INFLUENCE Magazine – Winter 2022

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Melissa Langley

fter graduating magna cum laude with a criminology degree from Florida State University, Melissa Langley found herself considering options. Sure, there was law school, which she had told herself she wanted to do. But the closer she got to understanding what the day-to-day practice of law entailed, the less enamored she became. Around the same time, The Fiorentino Group had a tough mayoral race brewing. The Jacksonville firm was working with Lenny Curry, an accountant and first-time Republican candidate. Curry would make it to the runoff and face Democratic incumbent Alvin Brown, Jacksonville’s first African American Mayor. Marty Fiorentino needed a steady hand for the firm. He hired Langley, a Jacksonville native and a stickler for detail, as development and political coordinator. She coordinated Curry’s finances through a blanket primary in March 2014, won by Brown, to Curry’s victory in May by a 3% margin. “She is my right hand,” Joe Mobley, a Fiorentino principal, told INFLUENCE. “Extremely bright and hard working.” Langley remains the firm’s steadiest hand, the one who has charted every key date or deadline, the one who has written it down. “It’s about having a plan, something I admire about this firm for all of our clients,” said Langley, 29. “We have folks here who have worked in private business or who have served inside the House and Senate. “We truly take a team approach: How can we come together and get this bill passed? The whole 360-degree view. How can we completely solve this client’s problems?” Promoted in 2019 to community relations and political director, Langley manages the firm’s fundraising, plans special events and stays engaged with the community. In 2018 she took a 16-month leave to serve as an AmeriCorps liaison in Washington while also managing AmeriCorps Director Chester Spellman’s special initiatives. Back at TFG, she enjoys the range of client issues, from health care to education and technology. And when something as big as a pandemic hits, the firm has Langley to conduct crisis management in real time. “Tracking all of that federal legislation like the Patient Protection Program, those rules were being enforced almost as they were coming out,” she said. “So being able to truly sit down and dive into that legislation and monitor what was happening I think played a key role for our clients to be a little bit ahead and at least have some answers about what they would be facing.” Before joining TFG, Langley coordi-

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INFLUENCE Winter 2022

nated interns for the Republican Party of Florida and herself interned as a fundraiser for Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. She married Prescott Braude in 2021 and looks forward to carrying out travel plans. “In this firm we truly take on clients we care about,” she said. “While sometimes it’s hard being newly married and moving to Tallahassee for 60 days, realizing that there is a true mission behind it is what keeps us going.” In retrospect, the choices and opportunities have lined up. “You can still influence policy and legislation without being an attorney,” she said. “I wouldn’t change this for the world.”