Brief biographies of the Women in Leadership Conference speakers.
Kathy Anthony serves as the chair of two Executive Leadership Groups with Vistage Florida.
In addition to her role in Vistage, Kathy is Vice President of IMS ExpertServices, an expert witness search firm specializing in providing hard-to-find subject matter experts to top law firms across the country. Prior to IMS, Kathy spent 14 years as a partner and Chief Operating Officer with O'Sullivan Creel, LLP CPAs & Consultants. A Professional of Human Resources (PHR), Kathy has extensive expertise in firm administration, operations, marketing, and human resources.
Kathy speaks at numerous seminars and conferences training in marketing and human resources. She is recognized for her ability to develop positive and effective relationships at all levels within the firm and the community.
Anthony has been recognized for outstanding leadership by a variety of community organizations. In February 2012, she was honored by the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce with their 2012 Community Leader of the Year Award. Her additional honors include recognition as the 2009 Service to Mankind Award recipient by Liberty Sertoma, being named 2008 Outstanding Business Woman of the Year by the Pensacola News Journal, the first recipient of ARC Gateway's 2008 James N. Evans Presidential Award, and being named the Association of Accounting Administration's National Firm Administrator of the Year in 2002. Anthony is a Certified Professional of Human Resources (PHR) and a Certified Human Capital Strategist (HCS).
She is a past board chair of United Way of Escambia County (2011-2012), past President of Five Flags Rotary (2012-2013), was the 2009 chair of the annual campaign for United Way of Escambia County, and served as a board member of ARC/Gateway. Since 2006, she has also been a mentor with Take Stock in Children. She served as a board member of IMPACT 100 from 2008 to 2010 and currently continues her service as a member of the organization. She is also a member of the Leadership Pensacola Alumni Association, Society of Human Resource Management, and the Association of Training & Development.
Dr. Bense, having served at University of West Florida (UWF) for 28 years, became the 5th 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 school. 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 anthropology department chair in 2001. She established the Archaeology Institute in 1980 and served as its director for 20 years, authoring 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 state-wide Florida Public Archaeology Network which is hubbed at UWF.
Dr. Bense has a strong commitment to the community and serves on the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Florida's Great Northwest Board, and is active in member and leadership roles in leading higher education organizations, including the American Council on Education, the Association of Governing Boards, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and National Collegiate Athletic Association.
In recognition of her academic and research achievements, Dr. Bense received numerous awards and honors, including induction into the order Isabella de Cathólica by King Juan Carlos of Spain, 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 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.
Debbie Calder is the Senior Vice President of Greater Pensacola Operations for Navy Federal Credit Union and is responsible for overseeing the operations of more than 3,000 employees. Calder has been with Navy Federal for over 22 years and has managed six different business operations. Prior to relocating to Pensacola in 2007, Calder was Vice President of Consumer and Credit Card Lending at Navy Federal's headquarters in Virginia, managing the lending, collections and servicing operations of an $11 billion dollar loan portfolio.
Calder serves as a board member for Gulf Power Company, Sacred Heart Health System; and previously served as a board member for the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce where she was Vice Chair, Community Affairs, Treasurer and member of the Military Affairs Committee. Calder studied Business Administration at Old Dominion University and attended Executive Education programs at the University of Virginia and University of Michigan.
Navy Federal is the world's largest credit union with over $56 billion in assets and over 11,000 employees worldwide serving the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Department of Defense and their families.
Carol Carlan is President of Sacred Heart Foundation. She joined the Sacred Heart family in December 2012.
Carlan, a successful Pensacola business executive and long-time community leader, worked in the financial services industry for more than 35 years and served as the first female president of a large regional bank in the Florida Panhandle. In 2007, she formed Carlan Consulting LLC, a leadership development company.
Carlan is a graduate of Pensacola State College and the University of Florida School of Banking. She is known for her heart-felt commitment to education, business and social issues. She was one of 25 people in Florida appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to serve on the Department of Juvenile Justice Blueprint Commission in 2007. She is a three-term trustee for Pensacola State College and Past President Emeritus for the PSC Foundation. She was also appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to be the inaugural chair of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.
Some of Carol's awards during her career have included the Business Leader of the Year by both the Pensacola News Journal and the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. She also received the Leadership Pensacola Blue Angel Leadership Award and the PACE Center for Girls Pioneer Award for her leadership as a State Board Trustee and is a founding member of the Escambia/Santa Rosa PACE Center for Girls.
Pam Childers is the elected Clerk of Court and Comptroller for Escambia County, taking office in January 2013.
Childers is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Government Finance Officer with a career in government that began with the city of Pensacola. Not only has she volunteered in our community, serving on local boards, but also served 8 years as a board member for the Florida Government Finance Officers where she worked with governments all over the state.
She and her husband of 23 years have 4 children.
Evon Emerson retired as President and CEO of the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce where her responsibilities included Economic Development, Tourism and Armed Services.
Emerson founded her own consulting company, Emerson Enterprises, Inc specializing in Strategic Planning, Leadership and Team Development. She assisted companies throughout the United States, the Caribbean and England.
Prior to forming her own company she worked as Vice President of Marketing for Canal National Bank in Portland, Maine.
Past career highlights include recognition from The Portland Maine Sunday Telegram as one of the top 100 Maine Movers and from the St. Petersburg Times as one of the five women making a difference for women at the executive level in Pensacola, Florida.
In 1985, she served as National President of the National Association of Bank Women, a 25,000 member banking organization for women. She was the first non-banker to serve in this position. In that capacity, she addressed audiences throughout the United States on global workforce issues, including the European Studies Conference, sponsored by Harvard and Radcliff Universities.
Emerson is a member of the University of West Florida Business Advisory Council and serves as a Mentor in the Executive Mentor Program. She also serves on the Lakeview Advisory Board and is a founding member of IMPACT 100 of the Pensacola Bay Area.
Susan O'Connor, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, is President of O'Connor Management Group that oversees five local McDonald's franchises that she owns with her husband John. She is actively involved in the day to day operations of the business. She has served on several boards for McDonald's including Operator Nation Advertising Board, McDonald's Administrative Council, and McDonald's Region Leadership Board. Currently she serves on the boards for McDonald's National Insurance Team, McDonald's Owner Operator Insurance Committee, University of West Florida Board of Trustees, Gulf Coast Community Bank, and Every Child a Reader in Escambia County. She has been an active member of the community serving on various committees and boards.
O'Connor has over 28 years of professional experience in small business. She graduated from the Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Business Degree in Accounting. O'Connor is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive/unlicensed).
Dr. Tim O'Keefe currently serves as Interim Dean of the College of Business, Director of Graduate Programs and professor of accounting 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, including: IMA Cases from Management Accounting Practice; Business Horizons; Financial Executive; The Tax Executive; Accounting Horizons; Management Accounting; Cost and Management; Government Accountant's Journal; Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice; CPA Journal; and Journal of Accounting and Financial Research. He has presented numerous papers and case studies at national and international academic and professional meetings.
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.
On January 2, 2013, Dr. Martha Saunders assumed the role of Provost and Vice President for the Division of Academic Affairs at the University of West Florida (UWF). 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.
Julie Sheppard serves as General Counsel and Special Assistant to the Director at IHMC. Formerly she was Associate General Counsel at the University of North Florida and served as the General Counsel at the University of West Florida. Prior experience includes working as Counsel to the Florida Board of Regents Office of Human Resources and Labor Relations; Administrative Hearings Officer to the Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security; Associate Attorney, Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer and Nelson, Portland, Maine; and Law Clerk to The Honorable Robert V. Cauchon, Justice of the Massachusetts Trial Courts-Land Court Department.
Sheppard earned her Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia. Sheppard is admitted to practice law in Florida, Maine, and Massachusetts.
Sheppard is active in many community endeavors locally and statewide. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida Class XXV and is a member of and past Chair of the Education Law Committee of the Florida Bar. She currently serves as Chair of the Education Law Certification Committee and Vice Chair of Innovation Coast. She is a Board Member of Events Pensacola/DBA Evenings in Olde Seville; Pensacola State College Foundation; Think Beyond; the Smart Bank Advisory Board and is a Past President of Impact 100 Pensacola Bay Area. Sheppard lives in Pensacola and is married to Phillip Turner and they have two daughters, Marina and Delaney.
Holly B. Smith is President and one of the founders of H2 Performance Consulting, a management consulting firm. As a consulting industry veteran, Smith has assisted organizations in establishing program and project management capability as well as developing operational and technical long-range plans and effectively measuring performance towards achieving those plans. She has 18 years' experience in project management and consulting. She is a masterful facilitator and accomplished business owner.
Smith holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute, a Master's degree in Business Administration and a Master's degree in Business Education. Smith is also active in community service. Among her involvements, she is a Board Member of the Pensacola Project Management Institute Pensacola Branch; Board Member of the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce; participant in IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area and in the Leadership Pensacola class of 2012.
Bentina Terry is Vice President of External Affairs & Corporate Services for Gulf Power Company, a Southern Company subsidiary headquartered in Pensacola, Fl. She leads Gulf's efforts to build strong communities through economic development, workforce development, corporate giving, and volunteerism and represents Gulf externally managing the company's regulatory, governmental, environmental and public affairs efforts. She is also responsible for Gulf's corporate services.
Terry began her career with Southern Company at Georgia Power Company in 2001 and worked in several areas including ethics, power delivery, customer service, external affairs and customer operations. From 2005 to 2007, she was Vice President of External Affairs and General Counsel of Southern Nuclear Operating Company. Prior to joining Southern Company, Terry was Associate General Counsel for Progress Energy in Raleigh, NC. She began her career practicing law as an associate with the Troutman Sanders law firm in Atlanta, Georgia.
Terry received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and B.A. in English from North Carolina State University. She is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Georgia and is a member of Leadership Atlanta, Leadership North Carolina, Leadership Florida and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Terry currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Florida (Legislative Committee), University of West Florida, and Pensacola Symphony Orchestra (Development Committee Chair). Senator Nelson appointed her to the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (Florida) in 2011. Most recently, Terry was appointed to the Escambia County RESTORE committee by the Escambia County Board of Commissioners and the City of Pensacola (2013-present, Chair).