually likes politics). Dave and his wife Kim are on a never-ending search for the perfect India Pale Ale (IPA)
John Lai is the President and CEO of the Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce, the premiere business organization Sanibel and Captiva islands with over 500 members and the only Visit Florida certified visitor center that is open 365 days a year. John has been in the hospitality and tourism industry for over 28 years and a resident of Florida for over 35 years. John is past president of the Lee County Hotel Association and serves as the Government Affairs Chair of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, on the board of directors of Lee County Sports, and is the incoming Treasurer of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals.
Joe Lemire is the President and Chief Innovator of ELYK Innovation (pronounced EELICK). Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, ELYK designs and develops dynamic ADA compliant websites and web applications for businesses and membership organizations.
Joe is a native of Akron, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Akron in 1990 and relocated to Florida in 1992. Joe and his wife, Kelli, started ELYK Innovation in 1999 and currently employ 7 full time professionals.
Robin is currently the CEO of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce (TBBCoC). Prior to joining in January of 2008 Robin was the entrepreneur that designed and developed the county’s only premiere full service day spa at that time, Tranquility Day Spa. During her 5 years with Tranquility Day Spa Robin won Business of the Year from the Tampa Bay Business Journal and was a finalist multiple times for business of the year with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Woman of the Year. Robin brought Tranquility Day Spa to gross revenues at just under $1.5 mm and successfully marketed and sold the establishment. Before launching her self made business Robin was Director of Sales for Tallán, a full service high tech consulting firm where she sold in excess of $4 mm a year in software development in the markets of Boston and San Francisco. Other accomplishments include: Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for American Stage and instrumental in its move to their new location in 2009; Board member for the Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg and Chair for the City of St. Petersburg’s Civil Service Board. In 2015-2016 Robin was appointed to serve on VISIT FLORIDA visitor services committee and is a current board member for Creative Pinellas. Robin has a passion for community involvement, volunteer work and creating opportunities for business in our local community. She loves fitness and spin classes and lives with her two children: Rocky and Carinia!
Shane Moody, IOM, CCE, FCCP is the President & CEO of the Destin Chamber of Commerce and a 25+ year veteran of the industry. He has celebrated many successes – two of which were guiding two different chambers to receive the Award of Excellence from ACCE – Laurens Co. (NC) in 1999 and Destin in 2005. Also in1999, he was named the top membership executive in North & South Carolina by the Association of Membership Executives of the Carolinas, earning their Award for Excellence. He has served in leadership roles for FACP, ACCE, FACP and the US Chamber Institute Program
Sheila Hooper Neisler is the owner of Catalyst – A Marketing Company has built a career on integrating Cause Marketing into a company’s overall strategy and DNA. For more than 17 years, she has helped small and mid-size organizations achieve double digit results by creating and executing a 360° Marketing Plan. Her philosophy: “it’s not about spending more money; it’s about spending it more effectively.”
She helps her clients create and executive Cause Marketing projects by engaging their customers and prospects by "Selling Through Hearts Instead Of Heads!"
The average sale takes 5 to 12 contacts and prospects are exposed to some 4,000 ads daily. Business leaders need a different strategy to cut through this “noise.” Cause Marketing – partnering a for-profit with a not-for-profit for mutual profit - has been proven to drive sales results, enhance recruiting and retention, build brand loyalty AND make a positive impact in the community: down the street, across the state and around the world!
Sheila is a native of St. Peterburg and a finance graduate from Florida State University. She is an active Ambassador with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and is involved as a liaison for SCORE with the St. Petersburg Chamber, the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber and Amplify Clearwater.
Corey Parris is Grouve’s Co-Founder/CEO. Corey co-founded Grouve in January 2017 and since has led the evolution of the software product’s development, sales/marketing, and customer support for 40 chambers in 9 states.
Prior, he was a student-entrepreneur at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he co-founded an event planning company, co-founded a non-profit student organization center that sourced/housed resources for other student entrepreneurs including co-wording space, and received his Bachelors degree.
Corey enjoys traveling, spending time with family/friends, and (in most cases) whatever you happen to be pouring behind the bar.
Robert Rafferty leads EventBank's digital marketing efforts to help impact how chambers, associations, and event managers engage and interact with their members and audiences. Robert is experienced in business growth with digital transformation, growth marketing, and artificial intelligence across the globe. He continues to transform how EventBank and its clients grow in digital and social media age.
Teresa is the founder and President of Rand Consulting. In this role Ms. Rand works with individuals and businesses as a speaker, trainer, and executive coach. Her focus is leadership training, goal setting, staff retention, motivation, and team building. As an executive coach, Teresa helps individuals excel in their current career, find a new career, or start a business. As a certified Strengths Finder coach, Teresa helps teams and individuals focus on their strengths so they can excel in their chosen field. Teresa is also a yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction mediation guide, teaching classes in her own personal studio for students of all levels.
As a former CEO of a multimillion-dollar organization, Teresa has more than 29 years of expertise in fundraising, staff development, and career advancement. In her career, Teresa managed budgets from three million to thirty-five million and employees numbering over 1000.
Teresa has a strong interest in gender equality and facilitates the Professional Women’s Exchange Program for Daytona State College and is the founder of Boss Lady, a woman’s organization that assists women in developing their individual leadership skills and using their expertise to support other women.
Teresa holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Jacksonville University.
Teresa enjoys serving her community and is an active member of many local boards and organizations.
o Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce; 2016 Board Chair
o Daytona Beach Nascar Checkered Flag Committee Member;
o Halifax Area Civic League Member
o Founding Member of the Volusia County Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
o Halifax Health Associates Member
o Board Member of SMA Healthcare Foundation
o Tiger Bay Member (a local nonparty affiliated political organization)
Teresa and her husband, Bob Rand have five children and five wonderful grandchildren. In her spare time, she has completed 11 marathons, multiple triathlons, an Outward-Bound sailing excursion and a skydiving adventure.
Steven G. Ridder is a hands-on manager and intercollegiate coach with vision, passion, and extensive experience at program-building and strategic planning. He places emphasis on recruiting, developing, and mentoring talented team and staff members. Coach Ridder possesses a purpose driven challenge to develop student-athletes to their maximum potential academically, athletically, spiritually, and socially in preparation for a productive life after college. He has a commitment to making a difference in the lives of young people, creating “The Package: Student, Person, and Player” who represent their University at the highest level.
Coach Ridder joined Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1989 as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Coach Ridder and his Eagles reached the NAIA pinnacle by capturing the national championship in the 1999-2000 season. In addition to the national championship, under Coach Ridder’s tutelage, the Eagles have won nine The Sun Conference regular season titles; eleven The Sun Conference tournament titles; and earned fifteen NAIA national tournament appearances. His 2010-11 team captured the prestigious National Champions of Character Team Award, which is given to only one team in the NAIA.
Coach Ridder was named the University’s Director of Athletics in 1993, at which time the athletic program at Embry-Riddle began to flourish. The sports programs grew from five men’s teams in 1988-89 to seventeen (8 men, 9 women, 1 coed) in 2012-13. Along with the growth of the sports teams, he saw to the expansion of the sports complex, i.e. the construction of three recreation/intramural fields two of which are top of the line synthetic turf), The ICI Center (gymnasium), soccer complex, Sliwa Stadium (baseball), Ambassador E. William Crotty Tennis Complex, the track and field facility, and the softball stadium. ERAU completed the construction of a four-million-dollar seating and locker room clubhouse for baseball and softball in May 2015. To solidify its standing as one of the top athletic programs in the nation, Embry-Riddle’s athletic program finished second place in the NAIA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup race in 2011 and has placed in the top ten the last eight years while with NAIA. In 2014, Coach Ridder was asked to become Special Assistant to the President of the University during the NCAA transitional period while maintaining his role as Head Men’s Basketball Coach.
His many honors include induction into the Florida Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010; induction into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2008-09; recipient of the Air Force Association’s Jimmy Doolittle Fellow Award in 2008; being selected USA Basketball Court Coach for Pan American Trials in 2007; NAIA National Athletic Director of the Year in 2005-06; and NAIA II National Coach of the Year in 2000. One of his most prized accomplishments is that Embry-Riddle student-athletes have performed better than the campus student body for eighteen consecutive years, most recently posting a 3.06 cumulative grade point average compared to the campus GPA of 2.93. Ridder has been recognized for his successes throughout his tenure and was honored once again when he received the 2019 Guardians of the Game Pillar Award for Leadership from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) on April 7, 2019.
Kevin T. Sheilley is the President/CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), the community’s primary chamber and economic development organization.
He is a career chamber/economic development professional and has spoken across the country on issues relating to economic and community development. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the national Excellence in Economic Development Award from the US Department of Commerce. The CEP is the current Florida Chamber of the Year and was a finalist for the ACCE’s national Chamber of the Year for the 2nd time in 3 years. 2019 marks his 25th year in the Chamber/economic development field.
Prior to coming to Ocala, Kevin had worked in economic development in Kentucky and Tennessee. The CEP represents the fourth time he has successfully assisted communities in merging/creating new economic development entities.
Kevin is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and is a graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He and his wife, Lisa, are the parents of three children.
Heather Shubirg serves as the Executive Vice President for Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership, that works on strategic economic development activities and business recruitment initiatives for Volusia County, Florida.
Prior to joining Team Volusia, Heather served as the Senior Director of Business Development in the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology sectors at the Orlando Economic Partnership. She also served as Vice President of Business Development of Enterprise Florida - the public private partnership responsible for leading Florida’s statewide economic development efforts. In her role, Heather oversaw a team of business development managers and associates to attract and retain companies in Florida. She worked with state organizations and Enterprise Florida’s statewide economic development partners to research and identify appropriate programs and locations to attract and retain companies in Florida. In addition, she assisted in identifying state competitiveness issues for policy decisions and oversaw the development of competitive project proposal responses. Heather worked on new-to-market projects including Blue Origin with 330 new jobs and a $200 million capital investment and Northrop Grumman’s expansion of 1,800 jobs and a $500 million investment.
Prior to joining Enterprise Florida, Heather worked for Volusia County Government as an Environmental Specialist under the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Petroleum Cleanup Program, and later as the Sustainability Associate under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program.
Heather received her Bachelor of Science in Economics and Master of Science in Economics from the University of Central Florida. In addition, Heather earned a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Management from Anaheim University. Heather published her master’s thesis in the Journal of Environment Economics and is certified in Basic Economic Development as well as Business Recruitment and Retention by the International Economic Development Council. Locally, Heather serves on the Board for the SMA Healthcare Foundation, United Way and the Florida Photonics Cluster.
Elizabeth Smith is the Vice President of Events and Foundation at the Bay County Chamber of Commerce where she has worked for 15 years. She is a life-long citizen of Panama City with a passion for community, and she's dedicated to the philosophy that we are better together than when working individually. She had an opportunity to put that philosophy into practice this past fall after the category 5 Hurricane Michael hit Panama City head on.
Elizabeth proved herself as a leader in the Chamber's recovery efforts, helping her hometown and its businesses get back on their feet. She is a communications graduate of Florida State University and a 2019 graduate of the U.S. Chamber's Institute of Organizational Management.
In Elizabeth's spare time, she enjoys spending time on the baseball field with her husband and nine-year-old son.
Beginning with his service as an ESE teacher in 1991, to his current position of Executive Director of Career & Technical Education, Mark Vianello has spent his entire career fueled for his mission - improving opportunities for all of Marion County Public Schools’ students and improving the community in which he lives.
Mark has made innovative changes to Career & Technical Education, most recently launching a Career Planning Guide designed to ensure every student graduates with a plan for their future – Employment, Enlistment or Enrollment. His endeavors have resulted in his being recognized by the Florida Workforce Network in 2018 and, under his direction, the Career and Technical Education Department was recognized as an Innovative District by the International Center for Leadership in Education in 2018.
He continues to build bridges between education and employment while working to ensure relevancy in every classroom. His influence on education in Marion County has changed the future for many students, affording them opportunities for success in their own backyard.
Callie Walker is the Senior Inbound Marketing Specialist at MemberClicks, an Atlanta-based membership management software company. She manages the company’s blog, content pieces, and various social media sites.
Callie attended the University of Georgia, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and went on to pursue a career in PR and digital marketing.
In her time at MemberClicks, she’s increased blog views by 1,472% and blog subscribers by 1,265%. She loves writing and exploring how associations and chambers can tap into the power of inbound marketing.
Cory Weaver has held a variety of positions in her decade-long career with CareerSource CLM. Recently promoted, she will now be taking a more hands-on role in community affairs, overseeing the implementation of a wide-scale soft skills initiative and maintaining a high-profile Youth Career Expo. She will also deal with key industries in a tri-county area in hiring events and will utilize her vast experience in data research to target in-demand workforce needs. Her new role will also interact closely with the College of Central Florida and the Ocala/Marion County CEP.