KAREN B. MOORE, Chair, is an acknowledged leader in the media relations, public relations, crisis communications and public affairs arena. Called by Henry Kissinger, “one tough lady,” Karen is the CEO and Founder of Moore Communications Group. This innovative marketing communications firm, with offices in Tallahassee/West Palm Beach/ New Orleans/Denver, is one of the largest independently-owned communication firms in the nation, representing clients across the U.S.
The firm has been named by Inc. Magazine as one of the “Fastest Growing Business in America” and by Florida Trend Magazine for seven straight years as “Top Place to Work in Florida” and “Top PR Firm to Work for in US” by PR Week. Additional honors include: “Largest Public Affairs Firm in Florida” and #7 in the nation, “Top Healthcare PR firms in US”, “Top Branding Companies in the US” and “Top US Latino Marketing Firm” by Latism. The firm has received more than 450 state and national awards.
In addition to leading this firm, Karen is a frequent public speaker and has facilitated strategic marketing, advocacy and media training sessions for Fortune 500 companies and the British Olympic Team. Recognition for her work has brought numerous honors including the Silver Medal Award by the Advertising Federation, the Stan Tate Award for Lifetime Excellence and Achievement by the Public Relations Association, the Distinguished Leader Award by the National Association of Community Leaders, and the Florida Economic Development Champion of the Year. She was a featured speaker at the White House Summit for Women Entrepreneurs. Her book, “Behind the Red Door: Unlock Your Advocacy Influence and Success” was published in May 2016.
Karen currently serves on numerous boards including The Able Trust, Florida CURED, Florida BIO, Florida College System Foundation, Florida College System Trustees Commission, Nashotah House, Honor Flight, Florida TaxWatch and Hancock Bank. Appointed by both Governors Crist and Scott, she serves on the Tallahassee Community College District Board of Trustees. She has served as chairman of both the TCC District Board of Trustees and the TCC Foundation.
She is an active member of St. Peter’s Anglican Church having served on the Vestry and several other committees. She owns one of the largest private antique “Book of Common Prayer” book collections in the nation.
Karen has a B.A. in Russian History and she is only one less than 120 individuals in the U.S. who holds both an Accredited Public Relations (APR) and a Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) designations. She is a proud Girl Scout Gold Award recipient (equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle Scout).
In her spare time she travels extensively having visited more than 67 countries. She and her husband Richard, COO and General Council for Moore Communications Group, have been married for 38 years and have one son, Jarrod who is attending graduate school at FSU.
RICHARD L. COLE, Jr., Esq., Vice Chair, served in Governor Dick Thornburg's Administration as the Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, which included the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Bureau of Disability Determination. Cole was also the Vice President and General Counsel for United Hospitals, Inc., in Philadelphia. Cole subsequently entered private practice where he devoted a considerable portion of his professional life to working with severely disabled individuals. Cole received his undergraduate degree from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts and earned his law degree from the Villanova University School of Law. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cole now resides with his wife Barbara in The Villages.
BRIDGET PALLANGO, MBA, Secretary, is the Senior Vice President of Goodwill Industries of South Florida, Inc. Ms. Pallango has been in the fields of rehabilitation and education for over three decades, and is a 39-year veteran of Goodwill Industries. As Senior Vice President, she oversees a staff of 75 professionals and a faculty of seven, and directs Goodwill's Human Services Division and Human Resources Department, as well as the organization's educational programs. These services helped 4,504 people with disabilities and placed over 1,828 people in the labor market in 2007.
Before joining Goodwill Industries of South Florida, Ms. Pallango was an instructor for the Miami-Dade County Public School System, and was later promoted to Department Chair for Off-Campus Programs for the Disabled, located at Goodwill Industries.
Ms. Pallango holds a Bachelor's degree from Barry University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. In addition to receiving special certification in programs for the disabled from Florida International University, she also has 42 Graduate credits in Educational Leadership.
MARCY BENTON, Treasurer, is the Director of Retail Associate Relations for Publix Super Markets. In this position she is charged with strategic planning and execution of all associate diversity initiatives for the corporation. Benton currently has over 16 years of experience in the Human Resources field.
Benton firmly believes in the value of equal access to education and employment opportunities, and works to promote an inclusive environment. Her various service initiatives include serving as president of the INROADS Tampa Market Advisory Board, board member of the Explorations V Children’s Museum, member of the Florida Business Leadership Network (FBLN), and as a Junior Achievement volunteer, where she mentors several young ladies in the values that have guided her own career.
Benton received her undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Florida. She obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Florida, and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources through the Society for Human Resource Management.
LES GOLDMAN has held corporate positions ranging from customer service to product management, marketing and sales. He has developed and marketed both tangible software products and intangible service and professional solutions. He is a free-thinking individual who likes to turn problem-solving into targeted solutions to meet customer needs.
Previously with Verizon as a Global Product Manager, Les is currently a Senior Product Manager with Syniverse, focused on driving mobile innovation around the world while helping to simplify the business and technical complexities of mobile communications. An industry pioneer leveraging first-of-a-kind solutions for roaming, real-time intelligence, LTE and Wi-Fi, Syniverse makes mobile work for more than 6 billion mobile subscriber’s voice, data, SMS, mobile video and web services.
As parent to a child born with Cerebral Palsy, Les has collected the necessary experience to help ensure his daughter’s success as she transitions through life. Sarah will soon be completing her Masters of Social Work at Florida State University and has been a model advocate for other students with disabilities. Five years ago, Les founded North Tampa Athletic Association’s Buddy Ball program. He continues as an active coach, enabling children with disabilities to experience America’s favorite pastime.
SCOT LAFERTÉ is currently the Vice President of Talent & Administration for Universal Orlando Resort where he is responsible for driving overall strategy and execution for the Staffing, Talent Development, Internal Communications, Facilities Management and Workers Compensation functions.
Mr. LaFerté began his career with Universal Orlando in 1998 as a Human Resources Manager. During his career at Universal Orlando Resort he has held increasingly senior leadership roles in all areas of Human Resources.
Prior to joining Universal Orlando, Scot worked for the Department of Defense in the fields of transportation, planning, training and operations. He started his federal government career as a Transportation Specialist and achieved the level of Executive Director of Administration/General Manager overseeing Public Works, EHS, Operations, External Affairs, and Human Resources for the Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, NJ.
He has served on the boards of Orlando/Orange County COMPACT, Workforce Central Florida, the Employers Association of Florida, and the Children’s Home Society of Central Florida. He currently serves on the Governor’s Commission for Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities as well as the Zebra Foundation for Youth.
Scot holds a BBA (Logistics) from Georgia Southern University and a MSA (Human Resources) from Central Michigan University.
ARLENE STATEN SHACKELFORD. A native of Miami, Florida, Arlene is a human resources professional with over 25 years of experience in the airline, banking, and utility industries. Arlene earned her bachelor's degree from Florida Memorial University and a master's in Human Behavior and Conflict Management from Columbia College of South Carolina.
Arlene currently serves as HR Advisor, Compliance & Management at NextEra Energy (Florida Power & Light) headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. She is passionate about this work and actively engages all to get involved with diversity & inclusion strategies.
Arlene currently resides in Port St. Lucie, Florida and is active in the community as a member of the Ft. Pierce Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Ft. Pierce Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Arlene was recognized by Success Magazine in 2009 as one of South Florida’s Most Influential and Prominent Black Business Women.
SUSANNE HOMANT, MBA, DPA, President & CEO of The Able Trust is President and CEO of The Able Trust, a statewide foundation dedicated to creating fair employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She has been with The Able Trust since 2007, and is responsible for the operations of the organization. Her previous experience includes executive management work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Florida, the Florida Hospices and Palliative Care Organization, and the Michigan Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. She has over 20 years of experience at the statewide level with health care and similar organizations. She earned her MBA degree from Northern Michigan University, and her Doctorate in Public Administration at Western Michigan University.
Sue grew up in a family that included a father, mother, and brother with different disabilities, has a nephew who was born deaf, and a stepson with a serious mental illness. She has chosen a career dedicated to helping people with challenges due to her experience with the successful lives of her own family members.
Sue and her husband Joe moved to Florida from Michigan in 2001. They have five children in their blended family, and 15 super grandchildren. Both Joe and Sue are avid golfers and like the extended golf season in Florida.
JEANNIE AMENDOLA, is a 19 year veteran of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is a member and past president of CastABLE, a group of supporters and advocates of Cast Members with disabilities in the workplace. In 2005, Jeannie became a Walt Disney World Ambassador, where she served as a representative of the company at events around the world including the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland. She was named the "Careers & the Disabled" Magazine Employee of the Year in 2004 and a Walt Disney World Partner in Excellence in 1998; a prestigious award given once in a lifetime to those who have achieved and sustained excellence on the job. She is a graduate from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, MD.
ELADIO AMORES (retired) is the former Director of Employment Partnerships for Goodwill Industries Manasota, Inc. Previously he was a Corporate Consultant for the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, where he is responsible for creating and implementing programs to help employers attract, train and retain employees with disabilities.
Eladio has also served as Project Director for Marriott International Community Employment and Training Programs (CETP) in Tampa, Florida, where he was responsible for implementing "Pathways to Independence," Marriott's innovative, employer-based, customized job training, placement and retention program for the hospitality industry. Before this, Amores was the Executive Director of SER/Jobs for Progress in Santa Ana California, the Director of Vocational Services for the Easter Seal Society of Dade County, the Executive Director of the County of Riverside Private Industry Council in California and the Director of Job Training and Economic Development for the County of San Mateo, California. He was previously the volunteer chair for The Able Trust and the chair of the Florida Business Leadership Network.
Amores received his MS in Urban Studies from Southern Connecticut State University, his MPA from the University of New Haven, and his Human Resources Management Certificate from the University of South Florida.
JOE BLANTON is Vice President of Investments for Raymond James & Associates, St Petersburg, FL, and has been with Raymond James for the past 28 years. Born in Orlando, FL, he is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance. He has a long and admirable history of charitable activity, including work with the Florida United Methodist Children's Home, the Florida Orchestra, Religious Community Services, and currently serves as a trustee of the St. Petersburg Community Foundation. Joe has a special interest in education, and personal experience working with people with disabilities and helping them succeed.
Joe and his wife of 45 years have 3 children and 6 grandchildren.
BOB BROMBERG has 37 years of human resource management experience including over 24 years in corporate roles and, since July 2000, as a consultant providing day-to-day human resource solutions for small and mid-size organizations. Previously, Bob served as Vice President of Human Resources with Mount Sinai Medical Center and Senior Vice President of Human Resources with Republic National Bank of Miami.
Bob earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Ohio University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia.
A resident of South Florida since 1976, Bob is a long time member of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of South Florida, was the Founding President of the Miami-Dade EmployAbility Network (formerly Miami-Dade Business Leadership Network) promoting awareness of employment needs for persons with disabilities in the business community.
ROBERT A. BUTTERWORTH is an attorney with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC. Among other achievements, Butterworth notably served as the 33rd Attorney General of Florida for four consecutive terms under three governors. He was first elected in 1986 and reelected in 1990, 1994, and 1998. Butterworth left office in 2002 and served as Dean of the College of Law at St. Thomas University. In December 2006, governor-elect Charlie Crist named Butterworth as Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families. Director Butterworth has also served as a judge in Broward County, as sheriff of Broward County, Mayor of Sunrise, and Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Born in Passaic, New Jersey, Butterworth received a degree in business administration from the University of Florida in 1965, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami in 1969. He is well known for his advocacy on children’s issues and his dedication to the rights of children.
DWAYNE INGRAM is an accomplished CEO, board member, C-level executive, and entrepreneur who has held senior executive leadership positions with IBM and Amadeus for more than 25 years. He has also successfully started and sold two businesses as an entrepreneur. Currently, he serves as CEO of Crimson Consulting, an advisory firm that provides both management consulting and interim C-suite executives for businesses of all types.
Ingram has significant board experience in public, private, charitable, and civic organizations. He has served on several boards, including CareerSource Florida (where he was appointed Chairman by Governor Rick Scott from 2011-2015), the Florida Council of 100 (top CEOs/business leaders in Florida), Enterprise Florida, National Cyber Partnership, the Board of Governors for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trustees for the Florida Chamber Foundation, and the Board of Directors for Florida TaxWatch among others. Ingram also has a passion for children and adults with special needs, having served as a member of the Board of Directors for United Way Tampa Bay and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.
Dwayne is a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, with a Bachelor of Science in Management and Communications. He is married with 3 adult children.
NANCY KLINE serves as First Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager and Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Destin, where she is responsible for financial and estate planning, asset management, portfolio investments, and long-term life management. Kline is an active community volunteer, serving as the Chairman of Fund Raising for Okaloosa County Special Olympics (between $50,000 to $75,000 annually) and a board member for Pandora's Annual Children's Golf Tournament benefiting Special Olympics, Silver Sands School for mentally handicapped, Children's Home Society, and Horizons for the adult mentally handicapped.
NEIL ROMANO, considered one of the nation’s leading authorities in the field of media and public advocacy, has dedicated his career to the marketing of ideas and messages to help save lives and promote public policy. He founded Romano & Associates Inc., which produced highly visible, and effective public awareness programs, as well as America’s Strength, a not-for-profit organization that works to promote the importance of hiring individuals with disabilities.
In 2007, Romano was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Romano advised the Secretary of Labor and worked with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities in the United States. He has served as a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and presently serves on a number of diverse national boards of directors. He has advised the Association for People in Supported Employment, the U.S. Business Leadership Network, and other disability employment groups that use a “business to business” approach to promote the imperative of hiring people with disabilities.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Romano currently resides in Celebration, FL, with his wife, Barbara, and his daughters, Bianca and Christina.