Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, along with the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida (AACCCF), hosted the 5th Annual CEO Roundtable Luncheon in Orlando, Florida on October 17, 2023. The program, themed “Bridging the Wealth Divide in Central Florida,” was part of the AACCCF’s “Empowerment Luncheon” series, designed to engage, enlighten, and empower attendees.

Derek Bruce, Gunster Orlando Office Managing Shareholder, and Jounice Nealy-Brown, attorney in the firm’s Labor & Employment and Business Litigation practices, moderated a lively discussion. Panelists included Arnold Evans, Managing Director & Co-Head of Emerging Middle Market at JPMorgan Chase; David Dawkins, Managing Director in the Business Development Group of Wealth & Investment Management National Sales at Wells Fargo; Hyzens Marc, Founder & Owner of O-Town Provisions; and Markys Mackey, Founder & CEO of Verity Construction Company.

The discussion pointed to a study released by Prosperity Now on the Racial Wealth Divide in Orlando, which revealed that Black annual household income in Orlando is less than 65% of White and Asian household income, leading to even larger disparities in overall individual net worth and across a number of indicators of community economic health and well-being. Panelists analyzed the crucial question of how business leaders in Central Florida can help address these disparities, including by tapping into valuable resources such as the AACCCF, the Black Business Investment Fund, and the Small Business Administration. They also emphasized the importance of leveraging mentorship as a tool to overcome barriers to entrepreneurship, and “learning before launching” by developing a business plan and being brave enough to ask questions.

“We are honored to partner with the AACCCF each year to host the CEO Roundtable Luncheon,” Derek Bruce remarked. “As Florida continues to grow at a record-setting pace, having these conversations becomes increasingly important in ensuring current and prospective business owners have the tools they need to succeed.”

View a video recap below and additional photos from the event here.

Photo credit: Mad Antics Photography LLC
Video credit: Jetty Productions


About Gunster 
Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 13 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, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa Bayshore, Tampa Downtown, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 280 attorneys and consultants, and over 290 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 


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