TDI's mission is to promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce by connecting job seekers with disabilities that we have prepared for employment to businesses in the community that have a need for their unique skills, talents and abilities.
John Pribanic is the President and Founder of The Diversity Initiative, Inc., a non-profit agency dedicated to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are provided access to the resources and support necessary to successfully transition into employment. He holds degrees in Business, Sociology, and Accounting. John’s many years of direct experience emphasizes his expertise in successfully developing and managing career placement programs. As the need increases to find assistance for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, TDI continues to expand and now consists of eight agencies across five Florida counties. John is extremely passionate about helping them find jobs and achieve success.
He believes everybody should have the opportunity be able to work. His empowerment through employment belief resulted in his recently being appointed to the Governor’s Rehabilitation Council. He has also been recognized by the Florida Council for Mental Health for his commitment to individuals with special needs and was awarded Florida ARF’s Michael Goodman Award for his dedication to providing top-notch quality services. John is active in the community and serves as a member of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce. Having relocated here from Canada, John especially appreciates the Florida winters, its beaches, and the delightful sunshine. When not driving from county to county, he enjoys relaxing at his cottage with his two dogs, kayaking, fishing, hiking and traveling.
Vanessa Rodriguez is a proud alumnus of The University of South Florida Honors College, holding Dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Biomedical Science. Since graduation, Vanessa has dedicated the majority of her career to Diversity and Inclusion through facilitating hiring of hundreds of Floridians with Disabilities throughout Tampa Bay.
Vanessa proudly serves as Vice President of The Diversity Initiative (TDI), a 501 (C) (3) Non-Profit employment resource that connects job seekers with disabilities whom they have prepared for employment with employers that have a need for their unique talents, skills and abilities. She has worked alongside TDI’s President John Pribanic for over 10 years and presently manages TDI operations in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. Vanessa has been certified by the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association as a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner and recently obtained national certification as a Employment Support Professional through the Association for People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE). Her other professional certifications include Advanced Supported Employment, Discovery and Self- Employment.
Driven by focus on the abilities of the individuals referred to TDI, Vanessa’s consultations and support have allowed organizations to meet their needs while realizing the many benefits of inclusive hiring practices. As a no-fee employment resource to both the employee and employer, Vanessa’s skills in comprehensive post-hire services promote long-term success for all.
In her spare time, Vanessa is a board member of FL APSE. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as well as serving in the Children’s ministry at her church.
Margarita Rosario is a Senior Employment Consultant who has worked for The Diversity Initiative for almost four years. She is bilingual (fluent in English and Spanish) and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Masters in Education with an emphasis on Guidance Counseling. Her background includes several years of experience interacting with various agencies connected with the Department of Social Services and helping others achieve new beginnings. She is knowledgeable in working with clients who require mental health services and psychosocial rehabilitation. Her responsibilities also included providing substance abuse counseling and serving as a health educator for HIV/AIDS awareness, as well as tobacco and drug prevention.
In her work with the Strengthening Families Program, she mentored parents with at-risk adolescent children, conducted support groups for those who were court ordered and/or on probation, and spearheaded patient groups struggling with mental or substance abuse issues. Margarita also served as the Vice-Consul at the Dominican Consulate in Boston, MA. She has successfully transitioned her skills and experience into helping individuals with mental and physical disabilities find employment. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Maria Rosario is a bi-lingual & Bi-cultural (English & Spanish) Vocational Evaluator who has extensive experience in the field of Developmental Disabilities; Vocational Rehabilitation; Mental Health, Social Work, HIV/AIDS, Child Protection and Foster Care
Her career also included working as a Graduate Professor for the Boston School of Social Work. Her experience and training has allowed her to excel in areas such as Mentoring and Empowerment, Diversity, Education & Training, Evaluation and Job Placement
Maria graduated from the Boston College School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Massachusetts.
Denise Bennett is originally from Long Island, NY, where she studied at SUNY, Stony Brook University in Medical Office Management. Denise worked in the Medical field for 5 years and continues her education. Denise relocated to North Carolina, where she found her passion for working with adults with disabilities as a Job Coach for a local Nonprofit. Through hard work and dedication, Denise was promoted to a Field Supervisor and led others in best practices in Supported Employment. In 2010, Denise moved to Florida and continued work as an Employment Specialist in Pinellas where she provided services under DVR and APD.
Denise joined The Diversity Initiative as Employment consultant in 2012, where she enjoyed finding person-centered employment for adults with disabilities for 2 years prior to returning to North Carolina.
The agency is excited to have Denise return as a Retention Specialist, where she will focus on assisting clients maintain present employment. Denise is passionate about guiding her clients into becoming productive, working individuals. Denise enjoys facilitating the transition to working in the community and assisting individuals with empowering individuals towards independence.
Denise, when not working or caring for family, will find opportunity to be connecting with nature. She finds the water most enjoyable including fishing, camping and swimming. In High School, Denise was part of the synchronized swim team. Denise will also explore the state parks gazing at the natural wonderment of Mother Nature.