LaFern Batie

LaFern Batie, MBA works with leaders to help them maximize their potential through effective leadership, developing compelling strategies, excellent execution and creating the exceptional experience. As CEO of The Batie Group, a boutique management consulting firm, LaFern is committed to creating practical, high-impact organizational solutions. With a strong corporate and civic leadership track record, the value LaFern provides to leaders – including small business, nonprofit and Fortune 500 executives – helps them deliver what they promise to their customers through people, processes, products and services. Clients value the results her business strategy, leadership consulting, corporate training and professional speaking competencies help them achieve. With accounting, operations and human resources experience, she is a visionary leader with high business acumen and a commitment to excellence. In addition to extensive professional coach training, LaFern is a published author and professional speaker. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Salisbury University, Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maryland and a leadership certificate from Harvard University. She holds the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designations.  

Lawrence Hamilton

Lawrence W. Hamilton, MPA, Ed.S., SPHR/CCP, was most recently Senior Vice President, Human Resources-Worldwide, a corporate officer and member of the Executive Committee at Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater, Florida, a $20+ billion, 11,000 associate worldwide technology distributor. Mr. Hamilton joined Tech Data in 1993 as Vice President, Human Resources and was named Senior Vice President, Human Resources in 1996. Mr. Hamilton departed Tech Data in June 2006 to pursue his board membership and HR consulting interests. Presently, he is an Executive Coach and Adjunct Faculty with the Center for Creative Leadership affiliate at Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL.

Prior to joining Tech Data in 1993, Mr. Hamilton served in a variety of human resource management and executive level positions with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in Evansville, Indiana, New York, New York and Largo, Florida during the period of 1985-1993. Between 1991 and 1993, he was Vice President, Human Resources and Administration at Linvatec, a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb in Largo, Florida. Prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mr. Hamilton held professional positions with Monsanto Company, INROADS/St. Louis and the Civil Service Commission between 1980-1985.

Mr. Hamilton received a BA degree from Fisk University (cum laude), where he was an alumni member of the University’s Board of Trustees, 1979-83, and a MPA, Labor Policy degree from The University of Alabama (high honors) where he was an American Political Science Association funded Fellow and also where, today, he is an occasional Visiting Lecturer at the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. He is a life time certified Senior Professional in Human Resources- SPHR (Society of Human Resource Management) and has received the “CCP” designation (Certified Compensation Professional) from World at Work (formerly the American Compensation Association). He also completed the Harvard University, School of Business “Strategic Human Resources” course.


Gail Golman Holtzman

Gail Golman Holtzman is a Principal in the Tampa, Florida, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Ms. Holtzman has been practicing law for more than 30 years and has substantial experience defending a broad range of federal and state labor and employment claims, complaints and charges, including those alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation/whistleblower, wage/hour, breach of employment contract claims and claims involving restrictive covenants and business torts.

Ms. Holtzman focuses on problem solving and partners with clients to minimize risks through counseling, training, and preparation of policies and agreements. In addition, Ms. Holtzman is certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a Circuit Civil Mediator and serves as a mediator. Also, she has been selected by her peers, as well as her clients, to conduct workplace investigations.

Ms. Holtzman is the Immediate Past Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Section.  In addition, Ms. Holtzman has been elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Indira Lakshmanan

Indira Lakshmanan, the Newmark chair in journalism ethics at Poynter and a Boston Globe columnist, has covered coups, campaigns and revolutions, reporting from the US and 80 countries for the Globe, Bloomberg, the International New York Times, NPR, PBS and Politico Magazine. She traveled for seven years with Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and interviewed Clinton more than a dozen times for radio and TV. Indira wrote a “Letter from Washington” column for the international edition of The New York Times and Bloomberg. She has guest-hosted national public radio shows including “1A,” “The Diane Rehm Show,” “Here and Now,” “Weekend Edition” and “The Takeaway,” and is a frequent TV contributor. 

At Poynter, Indira is spurring thought leadership on restoring trust in media across the political spectrum through transparency and accountability. She commissioned the first Poynter Media Trust Surbey, and has convened leading national political editors, journalists and media critics in Washington to discuss the importance of free, fair, nonpartisan media in truth-telling to hold officials accountable and sustain democracy. 

Before reporting from Washington, Indira spent a dozen years as a foreign correspondent, covering the Bosnian War and the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan and interviewing and profiling leaders including Benazir Bhutto, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. She embedded with sea pirates in the Philippines, Maoist rebels in Nepal, and Khmer Rouge holdouts in Cambodia. Her reporting exposed child labor in Bolivia, illegal logging in Brazil, corruption in China, and helped end the incarceration of innocent children in Nepal.

Indira graduated from Harvard University and did graduate studies at Oxford University. Her awards include a Nieman journalism fellowship.

Susan MacManus

Distinguished Professor, Department of Government and International Affairs.
(College of Arts & Sciences)
The leading expert on politics in Florida, MacManus is nationally known for her expert and incisive commentary on public opinion and intergenerational politics. She routinely designs and analyzes surveys of public opinion on a wide range of issues for various local governments, think tanks, and the media. MacManus has authored and co-authored numerous political books, including co-authoring “Politics in States and Communities,” the nation’s leading textbook on state and local politics, with mentor Thomas R. Dye.