Allison Imre, Owner/President/CEO of Grapevine Communications, knows what works – and what doesn’t – when getting your feet off the ground and soaring toward success as a business owner. In this interactive luncheon, she leads a power-packed panel of local seasoned entrepreneurs, new business owners and experts in executive roles to discuss the risks, rewards and realities of running a booming business on the Suncoast.
Owner of HH Staffing
Darrin has spent nearly three decades in Global Human Resource (HR) positions across many diverse industries while working in all the major functional areas of HR (i.e., Talent Acquisition, Compensation/Benefits, Organizational Development, Talent Management, and Diversity & Inclusion). Darrin has worked all levels of HR throughout his career, from HR Generalist/HR Specialist to Plant HR Leader, to Regional HR Leader all the way to CHRO at Bridgestone as well as senior level HR positions with other highly recognizable companies such as Charles Schwab. Darrin’s love and passion for recruiting top talent is what led him to leave the corporate world behind to pursue his passion for helping people in the private sector. HH Staffing is a 32 year old, locally owned and operated, staffing agency headquartered in Sarasota, FL. with offices in Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale. Darrin earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While attending college at Washburn, Darrin participated in football for the Ichabod Football Team being elected Team Captain his senior year. Darrin went on to earn his Master’s Degree from the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma in Industrial Organizational Psychology.
President of Gecko's Hospitality Group
As the President of a locally owned group of nine restaurants and a legendary local tavern, Michael Quillen is involved in every aspect of their operation. Classically trained in a variety of corporate (Steak & Ale Corporation), franchise and family-owned boutique restaurants, Quillen’s expertise in restaurant management combines a tough work ethic, strong business acumen and a healthy dose of elbow grease. This robust operating style enables his businesses to not only thrive during the tough times but consistently earn “Best Of” awards in multiple categories with his guests. Quillen serves on numerous local Boards including the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and Historic Spanish Point. Quillen is a founder and Chair of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Charitable Foundation and a graduate of Leadership Florida. He is also past-president of The Argus Foundation, a public policy community foundation which harnesses business leadership for effective community building and the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, where he currently serves on the State Board. Quillen attended State College of Florida on a tennis scholarship and studied History and Political Science at New College in Sarasota, FL.
Associate VP of Communications & Marketing State College of Florida
Jamie M. Smith has more than 20 years of integrated marketing and communications experience and currently serves as Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing for State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) where she leads an award-winning team of 10. Jamie and her team have successfully helped SCF, the region’s first and largest higher education institution, launch new programs such as the 26 West Center: a gateway of innovation combining an entrepreneurial ecosystem, coding academy, creative studio and academic partnership center. Smith holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management and Marketing, is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, graduate of the 2018 Gulf Coast Leadership Institute and Leadership Florida. She is the recipient of SCF’s Innovation Grant and Awards of Excellence, and her creative direction has been recognized with numerous state and national awards, including the prestigious Telly Award.
Owner/President/CEO of Grapevine Communications
This Kansas City native, and graduate of the esteemed University of Kansas School of Communications, did not leave college knowing that entrepreneurship was in the cards. After bouncing around from Colorado to Mexico, New Orleans to Lake Tahoe, Allison moved to Sarasota in 2004. Shortly after, she began a long tenure with the largest media company in the country. Over a decade in corporate life created a desire to gain independence and spread her wings as a leader and innovator. In 2017 Allison acquired Grapevine Communications, an organization with 15 years in the game and full team of dynamic, creative-thinkers. In four years under her leadership Grapevine has grown revenue over 400%, expanded its workforce by 80% and donated over $750,000 in pro-bono and in-kind services to local nonprofits.
Gold Table Sponsor
Our Commitment to Safety
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance is committed to the health and safety of its members. As we move forward in a return to regular events, the Alliance is monitoring and following the latest direction as outlined by local, state, and federal officials. To ensure the wellbeing of yourself and fellow members, we recommend all event attendees review and follow the latest guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html