PALM COAST, Fla. – CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard was named the 2019 Toni Jennings Workforce Development Professional of the Year last night by the Florida Economic Development Council at its annual conference.
“This award represents one of the two highest individual honors FEDC bestows each year,” said Beth Cicchetti, CEcD, Executive Director of the Florida Economic Development Council. “We are excited to present this year’s Toni Jennings Workforce Development Professional of the Year Award to Michelle, an outstanding leader and partner, who exemplifies the tradition of exceptional leadership in advancing economic development through her vision for creating strategies, leveraging partnerships and driving significant investments in workforce development.”
An attorney and member of the Florida Bar, Ms. Dennard has more than 10 years of experience in workforce and economic development. In 2017, Ms. Dennard was designated by the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors to serve as president and CEO of CareerSource Florida Inc., the non-profit state workforce policy and investment board.
“On behalf of the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors, I want to congratulate Michelle on this well-deserved award,” said Kevin Doyle, Chairman, CareerSource Florida Board of Directors and Founding Partner, Wexford Strategies, Jacksonville. “A proud native of rural Florida, Michelle is a collaborative, solutions-oriented leader who has been and continues to be instrumental in leading Florida’s workforce development system through extraordinary times, turning challenges into opportunities for success. We applaud her achievement and appreciate her ongoing contributions to increasing inclusive economic opportunities throughout the state.”
Prior to joining CareerSource Florida, Dennard served as Director for the Division of Strategic Business Development at the Department of Economic Opportunity. She also previously served as Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. Earlier this year, Dennard was among rising stars in economic development who received the prestigious 40 Under 40 award from Development Counsellors International.
“I am honored and grateful to receive this special award,” Dennard said. “I often say I have the best job in Florida. I am privileged to support our innovative, engaged board of directors, contribute to the exemplary work of our professional team and see firsthand the meaningful outcomes resulting from the efforts of the many dedicated workforce professionals across the state. We all remain committed to helping Floridians and businesses achieve economic prosperity.”
The Toni Jennings Workforce Development Professional of the Year Award was first given in 2007 to honor and recognize the former Lieutenant Governor’s leadership in revamping Florida’s workforce system to respond to critical workforce needs and to advance local, regional and state economic development. Visit this link for a list of previous winners.
Other recognitions by FEDC last night include the Eunice Sullivan Economic Development Professional of the Year, awarded this year to FEDC Chair Crystal Stiles, Director of Economic Development for Florida Power & Light Company.