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Victory Council

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Maribel Balbin

Miami Lakes, FL

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Maribel Balbin is committed to achieving parity for women in elected and appointed office. A tireless advocate for voter’s rights and fair elections through years of service with the League of Women Voters at the local, state and national levels. She’s received multiple awards and recognitions for her advocacy and volunteer work. A frequent guest on Spanish television and radio political programs. Maribel came to the US at age 14 as a Cuban refugee. She is a certified project manager and entrepreneur with a BA and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

Bibi Baloyra

Bibi Baloyra

Miami, FL

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Bibi is a skilled leader with functional expertise in business management, operations and strategic planning. Bibi’s multi-sector background includes visual art non-profit organizations, major cultural capital projects in the Middle East, and entrepreneurial and corporate merchandising roles with an aggregate record of identifying and cultivating creative opportunities others may miss to enhance the bottom line and the public good. Leveraging this background and personal determination to help local progressive women stepping up to lead in elected office is an exhilarating and rewarding commitment.
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The Honorable Annie Betancourt

Coral Gables, FL

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A lifelong activist, Annie Betancourt has an impressive record as a public servant which spans over three decades. The former member of the Florida House of Representatives (1994-2002) and Democratic nominee for Florida’s 25th Congressional District in 2002, Ms. Betancourt epitomizes the consummate change agent. She has been both a catalyst and a strong voice for education reform, economic development and environmental protection. In 2010 she spearheaded Sisters Across the Straits, a project sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Florida to bring women from Cuba closer to women from Florida in reciprocal visits. Ms. Betancourt is a graduate of the University of Miami and attended the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She continues to champion women causes as a grandmother to Sienna.

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Karen Buesing

Tampa, FL

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Karen Buesing, of Akerman LLP (Tampa), has represented management in employment law matters for more than 35 years, and is one of only about 200 lawyers in Florida who are Board Certified by The Florida Bar as specialists in Labor & Employment Law. She has handled discrimination and harassment matters, whistleblower litigation, wage and hour claims, non-compete and trade secret litigation, employment contracts and disputes;  and all aspects of employment counseling and training. Karen has been recognized by Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America, and has been named one of Florida’s Top 50 Women Lawyers and Florida’s Top 100 Lawyers. Karen was the recipient of the 2014 Tobias Simon Award, the state’s highest pro bono service award.

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The Honorable Heather Carruthers

Key West, FL

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The Honorable Betty Castor

Tampa, FL

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Betty Castor is the former President of the University of South Florida and former Florida Commissioner of Education, the first woman elected to the Florida Cabinet.  She served three terms in the Florida Senate and was the first woman ever elected to the Hillsborough County Commission.  She is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and President of the Athena Society.  In addition, she was a founding member of the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy.

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The Honorable Karen Castor Dentel

Maitland, FL

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The Honorable Anne Gannon

Delray Beach, FL

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Anne Gannon has a rich, distinguished and diverse record of public service in Florida.

As the Constitutional Tax Collector serving Palm Beach County, she was elected by an overwhelming majority in 2006. Re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Anne is the first woman to hold this office.

Anne is responsible for the collection and disbursement of $3.7 billion in tax revenues. Her agency is also responsible for issuing REAL ID compliant driver licenses and state-issued ID cards for Palm Beach County. Her agency employs over 300 who serve clients in its central office, seven service centers and a call center. Service centers collectively manage an average of 75,000 client transactions each month.

Anne’s top priorities are providing outstanding customer service, improving agency processes and increasing operational efficiencies. She has received local, state and national recognition including the “Excellence In Financial Operations Award” from the Florida Tax Collectors Association and the “Excellence in Government Leadership Award” from the National Association of Government Accountants.

Anne is committed to our community. She serves on the Pineapple Grove Arts Board, an arts and shopping district located in the heart of downtown Delray Beach. She is currently serving on the Comprehensive Plan Review Committee of Delray Beach.

Anne is a bicyclist, gardener, reader, and accomplished chef. She enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Julie Grimes

Julie Grimes

Miami, FL

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Julie Grimes is Managing Partner of the Hilton Bentley and Doubletree Grand hotels.  An innovative, active and well-respected community leader in the City of Miami, Grimes has extended her reach well beyond her business operations.  In 2007, she co-founded MDC’s Hospitality Institute in Overtown connecting thousands of Miami inner city residents with training and job opportunities in the local hospitality industry.  After the devastating hurricanes in Haiti, Grimes chaired the City of Miami’s Operation Hope for Haiti in partnership with World Vision, raising over $1 Million in relief aid.  In 2008, Grimes co-founded the Center of Service Excellence at Miami Dade College aimed at fueling the engine for improving customer service in South Florida. Recognizing the great difficulties facing at risk students in Miami’s inner city, Grimes connected with Big Brothers & Big Sisters to implement their mentoring program in her hotels.  She also serves as an ambassador for the program, encouraging other Miami hotels to become workplace mentors for students in need.

Grimes chairs the Miami Dade College Foundation Board, supports Miami Dade County Public Schools and serves on the Boards of Lotus House, Camillus House, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association.  She has been honored with the James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award by the Miami Dade Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; the Red Cross Spectrum Award; and the Catholic Legal Services New American Award.

A native of Canada, Grimes moved to Miami in 1995 to launch the Doubletree Grand hotel and became a US Citizen in 2004.

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Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich

Miami, FL

Marty Haynie

The Honorable Martha Ogden Haynie

Orlando, FL

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Martha Ogden Haynie retired in January 2017 at the end of her seventh term as the Orange County (Florida) Comptroller.  In Orange County, the Comptroller is an independent, constitutional officer who answers directly to the citizens.  The Comptroller serves a four-year term and is not term-limited.

A 1973 accounting honors graduate from the University of West Florida, Haynie worked at Walt Disney World, Ernst and Young CPA, her own accounting practice and as Finance Director of the Florida Symphony Orchestra before being elected as the Orange County Comptroller in November 1988. She is a Florida CPA.

The Comptroller is the county’s chief financial officer, recorder, auditor and clerk to the board of county commissioners.  As such, Haynie was responsible for administering the county’s budget (more than $3 billion in 2016) and all financial reporting, including the county’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, recording and maintaining the county’s Official Records, creating and maintaining all actions of the board of county commissioners, and auditing all activities under the county mayor as well as all county constitutional officers.

Haynie established improving citizens’ trust in local government as her top priority.  Using her experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, she emphasized providing quality service and consistent accountability.  By presenting audit reports directly to citizens through public presentations and the media, Haynie emphasized her watchdog role and the value of her independence as an elected official who answers to the public, not to other County officers.

In 1998 the Florida Institute of CPAs presented Haynie with the Outstanding CPA in Government award.  Haynie’s public engagement helped facilitate the passage of the Orange County Domestic Partner Registry in 2012, earning her Equality Florida’s “Voice for Equality” award. In 2013, the Orlando Business Journal (OBJ) named Haynie Executive of the Year as they recognized the top CFOs, CIOs, and COOs in the Central Florida business community.  In 2014 Haynie was presented with the Champion of Equality Award at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, and in 2016 she was presented with the Central Florida Housing and Lodging Association 2015 Public Servant of the Year Award, as well as the Orlando Business Journal Women Who Mean Business Legacy award.

Haynie has participated as a board member for several community organizations, including the Women’s Resource Center, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida,and the Parkinson’s Association of Central Florida.  She was president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, and after PPGO’s merger with two affiliates, served as a vice president of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. from 2015 to 2017.  Haynie has served on the Rollins’ Holt School Board of Advisors since 1992, including two terms as board chair.

Since retirement she has joined the boards of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida.

Martha Haynie is married and has two grown sons and two grandchildren.

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The Honorable Pegeen Hanrahan

Gainesville, FL

Jeff Klein

Jeffery Klein

 Juno Beach, FL

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Jeffrey A. Klein is the President of PEI Haven Group, a specialty real estate company developing waterfront and waterview residential home sites on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Previously he was a Managing Director at several Wall Street investment firms including Credit Suisse, Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette, and Kidder Peabody. Jeff has advised clients in a wide range of banking assignments including mergers and acquisitions, private and public equity and debt financings, and venture capital.

Jeff has his MBA degree  in Finance from the Wharton School. He resides in Juno Beach Florida and East Point, PEI, Canada.

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Rita Lowman

St. Petersburg, FL

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Diane Morton

St. Petersburg, FL

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Bobbie Nord

Jacksonville, FL

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Jan O'Rourke

Clermont, FL

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Charlotte Perret

Sarasota, FL

Tracye Polson

Tracye Polson

Jacksonville, FL

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Dr. Tracye A. Polson is a licensed mental health professional in private practice in Jacksonville, FL where she works with individuals, couples, and families focusing on interpersonal and relational trauma. Dr. Polson was selected as Social Worker of the Year for 2018 by the NE Florida Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Her teaching, clinical supervising and field experiences include – The University of North Florida, Smith College School for Social Work, The University of Maryland, and The George Washington University School for Professional Psychology. Early in her career, Dr. Polson worked as a foster care social worker and spent 12 years at The Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children in Rockville, Maryland in a variety of roles, culminating in the role of Executive Director. The Lourie Center is a nationally recognized non-profit focused on early childhood mental health prevention, intervention and education. Dr. Polson relocated to NE Florida in 2010 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She defended her dissertation proposal while undergoing radiation treatment. Cancer free and like thousands of women all over our country, in 2018 Dr. Polson ran for office. A first-time candidate, she lost her bid for the Florida House of Representatives District 15 by 1200 votes. Today, Dr. Polson serves on the Boards of Directors of the Jacksonville Symphony and Hubbard House (NE Florida’s full-service, certified domestic violence center). She and her husband, Kevin M. Clair, have five grown children, one grandchild and two dogs.

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Danielle Prendergast

Orlando, FL

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Susannah Randolph

Orlando, FL

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Susannah Randolph is the Senior Campaign Representative in Florida for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.  She is a trained community organizer and former candidate for U.S. Congress.

Susannah has spent her life organizing communities to protect the environment, civil rights, women’s rights, and worker’s rights.  Her campaign for congress focused on economic populism and helping expand and protect the American middle class by calling for policies such as paid sick leave, PAID family medical leave, a living wage, affordable and high quality child care, and of course, equal pay for women.

Susannah has worked for organizations such as the Public Interest Research Group’s, ACORN, and Clean Water Action. In 2011, Susannah was asked to run a state communications hub that would hold Florida lawmakers accountable for policies that threaten women, children, and middle-class Floridians.  Her campaign “Pink Slip Rick”,  aimed at pushing back on Governor Rick Scott’s job-killing, anti-middle class policies was featured on The Rachel Maddow Show, Hardball, American Prospect and The Ed Show and earned five “Pollie” awards.

Susannah served as former Congressman Alan Grayson’s District Director from 2012 to 2015 where she helped serve 700,000 constituents receive help from federal agencies such as the Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, and Health and Human Services.

Susannah ran for Florida’s Ninth Congressional District in 2016 with the support of EMILY’s List, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women (NOW), along with numerous labor unions and progressive and women’s organizations.  Though she lost in the primary, Susannah continues to lend support and help to women and progressive candidates throughout the state.

She is also the wife of Orange County Tax Collector, Scott Randolph and mother to Hillary Eleanor Randolph, HER, who is a 6-year old force of nature and already a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

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Gloria Romero Roses

Miami, FL

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Miami-based, hybrid-driving mom/wife with business interests in Broward, Palm Beach, Pinellas counties – motivated by progressive-values-driven policy and supporting inspiring and diverse women who pivot to public service.

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Sylvia Rusche

Gulfport, FL

Toni Russell

Toni W. Russell

St. Petersburg, FL

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I am the daughter of the late Freda Jernigan and Bob Whipple.  I was born and raised in Ybor City until I entered the 1st Grade, wherein we moved to the Forest Hills area in Tampa.  I attended Chamberlain HS and participated in many sports, including swimming where I met Jean Tennin who taught me to never give up and always finish the race.  During my senior year, I was granted an intern program wherein I worked at local companies learning office administration.  One of those was a local real estate firm, and I though this was it I found my niche, and wouldn’t have to pay for a college education.  My parents were happy to send me to college, but I couldn’t wait to get started in the business sector.  So, once graduation was over, I decided to temp at various corporations when I was placed at Holland & Knight.  I was hired permanently one week later for my enthusiasm and hard working experience in real estate and office administration.  I worked for H&K for 11 years and during most of that time I worked with the late Bill McBride, as paralegal handling all mortgage foreclosures for Bank of America, where I met Alex Sink.   Bill was a great mentor, and I learned a lot from him and his Just call me “Bill” folksy way of communicating with “everyone” instead of the William H. McBride, Jr., formal elite way that H&K preferred.  He was able to reach all walks of life, and I have tried my best to model my professional and personal life that same way.  During this time, I also had my son, Spencer Russell, who is also a Broker at our real estate brokerage Russell Property Group.

 

In 1988 I traveled to Washington DC on vacation, and fell in love with the City.  I gave my notice, packed my bags, and rented my home all within a 3 week period.  I was hired by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius wherein I quickly established myself as a quick learner and was placed in the Environmental Section of the law firm as the legislature had just passed the Clean Air Act and needed employees who could work overtime.  Working in this Section, was an eye opener to the real concerns of our environment and what it does to our planet.  Global warming was even a thing in the 1990’s.
When my Mom became ill in 1999, I returned to the Tampa Bay area and moved to St. Petersburg, as my home in Tampa still had tenants.  Once In St. Pete I went to work for the General Counsel’s Office of Republic Bank handling foreclosures and loss mitigation.  During the 4.5 years I worked for Republic Bank, I worked my way up to Assistant Vice President of Servicing Department, which handled servicing for all mortgage portfolios for the Bank, which gave me great insight to the back office of real estate transactions.  When Republic Bank sold to BB&T in 2002, I was laid of along with 550 employees.  That is when I realized what I had always promised myself.  I decided to go to real estate school and obtain my license to work for myself and add to my rental portfolio.  I always thought there was no way I was going to ever “sell” real estate, as I had no desire to be a sales person.  However, I received a call from the HR Director for Republic Bank (yes the one that had to lay me off), stating she had heard I had obtained my real estate license, and would I assist her in buying her first home, which I did.  Well needless to say that was at the end of 2002 which brings us to today.
I always wanted to be a good provider for my family, like my father. He worked for a company over 25 years and always wished he could work for himself somehow, as he did not enjoy the way fellow employees were treated.  When my father died in a skin-diving accident in 1980, he was only 42, and while he was doing what he loved when he died, he always had to squeeze in the time to do it outside of work.  I decided that I was going to love what I do in my personal and my professional life.  So here I am living my dream “keeping it small and doing it all” in my business and personal life,  working with my son and helping friends every day achieve their goals.
 My baby sister Kelli Whipple Stargel has been in the Florida legislature for most of her professional career and I admire her for that.  Even though she sits on the opposite side of the isle and we disagree on just about everything, I give her credit for being passionate about her beliefs just like I am. This may also stem not only from our father, but also from the first settler of Orlando who just happened to be our great, great, great, great (I am not sure the number of greats) Grandfather, Aaron Jernigan.  Who was also the first postmaster and served in the first legislature in Florida.  I guess you could say it is in our blood.
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Yanyn San Luis

Orlando, FL

PatSchroeder

The Honorable Pat Schroeder

Celebration, FL

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Pat Schroeder graduated from Harvard law school and served in the U.S. Congress for 24 years representing Denver. Former Congresswoman Schroeder has lived in Florida for 12 years and is passionate about getting more women in office and turning the state blue.Toggle content goes here, click edit button to change this text.

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Alexis Searfoss

St. Petersburg, FL

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Judith Selzer

Delray Beach, FL

Alicia Smith

Alicia Smith

Tallahassee, FL

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Ms. Smith was the founding partner of Alicia Smith and Associates (ASA), a DC based health care consulting firm specializing in the design, negotiation, and operationalization of statewide Medicaid waivers.  In 2011, her firm was acquired by Mercer Health and Benefits and became the Washington office for Mercer’s government practice.  She retired from Mercer in December 2013.

Prior to establishing ASA, Ms. Smith was a founding partner at EPP health care consulting and, prior to that, served as the Director for the Human Resources Group at the National Governor’s Association (NGA) for a decade.  During her time at the NGA, Ms. Smith represented the nation’s Governors before various Administrations and the Congress on issues related to health care, education, workforce development and welfare programs.  Towards the end of her career at NGA, Ms. Smith developed significant expertise in the financing and policy of Medicaid; on behalf of the states, she wrote the law on Disproportionate Share Hospital and Provider Taxes, the only piece of free-standing Medicaid legislation in the program’s history.

Prior to her tenure with the NGA, Ms. Smith served in a variety of positions with the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, including Medicaid Director, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary for Program Planning and Development.

Ms. Smith is a lawyer by training and received her J.D. from The Florida State University. She did her undergraduate and graduate work in English Literature.

Ms. Smith is now living in Tallahassee, Florida and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She chaired the Board of Futures for Children, an organization devoted to increasing school success and graduation for Native American children.  She also serves on the Board of Healing Voices/Personal Stories, a group dedicated to making documentary films about women who have survived domestic abuse.  Ms. Smith is currently Vice President of the Board of Creativity for Peace, a NGO serving young Israeli and Palestinian woman determined to make peace within and across their communities.

Katy Sorenson

The Honorable Katy Sorenson

Pinecrest, FL

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Katy Sorenson currently serves as a consultant on governance issues, women’s rights, and citizen activism. She served as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner from 1994-2010.  She was also the founder, president and CEO of the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami, an organization founded in 2010 to cultivate leaders of excellence in South Florida through the development and training of elected officials, as well as those aspiring to run for office, and to engage the community in its governance through outreach and education.

Nicolette Fariello Springer

Nicolette Fariello Springer

Orlando, FL

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Nicolette is a criminologist, educator, mother of two, and proud Girl Scout leader. With a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, Nicolette has a speciality in mental health and substance abuse. She was the Assistant Director of the Criminal Justice Mental Health Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center where she focused on program evaluation and policy analysis across the state of Florida. Nicolette’s research areas include mental health court, drug court, and corrections. In addition to her research experience, she has also taught numerous courses in criminology and criminal justice. Nicolette began her advocacy work when she joined Shot@Life, a United Nations campaign aimed at ensuring that children around the world have access to lifesaving vaccines. She is the central and north Florida champion leader for Shot@Life. Nicolette’s activism lead her to run for local office and was a Ruth’s List endorsed candidate. Most recently, she was a finance associate for Andrew Gillum for Governor. She is currently one of the co-chairs of the Juvenile Justice Committee for the Central Florida League of Women Voters and is a Ruth’s List advisory board member. She dedicates her free time to volunteering at her daughters’ school and advocating for children and women’s health.

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Charles Steinberg

Winter Park, FL

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Since 1978, Charles Steinberg has been a practicing attorney in Florida, and has concentrated his practice for the last 20 years to representing those who have had their insurance claims wrongfully denied for benefits claimed under health, life, disability, property, auto and other policies obtained from insurance companies in Florida.  This practice has allowed him to assist those who find themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with these large corporate entities, by utilizing the civil court system, if necessary, as a tool to level the playing field in the pursuit of justice.

Charles has been a Florida resident and a product of the Florida public education system (except for one semester at George Washington University) since second grade at Palmetto Elementary School, located in what is now the City of Pinecrest, graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School and after obtaining an AA with honors from Miami-Dade Jr. College, a BSBA (major economics) with high honors and JD  from The University of Florida, started his legal career in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He later relocated to Central Florida where he now resides in Winter Park.

He currently serves on the Winter Park Board of Adjustments, having previously served in a similar capacity in Cocoa, Florida.

Becca Tieder

Becca Tieder

St. Petersburg, FL

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Becca @youbexbelieve is a speaker, author, activist and host of the upcoming podcast, Oh So Opinionated. She is the co-founder of @onestudentorg and creator of @Sexversations. Becca has worked with over a million students on 500+ campuses. A Tedx Youth Speaker and subject of the documentary film You Are the One, her work has caught the attention of Dateline, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NPR, Cosmo and Marie Claire and The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. A fierce advocate and educator she never tires from working to create a #consentculture by activating students, changing institutional policies and working with legislator’s to systematically address the issue. Becca is relatable, impactful, funny and able to address the realities of sexual violence in a way that inspires people to act.  She is the mama of two children, one dog and a wife to her better half. She loves lipstick, coffee, donuts and the Target clearance rack.

Laurie Wack

Laurie Wack

Maitland, FL

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An art history graduate of CUNY York, Laurie migrated to Maitland, Florida. She has been involved with diverse women’s organizations over the past several years and is passionate about the work that Ruth’s List is doing. Her specialty is social media, through which she plans to help shape the future of Florida by helping to promote RL women candidates and their platforms.

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Lauren Weiner

Tampa, FL

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Lauren is the co-founder and CEO of WWC, a Tampa-based management consulting firm focused on the Federal government.  WWC recently won the $200m+ UEWTEP II contract from US Special Operations Command, the largest award from the headquarters command to a women-owned small business.

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Nancy Wolf

Lake Mary, FL

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