Lunchtime Keynote

City of Orlando Leaders – Response to Pulse Tragedy, Moderated by Staci Zavattaro, Ph.D.

Panel Members

rosa-akhtarkhavari-headshotRosa Akhtarkhavari, Chief Information Officer – Role of Technology

Rosa Akhtarkhavari has worked for the City of Orlando for over 24 years, and currently serves as the Chief Information Officer.  In this role, Rosa is responsible for the City’s Enterprise Architecture, IT strategy, security, and all aspects of IT operation.  While employed at the City of Orlando, Rosa has also served as Chief Security Officer, Deputy Chief Information officer, Client Services Manager, Financial Manager, Application Administrator, Manager, and Developer.  Before coming to the City of Orlando, Rosa worked as a Technology Consultant.  Rosa also worked at Florida State University while pursuing her Master’s degree and before moving to the United States, taught at Yarmouk University.  Rosa received the Orlando Business Journal Technology IQ Award (2016), Computer World Premier 100 Leader Award (2014), Mayor Dyer Leadership Award  (2011), was honored as Campaign Coordinator of the Year (2009) and received the Federal Computer Raising Star Award (2007).

byron-brooks-photoByron W. Brooks, Chief Administrative Officer

Mr. Brooks has more than thirty years of professional experience in the public sector, the vast majority in highly responsible senior level administrative positions.  He was appointed as Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Orlando by Mayor Buddy Dyer in December 2005, and is responsible for assisting the Mayor with the day-to-day functions of City operating departments and services, and oversight of implementation of policies adopted by the City Council.  This involves administration of an organization with approximately 3,200 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $1 billion, serving a community of more than 265,000 residents and thriving businesses.

kathy_devault_final_portraitKathy DeVault, Director of Strategic Partnerships – Family Assistance Center and Coordination with Community-Based Organizations

Kathy DeVault serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships for Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City of Orlando.

As Director of Strategic Partnerships, Kathy oversees the development and implementation of special projects as directed by Mayor Dyer. Kathy develops strategies to enhance the engagement of the community, businesses and residents with City government. Kathy also assists with policy initiatives, particularly those with a focus on economic development, technology and startup businesses and she manages partnerships with Orlando’s higher education providers. Kathy is known for convening communities, building relationships with constituency groups and forging partnerships with business and community organizations.

Immediately following the June 12, 2016 Pulse tragedy that took the lives of 49 people and injured more than 50, Kathy was tasked with coordinating the Family Assistance Center (FAC) which co-located 35 different agencies to help address the immediate needs and provide information, support and resources to the Pulse victims and family members.

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Public Administration both from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

heather-fagan-headshotHeather Fagan, Deputy Chief of Staff – Role of Managing Communications and Media, Setup of OneOrlando Fund

Heather Fagan is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. In this role, she is responsible for strategic communications in the Mayor’s Office and serves as the spokesperson for Mayor Dyer and the City in matters pertaining to public policy, emergency response, and program initiatives.

With the City of Orlando since 2006, Heather has led communication efforts for a variety of community projects including the approval and construction of the new Amway Center, and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Citrus Bowl renovation; securing a Major League Soccer team, the installation of See Art Orlando; and the launch of Mayor Dyer and the City’s social media efforts.

Heather is a proud UCF Alumni, graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising/Public Relations.



Staci M. Zavattaro, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Administration, University of Central Florida

Staci M. Zavattaro, Ph.D., is an associate professor of public administration and a research associate with the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management. Her books include Cities for Sale, Place Branding Through Phases of the Image, and Social Media to Government: Theory and Practice (edited with Dr. Thomas Breyer.) She serves as the managing editor of the international journal Administrative Theory & Praxis. Her works appears in journals such as Urban Studies, Public Administration Review, Journal of Place Management and Development, Administration & Society, and Tourism Management. Zavattaro graduated from the University of Florida with a dual major in political science and journalism. She completed her graduate work at Florida Atlantic University. As an almost-native Floridian (her family moved when she was 2, so she claims Florida as home), she is excited to come to Orlando and work with wonderful faculty here at UCF.