WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (April 28, 2016) – Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, is pleased to announce that last week it hosted the inaugural Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida. The first-of-its-kind event brought together women and men from across the state for two days of keynote addresses and panel discussions about relevant issues facing Florida’s energy industry. Thought leaders, stakeholders, industry executives, and college students gathered to have an engaging dialogue about the state of the energy industry.
“In highlighting what the energy industry has done to grow Florida’s economy, we hope to inform and inspire the next generation of workforce talent,” said Lila Jaber, past chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission and leader of Gunster’s government affairs law and lobbying practice. “Participants had the unique opportunity to engage in a wide breadth of topics impacting Florida’s energy industry and learn from many women in energy who are leading the way for their companies.”
Keynote speakers included Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette Honorable, who provided a national perspective on issues that impact the Florida energy industry’s capacity and infrastructure needs. Panels covered broad issues that included the challenges and opportunities in the energy industry to meet the growing demand of the third-fastest growing state, while facilitating jobs in today’s energy market.
“The opportunity to meet and engage with other industry peers, many who have been trailblazers in the energy industry, was inspiring,” said Xia Liu, Vice President and CFO for Gulf Power. “This is an exciting time in our industry and learning from one another helps us all serve our customers better – today, and in the future.”
Nancy Tower, Chief Corporate Development Officer of Emera Inc., spoke from a panel to the audience. “Clean energy and environmental requirements are driving tremendous change in the sector. They are also generating opportunities for innovative companies and economic growth for communities. I was pleased to be part of such a constructive dialogue – one focused on solutions and turning challenges into opportunities.”
Aleida Socarras, AVP Marketing and Energy Logistics for Florida Public Utilities Company indicated the conference created momentum for further conversation.
“I was inspired and energized by the thoughtful and frank insights shared by so many accomplished women leaders,” Socarras said. “This conference gave us an opportunity to share ideas and learn how others have successfully helped their companies and personal lives flourish. I would love to see work groups come together to continue the conversation on the challenges identified by our speakers. You walk out of a conference like this feeling nothing is impossible. Let’s keep it going.”
Nearly a dozen college students from across the state were invited to attend to learn about the state of the energy industry and to understand the potential it holds for them. Whitney Jacobs, a student at the University of Florida, thought the conference was exceptional.
“Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in the energy industry,” Jacobs said. “However, the Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum showcased that leaders are working to change this situation, and I was honored to be a guest amongst them in Orlando when they discussed strategies for change. In addition to empowering women forward, the event linked female students with potential employers. It opened my eyes to an array of career paths in the energy sector. Without a doubt, my expectations going into the conference were far exceeded.”
The first-ever Women in Energy Leadership Forum was convened by Gunster’s government affairs law and lobbying practice. This team, comprised of legislative lobbyists, attorneys, consultants and political analysts, provide a range of services in the areas of legislative counsel and consulting, Public Service Commission regulatory counsel and general administrative and regulatory law. The team’s industry familiarity spans a spectrum of regulated and unregulated Florida business, including energy, utilities, water, telecommunications, gaming, transportation, education, and health care. Gunster attorneys and legislative lobbyists have represented commercial and individual interests across several industries.
Video produced by InVision Multimedia.
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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.