Cindy Kushner, Chairman Emeritus
Cindy Kushner is a Partner with Crowe Horwath LLP with 30 years of experience in the accounting profession of which 25 years with the “Big Four” as a trusted tax and business advisor serving large global clients in the public, private and private equity sectors. Cindy manages several tax outsourcing engagements where she and her team function as the tax department including income, property, sales and use, and franchise taxes, including foreign tax compliance, expat tax compliance, transfer pricing, tax provision assistance (GAAP and IFRS), and business and strategy planning.
Cindy has extensive experience with mergers and acquisitions, tax structuring for global and multi-state companies, debt restructuring and recapitalization; tax efficient supply chain planning. Specialties: Cindy serves clients in the consumer products, healthcare/life sciences and staffing/services industries. She has more than 20 years serving the healthcare industry-private, publicly held and not-for-profit healthcare companies, including healthcare systems, physician practice management companies, nursing homes, hospices, durable medical equipment companies, cooperatives, medical staffing companies, pharmaceuticals and medical device companies.
Cindy has presented on a number of topics for the HFMA, Tax Executive Institute (TEI), FICPA Healthcare conferences, Florida International University classes, and firm-sponsored conferences. Before serving in her current role as Treasurer on the FL HFMA Board, she served one year as Secretary and two years as South Region Education Director. Cindy also serves as Chairman and Founder of Women Executive Leadership (WEL) for the past 10 years; serves on the National Board of InterOrganization Network (ION); Advisory Board of National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Florida, and formerly on the United Way of Broward County’s Governance Committee. Cindy is a member of the AICPA; FICPA; and had served on the FICPA Mobility Task Force. She has been a mentor in the Women of Tomorrow program for 7 years mentoring high school students in Broward School System; past board of director for Florida Venture Forum, and former Ambassador for Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.
Michelle Eisner, President
Michelle Eisner is a business executive who champions innovative and aggressive Human Resources approaches with a proven track record of transforming organizational performance in diverse industries ranging from Fortune 50 to entrepreneurial mid-sized companies. For 25 years, she has spearheaded major initiatives to position domestic and international companies for organic and acquisition growth. She is an effective Chief Spokesperson/Negotiator with success in union and non-union environments and is a Certified Mediator by the Atlanta Justice Center.
Michelle is currently the Chief Human Resources and Talent Officer at Hollander Home Fashions, a $250 million textile company she joined in 2002 that continues to manufacture in the US. As the key advisor and coach to the CEO and senior management team, she has been instrumental in formulating the organization’s vision and facilitating strategic planning to ensure corporate growth and profitability. Her accomplishments include revising the benefit structure to produce significant annual cost savings and negotiating contracts that create competitive cost structures. She serves as the company’s Chief Spokesperson and is on the 401K Advisory Committee.
She is currently on the Board for Society for Human Resources Management and Women Executive Leadership. Other professional affiliations include the American Society of Training and Development and South Florida Compensation and Benefits Association. Her expertise includes acquisition integration, change management, executive coaching, succession planning, productivity efficiency, incentive compensation, benefits, cost containment, team building, and employee/labor relations.
Michelle holds a MS degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University/Baruch College, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She earned a BFA degree from City College of New York. She is recognized as an Organizational Development Professional by University Associates. She is also a Certified Global Human Resources Professional, a Certified Compensation and Human Resources Professional and certified by Birkman Individual and Team Assessment.
Deirdre Brown, Treasurer
Deirdre Brown is a strategic and results-oriented leader with a track record of significant accomplishments in a range of functional areas primarily in energy. Her skills and experience include energy policy, rates and regulation, cyber security, efficiency, leadership development, corporate strategy, compliance, risk management, financial analysis, and mergers and acquisition. She also has significant experience serving and working with a variety of boards of directors of major organizations.
Brown currently is the Chief Executive Officer of a consulting practice advising businesses, non-profits and individuals on achieving strategic and organizational initiatives. Previously and for nearly 25 years, she led numerous complex and multi-faceted departments for TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), an S&P 500 energy company. She consistently achieved efficiency, bottom line and employee development results. benefits. Through her leadership, TECO was recognized as one of the top places to work in Tampa Bay in 2013.
Brown was TECO Energy’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Chief Integration Officer and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, responsible for the development of strategies to achieve growth in gas and electric mergers and acquisitions, electric generation optimization, and investment in emerging technologies. Brown was also responsible for ensuring execution of corporate efficiency and process improvement initiatives and managing various corporate services departments including internal auditing, corporate strategy and financial analysis, safety, ethics and compliance, information technology and telecommunications, and internal and external corporate communications.
While at TECO, her responsibilities expanded in 2013 to include all aspects of planning and executing the successful integration of then newly-acquired New Mexico Gas Company. This included supporting negotiations during a competitive bid process, leading the integration management office and 12 teams, and co-leading regulatory activities for transaction approval including serving as the primary witness before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
During her tenure, Brown’s roles afforded her the opportunity to work with TECO’s board of directors on a regular basis and to assist in the preparation of financial and operational updates with financial analysts, bankers and investors.
Christine Cannella, Research Chair
Christine Cannella is a senior level investor relations and management professional. She is currently the Investor Relations Officer directing all aspects of investor relations, corporate communication, financial media, and messaging for Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.; the global food company with year round production and distribution of fresh and prepared foods. Ms. Cannella manages the filing of the Proxy, the Annual Report and execution of the Annual Meeting. In addition, she is the liaison for communicating the Company’s values and CEO’s vision with analysts, shareholders, employees, and the media on all financial issues concerning Fresh Del Monte Produce. Ms. Cannella also promotes the Company’s Senior Management team as industry leaders in opportunities to serve as experts in media forums.
In recognition of her business expertise, dedication to the field of Investor Relations and support of entrepreneurship, Ms. Cannella was inducted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alumni Association’s Honor Roll of Service as one of the annual 50 inductees nationwide and the only non-alumni inductee in 2008-2009. She has been a member of the MIT South Florida Enterprise Forum since 2004. She Chaired the Host Committee of the Forum’s Global Leadership Meeting in 2008. Ms. Cannella has been actively involved in the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) South Florida Chapter since 1998 and served as its President from 2001-2002. She was a member of NIRI’s National Speaker’s Bureau in 2003, and a presenter at NIRI’s Annual Conference. She is also a board member of Women’s Executive Leadership (WEL) and a member of the Finance Committee for the Jack & Jill Children’s Center. In 2012, Ms. Cannella became a member of the University of Miami’s Citizens Board and in 2013, she was asked to join the Rivel Thought Leadership Group. She has also served as a guest speaker in the Organizational Behavior & Leadership Course at the Art Institute of Technology in Miami.
Maria Cordo, Director
Maria E. Cordo is a Senior Managing Director at Crystal & Company, where she provides client relationship management services to financial institutions, such as banks, complex financial entities such as private equity and REITs, and public companies. As the alternative in insurance brokerage, Crystal & Company provides industry-leading insurance services, solutions, and counsel to corporations as well as individuals. The company uses a highly consultative approach, leveraging its insurance advisory, claims management, risk control engineering, and administrative expertise to the benefit of its clients.
Cordo has over 30 years of experience as an insurance broker primarily servicing financial and public companies’ professional and management liability and fidelity needs. Prior to Crystal she served as a Managing Director at Marsh and McLennan in charge of the financial and professional lines practice. While at Marsh she was responsible for the Florida accounts and in the area of business development her responsibilities were for the entire Marsh south region, from the Carolinas to and including Texas. At both firms, she consulted with clients regarding the placement and guidance of their financial risk management programs. Her focus for many years has been to advise directors and officers regarding their liability exposures on corporate boards and how to best cover them through insurance.
Laurie Green, Governance Chair
Laurie L. Green advises public companies on the corporate governance requirements of the NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ, and the SEC’s corporate governance standards under Sarbanes−Oxley. In addition to her corporate governance experience, Ms. Green represents companies in securities offerings, proxy solicitations, mergers and acquisitions, cash tender offers, cross−border tender offers, and distressed debt restructuring and exchange offers. Before entering private practice, Ms. Green spent 11 years at the SEC and served as Special Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance in Washington, D.C. in its Office of Mergers and Acquisitions. A frequent speaker on topics related to Sarbanes−Oxley and corporate governance issues, Ms. Green provides the firm’s clients with SEC regulation updates. Notable Client Work Issuer’s Counsel for special purpose acquisition companies, including the initial public offering and acquisition of a target company.
Sue Hardt, Membership Co-Chair -Tampa
A respected Human Resources executive for more than 25 years, Sue Hardt is a strategic and insightful business leader with experience building healthy cultures and strong leadership teams in fast-paced, goals-driven corporate environments. Sue has built and revamped large-scale HR teams to meet the needs of very demanding businesses, domestically and globally. Her strengths and experience include executive compensation, talent acquisition, executive coaching, talent management and community affairs. Sue has effectively supervised teams of over 125 employees worldwide.
For over 20 years, Ms. Hardt has worked with executives and senior management, delivering total HR alignment with business goals, and strong employee engagement. She serves up communication locally, while understanding the depth and breadth of global needs. Ms. Hardt has actively worked in her Companies’ international off-site offices in Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi, London, Paris, Singapore, Buenos Aires and across the USA, while maintaining residences in Chicago and NYC. Sue currently resides in Tampa, Florida.
Sue is currently the Owner and Principal of HardtSmart and has served the Company in her current role of Principal since January 2012. In this capacity, Sue utilizes strengths-based leadership and coaching for businesses and executives looking to transform their business, gain market share, increase margin and strengthen competitive advantage. Ms. Hardt also owned and managed Amerisource, for 11 years (1985-1996), well known as one of the first “Contract HR” Companies in the U.S.A. Ms. Hardt holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science in Education and Psychology from Illinois State University.
Shari Roth, Membership Co-Chair –South Florida
As a cofounder of CAPITAL iDEA, Shari Roth leverages her 20 years of corporate experience to help organizations Build RightFit Teams, Develop Leaders from High Potentials, and Breakdown Unproductive Barriers that exist in Corporate Cultures. CAPITAL iDEA www.capital-idea.net was named by South Florida Business Leader as one of the Top 100 small businesses. An accomplished performance improvement consultant and executive coach, Shari’s ability to simplify complex problems into effective solutions has driven notable results in over twenty different industries. A few of the familiar companies where Shari has worked with executives and their teams in include: Altegra Health, Boston Scientific, Ryder, The Continental Group, and Ultimate Software.
With over twenty years in key leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies, her clients find Shari’s ability to create clarity combined with her unique blend of business experience invaluable. Through Shari’s coaching her clients have been able to achieve professional and personal goals they once thought were not possible. Shari is also an adjunct instructor for MBA students at Florida Atlantic University taking the Global Leadership Assessment Development course. Shari is on the Board of Women Executive Leadership as well as loves being a Rotarian and is on the Board of the Rotary Club of Weston. Shari is committed to the missions of the organizations she is connected with and works to empower others in her business and through her volunteer initiatives.
Mike Ruben, Search Chair
Mike Ruben is the Director of Executive Search and Branch Manager with Creative Financial Staffing in Fort Lauderdale. CFS has 30+ offices across the country and is the nation’s largest privately held accounting and finance staffing firm. Mike and his staff provide executive search and temporary staffing services from entry level through C-level to organizations of all sizes across all industries, primarily in South Florida.
Under Mike’s leadership CFS of South Florida was recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as one of the Top 25 Executive Search firms and one of the Top 25 Temporary Staffing firms for 2013. He was inducted into the CFS President’s Club in 2011. Mike is also the past Vice President of the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Institute of Financial Operations and remains a key leader on the chapter’s Executive Committee.
Mike is a proud graduate of the University of Miami School of Business Administration with a double major in Marketing and Management. He is an active Hurricane Club member and orange level donor.
Katherine Young, Chair Central Florida
Katherine brings over 20 years of talent management consulting experience to the formation of Young Search Partners, Executive Search- a boutique retained executive search firm- having worked for the largest global firms in both the executive search and career management consulting industries.
Katherine formed Young Search Partners -Executive Search in 2009 with over 19 years experience in the executive search industry, previously as Director of the Retained Search Division for Hudson Highland Group and prior as a Principal with Korn Ferry International. Katherine’s search experience has spanned across industry and functional roles to include search assignments in the consumer/retail, financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors, with a focus on critical leadership roles. A partial listing of Katherine’s corporate clients include: TECO Energy, Jabil, Raymond James, Bloomin Brands, Tupperware Brands, Gerdau Ameristeel, AAA Auto club, Masonite International, Checkers/Rally’s, Tech Data, Intelident Solutions, Darden, HSN and Catalina Marketing. Additionally, Katherine has conducted CEO searches in the Non-Profit sector in Tampa Bay for clients including- The Children’s Home, SPCA of Tampa Bay, The Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay, The Centre for Women, Big Brothers Big Sisters State Association of Florida, The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, and AMIkids ( CFO ).
Katherine’s prior experience in Career and Leadership consulting only strengthens the value she brings to recruiting critical leadership talent for her clients. Katherine spent over 10 years with the top two global leaders in the career management services sector―Right Management Consultants and Lee Hecht Harrison. Here Katherine’s central focus was consulting to CEO’s around key retention and performance coaching initiatives.
A native of Connecticut and a Tampa, Florida resident for over 25 years, Katherine received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. Katherine remains very active and committed to her involvement in the Tampa Bay and Florida business community serving on several boards to include: The Board of Directors and Central Florida Chair of WEL- (Women in Executive Leadership) and the Board of Directors, Chair Elect, of the Florida State Association for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Katherine previously served on the Board of Leadership Tampa Alumni, the Florida Venture Capital Forum, and Chaired the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Council. Katherine is a member of the Athena Society, University of Tampa Board of Fellows, and is a Key Partner to the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay. Katherine was recently honored as a finalist for the 2015 TBBJ Business Woman of the Year. Katherine is a graduate of the Leadership Tampa class of 2005, a member of LTA Alumni, and member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
Sonia A. Zeledon, Mentorship Chair
Sonia Zeledon is currently Regional Counsel for the Americas for Nokia. She is an international attorney credited with eight ears of performance within well respected law firms, and six years of in-house experience. Sonia’s experience lies in helping global corporations manage the regulatory, compliance, and legal issues arising out of doing business in a global economy. She has proven to be instrumental in streamlining and developing compliance and privacy policies, enhancing controls to address future risk, and implementing sound business solutions. Sonia has found success in conducting multi-jurisdictional internal investigations involving Fortune 50 companies. She is a graduate of Wellesley College with a double degree in Math and Economics, holds a JD from the University of Miami School of Law and an Executive MBA from Wharton School of Business. Sonia is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese
Julieann is a recognized industry leader and served as Chair of the Information Technology Certification Council (ITCC) for 4 years where she led the group through organizational transformation including not-for-profit set-up and operation. She also worked as an integral member of the Board of Directors where she partnered to ensure alignment on goals, tracked and measured results, and led members to drive progress.
Selected by Business Leader magazine as a Women Extraordinaire 2012 and by Women in eCommerce as a 2012 Golden Mouse Award winner, Julieann continues to be recognized for her contributions, industry leadership, and community involvement.
Julieann is passionate about serving the community. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Women Executive Leadership where she is leading the development of a Mentorship Program. In addition, she is a member of High Heels for HOPE Auxiliary Group serving HOPE Outreach Center and volunteers in various capacities for Deliver the Dream and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Maureen Shea, Program Co-Chair, South Florida
As CEO and Co-founder of Right Management – Florida/Caribbean Region, Maureen Shea drives Right’s growth in diverse talent management and career management services for privately and publicly owned companies throughout Florida and the Caribbean Region. Previously, she served as Chief Financial Officer since 1986.
As a strategic resource, Maureen makes it her mission to “Guide and Inspire” her team and colleagues region wide. Recognized for helping shape and support South Florida’s HR profession, she serves on the President’s Council of the Human Resource Association of Broward County. She was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2009.
Maureen was honored with the Florida Diversity Council’s Glass Ceiling Award, and has received South Florida Business Journal’s CFO of the Year award. Recognizing her community leadership, the National Conference of Community and Justice presented her with its Silver Medallion Award, and she was inducted into Junior Achievement’s South Florida’s Business Hall of Fame. Right Management – Florida/Caribbean was named 2013’s Socially Responsible Corporation of the Year by the Casimiro Global Foundation.
Maureen has served on the Board of Trustees and the Finance committee for Holy Cross Hospital. She is a Leadership Broward Foundation alumna, a board member of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California and of the Business Advisory Board of St. Thomas University. She currently serves on the finance committee of United Way of Broward.
A prominent insurance and HR executive before joining Right Management, Maureen was director of Recruiting for Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company and Lincoln National Life. Among many honors, while at Lincoln National Life she earned the “Recruiter of the Year” Award as the top recruiter in the nation. Her undergraduate degree is from Kean College in New Jersey.
Stacy Burgess, Sponsorship Chair
Stacy Burgess is a Loan Team Manager in the Broward and Palm Beach Middle Market Banking Office within Wells Fargo. As the senior credit officer on her team, Stacy works with the group’s experienced relationship managers to bring strategic capital, credit, and treasury management structures to a vast array of businesses in the region. Stacy’s leadership responsibilities include mentoring junior team members by helping them establish achievable short and long-term goals, developing a career path within the organization, and introducing them to senior management.
Stacy has been with Wells Fargo and its acquired banks for 25 years. She worked in the Asset Based Lending and Middle Market Groups in Philadelphia from 1991 through 2000, when she and her family moved to South Florida. Upon arrival, Stacy began serving the Florida market as an underwriter for the Miami-Dade Middle Market Banking Office until 2010 when she transitioned to the Broward and Palm Beach Middle Market Banking Office. Industries and specialties served include agriculture, aviation, beverage, contractors, country clubs, distributors, education, factoring, healthcare, heavy equipment, hotels, manufacturing, marinas, media, real estate, restaurants, retailers, and sports franchises.
A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stacy received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Delaware.
Lisa Pelish, Marketing and Communications Chair
Lisa is a transformative marketing executive with a proven track record of affecting positive change with strategic marketing initiatives. For over 20 twenty years she has successfully executed marketing strategies for large and respected brands like Viacom, Tribune and Spherion Corporation. While President of Massive Impressions, an online marketing agency in Boca Raton, Florida, Lisa led a team of creative and digital marketing experts to support clients such as Convergys, Randstad, Aflac and more.
Currently she is the Director of Marketing and Communications for North American Independent Business Operations at Arise Virtual Solutions. Recognized as a work-at-home call center pioneer, Arise delivers customer support services by connecting Fortune 500 companies to a network of tens of thousands of small, primarily home-based call center companies through a proprietary technology platform.
Lisa is a proud alumni of Florida International University, where she received her Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and Florida Atlantic University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.