The Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay Leadership Team is made up of a Program Chair and Program Vice Chair as well as Chairs and Vice Chairs of our three focus areas: Hub for Business, Inclusion and Catalyst. Members of the Emerging Leaders Leadership Team serve for one year and must re-apply the following year. Applications for the next leadership team will come out in August of each year.

Leadership Team

Raechel Canipe – Program Chair

DEX Imaging

Raechel is proud to work at DEX Imaging, ranked by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the top 50 privately held companies in Tampa Bay. As a family owned, locally founded business, every year DEX Imaging gives 1/3 of the company’s profits back to education and nonprofits in the surrounding community and another 1/3 back to their employees as profit sharing. In her role at DEX, Raechel works with local business owners who are concerned about the inflated costs of mismanaged print, frustrated with electronic document management systems that don’t meet their needs, or worried about rising security threats and industry compliance as it relates to their printer and copier fleets. Raechel and her clients work together to implement technology solutions that mitigate long term costs while better protecting sensitive information and improving day to day operations.

Raechel, originally a native of North Carolina, moved to Florida with her family in 1995. After attending high school on the Space Coast, Raechel moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida and has been in love with the Bay Area ever since. As a second generation USF graduate and 1 of 4 in her immediate family to attend USF, Raechel was proud to carry on the family legacy as “a herd of proud USF Bulls.” In 2013 Raechel defended her thesis and graduated suma cum laude; she currently holds a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on research in the field of peer relations and a minor in Sociology. A firm believer in conquering new challenges and lifelong learning, she also holds her 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and hopes to add a skydiving certificate to her collection of skills soon.

Raechel also enjoys volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association and the ALS Association. On the weekends you can find her kayaking, camping, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, and cheering on the Bolts and the Bulls. Contact Raechel.

Eric Ortiz – Vice Chair

McKay Advertising + Activation

Eric is a graduate of the University of South Florida, where he majored in Communications and minored in Psychology. His communication and speaking abilities are unparalleled. His analytical prowess, or quick understanding and summary of data relevant to clients, allow him to easily understand, interpret, and explain the research that will help your business grow. His background of over 6 years in customer service – including retail work that satisfied customer desires and created solutions – transition seamlessly to provide clients with unprecedented attention and care.

His ability to provide partners with both extensive insight and attention to detail give him an upper hand in meeting a clients’ specific needs.

As a retail sunglass business entrepreneur throughout college, Eric worked to grow his own expanding business and blog in the Tampa Bay area for over two years. He effectively worked to market his business to make nationwide sales. His successes give him the proper mindset to understand and communicate with fellow business owners.

With this inclusive background, he can provide a consistent vision throughout all campaigns, while achieving the desired impact of individual clients. He is also involved in many c​​community organizations ranging from the USF Communications Undergraduate Advisory Board, the St. Pete Science Festival Marketing Committee, to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Young Professional Committee.

Outside of the office, you can find Eric seeking out art galleries or music concerts all around the Tampa Bay area. Contact Eric.

Adam Myers – Hub for Business Content Chair

Tampa Hillsborough EDC

Contact Adam.

Janie Malson – Hub for Business Engagement Chair

University of South Florida

Contact Janie.

Amanda Jacobson – Inclusion Content Chair

Children's Home Network

Contact Amanda.

Cortney Sutherland – Inclusion Engagement Chair

Tampa General Hospital

Contact Courtney.

Wyatt Krapf – Catalyst Content Chair


Contact Wyatt.

Brant Peterson – Catalyst Engagement Chair

Peterson Properties and Management LLC

Contact Brant.

Chaya Cardonick – Ambassador

OttLite Technologies

Contact Chaya.

Nico Hohman – Ambassador

Hohman Homes Real Estate

Contact Nico.

Cailey Aubrey – Ambassador

Tampa Bay Lightning/Amalie Arena

Contact Cailey.

Austin Boyle – Ambassador

PNC Bank

Conact Austin.


Past Chairs

Andrew W. Smith 2018
Jeff Chernoff 2017
Jennifer Lawson 2016
Erin Cassidy 2015
Brian Seel 2013-14
Andrew M. Smith 2012
Carissa Caricato & Ryan Freking 2010-11
Michael Blasco 2009
Candace Cusseaux 2008
Mark Colvenbach & Nicole Levin 2006-07
Jessica Muroff & Michael Griffin 2004-05