Workshops & Speakers

NEW! Special Workshop: Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity (updated 9/25) 

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Hurricane Irma recently swept through Florida. Much information was disseminated to help individuals and families prepare for – and recover from – the storm as it related to their homes, but what about small businesses? The SBA reports “roughly 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster.”

In this workshop you will receive information about the public and private resources available to small business owners working through disaster recovery. And, you will learn how you can implement a business continuity plan that ensures you will not be a disaster statistic in the future.



Adam Cohen, Becker & Poliakoff

Adam is the Chair of the Corporate practice group in Becker & Poliakoff’s Fort Lauderdale office. A shareholder with the firm, Adam is a seasoned corporate and real estate attorney whose clients range from small entrepreneurial ventures to mid-sized businesses. In over 15 years of practice, he provides guidance on a full spectrum of corporate transactional matters such as mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital investments, joint ventures and corporate governance.





Rafael Cruz, SBDC Fort Lauderdale  

Rafael is in charge of operations for the Florida Small Business Development Center serving Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. The Florida SBDC has the distinct honor of being designated by the legislature as the State of Florida’s “Principle Provider of Small Business Assistance”. Under his leadership, the Florida SBDC Fort Lauderdale has produced consistent economic development results for the region and has become an important partner in the economic development community.

He leads a Team of Certified Business Consultants that work one on one with entrepreneurs and business owners in all critical aspects of starting, running and growing a successful business. Some key areas of the team’s specialization include international trade, government contracting, creative economy, financing, strategic planning and execution and entrepreneurship.



Richard Daigle, Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Division

Richard is a former newspaper reporter, journalism educator and writer/editor who is now a Public Affairs Specialist with SBA Disaster Assistance Office, Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, Georgia. He joined the SBA Communications Department in August, 2006. Mr. Daigle travels to disaster sites to conduct public outreach activities which include media relations, public meetings, and meetings with congressional aides and other officials. He has worked numerous disasters throughout the U.S. including Hurricane Sandy, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the Tuscaloosa tornados and many other disasters. Originally from New Orleans, he has lived in Atlanta since 1985.





Dan Lindblade, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce

Dan has over three decades of award-winning organizational management experience at national, state and local levels. He is in charge of vision for the Chamber, leading the executive management team in Fort Lauderdale. Lindblade is a Certified Association Executive (C-A-E), serves as a Housing Commissioner for the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority, is on the Orange Bowl Committee, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Board of Directors, Winterfest Boat Parade’s Executive Committee and Board, Florida Atlantic University’s President’s Advisory Board, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s South Florida Chapter’s Board of Directors, the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals Board and numerous other groups.




Anita Setnor Byer, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk

Anita is President of Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk, an Independent Insurance Agency that provides property, casualty and group benefit products and services to businesses and families throughout the region. Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk is consistently recognized as a leading Florida Independent Insurance Agency as well as a leading and cutting-edge female-owned businesses. Anita is an educator at heart, and provides her insurance, risk management and sales expertise to a broad range of audiences. Their extensive portfolio of A-Rated Insurance Companies includes some of the most respected names in the property, casualty, and benefits sectors.




Steven Tinsley, Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development 

Steven is the Economic Development Manager for the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development. He supervises the agency’s Economic Development Section which provides assistance to small and mid-sized companies in areas including business retention and expansion, finance, international trade, and workforce training. The section also provides entrepreneur development and training, and assists companies in utilizing special business development zones throughout Broward County such as HUB, Enterprise, Urban Jobs Tax Credit, and Foreign Trade Zones.






Workshop 1

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Minimize Your Legal Risk: Practical Tips to Avoid Legal Problems & Expenses
8:30 am – 9:30 am

This panel of legal experts will highlight the many ways business can get into expensive legal trouble. But the good news is that with planning it can be avoided. This is a nuts-and-bolts workshop. You will receive practical information as to what you can do to modernize your agreements, educate your employees, and take appropriate proactive steps in order to minimize legal losses and exposure with respect to your employees, vendors, and customers.


Christina V. Paradowski, Esq., Tripp Scott  

Christina V. Paradowski is an associate with Tripp Scott and focuses her practice in the areas of creditors’ rights, commercial litigation, and general civil litigation.  Christina has successfully represented local and national clients in cases before state and federal courts, including matters related to breaches of contract, secured and unsecured transactions, and other business litigation issues, as well as representing creditors in both corporate and consumer bankruptcy matters.  Christina has also presented and written on topics of interest in the field, including how to avoid problems and pitfalls in international transactions, how to deal with financially troubled customers, and the uniqueness of bankruptcy discharges.



Joseph J. Luzinski, Development Specialists, Inc. 

Joe Luzinski is a Senior Managing Director of Development Specialists, Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in turnarounds, workouts and distressed matters. Over a 30 year career in the workout business, Joe has served as financial advisor and turnaround expert, on behalf of debtors, creditors, equity sponsors and other parties in interest.

Joe has served in a multitude of capacities including Director, Officer, CEO, CFO, CRO and in fiduciary roles as Chapter 11 trustee, Chapter 7 trustee, Post Confirmation trustee, Receiver and Assignee while administering complex bankruptcy and receivership estates. Over his workout career Joe has been involved in numerous matters involving banking, finance, real estate, aviation, retail, franchising, food service, manufacturing, media, law firms, wealthy individuals, fraud and ponzi scheme matters.



Workshop 2

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Getting to Profitability: Cash Flow is King
8:30 am – 9:30 am

Some experts will tell you “forget profitability” focus on cash flow. This workshop puts cash flow first. There are key things you can do as a business owner to help improve your bottom line and your cash flow. At this workshop, you will learn how to monitor your cash, about lines of credit and financing, about invoicing and payables and above all the systems you can set up to monitor it – every day.




Justin Irizarry, OrthoNow

Justin holds a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University, where he was a 4-year varsity baseball scholar-athlete, and a M.B.A. from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Joseph Wharton Fellow. In addition, he has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) designation, the most respected and recognized investment designation in the world. Justin has more than 13 years of experience acting as a trusted advisor and interim executive for a wide range of companies. His diverse business experience has led him to advise for boards of directors and senior management teams in the education, information, digital real estate, medical, and technology industries.

Justin joined OrthoNOW® in 2010 and started the Franchise with Dr. Alejandro Badia in 2012. In addition to his role as CFO, he serves as the Director of Operations of OrthoNOW® Doral.


Enrique Triay, Director Innovation HUB (Business Incubator)/Startup NOW Accelerator at Broward College

Enrique holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Finance & Entrepreneurship from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. His undergraduate degrees include a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Engineering at Cornell University.

Enrique works with entrepreneurs and student entrepreneurs to help them accelerate their ventures through both one-on-one approaches and through programs he has developed, co-developed and deployed. He mentors startups and makes introductions when appropriate to a network of angels and industry experts built over more than a decade.

He encourages everyone and himself to follow Calvin Coolidge’s advice from a century ago: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Workshop 3

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Thriving as a Woman Entrepreneur
8:30 am – 9:30 am

The challenges for women small business owners are many: learning how to act and be taken seriously in a predominately male environment to limited access to capital to building a support network to keeping your personal and business life in balance and of course, there is fear of failure. Some of these issues are not unique to women, but they may be “owned” by women business owners more often than by their male counterparts.

Learn how the women business owners on this panel cope with it all. What is their secret sauce? What has worked for them over time that helped them run a successful business? What is non-negotiable in their lives and what are things do they let go? What advice do they have for new women business owners?


Arminda “Mindy” Figueroa, Latin2Latin Marketing + Communications

Celebrating her 10th year as the Founder & CEO of the award winning, Fort Lauderdale headquartered engagement solutions agency, L2L Marketing + Communications, Arminda “Mindy” Figueroa is a true maverick, and recognized leader in the traditional, multicultural, direct and digital marketing fields. She has built a successful career focused on generating awareness of the essential role of the multicultural market in corporate America. Prior to launching L2L, Mindy was Project Director for Scholastic Media, and oversaw the launch of the children’s TV series, Maya & Miguel, the #1 new TV show for kids on PBS. Figueroa previously held senior marketing positions at The Bravo Group (a Young & Rubicam agency),, Verizon and Anheuser-Busch. Ms. Figueroa is a frequent presenter at industry seminars and conferences, and is a board member of the Hispanic Federation of New York among others.




Gina Alexis, The Alexis Group Consultants

Gina has 25+ years of experience developing marketing communications programs for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, the service industries that support them, and non-profit research institutes.  She has worked with ethical products in specialties ranging from cardiology, oncology and psychiatry to allergy and immunology.  Her experience includes other regulated industries such as financial services, legal, insurance, food and beverage and other non-regulated industries.

Her clients have ranged from FORTUNE 500 firms such as Pfizer, Novartis, and Sanofi to start-ups and emerging companies.  She has developed marketing programs for major non-profits such as the National Brain Tumor Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology among others.


Terron Hill, Serenity Aveda Day Spa

After her very first massage, Terron Hill knew she had found her calling. The realization occurred while she was attending Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. She soon left college to pursue massage therapy and skin care study full time.  Within a few months of moving to Ft. Lauderdale, she was presented with the opportunity of becoming the owner of Serenity Aveda Day Spa.

So, at age 23, Terron – with no business experience and few mentors – became the owner of Serenity Aveda, a year after the business had opened its door. Seventeen years later, Serenity has become a landmark small business in Fort Lauderdale. It offers a full spa experience for men and women including massage, facials, manicures and pedicures. In addition, the Aveda’s all natural products are available for sale.

Terron, born in Tennessee and raised in Los Angeles, is a female entrepreneur. She is a double minority business owner who has managed to create a business with an ardent following.


Carolina Pina, WIN Lab Miami

Carolina is the Director of the WIN (Women Innovating Now) Lab Miami. Created by the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College, the WIN Lab is an eight-month accelerator program for women entrepreneurs who are ready to think big, be bold, and launch successful companies.

Prior to joining WIN Lab, Carolina was Director of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Miami Campus. In 2015 she founded Ignitus, a consulting practice that helps organizations implement social impact initiatives.

Carolina holds a bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Florida International University, an MBA from Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and an Executive Scholars in Leadership & Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.



Workshop 4

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Talent Management: How to Attract & Retain the Best People
11:45 am – 12:45 pm


Our current low unemployment cycle is making you feel the pinch of competition for talented employees. In this workshop, you will learn how to best position your company to attract top talent, where to turn for FREE resources to help you find the talent you need and ideas on what you can do to ensure your team member stays and to help grow your company.


Guithele Ruiz-Nicolas, Broward County

Guithele Ruiz-Nicolas is a skillful, results-oriented professional with a keen ability to effectively manage award-winning human resources programs, policies and best practices. Aside from her interpersonal and communications skills, she possesses advanced competencies in talent acquisition, labor relations, organizational development, benefits administration, employee relations, policy development, safety and wellness. A consummate leader, she has successfully managed the human resources functions of several organizations in the public and non-profit sectors. After 20 years in Human Resources Management, Guithele had a change in career and joined Broward County as the Human Services Department Program/Project Coordinator in 2016. She is responsible for the department Commission Agenda preparation process as well as coordinating the Human Services’ state and federal legislative priorities.

Guithele holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Pace University.


Janet Wincko, City Furniture

Janet Wincko is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at City Furniture. A strategic and proven leader, Janet is responsible for all aspects of Human Resources, including Talent Management, Recruiting, Training and Development, Associate Relations, Compensation and Benefits, Health and Wellness. Janet has been recognized by prestigious professional organizations throughout her career, most recently by the South Florida Business & Wealth for the HR Excellence in Human Resource Award in Retail/Marketing and the South Florida Business Journal’s Healthiest Employer.

Janet earned a Masters Business Administration (MBA) degree, a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree (BBA) with a concentration in Human Resource Management from Florida Atlantic University, and holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) designation.



Pam Sands, Kelly Services

As Strategist for Supplier Strategy and Engagement at KellyOCG, Pam is part of a global team responsible for defining, implementing, and managing the strategy and development of suppliers and strategic partners across North, Central and South America.

With 22 years of talent management experience, Pam is a seasoned consultant who brings strategic expertise to building and enhancing supplier relationships. She is a life-long learner, enhancing her experience in human capital management and strategic workforce solutions with continual training. She is a certified SWP (Strategic Workforce Planner) and CWDP (Certified Workforce Development Professional). In addition to talent management, Pam is a strong advocate of local and global workforce development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Trinity International University, is the past chair of the Broward workforce development board and serves as an executive board member.


Mason Jackson, CareerSource Broward

Mason Jackson has been President/CEO of CareerSource Broward (formerly known as WorkForce One Employment Solutions) for the past 31 years; he has been involved in workforce development programs for over 41 years.  Mr. Jackson’s professional and community involvements include: Greater Ft. Lauderdale Alliance Board of Directors and Executive Committee; Past Chair, Greater Ft. Lauderdale Alliance Governor’s Council; Greater F. Lauderdale Alliance Governor’s Council annual award 2012; Early Learning Coalition of Broward Board of Directors; Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC), Toni Jennings Workforce Development Professional of the Year Award, 2012; Senior Executive Orientation (SEO), 2011 Excellence in Leadership Award; South Florida Business Journal, 2009 Diamond CEO Award; among other.




Workshop 5

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Credit Scores: What You Should Know & How to Build Yours
11:45 am – 12:45 pm

Credit scores not only help you secure new funds for your business, they determine your interest rates on loans and help you keep your overall debt manageable over the long term. In this workshop, you will learn: Which is most important your personal or your business credit score? How do financial institutions determine a business’ credit score? What role does the amount of debt you have affect that number? You will learn how to add positive trade references, about your business’ credit utilization ratio and how to improve it and why keeping your business profile up to date is so important.


Mario Dore-Bernhard, Prospera, USA

El Sr. Dore-Bernhard obtuvo su título de Finanzas de la Universidad Internacional de la Florida y un MBA de la Universidad Nova Southeastern. Ha ocupado varios cargos en el sector financiero y su experiencia se ha expandido a más de 20 años.

Su participación en el sector financiero se ha dedicado a muchos campos diferentes. Ha trabajado en desarrollo de negocios y consultoría, asesoría financiera, riesgo de crédito, banca privada, gestión de cartera de inversiones, corretaje y negociación de valores, préstamos comerciales y de consumo, corretaje de hipotecas, seguros, mentoría y alcance comunitario.



Fabiana Estrada, Director for Florida at Accion East

After joining Accion in 2010, Fabiana was quickly promoted from a Loan Consultant to South Florida’s Lending Manager. Under Fabiana’s leadership, the Florida team has tripled the number of microloans given to small business owners locally. Over the same period that lending and financial education services were growing, delinquency decreased.

In 2012, The South Florida Community Development Coalition recognized Fabiana’s achievements with the Economic Opportunity Award for the impact Accion mission has in the community: growing businesses through access to capital and financial education. Prior to Accion, Fabiana worked as a Mortgage Loan Processor. Fabiana is from Argentina where she graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a degree in law.




Workshop 6

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Marketing Your Business: Experts Share Top How-To Tips                                               
11:45 am – 12:45 pm

You already have the fundamentals elements to market your business: you know your target market, you know what you offer that your competitors don’t   and how to set your business apart from them and you are clear on your marketing goals and a marketing budget. How then do you build a good marketing strategy that doesn’t waste your money and that works? Learn from experts in a variety of marketing domains what you should consider in your marketing plan. In this workshop, you will learn how to tell your story, how to create marketing materials, how to use the media and public relations and the role digital and social media should play when successfully marketing your company.





Anne Freedman, Speakout, Inc.

Anne B. Freedman is an internationally recognized business communication and presentation consultant, corporate trainer, E-course developer, keynote speaker, app developer, and author. 

As founder and president of Miami-based Speakout, Inc., she works to help executives, business owners, and community leaders create powerful messages that propel those listening to action, while reducing the frustration and anxiety of public speaking.

She also conducts programs on networking skills, developing elevator pitches, and team and leadership communication. Clients include Western Union, Royal Caribbean, MasterCard, and BankUnited, among others. A former newspaper reporter, and University of Florida graduate, Anne is the author of the book and E-course, Public Speaking for the Genius, due out early fall 2017, and Unforgettable Speeches and Presentations in 8 Easy Steps; as well a series of popular leadership speaking E-courses.


Peter Nasca, Persistence PR, LLC.

Peter is a senior-level public relations professional with extensive experience in the field. He is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and a past president of the organization’s Miami chapter. He’s also held the positions of president-elect, secretary and treasurer and has twice served as judge in the prestigious national Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award ceremonies.

He’s worked on such accounts as: American Express, Continental Airlines, Ford Motor Company, American Motors Corp., Chrysler Corp., Chemical Bank, Texas Air Corp., Ryder System, Centuri Video Games, Konami, Inc., Florida Panthers Hockey Club, MoreVisibility, the BB & T Center. Prior to starting his own agency in 1984, he was vice president and partner of a medium-sized Miami-based agency. He also served as president of one of the Southeast’s largest public relations firms.

A graduate of the University of Bridgeport, Peter is also listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and Who’s Who Among Outstanding Business Executives. He’s lectured on the field of Public relations at the University of Florida, University of Miami, Florida International University and Nova Southeastern University. Peter serves on the board of the Broward County Library Foundation Literary Feast. He previously served on the board of directors of then public Miami Subs which was eventually sold to Nathan’s, Inc. (NASDAQ: NATH).


Taller 1

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Puntajes de crédito: Consejos útiles y cómo construir su crédito (En Español)  
8:30 am – 9:30 am

Los puntajes de crédito no sólo le ayudan a su negocio a asegurar nuevos fondos, sino que también determinan las tasas de interés de los préstamos y ayudan a mantener y manejar el endeudamiento global a largo plazo. En este taller usted aprenderá: ¿Cuál es la puntuación más importante, la de su crédito personal o la de su negocio? ¿Cómo las instituciones financieras determinan la puntuación de crédito de un negocio? ¿Cuál es la importancia que tiene el monto de la deuda y cómo afecta su puntaje de crédito? Cómo agregar referencias comerciales positivas a su perfil empresarial, aprender sobre el índice de utilización de crédito de su negocio, cómo mejorarlo y finalmente entender por qué mantener actualizado el perfil de crédito de su negocio es tan importante.




Mario Dore-Bernhard, Prospera, USA

El Sr. Dore-Bernhard obtuvo su título de Finanzas de la Universidad Internacional de la Florida y un MBA de la Universidad Nova Southeastern. Ha ocupado varios cargos en el sector financiero y su experiencia se ha expandido a más de 20 años.

Su participación en el sector financiero se ha dedicado a muchos campos diferentes. Ha trabajado en desarrollo de negocios y consultoría, asesoría financiera, riesgo de crédito, banca privada, gestión de cartera de inversiones, corretaje y negociación de valores, préstamos comerciales y de consumo, corretaje de hipotecas, seguros, mentoría y alcance comunitario.



Fabiana Estrada, Director for Florida at Accion East

Fabiana es Directora de Préstamos para Florida en Acción. Después de unirse a Acción en 2010, Fabiana fue rápidamente promovida de Consultora de Préstamos a Gerente de Préstamos del Sur de la Florida. Bajo el liderazgo de Fabiana, el equipo de Florida ha triplicado el número de micropréstamos otorgados localmente a pequeños propietarios de negocios. Durante el mismo período en que crecieron los servicios de préstamos y educación financiera, la delincuencia disminuyó.

En 2012, la Coalición de Desarrollo Comunitario del Sur de la Florida reconoció los logros de Fabiana con el Premio a la Oportunidad Económica por el impacto que la misión de Acción tiene en la comunidad: el crecimiento de las empresas a través del acceso al capital y la educación financiera. Antes de Acción, Fabiana trabajó como Procesadora de Préstamos Hipotecarios. Fabiana es de Argentina, donde se graduó de la Universidad de Buenos Aires con una licenciatura en derecho.




Taller 2

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Cómo evitar los errores más comunes en el manejo de flujo de caja (En Español)
11:45 am – 12:45 pm

Algunos expertos recomiendan “olvidarse de la rentabilidad” y centrarse en el flujo de caja. Este taller le explicará como enfocar sus esfuerzos y los pasos claves que usted como propietario de un negocio,  puede implementar para mejorar los resultados de su flujo de caja. Usted también aprenderá,  cómo monitorear su efectivo, líneas de crédito y financiamiento, facturas y cuentas por pagar y cuáles son los sistemas que usted puede utilizar para monitorear diariamente su flujo de caja.



María Antonietta Díaz, GBS Group

Consultora de negocios de alta dirección, Co-Fundadora y CEO de GBS Group, una empresa de soluciones de negocios para empresarios, dueños de negocios, ejecutivos, inversionistas extranjeros y abogados de inmigración. Experiencia en diferentes disciplinas, incluyendo impuestos internacionales e internos, contabilidad, auditoría, planificación fiscal e inmigración, trabaja en conjunto con una vasta red de socios legales para proporcionar estrategias de negocios e inversión. Especializada en la documentación de fuentes legales de fondos, servicios internacionales de impuestos para inversores extranjeros, servicios de contabilidad y asesoramiento sobre los efectos fiscales.

Más de 30 años de experiencia y especialización en Consultoría de Negocios, Contabilidad e Impuestos. Especialidades: Consultoría de negocios de tamaño pequeño y mediano, Contabilidad, planificación fiscal previa a la inmigración, contabilidad EB-5-Fuente de informes de fondos, estrategias de negocios para fines de inmigración.


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