President and CEO, Vistra Communications
Brian Butler is President and CEO of Vistra Communications (Vistra), an integrated marketing communications agency providing marketing, communications and consulting services to corporate, government and nonprofit organizations. In 2019, Vistra was recognized as the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council Class 3 MBE Supplier of the Year and a GrowFL 50 Florida Companies to Watch. Since founding Vistra in 2007, the company has grown to over 80 employees with offices in Tampa and Northern Virginia. Vistra's growing portfolio includes healthcare, information technology, transportation, airports, sports and entertainment, local and federal government and nonprofit clients. Fortune 500 clients include AT&T, ExxonMobil, Coca Cola, and others.
Butler is a combat decorated, retired career military officer. Prior to founding Vistra, he provided strategic communications counsel to senior leaders at U.S. Central Command and served as a policy director on the Homeland Security Council in the White House. He also served as a spokesperson for an Army Secretary and on the communications team for a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.
He was the 2018 Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Leader of the Year and a 2019 Florida 500 Most Influential Business Leaders as published in Florida Trend. He has also been recognized as the 2018 SBA State of Florida and South Florida District Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year.
Butler holds a master's degrees from the National War College and Central Michigan University and a bachelor's degree from Hampton University. He holds certificates from The University of Oklahoma, John F. Kennedy University, Roger Williams University, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.
An active and avid community supporter, Brian serves on the Boards of Directors of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, WEDU Public Broadcast Television, Sunshine State Economic Development Corporation, Minority Enterprise Development Corporation and Visit Tampa Bay. Brian also serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council; he is CEO Mentor to the Principal of Mort Elementary School and founded the CEOs in Schools initiative with Hillsborough County Public Schools.
Maria Gabriella Pacheco
Director of Advocacy, Communications and Development, TheDream.US
Maria Gabrielle Pacheco, 'Gaby', is a Nationally-recognized immigrant rights leader. Pacheco is currently the director of advocacy, communications and development at The Dream.US. The organization provides scholarships to highly-qualified DREAMers to help them pay for their college education. All scholars have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that allows them to live and legally work in the United States.
Pacheco was eight-years-old in 1993 when she immigrated to the United States with her family from Guayaquil, Ecuador. They arrived with tourist visas but were unable to secure legal resident status. In 2005, Pacheco and other students from Miami Dade College founded a Florida-based immigrant youth group advocating for tuition equity and immigrant rights. Pacheco and three other immigrant students led the Trail of Dreams in 2010, a four-month walk from Miami to Washington, D.C. to call attention to the plight of immigrant families under the threat of deportation.
While serving as political director for United We Dream in 2012, she spearheaded efforts that led to the DACA program. On April 22, 2013, Pacheco became the first undocumented Latina to testify in front of Congress, speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the urgent need for immigration reform.
Pacheco was named a Forbes magazine 30 Under 30: Education in 2015 and has also been recognized as a 40 Under 40: Latinos in American Politics. In 2015, she delivered The New School Commencement speech, where she received a Doctoral Degree in Humanities Honoris Causa. That same year, Pacheco was profiled in Elle magazine alongside actresses America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick and others for a feature production on the world’s most accomplished 30-year-old women.