Small Business Leader of the Year

Each year the JAX Chamber salutes the entrepreneurial spirit of Jacksonville’s small businesses with the Small Business Leader of the Year (SBLY) Award. PWC is proud to have outstanding women in business representing our Council.

To learn more about the program, ask any of our SBLY’s or visit the JAX Chamber website.

Kathryn Murphy  – 2018

Kathryn MurphyCEO, Comfort Keepers

Kathryn Murphy knew as a young child she wanted to be a nurse. While growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, she became inspired when her older brother became a Green Beret and served in Viet Nam. As a nursing student at Indiana State University she was approached by a Navy Recruiter and without hesitance enlisted in the Navy.  During her 24-year career, Kathryn moved seven times and assignments ranged from clinical nursing to hospital administration. As a Registered Nurse, Kathryn holds both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Nursing.  After retiring as a Commander, she became the Director of Health Services for the Mayo Health Plan, before starting her entrepreneurial career.

In 2002, Kathryn purchased her first Comfort Keepers franchise and with positive growth and success by 2014, she acquired her third franchise which expanded into a home health agency.  Her award-winning company has been built on integrity, value, and compassion and is a sought-after provider of premier in-home care in northeast Florida. Comfort Keepers provides services allowing adults to live independently at home with dignity and respect as they age or recuperate from an illness or condition. Her company focuses on Alzheimer’s/dementia care, as Kathryn is passionate about serving this population, after personally experiencing it with her Father and Aunt. Comfort Keepers has served over 1200 families in sixteen years.

Kathryn’s business savvy, as well as her significant community involvement, has not gone unnoticed. She has received numerous awards including: “2007 Great 100 Nurses in Northeast Florida”, “2008 Franchisee of the Year”, “2011 Small Business Administration Women Champion of the Year for both the North Florida District and the State of Florida”, “2013 Women of Influence” by the Jacksonville Business Journal, and the “2013 Florida Achievement Award” by the Florida Commission on the Status.  In February 2014, Kathryn was one of seven women entrepreneurs featured in the statewide magazine Florida Trend.  In May of 2014, Kathryn was selected as a “Veteran of Influence,” one of three women veterans recognized for this prestigious award. Kathryn was also awarded the “Business Advocate Award” from Governor Rick Scott and recognized by the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women in 2015 and 2016.

In spare time, Kathryn enjoys family time with her two sons, spending time with her dog Layla, and participating in endurance sports, including jogging, swimming, and cycling.


Liz Pierce – 2017

CEO, MomentStrong, LLCLiz Pierce

Liz and her talented co-founders have developed an innovative tool to help individuals have more success in their wellness efforts. MomentStrong is a patent pending mobile application that delivers “Strength When You Need It.” With MomentStrong, users specify locations or times for which they will need help, and a personalized motivational message arrives when they reach that location or at the specified time.

Most recently, Liz was the CIO at The St. Joe Company, a real estate developer and Florida’s second largest landowner. Prior to that, she spent many years in sales and marketing with AT&T, Lucent, and Avaya. With experience on both sides of the table, Liz knows how to help companies find and implement impactful solutions.

Liz is the 2017 Vice President of the Health Council of the JAX Chamber, having served the two previous years as Program Officer. She is a member of the CIO Council of the JAX Chamber where she served as Chairperson for 6 years. Liz is currently a member of the First Coast Worksite Wellness Council. Over the years she has served as a Chamber Trustee and member of the executive committee of the Toyota Gator Bowl.

Liz graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.

Mindy Barker – 2016

Mindy BarkerCEO of Mindy Barker & Associates

Mindy Barker founded her own firm in 2012, Mindy Barker & Associates, to provide entrepreneurial business owners and non-profits with Fortune 500-level CFO management and consulting services, enabling her clients to maximize efficiency and profitability.

As CEO of Mindy Barker & Associates, Mindy works to empower her clients with the tools and financial information necessary to improve company value, profitability, and cash flow. Mindy has a unique background working in both private equity and growth companies. She has a proven track record of driving strategy and execution to facilitate deliberate growth in a manner that allows an entrepreneur to refine and realize his or her vision.

Prior to founding Mindy Barker & Associates, Mindy was the chief financial officer for OptaComp, a workers compensation company and subsidiary of Florida Blue. She also served as controller of Kemper Services Group and was principal and chief financial officer of Chartwell Capital, a private equity firm. Mindy’s diverse background also includes management positions in the industries of property and casualty insurance, distribution and manufacturing, and consulting. Mindy began her career in public accounting with Price Waterhouse Coopers and Ernst and Young.

Mindy holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Accounting from Converse College and is a certified public accountant in Florida and North Carolina. She has given back to the Jacksonville Community as a mentor in Financial and Leadership Matters with the Jacksonville Chamber, a mentor with Florida Blue’s Health Box, Chairman of the Selection Committee for the Women In Business Awards and as a mentor and judge for StartUp Quest. She is a mentor for the Chamber of Commerce Jacksonville Women’s Center Financial Matters and served as the CFO Mentor for One Spark. She is a nominee for 2016 The Small Business Leader of the Year for the Jacksonville Chamber, and was recently recognized as an honoree for Partners in Philanthropy for the Jacksonville Business Journal and United Way. Mindy is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s, the Association of Corporate Growth, the Jacksonville Chamber, Women Business Owners, and the Jacksonville Women’s Network. She also serves on the board of the Children’s Home Society


Ellen Sullivan – 2014

Ellen SullivanChief Executive Officer, The BairFind Foundation

Name, title, and birthday: Ellen Sullivan Chief Executive Officer, The BairFind Foundation August 19

Company name, description & tag line: The BairFind Foundation – Finding Missing Children
Revolutionizing the Search for Missing Kids

Length of time in this job: 6 months

Previous positions or jobs you have held: Owner, Doctors Express Urgent Care and Executive, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida

Hometown and other cities where you have lived: Chicago IL, Atkinson IL, Columbus Junction IA, Iowa City, IA, Pensacola FL, Dallas TX

If not born here, what brought you to Jacksonville? A job promotion and transfer within Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida

Schools or professional institutes attended & what you studied: University of Iowa – Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Central Michigan University – Masters of Science in Arts (MSA)

Family members and an interesting fact or two about them: Spouse: Rod – Rod is a lawyer and he argued and successfully won a case at the United States Supreme Court. My son Brendan upon completing active duty in the US Marine Corp has now married and has an adorable daughter so I am a grandmother! My daughter Jackie who started dancing at age 3 is now a dance major at University of South Florida

What are your community involvement activities? I am the CEO of a non-profit and am leading its national expansion. I have been involved in supporting Safe Harbor Boys Home/Maritime Academy for over 23 years. I am a member of Women Business Owners of NE FL. This year I have been named to the JAX Chamber Board of Directors as the Council Chair.

Hobbies: Travel, Reading, Piano