Meet the Commissioners

Adela Ghadimi, 2023-2024 CSWG Chair, is the Organizing Specialist and Service Unit Director for United Faculty of Florida, leading organizing strategies and efforts across the state for 25,000 faculty and 8,000 graduate assistants across 34 chapters.  She engages in additional union work with affiliates FEA, NEA, and AFT. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. Adela is in the inaugural cohort of the Obama Leaders USA program, where she partners with other leaders of excellence from across the country to accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities while strengthening participatory democracy. 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 training for nonprofits and union leaders through consulting work through her LLC, or within her doctoral research. Before beginning her doctoral work and relocating to Tallahassee, Adela lived in Washington, DC, and worked in education policy and government relations She has prior professional experience in nonprofits, grassroots organizing, and political campaigns. Adela was a 2021 fellow of the US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) Next Gen Global Leaders Network and now serves the state of Florida USGLC board. Local community engagement is incredibly important to her. She previously chaired a CSWG committee for three years. Adela previously served on the Tallahassee Affordable Housing Commission and completed service on the 2020 Leon County Complete Count Census Committee. Adela serves on the National Board of Directors of the New Leaders Council (NLC), a national nonprofit focused on training and uplifting proximate place-based leaders across industry and sector in communities nationwide. Before serving on the NLC Board of Directors, Adela served two years as a Vice Chair of NLC’s NPC, two years as National Advancement Co-Chair, was the Chapter Director of NLC Tallahassee, and remains a LEAD Trainer, traveling every January to train new fellows across the country as they start their fellowship year. Adela has a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics in International Relations. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Miami, where she triple majored in International Studies, Political Science, and Geography. She has an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from Harvard University.

Dr. Jazmyne Simmons-Bryant, 2023-2024 CSWG Vice-Chair and Health & Development Committee Chair, 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. Before pursuing her doctorate, she produced and hosted a local television talk show, 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.

Gabriela Limones-Borja, 2023-2024 Economic Security Committee Chair, 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 analyzing and summarizing 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 recently earned her Master’s degree at Florida State University in International Affairs, focusing 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 and worked as a legal assistant at the Pennington Law Firm. She was an organizer for the 2018 Tallahassee March for Science during this time. Additionally, Gabriela has worked as a server and manager at Mimi’s Table, a fine dining establishment in Old Town Tallahassee. Gabriela involves herself in several civic activities, 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.

Gillian Gregory, 2023-2024 Education Committee Chair  was appointed to the CSWG but served last Commission year as a Community Committee Member on the Education Committee. She stepped up into leadership in her first year to serve as the 23-24 CSWG’s Education Committee Chair! She is also a Program Director with FSU’s College of Education, where she serves as a Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PI. Since joining FSU in February 2022, she has helped award $1.247 million in grants. She has implemented various instructional reforms, including those that align with improved literacy outcomes, graduation rates, and accelerated opportunities for all students. Over her 28-year education career, Commissioner Gregory has also worked in the Florida Legislature in education policy and has successfully launched both a district online K-12 school and the district’s 1:1 initiative, on-boarding a Learning Management System and Students Information System for over 50 schools. In her free time, she mentors youth, navigates a divided Seminoles and Gator household, and works as a personal assistant to her children, chauffeuring them between soccer and dance practices. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated individual as a member of the CSWG! 

Caroline Pryor, 2023-2024 Employment & Earnings Committee Chair

Katie Britt Williams, 2023-2024 Political Equity Committee Chair, 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 in environmental science from Florida State University in 2014 and a Master 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 works in environmental permitting for Cummins Cederberg, a statewide marine and coastal engineering firm. She spends much of her free time with the Junior League of Tallahassee, Access Tallahassee, Leadership Tallahassee events, and other local initiatives! Katie loves traveling and doing anything outdoors with friends and family!

Bernice McMillan, MBA, 2023-2024 Violence & Safety Committee Chair is the co-founder of Divine Revelations Ministries, Inc.. This 501c3 organization partners with 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 years 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.

Kimberley Berry is a Principal in Training and Technical Assistance in the Assessment and Evaluation Division at Synergy Enterprises, Inc., a woman-owned small business. At Synergy, Kimberly serves as the Deputy Project Director for the Title IV, Part A (T4PA) Technical Assistance Center, which supports State Education Agencies implementing federally-funded education programs. She has over 20 years of experience providing training, technical assistance, policy analysis, and programmatic and fiscal implementation of federal and state education initiatives. Locally, Commissioner Berry has served the Tallahassee community as a member of two school advisory councils and an active member and past chapter president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. She is currently the president of the Tallahassee National Pan-Hellenic Council and a member of the Junior League of Tallahassee. She is an unrelenting advocate for providing unlimited opportunities for girls and women as she understands that empowering a woman educationally and economically transforms not only that woman’s life but also the generations that follow.

Morgan Danyi-Burton (she/they) is a doctoral student studying Higher Education in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at Florida State University. Morgan’s research examines the racial and gendered socialization of women working in higher education. She is a Research Assistant at the Center for Postsecondary Success, studying the implementation of corequisite (formerly developmental) education models within Texas higher education institutions. Morgan is also a member of the review board for the Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education. Before their doctoral work, Morgan worked full-time in higher education for five years in violence prevention, social justice education, and new student orientation. Originally a Midwesterner, Morgan has made her way down the East Coast with degrees from North Carolina State University and Clemson University. As a ‘Noles fan, you’ll find them under the big top enjoying the FSU circus, on Landis with lemonade from Mom and Pop’s, or competing in dog sports competitions around Florida with her two pups.

Dr. Michelle Gayle

Ashley Vernelle Gilley is a mother, entrepreneur, and inspirational/motivational speaker.

My journey has been one of resilience, growth, and transformation. At the tender age of 17, just five months after high school graduation, my dreams for the future were shattered, and hope seemed out of reach. I found myself entangled in the criminal justice system, facing a 15-year sentence for drug possession charges. It was a surreal and unimaginable experience that led me to serve five years in a state penitentiary in Hawkinsville, Georgia.

However, even in the darkest of times, there is light. With unwavering determination and the support of my parents, closest friends, and loved ones, I emerged from incarceration with a renewed sense of purpose. Determined to break the stereotype of an “ex-offender,” I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and redemption. In April 2021, I proudly graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, marking a significant milestone in my personal and academic growth journey. Additionally, in January 2022, I completed my parole sentence, overcoming obstacles and defying the odds. Today, I am privileged to serve as a Revenue Administrator II with the Florida Department of Revenue, approaching five and a half years of dedicated service to Florida. Each day, I strive to live a life that aligns with God’s plans, embracing the opportunity to share my story and inspire others to overcome adversity.

All I am and strive to be is for Christian, Princeton, and Tristynn.

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 hosts her radio show “REAL TALK WITH JUDY LIVE RADIO SHOW”.  The Founder of “REAL TALK SISTER GIRLS NETWORK,” designed to bring together women of different ages, ethnicities, political affiliations, and economic statuses. She is the Executive Director of Dream Builders Greatness Center, Inc., a NONPROFIT 501C(3), which encompasses 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 the 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 help them dream and work on 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’s degree in social work. She received a Master of Executive Leadership and a Doctorate of Christian Leadership from Clarity International Christian University. She’s a certified John C. Maxwell Coach, Teacher, Trainer, and Speaker; a Leadership Tallahassee Class 36 graduate and a 2019 Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know. She’s a member of the 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.”

Tiffany Martin is a thriving leader raised in Gadsden County, Florida, with a passion for service and a love of reading and writing. Beginning her professional career as a Residential Substance Abuse Counselor, Tiffany was met with the reality of providing services to challenging populations that needed long-term services. After some time, Tiffany continued her education, pursuing a master’s in social work at Florida State University, and nearly one year post-graduation, she became the Transitional Living Program (TLP) Manager at CCYS. Here, she developed a long-term residential program from ground zero. Tiffany then transitioned to serve at the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services as Project Manager of Research and Operations. In her personal time, Tiffany volunteers at her local church as the Administrator and serves on the Ministerial Staff, where she has the opportunity to continue to serve those in the Tallahassee community. Currently, Tiffany serves as Children’s Home Society of Florida’s Executive Director for the Tallahassee-Gainesville Community, and she is eager to expand and nurture new connections in our community.

Carla McClellan Commissioner McClellan was appointed to serve on the 23-24th CSWG’s Political Equity Committee! As a former mental health case manager for children who found themselves in Florida’s Department of Children & Families and/or Department of Juvenile Justice, Commissioner McClellan was also previously part of the data and evaluation team for Native American Health Center. She then founded the Tallahassee Lassie Pet Care, in which she has a dedicated team of employees. She has also created the Active Retiree Program during their 8th year in business. The highlight of her life is volunteerism and philanthropy, especially mentoring young ladies who have lived through traumatic experiences or troubled times. She is passionate about many topics, especially women and girls, small businesses, equality, politics, resilience, and community-building. During her free time, she spends quality time with her two dogs and cat and enjoys traveling between St. George Island and the Great Smoky Mountains. We are so excited to have such a devoted member joining as a member of the CSWG! 

Dr. Wachell (Shelly) McKendrick is originally from Miami where she grew up loving the
beaches, high school and Miami Dolphins’ football games (especially the 17-0 Dolphins!). In the late 70s she would come to Tallahassee and school at FSU, leave to travel as a former military spouse then be drawn back again in 2001. She is one who enjoys serving, as evidenced by her chosen profession of Social Work. She served for 17 years as a Professor in Social Work at the Florida A&M University. Her love for the Tallahassee community intersects with her service currently as a member of Rotary International (Northside) and Board member on various nonprofit organizations serving girls and women (among them Girls 2 DIVAS, Black Women Empowerment Collective). Her professional life in the clinical area of Substance abuse treatment, trauma, and violence spans 36 years. She has worked as a Counselor, Facility Coordinator, Clinical Supervisor, Quality Assurance Director, and currently as Executive Director of Turn About, Inc. and a Surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in the substance abuse treatment field.

Her research interests also include increasing awareness of domestic violence issues among college students and understanding psychosocial factors that impact student success. She has written and published articles on these topics. In her spare time, Dr. McKendrick enjoys spending time and playing with her three grandchildren, traveling, and all aspects of football.

Kay Meyer

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 taught Psychology of Women, General Psychology, and Teacher Education classes at TCC, Flagler College, and Florida State University. She chaired the TCC Women’s History Month Committee for many years and is still 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 been the race director for the Girl Scout Council fundraiser, the “Run for the Cookies,” for 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 “Hall of Fame” in 2008. She is an active member of the Gulf Winds Track Club, volunteering countless hours with local road races that 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.

LaQuisha Persak is originally from Orlando, Florida, and has been residing in Tallahassee for well over 20 years. She is the Corporate Recruiter for Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs, and in this role, she works to identify and recruit both rising student talent and experienced candidates for the firm. She enjoys fostering relationships with universities, engaging with student organizations, and working with community partners who have an interest in the career field of public accounting. LaQuisha’s passion to see students achieve their professional goals flourished in her previous roles a Recruiter, Admissions Officer, and Assistant Director in the Office of Admissions at Florida State University. These roles afforded her the opportunity to work with diverse student populations while effectively collaborating across several university departments to connect students with needed resources. Additionally, with nearly ten years of state legislative experience, LaQuisha has worked closely with Florida’s legislators and executive staff. Her positions have included trusted roles with oversight in communications, legislative affairs, administration, public records, staff training and professional development. LaQuisha serves on the FSU National Black Alumni board as a Regional Representative for Northwest Florida, is a professional Mentor, and is a breast cancer survivor and women’s health advocate. She is an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. member and enjoys serving her community on the local and regional levels to help implement the organization’s service initiatives. LaQuisha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Applied American Politics and Policy, both from Florida State University. LaQuisha is married to her husband, Jon, and they have one daughter, Aralyn. The family enjoys a weekly family movie night and are avid Marvel fans.

Janel Robinson believes that a world free from gender-based violence is possible. As the Violence Prevention Coordinator at FSU’s Center for Health Advocacy and Wellness, she leads initiatives to combat sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on campus. She coordinates the university’s Green Dot Bystander Intervention program, creates innovative programming on consent, healthy relationships, and trauma-informed care, and builds awareness month campaigns. Before this role, she served as the Program Coordinator for FAMU’s Center for Interpersonal Violence Intervention and Prevention, leading FAMU’s educational efforts on culturally responsive violence prevention and bystander intervention. Nell’s dedication to a violence-free future has been recognized through several accolades, including Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know and the Oasis Center’s Unsung Shero Award.

Reenee Williams-Walters Commissioner Williams-Walter was appointed to serve on the 23rd to 24th CSWG’s Employment and Earrings Committee. She is a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in music, entertainment, and corporate roles, found her passion for creating positive change. Through her robust experience, she has transitioned out of the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry and now finds her love in the nonprofit world. As Rapid Response Coordinator for CareerSource Capital Region, Reenee assists businesses with proactive strategies to prevent and minimize employee layoffs and business closures. Reenee is also a dedicated board member for various organizations known as “the P.L.U.G.,” connecting people to resources and fostering ultimate growth. Beyond her impactful career, she enjoys adventurous travels with her family, ministry work, and conquering white water rapids. 

Dr. Inika Williams, for over a decade, Dr. Inika Williams has worked with communities to improve service delivery systems supporting children and youth. She is the Associate Director of Policy with Attendance Works, a national nonprofit think tank that advances student success through policy and practice. Dr. Williams is responsible for developing and executing a national public policy agenda, working closely with government and advocacy leaders to advance student outcomes. Her previous professional roles include serving as the Director of Pre-Collegiate Programs at Florida State University. She acquired over $1.3 million to build pipeline tutoring and mentoring programs to prepare underrepresented students for higher education. She also served as Statewide Director of the College Reach-Out Program and Project Director for a $1.6 million federal initiative to develop school-based mental health programs and services in the Florida panhandle with the Florida Department of Education. Dr. Williams serves on the board of directors of the Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, the Tallahassee National Pan-Hellenic Council, PACE Center for Girls Leon, and was appointed to the City of Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. She is a member of Leadership Tallahassee Class 39 and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Fostering learning opportunities for young people is a personal passion for Dr. Williams, who has expertise in youth development and programming. She has been recognized as one of the “25 Women to Know in Tallahassee” by the Tallahassee Democrat, a “Future Five” award recipient by Access Tallahassee, and awarded with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Valerie Bryant Justice Award for her commitment to women and children. Williams completed her doctoral studies in educational leadership, recently earning her M.S. and Ed.S in Counseling from Florida State University and her B.S. in Education from Florida A&M University.