FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard has been selected to receive a prestigious 40 Under 40 Award in economic development, the only award of its kind recognizing young talent among economic development professionals.

Dennard was one of 40 leaders chosen internationally from among more than 170 qualified nominees in the awards program. The program was managed by Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing, and Jorgenson Consulting, a national firm serving economic and community development organizations.

“The 40 Under 40 Award is designed to identify the economic development profession’s rising stars. These young economic development professionals represent the future of our industry,” said Julie Curtin, president of DCI’s economic development practice. “The selection committee had a challenge selecting only 40 winners, but we are delighted by the smarts, initiative and game-changing mindset represented in these finalists.”

The award recipients were announced Sunday at a reception held to coincide with the International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit in Fort Lauderdale. Today, Dennard will deliver a keynote address on creating economic opportunities through talent-driven strategies to more than 400 North American leaders in economic development at the annual summit.

“Florida is fortunate to have an exceptional leader in Michelle Dennard helping to shape our state’s policies and investments in workforce and economic development,” said CareerSource Florida Board Chairman Kevin Doyle, founding partner of Wexford Strategies. “Michelle’s focus on strengthening partnerships and collaboration among business, workforce, education and economic development partners is making a significant difference in ensuring our workforce is prepared to meet current and future demands.”

Dennard was appointed to her current state leadership role by the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors in 2017. She joined the state policy organization in November 2014 as Vice President of Policy. An attorney and member of The Florida Bar, she has more than 10 years of experience in workforce and economic development.

“Michelle is an incredible partner in our work to advance Florida’s competitiveness by promoting sound economic development programs and policy,” said Beth Cicchetti, CEcD, Executive Director of the Florida Economic Development Council and Gadsden County Development Council. “With her extensive and varied leadership roles in economic development and workforce policy, Michelle brings a fresh perspective and genuine enthusiasm for expanding opportunities to all.”

Prior to joining CareerSource Florida, Dennard served as the Director for the Division of Strategic Business Development at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. She previously served as Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, providing legal counsel and managing legislative affairs. Dennard is a member of the Florida Chamber Foundation Board of Trustees, the Florida Higher Education Coordinating Council, the Florida Small Business Development Center Network State Advisory Board and the Florida Student Success Center Advisory Board.

“The Florida Chamber is honored and grateful to have Michelle Dennard as a valued partner and Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee to help advance Florida’s economic momentum,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “She truly cares about ensuring all Floridians have opportunities to prosper. This national recognition is a testament to her innovative and inclusive approach to economic development.”

For more information on the 40 Under 40 awards, visit


About CareerSource Florida

CareerSource Florida provides oversight and policy direction for talent development programs administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida’s 24 local workforce development boards and their 100 career centers. Together, the CareerSource Florida network connects employers with qualified, skilled talent and Floridians with employment and career development opportunities to achieve economic prosperity. Learn more at

About DCI

Considered the leader in marketing places, Development Counsellors International (DCI) specializes in economic development and tourism marketing. The agency has worked for more than 500 cities, regions, states and countries since it was established in New York City in 1960.

About Jorgenson Consulting

Jorgenson Consulting has worked diligently over the past 25 years to establish itself as a premier national executive search firm. With a focus on the fields of non-profit, economic and community development, they partner with clients to help them identify and secure the highest caliber of executive talent.

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