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Meet the 2016 Tampa Bay Fellows
Breanna Adams, School Psychologist
Breanna Adams, Psy.S., entrepreneur and educator, is a graduate of University of South Florida and Nova Southeastern University, respectively. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and Master’s in Psychology and Specialist in School Psychology. With over ten years of experience as a professional educator Breanna has expertise in the areas of data-based decision making, educational consulting, social and emotional learning and classroom management strategies. Her passion for education reform and solution-based problem-solving has led her to be actively sought after to provide training and support to education professionals and organizations. As an entrepreneur, who co-founded a successful after school Enrichment Company in 2012, DIVAs 4 Success, offers a STEM fused creative and language arts approach to enrichment. She enjoys fusing her expertise in gender-specific instructional strategies and data-based decision making to propel the company forward. Breanna, along with her business partner have been featured on Daytime TV and Bay News 9. They have also been recognized by Tampa Bay Moms Blog, The Tampa Tribune and The Florida Sentinel. Breanna has an excitement for life that is contagious and she enjoys networking and meeting new professionals. She has worked with children since she was fifteen years-old and continues to strive to empower and enrich the next generation. Breanna is committed to fostering an educational approach to train and educate professionals while equipping them with the tools to improve educational outcomes and student achievement from pre-school through high school.
Julius Adams, Attorney
Julius Adams is a practicing attorney, and serves as general counsel of a telemedicine company called SynsorMed, Inc. In this capacity, he advises, directs, and coordinates all legal aspects of SynsorMed. Mr. Adams has extensive knowledge of Corporate Law and Public Policy. Prior to joining SynsorMed, Mr. Adams worked as an associate at a small civil litigation law firm in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Adams is also the Executive Director of The Counsel Initiative, Inc. The Counsel Initiative is a non-profit public interest law firm. The firm provides legal aid services to those that have trouble affording common legal fees to hire a lawyer, but due to their level of income, are unable to quality for services through other organizations, for instance legal aid. Mr. Adams has interests in community action programs, politics and technology. On occasion, he speaks to various communities in Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg, Florida about, “knowing your rights when you encounter the police”. Mr. Adams received his Bachelors degree in Criminology with a minor in Public Administration from Florida State University. Mr. Adams also received a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Ruben Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. Mr. Adams obtained his Law Degree from Florida A & M University, College of Law.
Tom Alte, Co-Founder and Consultant, Blue Ticket Consulting
Tom’s political activism began when he attended conservative religious schools in central Illinois. One of a handful of progressive students in a sea of red, he was frequently disciplined for voicing his opposition to the abstinence-only health classes and religious instruction that condemned homosexuality. He attended Illinois State University. Initially a Business Administration major, he transferred to the political science department after an internship with Planned Parenthood of Illinois. He knew he wanted to be part of progressive politics from that point forward. Tom got into Democratic campaigns as the body-man for David Gill during his race for the United States Congress in 2012. Gradually taking on more roles in the campaign, including Finance Assistant, Treasurer, and eventually Deputy Campaign Manager, he coordinated unions, local parties, and issue advocacy groups to get out the vote in the nation’s closest Red-to-Blue designated race in 2012. After the race, Tom and his fiancé moved to St. Petersburg where he served as Finance Director for Rick Kriseman’s bid for Mayor. The campaign raised nearly $500,000, more than any candidate previously. Mayor Kriseman’s victory removed the last Republican mayor from the I-4 corridor’s largest cities. Tom then managed Pat Gerard’s race for County Commissioner. The campaign took a Democratic majority on the commission for the first time in 50 years by raising nearly $250,000 (another record for a Democrat) to propel the local mayor to victory over a long-time Tallahassee veteran. After that race, Tom and his fiancé founded Blue Ticket Consulting. The firm has been focused on municipal, county, and state victories around Tampa Bay. Although relatively new to the area, their firm has already earned a strong reputation for running professional progressive campaigns at the local level. Their most recent victory with Lisa Wheeler-Brown’s campaign for St. Petersburg City Council saw the candidate go from a distant 3rd place in the primary to a commanding 16 point general election victory in the city’s most contentious race in recent memory. Tom continues to consult for political campaigns, committees, and organizations around Florida.
Michael Alvarez, Director of Operations, Westfall Roofing
Michael Alvarez is no stranger to service. A 5th generation Floridian Michael was born and raised in the state graduating from Hillsborough High School. After the country was attacked on 9/11 Michael enlisted in the United States Marine Coprs. Michael served for four years including three deployments, one with the 31st Marine Expanditionary Unit in the south Pacfic and two deployments in al anbar province Iraq. Upon leaving active service Michael attended and graduated from the University of South Florida with a major in Poltical Science. Michael is a former intern for Congresswoman Kathy Castor and a volunteer of numerous Poltical campaigns. Michael is currently the director of operations of Westfall Roofing and is a member of the Sierra Club, West Tampa chamber of commerce, Macfarland Park Neighborhood Association and Secratary of Hillsborough County Democratic Party's Hispanic Caucus.
Steven Angotti, Grants Coordinator & Communication Assistant, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor
Steven Angotti joined U.S. Rep. Castor’s District Office in 2015 and serves as grants coordinator and communications assistant. In this capacity, he helps constituents and Tampa Bay organizations identify available grants and navigate the federal grants process. Steven is a native of Tampa Bay, graduated from Armwood High School, earned his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida, and earned his law degree from the University of Miami.
Maya Brown, Development Coordinator, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
Maya Brown is a recent alumna of the University of South Florida, with degrees in Africana Studies and Sociology, and a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. Prior to transitioning into the Development team with the Community Foundation of Tampa, Browncoordinated Give Day Tampa Bay, a 24 hour online giving campaign that has raised $1.7 million for 550 nonprofits. Brown has backgrounds in grassroots organizing, the nonprofit sector, and academic study of sociology. She has been a field organizer and campaign manager, as well as organizing around recent social movements. Brown has facilitated several political and research projects within local Tampa communities to promote community development. More recently, she has been involved in fundraising and economic sustainability initiatives, and currently serves as a board member of For The Family, Inc. and the Social Co-Chair of New Life Village, Inc.’s Young Professional Board. While at USF, Brown held numerous leadership positions in on campus organizations to cultivate cultural diversity, political awareness and activism, while simultaneously volunteering in Tampa communities with at-risk youth diversion and affordable healthcare programs. She also holds membership in several honorary organizations. Brown's priorities are voter engagement in African American communities, and understanding community and constituent diversity in advocacy and effective government representation. Currently, she is developing skills in IT and Marketing to help better serve local coalitions, nonprofit and political. Brown is originally from DeLand, FL and has future plans of being involved in state and federal government.
Christopher Cano, Executive Director, Central Florida NORML
Christopher Cano is a United States Air Force Veteran and Public Administrator who currently serves on several nonprofit and advocacy organization boards throughout the State of Florida. Armed with multiple degrees from the University of South Florida and years of experience in Florida politics, Chris strives to be at the forefront of various social justice movements. Christopher's professional experience working as a legislative analyst in the Florida Legislature, for several social justice organizations, and a major Fortune 500 Company in the pharmaceutical industry give him a wealth of knowledge that he applies everyday. His post-graduate work teaching business & education seminars combined with his professional and his academic experience make him one of the top professionals in his industry. Chris is dedicated to changing healthcare policy and reforming the criminal justice system. His own personal experience seeing his father battle dementia over the last five years has galvanized him in this fight. Knowing that medical cannabis therapy was the only viable treatment for his father and the illegality of such treatment in America, he sees the need to change unjust laws rooted in unscientific propaganda and Jim Crow racism. This fight moved him to found the Central Florida Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and support efforts to bring medical marijuana to Florida. In two years as Executive Director, Chris has taken CFL NORML from an abstract idea to one of the the major advocacy organizations in Central Florida.
James Chan, Senior Personal Banker, C1 Bank
James was exposed to the importance of public service during his time at the University of Florida through the Bob Graham Center of Public Service, where he earned a Minor in Public Leadership. During his time at UF, he interned for the United Faculty of Florida in Tallahassee, and then went on to intern for former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink at the Florida Next Foundation as Research Director. His leadership and involvement at UF led him to be inducted into the UF Hall of Fame in 2012. He is also part of College Leadership Florida, Class XIII. After graduating with bachelor degrees in political science and business administration, James went directly to the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota to earn his Masters in Public Policy. During his time in Minneapolis, he worked at Target Corporation for the state and local government affairs team, analyzing legislative trends across the entire nation that affected the Fortune 500 company. In addition, he served as a graduate assistant in the Office for Equity and Diversity, working to help underrepresented graduate students navigate the University of Minnesota. James returned to Orlando after graduate school to serve as Deputy Campaign Director for State Senator Geraldine Thompson’s 2014 re-election campaign. After a successful campaign, he relocated to Tampa, where he is now a senior personal banker at C1 Bank. James is an alumnus of the PPIA (Public Policy & International Affairs) Fellowship that seeks to promote the full inclusion and participation of underrepresented groups in public service. He is also a 2013 DNC Hope Institute Fellow and serves as the Political Action Chair for the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida. In the Tampa Bay community, James is involved with Enterprising Latinas and the Tampa Bay Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Regan Esser, Chief of Talents, Care For America Corp
Rooted with a passion in gerontology, Ms. Regan Esser came from a small rural community in Iowa and followed her dreams to Tampa, Florida. Her vision is in changing the face of geriatric care by aiding the aging population to live independently and safely with the greatest quality of life in their home, “aging in place.” She has always had an affinity for the elderly, and felt that this was a subset of people that is underserved, discriminated, neglected, exploited and abused. Hired as the Human Resources Assistant at a start-up home health agency, Care For America Corp, at twenty-two years old, she has been on a fast track career to become its Chief of Talents. In a little over a year, she has quadrupled the company's talent pool. Like most young entrepreneurs, Ms. Esser knew she has a duty of creating jobs to drive economic means in the community where she lives. This duty comes with a responsibility to make a positive impact on the lives of the people at her company. The main focus of her job now is not just to hire more employees, but to improve the quality of their lives by adding "out of the box" full benefits programs that may not be available to part-time employees. Understanding that people do better work when they have job appreciation, she has made these benefits available to them. Along with the benefits, she has instituted web-based training courses for continuing education, and continually contributes to the overall strategic growth and innovation of the company. Ms. Esser is still true to her initial goal of helping the elderly to live within the comfort of their own homes independently. She works diligently to network with other professionals in the healthcare industry, improve her ability to communicate and educate her employees and enhance her business acumen. She plans to start a family in Tampa, and continue her advocacy for the aged population, provide quality healthcare jobs and make a positive impact on the community. Ms. Esser has a degree in Gerontology with an emphasis in Long-Term Care Administration from the University of Northern Iowa.
Stephanie Garza, Administrative Assistant, Ruth's List Florida
Stephanie Garza is a proud Miami native born to a Colombian immigrant mother and Mexican-American father. She moved to Tampa in 2010 to pursue her BA at The University of South Florida. Currently she is pursuing her Masters of Arts in Government with a concentration in Security Studies at Johns Hopkins Univeristy. She is the Administrative Assistant of Ruth's List Florida, which recruits, trains, and assists female pro-choice Democratic candidates from the state to municipal level of office. Stephanie graduated from the Univeristy of South Florida with a BA in International Studies and Political Science with a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. After graduation she worked as a field organizer in the West and South Tampa regions for the Charlie Crist for Governer campaign in 2014. She began her days of organizing as a fellow of the 2012 presidential re-election campaign in the New Tampa and USF area. Recently, she completed the 2014 Summer Digital Professional Fellowship with Organizing for Action in Chicago and continues to seek opportunities to advance in progressive organizing. Additionally, Stephanie is the Region 4 Co-Director for the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, focusing on GOTV efforts in the New Tampa and North Tampa region for the 2016 elections. She hopes to assist in improving government relations with the international community starting with her new home, Tampa Bay. Stephanie aspires to work for a federal agency in Washington D.C. in order to assist in our nation's counterterrorism efforts.
David Hughes, Attorney, Hill Ward Henderson, PA
David is a litigation attorney in Tampa, Florida, who specializes in the defense of medical malpractice claims. David graduated from Haverford College in 2004 with honors, and was selected to present his thesis on U.S.-Nicaraguan relations in the early 20th century to the Faculty of History. While at Haverford, David was actively involved with outreach programs in elementary schools in West Philadelphia, obtained proficiency with the Spanish language, and was the director of Haverford’s largest intramural sports program. After graduating from Haverford, David taught in a public school in a low-income community along the Texas-Mexico border with Teach for America (TFA). David founded a popular after school program to keep kids out of the searing south Texas sun, served as a mathematics coach, and developed a reading curriculum that increased school-wide reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) from thirty-eight percent to seventy percent in two years. Several of David’s former fifth grade students currently attend four year colleges at various prestigious institutions. After TFA, David taught English as a Second Language in Florida public schools and business English in Prague, Czech Republic. Prior to graduating cum laude from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law in 2011, David was Vice President of the Florida Moot Court Team, competed in seven moot court competitions, and served as Executive Research Editor of the University of Florida’s Journal of Law & Public Policy. While on the Florida Moot Court Team, David was the Best Overall Competitor at the 24th annual “Final Four” Competition, twice argued in front of present and former members of the Florida Supreme Court, and was a two-time National Finalist at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Championship (NAAC). During his time at Levin, David was a Certified Legal Intern (CLI) with the Alachua County Public Defender’s Office. As a CLI, he represented several economically disadvantaged clients in all phases of criminal litigation including five jury trials and numerous appeals. David also worked as a teaching assistant for Legal Research & Writing and Appellate Advocacy and won four book awards in law school. David remains actively committed to the goal of eliminating educational inequality, and currently participates in Project H.E.L.P. (Homeless Experience Legal Protection) in conjunction with the Metropolitan Ministries. David also enjoys all Tampa-based professional sports teams, the Florida Gators, distance running, cooking, reading, chess, following equity markets and competing in almost every sport except cricket.
Ali Sohail Ishaq, Strategy Development Manager, Jabil Circuit, Inc.
Ali Sohail Ishaq is a citizen of the world having grown up/lived in Dubai (U.A.E), Karachi (Pakistan), Boise (Idaho), and Amman (Jordan). Ali heads strategic business development for the Industrial, Energy, and High Velocity division of a Fortune 500 international manufacturing company in St. Petersburg, Florida. Prior to this, ali worked in management consulting in Washington, D.C. where he helped leaders create and implement organizational strategy for a wide array of federal government clients including: law enforcement, IT, and national health and disaster preparedness. As the lead for the company’s risk and crisis communications capability, ali published articles in the International Association of Emergency Managers’ Bulletin and the Public Relations Society of America’s Strategist magazine. He was further recognized for “exceptional service” by National Incident Command, Coast Guard ADM Thad Allen for risk communications work during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. As a State Department Fulbright Fellow in Jordan, he worked with the United Nations University and Project on Middle East Democracy to train youth activists across the Middle East/North Africa region on civic engagement. He subsequently became President of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Fulbright Association alumni group, during which time he developed and successfully deployed the organization’s young professionals initiative. He grew up in an entrepreneurial household, heavily involved in his family’s restaurant business in Idaho. In addition to the NLC, ali is part of the Leadership Tampa Bay program-a training program for regional leaders. He completed his MBA at Duke University where he was the graduation commencement speaker and undergraduate studies at Boise State University where he was the graduation commencement speaker and student body president.
Jamie Klapholz, Attorney, Allen Dell, P.A.
Jamie Klapholz is a health law attorney with the law firm of Allen Dell, P.A., where she focuses her practice on corporate transactions and regulatory matters involving state and federal governments and third-party payers. Jamie is an alumna of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s (HCBA) Leadership Institute, and is a member of the Long Range Planning and Professionalism and Ethics Committees of the HCBA’s Young Lawyers Division. She currently serves on the advisory board of Tampa for Justice and as the Associate Director of Government Affairs of the Hillsborough County Young Democrats. Born and raised in Hollywood, Florida, Jamie obtained both her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. During college, she served as a legislative intern in the office of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. A staunch animal rights advocate, Jamie served as the president of her law school’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter and has been appointed to the Florida Bar’s Animal Law Committee.
Angela Leiner, Managing Partner, The Law Office of Angela L. Leiner, P.A.
Ms. Leiner is a Pinellas County native. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, her Master’s of Public and International Affairs with a concentration in Economics and Social Development from the University of Pittsburgh. She then returned to Pinellas County to attend Stetson University College of Law, receiving her Juris Doctor in 2004. Ms. Leiner is actively involved in the community, as a member and committee chair of the Junior League of St. Petersburg, the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee, a Girl Scout Troop Leader and otherwise active in her church and children’s schools. Ms. Leiner is also a founding member of the nonprofit public policy think tank, St. Pete Forward. Ms. Leiner concentrates her practice on civil litigation, appellate practice and family law. She has a broad background in litigating all types of civil cases; especially in the areas of real property, contracts and business matters. Ms. Leiner spent more than 5 years with a firm that represented banks in various types of cases, including foreclosures, and as such has a wealth of knowledge on how to both prosecute and defend foreclosure actions. She also has a strong background in family law; working on high asset divorces, as well as highly contested child custody cases, both at the trial court and appellate court levels. Additionally, Ms. Leiner has worked on business and corporation formation and maintenance, both for nonprofit and for profit organizations.
Sarah Marshall, Environmental Columnist, The Muslim News
Sarah Marshall is a native Floridian from Altamonte Springs, and has been living in Tampa for the past 7 years. She currently serves as the Public Relations Director for the Hillsborough County Young Democrats. Sarah attended USF where she studied Environmental Science & Policy to fulfill her passion for environmental justice. Upon beginning her university career in 2008, she immediately got involved in the Obama campaign, registering students to vote and canvassing the local community. Since graduating, she has managed a local food buying club; sat on the board for the Sustany Foundation, a local nonprofit promoting quality of life in the Bay area; and worked on the 2014 NextGen Climate campaign to bring climate change to the forefront of American politics. Sarah has been writing an environmental column for a London-based newspaper for the past 5 years where she brings light to neglected scientific research and educates consumers about their ecological impact. She understands the importance of effective communication and enjoys educating her peers on the need for community involvement, compassion, and diplomacy, so that people who come from different points of view may bridge the gap and come to a compromise to achieve positive social and political progress. Some of her artistic hobbies include acrylic painting on canvas, embossing cards and stationary, and collaging; she especially enjoys exposing others to the benefits of having creative outlets, and worked with Middle School students as part of Community Stepping Stones in 2012, an art program in Sulphur Springs aimed at keeping at-risk youth occupied with art to help break the cycle of poverty. She is an active member of the community, contributing to organizations like Awake Tampa, Tampa for Justice, and The Well, a faith group committed to helping the poorest residents of the community. As a 2016 NLC fellow, she hopes to learn the skills necessary to be a more effective leader in the community, by networking, learning, and teaching. Sarah is a strong believer in spreading the wealth bestowed upon oneself, and as an educated American young person, certainly considers herself to be part of a privileged demographic with the power to change the outcome.
Erik Myxter-iino, Bi-lingual TEFL Instructor, EF
Over the past nine years Erik Myxter-iino has lived all around the country and has worked extensively in Asia. A avid reader on Chinese politics/society and China-Africa relations he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Most recently Erik worked as a volunteer manager for a major non-profit in NYC - The Fresh Air Fund. Here he managed over 1000 host families that open their homes for children in low-income areas of the city the possibility for a free summer vacation in the countryside. He also managed the community outreach for the Chinese speaking community in NYC to take part in the programs. Erik wishes to develop his skills at NLC in order to get involved with local issues in the Tampa Bay area regarding public transit, alternative transportation and urban development policy.
Liz Prisley, Adjunct Faculty, USF St. Petersburg
Liz is an educator and spoken word poet focused on cultivating intentional diversity and inclusive engagement strategies for high school and college students. As such, she is the Education Director of Heard ‘Em Say Youth Arts Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering youth voice. Since August of 2014 she has been a Teaching Artist for the “Slammin’ and Jammin’: Poetry Out Loud” grant program in Pinellas County high schools and alternative programs, including youth detention facilities, where she teaches spoken word poetry workshops. In May of 2015 she hosted the county’s first ever district-wide high school poetry slam. In November of 2015 she gave her first TEDx Talk at USF St. Petersburg centered on empowering youth voice by challenging restrictive and silencing teaching methods at both the high school and college level. In 2012, she was the Communications and Campaign Coordinator for I AM CHOICE, a statewide, grassroots campaign for reproductive justice. By 2013 she was also the Executive Editor of Matter of Cause, a statewide Progressive blog, and a consulting grant writer for Prevent Blindness Florida. She earned her Masters in English from Virginia Tech and her Bachelors in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Currently, Liz is an Adjunct Faculty member at USF St. Petersburg where she teaches First Year Composition. She is also a contractor for Community Tampa Bay where she facilitates professional and workplace diversity and inclusion trainings. In addition to her passions for writing, speaking, and feminism, she has an insatiable hankering for frozen yogurt.
Veronica Schell, Volunteer & Advocacy Coordinator, Planned Parenthood of Southwest & Central Florida
Veronica Schell is the Volunteer & Advocacy Coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Southwest & Central Florida, based in Naples, Florida. Veronica attended Florida State University & majored in both International Affairs & Political Science. Throughout her collegiate career, Veronica was involved with Pi Gamma Mu, an International Honor Society in Social Sciences, which focused on community volunteerism. As a junior, Veronica studied abroad in London, United Kingdom where her interest in politics & global affairs bloomed. The following year, as her passion for international study grew, Veronica joined the Global Peace Exchange, an organization that partners with international non-profit groups in order to contribute to international development. Through this organization, Veronica was able to travel to Chisinau, Moldova, and volunteer at the Republic Orphanage of Moldova, where her interest in non-profit work was piqued. In her current capacity as Volunteer & Advocacy Coordinator, Veronica has been able to expand the supporter base in her region and successfully lead volunteers through power building, events, and skill training's. Her role also includes outreach work and effectively building community coalitions. Standing side by side with her Planned Parenthood colleagues, Veronica upholds their mission to ensure that all individuals have access to safe & affordable healthcare. A born and bred Floridian, Veronica currently resides in Estero, Florida.
Amina Spahic, Regional Coordinator, Emerge USA
Amina Spahic was born into the political climate of the Bosnian War in 1992. After resettling to Austria and Germany, she and her family found Tampa to call home in 2001. Events surrounding her life overseas influenced her drive for success and work ethic. She excelled in school and earned dual degrees in public relations and business from the University of South Florida. Amina has served as the Diplomacy Intern for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, Turkey where she worked with a think tank of peers and presented an analysis about the future of Turkish foreign policy. During her time in Turkey, she worked as an ESOL instructor and was inspired to continue volunteering in Tampa as a reading tutor. She is the recipient of the USF Director’s Award, History of Achievement Award and the Business Ethics Initiative Scholarship. Currently, Amina Spahic is the Tampa Regional Director for Emerge USA, a non-profit looking to ensure that underrepresented communities have equal constitutional rights, social privileges, and political opportunities. She serves on the Emerge USA Tampa Board and the Equal Business Opportunity Advisory Council Board for the City of Tampa. Amina supports raising literacy rates, equal representation, and climate change solutions. With her unique understanding of what it means to be a displaced person, Amina dedicates time to volunteering and advocating for refugees and their support.
Ryan Torrens, Owner/Attorney, Torrens Law Group, P.A.
Ryan is a consumer lawyer in Tampa, Florida, focusing on foreclosure defense and consumer protection litigation. Ryan defends consumer clients against mortgage foreclosure actions and also represents consumers against creditors and debt collectors for collection violations. Ryan represents consumers in cases involving claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Ryan has successfully tried mortgage foreclosure cases to verdict and has prosecuted consumer claims against creditors to judgment. Prior to starting his own law practice in 2012, Ryan worked as an independent consultant on the federal government-mandated Independent Foreclosure Review Project, where he was charged with reviewing toxic mortgage loans. While working on this project, Ryan gained a serious interest in consumer protection law. A fifth-generation Tampa native, Ryan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa magna cum laude and graduated from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. While in law school, Ryan served as an intern for a federal bankruptcy judge and for several members of the U.S. Congress. A dedicated Democrat, Ryan is devoted to advancing policy in this state that will help to level the playing field and protect the rights of our consumers. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys staying physically active, fishing, reading, and enjoying time with his family, including his girlfriend Francesca and rescued dog named Ziggy.
Jennifer Webb, Director of Community Partnerships, University of South Florida - Tampa
Jennifer Necole Webb, M.A. is the Director of Community Partnerships with the University of South Florida’s Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships. Establishing dynamic, mutually beneficial, reciprocal partnerships among multiple stakeholders both on and off campus to fully express the USF as a public good is her passion. Recruited to the Tampa Bay Area by USF’s Applied Anthropology Department, she attained her Master’s of Arts in 2015. Jennifer’s areas of studies include the theoretical, ethical, and methodological challenges and benefits of engaged research; anthropology of public policy, and economic and urban anthropology. Her thesis is entitled, Engaging-Up: Compromised Spaces and Potential Partners (2015). She is an active scholar and experienced educator in the fields of anthropology and community engaged research and experiential learning. She has presented her research at national annual conferences, such as the American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology, and Eastern Region Campus Compact, and is currently working on two articles for publication and an undergraduate curriculum on the Praxis of Activism and Civic Engagement. Her service to the university includes an appointment to the Committee of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by President Genshaft of USF, where she was elected the chair of the policy subcommittee. She also chairs the Community Engagement working group for the Community Engagement Committee to the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs. Prior to graduate school, Jennifer founded a social science consulting firm that focused on economic and workforce development in Western Massachusetts. Her main clients were municipal and regional state agencies. Jennifer Webb graduated summa cum laude with a BA in History and a BA in Anthropology with minors in French, African American Studies, and Dance from Louisiana State University in 2003. Jennifer N. Webb is the daughter of Blayne and Valerie Honeycutt of Louisiana. She currently resides with her spouse, Cynthia Anne Wurner, in Gulfport, Florida.
Francesca Yabraian, Emergency Program Specialist, USDA
Francesca P. Yabraian is a Continuity Program Specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination. In that role, she represents the USDA on the National Exercise Program (NEP) for Climate Change, sponsored by the White House National Security Council Staff. The exercise deals with helping cities throughout the United States adapt to problems that result from future climate change issues in their regions. Ms. Yabraian also serves as co-chair of the USDA’s Continuity of Operations Policy Committee that develops recommendations for the implementation of continuity policy for use throughout the USDA in the event of a national disaster. Ms. Yabraian joined USDA in 2010, serving as executive assistant to Robin E. Heard, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration. In that role, she was named chairwoman of the committee that redesigned and updated the Departmental Management website, a task that was completed in March 2012. She was promoted to her present position in 2013. Ms. Yabraian graduated from the University of Tampa, where she was selected as the university’s commencement speaker, representing her Class of 2007. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a double major in Government & World Affairs and in Communications, focusing on film. While at the university, Ms. Yabraian served as the researcher for the acclaimed book, Vets Under Siege: How America Deceives and Dishonors Those Who Fight Our Battles, by Washington columnist and author Martin Schram. After graduating, she was one of 15 persons worldwide (out of 346 entrees) who were named winners of a contest sponsored by the United Nations Foundation of the perils posed by nuclear weapons. The prize was a trip to the UN headquarters in Geneva, where her film was screened at the International Atomic Energy Agency and she met IAEA’s director general, Dr. Hans Blix. Ms. Yabraian previously attended Brookhaven Community College in Dallas, where she was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. In 2005, she was named the sole winner statewide of the society’s Texas Member Hall of Honor Award. Ms. Yabraian currently resides in Tampa, Florida.