Executive Forum Speaker Series: Spring 2023
Director, Phil Smith Center for Free Enterprise, FAU College of Business
January 12, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Ana believes all individuals and organizations deserve to work in an environment where they are valued, supported and challenged to reach their highest potential. She is passionate about helping others transform their lives and business.
Ana is the Director of Florida Atlantic University’s Phil Smith Center for Free Enterprise, runs the Institute of Leadership and Culture, and equips current and future leaders to better lead themselves and others, find their purpose and make an impact as an Adjunct Professor of Leadership & Organizations for the Professional MBA program at FAU.
After a twenty-plus year career in business, she left her executive-level role of VP, Marketing and Customer Experience at a European multinational to better equip herself in leadership, management and decision sciences, graduating in 2021 from Harvard University with a Master’s in Public Administration. Ana also has a Master’s in Business Administration in International Business and a bachelor’s in Marketing from Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and is a certified Organization Development Professional.
She is the founder of the Latina Leadership Collective, which is dedicated to changing the narrative of Latina professionals and helping move the representation needle by equipping Latinas to step into their power.
Ana authored the bilingual children’s book series "ZeeZee Can" that encourages children to dream big. The last book, ZeeZee Can Make the World Smile | ZeeZee puede hacer sonreír al mundo was awarded an Honorable Mention as Most Inspirational Bilingual Picture Children’s Book by the International Latino Book Awards. She also co-authored the anthology Today's Inspired Latina Volume X: Life Stories Of Success In The Face of Adversity.
Her work with the Hispanic community was recognized with the Latina of Influence distinction and the Everyday Hero Award nomination. She has spoken at or worked with organizations such as NASA, PayPal, Office Depot, First Data, Baird Capital, multiple associations and universities, among many others. Ana is also a published author of award-winning research and has presented her research at national and international universities.
Ana has served as a member or chair on multiple advisory boards including the FAU’s Department of Marketing, FAU’s Alumni Association, Think Freely Latino, ALPFA Miami, WISTA US, and others.
Ana was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, and lives in Florida with her husband, son, and puppy, ZeeZee, the inspiration for her book series.
Susan Dennett, Ph.D.
Instructor and Operations Director, Madden Center for Value Creation College of Business
January 14, 2023 @ 1:15pm
Dr. Susan Dennett serves as an Instructor and Operations Director for the Madden Center for Value Creation with Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. Prior to joining FAU, Susan was the Academic Dean for Northwood University, West Palm Beach. Her international industry experience includes providing human resource development leadership for Lionel Trains, ABB, Cummins Engine Company and QVC.
Susan has consulted with the hospitality industry, as well as being a thriving entrepreneur creating a successful start-up in the international corporate gift area. Susan was educated both in the UK and the US. She earned her MS in Adult and Community Educational Leadership and Human Resource Development from Florida State University and her Doctorate in Adult and Community Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. An avid tennis player, Susan also played on the Oakland University, Michigan, women’s tennis team. Susan also serves as the FAU club tennis faculty advisor.
Assistant Director, MBA in Sport Management (Graduate Career Development)
January 19, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Dan Cornely leads the MBA in Sport Management program at Florida Atlantic University. His years of experience in the sports business industry include working in college athletics and serving as a Director for the largest athletic recruiting company in the world. Prior to taking over the MBA Sport program, he led the Career Services department for all graduate business students at FAU.
Dan has worked as a Director of Partnerships and a Recruiting Specialist (Football Scout) at Next College Student Athlete (IMG Academy). This allowed him to develop strategic revenue-generating partnerships with athletic companies worldwide. During his stint as a college football coach at Defiance College, he worked as a recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator, and coached on the defensive side of the ball.
Dan is passionate about guiding FAU students as they prepare to launch into their careers in the business world. Dan holds a Master of Arts in Education (Coaching Concentration) from Defiance College and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Business Scholars Program) from Hanover College. At Hanover College, he was an All-Conference football player and team captain. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Florida Atlantic University in Higher Education Leadership and teaches as an adjunct professor for the College of Business.
Luxury Hospitality Expert
January 26, 2023 @ 6:30pm
More than 28 years of luxury hospitality experience with companies Relais et Chateaux, Royal Viking, Cunard, Seabourn, NCL, Ritz Carlton and The World - Residences at Sea, including 15 years executive leadership. Expertise in creating the vision and strategies to ensure leading edge position within the hospitality industry.
Adept at finding efficiency, improving customer satisfaction targets, service levels and exceeding goals. A proven track record towards improving shareholder value by leveraging strong financial skills. Ability to create structure and processes within highly complex global hospitality, and cruise companies. The ability to discover and recruit top talent and to build, lead and manage highly successful teams. Superior mentoring and motivational abilities through my passion for learning, and helping talented employees grow in organizations that pride themselves in having a culture of excellence. A global perspective in managing multicultural organizations, by having significant travel experience to over 120 countries. Experienced in owner relations through outstanding relationship, presentation, and communication skills. Substantial luxury Hotel, Restaurant and Ships opening experience.
Assistant Fire Chief of EMS & Training, City of Fort Lauderdale
February 2, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Stephen Shaw is a 27 year veteran of the Fire Rescue service. He is the Assistant Chief for Training & EMS for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue (FLFR). Chief Shaw is an accredited Chief Fire Officer and the chair of the EMS Subcommittee for the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County.
He is a IAFC Hazmat Committee member and a Hazmat Specialist for FEMA USAR Task Force 2. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry and a Masters in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University. He is a Fire Engineering contributor through numerous articles and as the host of the “Perspectives on Leadership” podcast. He has a beautiful wife and two wonderful boys. In his spare time, he brews beer, makes handcrafted soap, and enjoys working in his garage.
Dr. Denise Gravatt, DBA MA
Strategy and Engagement; Instructor
Florida Atlantic University, College of Business, Executive Programs
February 4, 2023 @ 1:15pm
Dr. Denise Gravatt is a multi-faceted communications specialist working across several FAU College of Business departments including Executive Education and the College Communications Team since 2007. As an instructor, Denise teaches Communications Strategies for both MBA and Master of Accounting students (with customized communication courses for forensic accounting, digital accounting forensics and data analytics, and business valuation concentrations).
She earned her Doctorate in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing from the University of South Florida. Her research investigates digital marketing impact on the market outcomes in residential real estate. In her communications/marketing roles, she interviews our students, alumni, and business community partners, writes their engaging stories, and also provides strategic vision and editorial expertise across digital and print assets. In addition to her fulfilling work teaching and developing content, Denise is also passionate about networking and creating opportunities for students, alumni, staff, faculty and FAU business partners to make meaningful connections. Currently, she oversees the college’s networking platform – FAU Business Network!
Richard Cascio, CPA, FHFMA
Managing Partner, RCascio & Associates, LLC
February 4, 2023 @ 1:15pm
Mr. Cascio is Managing Partner of RCascio & Associates, LLC, a Boca Raton based healthcare business advisory firm providing a full range of healthcare related services to academic medical centers, community hospitals, public health systems, children's hospitals, physician practices, non-acute care providers, and private equity firms.
Mr. Cascio has more than 40 years of experience in the healthcare industry where he has served in multiple C-Suite roles including as CEO for academic medical centers and tertiary healthcare systems, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Strategic Officer, and Chief Restructuring Officer. Also a partner in two international business advisory firms where he served healthcare clients both nationally and internationally, Mr. Cascio holds a degree in mathematics from Adelphi University. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and a Fellow in the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
Mr. Cascio currently serves as Executive in Residence, Career Coach for graduate students in the FAU College of Business and as a mentor for students enrolled in the FAU Business Mentor Program.
Jessica Del Vecchio
Economic Development Manager, City of Boca Raton
February 9, 2023 @ 6:30pm
In April 2015, Jessica Del Vecchio joined the City of Boca Raton as its first economic development manager and was tasked with leading the newly established Economic Development Division. Since its inception, the Office of Economic Development has successfully facilitated over a dozen corporate relocation and expansion projects; including one of the largest corporate deals in Palm Beach County, which committed to creating 838 new jobs in Boca Raton.
Prior to accepting the role, Jess spent 15 years in the finance industry. Attaining FINRA Series 3, 7, 63, 65 and Florida’s Life, Health and Variable Annuity licenses, she spent 8 years at Smith Barney and 7 years at Haar Capital, both based in Boca Raton.
Del Vecchio has lived in Boca since 1991 and attended Lynn University. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and an MBA in Finance, Jessica proudly spoke at her graduation.
She contributes monthly business columns to the Boca Raton Tribune and the Boca Newspaper and sits on Lynn University’s College of Business Advisory Board, Boca Raton Innovation Campus’ Programming Board and is a Boca West Master’s Association Committee Member.
The Office of Economic Development is ready to assist in all corporate relocation and expansion needs and looks forward to helping you make your next move - your best move.
Senior Vice President and Enterprise Transformation and Chief Information Officer, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC
February 16, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Terrence Gee is a seasoned business and technology strategist who has spent the past 30+ years advising some of the world’s most prominent organizations and leaders on launching, running, and transforming businesses where digitization and automation are key enablers.
Terrence currently serves as Senior Vice President, Technology and Enterprise Transformation for Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida). In this role, Terrence oversees technology strategy and execution, data and analytics, complex program management, and innovation. Coke Florida manufactures, sells, distributes, and merchandises over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies. Distributing 114M cases of beverage products and serving more than 21 million consumers annually, the company is the third largest privately held and the sixth largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Coke Florida is recognized by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal as a 2022 US Best Managed Company.
Before Coke Florida, Terrence spent over 20 years with Accenture, where he was a partner in the firm’s Global Energy practice focusing on technology innovation, process excellence, and change management.
Terrence serves on the Board of Trustees of Rice University and the Prairie View A&M Foundation and is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Child Advocates, Inc. His servant leadership extends to other boards, including Coke One North America and Gray Matter Analytics.
Terrence holds a BA in Economics from Rice University.
Rainford M. Knight, Ph.D.
Chief Digital Transformation Officer, GA Telesis
February 23, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Dr. Knight’s experience spans both academia and industry. His academic career started as an Assistant Professor of Finance at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in Madison, New Jersey, and then as a mergers and acquisitions analyst in the financial services industry.
Dr. Knight has over 20-plus years’ practical experience in financial/investment analysis, including: portfolio construction and analytics, mortgage analytics, asset allocation model development, investment management education, and mergers and acquisitions. He has been an adviser to CEOs of small to midsize companies on a variety of issues, as well as a valuation consultant to the venture capital industry working with individual start-ups in addition to an incubator/accelerator. Also, Dr. Knight has been a co-founder or partner in several companies in industries as diverse as software development, real estate distressed debt, hospitality, investment management, and educational training.
For over 15 years, Dr. Knight was the co-founder and managing principal at the Florida institute of Finance (FIF). FIF provided consulting and advisory services to: public and private firms, investment management companies, emerging manager hedge funds, and family offices.
In the hedge fund industry, Dr. Knight has been a CEO, CIO, and COO of various hedge funds. In both of these roles, Dr. Knight was responsible for portfolio construction, manager selection, and due diligence. He developed an approach to hedge fund due diligence and manager selection called the “Due Diligence DNA process.” Dr. Knight has been a speaker or moderator at a number of hedge fund industry conferences, covering a wide range of topics from institutional due diligence to counterparty risk. He has been quoted in finance publications such as Institutional Investor. In 2021, he was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) on the topic of Meme Stock trading after the GameStop mania.
Academically, Dr. Knight is currently an adjunct member of the finance faculty at Florida Atlantic University, after being a full-time faculty member for many years. He was also a member of the finance faculty at University of Miami for 13 years. He has been an instructor for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in the area of fixed income.
Currently, Dr. Knight is the Chief Digital Transformation Officer for GA Telesis, a global aviation services company. He is responsible for leading the firm’s digitization strategy that will result in the adaptation of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to drive decision making and business processes. Prior to GA Telesis, Dr. Knight was the CEO and co-founder of Transparency Global, a fintech firm that created thematic equity indices based on the concept of transparency. The firm partnered with Cathie Wood and ARK Investment Management—at the time $88B in assets under management—to launch the world’s first transparency-themed exchange traded fund.
In 2022, Dr, Knight was the co-author of the textbook Principles of Finance commissioned by Rice University’s OpenStax platform. He is a former board member of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, an advisory board member of PointsKash, a block chain startup, and a founding board member of the Florida Alternative Investment Association. He is also a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of South Florida. Dr. Knight holds a PhD in Finance from Florida Atlantic University with a doctoral thesis in the area of initial public offerings (IPOs).
CEO and Founder, DigiStar Media
February 25, 2023 @ 1:15pm
Robin Colner is an acclaimed digital marketing strategist, university educator and corporate trainer. An MBA graduate of The Wharton School of Business, Robin has more than 30 years of technology enabled product development, branding and direct and online marketing experience. She has held senior marketing positions at Fortune 100 financial services corporations, including Citigroup and American Express and leading advertising agencies such as McCann Erickson.
As the founder and CEO of DigiStar Media, an award-winning digital and social media branding, marketing and training agency, Robin is dedicated to helping businesses, professionals and nonprofits drive traffic to their websites, improve their brand reputations, acquire customers and attract leads using digital, social media and content marketing techniques. Clients call Robin their critical “go to” online business partner and digital transformation expert.
Robin is an adjunct faculty member in NYU’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Master’s Program and also the Founding Director of Fordham University’s Digital and Social Media Professional Certificate Program where she was the instructor for the social media classes.
In addition to working with over 200 leading consumer, hospitality and retail brands, Robin has coached professional service providers in every industry from law, real estate, financial services, insurance, banking, accounting and marketing to technology, advertising, and consulting, to use LinkedIn and social selling techniques to build relationships, generate referrals and close sales. She specializes in training professionals to leverage social media to attract new business, amplify the impact of public relations campaigns and implement successful integrated marketing programs.
Robin also coaches managers and team members on the best techniques to become effective brand advocates on social media. A 2016 winner of the 914INC Women in Business Award, Robin is a sought-after keynote speaker, seminar instructor, moderator and panelist on all aspects of social media, digital marketing and branding. An entertaining and extremely knowledgeable speaker, Robin has spoken at regional industry conferences, professional associations and executive forums throughout the country.
Mayor, City of Dania Beach
March 2, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Leader, community advocate, University of Miami alumna, retired WNBA athlete, world traveler, mother, and now in her ongoing mission is to strengthen society with her exemplary leadership. Tamara was born and raised in Dania Beach, FL. As the youngest mayor in the history of Dania Beach, garnering the most votes in history in 2016, Tamara broke her own record during her second reelection.
Tamara has a fervent passion for providing Dania Beach residents with transparent leadership, safe practices, and viable community programs to create a thriving, unified environment for all citizens; so much so that they co-named a street “Tamara James Ave”, a true testament to her love and dedication to her community.
As a former WNBA athlete and professional European basketball player, Tamara has learned the value of teamwork, leadership, dedication, perseverance, and hard work, and as the all-time leading scorer for men’s and women’s basketball at the University of Miami, Ms. James exhibits a dignified humility for the beloved state of Florida – a place which has fully contributed to her growth, experiences, and finest accomplishments. Needless to say, being a leader comes naturally for Ms. James.
In 2006, Ms. James started the “Tamara James Foundation, Inc” with a mission to empower, educate, and strengthen the area by providing opportunities to build strong children, strong families, strong communities, and strong, future generations through sports and community events.
Through Tamara’s philanthropic and charitable initiatives, she has provided health resources, food and clothing, sports clinics for the youth, and several other opportunities to bridge the gap and promote unity within the surrounding communities. In fact, she has been giving back to her community since her teenage years, and her ardor for the improvement and progression of Dania Beach has only grown since.
Coming from humble beginnings in an under-served community, James' mission is to continue breaking barriers for those who will come after her.
Owner, Orion's Guild
March 18, 2023 @ 1:15pm
When it comes to accomplishing unreasonable results, Mike Haarlander is like a dog on a pant leg. Since realizing his childhood dream of graduating from the University of Notre Dame, the relentless pursuit of achievement was instilled, ensuring success in anything he takes on.
Whether dominating sales quotas, starting and selling businesses, getting an MBA over 40, or completing marathons, Mike applies this tenacity to all facets of life. Masterful at heading into fear, he lives by a run-to-the-roar tenet. When faced with the challenges of the pandemic, Mike uniquely pivoted and took his family on an epic nine-month, 48-state RV trip. Shortly thereafter, they moved to a canal house in the heart of Amsterdam to begin another adventure.
Currently, the entrepreneur, podcast host, and inspirational speaker helps others push past their comfort zones to take the next big step toward their ambitions. His vulnerability and willingness to share his mistakes allow others to see themselves in their journey. Mike's no-nonsense style is equally energetic and fun-loving, leaving an imprint on how one views life. Audiences are captivated by his candid storytelling and inspired to pursue their wildest dreams revealing the obstacles before them.
President and CEO, GA Telesis
April 8, 2023 @ 1:15pm
Abdol Moabery is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of GA Telesis, a leader in integrated commercial aviation services. Founded in 2002 by Moabery, GA Telesis has quickly grown to one of the largest firms in its sector, amassing vertically integrated global aviation services businesses including engine, component and aerostructural maintenance and engineering, aircraft replacement parts distribution and supply-chain management, aircraft and engine leasing, and investment management with operating units throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.
The company has also developed several strategic partnerships, including GAIC, a one-of-kind joint-venture, based in Beijing, with Air China and its Engine MRO with US airline ATSG. GA Telesis has won numerous awards and accolades, including the 2018 Air Transport Best Integrated Aviation Solutions Provider, 2014 Air Transport World MRO of the Year, The Boeing Gold Services Award and was also named among a select group of companies in the United States classified as a Good-to-Great company. While Moabery holds a substantial stake in the company, since 2007, the company’s shareholders have grown to include significant stakes by global financial institution, Tokyo Century Corporation (8439: Tokyo), and also All Nippon Airways Trading Company.
A serial entrepreneur, Moabery is responsible for the start-up, organization and development of GA Telesis. He has 30 years of direct experience in various disciplines in aviation from flight, lease and structured finance to logistics and maintenance. Moabery previously served as Executive Vice President of Aviation Systems International, Inc., where his responsibilities included oversight and management of worldwide operations. Prior to joining ASI, he was with C-S Aviation Services, Inc. (a Soros Fund Management company), where he was responsible for the sale and marketing of the company’s aviation portfolio assets.
Moabery and his wife, through their family foundation, are prominent philanthropists that have donated and directed millions of dollars to charitable causes that directly impact children and young adults. The Moaberys also provide financial support to deserving special needs families through their commitment to cover expenses not generally covered by government programs or charitable organizations.
Moabery is Chairman Emeritus of Florida Atlantic University where he served for two terms as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and is currently serving as the President of the Wings Club Foundation Board of Governors. Moabery received the prestigious Wright Brothers Memorial Award in 2014 and the ISTAT Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 for his accomplishments in aviation. He is an honorably discharged veteran from the United States Navy and resides in Delray Beach, FL, with his wife and has two children attending university. He is an avid explorer, having traveled to over 120 countries across the globe, and is a passionate golfer who has teed it up on six continents.
CEO, Polen Capital
April 29, 2023 @ 1:15pm
Mr. Moss joined Polen Capital in 2003. As CEO, Mr. Moss is responsible for the strategic direction of the firm and maintaining and nurturing a culture for talent to thrive in. Prior to joining Polen Capital, Mr. Moss served in CFO, strategic planning, operational and business development capacities for AmSouth Wealth and Asset Management. Prior to AmSouth, Mr. Moss was an Auditor for Coopers & Lybrand focused on financial services companies.
Mr. Moss received his B.S. in Accounting and earned his M.B.A. from the University of Alabama, where he was a student athlete. He received his M.S. in Global Finance from the NYU Stern School of Business and HKUST Business School. Mr. Moss is a CFA® charterholder and a Certified Public Accountant (inactive). He is a member of YPO (formerly the Young Presidents’ Organization), the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of South Florida. Mr. Moss currently serves on the Florida Atlantic University College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board and as chairman for the annual Polen Capital Make-A-Wish golf event.