Talent Squeeze: Not Your Average Speakers, 83 Degrees

In his book "The Great Reset,'' economist Richard Florida predicts transformational change in virtually all parts of our lives as people adapt to a new economy that requires higher education and skilled labor in nearly every facet of the growth and prosperity that will follow our nation's most recent recession.

Talent -- above all assets -- will be the measure for how we gauge success. Those cities that succeed in not only attracting talent but also in nurturing, growing and retaining their own pools of creative thinkers and innovative doers will be the ones that see the greatest opportunities and thrive the most in the decades to come.

Recognizing that challenge, the Tampa Bay Partnership is partnering with the region's colleges, universities and private businesses to encourage more people to complete their college degrees as part of the Graduate Tampa Bay initiation. GTB is competing for a $1 million prize being offered through CEOS for Cities and the Talent Dividend. The prize will go to the U.S. city/region that sees the greatest percentage increase in the number of college graduates by 2013.

It is within that national as well as local context that 83 Degrees Media presents "The Talent Squeeze: Filling Tampa Bay's Pool'' as the fifth "Not Your Average Speakers'' event from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at Walker Brands, 1810 W. Kennedy in Tampa. (Mingling starts at 5; actual program starts at 5:30.)

A panel led by moderator Pegotty Cooper, a leadership coach and talent developer based in Tampa, will engage the audience in a community conversation about what's working in Tampa Bay when it comes to talent.

"Our goal is to create forums where people meet and learn from each other, discover opportunities for collaboration and take away energy for engaging in an ecosystem of success, '' says Diane Egner, 83 Degrees Media publisher and managing editor. "If we succeed in engaging a community conversation focused on what's working rather than around what's not working, the narrative about the Tampa Bay region will begin to shift from one of problems and challenges to one of solutions and opportunities that will help build a collective can-do attitude.'' 

83 Degrees readers are invited. RSVP by clicking here.

Panelists Are Tampa Bay's Thought Leaders

    •    Kenneth Cowart is an award-winning architect and active member of the local Tampa design community. For over the last three years, he has hosted Pecha Kucha - Tampa Bay; a quick fire presentation showcasing local innovative and creative thinkers. Cowart is a current board member of Creative Tampa Bay, vice chair of the City of Tampa's Barrio Latino architecture review committee, board member of AIA Tampa Bay and sits on Hillsborough County's Public Art Committee overseeing the county's $2.6 million investment in public arts. Cowart is also founder of SwedeFest Tampa Bay, a short film festival for movie buffs and is currently organizing a movement to save the Friendship Trail Bridge.

    •    William D. Law, Jr. became St. Petersburg College's sixth president in June 2010 after serving as president of Tallahassee Community College since 2002. Law is the founding president of Montgomery College in suburban Houston and a former president of Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, IL. Early in his career, Law served as staff director of the Florida House of Representatives' Committee on Higher Education and worked for the Florida Board of Regents. Law also serves on the board of Graduate Tampa Bay, part of the national Talent Dividend initiative, and is best known as an advocate of economic and workforce development, student success and community outreach. He has also worked as a consultant with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provided expert testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives, and served as a member of the Florida Task Force on Community College Baccalaureate Education.

    •    Linda Seefeldt, president of AIM Above, works with companies in more than 150 U.S. cities to build effective leadership and people skills in relational industries; including directing strategic initiatives, business and team development, marketing and communications. Seefeldt is certified in the Lumina Leader Portrait, Lumina Team Portrait and Lumina Spark Portrait. She has directed significant growth at M&I Banks, F&M Bancorporation, Wipfli CPAs, Schenck CPAs, and other companies. Seefeldt is also president and co-founder of ARCS Foundation--Tampa Bay, a scholarship program to support the study of science and technology; serves on the National Board of ARCS Foundation, Inc.; and is co-founder of KEEN Fund Education Foundation.

    •    Mark Swanson, co-founder and CEO of Telovations, is a high-tech entrepreneur who has successfully started and grown six multimillion dollar companies over the last 20 years. Telovations, an Inc. 500 business communications service provider based in Tampa, pioneered the approach of communications-as-a-service and is one of the nation’s premier Cloud Communications companies. Swanson started his career in the U.S. Army, where he commanded two military units, including the first unit of Apache attack helicopters. He also managed several high-tech projects as a test pilot. 

    •    Terri Willingham is a Tampa Bay-based writer and founder and current president of Learning is for Everyone (LI4E), a nonprofit education resource organization whose goal is to support the Curiosity Driven Life and to help inspire the lifelong love of learning. LI4E projects include comprehensive online and regional informal education support for learners of all ages, TEDxYouth@TampaBay, community based FIRST STEM education programs, the region's first Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire, and the new magazine, "The Curiosity Driven Life.'' Willingham is also working with regional and out-of-state collaborators to help bring public makerspaces to Tampa Bay.

    •    Moderator Pegotty Cooper is a ASAE fellow and certified coach who conducts leadership training and helps people formulate and pursue a career plan.

NYAS Series Events

Read stories about past "Not Your Average Speakers'' series events by following these links:

What's Working In Tampa Bay, October 2011

Champions For Change, November 2011

Community Building In Tampa Bay, February 2012

Placemaking, March 2012

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Diane Egner is publisher and managing editor of 83 Degrees Media. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.

Read more articles by Diane Egner.

Diane Egner is the publisher and managing editor at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida. 
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