Chamber Staff

From visitors, convention & tourism support to small business resources, your Chamber of Commerce professional team is here to serve you.

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Corydon “Cory” Skeates, JD, FCCP, IOM, President

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 234 | cskeates@lakelandchamber.com

Cory was named President of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce in January of 2015. In his role, he is responsible for chamber leadership, government affairs and also oversees the administration of the Lakeland Chamber Foundation and BusinessVoice, Inc. Originally from Scottsville, NY, Cory moved to Central Florida in 1997 to attend Barry University School of Law in Orlando after receiving a B.A. in Political Science, Cum Laude, from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Lakeland Chamber, he served as President/CEO of the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce in Oviedo, FL (2007-2014), as a Senior Legislative Assistant to Florida State Representatives Attkisson (2001-2002), Kallinger (2002-2004), Quinones (2005) and Adams (2005-2006) and also consulted independently on several local, state and federal campaigns. Cory is married to his wife Shannon and together they have two daughters, Ella and Amelia.

Darla Sechrest Pettaway, Chief Development Officer

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 228  |  dsechrest@lakelandchamber.com

 

 

 

 

Jacqueline “Jackie” Johnson, Senior Vice President,
Lakeland Convention & Visitors Bureau

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 223 | jackiej@lakelandchamber.com

Jackie is a tourism industry executive with more than thirty (30) years of Florida public/private sector tourism marketing experience. She began her career as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Hilton Corporation but found her love of the tourism industry at the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. Her youngest son, Brian, was an All-American baseball player—and the 2012 John Olerud Award winner for the University of Florida—drafted in the first round in 2012 with the Boston Red Sox. Her daughter, Brooke, earned a full softball scholarship at the University of Florida and is currently in Physician’s Assistant School. Her oldest son Billy set homerun records at Flagler College and is currently in Sales Management in the beverage industry. Needless to say, she has spent her share of years on baseball and softball fields.

Terry Ottinger, Vice President, Investor Development

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 231 | tottinger@lakelandchamber.com

A third generation Lakeland native, Terry joined the staff of the Chamber in 2005 as Membership Director. With 17 years of experience as a Chamber member, Past Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors and small business owner, he brings a unique perspective to all investors and especially small business owners. Terry has set a goal to help reduce the astounding figure of 50% of small businesses that fail in the first year. Relationships and training from the Small Business Development Center and S.C.O.R.E. help educate first time and potential start-ups. With a strong business plan and in depth planning it is hoped more businesses will prosper.

Sally Chapman, Vice President, Finance & Administration

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 240 | schapman@lakelandchamber.com

Sally was born and raised in Columbus, GA, attended Columbus State University, and in 1971, moved to Lakeland where she met and married husband Steve. They were immediately transferred out west for three years, where they became proud parents of son Brannon. Sally always felt that Lakeland was the ideal place to raise a family, so they relocated back to Lakeland and soon welcomed daughter Ashley. Sally’s field of expertise is accounting and finance and when local division of Battle Ridge Companies closed its Florida operations in 1999, the position of Controller came open at the Chamber.  Sally has been a fixture at the Chamber ever since!  She loves traveling with friends and family, Buccaneer football and her little dog, Georgia!

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Sarah Breed, Director of Initiatives

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 230 | sbreed@lakelandchamber.com

Sarah is a Florida native (which explains why she loves the heat and humidity so much). She grew up in Fort Meade, not too far from Lakeland. Sarah attended Southeastern University where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. While at Southeastern, Sarah worked as a freelance reporter at The Ledger newspaper. She also occasionally freelances for Lake Mary-based Charisma magazine. In 2011, Sarah moved to Jerusalem, Israel, to become a high school literature teacher. It was there she met her husband, Josh (a California native), who was already working there as a government teacher. They married in 2012 and moved to Lakeland. Sarah immediately began working for the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce as an Administrative Assistant for the Member Relations and Public Policy divisions. In 2014, Sarah and Josh returned to Jerusalem for one year. They moved back to Florida in the summer of 2015. Sarah is now Director of Chamber Initiatives, which includes serving as the Program Coordinator for Leadership Lakeland. She is a member of The Lakeland Rotary Club and serves on the Polk Vision Talent Pipeline Team/CFDC Education Committee.

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Tora Miller, Director of Marketing & Communications

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 239 | tmiller@lakelandchamber.com

Tora was born in Indiana but has grown up in Lakeland since she was 3. She attended Southeastern University where she received her BS degree in Marketing and later an MBA with a concentration in executive leadership. Her professional experience before coming to the Chamber includes marketing, social media strategy, and sales work for Chick-fil-A and Coca-Cola. In 2013 she married her longtime best friend Kyle, and they reside in South Lakeland with their 5 fur children (3 dogs, Nestle, Ruger and Chewy, and 2 cats, Ruffles and Blu). They love Lakeland and everything the community has to offer. In her free time Tora enjoys competitive powerlifting and eating.

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Amber Aaron, Director of Programs & Events

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 222 | aaaron@lakelandchamber.com

Amber is a native of the Tampa Bay area. She has been a Chamber Professional for 15 years beginning her career with The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce and was part of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals Management team from 2010-2013. Amber’s Chamber career began when she was hired as an Information Specialist, at just 17 years old. From there, she has held many roles in Chamber event planning, programming, administration, retention and sales. She and her spouse Steven have a 6 year old girl named Sydney. They enjoy cooking, outdoor sports and spending time with family. Amber is excited to bring her extensive Chamber experience to our community and be a part of the Lakeland team.

Jazz Lyons, Investor Consultant

(863) 688-8551 Ext. | JLyons@lakelandchamber.com

Jazz is a Polk County native, a pretty cool aunt to a two-year-old niece, and a community activist. She graduated from Polk State College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She has professional experience in retail, sales and marketing, and non-profit sector. On her days off from work, you will catch her; hanging with colleagues, traveling, and shopping…of course!

 

Barbara Bennett, Executive Assistant to the President

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 233 | bbennett@lakelandchamber.com

In her role as Executive Assistant, Barbara provides administrative and general support for the executive office of the Chamber and works directly with the Board of Directors / Executive Committee and assists in coordinating events that fall under the executive office. Barbara was born and raised in Lakeland and is a 4th generation Polk Countian and Lakelander. She attended Lakeland Christian School and Florida Southern College where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in Communications. Barbara began her Chamber career in 1988, the same year she married her husband Robert. Both must have been a match made in Heaven as she been with each of them for 30 years! Barbara and Robert have two sons and three grandsons, as well as two fur children - a German Shepherd Dog named Baron and a tiger cat, named appropriately, Tiger. Barbara loves baseball (especially the Detroit Tigers!), reading, and traveling/cruising.

Rebecca Fortier, Visitor Information Specialist, Lakeland Convention & Visitors Bureau

(863) 688-8551 Ext. 229 | rfortier@lakelandchamber.com 

Rebecca has been a resident of Lakeland since 1999. Born in Indiana, Rebecca grew up in New Orleans and is a graduate of Loyola University, New Orleans, with a double major in Mass Communications and Drama. After graduation she moved to Chicago and worked for a national insurance consulting company in marketing. Additionally, her previous experience includes working for great hospitality brands such as The Fairmont, Four Seasons, IHG, and Hilton Worldwide. Locally, Rebecca has worked with both public and private entities planning events and securing corporate business at Four Points Sheraton, Fantasy of Flight, RP Funding Center (formerly The Lakeland Center), and Hilton Garden Inn - Lakeland. Before joining the Chamber, Rebecca launched a small business selling specialty cheeses at local farmers’ markets and appreciates all the hard work that small- and micro-businesses face. She also served as President of the Lakeland Hotel & Motel Association. She looks to strengthening her existing community relationships, and serving the greater Lakeland community through the support and organization of the Lakeland CVB.