Ruth’s List Florida Action

Ruth’s List Florida Action seeks to increase the number of pro-choice women running for office in Florida through its state-wide training programs. For more information, view our training calendar page.

Ruth's List Florida Action Board

Emma Collum, Chair
Ft. Lauderdale

Emma Collum is an award-winning community activist, attorney, and one of the founders of the largest single day protest in history – the National Women’s March on Washington.

Emma is Founder and immediate past President of Women’s March Florida a 501c4 organization with regional chapters throughout the state of Florida.

Ms. Collum serves in an elected capacity as Supervisor of the Broward Soil and Water Conservation Board. She is a member of Local Progress. Emma began her legal career as an advocate for tenants’ rights, domestic violence survivors, union workers, and environmental protections. She gained valuable policy experience as a legislative aide for the first openly LGBTQ member of the NYS Legislature where she worked on Marriage Equality and Anti Fracking Legislation.

She has consulted and staffed both local and national races. Her goal is to empower women to be bold so that they can step up in their communities to lead. Emma serves as a New Leaders Council – Broward County mentor, You Should Run Candidate advisor, Broward County Parks and Recreation Board, Broward County School District Advisory Council, and Board of the Directors of the The Dolphin Democrats and North Broward Democrats.

In 2018 she ran as the Democratic nominee for Florida House of Representatives and was endorsed by President Barack Obama.

Collum has won numerous awards for her activism, including being named Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year, Broward County Valiant Women of the Vote, the Penn America Award, Dolphin Democrat’s Outstanding Candidate of the Year, Florida Young Democrats Activist of the Year, Boys and Girls Club Outstanding Woman of the Year She is published and featured in “AOL The Build” Series, “Together We Rise”, and “The Womens March on Washington- Words from an Organizer”. She is a frequent media commentator on women’s rights and women navigating electoral politics.

Emma lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband and rescue dog Daisy where she continues to practice law and serve her community.

Susan Stackhouse Bosquez, Vice Chair
St. Petersburg

Susan Stackhouse Bosquez acquired one duty free store at Tampa International Airport in 1988. Over the next 30 years, she grew her ACDBE-certified company to become one of the country’s leading airport retailers with over 40 stores, spanning the country in 10 major U.S. airports.  Stellar was acquired by HMSHost in 2016.  She remained active in the company, recruiting a new CEO  and continuing to serve on the Board until she retired at the end of 2018.

A widely respected industry expert, Susan serves in numerous leadership roles at the local and national level focusing on issues affecting women, small business and education. She has served on the Boards of the International Association of Airport Duty Free Stores, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, SunTrust Advisory Board, and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees of University of Tampa. Susan was the 2018 Chairwoman for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women in Tampa Bay and was named the 2015 Business Woman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

In retirement, she focuses her attention on women entrepreneurs, particularly their ability to access capital. Ms. Stackhouse attended the Sorbonne University in Paris, France and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

Penny Parks, Treasurer and Secretary
Tampa

Penny Parks is the president and founder of Links Financial. She has 35 years of experience in the financial industry, having held numerous financial leadership roles before starting her own firm, now in its 12th year. In her time at Links Financial, Penny’s areas of focus have been arranging over $2 Billion in corporate debt financings, real estate and corporate problem loan resolution and restructuring, and business acquisitions.

Marika Lynch
Miami

With 20 years of experience as a strategist, writer and editor, Marika Lynch’s passion is helping foundations and nonprofits achieve their goals through strategic communications. Since founding her firm, Marika Lynch Communications in 2008, Marika has developed outreach campaigns for a range of clients, including Knight Foundation, leading the communications for the fourth largest arts program in the country. A graduate of Georgetown University, Marika was selected for The Miami Foundation’s signature leadership program, The Miami Fellows, and as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She previously was a journalist, editor and department head with the Miami Herald, where she reported across the Americas and shared in two Pulitzer Prizes.

Stacy Estes Yates
Tampa

Stacy Estes Yates is an experienced trial attorney and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Mediator. She was named a 2019 Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine, a Top Lawyer in TAMPA Magazine, a 2019 Featuree in KNOW TRIBE Tampa Bay, and holds an AV Preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell. Stacy is a frequent public speaker on a variety of legal and non-legal topics. 

As a litigator and former prosecutor, Stacy has tried over forty jury and non-jury trials and is admitted to practice in all State Courts of Florida, the Middle District of Florida and the Southern District of Florida. Her extensive litigation practice includes defending liability and coverage issues for automotive, homeowner, and commercial property insurance companies and their insureds.

Stacy is active in her Tampa Community. She’s a member of the Athena Society, a Girl Scout Leader, a member of Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O’Malley, a member of the Krewe of Tronando, the Advocacy Committee Chair at Roosevelt Elementary PTA, a member of Tampa Bay Inn of Court, a member of the Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers. She serves on several philanthropic boards and loves to mentor young professionals.

Stacy consults for many local and state political campaigns and participated in the historic 2018 Florida election recount.

The Honorable Alex Sink
Thonotosassa

Alex Sink founded Ruth’s List Florida in 2008 to build the bench of dynamic women leaders serving in state and local government. She was Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from 2007 to 2011 as one of four statewide elected officials. She managed over $15 billion in state treasury funds, was responsible for state accounting, and implemented reforms in contracting and transparency for citizens.

Before elected office, Alex had a 26-year career with Bank of America. She retired as President of Florida operations in 2000, managing the state’s largest bank with $40 billion in deposits, leading 9000 employees in over 800 branches.

From 2011 to 2013, she was Senior Advisor to Hyde Park Capital Advisors, a middle market boutique M&A firm. Alex founded Florida Next Foundation, a non-profit devoted to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Florida. She subsequently joined the board of Tampa Wave in 2016 to continue her work in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Florida.

Alex is a Life Trustee at Wake Forest University, serves on the boards of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, United Way Worldwide Leadership Council, United Way Suncoast, and Junior Achievement.

The Honorable Arthenia Joyner
Tampa

State Senator Arthenia Joyner has been a pioneer and political trailblazer throughout her impressive career. She was taught by her father, Henry Joyner — the owner of Tampa’s premier African-American night club, the Cotton Club — about the importance of sharing personal success with those less fortunate. Her mother, Jean Joyner, taught her to follow her conscience and her convictions, and never be afraid to speak up on issues that mattered.

In 1960, while an 11th grade student at Tampa’s Middleton High, she participated in her first civil rights demonstration, an event that would shape her entire life. As a college student at Florida A & M University, she was arrested twice in 1963 for civil disobedience and spent 14 days in jail. 

After graduating with a J.D. from Florida A&M University, College of Law, she worked as a legal assistant to State Representative Joe Lang Kershaw, the first African-American to serve in Tallahassee since Reconstruction. When no law firm would hire her, she took out a $1,000 bank loan and opened her solo practice of law. 

In 1991, she was a founder in the law firm of Stewart Joyner Jordan-Holmes Holmes. She became the first Black woman to practice law in Hillsborough County and the first Black person to practice law in Polk County.

Over her distinguished career in law and politics, Senator Joyner has broken many racial and gender barriers. She first rose to prominence in 1973 when she was elected as Treasurer of the National Bar Association. In 1984, she was elected President of the National Bar Association and she was arrested a year later at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC protesting apartheid. In 1991, she became the first Black person to be appointed by a governor (Governor Lawton Chiles) to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. She chaired the Authority for two years, from 1993-1995, during her two four-year terms of service. She held posts on various airport and civil rights committees before rising again to national prominence with appointments by President Clinton to the U.S. delegation for the World Population Development Conference, Cairo, Egypt (1994), the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) and the Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Council (1999-2000). 

After her turn in the national spotlight, she chose to run for state office in Florida. She served three terms as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from the 59th District (2000-2006). Subsequently elected to the Florida Senate, Senator Joyner served the people of the 18th District from 2006-2012. After political districts were redrawn, she won the race for the 19th District, serving from 2012-2016. Over her legislative career, Senator Joyner has held many significant posts, including being elected the first Black woman Senate Minority Leader.

In 2012, Senator Joyner received the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ (NBCSL) Lifetime Achievement Award and the President’s Award from Florida A & M University. She was inducted into the Hillsborough County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, and in 2015 the Democratic Caucus in the Florida Senate named their annual political dinner for women, The Annual Arthenia L. Joyner Women In Politics Dinner. She remains the longest practicing Black woman lawyer in the history of Florida and is currently of Counsel at Vanguard Attorneys in Tampa and a Supreme Court appointee to the 2017-2018 Florida Constitution Revision Commission. The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Tampa-Hillsborough Library Board recently celebrated her many contributions to Florida and the community by naming its new $9.3 million library in her honor.

Throughout a long career in public life, Senator Joyner has always demonstrated a deep commitment to her foundational values of service, equality, and civil rights, and an unwavering dedication to her constituents in Tampa, and the people of Florida.

Barbara Zdravecky
Anna Maria Island

Barbara Zdravecky served as the interim CEO of Ruth’s List Florida. Prior to her appointment to CEO she helped lead the organization as a member of the Executive Committee. She is the Principal and Founder of Fern Consulting of Southwest Florida, lending her extensive knowledge and experience advising not for profits executives and their boards.

Zdravecky served as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida for nearly 25 years. In 2015, Barbara led the successful regional merger of the affiliate, resulting in a 22-county service area with a team of 160 professionals, 25-member regional board of directors and a $17 million dollar budget. This visionary consolidation has enabled Planned Parenthood to serve more than 39,000 patients annually at its twelve health centers in Southwest and Central Florida, extending from Orlando to Sarasota to Naples. In addition, she served as the President of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, President of the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates and led numerous committees of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, Barbara worked as a registered nurse and social worker at Manatee Memorial for 10 years as the head nurse for inpatient psychiatric services and as the Director of Women’s Health Programs. Barbara also worked as the Patient Care Coordinator of the First Hospice Program in Key West, primarily caring for AIDS patients while coordinating research and care with local physicians and Jackson Memorial Hospital staff in Miami.  She spent 5 years at the Manatee Community Mental Health Center as a crisis counselor specializing in emergency inpatient treatment in the Baker Act Receiving and Addiction Detox units.

Barbara’s service to her community extends well beyond her professional achievements, bringing expertise to numerous civic and not-for-profit boards including the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Florida and The League of Women Voters, of which she was the co-chair of Manatee County and served on the state board of Florida. She currently sits on the board for the Selby Foundation in Sarasota.

Barbara has received numerous awards, honors and recognitions, including the “Ruth Green Award,” as the top Planned Parenthood CEO in the country by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the “Voice for Equality Award” from Equality Florida, “A Woman of Power Award” from the National Council of Jewish Women in Sarasota, the American Association of University Women annual leadership award, “A Wonder Woman Award” from the Women’s Resource Center of Manatee County and ”The Distinguished Alumni Award” from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Burnadette Norris-Weeks
Ft. Lauderdale

Burnadette Norris-Weeks is a partner in the law firm of Austin Pamies Norris Weeks, LLC. She serves as counsel to various corporations and governmental entities, including the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office and two Florida municipalities. In addition, the law firm also handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Currently serving her second term on the Broward County Charter Review Commission, she also serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Broward. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida and of Leadership Broward.

Bernadette is founder of the Women of Color Empowerment Institute, Inc. (WOCEI), a membership organization with the mission to enhance and expand leadership opportunities for women of color. WOCEI sponsors a yearly conference that brings together hundreds of women in leadership. Her extensive community and professional involvement has earned her the Above and Beyond Award from the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation, the Urban League’s Margaret Roach Humanitarian Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the T.J. Reddick Bar Association. She is a past honoree of the National Trumpet Awards Foundation and was recognized by Legacy Magazine as one of South Florida’s 25 Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business. Burnadette has also received a “Leader of the Year” award from the Leadership Broward Foundation, among other impressive awards and recognitions.

Bernadette is the Chair of the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Bar Leadership Committee. She is a past National Chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Litigation Section’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee and a former Chair of the ABA’s Young Lawyer Leadership Team. She is also a Past-President of the Tallahassee Barristers Association. Burnadette is admitted to practice law before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.

Erin Aebel
Tampa

Erin Smith Aebel is a partner at a Tampa law firm where she practices business and health law. A board certified health lawyer, she represents physicians, hospitals, dentists, pharmacies and other healthcare providers in their business and compliance needs. She is a member of the Athena Society and serves on various philanthropic boards in the Tampa Bay Area.

Erin is a co-founder of the Surly Feminists for the Revolution and works to advance women and diversity in business and in federal, state and local representation.

Felice Schulaner
Sarasota

Felice Schulaner is a retired Human Resources executive who now spends her time serving on nonprofit Boards, including the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. 

She served as Chair of the New College Board of Trustees from 2016-2020, making her the first woman and first alumna to hold the role. Previously she served as Director and Chair of the New College Foundation and on the inaugural Board of Visible Men Academy. 

Felice worked for Coach, Inc., first as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and then as Executive Director of the Coach Foundation, which supports women’s empowerment and education for underserved populations. Her 25+ year business career also included senior Human Resources positions at Optimark Technologies, Salant Corporation, American Express, and Macy’s.

Felice has been honored for her work in the community with the Women in Power Award from the National Council of Jewish Women and the “She Knows Where She is Going Award” from Girls Inc.

Jennifer Anderson
Winter Park

Jennifer Anderson has 25+ years of executive experience in sales, marketing, and human resources. She began her career with IBM in San Francisco before assuming expanded corporate roles in NYC, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. She later worked in strategic consulting and executive search. Jennifer most recently served as director of the Executive MBA program at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.

Jennifer currently serves as vice-president of the Eatonville Joe R. Lee Boys & Girls Club board and was recognized as the 2018 Board Member of the Year for Central Florida. She’s active with the Orange County League of Women Voters, 100 Women Strong, the Winter Park Historical Association, and the Albin Polasek Museum and Gardens.

Jennifer attended Vanderbilt University, graduated from George Washington University with a major in economics and statistics, and earned her MBA at Harvard University.  She and her husband Phil have four grown children.

Karla Hernández-Mats
Miami

Karla Hernández-Mats is the president of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD), the largest teachers’ union in the southeastern United States. Prior to becoming president, Mrs. Hernández-Mats served as UTD’s Secretary and Treasurer.

In 2018, Karla led the charge to mobilize teachers and the Miami-Dade community, helping to pass Referendum 362 to give public school teachers a salary raise and improve security in schools. To date, this is the largest pay increase in the history of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, garnering support from more than 70 percent of Miami-Dade voters. 

Karla serves on the FEA (Florida Education Association) Governance Board, the FEA Cabinet, the State AFL-CIO Executive Board, The Children’s Trust Executive Board, The Education Fund Executive Board, and serves as the Chairperson of the American Federation of Teachers Women’s Rights Committee.

She has been a featured speaker and presenter for the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the Miami Women’s March, and the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C., focusing on the challenges public education teachers face and is an ardent advocate for immigration reform and the protection of children’s rights. In 2019, she was recognized by Miami Today as part of its Achiever Series for her work in advancing public education throughout the Miami-Dade community.

Born and raised in Miami, Karla is a first generation American of Honduran descent and is the first Hispanic officer to be elected to the United Teachers of Dade. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in Emotionally Handicapped Education and a master’s degree in Business Management from St. Thomas University.

Lindsay Pollard
Lauderhill

Lindsay Pollard works as the Finance Consultant with Diverse Strategy Group (DSG). DSG’s clients have included Shevrin Jones for State Senate, Harold Pryor for Broward County State Attorney, Emma Collum for State House, and Renee Gordon for Circuit Court Judge in Miami-Dade County. 

In the 2020 election cycle, Lindsay served as Treasurer for Nancy Metayer for Coral Springs Commissioner. In 2018, Lindsay was Andrew Gillum’s Deputy Finance Director for his gubernatorial bid. Prior to co-founding DSG, Lindsay worked as a finance consultant for Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness’ re-election campaign, Sandra Ruiz for Doral Mayor, and the Broward County Democratic Party. She has also served as the Finance Director for Randy Perkins for Congress, Annette Taddeo for Congress, and the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. In 2014, she served as Regional Finance Director for Charlie Crist for Governor.

Natalia Duke
Key West

As the daughter of a Cuban exile, Natalia Duke is extremely passionate about immigrant justice and immigration reform. She grew up on Little Torch Key before leaving to pursue her BA in History at Duke University and Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) at NYU. She has taught ESOL at Pace University and in New York Public Libraries. 

After moving back to the Florida Keys in 2009, Natalia continued to teach ESL in the Monroe County Adult Education Department. In addition to language teaching, she has studied and trained in a variety of healing modalities and currently teaches yoga and pilates. 

As Vice-President of Women’s March Florida and founder of both Women’s March Florida Keys and Keys Immigrant Coalition, Natalia volunteers on a variety of statewide issues ranging from immigrant justice to environmental justice. Each of the organizations focus on issue-based, community-centered, direct action, education and advocacy. For example, in March 2019, Natalia created a visitation program at the Monroe County ICE detention center. Until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she offered weekly ESL classes as a means to end isolation to the men detained there. In addition to leading these organizations, she also serves as a Board Member of the Climate Change Action Committee.

Shenika "Nik" Harris
Fort Lauderdale

Shenika “Nik” Harris (she/her/they/them), is a queer gender non-conforming attorney, activist, and speaker. She was appointed by Commissioner Nikki Fried as the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ first LGBTQ Consumer Advocate, serving as liaison to Florida’s LGBTQ community, raising awareness on agriculture industry opportunities, and addressing discrimination and fraud targeted at the community. Prior to this appointment, she served as Senior Attorney at the Florida Department of Transportation and as a prosecutor at the Florida Department of Health. She conducts training on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is certified by Cornell University in Diversity & Inclusion.

Nik is the first Black woman elected to serve as Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) National Board of Governors. In addition to Ruth’s List, she serves on the board of IGNITE Women’s Services, is Vice-President of the Dolphin Democrats (Broward County’s LGBTQ Democratic Caucus), Vice-President of the Florida LGBTQ Democratic Caucus, a member of the Broward County Sheriff’s Social Justice Task Force and is a BIG in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Pride Program. In 2020 she was selected as one of eight people from across the country as a Victory Empowerment Fellow and was elected as a Biden Presidential delegate in 2020, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.

The recipient of countless awards, including the 2019 Ruth’s List: Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award and the 2020 recipient of the LGBTQ Leadership Award by the Florida Diversity Council, Nik is also an award-winning Toastmaster and speaks across the country in support of equality. 

She is a native of Tallahassee, Florida and obtained her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Florida A&M University and her law degree from Florida State University.  Nik is licensed to practice law in Florida and Washington DC.

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