Media Contact:
Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Director of Communications
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
O: 352-291-9559 | M: 352-816-1264
[email protected]

OCALA, Fla. (April 12, 2024) – Jon Petz, internationally acclaimed humorist, best-selling author, and world-class magician, will headline The Heart of HR: Meeting the Challenge conference on Friday, April 19 at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala.

The Heart of HR is presented by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion and the Ocala Human Resources Management Association (OHRMA). It features a full day of sessions designed to help meet the challenges facing HR professionals and area employers.

“Today’s HR professional needs to be resilient, resourceful and – with truly rapid advances in technology – rewired to recruit, train, and retain the workforce needed for businesses to succeed,” said Dale French, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president and conference co-chair. “We’re pleased to once again partner with OHRMA to deliver a full day of engaging presentations on topics that matter to businesses large and small.”

The event kicks off on Thursday, April 18 with the Heart of HR After Dark reception with Petz, who is back by popular demand. The reception takes place from 5:30-7 p.m. at Pickles’ Terrace at WEC’s Equestrian Hotel.

Doors for the conference open on April 19 at 7 a.m. for networking, exhibitor visits and a light breakfast with the program starting at 8 a.m. and running through 4 p.m. Lunch and afternoon desert break are also included.

Advance ticket sales, which end April 17, are $200 for the conference or $225 for the conference and reception. Conference tickets purchased at the door are $225 and $35 at the door for the reception. Tickets are available at

In addition to Petz, featured speakers include:

Monique Akanbi, SHRM-CP, SHRM field services director, “Empathy Deficit: How to Strengthen your Organization’s Culture.”

Dr. Joel Davis, clinical professor in the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida, “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work.”

Dale French, CareerSource CLM executive vice president, and Melissa Saco, CareerSource CLM assistant director of business services, “Leveraging your Local Workforce Board’s Resources.”

Lisa Lombardo, president of ARK Holdings Group, “Words Matter: Cultivating Employee Engagement.”

Cheryl Brown-Merriwether, vice president and executive director of the International Center for Addiction and Recovery Education (ICARE), “Fostering Employee Mental Health and Well-Being.”

Primary sponsors are the Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), North Central Florida Media (NCFM), and Express Employment Professionals. Additional sponsors are Alliant, MainStreet Family Care, Sapphire Selfies, Staff America, Sonny’s iServe, and Team Cone.

In addition to the sponsors, exhibitors include Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Exact Sciences, Foundation Risk Partners, Gallagher, HCA Florida Healthcare, Hylant, Paylocity, and Staff America.


The Ocala Human Resources Management Association (OHRMA) is a nonprofit organization of human resource professionals from the Marion County community affiliated with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an international organization of more than 180,000 members. For information, visit

CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of CareerSource Florida and a proud partner of the American Job Center network. CareerSource CLM is supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other agencies as part of awards totaling $6.9 million (revised annually). CareerSource CLM is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities and in Spanish. All voice telephone numbers listed above may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need accommodations, please call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected].

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