Connect Florida Attracts Impressive 2016 Class

Connect Florida recently announced Class VII of its Statewide Leadership Institute. Eight members of the new class are Tallahassee and Monticello residents. 

Connect Florida is a signature program created by Leadership Florida, developed to educate, engage and inspire the state’s top emerging leaders, ages 25 to 40. The program offers intensive studies on issues facing Florida. It is designed to hone leadership skills, emphasize community service and facilitate statewide partnerships. 

“Participants learn together from experts and from one another, and build bonds of respect, trust and understanding that is needed to lead in today’s world,” said Wendy Walker, president of Leadership Florida. 


Connect Florida State Wide Leadership Institute Class VII Tallahassee Area

Freddy Branham, Executive Director, ECHO

Matt Leopold, Attorney at Carlton Fields

H. French Brown, Attorney, Hopping Green & Sams PA

GC Murray, Deputy General Counsel, Florida Justice Association

Ben Gibson, Deputy General Counsel, Executive Office of the Governor 

Justin Thames, Governmental Affairs Manager, Florida Institute of CPAs

Evelyn Hernandez, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association 

Glen Bishop, CEO, Glen Bishop Enterprises LLC


2016 Recruitment Class Throughout Florida

Crystal Agnew, Deputy Director, Trinity Church Peacemakers Family Center, Miami Gardens

Kelly Jordan, Professor & Chair, University of Florida, Gainesville

Matt Anderson, Senior Associate, Foundry Commercial, Miami

Faequa Khan, Associate Attorney, Law Office of Daryl L. Jones, P.A., Miami

Chris Benvenuto, Shareholder/Attorney, Gunster, West Palm Beach

Ryan King, Revenue Management Analyst I, Hertz Corporation, Estero

Glen Bishop, CEO, Glen Bishop Enterprises, LLC, Monticello

Tony Lee, III, Director of Major Gifts, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers

Freddy Branham, Executive Director, ECHO, Tallahassee

Matt Leopold, Attorney, Carlton Fields, Tallahassee

Matt Brockelman, Partner, Southern Strategy Group, Jacksonville

Frederick Longmire, Assistant State Attorney, Office of the State Attorney, Pensacola

H. French Brown, Hopping Green & Sams PA, Attorney, Tallahassee

Cee Cee Marinelli, Director of Commercial Real Estate, Barron Collier Companies, Naples

Beth Bryant, Director of Development, HANDY, Fort Lauderdale

Merritt Martin, State Legislative Affairs Director, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa

Laura Cantwell, Associate State Director of Advocacy, AARP Florida, St. Petersburg

Santosh Mathew, Program Manager, Nielsen, Oldsmar

Liz Castro DeWitt, Executive Director, Florida Beverage Association, St. Augustine

Kyle Matthews, Executive Director, Because of Ezra, Tampa

James Chan, Apopka

Jack Melnicoff, Enterprise Sales Executive, Granicus, Inc., Fort Lauderdale

Gretchen Clarke, Strategic Partnerships Executive, AppRiver, Gulf Breeze

Fran Menes, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Inc., Miami

Ian Cotner, Esq., Regional Director of Legislative & External Affairs, AT&T, North Palm Beach

Adriana Moreno Kostencki, Partner, Berger Singerman, LLP, Miami

Anna Eskamani, Senior Director of Public Affairs & Field Operations, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, Sarasota

G.C. Murray, Esq., Deputy General Counsel, Florida Justice Association, Tallahassee

Kyle Evans, President/CEO, REDCON Solutions Group, Orlando

Cara PerryAsst. VP of Communication, Northern Campuses, Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter

Sandra Fine, Senior Vice President, rbb Communications, Coral Gables

Alisha Pieraccini, Assistant General Counsel, Florida Blue, Jacksonville

Ben Gibson, Deputy General Counsel, Executive Office of the Governor, Tallahassee

Yasodha Ratnasekera, Manager, Substation Engineering, Tampa Electric Company, Tampa

Francisco Gonzalez, Vice President of Advancement, The James Madison Institute, Orlando

Meredith Rollo, Community Engagement Project Manager, Florida Power & Light Company/NexEra Energy, Juno Beach

Jessica Goodwin Costello, Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, Office of the Attorney General, Tampa

Jonathan Schwartz, Associate VP Operations Planning & Real Estate, Broward College, Fort Lauderdale

Matt Grosack, Senior Associate, DLA Piper LLP (US), Miami

Beth Smith, Community Relations Manager, Orlando Health, Orlando

Phillip Hamilton, Program Director, Outreach & Development, Florida International University, Miami

Mikhaile Solomon, Founding Director, Prizm Art Fair, LLC, Miami Gardens

Evelyn Hernandez, Marketing & Public Relations Specialist, Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association, Tallahassee

Justin Thames, Governmental Affairs Manager, Florida Institute of CPAs, Tallahassee

Nelson Hernandez, Wealth Advisor & Investment Associate, Coral Gables Trust, Coral Gables

Nicole Washington, Education Consultant, Self-Employed, Miami Beach

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