Sterling 2021 Virtual Performance Improvement Summit

Kick off 2021 with a focus on the future.

New year. New innovative conversations. Refresh your thinking and reframe your leadership, management, and frontline processes with a full day dedicated to tactical conversation, fresh ideas, and a multi-sector community focused on making their organizations better.


Meet the Speakers


John Kueven (Opening Speaker)

John Kueven, who specializes in health care management, strategic planning, performance improvement, and utilization management, has been SVP of Wellstar Health System and President of Wellstar Paulding Hospital since March 2018. While at Paulding, John has helped lead the organization to achieving an “A” rating from leapfrog, a 5 Star CMS rating, the Georgia Oglethorpe award, and most recently, the Malcolm Baldrige Award.

As a Board Member and second year Examiner, John is highly involved with Sterling. Today, we honor him and his efforts to promote best practices.

Cory Godwin (Keynote)

Cory Godwin is currently the Director of Jail Operations for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. His public service began at age 19 as a State Corrections Officer. Cory was recognized by the Florida Department of Corrections with many accommodations, including Employee of the Year, Inspector of the Year, and Correctional Officer of the Year. In 2005, Cory accepted an appointment as Chief Deputy Tax Collector for Walton County. In 2017, he joined the newly elected Bay County Tax Collector where he served as Chief Deputy leading and serving during the relief and recovery effort associated with hurricane Michael.

Work teams under his supervision have received the following recognitions:
– Two Davis Productivity Awards – Florida Tax Watch
– 2005 Workplace Excellence Award -Okaloosa/Walton County Economic Development Councils.
– 2011 Florida Trend Magazine Best Companies to Work For in Florida.
– 2011 and 2012 Excellence in Financial Operations by the Florida Tax Collectors Association.
– 2014 Florida Sterling Council – Governor’s Sterling Award
– Cory also received the FTCA’s award for distinguished service in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Cory Godwin is a Certified Public Manager through the Florida State University Center for Public Management.

Cory has provided hundreds of presentations and consults on organizational culture, performance, strategic planning and leadership. Cory holds a B.S. Organizational Leadership degree from Columbia Southern University.

Monique Akanbi

Monique Akanbi is the Vice President, People and Culture at the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and has over 15 years of HR experience in the public school and private sector in various roles and disciplines including workers’ compensation, employee benefits, employee relations, training & development and employee engagement.

Monique has a degree in Public Administration with a specialization in HR from Barry University, Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in January 2013, and Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification in June 2015. In addition, Monique is a Team Lead Examiner and Mentor with the Florida Sterling Council Board of Examiners.


Dr. Mary Beth Corace

Mary Beth Corace is a Master Examiner for both the Governor’s Sterling Award and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award having also served as a judge for the award. She coordinates strategic planning summits and presentations for the annual Florida Sterling Conference. Dr. Corace consults with organizations on strategic planning, continuous improvement, project management, and visual training designs and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of South Florida. With over 30 years of educational experience, she has served as Pinellas Schools’ Director of Strategic Planning and Policy, administrator of the IB Program, Director of the Quality Academy, teacher at elementary, middle, high, and university levels, and writer/manager of large federal grants. Dr. Corace earned a BS degree from The Pennsylvania State University and MAE and Ph.D. degrees in Curriculum and Supervision from the University of South Florida.


Dr. Raina Knox

Raina Knox is the Co-Founder and CEO of Stratex Solutions, home of Ascend™, a Baldrige strategic planning software, and Apex™, a Baldrige assessment, application, and examiner software. Dr. Knox has over 25 years of experience in partnering with organizations to improve key planning systems and processes using Baldrige. She served as the Executive Director of the Missouri Quality Award from 2009-2015 and served in the role of examiner, team lead and judge for multiple state programs and the national Baldrige program. She holds a BBA and MBA from Baker University and a Doctor of Management in Information Systems Technology from the University of Phoenix.


Bob Madeiros

Bob Madeiros is a Master Examiner with the Florida Sterling Council and is celebrating his 21st year as an Examiner.  He is an active member of the Sterling Examination Committee engaged in training and developing the Sterling examiners, and is a regular presenter at the annual Sterling Conference in Orlando. Bob has over 30 years of experience as a quality management professional deploying his unique combination of Lean – Six Sigma tools and the Sterling Management System throughout Florida.  In addition to his Six Sigma Black Belt, he also holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Hofstra University, and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida.

Jeff McLemore

Jeff McLemore is an experienced Leadership Development Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in Human Resources and Training & Talent Development. Skilled in Policy Analysis, Government Administration, Organizational Development, Conflict Resolution, Training, and Talent Development. Florida State University graduate, Certified Public Manager (CPM), Six Sigma Black Belt, and Certified Professional Trainer.

Bob Seemer

Bob Seemer is a leader, engineer and innovator of approaches that drive organizational excellence. Areas of specialty include strategy, process re-engineering, and productivity improvement. His experience in the application of industrial engineering and Lean Six Sigma approaches spans more than 40 years and all organizational sectors including private, public, and not-for-profits. Client successes include organizational turn-arounds, the Deming Prize, Baldrige Award, Shingo Prize, and many state Baldrige-based excellence awards. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Florida Institute of Technology, a prolific trainer and consultant, and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, facilitating more than 50 Green Belt project teams per year. Bob has been a member of the Florida Sterling Council Board of Directors since 1996.


Loretta Townsley

Loretta Townsley is the Quality Training Manager at NextEra Energy.  As a certified Master Black Belt, she is responsible for Green Belt and Black Belt training, while also leading and mentoring Lean Six Sigma project teams and rolling out a new Data Science curriculum.  Her career spans 20+ years in continuous improvement for manufacturing, financial services and Military organizations, including the Pentagon and the National Guard.    

Loretta lives in Palm City FL.   She has 2 children, 3 beautiful grand-daughters, and 1 big dog.   


“The Summit was packed with great speakers from high performing organizations.  The workshops offered many best-practice ideas that can be implemented in most organizations to improve performance.  It was well worth the time and money!”

Juan Armas, M.S., PHR, Chief of Strategic Business Planning Division, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department

“Excellence is something we all want to deliver to customers, but practical steps and real world examples of how to achieve it are hard to find.  The summit allows those of us in North Florida the opportunity to spend the day with experts in applying the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence, to hear real world stories of success, and to network with others on the same journey to excellence.  Any one of these three makes the day worthwhile.”

Gordon Klein, UU&PI Chief Financial Services Manager of City of Tallahassee

“One of the great benefits of immersing yourself in the Florida Sterling network is that you’re surround by genuine leaders looking to make genuine improvement and create genuine change. Attending these summits helps to strengthen those relationships with others that are on the a similar journey as you. share best practices and learn from one another at a deeper level.

The Summit is a quick, one-day filled agenda with so much learning. The speakers and workshops add to the variety of learning and allow everyone to get the most value for their time while still taking away practical improvements to their organization that tie back to the Sterling criteria. I always enjoy Roland Martinez’s sessions on Leadership!”

Nick Curran, Performance Excellence Manager of USF Federal Credit Union