Brief biographies of the Women in Leadership Conference speakers. We have confirmed these great speakers and are in the process of adding more. Check back closer to the conference for a complete list.
Dr. Judith Bense, having served at University of West Florida (UWF) for 28 years, became the fifth president of the University of West Florida on July 1, 2008.
Since taking office, President Bense has focused on growth, visibility, enhancing the student “collegiate” experience, and partnerships with the goal of making UWF a first choice university. She has built a solid network of community partners, identified regional workforce needs, increased student residents and athletics and strengthened academic programs so that students are prepared for future leadership.
She founded the UWF program of Anthropology/Archaeology in 1980, becoming the first academic chair in 2001. Dr. Bense also established the Archaeology Institute in 1980 and served as its director for 20 years. She has authored five books and 17 chapters in books and professional journals. She was awarded more than 75 grants and contracts totaling more than $6 million. In 2006, she founded the statewide Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), which is headquartered at UWF. FPAN is the largest statewide organization dedicated to bringing archaeology to the general public in the United States.
Dr. Bense has a strong commitment to the community and is an active member of higher education organizations, including the American Council on Education; the Association of Governing Boards; the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities; and serves in strong leadership roles with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
In recognition of her academic and research achievements, Dr. Bense has received numerous awards and honors, including induction into the Order Isabella de Cathólica by King Juan Carlos of Spain for her research in the early Spanish Colonial period, the Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award for Historical Archaeology from the Society of Historical Archaeology, the Liberty Bell Award from the Pensacola Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Partner of the Year from the Florida Small Business Development Center, Emerging Leader of the Year from the Pensacola Business Journal, 2011 Woman of the Year from the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce, Sportsman of the Year from the Pensacola Sports Association, and number one in the 2012 Pensacola Power List from the Independent News.
Dr. Bense received her bachelor's degree (1967) and master's degree (1969) in Anthropology/Archaeology from Florida State University and her doctoral degree (1972) in Anthropology/Archaeology from Washington State University.
Pam Bilbrey is a nationally recognized thought leader, management consultant, and author. She has led cultural transformations in healthcare organizations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
Bilbrey has authored three books: Ordinary Greatness: It's Where You Least Expect It...Everywhere, BreakOUT: Unleash the Power of Human Capital, and Reflections on Leading: Rants, Raves and Realities and over fifty articles on service excellence, employee engagement, leadership, team development and organizational change for national publications. She has been profiled on WSRE-TV, a guest on National Public Radio and quoted in USA Today, The Denver Post, The Miami Herald, and Forbes.com.
Bilbrey has over 20 years in senior executive leadership positions in healthcare. She developed many of the innovative strategies that positioned Baptist Health Care to achieve Fortune 100 Best Places to Work recognition, Top 100 Training Organizations and become a Baldrige National Quality Program recipient. She also served as the founding President of the Leadership Institute which has guided over 200 healthcare organizations to achieve best-in-class results in patient satisfaction and employee engagement.
During her career Bilbrey initiated two award-winning national educational franchises, authored a series of customer satisfaction instruments, and developed a national customer satisfaction data center. She served on the boards of the University of West Florida, the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development and the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Bilbrey also was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush to the Florida Board of Governors which oversees all state universities. She currently serves as an expert advisor with the Human Capital Institute.
In 2007, Bilbrey received the Individual Professional Excellence Award from the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development and was named one of the Top 100 People in Leadership Development by Executive Excellence in 2008. She holds a graduate degree in psychology and a MBA.
Susan Davis, Ed.D, RN, FACHE
New York/Connecticut Ministry Market Leader, Ascension Health
Gulf Coast/Florida Ministry Market Leader, Ascension Health
Susan L. Davis, RN, Ed.D. serves as the President and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System and the Ascension Health Market Leader for the Gulf Coast/Florida/Alabama and the Community Health Ministries. She provides strategic and operational leadership while promoting alignment among Health Ministries in the region and with the System Office on issues related to Mission and Vision.
Dr. Davis served for 10 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Vincent's Health Services in Bridgeport, CT. She came to the Health Ministry from Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., after an 18-year career that included service as Vice President of Nursing, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, and President/Chief Executive Officer.
She received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, N.Y., a Master of Arts in nursing administration and a Doctorate of Education with an emphasis in management from Columbia University. She is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Dr. Davis has received both local and national recognition for her commitment to the community and to volunteerism. She has been actively involved with the Business Council, the American Heart Association, United Way, Hospice, the American Cancer Society, and has been recognized for her service in New York and Connecticut.
Jennifer Grove has worked with The Southern Company for over 20 years. As Gulf Power’s Community Development Manager, she is responsible for leading Gulf Power’s engagements in programs and partnerships that grow Northwest Florida community competitiveness, including the creation and management of workforce readiness and workforce development programs. She is also engaged in workforce development initiatives at the national level through the Southern Company Workforce Development Council and the national Center for Energy Workforce Development. Ms. Grove was recognized in 2012 by US News as one of the Top 100 Women in STEM for her role in STEM talent development.
Grove serves on the Executive Committee and as Incoming Chair for the Florida Energy Workforce Consortium. She serves in many community, state and national organizations focused on education and workforce development including Vice Chair of the Board of CareerSource Florida, as a Board member of the Florida Education Foundation; as an Executive Steering Committee Member of the 2014 Florida Skills USA Leadership Conference; and as an Executive Committee member of ECARE (Every Child A Reader in Escambia County).
She recently served as the founding Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council and now serves as a member of the Education & Training Committee.
Grove holds a Master of Science degree in organizational communication from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from Birmingham Southern College.
The chief operating officer for Lakeview Center, Allison Hill, CPA, is responsible for the daily functions of a $224 million, 2,500-employee social service organization that impacts lives in 13 states and the District of Columbia. She joined Lakeview Center in January 1999 and became a vice president of the organization in February 2003 when she was appointed as its chief financial officer. She was promoted to her current position in August 2014.Prior to joining Lakeview, Hill was an audit manager for Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund CPAs, where she worked for ten years. She also is part owner of various business ventures in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Hill graduated from the University of West Florida magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting. She also holds a Master of Accountancy degree from UWF and has been licensed as a Certified Public Accountant since 1995. A graduate of the Leadership Pensacola (LEAP) program, Hill is president of the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House in Pensacola and a member of Impact 100. She also serves in the UWF Executive Mentor Program and coaches a girls’ cheerleading squad.
Andrea Krieger has a strong commitment to making a difference in the lives of others and was taught early the value of service by her father who was a naval officer and aviator for 24 years. A graduate of Florida State University, Krieger currently serves on the Board of Directors as President-Elect for the Rotary Club of Pensacola. She was recently recognized with the Ethics in Business Award by the Combined Rotary Clubs of Pensacola and has served multiple turns as the District 6940 RYLA chair. Krieger also serves on the boards of the Partnership for a Healthy Community, Central Credit Union as Vice Chair, and on the West Florida Hospital Women’s Advisory Board. She is a 2003 LeaP, 2006 Leadership Okaloosa and 2013 LeadersEdge graduate.
Prior to joining United Way of Escambia County, Krieger was part of the team that expanded the local Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida from a 7-bedroom facility to a facility that can serve 26 families a night. As President of our local United Way, Krieger has been honored and humbled to serve with local business leaders who want to improve the lives and opportunities available for all residents of Escambia County. Since being at United Way, she has been most excited by the multi-faceted growth of volunteer, corporate and donor support of those in need. Additionally, financial investment and national recognition of local efforts continue to grow with our local United Way serving as a national CDC partner, MyFreeTaxes and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program partner. These partnerships strengthen our position to receive support from United Way Worldwide and funders outside our community.
Now in her 38th year with Landrum Human Resources, Denise McLeod is Vice President of Human Resources and Staffing and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Landrum. She is responsible for strategic planning and direction of Landrum Staffing Services, overseeing 31 staff members in the Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach offices. In addition, she is responsible for Human Resource and associated services for Landrum Professional Employer Services. She attended the University of West Florida and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, receiving a B.S. in Business Administration with emphasis in Human Resources in 1975.
McLeod was certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) in 1993 and later earned a lifetime designation as SPHR. She served as chapter president of the Society for Human Resources Management in 1990 and she was a 1998 recipient of the national SHRM Pinnacle Award as a member of the Workplace Success Committee.
In October, 2009, McLeod was appointed to the newly formed Health, Education, and Labor Advisory Board for the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank. She has served on the boards of Volunteer Pensacola, United Way Success by Six, the Escarosa Regional Tech Prep Consortium, and the Escarosa Regional School-to-Work Partnership. McLeod has also served as a member of ReBuild Northwest Florida, the Panhandle Business Leadership network, the Board of Directors for the Pensacola Children’s Chorus, and the Board of Directors for United Ministries. In early 2006, Denise was recognized by the Pensacola Business Journal as one of six Outstanding Women in Business in the Pensacola area.
Dr. Tim O'Keefe currently serves as Dean of the College of Business at the University of West Florida. He received a doctor of business administration and master's in business administration from Florida State University and a bachelor's in business administration from Stetson University.
Prior to joining the faculty of the University of West Florida, he spent five years at Nyenrode Business University in The Netherlands, where he was professor of accounting and Director of the Rochester-Nyenrode Executive MBA Program. Dr. O'Keefe spent nine years on the business faculty at Emory University and served as Director of the BBA Program at Emory for three years. His professional experience includes work with several international accounting and consulting organizations, as well as more than a thousand hours teaching in management development and executive education programs. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida.
Dr. O'Keefe has received teaching awards at all levels of instruction including undergraduate, graduate, professional and executive education. His international experience includes visiting or guest professor appointments at universities in Austria, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland and Switzerland. He is published in a wide variety of professional journals and has presented numerous papers and case studies at national and international academic and professional meetings.
CAPT Padden received her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from University of California at San Diego and her medical degree from Uniformed Services University (USUHS) in Bethesda, MD. Following internship in Family Medicine at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, she attended flight surgery training in Pensacola, FL. She was subsequently assigned as the flight surgeon to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 at Camp Pendleton with whom she deployed to Southeast Asia. Dr Padden returned to training at Camp Pendleton and completed her residency in Family Medicine. She received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington. CAPT Padden was transferred to Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune where she was charged with standing up a new Family Medicine Residency. She held the position of Program Director and Department Chair there until she was selected as Deputy Chief of Staff for Navy Medicine National Capital Area where she oversaw healthcare operations for the Navy military treatment facilities in the region. In June 2009 she reported to Naval Hospital Pensacola where she has served as the Executive Officer. In February 2011 CAPT Padden received orders to BUMED where she served as the Program Manager for medical home implementation across Navy Medicine until receipt of orders to report to Naval Hospital Pensacola as Commanding Officer June 2012.
Dr. Padden is a past Director on the Board of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), past Chair of the AAFP Commission on Education (COE) and past Chair of the COE Subcommittee on Graduate Curriculum. She is a past delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates and a past President of the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians (USAFP). She has served on BUMED’s Primary Care Advisory Board and as a member of the Military Healthcare System’s Patient Centered Medical Home Advisory Board. She has published several papers in peer reviewed journals, written several textbook chapters and is a regularly invited speaker at both the local and national level. She was inducted as a Fellow to the AAFP in 2002. CAPT Padden was awarded the American Hospital Association’s Federal Healthcare Executive Award for Excellence in 2012, the Pfizer/Parke Davis AAFP Teacher Development Award in 2001 and multiple research awards from both the USAFP and AAFP. Her personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with four gold stars, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with two gold stars and the Army Achievement Medal.
Kia Painter-Holland is a sixteen year cable communications industry veteran. She began her career with Cox Communications in Hampton Roads, VA as a part time Human Resources Assistant in 1998. Over the next few years, Painter-Holland rose through the ranks.
In 2007, she was promoted to Director of Human Resources for Cox Communications Central Florida where she led the all talent acquisition, management and development for the entire market. As Vice President, Human Resources, she has been a key contributor to the successful transformation of multiple Cox markets into a single regional operating unit. In 2011, she was the recipient of the NAMIC Luminary Award for up and coming industry executives.
In 2012, Painter-Holland was promoted to Vice President, Human Resources for Southeast Region overseeing human resources for Cox operations in Louisiana, Florida, and Middle Georgia.
In 2014, she was the recipient of the Most Powerful and Influential Woman award from the Louisiana Diversity Council and she was also named 2014 Top 40 under 40 by Multichannel News Magazine. She received a B.S. in Business Administration from James Madison University and also holds a M.A. in Human and Organizational Development from The George Washington University.
Dr. Ranelli is a Professor and Dean Emeritus of the College of Business at the University of West Florida. He returned to the University of West Florida following twenty years in the healthcare industry, where he was Vice President for Baptist Health Care Corporation. He received his B.A., MBA and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Alabama in 1965, 1966 and 1971, respectively.
Dr. Ranelli has been a member of the Downtown Rotary since 2000 and serves on the CROP Business Ethics committee. Dr. Ranelli has served on the board of directors of Baptist Health Ventures, Coastal Bank & Trust, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of West Florida, Children's Home Society, ARC Gateway, Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, Health First Network, and United Way of Escambia County.
Debbie Ritchie is the Chief Operating Officer for the Studer Group. As a member of the senior leadership team, Ritchie is responsible for several areas including operational support services, human resources and software solutions. Her commitment to excellence has advanced Studer Group's continuous process improvement journey which led to the company's recognition as a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and one of the top 25 Best Small and Medium Companies to Work for in America for five consecutive years. Ritchie is a native Floridian and earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Florida State University. Her work experience is varied and includes prior service as an elected official in the Florida House of Representatives.
Ritchie is passionate about community service and has a strong track record for volunteering her time and talent. Among her involvements, she is on the Board and serves as President Emeritus (founding) of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area; Board Member of Gulf Coast Kids House; Board Member of the University of West Florida Foundation; and Board Member of the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Ritchie is honored to have received numerous awards, particularly for her community service and legislative efforts on behalf of education and environmental issues. She was named "Quality Floridian" by the Florida League of Cities; Woman Business Leader of the Year by two business organizations; Community Leader of the Year by the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce; and Civic Leader by the Kiwanis Club of Pensacola.
Dr. Martha Saunders served as UWF Provost from January 1, 2013 until her promotion to UWF Provost and Executive Vice President on October 1, 2014. Dr. Saunders has extensive and highly-successful experience in academic leadership, including serving as President of the University of Southern Mississippi from 2007-2012. Dr. Saunders received her doctorate in Communication Theory & Research from Florida State University. She received a master's degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a bachelor's degree in French from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Prior to her tenure at Southern Mississippi, she served as Chancellor for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2005-2007, after serving as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Columbus State University from 2002-2005.
She began her career at UWF in 1984 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, and eventually became Coordinator of the Public Relations Program. She also served as Director of the University Honors Program and Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Social Sciences from 1996-1999. In 2000, she was named Dean of the College of Arts & Social Sciences.
Michelle Scaglione, PHR
Assistant Vice President, Greater Pensacola Human Resources
Navy Federal Credit Union
Michelle Scaglione is Assistant Vice President, Greater Pensacola Human Resources for Navy Federal Credit Union. A professional in Human Resources (PHR), Scaglione leads strategic workforce initiatives that promote operational excellence and employee engagement and retention.
Scaglione has 21 years of service with Navy Federal, serving in various positions during her career. She recently relocated to Pensacola, Florida from Navy Federal’s headquarters in Vienna, Virginia. Scaglione currently serves as board member for United Way of Escambia County and a member of the 2015 Northwest Florida Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team.
Scaglione earned her undergraduate degree in Organizational Communications and Leadership from George Mason University and a Master of Science in Management from Marymount University in May 2013.