Leadership Law Alumni


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Robert Abascal

Robert Abascal brings more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of Computer Image Generation (CIG) operation – including database development, integration maintenance and real-time software development – to his leadership role as President and Chief Executive Officer of AVT Simulation. His extensive CIG knowledge and expertise is the result of years of dedication to the integration of simulator subsystems and extensive training in all facets of simulator operation. Most recently, Mr. Abascal has concentrated on the advancements in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to develop cost-effective, high fidelity training simulators and software technology in order to rapidly integrate or upgrade existing trainers with little downtime. Mr. Abascal has also performed visual systems engineering and computer programming with high profile aerospace clients such as General Dynamics, Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, and Evans & Sutherland. In addition to his technical achievements, he has written several papers on CIG and published the Image Society Annual Image Generation (IG) Survey document.

Mr. Abascal received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from Purdue University in 1982 and completed advanced coursework at the University of Texas at Arlington.


President · AVT Simulation · 407-381-5311 · Contact by email

Tiffany A. Altizer

Tiffany A. Altizer, CPA, is a shareholder and tax manager at Keith Altizer and Company, P.A. She has been in the public accounting profession since 1991 providing services in the areas of income tax consulting, planning and compliance for individuals, estates, trusts, partnerships, corporations and private foundations. Tiffany began her career with the international accounting firm of Ernst & Young. She has been with Keith Altizer and Company since 1997.

Tiffany has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Emphasis in Accounting) from Auburn University and a Masters in Taxation from the University of Central Florida. She is a past VP of Finance for the Junior League of Greater Orlando and past Treasurer for the First Presbyterian Church of Maitland Foundation. Tiffany is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


Shareholder/Tax Manager · Keith Altizer and Company, P.A., CPA's · 407-539-1188 · Contact by email

Tom Bacchus

Tom Bacchus is a Senior Vice President in Business Banking and has been a banker in Central Florida for over 30 years. Tom is a Florida native and moved to Central Florida with his family in 1961. He is a graduate of Florida State University, is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan, and has been an avid runner since he was a teenager.

Tom and his wife Nancy moved to the Lake Eola Heights neighborhood in downtown Orlando in 1994 and have taken great pleasure in restoring their 1924 bungalow. Tom and Nancy find their highest enjoyment in traveling whenever possible. Their favorite destinations include Paris, Prague, Dubrovnik, and anyplace in Italy. They are set to visit Greece in 2012.


Senior Vice President · M & I Bank, A Part of BMO Financial Group · 407-648-2141 · Contact by email

Mellanie J. Bartlett

Mellanie J. Bartlett is a principal in the marketing and public relations firm of Sweeney & Bartlett Marketing Partners, Inc. Prior to forming Sweeney & Bartlett in 2008, Mellanie served as a legal marketing professional for two prominent Orlando law firms and is one of the original founders of the Orlando Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. Speaking and writing engagements include serving on the faculty of the Legalworks Marketing Partner Forum, an international conference devoted to law firm client development.

Prior to her career in legal marketing, Mellanie served in a regional marketing capacity for an upscale golf community developer and as the director of communications for a 4,000+ member trade organization. She also has extensive experience in tourism and hospitality marketing.

Currently, Mellanie is serving as 2011-2012 President of the Mid-Florida Home Builders Foundation, the charitable arm of the Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando.

Mellanie holds a double major, in journalism and radio and television production from the University of Central Florida and her master’s degree in corporate communication and technology from Rollins College.


Principal · Sweeney & Bartlett Marketing Partners, Inc. · 407-902-7141 · Contact by email

Shelby M. Benson

Shelby Benson is a Business Banking Relationship Manager with SunTrust Bank. A Central Florida Banker for 15 years, Shelby has extensive experience working with business owners and entrepreneurs. As a Relationship Manager, Shelby’s clients include Attorneys, Physicians, Manufacturers, Software Companies, and Non-Profit Organizations. Shelby’s goal is to provide her clients with the service, solutions, and relationship they need to build a foundation for their company’s success and growth.

Shelby is a native Central Floridian and proudly supports her alma mater, The University of Central Florida! Shelby earned her B.A. in Psychology from UCF. She has served as team leader for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in addition to volunteering with Junior Achievement & the United Way. She enjoys running & spending time with her husband, Attorney Joe Benson and their 3 beautiful children.


Business Banking Relationship Manager · SunTrust Bank · 407-359-4319 · Contact by email

Florian Boehm

Owner Florian "Flo" Boehm, a native German, has a long professional background from his involvement in a family video and film production company. After graduating college and completing military service in Germany he attended Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, and graduated with perfect attendance and Valedictorian awards.

While studying Flo developed an interest in bringing his technical knowledge and skills to the legal community and received his certification as a Certified Court Video Specialist. After completing his Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees he founded Boehm & Boehm, serving clients in Orlando, Central Florida, as well as the United States and outside with highlights such as different Soccer World Cups, Olympic Games and other prestigious events.

Boehm & Boehm Forensic Media Consulting was founded in 2007 as a litigation solutions and support provider with an additional focus on media production. Since then, Boehm & Boehm has continued to expand to meet added service demands involving video, photo, audio and other media related applications. The main offices are located in Orlando, Central Florida. Boehm & Boehm is a preferred vendor and exclusive AV service provider of the Orange County Bar Association. Boehm & Boehm has a staffed office in Germany for its European operations.


Principal · Boehm & Boehm Forensic Media Consulting · 407-557-2744 · Contact by email

Allie Braswell


Founder · Braswell Management Group LLC · (407) 926-2454 · Contact by email

Todd A. Bryant

While most students spend their college years studying, socializing, or going to football games, Todd Bryant used his time to vault into the business world at an early age. While attending the University of Central Florida, Todd worked part-time as a server at various Orlando Restaurants. He also held an internship nearly every semester, equating to seven different internships throughout his collegiate career. His 7th internship was the place he found he had a true passion for: Northwestern Mutual. Todd was named one of the top interns in the entire country, and decided to make it his career. Since moving to full-time in 2007, Todd has been honored as a bronze, silver and gold winner, led the Central Florida area in new clients twice, and achieved the Agent Achievement Award, one of the highest honors a new representative can earn. Todd continues to focus on helping new people every day.

Todd is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, UCF College of Business Executive Committee, Citrus Club Board of Governors, UCF Alumni Association, Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, Orlando Regional Realtors Association, Leadership Law Orlando. He is involved with community outreach activities with Outreach Love, Inc. as a tutor/mentor, and with the UCF College of Business Mentoring Program, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and Meals on Wheels.


Financial Representative · Northwestern Mutual Financial Network · 407-447-7814 · Contact by email

Lori Burbank

Lori Burbank is the Regional Operations Director for the Webster University, Central Florida Campuses, the Assistant Director of the two Orlando Sites and an adjunct full professor. She joined the Webster team in 1995, after a 20 year career in the United States Navy. She has over 30 years of management, operations, training and teaching experience in the military and private sectors.


Regional Operations Director · Webster University · 407-869-8111 · Contact by email

Julie Buxton



Director of Human Resources · Miller Bearings, Inc. · 407-425-9078 · Contact by email

Andrew L. Cameron

I am a candidate for Orange County Judge because I believe that county court judges are the gatekeepers to the judicial system and to the promise of fairness and justice within it. The Orange County judicial system resolves hundreds of thousands of disputes annually, the vast majority of these within the county court. That is why county court is the “people’s court” and is for many the court of first and last resort. The citizens of Orange county depend on their county court judges to be fair, intelligent and efficient, and to resolve disputes that they cannot negotiate on their own. Our community is entitled to select their judges, and to expect them to be experienced, patient and courteous. For 26 years, my diverse criminal and civil law practice has rewarded me with extensive experience in the law and its process, and the satisfaction of advocating on behalf of citizens throughout Florida. From this diverse legal experience I will bring to the court a valuable new perspective for the benefit of the people of Orange County.


Andrew L. Cameron, P.A. · 407-426-7311 ·

Markita D. Cooper

Markita D. Cooper is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Law at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida. Her administrative responsibilities include curriculum oversight and development, course planning and scheduling, and strategic planning and management of the law school. She teaches torts and advanced courses focused on defamation and privacy law.

Markita’s research and professional interests include defamation law; evolving conceptions of privacy in the digital age; examining and challenging law school teaching and classroom culture, diversity in the legal profession, and law school curriculum. Prior to joining the faculty of Florida A&M in 2008, she was a professor at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California for 17 years. Markita’s work at Golden Gate included administrative service, first as Faculty Chair and later as Associate Dean for JD Programs. She also taught as a Visiting Professor at the law schools of the University of California King Hall School of Law in Davis, California, and DePaul University in Chicago.

Markita relocated to Central Florida in 2006. She serves on the Board of Trustees of WMFE, is a former chair of WMFE’s Community Advisory Board, and currently serves on WMFE’s Development Committee. Her service to the legal profession includes being a law school site evaluator for the ABA’s Section on Legal Education and Admissions and to the Bar, serving as Chair, Chair-Elect, and Secretary of the Section on Teaching Methods of the Association of American Law Schools and serving as Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary of the State Bar of California’s Committee on Ethnic Minority Relations.

Markita earned her J.D. degree from University of Virginia School of Law and an A.B. degree from Stanford University. She also received a Kellogg National Fellowship.


Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law · Florida A&M University College of Law · 407-254-3201 · Contact by email

Jim Daniels

Professional: State Farm Insurance Agent – 1974-Present; V.P. Legal/Legislative N.A.S.F.A & C. E.A.A. Agent Associations; Registered Lobbyist; N.A.I.C., State of Florida, U.S. House of Rep., U.S. Senate.

Education: Jacksonville University- Bachelor of Arts Degree; Stetson College of Law; Rollins College MBA Degree (Crummer Graduate School), President E.M.B.A class 2011.

Honors and Awards: Past Member-Select Agent, Legion of Honor, Millionaire Club; President designate of inaugural class of O.C.P.S. Leadership Orange

Professional Associations and Memberships: National Association of State Farm Agents, Coalition of Exclusive Agent’s Assoc.

Personal: Born 1946 in Sanford, Florida; attended public school 1-12 grades Miami, Florida; married to Karen; eight children (5 sons & 3 daughters; oldest 44, youngest 4-year-old identical twin girls). Step father, licensed attorney Florida. Natural father served on President’s Kennedy and Johnson’s cabinet. First wife is a medical malpractice attorney. Oldest son, Jimmy, is an Assistant State Attorney in Georgia. The godparents of two teenage sons are past presidents of the Florida Trial Lawyers (John Romano & Karen Gievers/Bach).


Insurance Agent · State Farm Insurance · 407-855-6791 · Contact by email

Kathie De Filippo



CPA/Principal · Parks, De Filippo & Associates · 407-539-1330 · Contact by email

Jim Dorman

Jim is a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Public Accountant holding the Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 licenses and an insurance license in the State of Florida. He is a registered representative of NEXT Financial Group, Inc. Jim is also a Registered Investment Advisor, registered with FINRA and the SEC. He provides comprehensive financial planning to both individuals and corporations, primarily on a fee basis. Jim and his firm are currently managing in excess of $80 million. His work with individuals includes a full range of services from family budgeting and goal setting, to estate planning. Over the years Jim has assisted clients in identifying their long-term objectives and reaching their goals. He has helped clients with some of the more basic financial planning objectives, such as home and car financing, and some of the more complex goals such as what to do with your business as you retire. Jim advises businesses on all forms of employee benefit plans, from health and life insurance to qualified and non-qualified retirement plans. Jim serves in an advisor role with numerous 401(k) and other retirement plans for companies of various sizes.


President · Dorman Financial Management, P. A. · 407-774-6815 · Contact by email

Dana Dougherty



VP, Finance and Administration · Miller Bearings, Inc. · 407-425-9078 · Contact by email

Joanne Godwin



Orlando Utilities Commission · 407-434-2050 · Contact by email

Teri Gorman

Teri graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She has over 20 years of public accounting experience servicing clients in a variety of specialized industries including real estate, professional services, retail, professional services, finance, manufacturing and technology. She also specializes in estate and trust planning and compliance. In addition to her tax background, she has audit experience in a range of industries.

Teri’s involvement with community and professional activities include past Finance Chairman for the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida, past Board Member of the Downtown Orlando Partnership and Finance Committee Member and Board of Education Member of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church and School.


CPA/Tax Principal · Parks, De Filippo & Associates · 407-539-1330 · Contact by email

Mildred Graham

Mildred Graham is Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law in downtown Orlando, where she has served in that capacity since 2002. Her responsibilities include fundraising, grant management, media relations, communications, special events and alumni affairs. Prior to coming to FAMU, she spent nine years at Sprint’s local telephone division, where she managed internal, external and customer communications and she coordinated executive-level special events. Before she joined Sprint, she spent nine years at the Orlando Sentinel as a reporter and copy editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from FAMU and a master’s in business administration from Webster University. She is married and has an adult daughter.


Director of Development and Human Affairs · FAMU College of Law · 407-254-3206 · Contact by email

Nancy T. Grzesik

For the past seven years, Nancy T. Grzesik, CPA, has held the position as Chief Operating/Financial Officer at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. Her office is responsible for all of the financial aspects of the zoo operations, including the cafe and gift shops, adventure services, admissions, risk management and human resources administration. As a member of the Executive Team, Nancy works closely with the Executive Director and the Deputy Director of Programs in strategic planning and forecasting for the zoo.

Prior to moving to Florida, Nancy was the Director of Administration in the Department of Capital Project Management of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Her office was responsible for staffing, budgets, project controls, cost estimating, environmental impact, quality insurance and legal agreements for our project work.

Nancy says her alter-ego can be found in education. Her current positions include teaching online for UMUC and serving as Course Chair for International and Government & Not-for-Profit Accounting and teaching at Webster University in the MBA program.

In her spare time, Nancy dabbles in consulting, trains for triathlons and in-line skating marathons, and love to travel.


COO/CFO · Brevard Zoo · 321-254-9453 · Contact by email

Maria D. Hale, Esq.

Maria Hale grew up in Central Florida and has a deep love for her community and its people. After being nationally recognized for her skills as a trial attorney, Maria Hale groomed her talents while working for the Pinellas County State Attorney’s office. As a prosecutor, Maria learned many valuable courtroom lessons and gained hours of litigation experience. Those tools paved the way for Maria to enter the private sector and give back to those who desperately needed her services. As a private criminal defense attorney, she now has the unique opportunity to take what she has learned and “pay forward” the benefit to her clients. As a tough-minded, former prosecutor, Maria Hale now seeks justice for her clients by protecting their rights when charged with a criminal and/or traffic offense. She is the managing partner of Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. In addition to managing the firm and practicing law, Maria serves on the Florida Grievance Committee and the Florida Code and Evidence Committee.

Maria Hale has found other ways to give back to the Central Florida community. As an active member of the Spring of Life Methodist Church congregation, Maria spends countless hours offering legal counsel to the indigent and gives generously of her time to those who are less fortunate. In an effort to impact future lawyers, Maria serves as an adjunct professor at Barry University School of Law, where she also serves as Trial Team Coach. In her spare time, she is an active member of the Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers (CFAWL).

Earlier this year, network television hired Maria as a correspondent on various legal topics. She is now regularly featured on FOX News, HLN and MSNBC, amongst others.
                     


Attorney · Hale & Hale, P.A. · 407-425-4640 · Contact by email

Christopher F. Hunter

Chris has been delivering financial strategies and wealth management services to both active and retired executives, successful business owners, widowed women, and families with special needs children for over sixteen years. Drawing on his experience as a former Professional Engineer and Fortune 500 executive, Chris offers a unique skill-set to help clients understand the challenges they face in managing their prosperity given today's ever changing capital markets and economic environment.

Chris also oversees the business and employee benefits areas of the practice, having advised over 70 businesses, and their executives, on Integrated Employee Retirement Benefits, including both "Qualified" and "Non-Qualified" Retirement Plans.

Leveraging the intellectual capital within his team and throughout Wells Fargo Advisors, Chris adheres to a disciplined investment process to deliver a consistent yet customized wealth management experience for each client. This three-part process begins with a comprehensive discovery phase that results in an implementation plan exclusive to each client's needs. The plan is then thoroughly reviewed through an ongoing customized communication program unique to each family. Chris' goal is to provide "client value" by providing solutions encompassing five-distinct disciplines to wealth management and through the comprehensive planning process distinctive to each relationship.

"My objective is to hold myself accountable by clearly communicating a more understandable view of each client's prosperity and to provide risk management strategies to help preserve client wealth from unforeseen issues created by world events."


ChFC, Vice President - Investments · Wells Fargo Advisors · 407-649-6026 · Contact by email

Pamela D. Ison

Pam Ison retired in 2010 after enjoying a thirty year banking career in Central Florida. Her most recent banking roles were with Mercantile Bank and included being the Director of Human Resources for the Florida franchise where she managed a staff of human resource professionals with oversight of banks from Jacksonville to Miami. Eighteen months before her retirement, Pam changed careers within the bank and became the bank’s COO and Strategist, reporting directly to the State President.

In 2012, Pam formed Ison Consulting Group; Ison Consulting Group specializes in Human Resources consulting to individuals and businesses. Her firm has the expertise to assist individuals with resume preparation, interviewing skills and the development of various written communications. Business services include on boarding regimens, employee appreciation/recognition events, department/line of business review, performance management and exit interviewing.

A native Floridian, Pam was born and raised in Apopka. She currently divides her time between homes in Apopka and New Smyrna Beach with her husband Mike and their boxer, Baxter.

Pam has been a member of the Downtown Orlando Rotary Club since 1994, has served on the Board of Directors twice and has held various officer and committee positions. She is an avid fan and follower of the Florida Gators.


Ison Consulting Group · · · Contact by email

Evan C. Joffe

Evan grew up in New York and went to college in Illinois and received his B.S. from Northern Illinois University. His father was in the women’s apparel business, and when Evan moved back to New York, he eventually went into textiles working for Springs Industries and its spin-off Springfield LLC where he managed the military and government apparel fabrics business.

After completing the Professional Program in Business at New York University’s Stern School of Business and then moving to Orlando, Florida in late 2000, Evan made a career change and transitioned to financial services going from “rags to riches.”

Evan first worked for Legg Mason, who was purchased by Smith Barney in 2006. Then in 2009, Smith Barney was sold into a joint venture with Morgan Stanley.

Since starting as a financial advisor, Evan has taken a consultative approach to wealth management, listening to his client’s goals, values, aspirations and concerns, then working with them to develop tailored wealth management strategies.

Evan earned the Chartered Retirement Planning Specialist (CRPS®) designation from the College of Financial Planning and the Financial Planning Specialist (FPS) from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Evan has his FINRA Series 7, Series 66 and Life, Health & Variable Annuity Insurance licenses.

Evan and his lovely wife Amy have two children: Joel in 4th grade and Anne in 3rd grade at Bay Meadows Elementary. They live in Dr. Phillips and are active at Christ Church of Orlando where Evan teaches a Bible study class.


Financial Advisor · Morgan Stanley Smith Barney · 407-849-4738 · Contact by email

Michele L. Johnson, Esq.

Michele L. Johnson, Esq., is a shareholder in the Orlando office of Greenberg Traurig, P.A., an international, full-service law firm with approximately 1800 attorneys serving clients from more than 30 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. She joined Greenberg Traurig in 2004 from an associate position at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P., in Cleveland, Ohio, where she began her legal career in 2000. Ms. Johnson has significant experience counseling and representing a wide array of clients regarding matters ranging from advice on statutory and regulatory interpretation and adherence to defense against, and prosecution of, small dollar to multimillion dollar claims. She focuses her civil litigation and advocacy practice on helping a broad spectrum of clients manage and resolve a varied universe of legal issues and disputes, through litigation or alternative dispute resolution, in both state and federal courts throughout Florida and her home state of Ohio.


Attorney · Greenberg Traurig, PA · 407-420-1000 · Contact by email

Carol A. Kindt

Carol A. Kindt, Ed.D. is a native Floridian from Cocoa Beach and has worked for Orange County Public Schools for the past 20 years. Carol received her BA in English Literature from the University of Central Florida in 1991 and her Masters in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale in 1998. She continued to pursue her education at the University of Florida where she received her Specialist in 2002 and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2008.

Dr. Kindt’s dissertation, The Relationship Between Organizational Climate and Job Satisfaction Among Middle School Principals in Central Florida, found that Central Florida middle school principals identified professional development opportunities, regard for personal concern, professional effectiveness, and relationship with subordinates, peers and supervisors as some of the climate factors that enhanced their job satisfaction. Political climate and opportunities for promotion were two of the climate factors that detracted from their satisfaction with the job.

Dr. Kindt has held a variety of positions during her tenure with OCPS including teacher’s aide, language arts teacher, administrative dean, assistant principal and was the principal of Chain of Lakes Middle School for seven years. Dr. Kindt was promoted to the Senior Executive Director of Human Resources for OCPS almost three years ago where she leads and manages the Human Resources Department for the 10th largest district in the nation and the second largest employer in Central Florida with over 22,000 employees.

Dr. Kindt has lived in Central Florida for the past 26 years with her husband, Hahns and two children Aaron and Zachary.


Senior Executive Director, HR · Orange County Public Schools · 407-317-3200 · Contact by email

Steven D. Kurland

Steven D. Kurland has more than 30 years of experience serving clients’ diverse needs. As a Financial Representative of 360 Financial Firm, he focuses on providing comprehensive strategies for individuals and business owners. Steven is licensed to offer Life, Health and Variable Annuities in the State of Florida as well as having his Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 securities registrations. Steven is also registered and licensed for securities and insurance in several other states. Steven earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, and a Masters of Business Administration from Loyola College of Maryland. Please see Mr. Kurland's complete bio.


Financial Representative/Advisor · 360 Financial Firm · 407-456-1162 · Contact by email

Andrew G. Laney

I was born and raised in Winter Park, FL and am a life-long Central Florida resident, as is my father, Gray Laney, Jr. I graduated from Winter Park High School in 1999 and then attended the University of Florida, graduating with a bachelors of science in business administration in 2003. Post graduation, I moved back to Winter Park and began my professional career with Century National Bank which was eventually purchased by Seacoast National Bank in 2005. At CNB/SNB, I began in loan operations, moved into an underwriting role and then transitioned into a commercial lending role. As the commercial lending market dried up I transitioned into a branch management role, managing a branch with $150 Million in assets and 7 employees. I left SNB in July of 2010 to return to a lending role with another community bank, New Traditions National Bank which is where I am currently employed. I live in Winter Park with my wife of five years, Whitney Melton Laney.


Vice President · New Traditions National Bank · 407-206-7800 · Contact by email

Beverly Madison

Beverly is the co-owner of several commercial warehouses and industrial properties in south Orlando. She started in 1988 purchasing residential properties and quickly turned to the commercial sector mostly in the Taft area. She and her partners diversified in 2008 turning one of the properties into Central Florida Racing Complex a drag racing and drifting motorsports track.

Beverly’s leadership roles include serving on the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida for seven years. She was active in several committees including real estate, recruitment and investments, and was Chairman of the Board for one year. For eight years she has been active with the Junior League of Greater Orlando. Participating in several community programs a few of which were public speaking for the Harbor House of Central Florida and mentoring young girls in the Orange County Girls Juvenile Detention Center.

Beverly holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Florida Southern University of Lakeland, Florida.


Central Florida Racing Complex · · Contact by email

Brenda March



Children & Education Program Manager · City of Orlando - Families, Parks and Recreation · 407-246-4295 · Contact by email

Shellie-Ann Minnis

Shellie-Ann Minnis is a graduate of The Florida State University with a B.A. in International Affairs and Spanish and M.S. in International Affairs with an emphasis in Multinational Business.

In 2001, Shellie joined the Urban League family as Executive Assistant to the President/CEO. She has since served as the Workforce Development Manager, Director of Operations and Interim President/CEO.

In her current role as Community Relations Director, she is charged with communicating the Central Florida Urban League’s purpose and philosophy to the community-at-large by raising awareness and gaining support for the League’s programs and services through partnerships and outstanding customer service.

Shellie and her husband, Sean, are the proud parents of three beautiful girls.


Director of Community Relations · Central Florida Urban League · 407-472-9992 · Contact by email

Rev. Dr. Jeffery C. Moore

Rev. Dr. Jeffery C. Moore is a native of Miami, spent his teenage years in Ocala, and graduated from the University of Florida in 1976 with a BS in Mathematics. He has been a pastor for over 30 years, the last 9 of those at Trinity Lutheran in Downtown Orlando. He holds Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Theology, and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Jeff and Lisa have been married for 32 years and have two grown children, Anna and Josh.


Senior Pastor · Trinity Lutheran Church and School · 407-488-1919 · Contact by email

Walter Nason

Walt Nason is the Chief Financial Officer of GrayRobinson, P.A., responsible for financial administration of the firm’s 250 attorneys in ten offices from Key West to Tallahassee.

Before joining GrayRobinson, Nason was Senior Vice President and CFO of Ten Broeck Healthcare in Windermere, Florida, and CFO for HCA’s Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg, Virginia. Previous to HCA, Nason had been a long time staff member with the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce and served in several positions including COO and CFO. He began his career at Price Waterhouse in Orlando.

Walt is a graduate of Stetson University, the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, and Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

His service to the community includes the Boards of Directors of Florida Health Choices, University of Kent in America, and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, and membership in the Rotary Club of Orlando. Walt is an alumnus of Leadership Orlando and Leadership Central Florida.

Nason has been married to the former Lisa Glascock for twenty-three years.


Chief Financial Officer · GrayRobinson, P.A. · 407-244-6245 · Contact by email

Kathleen Palmer

Kathleen Palmer is the Chief of Staff for Orange County Public Schools which is the 10th largest school district in the nation. She holds a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Central Florida and her Bachelor’s Degree in Education was earned at the University of Wisconsin. Thirty years ago, Ms. Palmer and her husband moved from Wisconsin to Orlando where she has continued her career as a professional educator/administrator with OCPS since 1983.

Ms. Palmer taught at the middle and junior high school levels for thirteen years before beginning her administrative career. She has worked as an Assistant Principal at Maitland and Howard Middle Schools and as a Principal at Maitland and Discovery Middle Schools.

In 2000, Ms. Palmer became an Executive Area Director working in the West and East Learning Communities supporting the schools and Area Superintendent in those learning communities.

She became the Chief of Staff in 2010 supporting the Superintendent, working with School Board members and supervising the Human Resources, Employee Relations, Legislative and Labor Relations, and Public Relations Departments within her division.


Chief of Staff · Orange County Public Schools · · Contact by email

Chris Pantano

Chris is a First Vice President and Client Advisor on SunTrust’s Legal Specialty Group and has been with SunTrust for 11 years. Chris focuses entirely on serving the local legal community and specializes in taking care of the comprehensive financial needs of law firms and their individual attorneys. In serving law firms, Chris provides the firm with proactive advice surrounding banking, cash management, lending and numerous other specific needs tied to a firms daily business. With his attorneys, Chris provides full scale financial planning, investment and trust services, survivorship planning, lending and banking guidance to better position each client toward their individual goals. He is a Registered Paraplanner with the College of Financial Planning and holds numerous securities licenses, including his series 7, 66, Life, Health and Annuity Insurance license and is also a licensed Realtor.

Chris holds both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Central Florida. He lives in the Moss Park area with his wife Connie and two sons Logan and Alex.


First Vice President · SunTrust Bank · 407-237-2407 · Contact by email

Linda Parks



Principal/CPA · Parks, De Filippo & Associates · 407-539-1330 · Contact by email

Janie Phelps



K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist · Orange County Public Schools · 407-317-3200 · Contact by email

Bruce Phillips

Bruce Phillips is a software developer and business consultant with an emphasis in accounting. He is a true native of Florida, growing up in Bronson, Florida. During his early years Bruce became a die-hard Gator fan and attended most of the University of Florida home football games. Bruce attended Central Florida Community College in Ocala completing his Associate Arts degree in Computer Science, and in 1986 he received a Bachelor’s Degree in System Science with a minor in Business from the University of West Florida, in Pensacola.

After being courted by many of the big businesses around the country, especially big oil, Bruce opted for a position as a programmer / analyst with BellSouth in Birmingham, Alabama. This position involved for programming and designing telephone bills for large users such as banks and various large businesses.

It was in Birmingham where Bruce met the love of his life, Mary Ann Etzler. She was a longtime resident of Florida attending law school at Cumberland Law School, but determined to return to Florida to practice law. Once back in Florida, Bruce and Mary Ann started their new careers: Bruce with AT&T and Mary Ann practicing law.

Since moving to Orlando, Bruce has also worked as a project manager and software developer for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and recently decided to change careers. He is now working on his Masters in Accounting degree at the University of Central Florida with the goal of obtaining his CPA license. Audit will be his likely practice area.

Bruce is the president of Mariners Village Master Association, he sits on his Homeowners Association board, and sits on the City of Orlando Citizens Review Panel. He is also involved with the University of Central Florida’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter, he volunteers for the Christian Service Center, and is involved with his church. Bruce enjoys all sports but particularly, college football, spending time with his wife and children, reading political spy thrillers, and all other things political.


President · Mariners Village Master Association · 407-694-0476 · Contact by email

Oliver W. Phipps

Oliver W. “Ollie” Phipps is a University of Central Florida graduate and former U.S. Air Force OSI Special Agent. He has been in the investigation industry for almost 30 years. During his four years with OSI, Ollie served with detachments in Austin, TX, Manila, PI and Cocoa Beach, FL. While the OSI was responsible for major investigations into crime and counter-intelligence, Ollie specialized in fraud inquiries. He worked cases with all the federal law enforcement agencies and many state and local ones as well.

As a Florida state-licensed Private Investigator, Ollie supervised and conducted a variety of investigations, specializing in litigation support. He has performed hundreds of disability cases, featuring both videotaped and digital still photographic evidence. Ollie has also completed many domestic surveillances, background and asset checks, discharged accident investigations, directed due diligence evaluations and carried out undercover work in a variety of matters.

Ollie is also a partner of American Security Systems International, Inc., an investigative firm based in Asia. They offer due diligence and intellectual property protection inquiries and enforcement services. Long-term clients include Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Omega, Cartier, and Adidas, among others.

Ollie’s firm, AVPE, has been an Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce member since its inception 15 years ago. Ollie has been a member of two trade associations, FAPI since its founding five years ago and FALI for the last ten years and is currently on the board. Ollie has been a Rotarian for ten years and served on the board for two.


Private Investigator · AVPE · 407-273-6646 · Contact by email

Tiffany Moore Russell

Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell is a native of Orlando, Florida. A product of Orange County’s public school system, Commissioner Moore Russell is an alumna of Dr. Phillips High School. Upon graduating from high school she went on to receive her BA in Political Science from the University of South Florida and a Juris Doctorate from Florida State University College of Law.

She was elected to the Orange County Commission to represent District 6 in November of 2006. She made history through becoming the youngest County Commissioner that has ever been elected to serve on the Orange County Commission in charge of a budget exceeding $5 billion and more than 8000 employees. Commissioner Moore Russell is committed to remaining accountable and accessible to each and every constituent, increasing recreational and career opportunities for the area youth, creating stable and viable neighborhoods, and strengthening Orange County's economy by increasing the availability of jobs and minority business opportunities.

Commissioner Moore Russell has been a community advocate for many years, both as an elected official and a private citizen. As a lay person she served on the Orange County Community Action Board, where she was elected Chairman and Vice Chairman while also accepting volunteer appointments to both the Orange County Board of Zoning and Adjustments and the Orange County Citizens Review Board. As a Commissioner, she’s gained additional experience through providing service on boards such as Orange County’s Commission on Aging; Value and Adjustment Board; Youth and Family Services Board; OBT Development Board; the Downtown Orlando CRA/DDB Board; African American Chamber of Commerce; 2008 and 2012 Electoral Canvassing Board; International Drive Master Transit and Improvement District; METROPLAN; and the Florida Association of Counties.
Please read more about Ms. Moore Russell's activities and accomplishments.


Commissioner · Orange County Board of Commissioners · 407-836-5860 · Contact by email

Col. David A. Smith

Colonel David Smith is currently serving as the Marine Corps’ Program Manager for Training Systems. He leads a cross functional team of 225 acquisition professionals in Orlando, Florida and manages approximately $1.2 billion dollars of modeling, simulation and training projects at all Marine Corps bases and stations.

He is a career helicopter pilot with over 4600 flight hours and holds all qualifications in the UH-1N Huey helicopter. He has made six overseas deployments throughout his career, including one combat tour flying in Iraq.

Colonel Smith is a member of the Acquisition Professional Community. He has served two previous Program Management tours at Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland and two assignments in the field of Production, Quality and Manufacturing. He is certified in LEAN Six Sigma.

Prior to coming to PM TRASYS in 2009 he was the Commanding Officer of Fleet Readiness Center East, a large aviation repair Depot at Cherry Point, North Carolina. PM TRASYS is his fifth acquisition assignment.


United States Marine Corps · 407-380-8108 · Contact by email

Amy R. Steiner, Esq.

Amy was born in Orlando, Florida, and attended schools in Seminole County, Florida. After receiving her BA from Rollins College, she earned her Juris Doctorate at Nova Southeastern University in 2004. She currently practices real estate, estate planning, probate and corporate law in Altamonte Springs, Florida with her father in their firm, Lawrence R. Steiner, P.A.

Amy is active in the Orange County Bar Association and Central Florida Woman Lawyer Section of the Orange County Bar. Amy is also active with Hospice of the Comforter in Altamonte Springs, Florida.


Attorney · Lawrence R. Steiner, P.A. · 407-774-7500 · Contact by email

Debby C. Sweeney

A public relations, marketing and communications professional for approximately 30 years, Debby Sweeney has both strong professional services and corporate experience. Prior to opening Sweeney & Bartlett Marketing Partners, Inc. with Mellanie Bartlett, Debby served Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed law firm for nearly six years in a PR/marketing capacity.

On the corporate front, Debby served as Red Lobster USA/Canada public relations manager garnering a vast amount of top-level experience in her 11 years with the company. Serving as senior director of public relations for The Golf Channel as the entity evolved into a major player in the sports world, Debby spent more than four years generating strong national and international business and sports press. She worked with notable names in this role including musician Kenny G, Arnold Palmer and many other golf legends.

Other marketing positions in Debby's career included serving Continental Airlines, Sea World of Florida, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Florida Power/Progress Energy.

A community leadership highlight was receipt of Florida Citrus Sports' highest annual recognition: The 1991 Florida Citrus Bowl Howard L. Palmer Award for excellence and long-term significant contribution to the organization. She has the Accredited Public Relations (APR) professional designation, is a past president of Florida Public Relations Association, Orlando Area Chapter, past state board member and past chair of the FPRA State Counselors Network for the area chapter. Debby is a graduate of the 1984 Leadership Orlando class and received her B.A. in Journalism/Public Relations from University of Central Florida.


Principal · Sweeney & Bartlett Marketing Partners, Inc. · 407-902-7141 · Contact by email

Celeste Thomas

I am one of the top Account Directors for NCM Media Networks the nation’s largest digital in-theater network. Helping local/regional agencies & clients showcase their ads to thousands of clients at their local/regional AMC, Cinemark, Regal, Cobb and other leading theater circuits across the country.

I love my job and in my free time I am also passionate about volunteer work and serve on the boards and organizations listed below. Volunteering for Hospice, giving home-bound patient’s haircuts is some of the most rewarding time I give.

I am a proud mother of two sons, both in the Army the oldest is a Ranger currently on his 4th deployment the youngest is a Human Intelligence Collector.

Orlando Breakfast Rotary – PR Chair 2010, Programs Chair – 2011-present; City of Orlando Families, Parks, & Recreation Board Co-Chair 2011 - present; Hospice of the Comforter – Volunteer 2007 - present; AAF - Orlando - Board 2009 – present, Programs Chair 2009; Few- (Florida Executive Women) - Member; Woman’s Executive Council-The Village Transitional Housing – Chair 2010 & 2011; The Village Transitional Housing – Ambassador 2010 & 2011; City of Orlando Vehicles for Hire Appeal Board 2009 -2011; Citrus Club - Women's Executive Exchange (WEE) Committee Member


Account Director · NCM Media Networks · 407-382-2292 · Contact by email

Joshua H. Truitt

Joshua Truitt works in Technology Transfer at the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Office of Technology Commercialization, and is an instructor at UCF for the LEAD Scholars Program. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at UCF in the College of Education with an emphasis on Higher Education and Policy Studies. Outside of UCF, Joshua serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools and the Development Team at A Gift For Teaching. Joshua holds a B.S. in Chemistry from UCF and an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.


LEAD Scholars Instructor · University of Central Florida · 321-948-3160 · Contact by email

Joseph B. Walker



President · Walker Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. · 407-849-1988 · Contact by email

Thomas P. Wert, Esq.

Tom Wert is the Partner in Charge of the Orlando office of the law firm of Roetzel & Andress. Roetzel is a National Law Journal "NLJ 250" law firm with offices in 13 cities throughout Ohio, Florida, Illinois, New York and Washington, D.C. Mr. Wert has practiced in the area of business litigation, with an emphasis in creditor's rights, real estate litigation, construction litigation and commercial litigation since 1993. He has represented numerous large and middle-market companies, banks, other financial institutions, general contractors, government entities, developers, small businesses and individuals in cases involving credit agreements, secured transactions, contract disputes, construction disputes, business torts, government bid protests, intellectual property rights and bankruptcy. Before beginning the practice of law, Mr. Wert worked as a commercial banking officer for a large commercial bank and he is an avid runner, completing five marathons, a long distance bicyclist and a lover of the great outdoors.


Attorney · Roetzel & Andress, LPA · 407-896-2224 · Contact by email