Health Care Day
Leadership Tampa Bay

January 29, 2024

By Keather Snyder, President & COO, The Omnia Group

We had another amazing Leadership Tampa Bay class day, Wednesday, January 24, 2024. Healthcare Day began at Hillsborough Community College, and I think many of us were wondering why we were going to a college on Healthcare Day instead of Education Day. It immediately became clear how critical Hillsborough Community College’s role is in educating and preparing the talent needed in the Tampa Bay area for careers in healthcare. Our day started off with a welcome from our Class Chair Nancy Newkirk, and the President of Hillsborough Community College, Paige Niehaus.  We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast prepared by the HCC Culinary Program. Fun fact, you can enjoy a low cost, fine dining meal prepared by HCC culinary students every Wednesday and Thursday at Bistro 118.

After introductions, Dr. Sh’nai Simmons (’23) introduced and facilitated a powerful panel discussion on mental health.  She opened the discussion asking our class what comes to mind when we hear the words mental illness. Our class offered up a variety of words that demonstrate the profound and often negative perceptions that are still associated with mental illness, including homelessness, suicide, sleep deprivation, drugs, and stigma.  This opening sparked an engaging discussion from there. A disturbing fact we learned is that the average individual will take 10 years to get help from the first time they start experiencing symptoms of mental illness. A great question was raised from a class member asking what we can do. Each of the panel numbers gave us excellent advice, such as supporting our local services, being an advocate for mental health and to be thinking of our own selves first through self-care, self-love and sleeping well.  And as the first line of defense keep a close eye on our family members, neighbors, and colleagues. Following the panel, we enjoyed an impressive tour of the new Allied Health building by Dr. Leif Penrose.  Simulations and debriefs are the best way to prepare students for real world medical scenarios.  This state-of-the-art building houses 8 simulation labs that emulate real life locations where typical medical emergencies occur – including rooms that look like a local bar, a hotel room, hospital room, and a home nursery.  Every simulation room includes high-end recording devices, advanced technology simulation equipment, lifelike mannequins, and debriefing rooms to carry out the most important aspect of the learning process.

Following our tour, we boarded the bus for AdventHealth Taneja Center for Surgery.  We were greeted by an esteemed group of medical professionals who gave us a hands-on experience, and the opportunity to see how technology is advancing healthcare. Our class experienced a live streaming surgery, and simulations of heart, spine and brain procedures giving us a bird’s eye view of the impact technologies such as robotics and AI are having on advancing healthcare. From AdventHealth, we went onto Tampa General. We were greeted by Class of 2023 alumni.  After an inspiring and educational video about the massive growth underway at Tampa General Health System, CEO John Couris addressed our group. He engaged us with an inspiring discussion about their vision for growth, community impact, and leading the way with a clear purpose, vision, and focus on living out their organizational values. Our class experienced another rotation of stimulating and interactive sessions including new CPR training technologies, an impactful message from the head of cyber security and the astonishingly impressive patient command center that looks very much like a NASA space command center. Our visit was topped off with a hands-on experience at the aeromedical operation. We enjoyed taking pictures with the pilots and medical staff and a few selfies in the helicopters with the beautiful Tampa Bay skyline as our backdrop.

Our debrief was at Miller’s Ale House.  Melissa Morin, 23 Class Project Chair, and 23 Class President Drew Aldridge joined us and provided some great tips for getting our class project underway. Healthcare Day delivered yet another enriching class experience, allowing us to connect with and learn from influential community leaders. In Tampa Bay, we can confidently rely on our united community healthcare providers, who are dedicated to enhancing our well-being with unwavering commitment and care. It’s impressive to see how our community leaders are actively embracing and implementing advancing technologies to further improve healthcare outcomes.

Thank you to our sponsors Gilbane Building Company, Tampa General Hospital, Incentive Services, and lunch sponsor Tampa Foundation.


The Leadership Tampa Bay class year begins in September and runs through May. Each year, the Board of Directors organizes 11 class days that focus on regional issues and opportunities. The agenda for each day consists of panel discussions with business civic and government leaders, questions and answer sessions, and facility tours. In addition, each class member participates in both an opening and closing retreat and a two-day Tallahassee Trip.






Post Office Box 1315
Tampa, FL 33601


Executive Director
(813) 486-8917