Inclusion Summit - Speakers
Keynote Speaker and Summit Moderator:
Author, Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go from Well-Meaning to Well-Doing and What If I Say the Wrong Thing? 25 Habits For Culturally Effective People
Vernā Myers is on a personal mission to disrupt the status quo and she knows how to: she’s lived it. Myers rose out of Baltimore’s working class to become a Harvard-trained lawyer, entrepreneur, author and cultural innovator. Her dynamic, laugh-out-loud speeches inspire audiences to go further — to move beyond leveling the playing field to create a new field altogether — and empower people of all backgrounds to contribute at their highest levels.
Vernā asks hard questions because today’s interdependent companies, governments and communities need to figure out how to solve intractable, systemic problems. With humility born from years of experience in life and in the field, Vernā’s stories spell out the steps needed to embrace difference and create fair and prosperous solutions that help reorganize our world.
Author of the best-selling books Moving Diversity Forward: How to Move From Well-Being to Well-Doing and What If I Say the Wrong Thing? 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People, Vernā has touched over 100,000 people through her speeches, appearances and transformative message of power and possibility. Her inspiring TED talk, “How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them,” offers three ways any person can become an active participant in the easing of racial tension and turmoil in our world today.
For the last two decades, Vernā and her team of consultants have helped eradicate barriers of race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation at elite international law firms, Wall Street powerhouses, and the 10,000 member Fire Department of New York, with the aim of establishing a new, more productive and just status quo.
Andrew P. Corty
President and Publisher, Florida Trend
Andy Corty is president and publisher of Florida Trend, the statewide magazine that is widely read by business executives, government officials, and civic trend-setters. As publisher, Corty is responsible for Florida Trend's monthly content, for the company's annual specialty titles, for all business operations, and for magazine's widening array of digital offerings. He also oversees the Legal Elite annual compendium which recognizes Florida's top legal practitioners.
Corty previously worked for The Washington Post and served as vice chairman of Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C. In addition to leading Florida Trend, he sits on the board for Times Publishing. He serves as a trustee of The Poynter Institute, the not-for-profit school that owns the Times.
Corty received his bachelor's degree from Harvard College and his M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business. A graduate of Leadership St. Petersburg and Leadership Florida, he serves on the board of trustees and executive committee of the Salvador Dali Museum and on the board of Enterprise Florida. He and his wife, the former Betty Wallace, reside in St. Petersburg. Their two sons are in college.
Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, PNC Bank
Marsha Ellis Jones is the executive vice president and chief diversity officer for The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. In this role, Jones leads the development and implementation of strategies and programs that help further build and sustain a talented, diverse workforce and a culture of inclusion. Jones is a frequent national guest speaker, panelist and lecturer on the business case for diversity and the impact that inclusive cultures have on corporate innovation.
Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lehman College, a master of arts from Columbia University and is a graduate of The Executive Leadership Development Program of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Relationship Banker, PNC Bank
Ashley Brundage is a personal and business relationship banker for the PNC Financial Services Group Inc. She was hired into her current position as a male to female transgender person. Since transitioning in 2010, Brundage is very active within the LGBT community and works tirelessly to promote awareness and acceptance of gender identity within the entire community. She is involved in many local and national non-profit organizations; holding board member positions with various organizations. Brundage speaks locally and nationally about her transition, workplace equality, diversity and inclusion; as well as conducts financial education training sessions.
In 2013, Brundage was named one of Tampa Bay's Community Leaders Under 35 in the LGBT community. She has also received numerous awards including: 2014 PNC Bank Circle of Excellence Award, 2014 Market All Star Award, University of South Florida 2014 Community Pride Award, and 2014 St. Pete Pride Grand Marshal nominee. Brundage was nominated for the 2014 Tampa Bay Business Journal Business Woman of the Year 2014 and The Trans 100.
Regional Managing Partner, FordHarrison
Tracey Jaensch oversees the seven Florida offices of FordHarrison LLP, one of the largest labor and employment firms in the country. Jaensch is one of three founding board members of the Florida Diversity Council, which now comprises 35 corporate board members supporting diversity and inclusion in companies and communities throughout Florida. She has served as co-chair of the Women in Leadership Symposium in Tampa Bay for the past four years and of the Healthcare Diversity Symposium. She is listed in Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America - Employment Law and Litigation - Labor and Employment (2006-2014), "Florida's Legal Elite" by Florida Trend magazine and was named as one of the Top 50 Female Lawyers in any field in Florida, Top 25 Female Lawyers Central, Northern & Gulf Coast of Florida , and "Florida Super Lawyers" (2006 - 2014). She has received both the Most Powerful and Influential Women Award in Florida and Glass Ceiling Award by the National Diversity Council.
Jaensch was recently named a "2015 Women Worth Watching" by Profiles in Diversity Journal. She is board certified by the Florida Bar as an expert in labor and employment, and is also the managing partner of the firm's Tampa Office and serves on the firm's Health Care Practice Group Committee. Jaensch earned her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 1991 and her B.S. from the University of Florida in 1988.
Senior Counsel, Duke Energy Florida
Kathryn Christian is senior counsel for Duke Energy Florida Inc., a regulated public utility and subsidiary of Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Christian manages Florida litigation for Duke Energy as well as presuit risks within Florida. She serves on the Office of General Counsel’s pro bono committee and is a contributor to the Office of General Counsel’s Diversity Newsletter. Prior to joining Duke Energy Florida, Christian practiced commercial and insurance litigation at the law firm of Carlton Fields. Christian earned both her bachelor’s degree and J.D. from Stetson University. While in law school, she published a comment in the Stetson Law Review entitled "National Security and the Victims of Immigration Law: Crimes of Violence After Leocal v. Ashcroft." She participated in two international moot court competitions in law school — the Vis International Arbitration competition and the Jessup International Moot Court competition.
Vice President of Organizational Capability, Wyndham Vacation Ownership
As vice president of Organizational Capability, Brian Gray is a seasoned professional who has worked in a diverse range of disciplines in the retail, banking and finance, telecommunications, and vacation ownership industries. He joined Wyndham Vacation Ownership in 2004 as manager of consumer finance learning and development, and in 2006 moved to a corporate role supporting accounting and finance, communications and brand management, IT, legal, resort operations, and sales and marketing for North America’s central, western, and pacific regions. In 2012, he assumed responsibility for leading the organizational effectiveness team in supporting the development and execution of programs, tools, systems and processes related to building Wyndham Vacation Ownership’s organizational capability through strategic talent management. Today, he works with senior business leaders concerning enterprise-wide change management initiatives concerning organizational capability, including culture and diversity and inclusion.
Prior to joining the company, Gray served in a series of successive leadership positions with Bank of America NT & SA culminating with his position as assistant vice president and area operations officer. He then served as manager of Talent Management and Integration for Verizon Communications’ LiveSource Business merger integration team.
Wyndham Vacation Ownership Inc. is the world’s largest vacation ownership company with more than 915,000 owner families and more than 180 resorts located throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. The company employs more than 15,000 associates worldwide.
Hon. Julie O’Kane
Judge, Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
The Honorable Julie O’Kane serves as a judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. She was officially sworn into office in 2003. Since 2013, she has served as associate administrative judge in the Criminal Division. In 2012, she was an administrative circuit judge in the Appellate Division and served as a circuit judge in the Orange County Civil Division from 2010 to 2012. From 2003 to 2009, she served as a circuit judge in the Orange County Criminal Division.
Her professional activities include serving as president of the Orange County Bar Association Foundation, a member of the Orange County Bar Association, a member of the Central Florida Association For Women Lawyers, a member of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “A,” and a pupil for the First Central Florida American Inns of Court. Prior to serving as a judge, she worked in private practice with a focus on commercial and insurance litigation.
Judge O’Kane holds a B.A. from Florida Atlantic University and a J.D. from the Stetson University College of Law.
Senior Associate, FordHarrison
Luis Santos is a senior associate with FordHarrison’s Tampa office. He focuses his practice on the representation of employers in matters related to labor and employment law including discrimination, harassment, Title VII, ADA, FLSA, FMLA and retaliation claims.
Prior to attending law school, Santos worked in hospitality management for six years. During law school, Santos was an American Bar Association Merit Scholarship recipient. He was also a Moot Court board member and a member of the Diversity Committee. While on Moot Court, Luis participated in the Seventh Willem C. Vis (East) International Commercial Arbitration Moot, winning the Best Respondent Memorandum and receiving an Honorable Mention for Best Oral Advocate. He also served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Covington-Hernandez, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In addition, Santos served as the secretary for Stetson University's Hispanic Bar Association, vice president of the Part-Time Student Society, and a member of Phi Delta Phi Honor Society.
Santos is fluent reading and writing in Spanish. He holds a B.A. from Florida International University and a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.
Maureen Greene James
Human Capital Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Maureen Greene James is a human capital leader within the Internal Firm Services business unit at PricewaterhouseCoopers. In this role, Greene James is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the people strategy in PwC’s Enterprise Solutions Center. She joined PwC in 2006 and has previously held the roles of IFS HC Leader for the Finance business unit and National Talent Management Director within the Office of Diversity.
Prior to PwC, Greene James built her expertise in leading people strategies via roles within Washington Mutual, Sears and American International Group. In the spirit of developing others -- a passion of hers — Greene James is often invited to speak at national conferences and universities on topics such as HR leadership, personal and professional brand and diversity and has been a guest speaker for organizations such as the National Association of African-Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR), the Florida Diversity Council, the University of Michigan, Indiana University, the University of Phoenix and Junior Achievement. She has been recognized for her professional accomplishments in Black Enterprise magazine and more recently, received the 2014 Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award by the National Diversity Council.
Greene James is a lifetime member of NAAAHR and held a Board of Directors seat as SVP of Branding & Communications from 2010 - 2012. She holds a BS from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Tech Data Corporation
Cal Jackson is the diversity and inclusion leader at Tech Data Corporation and a certified NTL diversity practitioner. Jackson is most known in the diversity and inclusion community for his design, development and delivery of engaging and thought-provoking cultural competence workshops. Topics include generations, gender, lookism, self-awareness, discrimination, bias, classism and enhancing the cultural competence of managers.
He has received various accolades for his work from Centers for Disease Control, FL Blue, The Florida Diversity Council, the Conference Board, Jacksonville Business Journal, Indo-USA Chamber of Commerce (Jacksonville, Florida), and the First Coast Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
Lavern Wilson is a partner in FordHarrison's Tampa office who concentrates her practice on defending employers in discrimination, harassment, wage and hour, whistle-blower, retaliation, employment/business torts and wrongful termination litigation, in both state and federal courts. Wilson frequently counsels employers on employee discipline, terminations, sexual harassment and discrimination avoidance, and internal investigations. She also conducts employee trainings, drafts settlement agreements and general releases, employee policies and employee handbooks. During law school, Wilson served as president of the Black Law Students' Association from 2004-2005. She is a member of Phi Delta Phi Honor Society and served as a Stetson ambassador. Wilson earned her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 2006 and her B.A. from the University of the West Indies in 2000.