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Haben Abraha, Tax Law Specialist, Florida Department of Revenue Executive Program
Haben Abraha is first generation Eritrean-American, born and raised in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Abraha is a Tax Law Specialist with the Florida Department of Revenue Executive Program, where he works as a conferee providing informal and formal tax opinions to taxpayers who deal with specific tax implication of state sales and use taxes. He previously worked as the Assistant Director for Recruitment at Florida A&M University College of Law and successfully started and operated a multi-branch tax preparation firm.
Over the years, Mr. Abraha has made it apart of his mission to align himself with various local and national organizations dedicated to the service and development of community. Currently, Mr. Abraha is a volunteer tax attorney with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida where he assists moderate to low-income community members with IRS controversy and audits. As a site supervisor with the Internal Revenue Service's Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program, Mr. Abraha assisted low-income persons with personal federal tax preparation and filing needs. As a mentor with the Situational Environmental Circumstance, Mr. Abraha mentored at-risk young African American men from high crime areas and assisted them in scholarly development and financial up-growth.
Mr. Abraha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Business from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Juris Doctor from Florida A&M University College of Law. While at FAMU, he served as Graduate Assistant to the Assistant Dean of Admissions, networking co-chair for the American Association for Justice, and law school ambassador.
Kim Armstrong, Digital Storyteller
"Kim Armstrong is a Documentary Filmmaker and Digital Storyteller. She runs a video marketing company with a focus on helping nonprofits and small businesses utilize online marketing with storytelling and video to raise their impact. She is a native Floridian who is passionate about making Florida a leader for progressive values. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Florida State University, Kim worked for many years in fundraising and development for nonprofits. This experience solidified Kim's passion for activism and working for a cause.
After over a decade in the nonprofit sector Kim went back to graduate school to earn a Masters in Mass Communications from the University of Florida's Documentary Institute. She was excited about documentary as an excellent tool for opening up a dialogue and building coalitions. Sharing stories through film and video has often been a way for people to glimpse a world they may otherwise never see and share a bond with people they may otherwise never know. Working in television production and as a freelance videographer allowed Kim to gain the skill set to form her own company. Combining her background in cause related marketing with digital storytelling skills has been a good fit. She is passionate about the power of video to help people share stories and connect with causes they care about. Bringing that together with social media to connect and build community around progressive values will be her mission going forward.
Kristin Broner, Executive and Finance Assistant, Florida Democratic Party
Kristin Broner is based in Tallahassee and currently works for the Florida Democratic Party. She serves as Executive and Finance Assistant. This position allows her to work closely with the executive team at the party while gaining skills in fundraising, budgeting and donor cultivation.
Upon graduation from Florida A&M University, she understood that whatever job she accepted in order for her to truly be fulfilled it had to be a position that would allow her to work with various groups of people to make a difference in the lives of all people.
Ferrisa Connell, Student Marketing Coordinator, Metz Culinary Management
Ferrisa Connell is a dreamer and visionary from the city of Tampa, Fl. As rising graduating senior at Florida A&M University where she majors Public Relations. Ferrisa has successfully completed 14 internships in various industries ranging from Government to Entertainment. As well manages two businesses called "Ferrisa Communications" a PR Firm and "INTERNSATION" a brand consulting and research business where she finds internships that fit her clients needs.
Ferrisa lives by her motto "Always Stay Positive, No Matter What!".
Brandy Durham, Senior Legal Assistant, The Florida Department of Health
Born in Charlotte, NC and raised in Rock Hill, SC, at an early age, Brandy showed a strong commitment to community service and civil rights by participating in countless law and government oriented organizations, volunteering with her local United Way, and being a member in the local chapter of the NAACP. When she graduated high school in 2006, she moved to Tallahassee to attend The Florida State University. It was during this time that she realized she could contribute to society on a much larger scale Ð starting with the fight to have Martin Lee Anderson's killers brought to justice.
Throughout her college career, she served beside her peers in many other civic issues, such as voters rights. Knowing she would go to law school someday, she became a charter member of FSU's undergraduate chapter of the Black Law Students Association & College Student Division. After graduating from Florida State in 2009 with a Bachelors degree in International Affairs, Brandy embarked on her legal career.
She began attending Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, in 2010, and in the fall of 2011, she returned to Tallahassee as a second year student at FSUÕs College of Law. During her time in law school, Brandy volunteered on various voters rights restoration and clemency projects. It was also during that time that she gave birth to her first child, Donovan, who was born in July of 2013. She decided to put school aside to devote her time to her newborn son. Brandy has volunteered for President Barack Obama's Presidential campaign, the Leon County Democratic Party, and Former Governor Charlie Crist's campaign as a poll watcher during the 2012 and 2014 Early and General Elections. And in 2014, she was elected to Leon County Democratic Executive Council.
Brandy is currently a Senior Legal Assistant for the Florida Department of Health and is eager to return to law school in 2015 to complete her journey to becoming a lawyer. "I am truly honored to have been chosen to be part of this amazing organization, and I cannot wait to see the wonderful things that will be birthed as a result of my participation in the NLC!
Danielle Keane, President's Office Resident, The Children's Campaign
Danielle Keane currently works as the President's Office Resident at The Children's Campaign, a Tallahassee based watchdog group and organization that initiates systemic reform by enacting legislation for the health, safety, education, and well-being of FloridaÕs children. She works closely with the President to set the legislative agenda, facilitate research and coalition building as well as provide support for the President in any way she can. After receiving her double BachelorÕs degree from FSU in Political Science and Sociology in 2014, she decided to return and work on her advanced degree. Danielle is currently in her last semester at FSU as a student in the Applied American Politics and Policy Master's program. Danielle has worked on two political campaigns in the past as well as traveled to Washington D.C. to intern for a nonprofit focused on drug policy reform. Alongside many topics, her strong interest lies in drug policy research as well as encouraging political activism amongst her peers.
Adrian Mood, Assistant State Attorney, State Attorney's Office, 2nd Judicial Circuit
From Lancaster, South Carolina. Attended Howard University and majored in Chemistry. Later attended FSU College of Law where I served as the Mock Trial Team President. Now an Assistant State Attorney with the 2nd Judicial Circuit where I have recently been moved up to a felony caseload.
A native floridian, Amanda was born in West Palm Beach and grew up in Winter Park. After graduation, she began working for Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign and continued to travel the country helping Hillary and numerous other progressive candidates.
Among the candidates were twenty-six state house races, three statewide campaigns, and a number of Congressional campaigns, including four in the state of Florida. Amanda currently focuses her work in the state of Florida, working with candidates, developing Florida specific technology platforms, and mentoring progressive organizers.
Wilnick SaintCharles, Business Operations Coordinator, Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
Wilnick SaintCharles is an alumnus of Florida A & M University, and was born and raised in the beautiful city of Miami, Florida. The oldest child of Haitian parents, Wilnick is the first person in his family to go to college and obtain a degree. As a resident of Tallahassee, FL, he has done charitable work all across the city; from neighborhood cleanups, feeding the homeless, tutoring, assisting the elderly, mentoring and many more.
Currently, Wilnick serves on the board of the Tallahassee Network of Young Professionals, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men of America, and Rotary International.
Sarah Shuler, Attorney, Florida House of Representatives
Sarah Shuler is an attorney in the Office of the Minority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives. In this capacity, she works with House Democratic Caucus members to research and track legislative issues related to the environment and healthcare. Sarah received her J.D. from Florida State University in 2010 and a Masters in Library Science from the University of Maryland in 2012. But in her heart, she will always be a Bulldog, having earned a Masters in Agronomy in 2004 and a Bachelors in Biological Sciences in 2002 from the University of Georgia.
After a couple years of working in labs, however, she sought a way to serve the public in a more tangible way, deciding that law school would be the best way to further that goal. She once shied away from anything related to politics, though she now understands the importance of direct civic engagement because of her work observing the inner workings of the Legislature. Her fascination with policy work was solidified after participating in the 2010-2011 Florida House of Representatives Legislative Internship Program. Sarah's curiosity in promoting public participation in government was further cultivated while completing her Library Science studies.
Selected to be part of a UMD MLS cohort with a digital government concentration, she explored the complexities of transitioning government communications to digital media while balancing the communication needs, capabilities, and access of a diverse public. Her studies and work experiences fuel her interest in increasing public awareness and understanding of, as well as participation in the legislative process.
Melanie Stuckey, Branch Owner, Innovative Mortgage Services, Inc.
I am a 31 year old Mortgage Branch owner of Innovative Mortgage Services, Inc. here in Tallahassee, Florida. I obtained a Computer Information Systems Degree from Florida A&M University in 2006 where I served heavily in Student Government in both executive and legislative branches.
I was also a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, Inc. and served in many leadership roles. My college experience was a pivotal point in my life because it gave me much experience to establish a healthy career right after graduation.
I was in corporate america for 9 years working in Technology before I decided to make the leap into the life of an Entrepreneur. I am so excited to expand my brand and join a team of educated things that are willing to push me to the next level in my success.
Dana Terry, Assistant, CoT Department of Economic and Community Development
Dana Terry is a 2014 M.A. graduate of Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Her specializations include International Organizations, Conflict Negotiation/Management, and Post-Conflict Statebuilding. She has most immediately served as a Social Good Summit UNA-USA Blogger Fellow, StartingBloc Fellow, and interned at International Crisis Group, UN Foundation, and the Colbert Report.
She currently works in Tallahassee's Department of Economic and Community Development where she assists in the MWSDBE (Minority Women Small Disadvantage Business Enterprise) program and is developing the department's first social media strategy. She is interested in breaking into the policy arena and possibly starting her own non-profit one day. Follow her on twitter @DanaTerry.
Rebecca Weaver, Founder, Fresh Little Garden
A graduate of Florida State University, Rebecca is an accomplished speaker and presenter with over 20 years experience presenting to local, state and national audiences. As a classically trained dancer, Rebecca utilized her strong background in the performing arts to motivate youth and adults across the nation to live drug and violence free lives. As part of an International Training & Performance team, Rebecca traveled to the West Indies where her work was instrumental in the reduction of violence among youths.
Through leadership development initiatives, youth in the Caribbean nation were empowered to work with local government officials to create positive change for their communities. Rebecca went on to utilize her training and background to assist with community development in the Big Bend Region as a member and consultant for numerous community coalitions. In addition to other community advocacy positions, Rebecca served as a Club Director for the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Bend where she developed a strong youth performance outreach team that effectively promoted the mission and values of the Boys & Girls Club organization.
Continuing her civic engagement, Rebecca went on to become a member of the Junior League of Tallahassee as well as the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce Woman's Business Council. She is currently in the process of growing her own company, the Fresh Little Garden, which provides children with natural/organic prepackaged meals. Rebecca is also an accomplished Creative & Artistic Director and enjoys utilizing her performance background as a choreographer for recording artists and other artistic events.