Kristen is a central Florida native, hailing from Plant City and relocated to Lakeland in 2012. She came to the Chamber after 3 years at Florida Polytechnic University, where she supported fundraising operations, events, and database administration. She has almost ten years of progressive experience within organizational operations providing assistance with data analytics, prospect identification, CRM database administration, event logistics, and strategic planning. She is completing her degree at the University of Central Florida in August 2022 with a concentration in Hospitality Management. While at UCF, she focused her coursework within tourism marketing, destination management, and hospitality business operations, and completed internships at the Reunion Resort in Kissimmee and the TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Lakeland.
If she’s not at the Chamber, you can most likely find her chowing down at a local eatery with her husband Joe and son Nolan or parading her rescue dogs, Mimi and Callie, through the downtown farmers curb market on Saturdays. Wave hello if you see her out, she loves to meet new people! She is very excited to be a part of the Chamber and to promote Lakeland as the ultimate central Florida destination for visitors, residents, and businesses.
Emily joins the Chamber with over 6 years of experience in marketing and graphic design. She is responsible for disseminating information from the Chamber and about the Chamber, its members, programs, and services as well as advising Chamber Management and Staff on public relations issues to ensure a consistent level of quality and service to all Chamber departments and communications efforts. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design from Keiser University.
Shannon Powers is a Lakeland native. She graduated from the University of Central Florida where she received a Bachelor’s in Event Management and a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management. After graduation, she returned to Lakeland and continued her education at Polk State College receiving a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. When not at work, Shannon enjoys playing with her puppy or visiting Disney with friends and family. Shannon is excited to bring her experience in customer service, sales, and event management to the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.
Jon Miller is an award-winning marketing strategist who serves Advocacy and Brand clients nationwide using data analytics to target unique audiences and develop campaigns to grow influence and awareness for their product or group. He serves as his company’s expert in Higher Education & Healthcare issues. Jon is an appointee of Governor Ron DeSantis to the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors, the state’s principal workforce policy organization.
Miller has served as the Director of External Affairs for Keiser University where he managed Federal and State Government Relations coordinating legislative relationships and priorities for Florida’s largest private not-for-profit university. He also was the university’s political expert frequently appearing on tv and radio. Jon was previously elected as the Vice Mayor/Commissioner in the City of Casselberry and served as the Field Director for U.S. Congressman Ric Keller. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors for the Florida Telemedicine Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida, Salvation Army’s Family Focus Program as well as the President of a Rotary Club.
My career covers a wide range of experiences, but at its core has been building trust and rapport with people. This includes K-12 youth, community organizations, university faculty, student, staff, and high-level leadership. I have served students to increase their college and career readiness, educate on the importance of students gaining essential lifelong competencies. Community schooling and career readiness/workforce development are also significant components of my dissertation. As a first-generation student from a working- class background, I know from personal experience many of the challenges facing today’s students.
My time teaching Social Science courses at the secondary level inspired me to develop lifelong learning skills that are transferable for underserved populations. My current work and passion for the youth in my community drive me to pursue my doctorate in Teacher Education from the University of South Florida.
Throughout my career, I have excelled at project management, program evaluation, partnership development, assessment, event planning, fiscal management, recruitment, partner support, student orientation, strategic planning and collaborated with high-level business leadership on success initiatives. My work has built trust between community stakeholders and business colleagues for mutually beneficial initiatives. My personal and professional motivation stems from bringing my skills to an organization, navigating through complexity with a solution-focused mindset, and enhancing outcomes for all stakeholders.
Monica has lived in Lakeland for most of her life and graduated from Lakeland Senior High School. She briefly moved away during her Junior High years to Oxford, MS, where she returned to attend the University of Mississippi after high school.
Monica was the former Executive Director of the Greater Mulberry Chamber of Commerce. During her four-year employment with the Chamber, she wore many hats, gained a lot of experience, and made many friends that are still a part of her daily life. Monica has several years of experience in Outside Sales and loves meeting new people in the community.
Monica is very close to her family and values their quality time. She enjoys traveling with her Mom and sister, anywhere from a long weekend at St. Pete or all the way to Italy. She doesn’t have any children, but she has been referred to as ‘The Crazy Cat Lady”, which she doesn’t consider a bad thing. She also has three God-Children who she is very proud of and loves watching them grow into extraordinary adults.
You may see her around town, enjoying all that Lakeland has to offer with her Mom, Kathy, or her life-long local friends. She tries to make the most of her free time by shopping at the local boutiques, enjoying the downtown eateries, or taking advantage of the Lakeland nightlife. Oh, and if you see her wearing a Tennessee Vols shirt, don’t engage…it will just make her start to sing Rocky Top.
Faith Carr is originally from Arkansas where she attended Arkansas State University and obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology. Faith moved to Lakeland to be close to family and in hopes of new and exciting experiences. She is very excited to get to know Lakeland more and connected with our local businesses through her work with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.
Born and raised in Elko, NV, Whitney then ventured to Lake Havasu City, AZ, and then moved to Bloomington, IL, before finding her way to Lakeland, FL, where she now calls home. Her life here in Swan City revolves around her husband and two kids. In her free time, Whitney enjoys running, reading, and spending time with friends and family. Whitney is excited to bring her dedication to excellence and attention to detail to the Lakeland Chamber.
My career started in the Hospitality business after earning a degree in Hotel Management from UNLV. Soon after, my path took a different direction as my husband and I relocated to NW, Florida. In trying to find an occupation, I became highly motivated to manage a real estate office and soon became a successful associate Broker. A decade later, we opened a brokerage specializing in investment properties and second homes on Florida's "Forgotten Coast." In 2015, we decided to relocate to central Florida and discovered the charming and friendly city of Lakeland. We have loved our time here, and finding a place at the Chamber to promote and engage the public to know what the city offers is a great gift and privilege at this stage of my career.
Florida SBDC at the University of South Florida - Muma College of Business
Greg Manning opened his first retail location in Lakeland, Fla., more than 30 years ago. While cash flow planning and analysis, and inventory productivity were constants in his businesses, he experienced virtually all aspects of starting, growing, and closing a small business over the course of 30 years. He negotiated dozens of leases and designed and implemented various marketing plans. With more than 250 employees, Manning dealt with various human resources issues. In addition to his operating career, Manning was also involved in the financing side of business as the president of the board of directors of Crown Managers Acceptance Corporation. The company had a facility of $150 million dollars to lend via term loans and working capital loans, providing a lifeline of funding to a multitude of retail customers. Manning earned bachelor’s degrees in finance and economics from the University of Florida.