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TABLE OF CONTENTS Fellowship Overview.......................................................................................... 2 Mike Hightower.................................................................................................. 3 Guest Speakers................................................................................................... 6 Susie Wiles.............................................................................................. 7 Nat Glover.............................................................................................. 9 Daniel Davis......................................................................................... 10 John Peyton........................................................................................... 11 John Rood.............................................................................................. 12 Audrey Moran....................................................................................... 14 Betsy Lovett........................................................................................... 16 Darnell Smith........................................................................................ 17 Peter Rummell...................................................................................... 18 Ed Burr................................................................................................. 20 President Tim Cost................................................................................ 21 Steering Committee.......................................................................................... 22 Gracie Simendinger.............................................................................. 23 Tyler Mathews...................................................................................... 24 Christopher Warren.............................................................................. 25 Andrew Kisz.......................................................................................... 26 Thomas Lee IV...................................................................................... 27 Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship Class of 2018................................................................................... 28 Ken Ackerson.................................................................................................... 29 Trish Bautista.................................................................................................... 30 John Brigman.................................................................................................... 31 Christopher Conner.......................................................................................... 32 Ashley Cook..................................................................................................... 33 James Croft....................................................................................................... 34 Tad Dickman..................................................................................................... 35 Alex Douglas.................................................................................................... 36 Sarah Henderson.............................................................................................. 37 Jenn Kjellman.................................................................................................... 38 Kim Kristoff....................................................................................................... 39 Kristin Livingston.............................................................................................. 40 Liam O’Reilly.................................................................................................... 41 Ashley Rogan.................................................................................................... 42 Katherine Ruttell............................................................................................... 43 Jessie Spradley................................................................................................. 44 Joey Vaid........................................................................................................... 45 Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship Class of 2017................................................................................... 46

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Fellowship Overview About the Fellowship The Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship connects talented young professionals with prominent and influential Jacksonville leaders. Fellows will network and learn from titans of Jacksonville who are looking to invest in the next generation. These monthly roundtable discussions will take place in a setting that allows for candid discussion about how these leaders achieved their career success, as well as their challenge for the next generation inheriting the city. The caliber of participants selected for this program is unlike any other young professional group in Jacksonville, and will allow each Fellow to develop lifelong relationships with classmates and speakers. Past speakers include Ed Burr, Tim Cost, Daniel Davis, Nat Glover, Betsy Lovett, Audrey Moran, Herb Peyton, John Peyton, John Rood, Peter Rummell, Darnell Smith and Susie Wiles. Program Meetings Program Kickoff (February) Monthly Meetings & Alumni Events (March - November) Future Jax Sessions (April, October) Closing Reception (December) How to apply Application period for the following year’s class will open at the end of the calendar year. Be the first to know when applications open by subscribing to the ImpactJAX newsletter, the Happs. For more information email ImpactJAX@myjaxchamber.com

Mike Hightower Mike joined JEA in 2015. He brings over 35 years of Governmental & Legislative Relations experience to JEA. Mike also served 16 years on JEA’s Board of Directors and served two two-year terms as JEA Chair. Mr. Hightower joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida in 1981 as the Director of Governmental and Legislative Relations. In 1985, he was named the Vice President of Governmental and Legislative Relations. Mike worked closely with key political leaders in the federal, state and local government, after three decades of a successful career at Florida Blue; he retired in 2014. He joined the Holland and Knight International Law firm as a Senior Policy Advisor in 2014 prior to joining the JEA Senior Leadership Team in 2015. In addition to his professional accomplishments, he has dedicated his time, talents and leadership to numerous boards and commissions over the last 35 years. Presently, Mike chairs the following: the Florida Governor’s Mansion Foundation and the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists. In addition, Mike is the Vice Chairman - Florida House, Florida’s Embassy in Washington DC. He also serves as an active Board Member of the following: OneJax, Florida Ounce of Prevention, and Five Star Veterans Center. Previous to joining JEA, Mike chaired the following Civic and Trade Associations: United States Naval Academy, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Florida House, Florida’s Embassy in Washington DC, Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Insurance Council, Florida News Service, Florida College System Foundation, Jacksonville Library Foundation, Jacksonville Political Leadership Institute, JaxBiz, Duval County Republican Party, and the Cecil Field Base Closure Commission. Honors • 2017 Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce created an emerging leaders program with the Board Chair as the namesake, The Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship with ImpactJAX

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Mike Hightower - continued • 2014 (1 of 40) Most Influential People in Jax Healthcare, 904 Magazine • 2013 Florida Federation of Republican Women, Man of the Year (2010-2013) • Chairman Award, Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists • 2011 Florida Federation of Republican Women’s Man of the Year • 2011 Tillie Fowler Lifetime Leadership Award, Duval County Republican Party • 2010 Department of Navy, Navy Superior Civil Service Award • 2010 Rhea Chiles Vision Award • 2009 Politics Magazine “The Influencers: Florida” Top 40 Republicans • 2009 904 North Florida Business & Executive Life Authority Magazine’s Ø 1 of 50 Most Influential Jacksonvillians • 2009 Florida Trend Magazine’s Ø 1 of 20 “Must Know Leaders” in Jacksonville • 2009 Scripps Newspaper’s Ø 1 of 100 Florida’s Most Politically Influential People • 2007 Tallahassee Lobbying Corp’s Outstanding Lobbyist (Secret Ballot) • 2007 Jacksonville University Distinguished Alumnus Award • 2006 Jacksonville Magazine’s 1 of the “45 Power People Who Run Jacksonville” • 2006 Jacksonville Business Journal’s Ø 1 of the “Top 20 Most Influential Business People since 1985” • 2005 Tallahassee Lobbying Corps’s “Outstanding Male Lobbyist” (Secret Ballot) • 2004 Florida Trend Magazine’s Ø 1 of “Florida’s Most Influential 174” • 1997 Jacksonville Magazine’s Ø 1 of the “100 Individuals with Clout in Northeast Florida” Political Leadership Mike has served as Chairman or Finance Chairman for over 588 successful State, Local or Federal Candidates since 1972. In addition, he is credited with assisting in raising over $137.1 million for Charitable, Candidate and Political Party Campaigns since 1981. • 2010 – 2014 State Finance Chairman to Attorney General, Pam Bondi • 2010 – 2014 State Finance Committee, Governor Rick Scott • 2007-2018 Governor’s Appointee-Republican Party of Florida Executive Committee • 2003-July 2007 Duval County Republican Party, Chairman Ø During Mr. Hightower’s term, Republicans won eight back to back elections, registered 26,000 new Republican voters and raised $1.3M

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• 2005 - July 2007 - 4th Congressional District Caucus, Republican Party of Florida, Chairman Ø Severed a 2nd Two Year Term • 1996-2006 - Republican Party of Florida, Committee of 100 • 2004 - Republican National Convention, Florida Delegate • 2004 - Bush - Cheney “Ranger” Finance Committee Member • 2003 & 2007 Mayor John Payton Campaign, Finance Chairman • 2000 & 2004 - Duval County Bush-Cheney Campaign, Chairman • 2000 & 2004 - Florida Region IV, Bush-Cheney Campaign, Chairman • 2002-2004 - “Eagle” Republican National Committee Finance Committee • 1998-2003 - Republican National Committee Finance Committee, Member • 2001-2002 - Duval County Bush-Brogan Re-Election Campaign, Organizational Chairman • 2001-2002 - Florida Region IV, Bush-Brogan Re-Election Campaign, Chairman • 2000 - Bush-Cheney “Pioneer” Finance Committee Member • 2000 - Republican National Convention, Florida Alternate Delegate • 1995 &1999 Mayor John Delaney, Finance Chairman • 1992-1994 Youth Leadership Jacksonville, Board of Directors • 1988 Leadership Jacksonville In 2006, Florida’s Leadership leaders appointed Mike to the Florida Energy Commission. The nine-member panel was charged with making recommendations to the Florida Legislature on ways to secure Florida’s energy future. In 2010, Florida’s legislative leadership appointed Mike to the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, charged with interviewing and recommending qualified candidates for gubernatorial appointment to Florida Public Service Commission. Mike, a 1972 graduate of Jacksonville University, resides in Jacksonville with his wife Sue, an Elementary Special Education Instructor. The couple has one son, Parker, daughter-in-law Maggie and a granddaughter, Gracie. Mike is a third term 2003, 2005, 2007 University of Florida Graduate School Adjunct Instructor, “Principals of Lobbying”.

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Susie Wiles Susan Summerall Wiles is an accomplished communications, government relations and political professional with more than twenty-five years of experience managing government and public affairs endeavors.

Guest Speakers

Susie Wiles March 19th

John Rood June 18th

Nat Glover April 16

Daniel Davis April 30

Audrey Moran July 16th

Tim Cost September 18th

Betsy Lovett July 30th

Peter Rummell October 15th

As a Principal in Right Coast Strategies, Ms. Wiles works with clients in Jacksonville, around Florida and across the nation. Ms. Wiles managed Governor Rick’s Scott’s successful campaign for Governor and is also the Managing Partner of the Jacksonville office of Ballard Partners, one of Florida’s most successful lobbying and public affairs firms. Ballard Partners opened an office in Washington, D.C. last year and the firm was recognized as the fastest growing government affairs firm of 2017. Ms. Wiles served as Florida Chair and Senior Florida Strategist for the Donald J. Trump for President in the last Presidential election cycle. John Peyton May 21st

Darnell Smith August 20th

Ed Burr October 29th

Ms. Wiles was the executive director of Horizon Political Action Committee, a committee designed to identify and elect common sense conservatives across America and also served as Governor Jon Huntsman’s first national campaign manager. Ms. Wiles has led initiatives at the highest levels of local government in Jacksonville, Florida as a senior appointee of three Mayors. She served as Chief of Staff to former Mayor John Delaney and served as Communications and Special Initiatives Chief for Mayor John Peyton. Her responsibilities included management of public-facing functions and personnel and also included strategy and implementation of such significant initiatives as the Preservation Project Jacksonville, a comprehensive plan to acquire land for conservation and to prevent further sprawl; for The River Accord – a partnership of public agencies designed to restore the health of the St. John River which was designated by the President of the United States as an American Heritage River; a collaborative effort - RALLY Jacksonville! – A targeted, first-of- its-kind program to provide early learning and early reading skills to preschoolers; The Better Jacksonville Plan, a $2.5 billion capital projects and infrastructure Bond program approved by the voters in 2000 and The Jacksonville Journey – a city-wide mobilization of leaders and subject matter experts designed to curb Jacksonville’s violent crime epidemic. Ms. Wiles represents clients in the areas of coalition building, strategic media relations, political campaigns, environmental permitting, grassroots activism, direct marketing, crisis communication and transportation. She has managed and held senior roles in numerous political campaigns at the federal, state and local levels. She served as interim executive director of the Jacksonville Civic Council, a group of Jacksonville’s most engaged business and civic leaders. Continued on page 8

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Susie Wiles - continued

Nat Glover

Ms. Wiles has been recognized nationally as one of the best communications professionals in Florida and has been the recipient of numerous awards in the fields of organizational leadership and communications. She was recently cited in 904 Magazine as on of Jacksonville’s 50 most influential people and the Florida Times Union’s Most Influential in November of 2011, as well as recognized as one of the top five political professionals in Florida by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2012.

On April 11, 1995, Dr. Nathaniel Glover made history by being elected as the first African American Sheriff in Florida in more than 100 years and the first African American Sheriff in the history of Jacksonville. He served for two terms and retired from the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office on June 30, 2003. Currently, he serves as the 29th President of Edward Waters College, Florida’s oldest private institution of higher learning, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Glover was born and raised in Jacksonville and is a product of the Duval County Public School system. He is also a product of Edward Waters College where he earned the Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Science. He later earned the Master’s Degree in Education from the University of North Florida.

Ms. Wiles’ national political experience spans three Presidential campaigns in senior positions, White House service in the Executive Office of the President for President Ronald Reagan, staff to Congressman Jack F. Kemp as he assumed leadership in the House of Representatives, a senior role at the Department of Labor, many local and statewide political campaigns and she served on the Transition Team of Florida Governor Charlie Crist and participated with his Board and Commissions appointments process. She currently serves as Florida Co Chair of the Donald J. Trump Presidential campaign, was a co-chairman of McCain-Palin, 2008 in Duval County and was a member of the board of St. Johns Forever, a grassroots organization working to provide a dedicated funding source for conservation in St. Johns County. In 2009, Ms. Wiles and former Jacksonville Jaguar great and media personality Tony Boselli became partners in Right Coast Strategies. The company represents a host of the most influential political, corporate and civic entities in Jacksonville including two Fortune 100 companies, municipal agencies, the country’s largest privately held health provider network, multiple real estate clients in Florida, a state college, one of the nation’s largest venture capital funds and the nation’s largest land conservation agency. She is also a partner in a privately held healthcare provide company based in Jacksonville. Ms. Wiles is a member of the Executive Board of the Jacksonville Civic Council, the Jacksonville Women’s Network, FreshMinistries Board, and Mission House Board of Directors and also serves on the executive board of Preservation North Florida and Republicans for Environmental Protection. She is the immediate past Communications Chair of the JAX Chamber and serves of the Chamber’s political committee, JAX BIZ. She was a Governor’s Appointee to the Republican Party of Florida Executive Committee. She remains active with land conservation programs throughout Jacksonville, north Florida and the southeast.

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In addition, Dr. Glover is a graduate of the 130th Session of the FBI National Academy and a graduate of the 1989 class of Leadership Jacksonville and the 2016 Florida Leadership Class IX. He has received outstanding alumnus awards from Edward Waters College, the University of North Florida and Leadership Jacksonville in addition to being awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree by Edward Waters College and the University of North Florida. Dr. Glover is the recipient of numerous awards for his achievements, community service, and leadership. Most recently, he was recognized by the City Council of Jacksonville for his distinguished career in public service on November 9, 2016 and received the “Great Floridian Award” from Governor Rick Scott on May 10, 2016. On March 8, 2016 he received the Junior Achievement Thompson S. Baker “Solid as a Rock” award in recognition of his dedication to bettering our community through leadership, hands-on involvement and philanthropic deeds. He also serves on several local boards including The Jacksonville Civic Council, The Jax Chamber Board of Directors, Tiger Academy, New Town Success Zone, UF Health- Jacksonville, OneJax Advisory and Habijax. Dr. Glover is a Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow and serves on the Judicial Nominating Commission of the Middle District Conference for the 114th Congressional Term and was the 2016-2017 President of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities.

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Daniel Davis

John Peyton Daniel was named President and CEO in 2013 and his focus on promoting business-friendly policy, growing an entrepreneurial culture and reaching out to our entire community has led to significant membership increases during his tenure. Under Daniel’s leadership, the JAX Chamber was one of four national finalists for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives 2016 Chamber of the Year Award.

Daniel has in-depth knowledge of a wide range of business issues, and he is dedicated to further growing our local economy. Prior to joining the Chamber, Daniel was executive director of the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA), Florida’s largest local membership trade association representing the building and construction industry in Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns Counties. Daniel previously served on the Jacksonville City Council and was elected President of the Council in 2007 – the youngest person to serve in this capacity. In addition to leading the JAX Chamber, he served in the State House of Representatives representing District 15, which encompasses parts of Duval County.

John Peyton is President of GATE Petroleum Company, one of the largest privately-held companies in Florida, where he oversees the company’s operations in a variety of industries including retail convenience stores, car washes, fleet and fuel services, real estate, hospitality and construction materials. Peyton began his most recent role at GATE in January 2012 after serving two consecutive terms as Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. Peyton is an alumnus of Mercer University, Harvard Business School Executive Education Program as well as Leadership Jacksonville and Leadership Florida. He has been actively involved in the community serving as chairman of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Jacksonville Symphony Association and Greenscape of Jacksonville. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Peyton to the board of trustees of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. He currently serves as the Chair of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce for 2018. Peyton is married to Dr. Kathryn Pearson Peyton. They are the proud parents of two boys, Connor and Kent.

Daniel is married to his wife of 20 years, Rebekah Davis and they have 4 children. Daniel also serves on numerous nonprofit organization boards throughout Jacksonville.

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John Rood Mr. Rood began his real estate career in 1983 as founder of The Vestcor Companies. Under his direction, the company focused on brokerage of multifamily properties and then expanded into real estate investments, development, and construction. As the managing partner for over 71 investment partnerships, Mr. Rood is responsible for acquisition or development, management and disposition of properties in the portfolio. A total of fifty-seven communities, consisting of over 14,000 units, have been acquired or developed by partnerships managed by Mr. Rood. In September of 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Rood as United States Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas where he served until 2007. An April, 2005 article from The Freeport News, commented, “John D. Rood is the quintessential diplomat. Ever since he presented his credentials to Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont, he has been a model diplomat, as he has sought to keep the promise he made to “work with my Bahamian friends, old and new, to advance our common interests and to help attain lasting prosperity and security for our two countries and the region.” The Ambassador’s commitment to public and professional service is reflected in his many activities outside his professional life. In 1999, Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed Ambassador Rood to the

and resulted in a multifaceted approach which was implemented by Mayor Peyton. Mr. Rood is a founding member of the Tiger Academy which provides the children of Jacksonville’s northwest quadrant a structured and nurturing learning environment. In 2009, Ambassador Rood was appointed by Florida Governor Crist as the Republican Party of Florida Finance Chairman. Mr. Rood served on the board of Alico Inc. (ALCO) from May 2009 until November 2013. In January 2010, Mr. Rood was appointed by Governor Crist to serve on the Board of Governors of the State University System where he was a member until September 2013. In April 2010, Mr. Rood received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Flagler College in recognition of his public service. Mr. Rood was elected to membership on the Board of Trustees of Flagler College in October 2010. In 2012, he became a member of the Board of Advisors for the JU Public Policy Institute. He is a current member of the Florida Council of 100. Mr. Rood currently serves on the Board of Directors of Fidelity National Financial, Inc. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committees of Black Knight Financial Services. In November 2015, Mr. Rood was appointed to the Jacksonville Port Authority Board of Directors by Mayor Lenny Curry, where he served until July, 2016. Governor Rick Scott appointed Mr. Rood to the Florida Prepaid College Board in July, 2016 and serves as Chairman of the Board. In September, 2016 Governor Scott appointed Mr. Rood to the Enterprise Florida, Inc. Board of Directors. Mr. Rood is the proud father of three children. He is a licensed pilot, an avid sportsman, and grandfather.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where he served as both a commissioner and chairman until 2004. Mr. Rood is a former board member of the James Madison Institute. He is a Rotarian and past president of the Rotary Club of Mandarin. He was a member of the University of North Florida Business Advisory Council and has served as a visiting professor at the university. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez appointed Mr. Rood to the Advisory Council on Renewal Communities to help local communities take advantage of tax incentives to stimulate job growth and economic development. Mr. Rood was appointed by Mayor John Peyton to serve as co-chairman on the Jacksonville Journey. This program addressed the rise in Jacksonville’s crime

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Audrey Moran Audrey Moran is the Senior Vice President for Social Responsibility and Community Advocacy at Baptist Health. She received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Syracuse University. Audrey is a graduate of Duke University’s School of Law where she served as student body president and at graduation received the Outstanding Oral Advocate award. Audrey served as Chief of Staff for Mayor John Delaney and as Director of Legislative Affairs for Mayor Ed Austin. She has also served as Managing Director and Special Counsel for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. She is a certified mediator and was President of Moran Mediation Group. From 2007 to 2011 she served as President and CEO of the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless. She began her legal career with the law firm of Mahoney Hadlow and Adams and later joined the State Attorney’s Office where she started the Special Assault Unit, handling rape, domestic violence and child abuse cases. Audrey was the first female attorney appointed to the position of director in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. At Baptist Health, Audrey is a Senior Vice President with four significant areas of responsibility: community health, philanthropy, behavioral health and spiritual care. She is a member of the executive team which serves as the cabinet for the President and CEO of the health system.

the board at the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, as Executive Board Member of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership and on the Board of Directors of Baptist Medical Center. Audrey was chair of the Downtown Development Authority, was an inaugural member of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, served on Mayor John Peyton’s Jacksonville Journey Steering Committee and was the Transition Team Co-Chair for Mayor-Elect Alvin Brown. In 2001, Audrey received the Klechak Award for Downtown Advocacy and in 2003 she received the Rotary Good Government Award. She has been chosen as a Gateway Girl Scout Council Woman of Distinction and in 1998 she was the first woman selected to receive the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Lawyer of the Year award. In 2004 Audrey was honored with Leadership Jacksonville’s Community Trustee Award. She received the Voice for Equality Award from Equality Florida in 2011. In 2012, she was recognized for her accomplishments during Women’s History Month and was honored with the Distinguished Business Leader Award by the University of North Florida’s College of Business. In 2015 she received the Humanitarian Award from OneJax. In 2015 and 2016, she was selected as an Arthur Vining Davis Foundation fellow. In 2017, she was inducted into the First Coast Business Hall of Fame. This March, Audrey will be recognized by Girls Inc. as a “Champion for Girls” and will receive the WoLF Award from the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum. Audrey is married to the Honorable John A. Moran, II and they have four grown children.

In 2005, Audrey was selected to become a trustee of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a $270 million charitable grant-making organization, and served in that role until joining Baptist Health. She is a member of the board of directors of the LeRoy Collins Public Policy Institute at Florida State University and chairs the board of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. Audrey is a past chair of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is an active member of the Women’s Giving Alliance. She has previously served on the board of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, as chair of

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Betsy Lovett

Darnell Smith Jacksonville native, Betsy Ross Lovett is well known throughout the city where she has spent the better part of her life supporting causes in the local community for education, the environment, the library and healthcare.

Betsy was born in St. Vincent’s hospital and also credits the medical center with saving her life at the age of nine when she almost died from complications caused by a ruptured appendix. She grew up in Avondale during World War II and at just 12 years old learned the joy of giving when she volunteered her time to roll bandages and knit squares that were sown into quilts for servicemen fighting overseas. At 20, Betsy married childhood friend Billy Lovett. Together Betsy and Billy lived in Boston, Havana and Ecuador and traveled extensively through South America, Africa and Europe where she even attended birthday parties with royals at Kensington Palace. But despite the many fascinating places her travels took her, Betsy always returned home to Jacksonville - the community that she believes to be the most extraordinary. As a result, St. Vincent’s hospital is now home to the Betsy Lovett Surgery Center and sponsors the annual Red Rose Ball which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide compassionate care to people in the community – now in its 37th year and one of her favorite events. Her extensive support to the community also includes the Betsy Lovett Arts Center at The Bolles School Bartram Campus and the Betsy Lovett Courtyard at the Main Library where she served as chair of the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation from 2007-2010. After her late husband Billy died, she initiated the William Dow Lovett Laboratory of Molecular Neurogenetics at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Betsy’s environmental efforts include a long fought victory over an Amoco subsidiary, Waste-Tech, who intended to build a hazardous waste incinerator in Madison County. Her list of awards is equally extensive and includes the 2010 Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Individual Hall of Fame Award and the Florida Times-Union’s Lifetime Achievement EVE Award. Betsy is drawn to the outdoors where she finds that spending time with nature renews her soul. She loves to fish, hunt for deer and wild turkeys and is also a licensed alligator trapper. But it is her love for people where she finds her purpose. Always a lover of people, Betsy doesn’t give to receive, she gives to know that others have been helped regardless of who they are.

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Darnell Smith is Florida Blue’s market president for the North Florida Region. In his role, Smith is responsible for Florida Blue’s business market growth, as well as customer and community engagement across 36 North Florida counties covering cities from St. Augustine to Pensacola. Prior to his current role, Smith was group vice president, Service Organization and Business Process Management Organization (BPMO). He was responsible for leading a team of approximately 2,000 people who provided service to more than 3 million customers and helped Florida Blue achieve market-leading customer satisfaction. He oversaw the company’s business process management strategy and execution through the deployment of Continuous Improvement and Six Sigma methodologies. Throughout his career, Smith has been very active in serving the community through numerous organization boards and councils, including United Way of Northeast Florida, First Coast YMCA, Sulzbacher Center, Communities in Schools Florida, Cathedral Arts Project and Feeding Northeast Florida. Smith has demonstrated leadership in developing the community through numerous board appointments including Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council of Tallahassee, JAXUSA Policy Council and Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce. Smith also served as 2017 Chair of the JAX Chamber Board of Directors. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Florida State University. He is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, the Advanced HR Executive Program at University of Michigan and is an active member of Leadership Jacksonville and Leadership Florida.

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Peter Rummell Peter Rummell has been active in the real estate development industry for over 40 years creating some of the most recognized and interesting projects in the world. In a recent presentation, Rummell was quoted as saying, “In this new world economy, management’s purpose has to be to bring together the three components of the creative process – resources, talent and ideas – in order to build new and better realities. This is the challenge of any process.” His career began in real estate in 1971 with the Sea Pines Company, developers of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and Amelia Island, Florida. In 1977, he became general manager of Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for the Arvida Corporation. He joined the Rockefeller Center Management Corporation in New York as vice chairman in 1983, leaving in 1985 to become president of Disney Development Company. At the time Disney Development Company was responsible for The Walt Disney Company’s non-theme park land, directing hotel and related development at the company’s theme park locations in Orlando, Anaheim, Paris and Tokyo. During Rummell’s 12-year tenure, Disney produced over 20,000 hotel rooms. The new town of Celebration, Florida was also a product of his focused development efforts. Disney Development Company and Walt Disney Imagineering, the company’s design and creative division responsible for theme park development, were later merged and Rummell became chairman of the combined group, Walt Disney Imagineering. From 1997 – 2008, Rummell was chairman and chief executive officer of The St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE) where he led the transition of St. Joe from a regional manufacturing conglomerate focused on paper making to a dynamic real estate company and place maker in Florida.

conversation about building healthy communities as the chairman of the Urban Land Institute, Rummell is now creating a development model built around building healthy communities. The first of which is being designed and developed along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida. As the founding board chair and chief patron of One Spark, the World’s Largest Crowdfunding Festival, Rummell’s vision and leadership has evolved a community endeavor into an economic engine connecting creators with capital –seeding ideas and helping them become companies. Rummell is on the board of AvalonBay Communities, the largest publicly traded apartment REIT in the United States, Haskell, a design build industry leader and Kitson & Partners, a Florida-based real estate firms. He is also active in real estate advisory work for several clients. Rummell is currently active and is past chairman of the Florida Council of 100, a nonpartisan organization of Florida’s leading CEO’s. He is also past chairman and on the board of The Alliance for World Class Education, an advocate for public education in Northeast Florida. He is the past chairman of the Jacksonville Civic Council, a CEO-based civic group dedicated to long-term growth and community betterment and serves on the board of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, an organization created by former Governor Jeb Bush to establish Florida’s education system as a model for the nation. Rummell was co-chairman of the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee, which hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. Rummell graduated from The Hill School, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1971, he received a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Rummell and his wife, Lee Ann, have two children; Mahala Hunter (23) and Harry Stevenson II (20). They reside in Jacksonville, Florida.

Today, Rummell leads creative and real estate projects focused on bringing together resources, talent and ideas. After leading a two-year global

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Ed Burr

Tim Cost Ed Burr is president and chief executive officer of GreenPointe Holdings, LLC, a diversified holding company that brings together the necessary disciplines to create sustainable, highvalue communities throughout the Southeastern United States. Burr is widely considered a leader in the real estate industry for his ability to analyze real estate potential and to lead companies that create unparalleled communities known for their recreational, residential and commercial value.

Prior to leading GreenPointe Holdings, Burr founded the LandMar Group LLC in 1987 and led the company’s creation of master-planned, awardwinning communities in Florida and coastal Georgia. Burr’s career started as a CPA with Coopers & Lybrand working in Miami and New York City. Burr also founded Hampton Golf & Lifestyles Management with former PGA of America President M.G. Orender in 1998 to develop and manage golf courses and community recreational facilities across the country. Throughout his career, Burr has been actively involved in business, civic and community organizations. He has served as Chairman of Jacksonville Civic Council, the Chairman of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and as the Government Affairs Committee Chair for the Chamber Board of Directors. Burr was named Developer of the Year by his peers and accepted a gubernatorial appointment to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority serving as Chairman in 2012 and 2013. Actively involved in several national and regional development organizations, he serves as Chairman of Florida State University Board of Trustees, and serves as a board member for Fresh Ministries and Urban Land Institute. Burr is a past board member of JEA, Northeast Florida Builders Association and the University of North Florida Foundation. A longtime advocate for bettering the lives of children, Burr is founder of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, a foundation committed to the prevention of bullying and child abuse.

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Tim Cost became President of his undergraduate alma mater, Jacksonville University, on February 1, 2013. Prior to his election, he was Executive Vice President for PepsiCo, the food and beverage world leader with revenues of $60 billion and 300,000 employees. He has 32 years of senior executive experience at many of the world’s top companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kodak, ARAMARK, Pharmacia, Wyeth/ Pfizer and Centocor/Johnson & Johnson. He was also Chairman of Global Health Care for Washington-based consulting firm, APCO Worldwide. Mr. Cost’s executive leadership experience at multiple FORTUNE 500 companies focused on several worldwide industries: consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and managed services. During his tenure at JU, President Cost is committed to substantial improvements in student success, faculty excellence, campus upgrades and community connections. Since 2013, the University has added 38 new programs in engineering, information technology, cyber security, kinesiology, data analytics, computer sciences and health informatics. The endowment has increased more than 20%, as has the University’s campus footprint. JU is consistently ranked as a premier institution (top 10%) for students’ return on investment, and has been selected one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U. S. News & World Report for more than 10 years. CEO Magazine recently ranked the University’s Davis College of Business #14 in the world for value/return on investment. He has led the investment of nearly $40 million into the University’s campus, is heading up an ambitious $120 million ASPIRE development campaign, and has launched the Florida EPIC program to support STEM education, regional economic investment and job creation. President Cost, a 1981 Magna Cum Laude Jacksonville University graduate, received his MBA in Finance and Economics from the William E. Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester, and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Presidential Seminar. As a collegiate athlete and four-year letterman on its baseball team, he is one of the top 10 winningest pitchers in JU Baseball history, and as a freshman in his first NCAA appearance, pitched the only 9-inning no-hitter in Jacksonville University history. He received the Jacksonville University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 and was selected a “Distinguished Dolphin” in recognition of Jacksonville University’s 75l Anniversary. He has been inducted into the Florida Council on Economic Education’s Business Hall of Fame, and also serves as Chairman of JAXUSA Partnership, Chairman of the Jacksonville Civic Council, past Chairman of the Education Advisory Board of the Northeast Florida STEM - Hub Initiative, and past Chair of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Strategic Initiative on Community Outreach. President Cost is a member of many civic, cultural, and business Boards: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Florida Council of 100, WJCT, Web.com (NASDAQ: WEB), Stein Mart, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT), NCAA Board of Directors, NCAA Presidential Forum, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Brooks Rehabilitation, JaxSports, Atlantic Sun Presidents Council, and THE PLAYERS Council. He and his wife, Stephanie, are the parents of two children, Melanie and Drew.

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Gracie Simendinger Gracie Simendinger is passionate about the future of Jacksonville and the role of young professionals to affect change.

Steering Committee Founding Members

She currently leads all the development and fundraising strategies for BEAM (Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry), an organization that provides crisis resources for hardworking families in the Jacksonville beaches community. In this role, she spearheads all efforts related to major gifts, annual fund, stewardship, direct mail and special events. Prior to BEAM, Ms. Simendinger was a part of the United Way of Northeast Florida campaign team and was responsible for raising more than $4 million a year. She managed all fundraising efforts for high performing industry partners including financial institutions, and accounting, law and architecture firms. Ms. Simendinger was promoted to lead the Tocqueville Society (donors $10,000+), which increased her annual portfolio to $5 million. She worked alongside top community leaders to further United Way’s community-wide philanthropic initiatives.

Chris Warren University of North Florida

Andrew Kisz Ernst & Young

Class of 2017 Members

Thomas Lee IV Lee & Cates Glass

Chamber Liaison

Before her time at United Way, Ms. Simendinger ran Jacksonville University’s annual fund giving strategies including donor engagement, direct mail, phonathon and alumni relations. She currently serves the Jacksonville community as the JAX Chamber Downtown Council Programs Officer, the Beaches Division Community Involvement co-chair, a Hightower Fellowship steering committee member and a JAX Chamber Foundation board member. She is an active member of the Women’s Giving Alliance, the AFP North Florida chapter and the Beaches Rotaract. Previous community service roles include four years on the ImpactJAX board (2013 Chair), leading the annual Painting of the PawPrints community-wide event in 2015 and 2016, and membership on the JAX Chamber Board of Directors and Board of Governors. A Denver native, she moved to Jacksonville to pursue her master’s degree after receiving a BS in Marketing from Florida State University. Upon graduating with a Master in Education degree from Jacksonville University, she decided to stay in Jacksonville because of the great weather and the ability to get plugged in within the local community. In her spare time, you can find her on Wednesday nights performing improv in the Riverside area or brainstorming her next great travel adventure.

Gracie Simendinger Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM)

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Tyler J. Mathews England-Thims & Miller Inc.

Amanda Patch JAX Chamber

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Tyler Mathews

Christopher Warren Tyler Mathews is a Project Manager within the largest land development and infrastructure consulting firm in Jacksonville, England-Thims & Miller, Inc. A native resident of the city, he is ardent in his belief that Jacksonville is a city ripe with opportunities and poised for growth. His genuine optimism and belief in our city is what fuels his commitment to quality real estate development ensuring ‘positive’ growth in the greater Jacksonville area.

Tyler attended the Johns Hopkins University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Science in Real Estate and Infrastructure from the Carey Business School. During his post-graduate experience at CRC Companies (formerly Clark Realty Capital), he learned real estate development as an owner’s representative for the Washington DC based, multi-billion dollar private equity development firm. At CRC Tyler’s portfolio included a multifamily deal in active development, a transit based mixed-use land development deal in underwriting and planning, as well as retail leasing of an infill development. As a Project Manager with ETM, Tyler combines his knowledge of Jacksonville (including key relationships), financial, engineering, and construction experience to effectively manage multiple land development projects. His current caseload includes projects ranging from large-scale master planned community entitlements to infill projects for significant clients. Tyler attended the University of Alabama and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Having benefited from influential mentors in his own life, Tyler championed a peer mentoring program that paired hundreds of incoming freshman with upperclassman and eventually grew to pair upperclassmen with University of Alabama Alumni. He is still involved in the program to-date serving as an Alumni mentor to upperclassmen. Tyler was the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award from the Alabama National Alumni Association. Beyond real estate, Tyler’s interests are deeply rooted in humanitarian concerns as reflected by his 5 trips to Haiti and his involvement in a Jacksonville focused refugee resettlement program. He supports his wife, Ashford, a former educator, in her new role of mothering their son Clark who was born in February 2018. Tyler’s professional involvement includes his role on the Steering Committee for the Jax Chamber Hightower Fellowship as well as his involvement in the Urban Land Institute and JAXUSA. In their personal life, he and his wife are actively involved in their church and community and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

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Chris Warren, of Jacksonville, is the Director of Government and Community Relations for the University of North Florida. He works to advance the University’s interests at the local, state and federal levels by developing and implementing strategies and programs to attain public funding. Mr. Warren works to foster on-going relationships with elected officials and other educational institutions to enhance the University’s teaching, research & service missions. Mr. Warren has gained experience in successfully representing a variety of industries and complex issues including economic development, higher education, global health, transportation, criminal justice and the environment. In 2017, he was recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal in their class of “40 UNDER 40” professionals. Through out his professional career, he directed his attention to public policy and dedicated his energy to public service. Mr. Warren managed JAX Chamber’s legislative affairs portfolio and JAXBiz PAC and earned the honor of being named “Top 30 under 30” by Buzz Magazine in 2012. Following his time at the Chamber he worked for Congressman Ander Crenshaw in his Washington, D.C. office. He was responsible for all constituent relations and global heath issues. Mr. Warren transitioned his career to non-profit management with Operation New Hope by leading the organization’s business development. He was successful in placing over 150 formerly incarcerated individuals in full time positions and overseeing all public affairs with the Governor’s office and State Legislators. In 2015, the statewide media outlet FloridaPolitics.com named him a “30 under 30 Rising Star”. Chris’ commitment to his community is represented through his engagement with the JAX Chamber Public Policy Committee, Hightower Emerging Leaders Steering Committee, ImpactJAX Board of Directors, a member of Leadership Florida, formerly a Jacksonville Sheriff Appointee to his Transparency Taskforce, an active volunteer with United Way of North East Florida and a Jacksonville Mayoral Appointee to the Public Service Grant Council. Chris received his Bachelor of Science from the University of North Florida in Communication and Public Relations, with a minor in Political Science. During his time at UNF he authored the official University Creed.

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Andrew Kisz

Thomas Lee IV Andrew Kisz is one of the Hightower Fellowship’s founding steering committee members. Andrew is committed to Jacksonville and strives to make his community a better place for friends, colleagues, wife and his two daughters.

Andrew served in the United States Army and is a distinguished combat infantry veteran. He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq where he went on frequent missions and patrols, trained Iraqi forces, and participated in capturing valuable Taliban and Al Qaeda targets. Andrew obtained the rank of Sergeant and was recognized with 12 awards and metals. Andrew was honorably discharged from the Army after five years of service. Andrew received his BS in Business Administration from the University of Florida and his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law. While attending UF, Andrew was integral in erecting the first military memorial for Post 9/11 Veterans on the UF campus. As a result of his leadership in multiple campus organizations, Andrew was one of 22 students inducted into the 2009 UF Hall of Fame. While at Wake Forest, Andrew volunteered in his local community through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and Guardian Ad Litem program, as well as acted as President of the Wake Forest Veterans Advocacy Law Organization. As a result of his service to Wake Forest and the North Carolina community, Andrew was honored as a Wake Forest Pro Bono Society Awardee. Andrew has a passion for assisting veterans that suffer from physical and mental disabilities, and currently serves on the Board of a local Veteran’s homeless shelter, Five Star Veterans Center. He has also served as the 2016 ImpactJAX Chair, as well as on the JAX Chamber’s 2015 Board of Governors and 2016 Board of Directors. In addition, he currently acts as a Mentor for a City Year Corps Member.

Thomas Lee IV is the Vice President of Lee & Cates Glass, a fourth generation, family-owned glass company. His corporate duties including accounting, information technology, marketing, and operations management in support of the residential, commercial, and auto glass divisions. He also serves as the General Manager for Flat Glass Distributors, a glass manufacturing & distribution subsidiary, overseeing both sales and operations. He has served on the board of the Southeast Glass Association since 2015 helping represent the independent glass industry in Florida. Outside of the glass industry, Thomas is a 5-year board member of ImpactJAX, serving previously as Membership Chair and currently as the Immediate Past Chair of the Board. In his leadership role with ImpactJAX, he has been a member of the JaxChamber Board of Governors and the JaxChamber Board of Directors. Thomas is also a 6-year board member of the JaxChamber Information Technology Council, serving as Secretary in 2014 and as Treasurer since 2015. He has been an annual volunteer at The Players Championship since 2010, assisting with admissions, spectator entertainment, volunteer transportation, and spectator parking. Thomas is a year-round volunteer at ministry and community events with Chets Creek Church, where he leads a LifeGroup for married couples in their 30s. He resides on the southside of Jacksonville with his wife Lauren, a Preschool Director, and his three preschool age children, Kate, Ben, and Charlotte. As a native of Jacksonville and dual degree holder from Florida State University, he is an avid supporter of the Jacksonville Jaguars and FSU athletics.

Andrew currently works at Ernst & Young as a Manager in the Financial Crimes Compliance practice where he manages project teams and provides consulting services to banking institutions. He serves as the Chair of EY’s Jacksonville Veterans Network and leads the Financial Crimes Practice’s Community Engagement Committee.

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CLASS OF 2018 FELLOWS Ken Ackerson CLASS OF 2018

John Brigman BB&T

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Christopher Conner Jacksonville Zoo

Ken Ackerson Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Trish Bautista Nemours

Ashley Cook North Florida Senator Rubio’s Office

James Croft City of Jacksonville

Tad Dickman Jacksonville Jaguars

Alex Douglas Raymond James

Sarah Henderson United Way of Northeast Florida

Jenn Kjellman Dream Finders Homes

Kim Kristoff Acosta Sales & Marketing

Kristin Livingston Cathedral Arts Project

Liam O’Reilly GreenPointe Communities

Ashley Rogan River City Science Academy

Katherine Ruttell Live Oak Contracting

Jessie Spradley North East Florida Builders Assn.

Joey Vaid Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow

Ken serves as a Commercial Associate in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Commercial Bank. His responsibilities include: Client benchmarking; Delivering financial, industry and economic analyses; and coordinating with product partners and clients. Ken Joined Bank of America in 2015 through the Bank’s Junior Military Officer Leadership Program, and has also held roles in Global Information Security and Global Market Operations. Prior to his career in the Financial Industry, Ken served approximately eight years in the United States Air Force as a Pilot. In this capacity, he commanded aircrews onboard the C-17 Globemaster III and MC-12W Liberty airframes. His service includes two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Ken graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences. Additionally, in 2013, he earned an MBA through Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

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Trish Bautista

John Brigman Trish Bautista oversees the annual giving program along with stewardship and donor relations, community outreach efforts, and communication pieces as Development Coordinator for the Nemours Fund for Children’s Health in Jacksonville. Trish and the Nemours development team work to build strategic relationships with philanthropic and business leaders in the community to increase Nemours’ contributions and visibility throughout the First Coast.

Trish is an alum of the University of North Florida for Biology. She has experience with the Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association, Katie Capels Foundation, and Dreams Come True Foundation. She currently serves as VP of Education for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, First Coast Chapter and is heavily involved in AFP’s role in the not-for-profit sector of Jacksonville. Trish’s professional interests include fundraising development, volunteer services, project management, and community engagement.

John is a charismatic banking leader in Northeast Florida focusing on ensuring that Commercial Banking clients are allowed to focus on the day-to-day operations and growth of their business while entrusting their financing needs in very capable hands. John has been contributing to his client’s financial wellbeing along with the communities in which they work and live for nearly 20 years through various leadership roles. In his current capacity as a Commercial Banking Relationship Manager with Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), John is responsible for the management of a portfolio of Commercial clients in the North Florida community. The Commercial Banking team is responsible for the overall financial well-being of clients including everything from request for financing, to maximizing cash-flow, and through a team approach with other partners watching over the personal financial well-being of the corresponding owners of these businesses. In addition to the calculated financial management that he provides his clients, John believes heavily in the importance of community involvement. Through multiple venues, John provides his time in an attempt to give back to the community where he lives and strives to make it better for years to come. John is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2016 and feels blessed to be enriched by the eye-opening opportunities it has provided him while learning more about the city. John currently resides in Jacksonville, FL with his wife Kimberly and their two young children, Jacob and Aleah.

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Christopher Conner While having an innate passion for wildlife, Christopher Conner’s talent for teaching has consistently led him down various paths of education and communications. Before joining the Community Education Division at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Christopher served in several different capacities around the country from pre-school and high school teacher for the Maricopa County and Memphis City Schools districts to data and communications specialist for Verizon and loan advisor for Regions Bank. However, in 2012, Christopher ventured into conservation education and back to his home state of Mississippi to lead the Outreach Division of Education at the Jackson Zoo. There, Christopher began his personal and professional campaign to reimagine the face of environmental literacy. Inevitably, this movement has taken Christopher all over the nation to several other globally accredited zoos and aquariums.

Ashley Cook Ashley Cook is a life-long resident of Jacksonville, and a day one supporter of the Jacksonville Jaguars. She graduated from the University of North Florida in 2009 with a degree in Political Science and English. Ashley has worked for the U.S. Senate for almost 10 years, most recently for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. She has served on the staff of Senator Rubio in many different capacities over the past seven years, including a few years spent serving along the Gulf Coast. Ashley currently serves as Senator Rubio’s North Florida Regional Director. Ashley is very involved locally in her church and counts the Talbot Islands as her favorite place in Jacksonville.

Currently, Christopher serves as the W.I.L.D. (Wildlife Immersion and Leadership Development) Program Coordinator for the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The W.I.L.D. Program is the City of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ innovative approach to youth engagement, community advocacy, environmental literacy, and cultural representation and awareness. The program, grant-funded by the Kids Hope Alliance, was developed to address the community’s need for out-of-school-time engagement, mentorship, jobs, and leadership opportunities for culturally diverse teens in targeted Jacksonville areas. These areas, statistically, have the lowest household incomes, little to no higher educational attainment and above average crime rates. Through his work within the W.I.L.D. Program, Christopher has helped the African American and Hispanic teens involved collect over a quarter million dollars in college scholarships, gained global recognition for their work in youth advocacy and led the program to award-winning heights like earning the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) 2017 Significant Achievement in Diversity Award. Christopher also holds a B.A. in English and Sociolinguistics from Tougaloo College.

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James Croft

Tad Dickman James Croft has served in the City of Jacksonville Public Affairs Office as a public communications officer since August 2011, playing a key role in the City’s communications efforts. He is a Jacksonville native, an alumnus of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida. He currently lives on the city’s Westside with his wife and two children and is an active member of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Florida’s First Coast board of directors.

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Tad Dickman is the senior manager of public relations for the Jacksonville Jaguars and is entering his sixth season with the team and fourth overseeing the club’s football communications efforts. He serves as a team spokesman on all football-related matters and is primarily responsible for Head Coach Doug Marrone and his media obligations, as well as managing all press releases, media availabilities and press inquiries for the team’s coaches, players and executives. Dickman was hired by the Jaguars in April 2013 after interning with the New York Giants, D.C. United and the National Basketball League of Australia. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, Va.), he was a four-year starter on the school’s basketball team, while serving as a team captain during his junior and senior seasons. Dickman, who grew up in Springfield, Va. and is the proud son of two Air Force veterans, currently resides in Riverside.

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Alex Douglas

Sarah Henderson Alex Douglas is a Jacksonville native and resident of our Riverside community. He works as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Cowford Wealth Management Group of Raymond James, where he is responsible for developing comprehensive financial strategies for his clients to achieve their long-term investment goals. As a third-generation financial advisor, he is very passionate about economic growth in our community and dedicates his personal and professional time to serving the needs of our local families and businesses.

Alex is a member of the Financial Planning Association of Northeast Florida, the JAXSPORTS Council, and the James Madison Institute Leaders Fellowship. He has also served on boards affiliated with the JAX Chamber, Rotary International and Habitat for Humanity. Alex is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he earned a B.A. in Economics and played varsity football for the Big Green. Outside the office, he enjoys working with Zebra Technologies at Jaguar home games, playing golf and spending time with friends and family.

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Sarah Henderson is director of marketing and communications at United Way of Northeast Florida, where she uses her passion for storytelling to help change lives. Previous to United Way, Sarah was the marketing and communications coordinator for Downtown Vision Inc., Jacksonville’s downtown improvement district. There, she served as project manager on the launches of several websites and was recognized for her work in significantly expanding the organization’s #DTJax social-media presence. Sarah started her career as a staff reporter and photographer at The Ponte Vedra Recorder in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., after interning at the Sierra Club and Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in environmental studies from the University of Florida. Sarah is a Jacksonville native and proud graduate of Wolfson High School.

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Jenn Kjellman

Kim Kristoff Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Jenn moved to Jacksonville three years ago to pursue a new career opportunity with Dream Finders Homes. Formerly an employee at Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters, Jenn looked forward to a new city, in a new position where she could really leverage all of her skillsets in marketing and event planning in larger ways.

Since joining Dream Finders homes in 2015, Jenn has transitioned from a Corporate Sponsorship role to running marketing nationally for Dream Finders Homes. She loves getting to play a role in impacting the largest purchase most people will ever make in their life!

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Kim Kristoff moved to the Jacksonville area nearly two years ago, and works for Acosta Sales and Marketing. At Acosta, she serves as Director of Business Insights, and previously held project management and delivery lead roles within their IT organization. Prior to Acosta, Kim worked in sales operations for Active.com, a participant management software company. Kim is involved in multiple organizations within the Jacksonville Community, including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hart Felt Ministries, We Care Jacksonville, and American Cancer Society. Kim is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she holds a degree in Communications and Computer Applications. She is currently getting her MBA at the University of Florida.

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Kristin Livingston Ms. Livingston proudly serves as the Director of Programs for the Cathedral Arts Project where she is responsible for the effective and efficient administration of CAP’s visual and performing arts programs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Florida State University and a Masters of Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management from the University of North Florida. Ms. Livingston is a proud member of the CAPtivators, CAP’s young professional group, and active in the local theatre community. She currently serves as Past President of the Board of Directors for The 5 & Dime, a Theatre Company located in downtown Jacksonville. As a product of Duval County Public Schools, Kristin is committed to serving DCPS students and firmly believes participation in the arts can be a catalyst for extraordinary change in our city.

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Liam O’Reilly Liam O’Reilly is Senior Development Manager at GreenPointe Communities. In his role, O’Reilly is leading the company’s land development. His responsibilities encompass all aspects of new community entitlement, design and development from early due diligence to final lot turnover. O’Reilly is based in the company’s Jacksonville headquarters. An industry leader with a decade of professional experience, O’Reilly previously managed land development for a national homebuilder and has proven success in land acquisition and development with an emphasis on large master-planned residential communities from early entitlements through construction. His significant experience as a Professional Engineer covers a wide variety of projects including the planning, design and construction of all types of private real estate development including single and multi-family, residential, commercial, retail and mixed-use development. O’Reilly earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He is an active committee member of Urban Land Institute North Florida, member of JAX Chamber – ImpactJAX, and an active National MS Society volunteer.

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Ashley Rogan

Katherine Ruttell After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2010, Ashley moved to Washington, D.C. to begin her career on Capitol Hill. She worked for Congressman Steve Southerland (FL-02) for about a year before transitioning to Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) where she served as his Finance Director and Executive Assistant.

After three years in Washington, she and her husband relocated to Jacksonville where she served as the Deputy Campaign Manager to Mayor Curry’s campaign. Following his victory, Ashley worked under his administration in Military Affairs. After an almost 10 year career in politics, she followed a calling into education and now teaches Middle School World History and Civics at River City Science Academy, a public charter school in Duval County. Ashley is also the 2018 Chair of ImpactJAX, the young professional arm of the JAX Chamber. Ashley and her husband, Joe, live in Mandarin with their two dogs. They are active members of Southpoint Community Church serving in the Women’s and Men’s ministries and the Nursery.

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A Jacksonville native, Katherine Ruttell is the Director of Marketing and Development for Live Oak Contracting, a full-service multifamily and commercial construction company spanning 9 states across the east coast. Katherine and her team are dedicated to the growth of Live Oak Contracting by strategic client relations, marketing efforts and business development. In 2017, Live Oak Contracting was recognized in the business community and received awards of Top General Contractors in Jacksonville and earned the #2 spot on the Jacksonville Business Journal’s “Fast 50” list which recognizes the fastest growing companies on the First Coast. Outside of Live Oak Contracting, Katherine is involved in a number of industry organizations and devotes her time in giving back to the community. She serves on the Communications Committee for the Urban Land Institute, the Board of Developing Leaders for NAIOP and was a member of the 2017 JAX MVP Emerging Leaders class for the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation. She also supports the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, The Boys and Girls Club, and many more.

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Jessie Spradley

Joey Vaid Jessie Spradley is a Florida native, having grown up in Duval County. A graduate of UNF with a degree in Political Science, Jessie began volunteering on local election campaigns after college, and was the volunteer coordinator for the Charles McBurney campaign for State House. After a successful campaign in 2007, Jessie was hired by Representative McBurney to serve as his District Aide. He was responsible for running the local office, handling constituent issues, and researching potential legislation.

Jessie joined the staff of the Northeast Florida Builders Association in late 2013 as Director of Government Affairs. An advocate for affordable housing and property rights, Jessie works at the state and local level to ensure access to housing for all. At NEFBA, Jessie oversees the Government Affairs Committee, Codes and Standards Committee, Political Action Committee, Industry Issues fund, Nassau Builders Council, Clay Builders Council, and the NEFBA Young Professionals. Outside of work, Jessie served on the board of the Jacksonville Junior Chamber of Commerce, also known as the Jaycees, for six years. Elected President of the organization in 2014, Jessie led the organization to achieve high marks at the State, National, and International level. Jessie is also an active member of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, Urban Land Institute, and Jax Sports Council.

Joey Vaid is a Jacksonville native, graduating from Stanton’s International Baccalaureate program. He matriculated on to the University of Miami School of Business and the University of Miami School of Law, holding a degree in international finance & marketing and a juris doctorate, respectively. After graduating, Mr. Vaid returned to Jacksonville to join a division of his family’s diversified medical services company while volunteering on the Rick Mullaney for Mayor campaign. Post-election, he joined a local healthcare roll-up, culminating in a disposition to a publicly traded acquirer. Upon the successful completion of the transaction, Mr. Vaid joined the corporate law practice group of Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow. He currently focuses on representing clients in business acquisitions, dispositions and mergers and obtaining capital through private placements, venture capital investments and other financing transactions, as well as providing ongoing counseling regarding ancillary legal issues. Additionally, Mr. Vaid acts as pro bono counsel to clients of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, volunteers with the Jacksonville Humane Society and most recently was president of MOCA’s The Contemporaries, leading the museum’s auxiliary board in highlighting contemporary art and life in Jacksonville. He is an active alum, a mentor to UM School of Business undergraduate students and regional chair of the UM School of Law Alumni Association.

Jessie Spradley lives in Jacksonville Beach with his wife Nicole, who is an aide to City Councilmember Lori Boyer. They expect their first child in April of 2018.

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Class of 2017

Ranaldo Allen Assembly Men

Diana Donovan Jacksonville University

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Chester Aikens II Ft. Caroline Middle School

Jordan Elsbury Jacksonville Mayor’s Office

Hana Ashchi Downtown Vision, Inc.

Elizabeth Feustel Jacksonville Civic Council

Britten Hughes Black Knight Financial Services

Tyler J. Mathews England-Thims & Miller, Inc.

Richard Naylor Jay Fund

Jordan Pope JEA

Jason Pratt Pratt Guys

Joseph W. Rogan Smith Hulsey & Busey

Gracie Simendinger Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM)

Kate Spilsbury Florida Blue

Ashley Strickland Big Brother Big Sisters of Northeast Florida

Matt Brockelman Southern Strategy Group

Haleigh Hutchison Council Member Hazouri Office

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Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship Booklet  

The Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship connects talented young professionals with prominent and influential Jacksonville leaders. Fellows...

Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship Booklet  

The Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship connects talented young professionals with prominent and influential Jacksonville leaders. Fellows...

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