September 2017 Presenters


Leighton Kyler

Leighton Kyler
Leighton Kyler, EA, MBA, PMP is Principal Sales & Performance Strategist at Peak Performance Paradigm LLC. Leighton is a subject-matter expert on personal and organizational leadership development. He specializes in Leadership, Behavioral-Change Management, and Business Intelligence. Leighton Kyler works with Leaders, Visionaries and Innovators.

Event Organizer

Carrol Josephs-Marshall

Carrol Josephs-Marshall is the President/CEO of Central Florida Community Planning and Development (CFCPD). Josephs-Marshall has more than 10 years working at the executive level of multiple non-profit corporations and currently serves the ETCRP as a Board Member and Chair of the Economic Development Subcommittee.


Keynote Speakers

Brandy Hastings

Brandy Hastings
Brandy is the Regional Partnership Manager for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation. She works with businesses to make sure they know the resources available through VISIT FLORIDA, and that their message is being shared through the state’s efforts. She was previously the company’s Marketing Solutions and Sales Manager.

Fabian Yepez

Fabian Yepez
Fabian Yépez became the Regional Vice President for the West Coast of Florida in June 2016. He is a Multicultural Marketing Strategist with over 20 years of experience. With a background in Advertising and Marketing, he developed proprietary strategies that have helped companies here and abroad effectively connect with the diverse Hispanic market.

Robert R. West, Jr.

Robert West
Robert R. West, Jr., EdD(c) is a store manager and assistant vice president for TD Bank in Tampa, FL and has been in retail banking for 15 years. Before banking, Mr. West was in retail management for 5 years with big box and athletic retailers. Mr. West is a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Veteran with 5 years as combat engineer and 3 years active duty as a recruiter.

Dr. Veronica J. Walters

Dr. Veronica J. Walters
Dr. Veronica J. Walters is an educator, author, motivational speaker, prophetic life & business strategist, entrepreneur, beauty queen, and pastor. She received her BA in Communication in 1988, her MA in 1990 and PhD in 1995 at the age 28 from the University of Kentucky. Dr. V is the founder of The Walters Academy for Entrepreneurship in Tampa, Florida.


Government and Non-Profit Speakers

State Representative Sean Shaw

State Representative Sean Shaw currently serves as a member of the Florida House of Representatives 61st District including; West and East Tampa, Progress Village, Sulphur Springs, University area Central Tampa and Northern Hillsborough County since2016. Professionally, he is an attorney and was appointed by the CFO of Florida as the Insurance Consumer Advocate.

Councilman Frank Reddick

Tampa Coucilman Frank Reddick
Councilman Frank Reddick has been representing Districk 5 for the past two years. He was the City Council-Community Redevelopment Agency-Chair and is currently a member of the following boards; Tampa Sports Authority, Public Transportation Commission, Community Health Charities of Florida, Minority Health Advisory Board and others.

Rita Sauri

Rita Sauri is the Hillsborough County Disadvantaged Minority/Disadvantaged Woman Business Enterprise (DM/DWBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) specialist in charge of reviewing and approving all applications received by Hillsborough County. For the past four years she has worked to help these deserving businesses get certified.

Ed Johnson

Ed_Johnson_City of Tampa Manager
Ed Johnson has been the City of Tampa’s Urban Development Manager in East Tampa for the past eight years. Johnson has also served as chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the City of Tampa Housing Authority, a board member of the Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida and a board member of many other organizations.

Janette Blanco

Janette Blanco has extensive knowledge in doing business with the government and specializes in assisting minority and women-owned businesses with the government bidding process. Prior to joining the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, Blanco was a cost estimator on engineering projects as well as owned and operated her own business for 15 years.

Larry Miles

Larry Miles
Detective Larry Miles has been a member of the Tampa Police Department for more than 20 years. He is currently an Environmental Detective for East Tampa. His job includes making sure that things like illegal dumping don’t happen and if it does, he helps bring the guilty to justice. He is also a member of the ETCRP Economic Development Sub-Committee.


Andrew Gold

Andy Gold, Ph.D., is a full-time business faculty member at Hillsborough Community College (HCC), and teaches in the graduate school at the University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida. In addition to his teaching duties, Gold is a co-founder of the HCC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, serving as an internal entrepreneurial evangelist at HCC.

Evangeline Best

Evangeline “Vann” Best is Chair of the East Tampa Community Revitalization Partnership. Vann has been a Tampa Community Organizer and Activist for more than 50 Years. She has worked for more than 27 years as a Family Services Worker for Hillsborough County Schools. And for the past 5 years she has worked as a Family Services Coordinator.


Gary Onzy

Gary Onzy is the owner and operator of Bounce Boy Inc. an entrepreneur who provides a service to the community, Hillsborough County School Board and donates to Nonprofit Organizations. He has more than 5 years as a small business owner and serves as the Vice President for the College Hill Neighborhood Association and Crime Watch.

Towanda Anthony

Towanda Anthony is an Urban Planner II for the City Of Tampa Division of Land Development Coordination/Community Planning. Anthony represents the city on the ETCRP Economic Development and Land-Use Sub-Committee by assisting in land use and development principles, practices, evaluation tools, environmental sciences and green development.



Corporate Speakers

Sean Josephs

Sean Josephs is the Chief Strategist of the Josephs Group; a consulting firm and marketing agency. The company specializes in helping small businesses reach their goals through marketing that can be measures. Amongst the services are marketing consulting, social media consulting, website design and development.

Bill Trotman

Bill Trotman found a successful niche in finance and marketing and is providing his expertise to the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. His ten years of experience in the financial industry play a significant role in planning financial and business seminars that the Festival offers. Bill has been a network group leader for the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce.


Charles Young, Jr., CPA

Charles Young Jr, CPA is the Managing Partner for Young & Sons Tax and Accounting with 20 years experience in public accounting, private industry, and internal audit. He formerly worked for Coopers & Lybrand (now PWC), served as the Director of Finance for the Atlanta Airport and has also worked with Coca-Cola, Time Warner, and General Motors.

Nassim Shamsideen

Nassim Shamsideen has resided in the Tampa Bay area for over 23 years. His love for people and enthusiasm for business has allowed him many opportunities to work with startups, successful businesses and launch his own ventures. At a very young age Nassim’s mindset was that of an entrepreneur. Throughout his young adulthood, he was very successful in numerous industries.


Courtney Cress

Courtney Cress is a seasoned telecom executive with 15+ years of performance driven experience in the Voice, Data, and Wireless technologies. Courtney was the Telecom Technical Director for the 8th Largest CPA firm whom acquired her Telecom Audit and Consulting practice. Courtney has owned and operated 5 businesses, 4 of them in telecommunications.

Ebony Grimsley-Vas

Ebony Grimsley-Vas
Ebony T. Grimsley-Vaz is the owner and Creative Director of Above Promotions, a digital marketing and publicity company in the Tampa Bay area and the author of the book titled, “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation”. For over 15 years and 70+ brands, Ebony has worked with AT&T, AAA, AOL and Verizon Wireless.


Felice Flake

Felice Flake, CEO of ScySec LLC, has extensive experience in both the government and private sectors. She obtained her Master of Science in Cybersecurity in 2016. Felice was one of a few students to complete the program by fulfilling the academic requirements several months in advance of her peers. She is a contributing author to the 2016 book, Women in Security.

Harold Jackson

Harold Jackson retired from Hillsborough County Government after 33 years where he was a Supervisor. He worked for over 4 years at Tampa Family Health the capacity of Credential Specialist from 2011 to 2016. He is present the Community Relations Liaison at Tampa Family Health since February 2016 and a member of ETCRP Economic Development Sub-Committee.