2014 NLC Fellows: Jacksonville

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Amela Alomerovic, Employment Specialist, Lutheran Social Services

I graduated from the University of North Florida in spring 2012 with my B.A. in Public Administration and Political Science. My last semester of college, I spent time interning at Senator Nelson’s legislative office where I was exposed to the regular activities of his Regional Director. I received exceptional insight into daily operations of constituent casework initiated by the Senator’s office. I also assisted in the coordination of his fundraising events in Jacksonville, FL during the campaign. Following the internship and graduation, I worked as a Deputy Finance Director on a congressional campaign prior to accepting an internship in Berlin, Germany at The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

My time in Berlin and experience at the ICD involved attending conferences with international political leaders focused on discussing diplomatic strategies for tackling global challenges. I was fortunate to meet students from all over the world that had similar interests in the field of policy. Upon returning to Jacksonville, I began to work as an Employment Specialist in the Refugee and Immigration Program at Lutheran Social Services, where I’m currently employed. My work currently ranges from researching employment trends in the labor market for purposes of job development to documenting and initiating all casework for submission to the Department of Children and Families. Following this fellowship with the New Leaders Council, I will be starting the Master in Public Policy program at Jacksonville University.

Lashantah, Brown Holliday, Teacher, Duval County Public Schools

Lashantah Holliday is passionate about helping students achieve more by sharing the most effective practices for academic success with both students and parents. She has gained more than 10 years of experience serving as an educator in Duval County middle-and high-schools (Douglas Anderson School of the arts, Darnell-Cookman Middle School, First Coast High School, PACE Center for Girls).The University of Central Florida graduate (B.S. Psychology, Molecular/ Microbiology) is currently earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of North Florida. Lashantah has dedicated her research interests and professional expertise to focus on issues relating to adolescent academic achievement, health and well-being, learning differences, communication and social skills, and teambuilding.

Kendra Cash, Global Securities Operations Analyst, Merrill Lynch

I am Kendra Cash, a native of Jacksonville, Florida and proud alumna of Florida State University. Currently, I am striving to complete my leadership certification from Cornell University. As a global operations analyst at Merrill Lynch, for the past two years, I have grown to learn more about SEC regulations and compliance standards. My community endeavors include Mentoring Family & Kids, Beauty Within “BW” Project, NSBE Jr. Chapter, an active donor to the United Way via Bank of America, and mentoring and assisting students to exceed to the next level. I am highly passionate about the youth learning and progressing to their upmost potential.

To continue this path I am connecting with the Jacksonville Chapter of the Urban League and Andrew Robinson Elementary School to empower the future. In addition, I enjoy traveling, networking, exercising, and exploring art events . My next steps are to excel into the next level professionally within the workplace and community by honing and sharpening my internal strength that without question shines.

Mone Holder, Legislative and Policy Director , Florida New Majority

Mone Holder is the Legislative and Policy Director at Florida New Majority; a statewide voter participation organization working to empower women, African-Americans, Latinos, new immigrant communities, and young people to fully participate in the political process. Mone graduated Magna cum Laude from Florida A&M University, receiving a B.S in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration the following year. Her policy experience began as an intern with the Florida House of Representatives and continued through her employment in the House Democratic office and the Florida Senate.

Ms. Holder’s passion for social justice issues and activism began when she attended community meetings as a small child and volunteered on local campaigns. She dedicates time outside of the political arena to mentor and tutor youth in low income communities. Mone was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Miami, FL.

Angie, Nixon, Lead Organizer, Florida New Majority

Angie Nixon is a native of Jacksonville, FL. She attended the University of Florida where she received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Political Science. A former District Aide for Florida State Representative Mia Jones and intern during the representative’s tenure in Jacksonville’s City Council, Angie is a graduate of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Political Leadership Institute. She is also a graduate of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Political Bootcamp.

Angie made history after serving as Deputy Field Director & Transportation Coordinator during the Alvin Brown for Mayor Campaign, in which she helped lead the efforts of Jacksonville electing its first African American Mayor and its first democratic mayor in nearly two decades. Angie Nixon currently serves as the Lead Organizer for Florida New Majority. She also serves as a principal in The Paisley Partners, a company she helped co-found to empower and uplift underserved and underrepresented communities in Jacksonville, primarily on the Northside. Her work through the Paisley Partners led to establishing the Northside LOVE (Lifting Our Various Enterprises) Arts & Vendors Market and other community initiatives designed to focus on local entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyle choices, as well lower crime.

Jonathon, Pitel, Volunteer, 4th Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office

After spending five years working on political campaigns in the western United States, I decided to attend The George Washington University Law School. While I spent a year working for a civil litigation firm in Washington D.C. I had entered law school in order to work in government service and took the opportunity to return to my hometown of Jacksonville, where, while I wait for the Florida Bar to admit me, I am volunteering with the Public Defender’s Office.

Alaina, Reaves, Analyst & Assistant, Office of Economic Development: City of Jacksonville, Florida

 Alaina ReavesAlaina Reaves is an Analyst Assistant with the Office of Economic Development for the City of Jacksonville, Florida. Alaina graduated from Georgia State University in the fall of 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Public Policy and a certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. During her time at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State, Alaina interned with numerous organizations including the Andrew Young Foundation and Childkind, Inc., a nonprofit that helps families whose children have disabilities. In August 2011, Alaina was featured on the Georgia State website for her work in Washington D.C. at the headquarters of Voices for America’s Children, as their Government & Policy Affairs Intern.

While in Washington D.C., Alaina also worked at the Capitol with the Honorable Congressman John Lewis, who represents the 5th district of Georgia, which includes metropolitan Atlanta. After studying European policy in France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg in May, Alaina spent the remainder of summer 2012 working with Operation HOPE, America’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to financial literacy and economic empowerment. There, Alaina acted as a liaison for congressional and federal relations. Alaina then worked as an Associate with the White House Presidential Personnel Office, and helped facilitate candidate applications to serve their mission to have the Obama Administration reflect the diversity of America. From January to May 2013, Alaina served in the First Lady’s Correspondence Office, and helped organize and categorize mail for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Alaina has a passion for community service, and is looking forward to becoming more involved in Jacksonville, Florida. Past volunteer experience includes facilitating 3 blood drives with the Red Cross as a Blood Drive Coordinator, volunteering with Planned Parenthood in both Atlanta and Washington D.C., and mentoring high school students about college and scholarships.

Illiana, Tidd, Supervisor of Operations and Recreation, Jacksonville University

My name is Illiana Tidd. I am currently a Masters in Public Policy Candidate at Jacksonville University, scheduled to graduate in Spring of 2015. I also completed my Bachelors Degree in Political Science and English at Jacksonville University. After completing my Masters, I plan to attend Law School and eventually become a Judge Advocate General in the United States Navy.
I was born in Tampa, Florida, but I have also lived in many other places including Puerto Rico, Greece and Connecticut. My father is an active duty Officer in the Navy, hence all the moving around. I have a deep seeded interest in politics and political issues facing Americans both domestic and abroad. Serving my passion for politics, I completed an internship with Senator Marco Rubio, as well as a leadership program with the Mayor of Jacksonville, Alvin Brown. I also plan to eventually run for public office in the late future.

Zak Varshovi, Sales Representative, GreenTechnologies, LLC

Zak Varshovi was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Florida with a bachelor degree in History. He was active member on campus, where he served as the Senate President of UNF Student Government. Following graduation, he began working as a sales representative for GreenTechnologies, LLC, a manufacturer of organic, slow-release fertilizer. He plans to attend law school following his fellowship.

Luka, Vukadinovic, Presidential Fellow, Jacksonville University

Luka VukadinovicLuka Vukadinovic, of Montenegro in Eastern Europe, graduated from Jacksonville University in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He was awarded JU’s Fred B. Noble Medal, given to students with the highest grade point average in their class. Luka graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, is an Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society member and the JU College of Arts & Sciences Student of the Year. He currently works as Presidential Fellow in the President’s Office at Jacksonville University. In this position, Mr. Vukadinovic reports directly to the University President where he is assigned to projects or sponsoring offices to assist senior leaders carry out new initiatives and advance Jacksonville University’s mission. He is delaying graduate school for a year, having already been accepted to the London School of Economics and University of Cambridge, among others.

After his first year of college, Luka participated in a one-year Young People For fellowship program that is, similarly to the New Leaders Council, focused on identifying, engaging and empowering young progressive leaders throughout the country. Furthermore, in the past three years, Luka has interned at various international organizations, NGOs, and government agencies including the Mission of Montenegro to the United Nations in New York, Delegation of the European Union, and Center for Democratic Transition.

Marla Williams, AVP Risk Analyst II, JPMorgan Chase Bank

Marla J. Williams is a United States Navy Veteran with over 20 years of experience in various corporate business, leadership, and training methodologies. Marla is a Certified Professional and Career Coach and Co-Owner/Founder of TruthSpeaksCoaching LLC, A Motivational and Career Services Firm. Marla is also the Co-Founder of The Motivational Push K.I.M. Keep It Moving TM. Marla holds a B.A.S. in Supervision and Management from Florida State College of Jacksonville and she is currently earning her Masters of Education in Adult Education from Strayer University. Marla is a active member holding various roles in her church (The Church of Jacksonville) and local community. Associations include but are not limited to The American Society for Training and Development and the National Notary Association in which she is a active Notary for the state of Florida.

Marla conducts monthly training and coaching workshops to enhance the careers of the transitioning adult. Marla is currently working on various projects including the development of an adult studies series and her first book. Marla is very passionate about the advancement and education of others in her community. Please visit her website at www.truthspeakscoaching.com