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2018 Speakers

Brief biographies of the Women in Leadership Conference Speakers.

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Mollye Vigodsky
Mollye Barrows

Mollye Barrows
Media & Marketing Specialist
Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.

Mollye Barrows is the Media and Marketing Specialist for the law firm of Levin Papantonio. An award-winning television journalist, author, and anchor, Barrows now reports on legal issues for the international media outlets “America’s Lawyer,” and “Ring of Fire.” She also markets and promotes the law firm’s legal accomplishments and local community involvement.

Barrows has more than 20 years of media experience. Before joining Levin Papantonio two years ago, she was an anchor and reporter for WEAR TV 3 for 18 years. In addition to her responsibilities at the firm, Barrows writes for Bella Magazine and the Pensacola News Journal, hosts and produces special programs for WSRE TV, as well as community events. She is also a member of the Baptist Health Care Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Barrows graduated from the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Broadcast Journalism.

Kara Cardona
Kara Cardona

Kara Cardona
Vice President, Greater Pensacola Operations
Navy Federal Credit Union

Kara Cardona is Vice President of Greater Pensacola Operations for Navy Federal Credit Union. She is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations of over 6,000 team members. Before assuming her current leadership role, Cardona was the Vice President for Branch Operations where she led more than 1,800 team members in 150 branches located in the United States and overseas. 

Cardona has been with Navy Federal for 18 years and has served in several different leadership roles during her Navy Federal career. Prior to relocating to Pensacola as Assistant Vice President, Projects and Analysis, Cardona was the Regional Manager of the Atlanta, Miami, and Europe region based out of Alpharetta, Georgia. Other previous positions include: Regional Manager, Southwest; Business Account Specialist, Business Services; Assistant Manager of NAS Oceana and Manager of the Kempsville and Salem Road offices, Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Manager, Roosevelt Roads Branch, Puerto Rico.

Cardona holds a Bachelor's degree from Columbia College in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a minor in Business, and attended the Executive Education program at Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.

Cardona’s hobbies include traveling, caring for her dogs, and spending time with her family and friends.

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh
Dr. Eman El-Sheikh

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh
Director, Center for Cybersecurity
University of West Florida

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh is Director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Professor of Computer Science at the University of West Florida. El-Sheikh has extensive expertise in cybersecurity education, research and workforce development and received several awards related to cybersecurity education and diversity. She leads UWF’s efforts as the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S. and received several grants to enhance cybersecurity education and training for K12, college and non-traditional students.

El-Sheikh teaches and conducts research related to the development and evaluation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for cybersecurity. She has published several books, including most recently, Computer and Network Security Essentials by Springer Publishing, over 70 peer-reviewed articles and given over 100 presentations and invited talks.

El-Sheikh holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University.

Ashley Hodge Harris
Ashley Hodge Harris

Ashley Hodge Harris
Director of Strategic Outreach & Engagement
Baptist Health Care

Ashley Hodge Harris is the Director of Strategic Outreach and Engagement for Baptist Health Care (BHC). She leads and directs the organization’s business development team who execute strategies related to consumer access, network maximization and referral management. Additionally, Harris and her team provide leadership and support for physician-specific communication, networking, community service and leadership development. 

Harris has served in a variety of roles for the health system including positions and responsibilities in marketing, operations and service lines. A firm believer in collaboration, teamwork and front-line team member empowerment, Harris has dedicated time and resources in leading and facilitating BHC culture teams and affinity groups whose collective works support multiple aspects of the patient care continuum.  

A Pensacola native, Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and certification in Sales Management from the University of West Florida. She earned her master’s degree in Business with an emphasis in Management from Chadron State College. 

A proud working mother, Harris and her husband are the proud parents of a 4-year-old son.

Jennifer McFarren
Jennifer McFarren

Jennifer McFarren
Community Development Representative
Gulf Power Company

Jennifer McFarren serves as Gulf Power’s Community Development Representative.  In this role, she is responsible for engaging Gulf Power as a valuable partner in building a more vibrant community through strategic and sustainable efforts related to entrepreneurial development, poverty and neighborhood support through collective impact practices. Prior to joining the Gulf Power team, McFarren served as the Director of Workforce Development for FloridaWEST Economic Development Alliance and the Director of Leadership Pensacola. 

In 2012, McFarren was named a Rising Star by the Independent News, and in 2014, she was selected as a national fellow for educational attainment through the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Most recently, she completed Leadership Florida’s Connect Florida Institute for the state’s top leaders under the age of 40.

Her deep passion for the community is evidenced by her long-term involvement as a Big Sister with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, her service as Immediate Past-President of the Board of Directors for United Ministries and her leadership as a founding member of Lean In Pensacola, a professional empowerment movement for women. She and her husband enjoy spending time training for distance running & triathlon races and soaking up the beautiful Gulf Coast with their two young sons. 

Karen Moore
Karen Moore

Karen Moore
Author, speaker, and CEO and founder
Moore Communications Group

Karen Moore is an author, speaker and CEO and founder of Moore Communications Group. For more than 20 years, she has helped companies and organizations harness their power to affect change and achieve business goals through advocacy. Delta, The AIDS Institute, Ford Motor Company and PhRMA are just a few of the clients who have entrusted their advocacy success to Moore and her team.

A dynamic and engaging public speaker, Moore empowers leaders to integrate advocacy into overall business strategy, regardless of the industry, from keynote presentations to customized trainings. Attendees discover how advocacy can be used to increase revenues, engage in new markets, mitigate threats, enhance corporate brands and affect public policy. Moore provides inspirational stories of everyday people who used their voice to make a difference and shares her blueprint for cultivating relationships with loyalists and champions.

Moore has addressed more than 250 organizations on topics including leadership, entrepreneurship, advocacy, crisis communications, marketing, and networking. With her methodologies, organizations build influence and distinguish themselves from the competition.

Moore sits on the board of directors of many organizations, and recognition for her work has brought her numerous honors, including the Distinguished Leader Award of the National Association of Community Leaders. She is one of fewer than 100 individuals in the nation who holds both an Accredited Public Relations (APR) and Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) designation.

In addition to her personal achievements, MCG has been named to Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of the “Fastest Growing Companies in America,” honored by Florida Trend Magazine as a “Best Company to Work For” and recognized by PR News as a “Top Place to Work in PR.” The firm is one of the largest and top-ranked public affairs, healthcare, branding and Latino marketing firms in the nation.

In her recently published book, Behind the Red Door: Unlock Your Advocacy Influence and Success, Moore helps decision makers and others understand why advocacy is a vital tool for their organization, regardless of their specific industry. 

Chuntell Patterson
Chuntell Patterson

Chuntell Patterson
Listing Specialist, Property Management Division
Realty Masters of FL

Chuntell Patterson is the Listing Specialist for Realty Masters of FL, which is a marketing professional for the property management division. She works with the evaluation team and property managers to make sure all available rentals have accurate information and quality advertising pictures. Patterson has been employed with Realty Masters of FL for nearly four years. She has held various positions such as an intern, executive assistant to the broker, a property manager over 161 residential properties and a sales agent. 

Patterson earned her undergraduate degree in Criminology from Florida State University in April 2012 and a Master in Public Administration degree from Florida Institute of Technology in May 2016.

Patterson has a passion for helping others and is an avid community volunteer. She currently serves as a board member for the Pensacola MESS Hall and Cordova Park Elementary PTA. She is also a current member of the School Advisory Council for Cordova Park Elementary, Pensacola Young Professionals, Lean In Pensacola and Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council Young Professionals. She is a past board member for Institute for Women In Politics of NWFL, Inc. and Pensacola Young Professionals. She is a 2016 Leadership Pensacola graduate, and 2016 Independent News Rising Star recipient.

Patterson has a little girl, who enjoys playing soccer for the City of Pensacola. As a Pensacola native, Patterson enjoys showing her daughter all the wonderful things that Pensacola has to offer such as festivals, theatre, museums and more.

Amie Remington
Amie Remington

Amie Remington
General Counsel
Landrum Human Resource Companies, Inc.

Amie Remington is the General Counsel of Landrum Human Resource Companies, Inc. Combined, these companies serve over 600 clients and 10,000 employees. As General Counsel, Remington advises the Landrum companies on all business and employment-related legal issues. 

Before joining Landrum, Remington was a partner in the law firm of Bozeman, Jenkins & Matthews, P.A., where she represented employers, management and the State of Florida in all types of employment-related matters. At the firm, Remington focused on policy creation, prevention of discrimination and harassment and management education and training, as well as all aspects of employment litigation, including trial and appeal work.

Remington serves on the National Association of Professional Employer Organization’s Legal Advisory Committee (past Chairperson) and on the Florida Association of Professional Employer Organization’s Board of Directors, where she is an officer.  She has published many articles in the PEO Insider magazine and in NAPEO’s Legal Updates and Legal Insights.

Remington graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from the Honors Program of Florida State University in 1991 and with honors from Florida State University College of Law in 1997.

For more than a dozen years, Remington has served as the Chancellor of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and regularly provides pro bono legal services to churches, schools and childcare centers throughout the Dioceses of the Central Gulf Coast.

Dr. Martha Saunders
President Saunders

President Martha Saunders, Ph.D.
President, University of West Florida

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 instructor 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 and executive vice president 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 Usha Kundu, MD 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 to 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.

Susan Sowers
Susan Sowers

The Rev. Susan Sowers
Rector, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church 
Retired Colonel, US Army

Susan Sowers was raised in an Army family, and followed in the footsteps of her grandfather and father with her own military career. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1982, she served as a Transportation Corps Officer for 25 years and had the privilege of serving young American soldiers in a variety of leadership positions, including: platoon leader, company commander, battalion commander and brigade commander.  While in the Service, she received two Master of Science degrees: Civil Engineering from the University of Washington and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.  Before retiring in 2007 and going to seminary, her final Army assignment was as the Chief of Staff of the Corps Support Command in Iraq responsible for the operations of a unit 20,000 person-strong.  Answering her call to ordained ministry, she was ordained in 2010, after receiving a Master of Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Sowers now serves as the 5th rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Pensacola, Florida after serving as the Associate Dean of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is married and her wife joins her in ministry.

Susan Story
Susan Story

Susan Story
Chief Executive Officer and President
American Water Works Company, Inc.

Susan Story is President and CEO of American Water Works (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility which provides service to more than 15 million people in 47 states. 

American Water has regulated water utility operations in 16 states, and market-based businesses providing water and wastewater services on 12 military bases, 39 municipalities and 13 major industrial customers; as well as Homeowner Services providing 1.7 million warranty contracts across the country.  Subsidiary Keystone Clearwater is the largest provider of sustainable water services to the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

The company has an industry-leading water R&D and environmental function with 20 scientists involved in more than 90 research projects, partnering with governmental agencies, national and international companies, and research foundations. 

Story has served as CEO of American Water since May 2014. She spent 31 years at Southern Company, serving as CEO, Southern Company Services, and President and CEO, Gulf Power Company.

Story serves as the independent lead director for Raymond James Financial and is on the Dominion Energy board of directors. She also serves on the Moffitt Cancer Center Board of Advisors.

Alison Westmoreland
Alison Westmoreland

Alison Westmoreland
Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, Visitor Information Center

Alison graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Human Environmental Sciences with a major in Merchandising minoring in Business.

As Director of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center, Alison is responsible for the overall operation of the Chamber as it involves promotion of businesses, managing the Visitor Information Center, representing the Chamber to various other organizations, and coordinating various networking events and special events. The chamber, established in 1984, has been in a long-standing partnership with the Santa Rosa Island Authority to manage the Visitor Information Center. 

Alison serves as a member of the Hospitality Roundtable and Marketing Committee for Visit Pensacola, Fiesta Forces, and is currently part of the Pensacola Chamber Foundation’s Leadership Pensacola Class of 2018.