Competitive Edge Series

Here is a listing of some of our more recent Competive Edge events.

Strategic Planning is Killing your Strategy

Wed., Feb. 12, 2020

11:30am - 1:30pm

Early Learning Coalition Hillsborough County

What is your company’s DNA, or its driving force? What strategy will lead you to supremacy in your “sandbox”? In this workshop, Mark Thompson will provide an in-depth look at concepts that have helped companies such as Caterpillar, Sykes Enterprises, Ball Corporation, Sun Hydraulics, Henkel, Fed Ex Freight, and hundreds of others achieve long-term competitive advantage.

During this workshop you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn how you can guarantee total buy-in and commitment from your management team.
  • Assess why you should create your own strategy and not outsource your strategic thinking to a consultant.
  • Determine if your strategic planning is killing your strategy.

Featured Speaker

Mark Thompson – Senior Partner, Decision Processes International

Mark Thompson is a Senior Partner with Decision Processes International and has been for 25 years. He is involved with all facets of their technologies such as Strategic Thinking, Competitive Analysis, Strategic Product Innovation, and Problem Solving and Decision Making.

Mark specializes in developing and managing corporate strategies. He directs the development of innovative business strategies by combining broad experience, insight, creativity, and analytical methods. Additionally, he has led over 300 strategy projects in numerous industries such as utility, telecommunications, manufacturing, financial, oil drilling, construction, and the defense industry.

Small Business Champions

Tue., Nov. 12, 2019

11:30am - 1:30pm

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Competitive Edge event features a panel discussion with executives from the Chamber’s 2019 Small Business of the Year award-winning companies. They will highlight what makes their company successful and share their personal thoughts on the following:

  • Management philosophy;
  • Major risks of starting your own business;
  • Key business values;
  • Challenges and adversities;
  • How they recruit staff; and
  • Other tips and recommendations for success.

Moderated by 2019 SBOY Co-Presenting Sponsor, Richard Huckaby, Warren Averett


Jack Barrett
First Citrus Bank
Winner – 51–250 Employees

Kendra Conze
Health Mutt
Winner – 5–20 Employees

Tim Hall
Winner – Startup Company

Gregory Zolkos
Atlas Professional Services
Winner – 21–50 Employees

Lead or Get Out of the Way! Let’s Take Your Leadership to the Next Level

Tue., Oct. 15, 2019

11:30am - 1:30pm

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

Why is it that some people always seem to get the breaks and opportunities while others get overlooked? It could be they do a better job of setting themselves up to be in the right place at the right time with the right skills. Everyone has an opportunity to be a leader, even a great leader. Whether it is taking control of your career, owning your actions, or using your current skills and talents to your advantage, this workshop will touch on several highlights to help sharpen your leadership saw.

During this workshop you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn how simplicity and common sense plays an essential role in developing your talents and using them to create a platform for success.
  • Adapt, migrate, or perish — the only three choices you have.
  • Understand how honesty, integrity, and humility set the stage for your actions.
  • Expand your ideas through innovative techniques and planning.

Featured Speaker

Gary Vien – Chief Administrative Officer, Suncoast Credit Union

Gary Vien is an eternal optimist, finding lessons in leadership everywhere he looks. He has been fortunate to work throughout the United States in the entertainment industry with Six Flags and Busch Gardens as a senior leader for almost 40 years and has recruited talent internationally. He then found additional purpose and opportunities within the Credit Union movement at Florida’s largest, Suncoast Credit Union. Vien serves on many community and national volunteer boards in various leadership positions including the HCC Foundation and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Gary is the author of the upcoming book Lead or Get Out of the Way! Eight Powerful Principles to Take Your Leadership to the Next Level.

Lunch Sponsor

Food for this event is generously being provided by Outback Steakhouse.

Over The Horizon Leadership – A CEO’s Perspective

Tue., Sep. 17, 2019

11:30am - 1:30pm

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

Are you looking to improve your leadership skills? You may be thinking about leading your team more effectively. You may want to take on a leadership position. You may be considering a community leadership role. This workshop goes well beyond just leading a group. Over the horizon leaders have an intellectual curiosity that compels them to look beyond what is, and focus on the possibilities.

During this workshop you will have the opportunity to:

  • Challenge your perspective on leading.
  • Think beyond the horizon.
  • Assess your strengths and opportunities as a leader.
  • Be a leader that helps Tampa Bay prepare for a thriving future.

Featured Speaker

Brian Butler – President and CEO, Vistra Communications

Brian Butler is President and CEO of Vistra Communications (Vistra), an integrated marketing communications agency. Brian is a combat decorated, retired career military officer. Prior to founding Vistra, Brian provided Strategic Communications counsel to senior leaders at U.S. Central Command and served as a policy director on the Homeland Security Council (HSC) in the White House. He also served as a Spokesperson for an Army Secretary and on the Communications Team for a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.

An active and avid community supporter, Brian serves on the Executive Board of Directors of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, WEDU Public Broadcast Television, Sunshine State Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO), Minority Enterprise Development Corporation, Visit Tampa Bay Advisory Board. Brian also serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council and serves as CEO Mentor to the Principal of Mort Elementary School.

Brian was recently honored as the 2018 Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Leader of the Year.