Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing & Special Events (Activating Spaces)
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Gardenia AB

Many CRAs sponsor or produce events, programs and campaigns to activate public spaces and reinvent blighted commercial districts. This session will highlight creative strategies to ensure statutory compliance while produc-
ing engaging community events or campaigns designed to further your CRA goals. We will talk about tweaking your program to tighten up the criteria or other aspects to focus on economic development. Attendees will gain valuable in- sight to ensure that their existing or future event programs and marketing campaign strategies contain the specifc elements necessary to meet or exceed statutory guidelines.


Moderator: Robert Ironsmith, AICP, Director of Economic Development and Housing, City of Dunedin
Speakers: Sharon West McCormick, Director of Business Attraction & Marketing, RMA; Claudia McKenna, Esq., CRA Attorney, Community Redevelopment Legal Services; andBrenda Thrower, FRA-RA, Economic Development Special- ist, City of Tampa, Ybor City Development Corporation


Claudia M. McKenna is the former City Attorney for the City of West Palm Beach.  She joined the City Attorney’s Office in 1996 to assist with the ground-breaking CRA project that would become CityPlace.  As City Attorney, Claudia advised the City Commission both in their capacity as elected officials of the City, and in their capacity as the CRA Board of Commissioners.  Claudia continues to provide municipal legal services to the City of West Palm Beach as special counsel and to the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency as its CRA Attorney.  Additionally, she served as Contributing Editor to Reinventing Your City, co-authored by redevelopment experts, Kim J. Briesemeister and Christopher J. Brown.


Brenda Thrower has worked with Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC) and City of Tampa since 1996 where she has witnessed first-hand the redevelopment and revitalization of the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District.  She promotes the district by administering economic development programs, including the special events co-sponsorship grant, the district marketing campaign, Ybor ambassador program and the “Then and Now” walking tour. She currently serves on the boards of Florida Redevelopment Association, Ybor City Saturday Market, Film Tampa Bay Advisory, and Hillsborough County Good Government Award.  In 2017, she was honored with the Adela Gonzmart Award from the Ybor City Museum Society. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political economics from Tulane University, a Master of Public Administration from University of North Florida and Master of Urban and Regional Planning from University of New Orleans.  She is married with 3 kids (2 in college and 1 in middle school).


Sharon McCormick has extensive experience in community and business development. Her expertise in positioning communities to expose and promote their unique competitive identity has attracted millions of dollars in capital investment and increased tourism, local visitation and revenues; including the attraction of the highly successful Funky Buddha craft brewery to Downtown Oakland Park as a result of positioning and marketing their downtown as a Culinary Arts District. Her specialties include award-winning strategic planning development and implementation, business attraction and retention, place activation strategy through cultural arts and special events, community engagement, and consensus building. Her unparalleled experience in all aspects of government marketing, combined with her sense of creativity and insight in human behavioral trends, drives her passion to develop actionable plans and campaigns based not only on current market position, but also a community’s potential.