ORLANDO, Fla. (May 20, 2019) – A crowd of more than 100 community members gathered together Tuesday to hear Central Florida executives discuss management style, workplace challenges, and stories of success. The crowd size was double what was initially expected and was packed with business leaders from a variety of industries.
The event featured five C-suite level panelists covering topics ranging from leadership challenges, perspectives as a female business owner, anticipating trends, working with diverse teams, and technology in the workplace. Panelists included Alvin Howard, President/CEO of Stone Logistics Inc., Brian Butler President/CEO of JCB Construction, Didier Menard, Vice President of Jacobs, Harold Mills, CEO of VMD Ventures, LLC, and Vernice Atkins-Bradley, President/CEO of Votum Construction, LLC. The event was moderated by Derek Bruce, Orlando Managing Shareholder of the law firm of Gunster.
“Our goal was to bring CEOs together with their peers to discuss business issues, share expertise, and provide insight into the state of business in Central Florida,” said event moderator Derek Bruce. “It was a conversation filled with passion, inspiration, and at times, humor. It was such a pleasure to work with this diverse group of exceptional leaders.”
CEO of Stone Logistics Inc. and panelist, Alvin Howard, shared how readily available data has impacted and changed the logistics industry, adding, “logistics is nothing without data.”
When asked about anticipating economic trends, panelist Brian Butler advised the audience to, “trust your eyes and what you see.” Butler further suggested the audience take notice of their surroundings to monitor trends. “Are there more for sale signs up? Why? Look at traffic. Is traffic getting better or worse?”
CEO of JCB Construction Didier Menard was asked about leading diverse teams and how he navigates unexpected challenges. Menard explained, “you’re not going to be able to please everyone. There are people who will find a reason to say ‘no’ and you have to find a way around them.”
Panelist Harold Mills shared a story of a recent conversation with his nephew. Mills detailed that the two discussed the perks that come with working at a tech giant including desk-side food delivery and in office massages. Mills used this tale to suggest, “there is no work-life balance, there’s a convergence of work and life.”
Female business owner and panelist, Vernice Atkins-Bradley, recounted the unique challenges of being a female in the construction industry. “The industry is designed for men to be leader(s),” Atkins-Bradley said, but also explained that it is, “important to her to bring more women and more minorities into the industry.”
The event was hosted by Gunster in partnership with the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida.
Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 12 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With nearly 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at www.gunster.com.