Brief biographies of the Women in Leadership Conference Speakers. Please check back for additional speakers.
Christina Doss, AAMS®
Saltmarsh Financial Advisors, LLC
Christina Doss is the managing director for Saltmarsh Financial Advisors, LLC, an affiliate of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund. She is responsible for both business development and client wealth management and has more than 20 years of experience working in the financial services and wealth management industry.
Prior to joining Saltmarsh in August 2013, she served as Pensacola city president and managing director of Private Wealth Management for the North Florida Division of SunTrust Bank, where she was responsible for managing a team of advisors who supported high net worth clients and business owners with comprehensive wealth planning, asset management and banking needs.
Her previous experience also includes 13 years with Charles Schwab Corporation serving in several capacities, including senior director for Schwab’s West Coast Private Client Division responsible for managing over 100 portfolio managers and $8 billion in client assets, and senior sales director for Schwab’s national Financial Planning Division.
Doss earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Golden Gate University, and completed her AAMS® and CFP Certification Programs® from the College of Financial Planning.
Doss is a commissioner appointed board member of Early Learning Coalition, serves on the Pensacola Symphony board and is a member of Leadership Florida, Class of XXXIV. She is also serving as a mentor in the UWF Executive Mentor Program.
Allison Hill is the chief executive officer for Lakeview Center, Inc. and a senior vice president for Baptist Health Care (BHC). Hill joined the team at 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 chief operating officer in August 2014, and in 2016 became the third chief executive officer in Lakeview’s 62-year history.
At Lakeview, Hill is responsible for the daily functions of a $250 million, 3,000-employee social service organization that impacts lives in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Prior to joining Lakeview, she worked for the regional public accounting firm Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund.
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 is a licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Hill serves on the Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors and was a past board president. She also serves as a mentor in the UWF Executive Mentoring program.
Mary Hoxeng CRMC, CRDC
Owner & General Manager
Cat Country 98.7 FM / NewsRadio 92.3 FM / NewsRadio1620 AM
Mary Hoxeng is the owner and General Manager of Cat Country 98.7 FM / NewsRadio 92.3 FM / NewsRadio1620 AM. Hoxeng runs the day-to-day operations at the radio stations including sales, news, promotion, and programming.
Hoxeng has been in radio and television sales and management for over 40 years. She began her career in New York City as Broadcast Negotiator for Benton and Bowles, one of the bigger advertising agencies in New York. She left New York in 1985 to move to San Antonio, Texas to manage two television stations there. In 2003, she and her husband Dave launched Cat Country 98.7 FM in Pensacola, FL. In 2007 they bought AM 1620, reprogrammed the station, and began NewsRadio1620. In July of 2016 NewsRadio1620 began broadcasting on the FM dial at 92.3 serving the Pensacola community with local and national news and talk.
Hoxeng is currently serving as the Curriculum Chairman for the Pensacola Chamber’s Leadership Pensacola program. She is also serving on the board of ARC Gateway as Past-President, and is on the Five Flags Rotary Board.
Hoxeng received her undergraduate degree at the City University of New York – Hunter College.
Dr. Kim LeDuff, Ph.D.
Dean & Associate Vice Provost
University College, University of West Florida
Kim LeDuff, Ph.D. is Dean and Associate Vice Provost of University College and Chief Diversity Officer at University of West Florida. She is responsible for First Year Advising, General Education, High Impact Learning, Equity, Diversity and International Affairs within the Division of Academic Affairs.
Dr. LeDuff is also a Professor of Communication at UWF. Prior to coming to UWF in Fall 2013, she was an Associate Professor and Acting Director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at The University of Southern Mississippi. She also served as faculty at Hampton and Xavier Universities. She teaches courses on the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender and media and has published and presented research on these topics both nationally and internationally.
She was honored by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning as Diversity Educator of the year in 2012. She was also a recipient of the 40 under 40 Award from her alma mater, Xavier University of Louisiana in 2015.
Dr. LeDuff holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Indiana University, an M.A. from the University of Maryland-College Park and a B.A. from Xavier University of Louisiana. She also completed the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. She is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and The Association of Deans and Directors of University Colleges.
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Gulf Power Company
Xia Liu is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Gulf Power Company. In this role, she is responsible for overall accounting, finance, treasury, corporate secretary, regulatory and pricing, and forecasting functions.
Prior to this role, Liu served as senior vice president of finance and treasurer of Southern Company, Gulf Power’s parent company, in Atlanta Georgia. There she oversaw finance, treasury, risk management, pension investment, insurance, budgeting and corporate planning functions. Liu joined Southern Company in 1998, serving in various roles of increasing responsibility during her career.
Liu earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance from Renmin University in China, and a master’s of business administration from Emory University. A chartered financial analyst, Liu has completed two years in the economics Ph.D. program at Emory University. She is an International Woman’s Forum Leadership Foundation Fellow and attended executive programs at Harvard University and INSEAD School of France.
Liu serves on the board of directors for Florida TaxWatch, Gulf Coast Health Systems and PACT World Organization. She is also serving as a mentor in the University of West Florida Executive Mentor Program.
Christy Manderson graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Commerce with a major in Marketing, and began her career in the marketing department at PROMUS Companies in Memphis, TN. Upon relocation to Raleigh, North Carolina, she worked as an assistant to the President of Winston Hospitality, which, became the publicly traded REIT, Winston Hotels, Inc.
Manderson moved to Pensacola, Florida, and began her career with Highpointe Hotel Corporation as Sales Manager at Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach. She was promoted to the position of Director of Sales, and served in that capacity until moving to the corporate office as Regional Director of Sales for Highpointe’s Pensacola properties. Manderson is currently Regional Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and oversees the sales and marketing function for seven hotels in Florida, and two hotels in Alabama
Manderson is actively involved in three area Chambers of Commerce, Hospitality Roundtable (past President), Five Flags Sertoma Club (Board of Directors), Junior League of Pensacola, Escambia Charter School (Board of Directors), Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida (Board member and classroom volunteer), and Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church.
Port of Pensacola
Amy Miller is Port Director at the Port of Pensacola. Along with Pensacola International Airport and local natural gas company Pensacola Energy, the Port of Pensacola is one of three business enterprises owned and operated by the City of Pensacola. In her role as Port Director, Miller leads all aspects of the port’s day-to-day operations, as well as its long-range strategic and capital planning efforts.
Following a successful career in print journalism, Miller entered the seaport industry in 1993. She worked in communications and business development at the ports of South Louisiana and Gulfport, Mississippi, before coming to the Port of Pensacola in 2002. In 2006, she was named Assistant Port Director and in 2013, Mayor Ashton Hayward appointed her to the position of Port Director. She is the first women to lead Pensacola’s port and is one of less than 10 female port directors in the U.S.
Miller earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.
Miller currently serves as President of the Gulf Ports Association of the Americas and on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Port Authorities. Locally, she is a mentor in UWF’s Executive Mentor Program, is President of the Institute for Women in Politics of Northwest Florida, and is on the Board of Directors of United Way of Escambia County and local health and nutrition non-profit Appetite 4 Life.
Dr. Wendy Murphy
Associate Professor of Management
Wendy Marcinkus Murphy, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Management at Babson College. She is Co-coordinator for the Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship (FME) program, a yearlong interdisciplinary course in which students create, develop, launch, and manage a business. She has served as the Faculty Advisor for the Mentoring Programs through the Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL). Prior to joining the faculty at Babson College, she taught at Boston College and Northern Illinois University. She earned her A.B., M.S., and Ph.D. from Boston College.
Professor Murphy’s research interests are in the area of careers. Her work focuses on mentoring and developmental networks, identity, and the work-life interface. Specifically, she explores the mutual learning that occurs through nontraditional developmental relationships for the benefit of individuals and organizations. In addition, she is interested in how positive relationships across the work-life interface facilitate career success.
She has published her work in a range of journals, such as Human Resource Management, Gender in Management, Journal of Management, and the Journal of Vocational Behavior, among others. Her book with Dr. Kathy Kram, Strategic Relationships at Work: Creating Your Circle of Mentors, Sponsors, and Peers for Success in Business and Life, bridges mentoring scholarship and practice. In 2014, she was recognized by Poets & Quants as one of the “40 Most Outstanding B-School Profs Under 40 in the World.”
Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Regions Private Wealth Management
Nanni was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida and joined the bank 1978 (Mutual Federal, First Mutual, AmSouth, now Regions). She has been in her current position as Wealth Advisor since 2000. She graduated from the Florida School of Banking in 1994. She holds her Series 7, 66, and Health, Life, and Variable Annuities licenses, and is a Certified Wealth Strategist.
Nanni has served on the Boards of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area and Pensacola Women’s Alliance. She currently serves on the board of directors of Autism Pensacola.
Kristine Rushing CIC, CPIA, ACSR
Chief Operating Officer & Risk Consultant
Kristine Rushing is the Chief Operating Officer, Risk Consultant and partner of Beck Partners, a commercial real estate and insurance organization. As the COO, Rushing oversees organizational operations, employee training initiatives, mergers & acquisitions, as well as manages her existing clients.
Rushing has 18 years of experience in the insurance industry with a specialization in commercial insurance for various industries of all sizes. She currently serves on the Global Connections to Employment Board and the CareerSource Escarosa Board. Previously, she was the president of Pensacola Young Professionals.
With a passion for professional and leadership development she has obtained a designation for Certified Insurance Consultant (CIC), Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA), is a John-Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach, and is currently working on obtaining a Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation.
On Jan. 1, 2017, Dr. Martha D. Saunders began as the sixth president of the University of West Florida. President Saunders began her academic career at UWF in 1984 as an assistant professor in the communication arts department. She rose through the ranks taking on several roles at UWF including coordinator of the public relations program for the communication arts department (1986-1996) and director of University Honors Program and Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences (1999-2002).
Dr. Saunders’ served as chancellor for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2005 to 2007 and as president of the University of Southern Mississippi from 2007 to 2012. In 2013, she returned to UWF as provost and executive vice president. As provost of UWF, Dr. Saunders oversaw the reorganization of the university’s colleges. She also established the UWF Innovation Institute, the Center for Research and Economic Opportunity, University College, UWF Center for Cybersecurity, and the Office of Equity, Diversity and International Programming. Under her guidance, UWF established two new colleges—the College of Health and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. President Saunders’ vision for UWF is for it to grow beyond its beginnings as a regional comprehensive university. She plans to build on the university’s strengths and its undergraduate traditions while creating programs that will attract the faculty and research funding needed make the leap to the next level.
Dr. Saunders has strong ties to the community and serves on the board of directors for Baptist Hospital Inc., the Studer Community Institute and the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition. She is a member of the education committee for the Greater Pensacola Chamber. She also is an active member of the Downtown Pensacola Rotary. She was selected for The Fulbright International Administrators Program in France in 2015. She has received numerous recognitions for her achievements including 50 Top Business Women in Mississippi (2012), National Stevie Award for Women in Business (2011), National Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America for a campaign to enrich the brand of a research university (2011), Carnegie Community Engagement Classification (2011) and the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame (2010).
Dr. Saunders received her doctorate in Communication Theory and Research from Florida State University. She earned her master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Southern Mississippi.
News Anchor/Senior Editor
In 1973, though she dreamed of being a social worker, Sue Straughn began her career with WEAR TV-3 as a clerk typist, moving through the ranks to her current position of news anchor and senior editor. Every evening thousands of families welcome her into their homes as she brings them the news of the day. She is the trusted face and voice for local news in Northwest Florida. She credits her success to divine intervention.
Straughn’s influence reaches far beyond her TV personality as she has dedicated her time and energy to numerous community efforts. She serves on dozens of charitable boards focused on children and families and improving the quality of life for all people. Straughn has received many prestigious awards for her work. The list is long and impressive. Her influence has sparked the establishment of the Sue Straughn Endowment Scholarship Fund at Pensacola Junior College.
Her dream of being a social worker never left her, and her drive to help people in need has been a guiding force in her professional life. She has found many moments over the years when her call to service and her news career converged. Sue produces a popular WEAR news feature, “Angels in Our Midst,” where she highlights people in the community who go the extra mile to make a difference in the lives of others.
Of the many community organizations that she is involved in, Communities Caring at Christmas is among the closest to her heart. She founded the program in 1979 to share the joy of Christmas with abused, neglected and abandoned children and adults with developmental disabilities. Annually, the area-wide program gives new toys, clothes and basic necessities to families in need. Sue Straughn firmly believes that we all are given gifts with which to make our little corner of the world a better place.
Bentina C. Terry is Vice President – Customer Service and Sales for Gulf Power Company, a Southern Company subsidiary headquartered in Pensacola, Florida. In this role, Terry is responsible for the company’s marketing, customer service and community and economic development organizations. Her efforts involve serving the company’s 450,000 customers, strengthening the communities Gulf Power serves, helping its customers and communities grow and leading the company’s growth initiatives. Terry also serves as the Chair of the Gulf Power Foundation. Terry began her career with Southern Company in 2001 at Georgia Power Company and progressed through leadership roles in compliance, ethics, and power delivery including customer service, external affairs and customer operations.
Terry is very active outside of Gulf Power and serves as the Chair of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Board. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of West Florida and Board of Directors for Take Stock in Children, the Children’s Movement of Florida and Innovation Coast. She is also serving as a mentor in the UWF Executive Mentor Program. She was also appointed to the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (Florida) by Senator Nelson. She was a gubernatorial appointment to the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board and served on Governor Scott’s Economic Development Transition Team.
Terry holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in English (cum laude) from North Carolina State University. She is a member of Leadership Florida and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has received various awards and recognitions for her contribution to the state and northwest Florida including being named one of Influence Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in Florida Politics, recognition in Northwest Florida’s Business Climate Magazine’s Influence: Pensacola issue, 850 Magazine’s Pinnacle Award, Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chair Award, the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce‘s Community Leader of the Year, and one of the Florida Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Women. She has been selected as a member of the “IN Power List” recognizing the top 100 most powerful and influential people in greater Pensacola area for seven consecutive years and was named #1 in April 2016.