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New Leaders Council

2016 Fellows


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Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown joined Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida in February 2015. Amanda provides support to the Vice President of Development, the Director of Development Operations and Services and the Special Events Manager.  She also provides supports to the Vice President of Public Policy and the public affairs department. Prior to joining the development and public affairs team, Amanda attended Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL and graduated with a B.A. in Communication. Prior to her work at Planned Parenthood, Amanda has worked and interned for other nonprofit organizations in Fort Myers, FL including, Lee County Electric Cooperative, Acceleration Middle School and The Ronald McDonald House.



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 Amanda Canete

Amanda Canete received her Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Central Florida in 2012. During her time as an undergraduate Ms. Canete was an active member of UCF’s student advocacy group, VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood. It was during her time with VOX where Ms. Canete’s passion for comprehensive sexual education, STI and HIV prevention first sparked. During her senior year of college Amanda interned at The Center, located in Orlando, Florida. The Center promotes and empowers the LGBT community and its allies through information, education, advocacy, and support. Through her internship Amanda was able to learn how to integrate her social science education while working within the LGBT community.

After graduation, Amanda began working at the Clerk & Comptroller of Palm Beach County. As an Administrative Assistant to the board of Palm Beach County Commissioners, Amanda was able to focus on local political issues as well as make important community connections. It was during this time; Ms. Canete began volunteering for Compass, The LGBT Community Center of the Palm Beaches. In May of 2014, Ms. Canete became the Compass Youth Program Coordinator. Since becoming Program Coordinator Amanda has been able to bring new programs and events to the Compass Youth Program. Including a Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) club in partnership with Tobacco Free Florida. SWAT is statewide initiative that raises awareness on the effects of tobacco. Through her work, Amanda is able to make a significant impact on and empower hundreds of teens within Palm Beach County by running a twice-weekly social support group for LGBT teens, and through her responsibilities as a facilitator for the Wyman Teen Outreach Program®. Amanda is passionate about empowering the next generation of leaders and is excited to continue a career within the nonprofit sector.



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Jackie de Carvalho

Jackie de Carvalho has worked in the political field in Florida for nearly five years having gotten her start volunteering for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. She was considered one of the top organizers of the Obama 2012 campaign in Florida because of her ability to successfully organize volunteers in record numbers. Since then she excelled in the South Florida political scene as the statewide Deputy Coordinator with Organization for Action and then went to serve as the Field Director for Nan Rich’s bid for Governor in 2014.

In her current role as Communications Director with SEIU Florida, Jackie was promoted within nine months of joining, where she has proven to be a leader within the organization.Prior to entering the political field, from 2002 -2011, Jackie a was a successful small business owner of an ecommerce business that specialized in lighting fixtures. In this role Jackie successfully ran a thriving business overseeing all aspects of the business.Jackie got her start in ecommerce in 1995 managing website development for companies in a variety of industries including Wine Enthusiast Companies, and Richard Simmons online among others.

Jackie received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism from the College of New Rochelle in New York. During her time there she was an editor the college newspaper and Vice President of her class. Upon graduation she worked as an editor for a variety of publications prior to beginning her career in website development and ecommerce. 



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Janiece Davis

Since 2007, Janiece Davis has served as the Policy Coordinator for Tobacco Free Florida Palm Beach County. She works to build private-public partnerships to assist municipalities and businesses with the development and implementation of tobacco control policies and environments throughout Palm Beach County. She also works with training and involving youth in the policy process. Her efforts within the community have resulted in many successes, including collaborating with the School District of Palm Beach County to implement the first comprehensive tobacco-free schools policy in Florida. Her work with mentoring youth resulting in HB 439 during the 2013 Florida Legislative Session, and a local campaign called Not a Replacement that was picked up by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids as their official national campaign for Kick Butts Day 2015.  She is the recipient of several awards and honors, and is a member of the Beta Upsilon Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

Ms. Davis received both her Master of Public Health and Bachelor of Science Degrees from the University of Florida. 


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Kimberly Diaz

Kimberly graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in the Spring of 2011 with a B.A. in Communications. During her collegiate career, she held various leadership positions in many organizations, including FilmMaker’s Club, Eagle News and Core Student Leadership. Kimberly is also a founding Sister of Chi Omega Fraternity Pi Mu Chapter, having served as President and New Member Educator. Kimberly was elected to serve the Student Body in the Spring of 2010, as the Student Body Vice President. With a vacancy in office in the Summer of 2010, she assumed the role as Student Body President. Kimberly enjoyed her experience serving the student body and she intended to continue her service in government.

She was given her first opportunity as the District Aide for the Florida House of Representatives in November 2011. From there, she transitioned to her first exposure of a competitive state senate race as the Campaign Aide. With a successful win, Kimberly had the pleasure of serving the Florida Senate as a Chief of Staff. Most recently, she had the opportunity to work on the 2014 Florida gubernatorial race as the Regional Political Director. She transitioned into the nonprofit sector as the Legislative Representative for the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, proudly working to protect access to reproductive health in the great state of Florida. In her spare time, she is honored to serve as a Guardian ad Litem serving the 15th Judicial Circuit.



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Ben Durgan

A native of Palm Beach County, Ben Durgan was born in Boynton Beach, Florida and graduated from The North Broward Preparatory School in 2008.  Ben received an Athletic Scholarship to play baseball at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey.  He played two seasons as a pitcher and first baseman for the FDU Knights, earning All-NEC Honor Roll recognition his freshman year.

After two seasons with the Knights, Ben returned to Florida and enrolled at The Florida State University.  Ben became a brother of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, where he served as a Judicial Board Member and Philanthropic Event Coordinator.  Ben was also the Vice-President of the Pre-Law Society, where he discovered his interests in law and politics and cultivated skills in writing and policy analysis.  Ben graduated from Florida State University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and International Affairs and a minor in Business Entrepreneurship.  

Interning at the State Capital prompted Ben to seek employment in his home town, where he wanted to work to make a positive difference in his community.  He began working as a Legislative Aide for Senator Joseph Abruzzo in the summer of 2014.  Ben’s responsibilities include serving as lead constituent liaison and for the office.   Senator Abruzzo’s work as an Advisory Board Member for Place of Hope and his dedication to the community set a standard of service that Ben strives to uphold.  He is honored to serve on the Advisory Council for Place of Hope’s Rinker Campus.

 2016 NLC Palm Beach Coline Jerome.JPGColine Jerome

Coline Jerome is a Florida Registered Paralegal and office manager at a personal injury firm in Boca Raton, FL.  During her  first year as a paralegal she increased client intake by over 30% due to her ability to foster new relationships with referral sources. Shortly after Coline was given the additional responsibility of training secretarial staff to be liaisons between attorneys and clients; and in that capacity she developed her mentoring and supervising skills.

Coline earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the Florida A&M University and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Lynn University.  During her undergraduate career she completed a marketing internship at the Challenger Learning Center, Tallahassee, FL.  As she served as a  call center team leader at the Florida Department of Education McKay Scholarship Program she discovered  the importance of providing  Haitian-Creole speaking individuals with translation services.  Since then she has volunteered as a interpreter for various organizations that provide social and health care services to Haitian-Creole speakers.  

Coline aspires to continue to bridge the gap between American and Haitian-American cultures while promoting social justice, education/literacy and economic development.

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Danielle Kennedy

Danielle Kennedy, began her academic journey at Palm Beach State College where she majored in Human Services and became a part of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Danielle went onto to gain a bachelor's degree in social work at Florida Atlantic University in 2013, upon graduation she completed her academic journey at Barry University obtaining a master's degree in social work and became a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Since that time Danielle has gone on to pursue her passion for mental health and created The Pearl Kennedy Group which provides individual counseling, group counseling, and presentations on mental health. Danielle's slogan "Empowerment For All Ages" enhances, builds, and promotes a healthy emotional and mental state. Through The Pearl Kennedy Group, Danielle was honored to present SuperChicks, a female empowerment group, to the Palm Beach State College student college readiness program.

Danielle continues to be a positive driving force in her community by offering SuperChicks to the City of West Palm Beach Youth Empowerment Center. Her recent features on The Heart2Heart Radio Talk Show raised awareness on mental health issues affecting the community. Currently, she is completing her clinical licensure and also a professional addiction certification.


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Steven Licari 

Steven Licari is from Long Island, NY, but has lived in Palm Beach County for 26 years. He attended Palm Beach State College. Steven served as President of the Palm Beach County Young Democrats, and was a member of the Board of the Mid County Democratic Club and the LGBT and Hispanic Caucuses. Steven has worked and volunteered on a number of campaigns and plans to continue supporting progressive candidates along the way. 



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Wisny Marcellus

Wisny Marcellus is a South Florida native with a desire to positively affect the community he came from. After earning a B.S. degree in Economics from The Florida State University in 2010, Wisny came back to his roots and developed himself professionally while working as an independent health benefits agent here in Palm Beach. That experience exposed him to the persistently-disadvantaged condition that so many community members lived in. Feeling compelled to make a difference, Wisny would later shift his efforts towards volunteerism: cultivating a passion for service that led him to his current role in community outreach.

As the HIV Outreach Coordinator for a local non-profit, Wisny utilizes an effective platform for delivering high-impact prevention messages to the at-risk. Working diligently to expand the scope of his outreach, Wisny has established vibrant cross-sector partnerships that allow his messages to reach a greater number of people. His work is spirited and the difference he has been able to make in the community has brought about a tremendous sense of personal fulfillment.

Wisny’s long-term ambition is to enter the field of clinical research, where he can apply his talents and desire to positively affect others towards the development of life-saving medications and treatments for those living with AIDS and other conditions.


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Lauren Neely

Lauren Neely earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Furman University and a Masters of Public Health from the University of South Carolina.  In the summer of 2015, Lauren and her husband relocated to Palm Beach County.  Before moving, Lauren was the Community Action Manager for a non-profit organization advocating for policy, systems, and environmental changes to support and encourage healthy behaviors.  Though her primary role was to manage a community grant program and serve as a content expert, she became heavily involved in a project to promote community organizing methods within a rural SC town.  Through this work, Lauren became passionate about increasing access and availability of health services, particularly for underserved communities.  She firmly believes that sustainable change happens at the grassroots level and hopes to be a part of those changes in her new community.

Since relocating to Florida, Lauren now works with a local planning Council that provides health and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.   She lives with her husband, Tony, and their two pets, Homer and Martin.




Tinu Pena2016 NLC Palm Beach Tinu Pena.jpg

Tinuade “Tinu” was born in Washington, D.C.  A mother of two children, Miguel and Eleana, she served in the Unites States Army for five years. After completing her service, she relocated with her family to Royal Palm Beach (RPB), FL in 1999.

A big proponent for Education, Tinu received an Associate degree in Computer Science in 1998, another in Architecture in 2002, a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering in 2005 and a Master's Degree in Project Management in 2013. She continues her work in education as an Adjunct Professor and Career Counselor at Palm Beach State College.

Tinu’s activism started in high school, continued while in the Army and University and successively in the community.  A few of her past and present involvements included serving in leadership roles with Urban League Young Professionals, Society of Women Engineers, Caribbean-American For Community Involvement and FAU Civil Engineering Department Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the PBC Zoning Commission for District 6 and Citizen Advisory Committee – MPO for RPB.

Tinu would the First African-American female to run for Office in Royal Palm Beach. However, she was edged out both times in 2008 and 2010 for the seats. Afterwards, she would be appointed by the Mayor to serve on the RPB Planning and Zoning Board. Now, she is running for Florida House District 86, an open seat in 2016.

In 2014, Tinu would launch her engineering and project management consulting firm, Motré, Co. LLC.  A move she decided to make after working on the first-ever P3 (Public-Private Partnership) Project in Florida as the Engineering/Permit Manager. Late 2014, her company would be bid on and win the first project ever pursued in Palm Beach County.

As she balances it all, she continues to guide her children, Miguel, freshman at Palm Beach State College majoring in Computer Programming and Eleana, freshman in the newly established IB Program at RPB High School.




Clarice Redding 2016 NLC Palm Beach - Clarice Redding .png

Clarice C. Redding, a rising star in Palm Beach County. Clarice Redding has dedicated her life to enriching the lives of residents in her local community. Familiar with the socioeconomic, educational, and political deficits plaguing minorities in Palm Beach County, Redding seeks to close this gap of disparity, by helping to offer more access to opportunities for advancement. A 2012 graduate of Florida Atlantic University, Redding is also the District Executive Secretary to State Representative Bobby Powell, Jr., serves as a member of the Zeta Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.,  and sits on the Board of Directors for the Urban League of Palm Beach County



Dr. Ashley D. Ridley 

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Dr. Ashley D. Ridley has represented Delray Beach since her time at Spanish River Community High School, when she competed as a member of the award-winning Delray Divas dance/step team.  Working with her father, she has been involved with MAD DADS and the Village Academy, as well as serving on the teams that helped make Delray Beach a two-time All-American City. Dr. Ridley graduated from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee with a doctorate degree in Pharmacy May 2010. After working in Oakland, CA, for CVS Health as a Clinical pharmacist for five years, she relocated back to Delray Beach in January 2015 to be closer to family, get more involved with the community and swim in the Atlantic Ocean again. Currently, she is a staff pharmacist at Linton Square Pharmacy, a teacher at Toussaint L”Ouverture High School for Arts & Social Justice and a member of both the Police Advisory Board of Delray Beach and South Palm Beach Chapter of National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Dr Ridley is looking to gain from the NLC is a more realistic approach to launching any future entrepreneur ventures. 


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