STEM Summit

Keynote and Panelist Bios

Speaker Biographies

Alicia Branon

Southwest Florida Water Management District - Alicia Branon, Recruitment Program Manager

Alicia Branon is the Recruitment Program Manager for Southwest Florida Water Management District. She works within the District's Human Resources Office as a leader to the recruitment team. After joining the District in April 2016, Alicia developed and implemented the District's recruitment program. Alicia leads the District's recruitment and onboarding professionals, as well as overseeing recruitment and onboarding program management, talent acquisition, recruitment branding, university and college outreach coordination, compensation, job profiles and descriptions. Before joining the District, Alicia owned and managed a customer service based business for over ten years. Alicia has experience in leadership, program management, customer service, and human resources. Alicia earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Saint Leo University and holds an MBA in human resource administration and a bachelor's in business administration with a minor in marketing.


Chase Christensen

Jabil Circuit - Chase Christensen, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Innovation

Chase Christensen is the Jabil Director of Enterprise Architecture and Innovation.  Chase joined Jabil six year ago from the homebuilding and construction industry. Prior to Jabil and the homebuilding industry, Chase held Analyst and Program Management roles across industries such as manufacturing, construction, and utilities. Chase has over 17 years experience in the IT industry where he has held multiple leadership positions, such as a Senior Analyst for Systems Applications and Products deployment, Program Manager for global application deployments, and Senior Manager and Director for application delivery and support.


Pat Gehant

Gehant & Associates, LLC. - Pat Gehant, Managing Partner

Pat Gehant consults with business and education to identify and implement new methods for expanding the workforce. The strategies are based on the Talent Gap studies Pat conducted for economic development organizations throughout the I-4 Corridor and on collaborations with industry and education. Pat is the Co-Founder of the Exploratory Lab Boot Camps, which is based on the 2012 Hillsborough and Pinellas IT Talent Gap Study. The Boot Camp is a partnership with Tech Data, St. Petersburg College, Valpak, Agile Thought, and TBTF, and has graduated 84 college students, 79% of whom obtain a job or internship within 6 months of graduation from the program. Prior to her workforce activities, Pat was the IT Director at JWB for 14 years. She also has 25 years of experience building collaborative youth and adult programs to create social change. Pat holds a Bachelors and Master's degree in Social Science Education from USF and obtained a Certified Chief Information Officer certification through the FSU School of Government in 2009. Pat was a finalist in the 2009 TBTF CIO of the Year for the Tampa Bay region.


Tarah Harkins

Raymond James Financial - Tarah Harkins, Director of Campus Recruiting and Pipeline Development 

Tarah Harkins is a Human Resources and Public Relations professional specializing in crafting strategies and implementing successful campus recruiting and employee development programs. After graduating from the University of North Florida with a BA in English in 2003, Tarah began her HR career in corporate talent acquisition with CSX Transportation. Tarah spent several years as a Campus Recruiter, managing relationships with universities and developing a more cohesive campus strategy for operational and sales roles. While at CSX, Tarah was promoted into a Public Relations role as the Manager of Community Affairs & Safety where she was responsible for the development of public/private partnerships, community relations and strategic rail infrastructure projects. In 2013, Tarah transitioned into the Financial Services industry as the Program Manager for Campus Recruiting at EverBank where she built a campus recruiting program from the ground up. Prior to joining Raymond James as the Director of Campus Recruiting and Pipeline Development in February, Tarah led the Employee Relations Development Program at Bank of America.


Erica Lightfield

Citi - Erica Litchfield, Executive Recruiter

Erica graduated from St Michael's College in Vermont with a B.A. in Psychology. Erica has 20 years of Recruiting experience, 12 of which with Citi in Tampa, FL. Erica has recruited across several of Citi's business lines in North America and currently manages the Internship Recruitment, Campus Hiring initiatives & University Relations for Citi within the state of Florida. The Citi Tampa Internship Program received notoriety at Governor Rick Scott's 2016 Degrees to Jobs Summit, where Citi was recognized for breaking down hiring silos across business lines.


Carol McDaniel

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital - Carol McDaniel, Director of Talent Acquisition

As the Director of Talent Acquisition at Johns Hopkin's All Children's Hospital, Carol oversees, directs and manages a team of 10 in the recruitment process for one of the most progressive organizations in the healthcare industry to meet the needs of a demanding pediatric hospital under the Johns Hopkins Health System. After serving in the United States Air Force for ten years, Carol's experience in the Talent Acquisition Industry began in Olsten Staffing, Lucent Technologies as a corporate recruiter, and she worked for Bernard Hodes Group for 12 years. Her background combines extensive Human Resource consulting, recruiting, marketing and advertising expertise. Carol is a frequent speaker at HR and SHRM events, national programs and training seminars which focus on the areas of talent acquisition and talent communications. Carol is the Immediate Past President of the HR Florida State Council and serves on the Pasco County Economic Development Council.


Ryan McNulty

Tech Data - Ryan McNulty, Talent Acquisition Team 

Ryan McNulty is on the Talent Acquisition team with Tech Data. In his current role he is responsible for Tech Data's Internship Program and Campus Relations, in addition to recruitment for Field Sales, Integrated Supply Chain Services, and TDAgency which is Tech Data's Creative Marketing team. Prior to his current role Ryan was in Sales with Tech Data. Ryan has also worked for Enterprise Car Rental, the Walt Disney World Resort, and the Disney Vacation Club. Ryan has a Bachelor's in Sports Management/Marketing from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH and an M.B.A. from Indiana Wesleyan University with a concentration in Human Resource Management.


Debbi Stone

The Florida Aquarium - Debbi Stone, Vice President of Education 

Debbi Stone is Vice President of Education at The Florida Aquarium. Formerly a middle school teacher, she transitioned to informal education at Mystic Aquarium (CT) before relocating to Florida in 2000. Debbi is a frequent speaker at local, state, and national conferences and is Past-President of the Florida Marine Science Educators Association, an organization that awarded her the 2008 Service Award for outstanding contributions. Debbi serves on the Advisory Committee for the Tampa Bay STEM Network (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to promote PreK-16 STEM learning. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University (MD) and a Master of Arts in Teaching (Middle Grades Biology) from Quinnipiac University (CT). She is Vice-Chair of the Conservation Education Committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and, as such, is a national leader in informal learning in zoos and aquariums.