Partner Perspectives

Michelle Dennard

Vice President and Regional Executive
Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

What is the role of the Federal Reserve?

Created by Congress in 1913, the Federal Reserve is the U.S. central bank. It is responsible for overseeing the nation’s monetary system, ensuring the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking and financial system, providing financial services to depository institutions, and serving as the fiscal agent for the U.S. government.

In my role as the Regional Executive in the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, I work to build relationships with business and community leaders by listening to their insights and experiences, with an eye toward collecting and analyzing economic intelligence. Regional executives, like myself, across the Atlanta Fed’s district, which includes Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, contribute to the Bank President Raphael Bostic’s monetary policy deliberations through real-time insights into how our communities are experiencing today’s economy.

What do you believe are some of the biggest challenges facing Florida students?

Today’s students will enter a workforce that is amidst some of the most significant disruptions experienced in Florida’s history. Students will thrive in this new environment by continuing to focus on employability skills such as solving problems, taking initiative, and communicating effectively. They will need those skills to be able to lead through the large-scale technology changes happening in our workplaces. By leveraging these skills, students have tremendous opportunities in Florida’s high growth industries, while also having the opportunity to be entrepreneurial and to grow throughout their career.

How does the Federal Reserve work with students and teachers and what types of resources do they provide?

The Federal Reserve offers a wide array of resources for teachers and students. Particularly, the Atlanta Fed aims to equip educators with the skills and tools they need to teach economics, personal finance and college and career readiness. Together with the rest of the Federal Reserve through an initiative called Federal Reserve Education, we offer educators access to grade-level appropriate, classroom-ready economic and personal finance resources. Free resources include infographics, publications, lessons, videos, and online courses and can be accessed via the Bank’s website at atlantafed.org/education, and other resources offered by other Reserve Banks can be found at federalreserveeducation.org. We also love to have visitors! Florida teachers can bring their students to visit our museums in Jacksonville or Miami, where they learn about the role of the Federal Reserve in the U.S. economy, monetary policy, and visit our cash processing department.

With regard to industries that are important to Florida’s economy, and in need of talent, what should Florida students keep in mind as they make decisions about postsecondary education options?

When considering postsecondary education options, Florida students have many options for success. Florida’s business community is expanding and needs skilled talent to enable future growth. Future talent development is often named as the top priority of businesses who provide economic intelligence to the Atlanta Fed. While considering programs that match their abilities and interests, students should talk to leaders in their chosen fields. Many businesses provide opportunities to gain early work experience or career exploration options that can help inform decisions about postsecondary education.

Michelle Dennard is vice president and regional executive of the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She is responsible for the Branch’s Board of Directors and the District’s Advisory Council on Transportation and Logistics and provides regional input into the Atlanta Fed’s monetary policy process.

Ms. Dennard joined the Jacksonville Branch on July 31, 2023. Prior to joining the Fed, she most recently served as president and CEO of CareerSource Florida Inc., the nonprofit, public private policy and investment board of business and government leaders charged with guiding workforce development for the state of Florida.

An attorney and member of the Florida Bar, Ms. Dennard has more than 16 years of experience in workforce and economic development. She has also served as the Director for the Division of Strategic Business Development at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (now Florida and Deputy Director of the Florida Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic development, providing legal counsel and managing government affairs.

She is a member of Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class 39, 2019 recipient of Development Counsellors International’s prestigious 40 Under 40 Award in economic development, and the Florida Economic Development Council’s 2019 Toni Jennings Workforce Professional of the Year. She is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Business and earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Florida State University College of Law.

Learn More about
The Able Trust
Youth Programs

High School High Tech (HSHT) provides high school students with all types of disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or postsecondary education leading to in-demand careers. HSHT links youth to a broad range of academic, career development and experiential resources and experiences that will enable them to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce.

Futures in Focus is intended to support students from grades 9 to 12 (aged 14-22) who have a disability documented by an IEP or 504 Plan. 

  • Improve participation in education and vocational-related activities leading to increased employment opportunities for middle/high school students with disabilities.
  • Connect students to resources that assist them with education and employment pursuits, such as Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
  • Increase enrollment in postsecondary education/training.

Additional Partner Perspectives

Braulio Colón, Executive Director, Florida College Access Network

Braulio Colón is an experienced non-profit executive and education system-change strategist.  His over 20 years of leadership experience has focused on Florida programmatic and policy development at the state agency, university, community-based, and philanthropic levels. Braulio is co-founder and Executive Director at Florida College Access Network, an independent statewide organization hosted by University of South Florida that engages communities to improve college access and success for all students. 

Previously Braulio served as vice president, Florida Student Success Initiatives at Helios Education Foundation.  While at Helios, Colón managed a $70 million grant portfolio and led in the development of more than $50 million in board-approved community investments supporting various initiatives and projects in Florida and Arizona.  Braulio serves on the governing boards of the Florida Policy Institute, National College Attainment Network, Elevation Scholars, and USF Alumni Association. He also serves in an advisory capacity as member of the LEAP Tampa Bay Leadership Council, UCF Center for Community Schools, and Knack Technologies, Inc.   

Braulio is a two-time graduate from University of South Florida, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies, before earning a Master of Arts in Public Administration. More recently, he earned a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University.

Click the button below for the Partner Perspective and Colón QandA.

Adrienne Johnston, President & CEO, CareerSource Florida

Adrienne Johnston was appointed as President and CEO of CareerSource Florida in February 2023. CareerSource Florida is driven by a business-led Board of Directors appointed by the Governor, to guide workforce development policy and services. Johnston leads efforts to ensure the CareerSource Florida network anticipates and responds to the needs of businesses and job seekers throughout Florida.

To date, her achievements in this role include increased collaboration within the state workforce system and implementation of REACH Act priorities, such as the Credentials Review Committee, Master Credentials List, and Florida Workforce System Transformation Plan. With extensive experience in workforce services and applied research, Johnston takes a strategic approach to helping Florida become the global leader for talent. Her most recent leadership positions include serving as deputy secretary of Workforce Services and chief economist for FloridaCommerce. She holds a master’s degree in economics from Florida State University.

Click the button below for the Partner Perspective and Johnston’s QandA.

Dennis Hartin, Benefits and Risk Advisor HUB International

Dennis started his insurance career in 1994 and was quickly moved up the ranks with a national carrier, serving at every level. Born in KY and relocating to Tampa in 2014 with his wife and two boys he managed a sales team of 700+ and asset base of over $100 Million.

He founded Hartin Dynamics in Jan if 2018 doing anything necessary to help his clients attract and retain the best talent. He exited to HUB international in Oct 2022 to join the 5th largest brokerage firm in the world covering all risk, compliance and benefits needs. He has recently been written up in Benefits Pro Magazine along with multiple national speaking engagements based on his unique approach to benefits and employee engagement. He is one of the few transparent advisors helping duplicate proven solutions to lower costs and improve care. He is a contributor to a Amazon bestseller for sales and marketing called “Winning Sales Attitudes” and his latest book “25 Changemakers in Florida” launched in March 2021. Dennis is the Co-founder of the Emotional Vaccines® program working to educate and create a public health policy around prevention in the growing mental health crisis.

Dennis has a unique passion for helping others and serves in multiple board roles for Neuro Shifts, Keystone Prep High School, HR Tampa, Tampa Bay NABIP, Secured Finance, Empowered HR and The National Center for Performance Health addressing the growing mental health concerns in America. 

Click the button below for the Partner Perspective with Dennis.

Mary Chance, President/CEO, Florida Consortium of Education Foundations

Mary Chance has served as president of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations since 2008 after serving as the executive director of the Alachua County education foundation for ten years, diversifying the scope of work for that foundation significantly and increasing annual revenue from $100,000 to $1.2 million.

The President is the senior-most position in the Consortium and reports directly to the board of directors. Primary responsibilities include supervising board development, public affairs, partnership and resource development, program and administrative activities, and overseeing compliance with all local and state regulations regarding the organization.

Click the button below to learn  about trends in postsecondary education and opportunities for students. Mary also describes some of the challenges facing students in Florida and how education foundations are helping resolve these problems.