2021 40 Under 40

Celebrating this year's class of young leaders

Hats off to the 19th class of Gulfshore Business’ 40 Under 40. Each year, 40 business professionals in Southwest Florida who are younger than 40 are acknowledged for their accomplishments and contributions to the community. We are pleased to acknowledge this year’s 40 honorees who have earned the recognition.

 

LINDSEY TOUCHETTE, 38

Vice President of Community Engagement, Community Foundation of Collier County

Lindsey Touchette serves as vice president of Community Engagement for the Community Foundation of Collier County. In that role, she sets the strategic direction for the foundation’s community engagement and works with local stakeholders to identify opportunities for positive and lasting changes within the community. But her passion for helping others isn’t limited to Collier County.

“I’m an active member of the Council on Foundations, the Florida Philanthropic Network, CF Leads, Connecting Communities in the Americas, FCAN and the National Scholarship Providers Association,” she says. “Helping others to accomplish meaningful and transformational philanthropic goals that create positive and lasting change will always be a part of the work I love to do.”

Closer to home, Touchette is involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Future Ready Collier, Teachers and Parents Together at First Baptist Academy and Collier Coalition for Healthy Minds task force, among others.

What are your future aspirations?

To lead, live and work in a community that cares for one another, that is founded and built on the generosity of many individuals, that thinks big ideas and brings those ideas to fruition for future generations. To look back and celebrate the great work that we’ve all accomplished together as a community.

 

BRITTANY FEROCE, 30

Manager of Child Care Services, NCH Bears Den Childcare Center

Brittany Feroce graduated from Clarion University and then received her Master’s of Education degree in curriculum and instruction from Florida Gulf Coast University. While she now serves as the manager of child care services at the NCH Bears Den Childcare Center, her career is just a part of her life.

“My biggest passion is helping people and making a difference in their lives, so I strive to be as involved as possible,” she says. “I completed the Associate Leadership Collier program class of 2020 and was a session chair for the ALC 2021 class. I was also a member of the Big Brother Big Sisters program for three years, and I support the Collier County Humane Society.”

Feroce is a member of the Naples Junior Women’s Club, Young Professionals of Naples and has recently participated in a build for Habitat for Humanity. She has also volunteered in the wildlife hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to continue helping people and get more involved in other aspects throughout the community. I want to use my personal experiences to help others and to make a difference. I also aspire to get married and have a family.

 

JEFFREY GALATI, 33

Executive Vice President — Private Wealth Management, Capital Wealth Advisors

Jeff Galati was born in Newburgh, New York, and moved to Naples in 1994. With a background in the financial industry, he helps his clients at Capital Wealth Advisors manage their wealth through a discovery of goals, client education, behavioral coaching, portfolio construction and investment advisory. But his experience as a Rotarian also plays a big part of his life.

“I was the Rotary Club of Naples president in 2020 and was awarded Rotarian of the Year in 2016. Being a Rotarian, we live by the motto, ‘Service Above Self,’” he says. “I truly believe the more you give, the more it comes back in the end.”

In addition to his Rotary membership, Galati was also in the 2017 Leadership Collier Foundation class. He is a Certified Financial PlannerTM and holds Chartered Life Underwriter® certification.

What are your future aspirations?

I aspire to involve my kids in the community and teach them the power of giving back. I wish to raise my kids to show empathy and support the people around them. I want to be an example to my family that, if you put others ahead of yourself, you can have a profound impact on your community and world.

 

JENNIFER DENIKE, 37

Major Gift/Planned Giving Officer, WGCU Public Media

In 2017, Jennifer Denike landed what she calls her dream job at Florida Gulf Coast University, working with WGCU Public Media. Though serving as a concierge to leadership and legacy donors, and also helping raise more than $2 million for the station, Denike is most proud of her efforts in the community.

“I have been volunteering since I was a Girl Scout growing up in New York. Today, I am a peer buddy to Nicole, a young woman living with cerebral palsy, and I serve in various leadership roles for Best Buddies of SWFL,” she says. “My passion is working with underserved populations to promote patient advocacy, access to education and inclusive housing.”

Denike is also a member of the Planned Giving Council of Lee County, Association of Fundraising Professionals of Collier-Lee County and the Staff Advisory Council at FGCU. In addition, she is enrolled in Leadership SWFL and is passionate about promoting Southwest Florida businesses as they emerge from the pandemic.

What are your future aspirations?

I aspire to foster an inclusive community where individuals with special abilities experience friendships, belonging and independence. I’d like to help develop affordable housing communities where the young, elderly, able-bodied and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities live together in supportive housing and learn from one another.

 

JESSICA VARNES, 38

Marketing Director, Mercola Market

A Florida native and FGCU graduate, Jessica Varnes serves as the marketing director for mercolamarket.com, an e-tailer of premium natural health products. While overseeing the overall e-commerce strategy and the team that implements package design, branding and communications, Varnes says her broader goal is education.

“With a legacy rooted in regenerative agriculture, Mercola is dedicated to providing premium natural health products made with clean ingredients to help our customers take control of their health,” she says. “My goal here is to educate the public on the far-reaching benefits of regenerative agriculture and the natural approach to health and wellness.”

A runner and Savage Race enthusiast, Varnes is an active supporter of Girls on the Run SWFL, a program designed to inspire girls to embrace their inner strength. She is also a longtime member
of North Naples Church, where she serves on the membership committee and connections team providing new member orientations and tours, and greeting constituents.

What are your future aspirations?

I plan to continue growing within Mercola and take on additional leadership opportunities that allow me to further develop the Dr. Mercola brand. My goal is to continue bringing clean, innovative products to market—products our customers can trust to help them take control of their health.

 

JACQUELINE RUSHER, 39

CEO and Co-Founder, Kava Culture Group/Botanical Brewing Co./Plant Tribals

While working in private banking, Jacqueline Rusher partnered with her sister to open the first Kava Culture Kava Bar location in 2017. Today, there are seven Kava Culture locations and Rusher’s full-time job is leading the chain’s 85 employees while growing the brand.

“Kava Culture was the first sober social bar of its kind. By creating social spaces where everyone can meet and connect, the community has welcomed and supported our growth,” she says. “Our bars use a unique community event model, opening our doors to young aspiring artists, musicians and entrepreneurs to showcase their talents. We also use our spaces to benefit local organizations like Gulf Coast Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity and Blessings in a Backpack.”

What are your future aspirations?

We’ve opened eight kava bars in four years, and our goals continue to evolve. With wholesale distribution and franchising in full swing, we are steadily moving beyond Florida borders, and I’ve never been more humbled or grateful.

 

LISA MURRAY, 38

Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Interop Technologies

Lisa Murray, APR, CPRC, is a nationally accredited and award-winning public relations professional. She serves as senior manager of corporate communications at Interop Technologies.

“I work to use technology to broaden business relationships, drive brand awareness, surpass strategic goals and achieve maximum profitability,” she says. “In my current position with Interop Technologies, I lead the development and implementation of PR and marketing strategies in the United States, Europe and South America.”

Murray is also an active member of her community through leadership in organizations like
the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA. She has also volunteered and supported local charities, including United Way, Community Cooperative, Children’s Advocacy Center and the Early Learning Coalition.

What are your future aspirations?

In the last year alone, we’ve seen a momentous shift in how we work, communicate and use technology. This is my passion and I know, in order to make a difference in these areas, I will need to continually evolve my skill set to meet the changing market. Most importantly, I want to stay ambitious, to keep growing and to lift others up by leading with authenticity, compassion and courage.

 

ANDREW TWETAN, 39

Vice President Partner, Construction/Management/Development, Connor & Gaskins Unlimited LLC

As a Florida native and third-generation contractor, Andrew Twetan says he grew up on construction sites and received a hands-on education in the business. Today, he applies those lessons building high rise construction and beachfront homes as a partner of Connor & Gaskins Unlimited LLC (CGU).

“I focus on creating an effective team to provide each project with innovation and hands-on solutions. For CGU, it’s important that each employee identifies as a part of the team for each project,” Twetan says. “Our goal for each client, no matter the project’s size, is that they walk away with a successful project and a desire to work with the CGU team again on their next project.”

In his free time, Swetan is passionate about giving back to the local community with organizations such as Young Life. Believing the future relies on the strength of the community’s youth, his goal is to help young people build genuine, long-term friendships with mentors and other young adults, outside of social media and societal pressures.

What are your future aspirations?

Professionally, I want to continue creating a community with employees and clients through a team approach that includes innovation and collaboration.

 

MELISSA BARLOW, 34

Director of Arts and Community Programs, The Heights Center

Melissa Barlow began playing the double bass at age 8 and she has performed with orchestras and ensembles throughout her career in some of the greatest performing arts halls worldwide. And as director of arts and community programs at The Heights Center, she’s also pursuing her passion for music education.

“My passion for music and the arts began at an early age and inspired me to pursue a degree
in music education. My vision to expand the access to music to underserved communities is what brought me to Southwest Florida in 2015,” she says. “I founded and continue to lead The Heights Center’s MOSAIC (Musical Opportunities Supporting the Arts In our Community) program, which annually provides music lessons and performance opportunities to approximately 50 school-aged children.”

In addition to MOSAIC, Barlow is also responsible for developing arts and music programs for children and adults, coordinates the center’s annual community outreach programs and manages volunteers.

What are your future aspirations?

Arts and cultural programs play an essential role in community development. Everyone regardless of age or socioeconomic status should have access to the arts. The power that music and art has in transforming lives and strengthening our communities is what motivates me to keep advocating for equitable arts opportunities.

 

PHILIP CIRRONE, 32

COO, Elite DNA Therapy Services

A native of Long Island, New York, Philip Cirrone made his way to Southwest Florida to attend Florida Gulf Coast University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in management followed by a Master of Science in exercise and health promotion from Florida Atlantic University. And it was his deep desire to promote health and wellness, both physical and mental, that propelled him toward his current position of chief operating officer at Elite DNA Therapy Services.

“Being in the behavioral health field allows me to create access to quality, evidence-based treatment and health programs our children and community gain tremendous benefit from,” Cirrone says.

Cirrone and his partner, Lewis, are both strong advocates of the LGBTQ+ community, and are raising two boys adopted through Children’s Network Services. As a former foster parent, Cirrone also mentors current families involved in the program. In addition, he is a frequent presenter at local colleges, businesses and vocational training centers, while also serving on several boards, including FGCU Alumni, the Center for Progress and Excellence Inc. and Lee County Continuum of Care, as a co-chair.

What are your future aspirations?

To create supportive housing and vocation training programs for young adults with mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities. I would also like to continue to travel the world with my spouse and children.

 

BETH COOPER, 39

Owner/General Contractor, Gulfshore Development

After graduating from North Fort Myers High School and FGCU, Beth Cooper began her construction career in 2003 and received her general contractors license in 2018. With Gulfshore Development, she has completed more than $350 million in commercial and residential projects from Florida to Washington, D.C.

“Our passion is showing clients how custom doesn’t equal more expensive. In 2018, I began blueprint drafting, and that helps us design to a client’s planned budget, saving copious amounts
of time and money,” she says. “We also partner with Teachers Can Buy Homes to build for our local educators. In 2020, we donated over $10,000 in labor and materials to a family who lost their house to Hurricane Irma.“

In her free time, Cooper volunteers with Rerun Thoroughbreds to help with funding, creating apparel and horseware, and managing the merchandise store. She also supports the Punta Gorda Horseman’s Association, the Lee County 4-H Horse Program and has donated one of her personal horses to the grief support organization Tomorrow’s Rainbows.

What are your future aspirations?

I would love to join forces with our local building associations to promote careers in the construction industry to future generations, especially for women. I also want to help even more thoroughbreds find homes after their racing days.

 

 

THOMAS RINALDI, 37

Attorney, Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC

Prior to joining Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC as an attorney, Tom Rinaldi was a high school teacher. Though his practice includes litigation and general counseling, and he’s represented higher education institutions, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals, his teaching background still comes into play.

“I’ve spent over a decade as an attorney, but I still consider myself an educator at the core. Only my audience has changed,” he says. “Instead of high school students, I now spend my days educating judges, jurors and clients.”

Rinaldi also volunteers in the community. He served as the board president of the Literacy Volunteers of Collier County, the Grants Commission at Trinity-By-The-Cove Episcopal Church, Board of Directors of the YLS of the Collier County Bar and the Advisory Board of Legal Aid.

What are your future aspirations?

I try to live life one day at a time, asking myself, “What can I do today to positively impact my family, work colleagues, church and community?” If I can end the day by saying that I have had a positive impact (no matter how big or small), the day has been a success. I aspire to answer this question in the affirmative every day.

 

EMMA OSBORNE, 32

Trust and Estate Attorney Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC

Serving as an attorney at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, Emma L. Osborne focuses on complex estate planning and wealth preservation. She’s also actively involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County.

“It is easy to assume that everyone here lives in a beautiful home and lives picture-perfect lives. For many kids in Southwest Florida, this isn’t reality,” she says. “For those kids, the Boys & Girls Club provides a safe space after school and over the summer, but also a place to thrive and become the best versions of themselves. I want to help young people have access to the services that so many of us take for granted.”

Osborne serves as a director for the Collier County Women’s Bar Association and the Collier County Bar Foundation. She is also co-chair and founder of the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County’s Friends Circle, a member of the Naples Junior Women’s Club and the Emerging Leadership Council.

What are your future aspirations?

I am passionate about my career and the organizations I’m involved with. In the future, I want to expand my impact in these roles. I plan to become a shareholder at my firm and be appointed to our managing committees to be a voice for the female attorneys at the firm.

 

ELISA BOWERSOX, 37

Manager, Accounting and Tax, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A.

Elisa Bowersox grew up in Oakland, Maryland, and attended Frostburg State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration. But it was an internship that set the course of her career.

“In June 2004, I began an internship in public accounting and fell in love with it. I have remained in public accounting ever since and eventually obtained my CPA license,” she says. “In June 2014, I decided to take a leap and move to sunny Florida and escape the snow. I now work for Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. They have built a tremendous legacy, and I want to help continue it.”

In her spare time, Bowersox enjoys shelling at the beach, taking trips to Pittsburgh with her husband and watching live sporting events.

What are your future aspirations?

Personally, I want to travel the world. I have gotten to live vicariously through all the amazing pictures around the office that Gail Markham has taken in her travels and hope to be able to visit a lot of those same places with my husband.

 

ALESHA WATCHOWSKI, 29

Project Manager, Owen-Ames-Kimball Company

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in construction management in 2014, Alesha Watchowski moved from Michigan to Southwest Florida to work for Owen-Ames-Kimball. That role, she says, turned out to be a perfect fit for her personality. “I have always been a natural leader and problem solver. When looking at colleges, I took a leap of faith and enrolled in a construction management program where

I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere, the challenges, and watching my hard work be built in front of my eyes,” she says. “I had found a niche where adversities only fueled my drive more, and I could utilize my people skills and attention to detail.”

Serving as a project manager and company shareholder, Watchowski works with Owen-Ames-Kimball’s largest projects. She is also a team member for the firm’s Charity Council, Operations Committee and Procedural/Training Operations while also serving in multiple volunteer capacities throughout the community.

What are your future aspirations?

Influenced by the people I’ve worked with and learned from, I hope to not only become a supportive mentor to young professionals, but also be a well-known leader of the community and provide meaningful encouragement in multiple facets.

 

BRIAN SOLOMON, 39

Cardiothoracic Surgeon, NCH Healthcare System

Dr. Brian Solomon has provided innovative, cutting-edge cardiothoracic surgery at NCH and Collier County since 2017. His skills include robotic heart and lung surgery, minimally invasive heart surgery and complex valve surgery, including the only transcatheter heart valve program in Collier County. He also helped develop a lung cancer screening program, which helps improve survival rates by allowing early-stage screening and treatment for at-risk individuals. On top of that, Solomon has worked to make life-saving care available to more Floridians.

“I aided in the development of the ‘NCH Heart Team’ approach to cardiac care, which enables multiple specialists to work collaboratively to optimize patient care,” he says. “I was also an original member of the Florida ECMO network, which is an interhospital network developed during the pandemic that allowed hospitals to transfer patients to any hospital with available resources for mechanical circulatory support, as well as heart and lung transplants.”

What are your future aspirations?

I want to continue growing the cardiothoracic surgery program at NCH into one of the top programs in the nation so that it becomes a true destination surgical program. I envision a program with no limitations, which incorporates all aspects of cardiac care, research and innovation.

 

SARAH NEWCOMB, 32

Owner/Founder, The Wine Room and S. Newcomb Photography

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business supervision and management from Florida Southwestern State College, Sarah Newcomb now works full time with the Lee County Department of Transportation. And she still finds the time to pursue her passions as owner of The Wine Room and S. Newcomb Photography.

“My passion and experience include business, the community and wine,” she says. “I traveled the world visiting more than 100 wineries. The Wine Room brings all those elements together and allows me to fully engage in my passion.”

Newcomb is also active in the community and serves as a volunteer for Our Mother’s Home, Lee County Public Schools and Junior Achievement. She was also the first person to serve as full-time president and CEO of the Estero Chamber of Commerce.

What are your future aspirations?

My goal is to always experience life in new ways, be grateful for every little thing and to inspire others. I want others to look at where I started and how far I’ve come.

In the future, I plan to franchise my business and have multiple locations. I hope The Wine Room continues to have a greater and greater impact on our community as it continues to grow while also inspiring others to chase their dreams.

 

 

 

MATTHEW ROEPSTORFF, 36

Attorney, GrayRobinson P.A.

Matt Roepstorff was born in Fort Myers, grew up on Sanibel Island and is a graduate of Bishop Verot High School. He began his legal career as an assistant state attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit before entering private practice in 2015. He is currently of counsel at GrayRobinson P.A., where he focuses his practice in business and corporate law. And when not practicing law, he is likely doing volunteer work.

“I am passionate about giving back to the community. I’m proud to volunteer my time with several local nonprofit organizations,” he says. “I serve on the board of directors for the Horizon Foundation, Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida, Lee Building Industry Association, Rotary Club of Fort Myers and Bishop Verot High School.”

Roepstorff has been named by the Florida Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Business & Corporate Law from 2019-2021. He was also 2020 president of the Lee County Bar Association and currently serves as immediate past president.

What are your future aspirations?

To be the first person in mind when people need intelligent, trusted and accountable advice and leadership. I want to be an example to my family that, if you put others ahead of yourself, you can have a profound impact on your community and world.

 

MALAINA MOTE, 30

Head of Empowerment and Social Mobility, Collaboratory

Malaina Mote joined Collaboratory in 2017 and currently leads equity strategy and the scholarship program, where she manages $24 million in scholarship funds and the entire application process. That work, she says, is just a part of the larger change she’s trying to create.

“I visit high schools all over the Southwest Florida region, talking about the importance of being financially secure during the journey of post-secondary education. I also created The Mixed Aspect, a social media platform that focuses on racial equity and the challenges faced by individuals of mixed background,” she says. “People are my passion, and whatever opportunity I have to work with people, I take full advantage of.”

Mote is a member of the National Scholarship Providers Association conference committee, the FutureMakers Coalition Access and Entry Team, and Equity Action Team. She published her first children’s book, Lavender, What Are You?, in 2019.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to inspire those stuck in the pit of hopelessness to accomplish even their wildest dreams. Sometimes, all a person needs is someone in their life to hold them accountable and push them to succeed. I want to be that person for as many people as I possibly can.

 

AMY THIBAUT, 32

Attorney, Pavese Law Firm

Amy Thibaut says she has been committed to serving her community and neighbors since early childhood. And that commitment continues to influence her career and her civic engagement.

“As a land use and environmental attorney at Pavese Law Firm in Fort Myers, I advocate for responsible development, property rights and policies that benefit all residents of Southwest Florida,” she says. “In that vein, I am also a member of the Lee County Land Development Code Advisory Committee and the City of Fort Myers Building and Zoning Oversight Committee.”

After losing her father to cancer in 2012, Thibaut began volunteering with organizations that provide services to terminally ill persons and grieving families, including Hope Hospice, Valerie’s House and the American Cancer Society. She also volunteers with Builders Care, the charitable arm of the Lee County Building Industry Association, providing construction and redevelopment services to deserving homeowners such as veterans or persons with disabilities.

What are your future aspirations?

I hope that my advocacy will inspire others to pursue their passion and find the confidence to lend their voice to causes that better our community.

 

JENNIFER MANEGOLD, 38

Chair, Department of Management Florida Gulf Coast University, Lutgert College of Business

As a management professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, Jennifer Manegold was the founding director of the Southwest Florida Leadership Institute. There, she has spearheaded the addition of new curricular offerings for management majors, while also instilling the spirit of service and leadership in her students.

“I have always required a service-learning project in my classes. To date, over 600 students have partnered with more than 80 organizations across Southwest Florida,” she says. “We’ve also established a new university institute that offers training and development programs and business leadership competencies to Southwest Florida companies.”

Manegold is also a frequent guest speaker for community groups, a consulting editor for an academic journal and a member of the SWFL FutureMakers Coalition. She won FGCU’s Chair Excellence Award in 2020, FGCU’s Commitment to Service Award in 2018 and the LCOB Best Paper Award in 2016.

What are your future aspirations?

I love working in higher education, and I may continue along a university administrative track as a long-term career option. More immediately, I plan to continue to seek opportunities to serve others, build stronger community partnerships and help create innovative university programs.

 

JENNIFER TRAMMELL, 33

Marketing Consultant

Jennifer Trammell believes life is a puzzle, with each of one’s values, areas of passion, new experiences and important people creating a piece. As life rearranges those pieces into a constantly shifting mosaic, for Trammell, the most important pieces include family, community, lifelong learning and making a difference in business and the community.

“As an independent sales and marketing strategist, I use multimedia skills and storytelling to help businesses achieve their goals.” she says. “As a StoryBrand Certified Guide, I also work with companies to clarify their message and simplify their marketing so they can win more business.”

A passionate advocate for helping people reach their full potential, Trammell serves as board chair for the Florida Gulf Coast to Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross and as an advisory board member for the Leadership Collier Foundation. She has also volunteered with the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, Naples Therapeutic Riding Center and David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health.

What are your future aspirations?

The most important thing is living my values of putting family first, building a stronger community, continued growth and learning and making a difference. I look for opportunities that align with those goals and allow me to use my gifts to work alongside others to make a greater impact.

 

SHANNA DAVIES, 36

Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Private Bank

A New York native, Shanna Davies is an executive director in the Naples office of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, advising families, foundations and endowments as a Certified Financial PlannerTM. She also loves doing her part to serve and lead her community.

“My most meaningful community endeavor is my current role as president of the board of directors of Humane Society Naples (HSN),” she says. “We have worked hard to successfully navigate the pandemic, creatively implemented innovative fundraising techniques and advanced HSN’s mission. We’ve also established HSN’s next generation group, Pawfessionals, and created the annual Bow Wow Brunch.”

Davies and her peers also co-founded the “Young Professionals Season Kickoff Event,” an integral part of the fundraising calendar for the next generation of leaders. She also supports her church, Trinity-By-The Cove, the Leadership Collier Foundation and the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health.

What are your future aspirations?

To continue advocating for nonprofits in this town like Humane Society Naples and helping to set the standard for giving back with millennials. And to make Southwest Florida an even greater place to raise a family. We’ve done so much over the years to change the dynamic of a retirement destination to also be a first-choice destination for families. More can be done to make Naples even more fun, kid-friendly and family oriented.

 

 

CHRIS ARMSTRONG, 39

Chief Marketing Officer, Hoffmann Creative Agency

Chris Armstrong moved to Naples after graduating from Kansas State University with a dual major in marketing and international business and a minor in economics. Today, he is CMO and managing partner for the Hoffmann Creative Agency, and leads a team of creatives that provide marketing for national and local brands. But his marketing career actually started much earlier.

“At age 11, I started making homemade pizzas from scratch and delivered them on my bicycle throughout the neighborhood. Then my family moved to São Paulo, Brazil,” he says. “When I was 13, my entrepreneurial spirit continued and I started giving private English lessons to GM executives in Brazil.”

In his free time, Armstrong is actively involved with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida. His goal, he says, is that his professional and philanthropic contributions continue to positively impact the community he calls home.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to continue to grow the agency and break down barriers in the marketing landscape while exposing the agency nationally and internationally. Personally, I would like to spend more time traveling the world and exploring diverse cultures.

 

MATTHEW DEVISSE, 31

Attorney, Coleman, Yovanovich & Koester P.A.

Matthew B. Devisse is a commercial litigation attorney with Coleman, Yovanovich & Koester P.A. Since joining the firm in 2015, his practice has focused on complex commercial litigation in the areas of high-end real estate development, trust and probate cases and construction defect related litigation.

“I pride myself on becoming a top trial lawyer, and my passion is for effectuating global change through consumer protection litigation,” he says. “I grew up in Naples and have a passion for providing a presence in the community and giving back. Whether it’s at work or in my personal and family life, I always want to push the envelope to try to improve, be better, have more fun or simply enjoy life more.”

Devisse is active in the community as a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. He is also working to develop a charity with his three siblings to give back to the underprivileged via the donor-advised fund through the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to become one of the top trial lawyers in the state of Florida in terms of peer evaluation and ability to professionally and competently try a case. And I want to keep serving as a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

 

MIA HYATT, 38

Vice President and Private Wealth Advisor, FineMark National Bank & Trust

Mia Hyatt is a vice president and private wealth advisor at FineMark National Bank & Trust. But she’s also passionate about female empowerment and educating on financial literacy in the community, too.

“My goal is to use my financial acumen to improve the financial landscape for both my clients
and the people I help throughout Southwest Florida,” she says. “Part of my job as a portfolio manager is to lead investment seminars for women on financial literacy. I also enjoy speaking to high school and college students.”

Hyatt also says she’s a strong believer in continuing education. She received her Bachelor of Science in international economics in 2005 and has since received her CFA, CFP and CDFA designations. She also serves as vice president of the CFA Society of Naples and sits on the advisory board for Salvation Army — Naples, and is a member of Leadership Collier Class of 2021.

What are your future aspirations?

I feel it is my responsibility to help those people in our community who are less fortunate. I will continue to volunteer my time by providing financial education and by assisting the many wonderful local charities.

 

ELIZABETH LOMBARDO, 35

Founder and Owner, The Firm Advertising Agency

A native Floridian, Elizabeth Lombardo received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Gulf Coast University. Before founding her own advertising agency, Lombardo worked in two distinctly different fields.

“I managed one of Southwest Florida’s leading brokerages and several luxury, custom-home builders, as well as two of the nation’s largest publicly traded automotive groups,” she says. “I also worked as an account supervisor at two Florida-based advertising agencies. At both agencies, my duties included the implementation and development of strategic and creative campaigns, budget formulation and marketing communications plans.”

Lombardo says her business focus is on building long-term client relationships, while her passion
is accepting new challenges and overcoming obstacles. Ultimately, her goal is to educate and inspire others in marketing and to see her team blossom as creatives and leaders in the marketing industry, locally and regionally.

What are your future aspirations?

At the end of the day, I aspire to be a triumphant role model that leads my team toward success, and hope they are yearning for that success as well. Never do I want my job positions to feel like a chore— happiness, in any field, is the true successor.

 

LAURA RICHARDSON BRIGHT, 36

Senior Development Manager, American Cancer Society

Though she began her career in the museum field, focusing on guest relations, membership and volunteer management, Laura Richardson Bright now serves as senior development manager for the American Cancer Society. Working in the world of nonprofit development and fundraising events wasn’t a planned career pivot.

“I never expected to work in the nonprofit field when I was in school imagining a career,” she says. “Now that I’ve worked for a wide range of small, medium and national organizations, I’ve learned that if it’s a mission and group of people that I am passionate about and respect, the work is not only fulfilling, but falls easily into place.”

Part of Bright’s duties include overseeing local Relay For Life efforts, Real Men Wear Pink advocacy campaigns and the Lee County Cattle Baron’s Ball. She is the vice president of Young Professionals of Naples, active in the Junior League of Fort Myers and is the national alumnae committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta. Bright and her husband are also licensed foster parents and they also foster dogs with Gulf Coast Humane Society.

What are your future aspirations?

In the future, I’d love to lead and grow an organization as I’ve found that my passion is in developing people as well as their portfolios.

 

JESSICA STANFIELD, 32

Executive Director, Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit Inc.

Jessica Stanfield joined the Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit Inc., formerly known as Voices for Kids of Southwest Florida, as executive director in 2019. While she brings extensive experience in fundraising, public relations, marketing and communication management to the job, she says it’s her passion for helping others that drives her.

“The Guardian ad Litem Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help identify, access and administer community resources and donations to support abused, neglected and abandoned children in Southwest Florida,” she says. “In my role, I support efforts of the program to help local children navigate the judicial, education and child welfare systems, and find a safe, permanent home with the help of their Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocate. Beyond that,
I want to build the organization’s capacity for growth and impact in the community.”

Prior to joining the Guardian ad Litem team, Stanfield served as development director for the Southwest Florida Symphony in Fort Myers.

What are your future aspirations?

I look forward to continuing to link arms with other leaders and groups to ensure Southwest Florida, and the communities in which we live, work and play are safe, welcoming, harmonious and thriving. I aim to “keep showing up,” even when the work feels uncomfortable, heavy and overwhelming.

 

 

JARRETT EADY, 39

Director, Diversity and Inclusion, School District of Lee County

A fourth-generation resident of Fort Myers, Jarrett Eady is an alumnus of Fort Myers High School and Florida State University. He currently serves as the director of diversity and inclusion for the School District of Lee County, but his involvement in Lee County and surrounding communities goes much deeper.

“I have served as chairman of the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board, the Alliance for the Arts Board of Directors, WGCU Public Media’s Content Advisory Committee and chairman of the SWFL Alpha Educational and Leadership Foundation,” he says. “I was also the chartering president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Southwest Florida, former chairman of the Lee County Black History Society, former president of the Dunbar Festival Committee Inc. and chartering president of the 100 Black Men of Southwest Florida Inc.”

Eady is also a certified diversity professional and serves as the School District of Lee County’s director of advancement via individual determination and director of diversity and inclusion.

What are your future aspirations?

I would like to support collective impact initiatives in Southwest Florida by fostering environments that nurture trust, commitment, mutual respect and a reduction of community and organizational silos.

 

BARBARA WOODCOCK, 34

Attorney/Partner, Cole, Scott & Kissane P.A

Barbara Ballard Woodcock is a partner and litigation attorney at Cole, Scott & Kissane P.A. She grew up in Miami and graduated from the University of Miami, receiving a bachelor’s degree in English literature with minors in French literature and sport administration. She also studied at the University of Oxford and received her Juris Doctor degree from the Florida International University College of Law.

“I am a graduate of Associate Leadership Collier (2016) and I’m still active with the Leadership Collier Foundation, serving as programming chair for Youth Leadership Collier. I want to continue serving the community facilitated by the Leadership Collier Foundation as well as become more involved in leadership capacities with local nonprofits close to my heart,” she says. “In addition to my practice in various areas of the law, I’m also an avid equestrian, and I volunteer at Naples Therapeutic Riding Center.”

What are your future aspirations?

I hope to continue to excel in my career including growing my practice, honing my trial skills and guiding the next generation of attorneys with their careers. Most importantly, I aspire to raise my son to be loving, kind, strong, compassionate, positive, independent and confident.

 

RUDRAKSH “RICKY” KHOSLA, 33

Senior Product Engineer — Shoulder Arthroplasty, Arthrex

As a senior product engineer for Arthrex, Rudraksh “Ricky” Khosla is responsible for the design and development of innovative surgical implants and instrumentation, from concept to product launch. But that’s just a portion of his job duties.

“I’m responsible for leading a team of engineers in multidisciplinary fields, such as quality assurance, sterilization, packaging and regulatory, to ensure that the devices being developed are safe and effective for clinical use,” he says. “My passion to create life-changing products to allow surgeons to treat patients better and help them to once again enjoy life to the fullest.”

Khosla was born and raised in Cincinnati and attended the University of Cincinnati, where
he earned a degree in biomedical engineering with a specialization in biomechanics. And although he may not be a native Floridian, Khosla has grown to love Southwest Florida and has become an integral member of the community.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to continue to develop innovative products that improve the quality of life of patients, as well
as manage and mentor younger engineers. I’m also looking forward to growing my community and continuing to find ways to help those in need.

 

JACOB WINGE, 28

Director of Business Development Comfort, Keepers of Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties

Jacob Winge serves as the director of business development for Collier County at Comfort Keepers, an in-home senior care services company. As a fourth-generation Neapolitan, he’s also focused on his community.

“I am a Leadership Collier Alumni, and I also serve as president of the East Naples Civic Association and Kiwanis of East Naples,” he says. “I’m also an advisory board member of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Friends of the Collier County Museums.”

Winge previously served on three county advisory boards and, as a student at Florida SouthWestern State College, served as president of the Florida College System Student Government Association. His goal is to be a strong advocate for seniors and a bold leader in the area’s conservation efforts, planning, and arts and culture.

What are your future aspirations?

Eventually running for office again and to continue growing my career in the senior care industry. To continue serving our community by helping small businesses and nonprofits and working with government partners on local advisory boards, state government and legislature. And I’d like to increase economic development, improve development and long-term plans, and prioritize conservation and outdoor recreation in East Naples and other outlying communities.

 

SHANNON PUOPOLO, 38

Stockholder and Hiring Committee Chair, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A.

Shannon Puopolo concentrates her practice in the area of complex business litigation focusing on partnership disputes, real estate claims, trust modification, bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings, association matters, enforcement of judgments and appeals.

She is also active in her firm and local community.

“I was the first female hiring chair for my law firm. I also serve as the vice president for the Lee County Bar Association Foundation and as the chair of the Lee County Bar Association’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament, which has raised over $100,000 for local charities,” she says. “I also want to continue to serve my community through handling pro bono cases and volunteering my time and resources toward local charities.”

Puopolo has also been recognized by Florida Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in business litigation for 10 consecutive years.

What are your future aspirations?

My goal is to continue progressing as a business litigation attorney in order to effectively represent my clients and help them meet their business goals.

 

ROB PELLICER, 35

Sr. Director Pricing Strategy & Product Development, Hertz Global Holdings

As a fourth-generation, Fort Myers native and eighth-generation Floridian, Rob Pellicer has deep roots in the area. But as a travel industry veteran, his position with Hertz helps keep people on the move.

“I lead efforts to enhance contract and promotional marketing performance through big data analytics and developing innovative pricing and product strategies to compete globally,” he says. “I was also part of the team developing go-to-market tactics and providing strategic guidance for Hertz’s partner and distribution portfolio, both of which helped the company navigate the global pandemic.”

In addition to his work, Pellicer has made a splash on the pool deck as a mentor and coach with Swim Florida. He has coached numerous swimmers who’ve won state titles and, thanks to his swimmer’s performance at the U.S. Nationals, Pellicer was named a coach on the 2019-20 U.S. National Junior team. In the summer of 2021, he coached at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, where his athlete recorded two top-20 finishes.

What are your future aspirations?

I hope to lead Hertz and the rental car industry into the forefront of the next wave of technological and strategic innovations that will revolutionize how consumers travel and possibly use cars for everyday use.

 

CHELSEA CASTORIA, 34

Digital Marketing Coordinator, CONRIC pr + marketing

Chelsea Castoria says she was born to be social. As a digital marketing coordinator at CONRIC pr + marketing, she is responsible for the management of many of the agency’s client social media accounts. But her job is only part of her social activities.

“I produce the Southwest Florida Strong Podcast as well as my own podcast, Coffee with Chelsea. I have also presented best practices and how-to tips on podcasts and social media for Above Board Chamber of Florida, Goodwill Microenterprises and the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA,” she says. “I’m also passionate about animal rescue, and that’s the focus of my own blog, Chelsea Loves Dogs.”

Chelsea is very active in the community, fostering and working with dogs at Cape Coral Animal Shelter, Gulf Coast Humane Society and Doghouse Rescue Academy.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to match all the adoptable dogs and cats with their “fur-ever” families. I love preaching the word of rescue and fostering all over Southwest Florida and believe every animal deserves the chance to be loved. I also want to be even more involved with the Southwest Florida community.

 

ALICIA TAYLOR, 35

Partner/Estate, Trust & Wealth Preservation Attorney, Quarles & Brady LLP

Alicia Taylor moved to Naples in 2012, after graduating from the University of Florida with Bachelor of Science, Juris Doctor and Master of Laws degrees. However, as a partner at the law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP, practicing in the areas of estate, tax and business succession planning, she says her family roots have been a big part of her career.

“As a seventh-generation Floridian, fifth-generation cattle rancher and third-generation citrus grower, I think my heritage gives me a unique perspective, in the courtroom and the community,” she says. “My family is active in Florida’s cattle and citrus industries and I stay connected to agriculture through the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agricultural and Natural Resources as both a program graduate and alumni association board member.”

Taylor is a 2014 graduate of Growing Associates In Naples, and recently completed board service for Girls on the Run of Southwest Florida. She also participates in community events with the Humane Society Naples, the Cancer Alliance of Naples and the Chamber of Commerce.

What are your future aspirations?

To continuously learn, grow and evolve, professionally and personally, so that I may better serve my clients as an adviser, this community as a leader and my family as a steward of our legacy.

 

ROBERT SORENSON, 33

Director of Wellness, Moorings Park

Though Robert Sorenson has been a resident of Collier County since his family relocated from Milwaukee in 1991, when it comes to his work as director of wellness for Moorings Park, he still embraces the Midwest work ethic.

“I started with Moorings Park 10 years ago and have steadily worked up the ranks in the organization to the position of director of wellness,” he says. “In this role I am responsible for implementing a comprehensive wellness program for all levels of care. In addition, I also serve as an adjunct professor at Florida Gulf Coast University where I teach in the Exercise Science program.”

Sorenson proudly notes that, in 2019, his department won the International Council on Active Aging’s Pinnacle Award and Moorings Park was named the No. 1 wellness-based community in North America. More recently, his contributions to FGCU earned him a nomination for the Soaring Eagle Award and he was honored by LeadingAge Florida with the 2021 Emerging Leader Award.

What are your future aspirations?

As the industry of aging shifts from a medical model to one of health promotion and disease prevention, I hope to help people age successfully and develop a template for health and wellness that can be incorporated into retirement communities.

 

TATIANA BRITZ, 34

Owner, TB lashes. brows. beauty

After three years studying law in her native country, the Republic of Moldova, Tatiana Britz decided to pursue her dream of living in the United States. Now the owner of a noted online brand and two TB lashes. brows. beauty studios, Britz says she’s truly living the American dream.

“I worked in several industries before I landed a position at the European Wax Center and discovered my true passion—beauty and self-care. I saw potential in an un-tapped, niche market and launched my online brand in 2017 and opened my first studio in Naples

in 2019,” she says. “My product line, which now includes adhesives, lashes, aftercare products and tweezers, is nationally known among lash artists. My studios serve hundreds of clients each month and the first-class service we provide and my team are the foundation for my success.”

Britz pursues every opportunity to give back to the local community. A mom of two, she is passionate about supporting local children’s causes. As a small business owner, she is also a strong proponent of her peers and uses local vendors whenever possible.

What are your future aspirations?

I hope to continue to empower my team to achieve personal wellness, professional greatness and give back to our community.

 

RYAN ORGERA, 38

CEO, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation

Growing up on Lemon Bay in Charlotte County, Ryan Orgera fell in love with Southwest Florida’s nature. But it was only after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in romance language in literature— and teaching French and Italian at the university level for eight years— that he chose to earn a Ph.D. in geography and environmental sciences and become a conservationist. Today, he serves as CEO of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF).

“I work in conservation because I care deeply about the outcomes. Before starting with SCCF, I worked on the Ending Illegal Fishing Project and Global Shark Conservation teams with The Pew Charitable Trusts,” he says. “During my time with Pew, I helped ensure global protections for 13 species of sharks and rays.”

As a Knauss Marine Policy fellow in the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Orgera served as the senator’s ocean, coastal and flood insurance policy expert. He was also a member of the Federal Marine Protected Area Advisory Committee, which advises the U.S. secretaries of Commerce and Interior.

What are your future aspirations?

I am laser-focused on making sure my son and all future generations have healthy nature to revere and enjoy. My only future aspiration is moving the needle toward balance in our social/political interactions with nature.

Photo Credit: Brian Tietz