2021 Annual Report

Inclusive Organization

Accomplishments & Successes

  • Graduated the 2020 and 2021 Cohort of the Minority Business Accelerator program
  • Welcomed the fifth Cohort of the Minority Business Accelerator program
  • Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay young professional group had record attendance at virtual, hybrid, and in-person events addressing important issues in Tampa Bay
  • Operation Partnership assisted over 100 service men and women transitioning out of the military and military spouses with meeting local business members and learning more about the Tampa Bay business community
  • Women’s programming offered the opportunity for the membership to hear from remarkable women at a variety of events

Collegiate Leadership Tampa Bay


The Collegiate Leadership Program is a program that the Chamber created about 3 years ago in an effort to retain college talent in Tampa Bay. After two years of planning the program the first class started in 2020. Collegiate Leadership is a tuition-based, academic-year-long program (October – April) that prepares a diverse group of college student leaders to have a positive impact on their future communities while they learn extensively about what makes Tampa Bay a favored place to live and work.

The program is for students who have a minimum of 60 credit hours while attending the program and are enrolled at Saint Leo University, The University of Tampa, or the University of South Florida.

The program recognizes students who have demonstrated leadership within their campus community, as well as academic success. As these students near degree completion, Collegiate Leadership helps introduce them to the many ways that leadership takes shape outside the academic world. This program will teach them as much about the community as it will about themselves and will empower them to continue their leadership journeys.

Program days occur once a month. During which, participants learn about various aspects of our community. Topics are updated annually to reflect issues of importance at that time. During the program, participants take part in an opening retreat session, six program days and a closing session graduation dinner.

The first class of Collegiate Leadership was the 2021 Class led by the Chair, Kari Goetz (LT ’18) and Vice Chair, Wyatt Krapf (Emerging Leaders). The Collegiate Leadership 2021 Class graduated from the program in April 2021.

The 2022 class began in October 2021 and will graduate in April 2022. The 2022 class is led by the Chair, Wyatt Krapf (Emerging Leaders) and Vice Chair Lindsay Grinstead (LT’ 18).

Collegiate Leadership Tampa Bay Class of 2021

Saint Leo University

  • Ashley Butler
  • Ramon “Andy” Escalera
  • Rose Foley
  • Tiffany Grant
  • Kendrick Gray
  • Montserrat Molina
  • Jade Ortner
  • Nathalia Sanfiel
  • Nicholas “Niko” Sobestanovich

The University of Tampa

  • Kelly Collins
  • Melissa Cuesta Valdivia
  • Erin Hanson
  • Jacob Jalloway
  • Noah McNair
  • Priyanka Yadav

University of South Florida

  • Victoria Campana
  • Simone DiMattia
  • Junayed “JJ” Jahangir
  • Jack LaGoy
  • Erika Miller
  • Destiny Patterson
  • Gustavo Derigge Spangher
  • Giselle Vasquez-Soto

Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay

Emerging Leaders is a young professional leadership program of the Tampa Bay Chamber designed for emerging leaders ages 21 to 35. Stemming from an initiative to recruit and retain talent in the Greater Tampa Bay Area, the Chamber’s Board of Directors approved the idea in 2003 and Emerging Leaders was launched in May 2004.

Vision Series

Spotlight on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion where members were able to hear from five subject matter experts who discussed DEI within Tampa’s military, workforce, and transportation sectors.

Creating a Sustainable Tampa for Young Professionals which focused on what Tampa Bay is doing to manage growth and create a community that both attracts and retains young professionals.

Committee Work

The Hub for Business Committee runs the Mentor-Protégé Program – In 2021 there were 50 Emerge members who were paired with 50 mentors to help them in their personal and professional lives. 

Inclusion Committee held the ninth annual Nonprofit Fair. 29 nonprofits were represented and around 100 attendees. They also hosted the Nonprofit Board Governance three course series. 27 members completed the course.

Community Service

Feeding Tampa Bay Mobile Pantry – Provided 1700 families with food during the shift

MacDonald Training Center – Sorted Gasparilla beads

Habitat for Humanity – Helped to build a house together


Members age 21-35

2021 Emerging Leaders Annual Meeting

Founding Sponsor

Presenting Sponsors

The 2022 Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay Leadership team was announced at the 2021 Emerging Leaders Annual Meeting.  Michelle Christie, Regions Bank, will be the 2022 Chair, and Brett Scafidi, PrimeGroup Insurance, will be the 2022 Vice Chair.

The 2021 Deanne Dewey Emerging Leaders Award was presented to Andrew W. Smith at the Emerging Leaders Annual Meeting.


Since the 1940s, the Tampa Bay business community, led by the Tampa Bay Chamber, has enjoyed a close working relationship with MacDill Air Force Base – a vital part of our nation’s defense and an important training location for those who safeguard America. We understand the importance of promoting and supporting our brave men and women who serve our country and call our community home.

Operation Partnership

This three-part program assisted over 100 service men and women transitioning out of the military and military spouses with meeting local business members and learning more about the Tampa Bay business community. 

Hosted Operation Partnership: Transition Tampa Bay with over 20 transitioning service members participating in a day long series of workshops hosted by over 16 Chamber members relating to the transition from military service to the civilian business community.

Hosted Operation Partnership: Civilian Career Day with over 20 transitioning service members participating in a networking event with Chamber members to learn more about their organizations, industry, and corporate culture.

Hosted Operation Partnership: Tampa Bay @ Sunset with over 40 transitioning service members and spouses as they networked with members of the Tampa Bay business community.

Military Council & Military Advisory Committee

The Military Advisory Committee discussed off-base housing options for military families moving to the Tampa Bay community which led to advocacy opportunities that the Chamber is currently researching.

Members of the Military Advisory Committee met with Valerie Lavin from Bunker Labs and Adam Birch from Older, Lundy, Alvarez, & Koch to discuss the veteran and military spouse ecosystem in Tampa Bay.

Hosted Senior Enlisted Advisors from the 927th Air Refueling Wing, 6th Air Refueling Wing, SOCOM, JCSE, and the MacDill Family Readiness Unit to discuss quality of life issues impacting military families. Transportation and housing continue to be two of the most pressing concerns families face while stationed at MacDill.

In conjunction with the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce we hosted a combined Military Advisory Committee. With over 40 attendees our committee members heard from Bay Area Legal regarding their medical legal partnership and how they are assisting veterans.

The Tampa Bay Chamber along with the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance formed the MacDill Means Mobility Task Force to advocate for MacDill Air Force Base as the new home for the KC-46 aircraft squadron. A decision is expected to be made between MacDill and Fairchild this fall by the Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth.

Hosted Senior Enlisted Advisors from the 927th Air Refueling Wing, 6th Air Refueling Wing, SOCOM, and MARCENT to discuss quality of life issues impacting military families. Transportation and housing continue to be two of the most pressing concerns families face while stationed at MacDill.

The Committee met with Andy Gold from Hillsborough Community College to discuss veteran entrepreneurship and how the business community can help assist local veterans who are starting their own businesses.

In partnership with the Tampa Bay EDC, members of the Military Council met with Boyd Watterson Asset Management to discuss the growing GovCon industry in Tampa Bay.

Tampa received the Military Spouse Impact Award for Community of the Year by Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. This award recognizes a community and its leaders for their efforts in creating a strong, inclusive community that allows military spouses to thrive both inside and outside of the gates.


Military Spouse Support 

Met with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to discuss tracking military spouse reemployment assistance benefits.

Working with the Tampa Bay Military Spouse Empowerment Zone to encourage local employers to participate in the Military Spouse Employer Directory. Currently 18 companies have pledged their commitment to hire military spouses.

In partnership with the USO Transitions team we hosted a Tampa Bay: Military Spouse Resource Discussion that focused on local resources available to help military spouses with gainful employment. Participating organizations included the Tampa Bay Chamber, Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone, Military Spouse Fellowship Program, Military Spouse Professional Network, and CareerSource Tampa Bay.

Celebrated Military Spouse Appreciation Day on our social media by highlighting military spouse employment and the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program.

Received a proclamation from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners declaring November as Military Family month.

Assisted Hiring Our Heroes with their grassroots military spouse workshop geared toward pairing military spouse talent with local employers.

Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program

The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program concluded its second year in Tampa Bay with 135 service member fellows and 16 military spouse fellows graduating from the program. This innovative program provides transitioning service members and military spouses with professional training and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce, better preparing candidates for a smooth transition into meaningful civilian careers. Open to both transitioning service members and military spouses, participants are strategically matched with participating companies based on the specific skills of the candidate and preferences of both parties.

For more information visit Hiring Our Heroes.

“Amgen’s Military Fellowship program provides Amgen a great opportunity to meet military veterans that are seeking to transition from military service into work within the private sector. We highly value the vast diversity of our military veterans who have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and skills in their transition into corporate environments. The service members are eager to provide their skill sets and expertise to tackle projects at Amgen, perform exceptional work and are able to quickly contribute to Amgen’s successes. This program provides a vast amount of value for us to be able to tap into a great source for talent filled with passionate people that help us to drive innovation for the patients we serve.”

Brian Phan – Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Manager, Amgen

“I gained an invaluable amount of professional development while participating in the HOH’s CFP. The program prepared me for a smooth transition into a meaningful civilian career. Being with Amgen was like a dream come true! I’ve benefited from working with the best and brightest people in the biotech industry and the work that I’m doing has a significant impact on the quality of life for millions of people.”

Aaron Wheeler – Corporate Fellow, Amgen

Minority Business Accelerator

Founding Sponsors


Community Partners

The 2020 and 2021 Cohorts of the Minority Business Accelerator graduated in 2021 from the 2-year program in November 2021. The 2020 Cohort Graduation was postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The Minority Business Accelerator also celebrated the start of its fourth cohort this year and they’re well underway to the same success as the first three cohorts.

Current Cohorts Past Cohorts

The 2023 Cohort, and fifth cohort of the program, was announced at the 136th Annual Meeting in December. 2023 Cohort Participants include:

  • Floyd Freeman – Cablelytics
  • John Diazt – Ceiba Ltd.
  • Max Volmar, Jr. – M&G Janitorial Services
  • Charles Jackson – Mijan Construction
  • Damaris and Uziel Ortega – Ortega Custom Cabinets, LLC
  • Kalvin Weathersby  –  Permits Now Inc. – Power Civil Construction Services
  • Dr. Pamela Noel  –  ScopeShield, Inc.


Gross Sales


New Corporate Contracts


New Jobs Created


Companies Securing New Capital


Vacancies Filled


New Assets Acquired

Women’s Programming

The Chamber offers four women’s programming events throughout the year in addition to the annual Women of Influence Luncheon. The content for the women’s programming is determined by the Women of Influence Committee. The committee is also active in various outreach efforts, partnering with existing Chamber programs to assist with public policy initiatives, veteran employment efforts, and young professional mentorship.

Pearls of Experience

At the first women’s programming event of the year, attendees heard from JC Ayers, VP of Human Resources at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, on how she got to where she is today, as well as what changes Seminole Hard Rock has had to make to their operations due to the ongoing pandemic.

At the second Pearls of Experience event of the year,  attendees experienced a behind the scenes tour of Water Street Tampa, followed by a networking reception at Sparkman Wharf.

Pearls of Wisdom

At the first Pearls of Wisdom event of the year attendees heard from Dr. Deirdre Dixon, Colette Glover-Hannah, and Kari Goetz for a discussion on Navigating Career Changes.

At the final women’s programming event of the year attendees had a lively panel discussion from tourist experts on the critical importance of tourism on the Tampa Bay economy. Panelists included Janette Carter, Visit Tampa Bay, Laurie Noyes, Tampa International Airport, Christina Sookram, Pinnacle Hotel Management, and Danielle Vona, The Marketing Posse.

Women of Influence Luncheon

Presenting Sponsor

The event’s featured speaker was Judge Glenda Hatchett. Judge Glenda Hatchett is an attorney, author, business owner and host over the two-time Emmy nominated nationally syndicated show, Judge Hatchett, now in its 18th season.

Rita Lowman of Pilot Bank was named the 2021 Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award winner.