Adela Ghadimi is a doctoral candidate in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. The proud daughter of immigrants, Adela is the first in her family to be born in the US and has always taken great pride in wanting to serve others in any way she can. Above all, equity and inclusion encompass everything she does, whether performing diversity trainings for nonprofits and union leaders, or within her doctoral research. Adela’s research interests span the impacts of representative bureaucracy on undocumented individuals, veterans, people living with disabilities, first-generation individuals, in addition to voter suppression and access issues across the nation, as well as the role of public sector unions in the policy process. She currently serves as the volunteer Chapter Director of New Leaders Council Tallahassee and serves on the National Program Committee of New Leaders Council as the national Advancement Chair. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Adela lived in Washington, DC and worked in education policy and government relations and has prior professional experience in nonprofits, grassroots organizing and political campaigns. Adela is passionate about labor union activism, having served three terms as President of her union local, UFF-FSU-GAU, Graduate Assistants United, and is actively engaged in union work within UFF, FEA, NEA, and AFT. She currently is a lead fellow for the UFF Fellows Program, working to advance union engagement and leadership across the state of Florida. Adela has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics in International Relations and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Miami, where she triple majored in International Studies, Political Science, and Geography. In her spare time, Adela has taken up an affinity for gardening, loves to cook and try out new recipes, and (when the world is fully functional) is an avid international traveler.
Antoneia Roe received her B.S. in Political Science from Florida A&M University and obtained her J.D.from the University of Miami. She returned to Tallahassee and began her legal career in the Office of the General Counsel at Florida A&M University. Antoneia later advocated on behalf of abused, abandoned and neglected children at the Department of Children and Families and subsequently became Supervising Attorney for the Second Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program. When an opportunity presented itself, she excitedly returned to Florida A&M University, where she currently serves as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. Antoneia continues to advocate on behalf of abused, abandoned and neglected children as a guardian ad litem volunteer, primarily working with teens. She also serves as a Youth advisor in her church and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Bernice McMillan, MBA is the co-founder of Divine Revelations Ministries, Inc., a 501c3 organization that partners youth and seniors learning technology; and provides anger management and substance abuse classes at local correctional facilities and for Leon County/Tallahassee court-ordered clients. Bernice serves on the Board of NAMI Tallahassee, is a council member of the TPD Citizens Advisory Council, a certified CompTia Project Manager, and is the Training & Research Manager for the Bureau of One-Stop and Program Support at DEO. Bernice has over 20 year of experience in training/curriculum development, community development, mentoring, coaching, child/youth development, parenting education, volunteerism, prison ministry and customer service. She has received several recognitions for her community development and volunteerism, including the Outstanding Woman of the Year-Racial Justice (Utica YWCA), Accent on Excellence Award (Northland Communications/Utica Observer Dispatch), Mother Lavender Award, Person of the Year (Cornhill Community for Change), Extra Mile Award (Cornell Cooperative Extension), and Family of the Year (Capital Outlook/Tallahassee). Bernice is also a licensed minister.
As your chair for 2021-2022, Carrie is humbled and excited to revisit the founding principles of the CSWG while leading our remarkable group forward as we address the present-day circumstances of women and girls in Tallahassee/Leon County with the goal of making our region an area where all women and girls can thrive.
Carrie is a proud Tallahasseean who became exposed to and interested in people and politics from a young age. She has worked with people from all walks of life as a lobbyist, lawyer, business leader, political campaigns director, elected official, and nonprofit executive. Carrie’s plans for a career in medicine changed in college when she experienced firsthand the realities of domestic violence and sexual assault, and she has never looked back from her service to women, juveniles, and directly impacted Black and brown communities. Carrie is particularly interested in juvenile reform work and ending the school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately impacts girls of color and students with disabilities, as well as reducing adult recidivism through educational training and workforce development.
Carrie currently serves as the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Foundation of Florida (LAF) and CEO of LiveGive850, a real estate company. The Legal Aid Foundation mobilizes and educates volunteer attorneys and provides direct legal services to those in need. Carrie has served as an executive director, private practice attorney, real estate professional, and elected prosecutor. She has co-directed campaigns for local, senate, and gubernatorial races, as well as led regional efforts for presidential races. One of her most challenging and beloved roles was serving as the Director of Policy for a statewide domestic violence coalition where Carrie joined her coalition members and allies to lead the lobbying efforts of over 50 domestic violence agencies to successfully secure over $18.635M in crucial funds during a time of political gridlock and no state budget.
Carrie was formerly appointed by the governor to serve on one of the premier policy, legislative, and criminal justice administration boards in the country with an annual budget of approximately $130M. As a board member and elected official, Carrie helped pass initiatives to increase funding for diversion programs and juvenile justice reform. Carrie has spearheaded numerous successful legislative initiatives, including immigration law victories such as the landmark Trust Act and VOICES Act, criminal justice reform measures including the elimination of the statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault survivors and incentive rehabilitation programs, the Equal Pay Act, and enhanced state and federal funding initiatives for survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence.
Dr. Cicely Brantley, 2021-2022 CSWG Vice-Chair, is an Associate Professor in Behavioral Sciences at Tallahassee Community College. She is also a Therapist and Family Educator currently serving the Oasis Center for Women and Girls – where she started as a volunteer and transitioned to contractor – as Counselor and Single Moms Group Facilitator. Cicely is a graduate of both Florida A & M University and Florida State University, having earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from FAMU, and her Masters’ (in both Music Therapy and Counseling), Educational Specialist’s (in School Counseling) and Doctorate (in Marriage and Family Therapy) degrees from FSU. Prior to joining the TCC faculty, Cicely worked in the public school system for almost ten years as an elementary Music Teacher and a Guidance Counselor. Cicely is a Charter Member of the Greater Tallahassee Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). Cicely serves as the 2020-2021 chair of the CSWG Girls Committee. While her passion for serving and empowering others – especially those in historically oppressed and underrepresented groups – is undeniable, Cicely’s most important roles are as wife to her husband Robert, and mother to their five awesome children. Cicely’s dedication to the work of the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is fueled, in part, by a quote from one of her (s)heroes, educator Mary McLeod Bethune: “The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.”
Courtney Atkins is the Executive Director of Whole Child Leon, where she fosters professional relationships among early childhood stakeholders and community leaders. Atkins consistently leads collaborative efforts and initiatives, urging open communication and the sharing of resources between agencies to improve outcomes for all children. Courtney has been instrumental in South City earning the designation of a “Purpose Built Community.” In 2011, she received the Joseph Cullen Award from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors for the 95210-The Whole Picture of Health Initiative. In 2020, she was recognized as one of the 25 Women You Need to Know by the Tallahassee Democrat and as Tallahassee Community College’s Women’s History Valiant Women of the Vote honoree. Prior to her role with Whole Child Leon, Courtney served as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Arlington, VA, performing crisis intervention to the first responders during the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon. She received her B.A. in Communication from the University of Kentucky and a M.A. in Psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She is a native Floridian, having spent most of her life in Tallahassee. Courtney has two children, Chambers and Atticus, who attend Leon High School.
Elizabeth Paine is originally from Satellite Beach, Florida, and serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Capital Regional Medical Center. In this role, she has oversight of the day-to-day operations of the hospital, program and service line development, and is responsible for all major construction projects. Elizabeth has ten years of healthcare experience that includes clinical rotations in audiology in a variety of settings as well as administrative experience in both not-for-profit and for-profit integrated health systems and previously served as Assistant Administrator and Associate Administrator at Wellington Regional Medical Center (Wellington, FL) and The George Washington University Hospital (Washington, D.C.). Elizabeth graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Florida and holds both a Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Healthcare and Master of Science, Hearing and Speech Sciences, from Vanderbilt University. Elizabeth has been actively involved in each community she has lived in and currently serves in a variety of Chair and Board positions in organizations including the Junior League of Tallahassee, FAMU MHA Advisory Board, and Theatre Tallahassee. Elizabeth and her husband, Matthew, live in Tallahassee with their puggle puppy, Ruby, and enjoy traveling, hiking, and trying new restaurants.
Gabriela Limones-Borja presently works at the Florida Senate. Currently, she is doing legislative research for the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee and did similar work, previously, in the Banking and Insurance Committee. Her senate work involves analysis and summarizing of committee legislation, research involving statutes, codes, and regulations and she assists in drafting bills, amendments, and resolutions. In addition to her work at the state Capitol, Gabriela is pursuing a Master’s degree at Florida State University. She is seeking a degree in International Affairs with a focus on Latin America and US Intelligence. She has traveled to South America and Europe.
Gabriela moved to Tallahassee, in 2017, to begin her undergraduate studies at Florida State University. She was active with the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity while also working at the Pennington Law Firm as a legal assistant. During this time, she was an organizer for the 2018 Tallahassee March for Science. Additionally, Gabriela has worked as a server and as a manager at Mimi’s Table, a fine dining establishment in Old Town Tallahassee.
Gabriela involves herself with a number of civic activities ranging from working in the local soup kitchen to volunteering for local political campaigns. She loves taking her rescue-dog Luna to the dog park, working out at the gym, and then canceling the results of her workout by keeping up with the local restaurant scene.
Gina Giacomo has been in the field of criminal justice for twenty-nine years and has vast leadership experience gained through holding a variety of key positions. She is currently serving as the Director of Administration for the Commission on Offender Review. Gina earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from SIU and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from FAMU. She has received recognitions including the Superior Accomplishment Awards from both FCOR and DCF, the Criminal Justice Distinguish Service Award and the Louie L. Wainwright Distinguish Service Award from the Florida Counsel on Crime and Delinquency, Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Award, Tallahassee Community College Women’s Trailblazer Award and has received ten Davis Productivity Awards for increasing productivity and improving services while reducing cost. She is dedicated to serving her community and improving the lives of women and girls. Gina is a PACE Leon Center for Girls Board of Directors Treasurer, Zona Club of Tallahassee Past President and current Board member, Florida Counsel on Crime and Delinquency Statewide Past President and currently the Executive Director, Capital American Italian Organization Past President, member of Keiser University Advisory board, Capital Tiger Bay Club , Women Who Mean Business, Association Fundraising Professional, Village Square and a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class 33. A perpetual optimist, whose license plate reads “Carpe Diem” Gina sees herself as a servant-leader getting out of bed each day looking forward to serving others.
Dr. Gwendolyn Singleton is Chairperson and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Dr. Singleton received her Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from Howard University. In August 2011, she was elected as the Chairperson of the Department of Psychology at FAMU, becoming the first FAMU alumnus elected to this position. She is a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid instructor; She serves as the institutional representative for the ACE Women’s Network of Florida at FAMU. Dr. Singleton serves on a host of other university committees, as the faculty advisor and mentor for several student organizations, and in community services initiatives. She is also a group facilitator and workshop presenter for the Institute for Academic Leadership, hosted by Florida State University, for department chairpersons, deans, and academic administrators of the State University System of Florida. She serves as the 2020-2021 chair of the CSWG Health and Development Committee.
Dr. Inika Williams is the Statewide Director of Pre-Collegiate Programs and Mentoring Initiatives with the Florida Department of Education. Williams manages $132 million in state appropriations for projects that seek to improve preparation for postsecondary education and academic performance for low-performing students. She served as the prior Director of Pre-Collegiate Programs at Florida State University where she led pre-collegiate programming operations for the Upward Bound, Talent Search, and College Reach-Out Program.
Williams’s professional efforts have resulted in awards and recognition. Most notably, Williams was recognized as one of the “25 Women to Know in Tallahassee” by the Tallahassee Democrat in 2021 and selected to participate in Leadership Tallahassee, Class 39. She was awarded the distinguished Faculty and Staff Seminole Award from the FSU Division of Student Affairs for major contributions to the university through service to students. Williams’s professional career, both before, during and after her graduation, has focused substantially on strengthening the school-to-college pipeline for disadvantaged youth. She is a former classroom teacher, school counselor, ESE Administrator, and youth counselor for military dependents in Japan and Germany.
Williams serves on the board for the Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, Guardian Ad Litem, and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Florida A&M University, a master’s degree in counseling from Florida State University, and a doctorate in education from Florida State University.
Dr. Jazmyne Simmons-Bryant is a proud native of Tallahassee. She is a faculty member in the School of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Health Science at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Simmons earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Communication with a specialty in Health Communication from the University of Miami. She holds a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Education from FAMU’s, Institute of Public Health. Jazmyne also possesses Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Criminology from the University of South Florida. Simmons has conducted research at Moffitt Cancer Research Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is committed to using evidence-based research to improve the lives of disproportionately impacted populations. Her research interests lie at the intersection of sexual and racial minority health and interpersonal and mass communication. To date, her research has been awarded nearly $50,000 in federal and institutional funding. Most recently, Simmons, served as Co-Principal Investigator for a clinical trial (NCT03898063) funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. This funding was awarded via the University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute to investigate effective interventions for HIV prevention and care. Beyond her academic pursuits, Jazmyne enjoys developing meaningful mass-mediated content. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she produced and hosted a local television talk show entitled, The Jazmyne Show. When Jazmyne is not working, she can be found watching black and white television, coloring, and spending time with family. She is the daughter of Mr. Craig Simmons and Dr. Mary Simmons. Jazmyne is engaged to her high school sweetheart, Tevin “T.J.” Bryant. They have a chocolate-tri English bulldog named, Time. Simmons is also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Jeanne O’Kon is a psychologist and college professor at Flagler College-Tallahassee. She served previously as the Program Chair of the Tallahassee Community College Behavioral Sciences department. Jeanne is a graduate of Florida State University, receiving her B.S. and M.S. in Psychology and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. She has instructed classes in Psychology of Women, General Psychology, and Teacher Education at TCC, Flagler College, and Florida State University. She chaired the TCC Women’s History Month Committee for many years and still serves as an active committee member. She directed the Taiwan Sister School Program and traveled to Kaohsiung many times to teach English with TCC and Flagler College students in the summer. She gives annual presentations at the University of Florida Women’s Leadership Conference and at other professional meetings. Jeanne has served as the race director for the Girl Scout Council fundraiser, the “Run for the Cookies,” for the past 25 years. Because of her volunteer work with the Girl Scout Council, she was selected as a “Woman of Distinction” in 2003 and was elected to the Girl Scout “Hall of Fame” in 2008. She is an active member of Gulf Winds Track Club, volunteering countless hours with local road races which raise funds for charitable organizations such as Refuge House, the Girl Scouts, and the Kearney Center. In 2009, she was selected by the Tallahassee Democrat as one of “25 Women You Need to Know.” In 2018, she was selected for the Tallahassee Community College “TCC Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame.” Jeanne was appointed by Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge to serve on the Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls in 2011, and served on the CSWG for six years. She was previously appointed to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, and currently serves on the FCSW Foundation Board.
Dr. Judy Mandrell is married to Dr. Gerald Mandrell. They have been married for thirty-nine years, and are the Pastors of Life Changers Church of God in Christ. She is the Host of her own radio show “REAL TALK WITH JUDY LIVE RADIO SHOW”. The Founder of “REAL TALK SISTER GIRLS NETWORK,” designed to bring women from different ages, ethnicities, political affiliation, and economic statuses together. She is the Executive Director of Dream Builders Greatness Center, Inc, a NONPROFIT 501C(3), which encompass the Dream Builders Greatness Youth Leadership Summer Camp, Afterschool Program, Leaders and Navigators Academy and the Family Affairs Program designed to strengthen the family system and to help families to make “HOME SWEET HOME” again. She is Chief Executive Officer of Dream Builders Greatness Child Development Center. All the programs are designed to empower, motivate, inspire, and help the individual and the family to bring forth the greatness and gifts they possess and to help them dream and work the process of making their dream a reality. She’s in partnership, with the Tallahassee Peacemakers, South City Foundation, The Life Center, The Tallahassee Police Department, The Leon Sheriff Department, Life Changers Church of God in Christ, and other organizations for the betterment of Tallahassee and the awesome people in the community. She is a renowned speaker in both the religious and social community. For 20 years she worked for the Florida Department of Children and Families. She graduated from Florida A & M University, with a Bachelor of Social Work, received a Master of Executive Leadership and Doctorate of Christian Leadership from Clarity International Christian University. She’s a certified John C. Maxwell, Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker; a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class 36 and a 2019 Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know. She’s a member of Tallahassee Branch of NAACP serving on the Executive Board of Directors, and Women in the NAACP Committee Chair; the Big Bend Homeless Coalition Board of Directors; Spiritual Advisory Committee for the Tallahassee Healing Prayer Ministries; and Tallahassee-Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Dr. Mandrell has received many honors and accolades for her leadership and service.
Dr. Mandrell’s motto: “If, I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain.”
Katie Britt Williams is a 7th generation Floridian from Winter Haven, Florida, where she grew up fishing and paddling on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes and Peace River. She received an undergraduate degree from the Florida State University in Environmental Science in 2014 and a Master’s of Science in Forestry and Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Florida in 2017. She has experience working for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Transportation. Katie currently does environmental permitting work for Cummins Cederberg, a statewide Marine and Coastal Engineering Firm. She spends much of her free time with the Junior League of Tallahassee, recently nominated to be President Elect, as well as attending Access Tallahassee events and other local initiatives! Katie loves traveling and doing anything outdoors with friends and family!
Kimberly Galbán-Countryman is CEO of LBB – Lighthouse of the Big Bend where she oversees numerous services aimed at improving the lives of individuals with vision loss living in the Big Bend. Kim is a veteran of nonprofits and social service agencies in Tallahassee and the Big Bend area. She has served as assistant director of Big Bend Homeless Coalition, director of development for the Southern Scholarship Foundation; and executive director of United Partners for Human Services. At the outset of her career, Kimberly helped establish an organization serving people with disabilities, The Family C.A.F.E., where she was a founding board member and subsequently served as Chief Operations Officer for eleven years. She has volunteered on several nonprofit Boards of Directors, including Kids Incorporated of the Big Bend, United Partners for Human Services, the Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology and the Virtual Kiwanis Club of the Big Bend. She is a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class 27, a Founding Member of the Oasis Center for Women & Girls, and spent three years as a coach for Girls on the Run. Kimberly has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Florida State University’s Askew School of Public Administration and Policy. Kimberly has worked in the nonprofit sector since 1993.
Dr. Marcella Torres is a long-time resident of Leon County and has lived in Tallahassee, Florida for more than thirty-five years. She is currently self-employed as the CEO and Founder of Let’s TALK Training and Consulting, where she serves as a Life Enrichment Coach and Counselor. She is also the principal of Kingdom Life Preparatory Academy K-12th grade. She has been in Education and Counseling for over 35 years. I am an author, educator, motivational and public speaker, expositor, trainer, workshop facilitator, director, mediator, life coach, community organizer, and advocate for human rights. With straight talk and classic humor, her delivery is transforming and powerful; provoking immediate change. She considers herself to be on the cutting edge; using old fashion principles with innovative methods and simple practices to make positive change. Her current goals are to enhance her current skills in leadership, program operations, social services, staff development, community partnerships, counseling, and education, in order to better the community and surrounding areas.
Nikki Nicolas was born and raised in Tallahassee. Nikki is an art and technology teacher at Griffin Middle school. Nikki is also the 8th-grade team lead. As the team lead, Nikki serves as both the organizer and sponsor for all 8th-grade fundraising, activities, and field trips. Additionally, she is the School Advisory Council chair for Griffin – a decision-making committee that includes community members and school leaders who use school data to make informed decisions. She is a graduate of TCC, FSU and in 2020 earned a master’s from UF in Education Leadership. She is married to Marcus Nicolas and they have 2 children, Noah and Naomi. Nikki is committed to serving in the community and has a heart for helping students realize their potential.
Tonnette Graham is the Associate Director of Public Policy for the Florida Association of Counties. As a lead healthcare, public safety, and economic development lobbyist, Graham provides thorough context of legislative issues to Florida’s 67 counties. With years of experience as a Florida A&M University trustee, student body president, State University System of Florida Board of Governors member, and chairman of the Florida Student Association, Graham is no stranger to leadership and service. Since graduating from FAMU with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management (2015) and master’s degree in public administration (2016), she went on to serve in the Office of the President as Special Assistant to the Director of Governmental Relations—a role that ignited her passion for legislative activism and education. She is currently a member of Leadership Tallahassee (Class 38), the FAMU Division of Healthcare Management Advisory Board, the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Florida Association for Intergovernmental Relations, and the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Graham is committed to advancing her local community and taking thoughtful action for change. She is just scratching the surface of a promising political career and is eager to implement innovative ways to inform, interest, and mobilize American millennials.