Leadership Florida Connect Report
March 2018
A Message from Leadership Florida
It was a busy January and February for Leadership Florida as we held the mid-year Leadership Team retreat, class programs and regional events. We received excellent feedback and input, and appreciate the high energy that all bring to our events!

As you know, Leadership Florida is searching for highly qualified and diverse candidates to participate in our 2018-19 class programs. We have just released a new tool, the Intent to Apply Form found HERE . Please use this form to refer Floridians who you feel would be a perfect candidate for one of Leadership Florida’s class programs. We strongly suggest interested candidates also complete the form. While the Intent to Apply form is not required and is not the actual application for class membership, the collective information will assist greatly in focusing our recruitment efforts.

At the end of this month, Leadership Florida’s formal class program application will go live on the website, so watch for that announcement!
Connect Board Spotlight
Alex Price
2017-18 Board Position: Chair
National Director of Community Relations, Office Depot
Leadership Florida Connect III

Since joining the Leadership Florida Connect family as a member of Class III, Alex Price has held a number of volunteer leadership positions within the Connect program including development chair, institute program chair, Gulfstream region chair and is currently the Connect Board of Governors chair.

As a dedicated member of Leadership Florida, Alex is energized by the ongoing collaboration of what he calls, “the most passionate, talented and high integrity leaders,” he’s ever met. In reflecting on his service to the Connect Program, Alex shared that his favorite “but for” moment was in November 2014 during the inaugural Connect Day of Service. With roughly 100 volunteer alumni and class members, the group worked to beautify the campus of a Title I school in Hillsborough County. His’s favorite part of the project was when the school’s principal, along with a group of students, surprised the volunteers with an in-person “thank you.” For Alex, hearing firsthand how much the effort meant to these students and educators was an incredible testament to the power of a diverse group of leaders all coming together with one common goal.
Serving as the Connect program board chair, Alex is grateful for the leaders who have come before him to help shape his leadership approach. Alex shared that Vance Aloupis is a previous leader who he greatly admires, not only for his passion for Florida, but for his selfless servant leadership.

Looking to the future, Alex believes that Connect’s greatest opportunity is its ability to set an example for the positive outcomes of collaboration among diverse leaders. 
Member Spotlight
Jason Mehta
Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Connect Class V

With a recent career shift from the U.S. Attorney’s office to private practice, as well as a move from Jacksonville to Tampa, Connect Class V member, Jason Mehta has recently made some big changes. Jason feels lucky to have lived on both of Florida’s coasts, and is excited about what the future holds. Here’s what he had to say about his recent transition to Tampa Bay and the impact of the Connect program.

Favorite “but for” moment:  My favorite “but for” memory was seeing so much of South Florida, including the Everglades and the Freedom Tower – two of Florida’s greatest treasures I hadn’t seen before. Hearing about the conservation efforts in the Everglades, while in an air boat with a park ranger, in particular, was pretty inspirational.  

Tampa vs. Jacksonville: I love both Jacksonville and Tampa for so many different reasons. Jacksonville is pretty amazing for its natural beauty, its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and its southern hospitality. And it’s starting to have a decent football team. So far, two months into being a Tampa resident, I’m impressed with Tampa’s thirst to grow, developed downtown, and a larger cosmopolitan market.

Public vs. Private: I started at the beginning of the New Year in private practice with my old boss, the former U.S. Attorney. Our practice is focused on helping to defend companies and individuals who face inquiries from the government – both on civil and criminal matters. It’s been really good to transition from government service to private practice. I’m seeing an entirely new perspective and enjoying advising clients. While in government, my client was the United States; now my clients are a bit more personal and have a more full range of emotions. 

What are you most looking forward to about living in Tampa?  My family just moved here and we love living on Davis Islands. My wife has aspirations to be a sailor – so I’m looking forward to her doing the hard work sailing while I do the tough job of preparing the wine and cheese plate. 

What advice would you give to someone in the current Connect class? Soak it all in! As with most things, you get what you put into it. Connect was one of the best programs I’ve ever done, and I wish I had the chance to do it again!  
Connect Day in the Capital
The Leadership Florida Connect program executed its annual Connect Day in the Capital in February, and it was a HUGE success! This unique event was an amazing opportunity for up and coming leaders to experience a taste of the   Leadership Florida Connect program .

This exclusive event brought together more than 100 of Florida’s top emerging leaders and key stakeholders, and provided access to premier education centered on Florida government and major issues facing the state. Attendees were engaged and inspired by Florida leaders during the program and experienced some phenomenal activities, such as:

  • A private tour of The Grove
  • Exclusive reception at the Governor’s Mansion
  • VIP Dinner
  • Dynamic speakers
  • Informative panels
  • A full day spent visiting Florida’s most influential decision-makers
  • And more!
A Special Thank you
Leadership Florida would like to extend a special thank you to Samantha Sexton, Leadership Florida Connect V, for chairing this event. Samantha, we are so appreciative of the amazing job you did in putting this together.
Thank you to our Connect Day in the Capital Sponsors!
The presenting sponsor of Connect Day in the Capital was Office Depot
Day of Service
Thank you to all the regions who hosted an amazing Day of Service event this year! This was our second annual statewide Day of Service, and we were thrilled to see so many regions getting involved and improving nearby communities. Leadership Florida is extremely proud of the Day of Service initiative, which was originally started by the Connect program, and later expanded to the full membership. Thank you again to all the members and regions who participated this year, you really made a difference. 
Thank you to our Day of Service Sponsors for helping us come together to better our communities!
Leadership Florida Connect Class VIII
Leadership Florida Connect Class VIII
Leadership Florida Connect Class VIII was in Florida’s State Capital for its third session this in February. The program took place in conjunction with Connect Day in the Capital, allowing members to gain knowledge on Florida’s legislative process, increase understanding on key issues affecting the state, met top decision makers, and more. They also experienced informative speakers and panel discussions covering everything from what it means to be a lobbyist to Florida’s water crisis to new innovations coming to the state. It was truly a wonderful experience.

Speakers, Moderators and Panel members included:
  • Paloma Rambana, Founder of “Fund the Gap”
  • Commissioner Brecht Heuchan, Founder and CEO of ContributionLink
  • Representative Erin Grall, Florida House of Representatives, District 54
  • Representative Kristin Jacobs, (Cornerstone XXXV), Florida House of Representatives, District 96
  • Gus Corbella, (Cornerstone XXXIV), Senior Director of Government Law & Policy Practice for Greenberg Traurig
  • Tim Meenan, Managing Shareholder, Meenan, P.A.
  • Ellen Anderson, Director of Government Relations, Community Health Systems
  • Marion Hoffman, (Cornerstone XVI), Associate Vice President, Government Relations, University of Florida
  • Darrick D. McGhee, Sr., Vice President Government Relations, Johnson and Blanton Government Relations
  • Dustin Daniel, (Connect VI), Chief of Staff to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum
  • Thomas Martinelli, Head of Public Policy in Florida, Airbnb
  • Brad Swanson, President and CEO, Florida Internet and Television
  • Lucas Lindsey, Ecosystem Builder, Domi Station-Florida State University
  • Jessica Lowe-Minor, Executive Director, Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence

Member Quotes:
“The water presentation was the best! The presenter was able to convey complicated concepts and keep us interested”
“The bonds that have been forged with my classmates are incredible and will be lasting! Learning about their backgrounds and issues that mean most to each of them, as well as their different perspectives have provided me a better understanding and view on issues that I was once stern on my position.”

Upcoming Connect Session Dates:
  • Miami—The Conrad, Thursday to Saturday, April 12-14, 2018
  • Sarasota—Ritz Carlton (Annual Meeting), Thursday to Sunday, June 14-17, 2018
Facebook Groups
Leadership Florida's New Regional Facebook Groups are now open for you to join!

We ask that each of you go to your regions Facebook group and request to join right now. Being a member of your regions Facebook group allows you to know the latest and greatest happenings within your region, and helps you stay engaged. We want to make sure you are always in the know, so join now!

Mark Your Calendars!
  • Monday, March 19, 2018: Northwest Region's Welcome Reception for the Leadership Florida Executive Class X (Click HERE to view the invitation)
  • Thursday, March 22, 2018: West Central Regional Recruiting Event (Click HERE to view the invitation)
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018: Gold Coast Region's An Evening with Laila Ali (Click HERE to view the invitation)
  • Saturday, March 31, 2018: Northeast Region's Day at the Clay County Fair (Click HERE to view the invitation)
Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors for helping us make the third session for Connect Class VIII so special!