Petting alligators was just one of the many unique opportunities Deana Pizzo and her classmates experienced en route to graduation as the Leadership Florida Cornerstone 39 Class!
The Leadership Florida Cornerstone program is an exclusive and intensive nine-month learning program featuring educational sessions on issues critical to Florida, enhancing leadership skills via talks from well-known experts, and opportunities to learn more about Florida’s history, demography, diversities, challenges, and opportunities.
There were also ample chances to enjoy all Florida has to offer including distinctive culinary experiences, adventures on the waters of the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean, glass blowing on the west coast, and even alligator encounters in Central Florida!
The annual program consists of a series of multi-day sessions throughout major regions in Florida including River Ranch, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tallahassee. The final session was hosted in Miami, bringing Deana back to her native South Florida.
“I really enjoyed learning more about commerce in different parts of the state and experiencing the unique aspects of each city. Miami was my favorite because of the Latin flare, and South Florida is home to me,” said Deana, Founder and CEO of I.T. Solutions of South Florida.
Highlights of her four days in Miami included meeting former Governor Jeb Bush, a featured speaker at the event. Deana also relished the dining experience at the Miami Culinary Institute on the Miami Dade College campus. At the culinary institute, the Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class enjoyed a wine tasting and culinary cookoff.
Leadership Florida brings together a host of leaders from around the state from various professions, philosophies, ethnicities, and geographical areas within Florida. The common thread for all Leadership program alumni is a commitment to their local community through service. Deana was one of just 55 community leaders selected from the entire state to participate. The program culminates with the Leadership Florida Annual Meeting at Universal Studios June 23 – 26, 2022.
“The best part of this entire experience was the people. Leadership Florida gave me the opportunity to meet and network with inspiring leaders from across the state. The immersive experiences helped me form deep professional and personal bonds with people from a variety of businesses and leadership perspectives,” Deana said. “It was also inspiring to me that our local group of seven representatives from the Gulfstream region included six women from Palm Beach County!”
In addition to Deana, the local Leadership Florida graduates include: Michele Jacobs, President and CEO at Economic Council of Palm Beach County; Michelle McGovern, Corporate Director of Government and Community Relations at Baptist Health South Florida; Hilda Gonzalez, Chief Risk Officer at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; Alexcia Cox, Deputy Chief Assistant to the State Attorney; and, Kalinthia Dillard, General Counsel and Deputy Inspector General at Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General.
Deana first learned about Leadership Florida when she was accepted into the countywide Leadership class. She is a 2014 Leadership Palm Beach County (LPBC) Alumna and has remained active within the nonprofit organization ever since. Deana invested in LPBC as a Community Partner and served in a leadership role on various committees. She currently serves on the Board of Governors for Leadership Palm Beach County.