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R I S I N G S TA R S

Jared Torres, 30 Director of legislative affairs at the Florida Department of Corrections

When Jared Torres was in the sixth grade, he took a field trip to Tallahassee as part of the Take Stock in Children program. There was a “Rally in Tally,” and children and mentors from across the state converged on the capital city. Torres and his mentor were part of Broward County’s delegation, making the long trip by bus from South Florida to Tallahassee. But that trip would ultimately shape the course of Torres’ life. “Take Stock (in Children) is what introduced me to the government process,” he said. “I saw government at work. I got a glimpse of what public service was all about.” Torres said he decided during that field trip so many years ago that he wanted to be involved in public service. He told his mentor on the way home that’s what he wanted to do one day, and she spent much of their relationship encouraging him to work hard to achieve his goals. And he’s done just that. He’s spent the past eight years working for the State of Florida, including more than four years as the legislative affairs director at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. In 2015, he was brought on to fill the same role at the Florida Department of Corrections. “I love what I do,” said Torres. “Every day I’m humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve.” Jillian Hasner, the president and CEO of Take Stock in Children, said that attitude toward public service part of the reason why Torres has excelled in the industry. As a Take Stock in Children alum, she said he is “especially aware of how important it is to give back.” “I would say this about Jared: He is one of the finest individuals and human beings I’ve had the privilege to know. I think Jared embodies the term public servant. That’s really the mindset he brings to his job and his service every day,” she said. “I think a lot of that comes from the fact he realizes he got to be part of something where people gave him a chance and an opportunity by being part of Take Stock in Children. He sees this as an opportunity in his life and career to give back. It really is a mindset and a servant’s heart.”

Tara Reid, 26 Tara Reid could have had a life on the stage. She grew up singing, and danced in high school. She loved the stage, and planned to pursue a career in musical theater. But politics pulled at her heartstrings, and after two years at the Florida School of the Arts, she transferred to Florida State University to focus on politics and policy. “It was a difficult decision because I loved the stage, but I knew I couldn’t do it forever,” she said earlier this year. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made.” The decision paid off. She scored an internship at the Florida Retail Federation while she was in college. She got a job at the Republican Party of Florida right out of college, spending more than a year at the state party before landing at Strategos Group. “I got lucky,” she says about her early successes. “I think it was good timing for me. It’s hard for so many people to get jobs in the process, so I’m really blessed it happened so easily.” Samantha Padgett, vice president and general counsel at the Florida Retail Federation, doesn’t think luck has anything to do with it. Instead, Padgett said Reid’s willingness to work is what makes her stand out. “What I love about Tara is that she works. She’s not out to be a big shot or impress people,” said Padgett. “She’s willing to dive in, learn the issues, learn the process and get things done. It’s that willingness to work that will make her a very impressive big shot, probably sooner than later.”

120 | INFLUENCE WINTER 2016

PHOTOS: Mary Beth Tyson

Associate at Strategos Group

Profile for Extensive Enterprises Media

INFLUENCE Florida Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics

INFLUENCE Florida Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics