"Not Your Average Speakers'' Engage On Innovation, Tampa

Lots of people talk about turning Tampa and the Tampa Bay region into a community known for nurturing innovation and startups. Most do so while suffering "Silicon Envy'' and lamenting why Florida continues to be a petri dish for growing talent that too often seeks opportunities elsewhere.

That's the context for 83 Degrees Media's next "Not Your Average Speakers'' series event called "Nurturing Innovation: Creating Primordial Ooze For Startups'' on November 14 at the HCC campus in Ybor City.

"We are planning a community conversation around what's next for Florida, who's driving the new economy, where the jobs will be and how to create a narrative about Tampa Bay as a place that nurtures ideas, innovations, investors and risk-taking,'' says Diane Egner, publisher and managing editor of 83 Degrees. "Our goal is to get influencers and ideators in the same room to dialogue, make connections, share ideas and inspiration, and discover new ways to collaborate and cooperate.'' 

Here are some talking points that grew out of Bar/Code Camp 2012:

    •    "If you see a good idea, support it!''

    •    "No successful entrepreneur hasn't failed.''

    •    "The VCs (venture capitalists) are here. What's missing are the CEOs.''

    •    "The talent is here locally, but the narrative about Tampa is that we're only interested in medical [technology].''

    •    "A recent gap analysis didn't look at the whole picture. And the problem with such analyses is there rarely is any followup that leads to change.''

    •    "It's an entrepreneur's job to grow a great company, not a great community.''

Look Who's Talking

Confirmed "Not Your Average Speakers'' include:

Mark Sharpe, a Tampa native serving as a Hillsborough County commissioner since 2004. Sharpe is an active member of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, Metropolitan Planning Organization and served three years on Hillsborough County’s Transportation Task Force. Additionally, Sharpe represents the Board of County Commissioners on Tampa Bay Water and the Museum of Science and Industry. Economic growth and workforce development comprise his top priorities in office. He is a U.S. Navy veteran with a bachelor's degree in multinational business from Florida State University and a master's degree in strategic studies from the University of South Florida. 

Ken Evans, a veteran product management and marketing executive with both start-up and Fortune 50 senior management experience, is is an advocate for emerging tech companies in the Central Florida area. His activities include: co-founder at IdeaField Coworking, regional coordinator of the Kauffman Foundation’s Global Entrepreneur Week, advisor and committee member of Tampa Bay Innovation Center and Tampa Bay WaVE, a frequent speaker at tech events (BarCamp, Tech Venture, TB Inventors Council) and blogger @StartupMonkey.

Linda Olson, executive director and founder of Tampa Bay WaVE, which helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into growing tech ventures. She also serves on the founding leadership committee of Startup Florida, the Florida arm of Startup America Partnership, and on the board of Tampa Bay Technology Forum Foundation, the recruiting committee for Tampa Bay Innovation Center, and as an advisor to Dynamic Communities. Olson previously worked at a Boston-based venture capital funded global technology startup where she ran the accounting and finance operations and played a key role in their global expansion with the creation of multiple subsidiaries in Europe and Asia. She has a BS in accounting from Florida State and an MBA from Columbia University.

 Mo Kasti, CEO and founder of the Center for Transformation and Innovation at USF. CTI's mission is to accelerate healthcare organizations’ transformation through leadership and innovation. Kasti is a former COO of USF Health, where he facilitated the integration of the Colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and the USF Physicians Group. He has a MS degree in biomedical engineering and healthcare administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The evening's discussion will be moderated by Guy Hagen, a VP at Tucker Hall and an experienced senior researcher and entrepreneur in Florida’s technology sectors. Hagen has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and anthropology from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in applied anthropology and social network analysis from the University of South Florida.


Past NYAS Events

83 Degrees Media launched the "Not Your Average Speakers'' series in October 2011 with a panel discussion about "What's Working In [Tampa Bay] Cities.'' Since then, local topics have included "Champions for Change,'' "Community Building,'' "Placemaking,'' "Talent Squeeze,'' "Valuing Diversity'' and "Putting P3s To Work.''
Videos of past events are posted on the 83 Degrees Media channel on YouTube.

The series is underwritten by Tucker Hall, Baker Barrios and Moffitt Cancer Center with technical support from White Book Agency and Edit Suites. The events have been held at a variety of cool places, including CAMLS, Jaeb Theater, Stageworks Theatre, Freefall Theatre, The Roosevelt 2.0, Walker Brands and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.

Diane Egner is the publisher and managing editor of 83 Degrees Media. To become a sponsor of NYAS events, suggest topics for future events or offer a venue to host an event, contact 83 Degrees.

Read more articles by Diane Egner.

Diane Egner is an award-winning journalist with four decades of experience writing about the Tampa Bay region. She is a member of Leadership Florida and the Athena Society, and serves on the board of The Institute for Research in Art (Graphicstudio, the Contemporary Art Museum, and USF’s Public Art Program) Community Advisory Council and the StageWorks Theatre Advisory Council. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism, she won the top statewide award for editorial writing from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors while at The Tampa Tribune and received special recognition by the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists for creative work as Content Director at WUSF Public Broadcasting. Past accomplishments and community service include leadership positions with Awesome Tampa Bay, Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Alpha House of Tampa Bay, Florida Kinship Center, AIA Tampa Bay, Powerstories, and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. She lives in South Tampa, is the mother of two adult daughters and grandmother to two amazing grandchildren, and travels whenever possible with laptop in tow.