CEO Organization Donates $12,000 for Valencia College Scholarships

ORLANDO – The CEO Leadership Forums, a group of Orlando business leaders, will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Mar. 1 by awarding Valencia College a check for $12,000, which will be used to provide student scholarships.

The award event, which will bring together more than 25 business leaders and Valencia College officials, will be held at Valencia College’s West Campus on March 1 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The event will be held in the college’s Special Event Center, in Building 8. Valencia’s West Campus is located at 1800 S. Kirkman Road, Orlando.

“We are very excited about our partnership and working relationship with CEO Leadership Forums and its dynamic sponsor team,” said Nasser Hedayat, Valencia’s assistant vice president of career and workforce education. “In addition to student scholarships, the Forums’ guests and their companies can provide opportunities for student internships and part-time jobs, serve as guest speakers for classes or serve as board members for Valencia’s new business administration program advisory council.”

The CEO Leadership Forums is an educational organization that mentors middle-market CEOs in Central Florida and provides scholarships to students who will fill the needs of those participating companies.

Founded by CFO Services firm Nperspective, in collaboration with CenterState Bank of Florida and Fringe Benefit Plans, CPA firm Grennan Fender, law firm Swann Hadley, wealth management firm Griffis & MacClary, recruiting company REMX and Risk Management Company IOA.

Geoffrey Gallo, senior vice president of Grennan Fender, facilitates the group. “It’s an educational experience where we utilize different methods to engage participants, including stand-up presentations, interactive panels and break-out sessions,” Gallo said. According to Gallo, the target industries in Orlando are construction, healthcare and manufacturing/distribution with revenues between $2 million and $70 million.

“The idea here is to get business owners in an environment where they are learning, connecting, and ultimately, through our post-event process, engage in a 360-degree diagnostic on the company which not only identifies business planning action steps, but also can potentially reveal opportunities for part-time jobs for students,” Gallo added.

“Ultimately, what we want to come out of this is a direct connection of the small-midsize business owners in the various communities in Florida with some of the state colleges and universities that are participating as part of this program, not just as potential employers,” Gallo said. “I have witnessed close mentor relationships between participating CEOs and college students emerge out of this process, an extremely mutually rewarding experience for both.”

“The CEO Leadership Forum’s partnership with Valencia College has been beneficial for all. The attendees receive great content to help them focus on the future of their business,” said Chris Cucci of CenterState Bank. Doug Foreman, president of Fringe Benefit Plans noted that “Valencia students can connect with successful business leaders while cultivating opportunities for internships. Sponsor partners like us within CEO Leadership Forums are able to give back to participating businesses and students alike.”

Attendee and event speaker Jim Tharp, CEO of Tharp Plumbing Systems, Inc. said, “When someone believes that they have learned all of it, they are surely cutting themselves short and they could be within six months of being replaced by something better. As owners, we need to be sponges and should never stop learning. “