Posted by: Tampa Bay Chamber on Thursday, April 1, 2021


The Chamber’s Policy Council (along with our Transportation Council and Policy Advisory Committee) hosted an informative update re: The Supreme Court’s ruling on All for Transportation.

The Chamber’s Advocacy team wrapped up our Tampa Bay legislative delegation one on one meetings. The team met with nearly every legislator in our tri-county delegation, detailing our priorities this session and providing our full 2021 legislative agenda.

Ahead of the start of this year’s session, the Policy Advisory Committee hosted the government affairs leaders of Hillsborough and Pasco counties, Jim Taylor, and Ralph Lair, respectively. Our guests discussed their county’s priorities and ways the Chamber could be supportive.

VP of Advocacy, Nicholas Glover, provided Emerging Leaders a preview of the Chamber’s 2021 legislative agenda, while also providing remarks aimed at demystifying the public policy process.

The Chamber’s Policy Council hosted guest speakers from the City of Tampa: Abbye Feeley, Director of Development & Growth Management, and Vik Bhide, Director of Mobility. Our speakers’ presentations centered on Balancing Growth and Mobility for our City and Region.

The Chamber hosted our annual Legislative Kickoff reception with nearly 240 attendees, achieving 119% of attendee budget, and 206% of net profit budget.

The Chamber’s Policy Council hosted Senator Jeff Brandes (FL Senate – D. 24) for an engaging conversation ranging from his “Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID” legislation to criminal justice reform.

To ensure the voices of the business community were heard re: the proposed fossil fuel and fossil fuel infrastructure ban, the Chamber hosted Tampa City Council member Joe Citro, environmental groups, members from impacted industries, and statewide trade associations – Ultimately Councilman Citro elected to withdraw the resolution.

The Chamber’s Advocacy team met with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in an effort to pursue either legislative relief or a departmental rule change that would require the State of Florida to track military spouse unemployment.

Engaging with and galvanizing the Chamber’s membership is critical to the Advocacy team’s success. To that end, the Chamber met with a series of vendors to extend our digital advocacy reach.

Workforce Development Committee

The Workforce Development Committee met with Florida State Attorney Andrew Warren to discuss experiential training opportunities for young minority men in the Hillsborough County School District.

The committee is encouraging the business community to participate in the CareerSource Tampa Bay Summer Job program as well as the Hillsborough Community College initiative to recruit mentors and coordinate job shadowing and internship opportunities for their Business Administration students at the Dale Mabry campus.

Over 60 Chamber members attended the Workforce Development Committee’s first event of the year, Work Redefined: Economic & Workforce Forecasting. Attendees heard from Dr. Albert Williams of Nova Southeastern University.

Workforce Housing Subcommittee

The Workforce Housing Subcommittee met with Abbye Feeley and Kayon Henderson from the City of Tampa to discuss the Infill 360 Housing Redevelopment Program Phase II.

The City of Tampa’s Business and Brunch program kicked off with its first employer participant, and Chamber member, Ultimate Medical Academy. Over 630 employees are participating in this program in which the City of Tampa will be connecting them with subject matter experts and local businesses to educate, assist, and guide employees through the home buying process.

The Workforce Housing Subcommittee met with Brenda McKenzie, Workforce Partnerships & Special Projects Director, Neighborhoods & Community Affairs, City of Tampa to discuss their role in bringing together the community in support of workforce development.

Members of the committee met with Frank Wells, President and Chief Impact Officer of Bright Community Trust to discuss how they are addressing workforce housing needs in the central Florida region.

Inclusive Organization


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.

The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program concluded its first year in Tampa Bay with 76 fellows graduating from the program. As interest in the program continues to expand locally, we look forward to welcoming 38 transitioning service member fellows and 5 military spouse fellows to the first cohort of 2021 with an anticipated 2021 impact of over 100+ fellows in the Tampa Bay program.

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.

Members of the Military Council are working with SOCOM to host a virtual community tour ahead of SOFIC in May. This event will target government contracting companies who don’t currently have a presence in Tampa Bay. In partnership with the Tampa Bay EDC we will be hosting a virtual session highlighting the benefits of doing business in Tampa.

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.

Recorded an introduction for the Association of Defense Communities new series, ADC Live! The welcome message included remarks from Dr. Bob Rohrlack and Colonel Benjamin Jonsson, Commander of the 6th ARW at MacDill.

Minority Business Accelerator

ACCE Sales Presentation

MBA Director Avril Stinson participated as a group moderator for ACCE’s DEI small group prep session for the ACCE national sales conference Mar. 12. Topics covered were:

  • What would it look like for your chamber to examine its membership program through a lens of intentional leadership around DEI?
  • How could you model intentional leadership around DEI in your role?
  • What are your biggest challenges or barriers to recruiting or engaging minority-owned businesses in the work of your chamber?
  • Have you had any recent successes that would be helpful to share as we all look for practical ideas?

Monthly Newsletters

The Minority Business Accelerator has moved to a monthly distribution schedule. Learn more about the program participants, and how you can get involved by subscribing to the newsletter and sharing it with your networks.

1st Mentor/Advisor Roundtable Discussion

The inaugural MBA Mentor Roundtable discussion was held for Q1 2021 on Mar. 24. This meeting is meant to be a time to discuss the program with those with “boots on the ground,” working with the participants, and they share their experiences, thoughts, and best practices. The discussion led to excellent feedback, as well as some items/ideas and opportunities to share with the Leadership Advisory Council to ask for their assistance as needed.

Collegiate Leadership

Collegiate Leadership Class of 2021 Chair, Kari Goetz (LT’18) and Vice Chair, Wyatt Krapf (Emerge)

Collegiate Leadership is a program for 23 college students from the University of Tampa, St. Leo, and the University of South Florida. It mirrors the Leadership Tampa program and allows the college students to explore different career paths, understand how the City of Tampa operates, and hopefully retain the amazing talent in Tampa Bay. The first class of the program is scheduled to graduate in April.

Emerging Leaders

Feb. 22 – Mentor Protégé Kickoff. 50 pairings were made with 25 Emerging Leaders as proteges and 25 mentors who are leaders in the Chamber and the community at large.

Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay is kicking off the 2021 program year with both virtual and hybrid event options.

  • Hosted 12 Committee Meetings in Q1
  • Current Emerging Leaders membership is 253 members.

Hub for Business


The value of membership in the Tampa Bay Chamber is widely recognized by our business community.  With the optimism of a new year and the rollout of vaccines, 64 organizations have already joined the Chamber this year. Many of these are new businesses who are looking to connect, engage and make their mark with other like-minded business owners in Tampa Bay. The value of membership is also recognized by existing members with over 90% of existing members renewing and continuing to be a part of the Chamber. Five members celebrated their business success with Ribbon Cuttings in the first three months of 2021.

Jeff Chernoff and Ed Narain welcomed 21 Black-owned companies and non-profits to the Chamber as part of the Minority Empowerment Program.  All participants have been paired with a seasoned Board or Chamber member to help them integrate into the Chamber and we are thrilled to see them leaning in and contributing to the organization.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee is focused on retention and recruitment of “mission” members that are committed to the community and stepping into a leadership role.  Lead by Brian Adcock, Adcock Financial and Ryan Toth, The Beck Group, the committee is off to a strong start. They are also hosting a bi-monthly, Business Around the Bay program format for these top-tier leaders to connect, provide insights and exchange ideas as we work to move forward together. By design, the groups will remain small but meaningful connections and dialogue abounds.

Ambassador Committee

Our 17 volunteer Ambassadors worked with over 193 members one-on-one ensuring they have the resources to make most of the Chamber membership. In March, the Ambassadors welcomed 15 members to Coffee Connection. Held in the Chamber Boardroom, this event was held in person following and followed all COVID-19 safety protocols.  Members had the opportunity to network with everyone in the room, leaving with new business connections.

Community Outreach Committee

The Community Outreach Committee explored new opportunities for volunteers to be of service to our non-profit members. It was a busy first quarter of the year, starting with 50 volunteers from the Chamber, Leadership Tampa Alumni and Emerging Leaders Tampa Bay bringing awareness to food insecurity in our community by partnering with Feeding Tampa Bay at the mega pantry. Each week, this pantry provides 3,500 food boxes to our fellow citizens.

Watch for projects with Goodwill Industries and the YMCA in Q2!


Competitive Edge Series

Jan.: "Maximize Your Marketing ROI" featured Rob Kane, Sparxoo. 2020 made us rethink every expenditure in our businesses. Rob provided some frameworks to ensure marketing dollars are not wasted in 2021. Learning objectives included:

  • Discover the latest digital marketing trends.
  • Understand why your brand foundation is your key to success.
  • Learn which marketing channels may be best for your business.
  • Utilize quarterly goals and measures to focus on what is important now (WIN)

Mar.: "The Office of the Future" featured a panel of speakers.

  • Michael Griffin, Savills
  • Rob Ledford, Baker Barrios
  • Lauren Menendez, CI Group
  • Ryan Toth, The Beck Group

The conversation focused on the changes office spaces face in a post COVID-19 environment regarding construction and redesign with employee and public safety in mind. The discussion also addressed what changes are expected to occur with commercial real estate.

Legislative Kickoff

Hosted the annual Legislative Kickoff, presented by Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, virtually via Vsummits. The following elected officials joined for the interactive conversation with attendees:

  • Sen. Danny Burgess
  • Rep. Linda Chaney
  • Sen. Janet Cruz
  • Rep. Fentrice Driskell
  • Rep. Dianne Hart
  • Rep. Andrew Learned
  • Rep. Michele Rayner
  • Sen. Darryl Rouson
  • Rep. Jackie Toledo
  • Rep. Susan Valdes

Upcoming Events

15th Annual Women of Influence Luncheon

April 21, 2021 at the Tampa Marriott Water Street
Featuring Glenda Hatchett, Former Juvenile Court Judge / Senior Management, Delta Air Lines
Presented by PNC Bank

Leading & Managing in an Era of Disruptive Demographics and “Certain Uncertainty”

May 6, 2021 Hosted Virtually Via Zoom
Featuring Jim Johnson Jr., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Presented by Bank of America

2020 was a year of co-occurring crises, and already 2021 has been less than smooth, but we should not assume these crises are going away. Jim Johnson will detail disruptive demographic trends that preceded and were amplified by the COVID 19 pandemic and racial reckoning. The focus of this event is to lay the foundation for a roadmap for more inclusive and equitable economic development, with an eye toward improving overall community health, prosperity, and resiliency moving forward. Such a roadmap is a strategic imperative given the high likelihood that other disruptive events will occur in the future.

Event Attendance

Hosted attendees at events across Tampa Bay:

  • Q1 Jan. 1 – March 31: 2,470+
  • YTD Jan. 1 – March 31: 2,470+

Leadership Tampa

Leadership Tampa Class of 2021 Chair, Jill Manthey (LT’10) and Vice Chair, Amanda Uliano (LT’13)

Leadership Tampa Class of 2022 Chair, Amanda Uliano (LT’13) and Vice Chair, Mark Colvenbach (LT’12)

LT’22 recruitment has started! Who within your organization is an established business community leader? Check out our info sessions for details on the program.

Leadership Tampa Alumni

1/28/21 – LTA Annual Meeting at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel. Ronald Christaldi, President/CEO at Shumaker Advisors Florida, LLC, named 2020 Parke Wright III Leadership Award recipient. Ron has chosen Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research Foundation, Inc. has his charity of choice to donate $1,000, courtesy of LTA.

  • Hosted 18 Committee Meetings in Q1.
  • Current LTA Membership is 426 members