Moderator- Attorney and Partner at Blank Rome Law Firm
Michelle Gervais is an Attorney and Partner with Blank Rome Law Firm, who co-chairs the firm’s Sports Law practice and advises high-profile athletes, celebrities, and executives, as well as businesses in the sports, entertainment, and finance industries in complex disputes that involve the intersection of business and family law matters. Known as a “fixer” across several legal disciplines, Michelle handles highly delicate matters protecting her clients from serious financial and reputational harm.
For select professional athletes and executives, Michelle helps them handle a variety of family law matters including dissolutions of marriage, domestic violence, paternity, custody, support, and pre-nuptial, post-nuptial, and cohabitation agreements. She also assists her clients and their businesses with other risk management issues affecting their brand, their company, and their professional legacy.
Women in Professional Sports Panel
Valspar Championship Tour Director
Tracy West is the tournament director for the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship. In her role she leads the strategic and overall management efforts for this official PGA TOUR professional golf tournament, played at Innisbrook Golf Resort. The event is the largest signature sporting event in Pinellas County, annually attracting over 130,000 patrons, 350 corporate partners and 2,000 volunteers and raising over $2 million annually for 80 regional charities.
She is co-founder, executive vice president and partner of Pro Links Sports since 1993 and is responsible for the company’s PGA TOUR division with the general oversight of the PGA TOUR’s Wells Fargo Championship and 3M Open and various other company projects. She has been involved in management of 65+ pro tournaments throughout her career including tournament management nationwide for PGA TOUR Champions Tour events and U.S. Senior Opens.
Sr. VP Marketing & Social Responsibility, Orlando Magic
Shelley became the first woman to be President of a G-League the Lakeland Magic in 2016, and the only woman in charge of an entire team in the league as a whole. As President of the Lakeland Magic, G League affiliate of the Orlando Magic, for more than three years, she was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business operations.
Wilkes spearheaded naming rights deals, arena renovations, corporate partner signings and innovation in ticket sales. She led several of the G League team's most significant accomplishments, including the naming rights deal with the City of Lakeland to rebrand the former Lakeland Center to the RP Funding Center
She rejoined the Magic in July 2020 as senior vice president of marketing and social responsibility. In her role, she oversees overall brand strategy, fan and community engagement--and the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.
COO & State Referee Administrator, TV Sports Analyst, Sports Attorney & FIFA Referee
As a past NCAA collegiate soccer athlete and former FIFA referee, Christina has spent the past 15 years working and performing at the highest professional, international, and collegiate levels of the soccer game among the elite players of the world.
Her television broadcasting work includes covering the 2022 Women’s Euros for ESPN, currently covering European Football (UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Serie A) for CBS Sports, the 2019 Women's World Cup for Fox Sports and FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Christina also serves as the State Referee Administrator (SRA) and COO for Florida Soccer Referees, US Soccer’s certifying organization for all Florida soccer officials. She combines her officiating, legal and writing skills as a journalist for The Athletic and CBS Sports covering referees, the laws of the game, and legal issues in sports.
Founder of SPARQ Advocacy, Christina focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to work by means of the “athlete mindset”. As co-owner of Scorch Fitness, the Scorch On Demand and The Deadlift Effect mobile apps, Christina focuses on providing sports science and strength training to the everyday person to permit them to tap into their everyday athlete and burn off what holds them back in their personal and professional lives.
World Champion Sharp Shooter & Member of Team USA
Among the youngest generation of champion Winchester shooters is Dania Vizzi, who has been claiming titles in junior, national, and world events for years, though just 23 years of age. In 2014 she became the Junior World Champion in her specialty, the sport of skeet, and in 2017, shooting with Team USA in Moscow, the undisputed World Champion, the only woman to have held both titles.
Winchester announced that Dania had signed on to continue her meteoric competitive career with Winchester Ammunition, as well as becoming an official brand ambassador.
Team Winchester’s Dania Vizzi ascended to the center of the podium at a World Cup tournament of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF)—a qualification path to participation in the Olympic shooting events—in Lima, Peru, which took place March 27 to April 7 2022. Vizzi’s stellar performance resulted in two gold medals—women’s skeet, beating out a fellow American shooter by a single target. Then she and her women’s team skeet squad went on to defeat the Italian team decisively in the final.
Seven Marketing & PR
Carolyn Smith Jones
Seven Marketing is a national strategic marketing and public relations agency. Their business focus is to get maximum media coverage, brand awareness and brand exposure for their clients which include national corporations, business owners, professional athletes, published authors, and high-profile CEOs.
Carolyn Smith Jones, Founder, is a sales, marketing, and public relations professional with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality, health care, sports, entertainment, and franchise industries. Carolynn started her career as an on-air radio personality for NFL Fox Sports where she covered NFL pre-season camps and side-line reporting; interviewing NFL players and coaches.
A graduate of UNF and Hall of Famer in NCAA Women’s Basketball, she continues to emcee the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four “Tourney Town” as one of her passion projects.
Keynote Speaker, Investor & Franchise Owner
Michelle was born and raised in Tampa, FL. She began her career, in 2001, at Comprehensive Pain Management Partners (CPMP), where she still serves as an Executive Director today. She knew to have the freedom, as well as the finances, to be able to make an impact in her community she would have to work hard, invest intelligently, and have flexibility in her schedule.
She stepped back from her daily role at CPMP in 2014 and purchased three Orangetheory Fitness franchises in Atlanta, GA. She also was a partner in opening two Redline Athletics franchises in 2018 and 2019 in Atlanta, GA. By investing in new ventures, creating opportunities of employment, and her pride in business ownership, Michelle was able to accept the nomination as Governor of Soroptimist International’s Southern Region in 2020. Most recently, Michelle opened RMD Development, LLC with her sister, Dianna Jones, a property holding and development company.
Her continued efforts can be seen serving alongside her local Soroptimist club in Tampa, nationally, and internationally to help both women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential.
Presented By: WISE Tampa Bay
WISE — Women in Sports and Events — is the leading voice and resource for women in the business of sports. A national non-profit organization, WISE Tampa Bay was founded in 2018 and carries out the WISE mission by facilitating meaningful industry connections while creating a safe, inclusive and supportive environment for their members. With a strong emphasis on education, mentorship and networking, WISE Tampa Bay hosts a wide variety of events and initiatives throughout the year that strengthen and impact the local sports and entertainment community.
Embarc Collective, Presenter of Women in VC Panel
Embarc Collective, a non-profit organization, helps Tampa Bay’s startup talent build bold, scalable, thriving companies. Our staff of executive advisors and function-specific experts deliver individualized support to nearly 150 tech and tech-enables startups.
Embarc's coaching staff is made up of vetted startup operators who helped high-growth tech companies grow. Our job is to help companies unearth blind spots in your business, push your assumptions, and share best practices. Not being volunteers, our coaching staff is experienced, consistent, and can help you stay accountable to your goals.
Moderator Women in Venture Capital
Allie is the VP of Platform at Embarc Collective, Florida’s fastest-growing startup hub, located in downtown Tampa. Previously, Allie led Community for venture capital firm Work-Bench and business development for angel investing network 37 Angels in New York City. She started her career in marketing and partnerships for Tim Draper’s pre-accelerator program in San Francisco, Draper University. She is a graduate of Smith College and currently serves as a Senior Venture Partner for Republic.
Women in Venture Capital/Private Equity Panel
Managing Partner of Golden Seeds
Kathryn is Managing Partner and Investment Committee member of venture capital firm Golden Seeds Fund 2 which invests in U.S. based women led technology and healthcare companies along with select tech enabled consumer services and products companies. In its 18th year, the top 5 ranked Golden Seeds angel investment group and affiliated funds have invested $165 million in over 200 early stage companies which have raised approximately $1.7 billion in additional financing rounds.
Prior to her work in venture capital Kathryn was a senior executive in international commercial and investment banking, most recently at the $3 trillion asset global financial services company BNP Paribas where she launched and led several businesses in structured finance and public bonds. During the course of her 3 decade career in banking Kathryn was posted in New York, London, and Paris and developed business in the U.S. and all other worldwide geographic markets. A long time New Yorker, Kathryn currently resides with her husband in St. Petersburg, FL. She is a dual citizen of the U.S. and France.
CEO of New Market Partners
Joy launched the first of 14 ventures at age 17. Nine successful acquisitions and two IPO’s later, she exercises her passion for building high-value, scalable businesses as the founder and Chairwoman of New Market Partners where she has helped launch and fund 96 companies. Joy’s most recent venture The Prowess Group assists founders in building valuable companies has worked with over 1000 founders to amplify their leadership, build scalable businesses, transform valuations, and experience highly successful exits
Having successfully climbed the corporate ladder, achieved entrepreneurial success, she claimed her spot on several public and private boards of directors and proved she can win at the VC game, establishing her own fund and as a limited partner in two prominent venture funds. Joy is one of the few women to shatter the glass ceiling and claim her spot at the helm and in the boardroom.
Joy has led public and private companies from bootstrap through venture and IPO, raising over $360M in capital and generating more than $15B in revenue. She has played key roles in the design and development software and professional service offerings for 20 years with the foremost companies in the world. As a C-level executive her experience extends to industry leaders Apple, Akamai, and CA Technologies, where she was responsible for over $2B in revenue per year and 17 acquisitions. Joy has also founded and successfully exited business in the supply chain, food service, logistics, professional and business service industries.
Partner at Avance Investments
Gretchen is a Partner at Avance Investment Management, LLC, and is responsible for sourcing investment opportunities both for the firm and for portfolio companies. Ms. Perkins brings over 20 years of sourcing and business development experience, having created and implemented successful business development organizations and programs at her two prior firms: Huron Capital and Long Point Capital, in addition to many prior years in a variety of financial services and consulting roles.
She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Gretchen has been an active member of the Association for Corporate Growth for over twenty years, having held multiple board and leadership positions in the ACG at the chapter and national levels. Gretchen Chaired ACG’s national conference in 2022. Ms. Perkins is also involved in multiple non-profit endeavors, including the following organizations: Endeavor Detroit, Detroit Police Athletic League, United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan, and 100 Businesses Who Care. Ms. Perkins resides in Florida, has two grown children, and is an avid Michigan Wolverine fan!
Partner with TGC Impact
Emily Halpern is Co-Founder of TGC Impact, a female led investment firm providing growth capital to female and minority founders based in the Southern region of the U.S.
Her career spans over 20 years of her forward thinking and focused efforts in lower middle-market investing, diversity initiatives, and business development both on the private equity and institutional investor side.
She is the founder of VUE Partners, a firm assisting deal makers with identifying capital partners for funding opportunities, as well working with founder and family owned businesses in the lower middle market space with capital introductions. Her passion for diversity includes advising the Philadelphia Entrepreneur Center and an Atlanta based firm both focused on providing access to capital for female and minority led businesses.
Prior, Ms. Halpern was on the investment team for Brightwood Capital Advisors, a New York based firm now managing over $4B in assets providing lending and equity solutions focused on the lower and middle market segment. This included their two SBIC funds, one of them solely focused on investing in women, minority and veteran owned companies.
Emily began her career at Nations Bank Syndications, later with JPMorgan Asset Management, and assumed a leadership role thereafter with RSM Private Equity Services in the Southeast region. She is recognized for being a collaborative partner, providing expertise and business support to companies and teams as they execute on strategic growth plans.
We are excited for you to join us!
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