Leading by Example: Shaping the Future of Tampa

Thu., Apr. 4, 2019

5 - 7pm

The University Club

Enjoy hors d'oeurvres and cocktails while learning from and networking with influential women at Pearls of Wisdom.

2014 Chamber Chair, Robin DeLaVergne will host this "fireside chat" with Chamber Chair-Elect, Maryann Ferenc, and 2021 incoming Chamber Chair, Yvette Segura, as they discuss the future of our business community and how they got to where they are.

Maryann Ferenc – Mise en Place

Maryann Ferenc has spent her lifetime in the restaurant industry, beginning her career in her parents’ restaurant in Detroit as a bus girl. A passionate advocate for independent businesses, Maryann established Mise en Place in 1986, along with co-proprietor Chef Marty Blitz.

Maryann’s charitable work involves feeding the hungry while actively supporting downtown and Tampa's independent businesses network. A visible and powerful presence in Tampa Bay, Maryann is indelibly linked to multiple community organizations, including Feeding America Tampa Bay, Taste of the NFL, Visit Tampa Bay, Tampa Independent Business Alliance, Tampa Downtown Partnership and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce where she currently serves as Chair-Elect.

Yvette Segura – USAA

Yvette Segura is the Regional Vice President of USAA's regional offices in Tampa, Florida. Yvette provides leadership to the 3,700 USAA employees across Tampa and is the senior USAA officer in Florida. Her responsibilities include serving as the primary USAA representative to regional civic, industry and military organizations. She is also the senior on-site integrator/coordinator for Community Affairs, Corporate Communications, Facilities, Information Technology, Business Continuation and People Services.

Yvette is the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Chair-Elect for 2020. She is also an active member in the community and enjoys volunteering her time.


Fri., Feb. 1, 2019

11:30am - 1:30pm

Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore

In this session, Michelle will talk about inclusion as an essential driver for business and discuss ways women can take charge of and progress their careers, at any age or stage. A firm believer that “having it all” is a bold-faced lie, Michelle will provide insights into how women can zero in on their priorities and take calculated risks to achieve greater success.

As a global executive, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Michelle Gadsden-Williams’s professional experience spans more than 25 years, with companies such as Novartis, Merck, Credit Suisse, and Accenture, where she is now Managing Director for North American Inclusion and Diversity. Her first book, CLIMB: Taking Every Step with Conviction, Courage, and Calculated Risk to Achieve a Thriving Career and a Successful Life, was published earlier this year. Under Michelle’s leadership, Accenture was recently named the number one company on Thomson Reuters Index of the World’s Most Diverse and Inclusive Companies.

Shelly Wilkes, Team President, Orlando Magic G League Affiliate

Shelly Wilkes is responsible for launching and overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the team. Wilkes spent 13 seasons with the Orlando Magic and started as a game-night staff member in the marketing department during the 2003-04 season and was hired full-time in August 2004 as group sales coordinator. The last position she held before starting with the Lakeland Magic was senior director of live entertainment and production services in July 2015. Wilkes received her bachelor’s degree in general business from the University of Central Florida in 2002 and was a member of the women’s volleyball team. She later graduated from the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at UCF in 2004, and earned master’s degrees in both business administration and sport business management.

Holly Clifford Corral, President & CEO, PRESS PR + Marketing

After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in Mass Communication, Holly worked for an advertising agency and then for the St. Petersburg Clearwater Sports Foundation. Holly then relocated to Atlanta to work with Hope-Beckham, a PR agency with a focus on sports marketing and events. As the account lead on the agency’s Coca-Cola business, Holly handled the contract negotiations and appearances for the company’s athlete representatives at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. In 2007, Holly founded PRESS PR + Marketing in Tampa. PRESS has worked with clients including the College Football Playoff, Red Bull Soapbox Race, PGA’s Valspar Championship, PGA’s THE PLAYERS Championship, WWE WrestleMania, ASICS Big South National Qualifier, Tampa Bay Lightning and Monster Jam.

Melanie Lenz, Chief Development Officer, Tampa Bay Rays

Melanie Lenz joined the Rays in November 2006 and was responsible for managing the design and construction of the Rays spring training facility in Charlotte County. In 2014, Charlotte Sports Park was voted the favorite spring training destination by the readers of USA Today. In addition to the management of capital projects for the Rays, she oversees the organization’s key strategic initiatives including the Rays brand extension within the television market, management of key business relationships, business analytics activities and long-term facilities planning. Lenz attended the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and received her master’s degree in urban and regional planning in 1999. She serves on the board of directors of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, Pinellas County Urban League and Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

Tracy West, Tournament Director, PGA TOUR's Valspar Championship

Tracy West has led the strategic and overall management efforts for this official PGA TOUR professional golf tournament since May 2014. As a partner in Pro Links Sports, West is involved in the oversight of the PGA TOUR’s Wells Fargo Championship, the 3M Open, the Houston Open and hospitality programs at The Masters and the PGA TOUR’s Dell Match Play Championship. West had an 18-year career in professional golf tournament management nationwide for PGA TOUR Champions Tour events and U.S. Senior Opens. She has been involved in management of 50+ pro tournaments throughout her career. She has an MBA in Marketing from Michigan State University and a B.S. Finance & Economics from Lake Superior State University.