Speakers

Master of Ceremony Dr. Joshua T. Barnett

Joshua T. Barnett, Ph.D., M.H.S., M.A. was Manatee County’s first health care services manager who led numerous initiatives that improved affordable access to health services for low-income, uninsured adults, reduced opioid-related overdose deaths, and the development of behavioral health services delivered by those in recovery from past addiction. A former clinical and policy consultant to a United States Department of Justice Court Monitor, Dr. Barnett is a leader in the development of community-based support programs and reducing the preventable use of restrictive interventions for those with mental health and substance use conditions.

Dr. Barnett has served as the Health Care Administrator of the Pinellas County Human Services Department and CEO of its County-operated Bayside Health Clinic, a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Currently, he is a behavioral health data scientist and an adjunct professor of public health and health service administration at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and of mental health law and policy at the University of South Florida. He is a national presenter on county-level health service programs, opioid epidemiology, and a published researcher in scientific journals including the Journal of Social Sciences and Journal of Drug Issues.  A Florida native, Joshua earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University, a Master of Arts in thanatology from Hood College, a Master of Health Science in mental health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and his doctor of philosophy degree in Behavioral and Community Sciences from the University of South Florida.

Kristie Kindstrom Certified Senior Advisor
Kristie is a Certified Senior Advisor and has over 30 years of Financial Services experience providing advisors and their clients the education and resources needed for proper financial planning. She recently
started her own business focused on helping organizations, professionals, individuals, and their families prepare for the unique planning needs associated with living longer and preparing for life’s
interruptions. She has lived in Bradenton Florida for over 20 years with her husband and beagles. During this time, she ran her own gallery in the Village of the Arts and served on the Artists Guild of Manatee
Board. She has been a corporate lead and avid team captain for the American Heart Association for over a decade and currently serves on the Suncoast Heart Walk Executive Leadership Committee. She is also the Program Director for Realize Bradenton’s Entrepreneurship Program, The Start-up Circle.

View her talk here

Ray Gardner CEO Prosper Bradenton

Ray was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan but has called Florida home for the past decade. Over the past 8 years, Ray has become a highly sought-after motivational speaker and personal trainer in the Bradenton/AMI area. He is an advocate for mental health awareness, supporter of youth sports and a leader in the fitness community. He considers his impact to be his most valuable contribution to society and has made it his mission to create a positive environment where anyone can PROSPER.

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Robyn Faucy CEO Results 1st.

Robyn guides organizations to achieve aggressive and transformative results. Her specialties are revenue development, culture-shifting, marketing, and guiding individuals and teams to achieve more by defining, tracking, verifying, and reporting results. Robyn has held leadership roles with Sylvan Learning Centers and the American Cancer Society. Robyn’s leadership resulted in significant financial growth and increased volunteer engagement and client achievement. Prior to taking the helm of Results 1st, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, in Sarasota, FL, where in her five-year tenure she increased income, financial reserves, and participant engagement by over 100%. Robyn attributes her relentless determination to help groups to succeed to her upbringing by her blue-collar, hardworking parents. Neither of her parents graduated from high school and her father died when she was 12 leaving her mother to be a single parent.  She has lived many of the circumstances that participants in nonprofit organizations face. She feels these experiences have built her “hustle muscle” and desire to help others overcome challenges through change.

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Beth Walters Peer Support Supervisor

From pursuing her dream of becoming a clown for Ringling Brothers Circus to now working in the behavioral health field as a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist, Beth Walters is extremely passionate about the impact of connection & bringing awareness to the field of peer support.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Oneonta in 2016 with a degree in Communication Studies & minor in Theatre.
Although college provided an abundance of knowledge & experiences, the most meaningful
knowledge Beth obtained was through finding her own pathway to recovery from mental health
challenges. She is presently the supervisor of a substance use peer support program at a local
non-profit behavioral health agency & has past experience providing peer support to individuals
struggling with suicidal ideation.
Some of her certifications include Mental Health First Aid, Recovery Capital Planning, & WRAP Seminar II. Beth identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community & uses she/her pronouns. In
her self-care time, Beth enjoys listening to Chelsea Handler & self-help podcasts, watching
documentaries, and hanging out with her two cats Kiara & Kovu.

View her talk here

Javar Baity Director of Marketing

Javar Baity is a native of Manatee County, spending most of his educational career in the area. He has also worked within the Manatee County school system as both a Substitute Teacher and Head Basketball
Coach. Javar has also mentored in the community for several years and works as a Director of Marketing for Take Stock in Children of Manatee County. Other skills include corporate and entrepreneurial experience
with his own business in marketing consulting providing photograph, video, social media strategy, and website design services.
Javar currently serves on the board of directors for the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and as chairman of the Young Leaders Alliance. As a recent graduate of both State College of Florida, followed by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, he is looking forward to supporting students in their post-secondary goals. Beyond work, Javar enjoys sports and outdoor activities, reading, expanding his understanding of social issues, creating and writing music, and anything that has to do with relaxing by the water.

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Dr Sagar Galwankar MBBS, MPH, MBA Florida State University Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

Sagar Galwankar is a career academician and an expert in International Medicine. He specializes in Education and Innovation in areas of Health Policy, Humanitarian Assistance, and Quality Health Care Delivery both in the United States and across the world.

He has been in Florida for the last 2 decades and he currently serves as the Executive Director for The American College of Academic International Medicine. His career is studded with multiple leadership roles both at national and international level.

He is an international speaker and researcher who strongly advocates for health security, quality education and impactful innovation.

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Melanie Lavender Spoken Word Artist

Melanie Lavender is a Spoken Word artist and a proud Sarasota native. Educated in the Sarasota County school system and Newtown community, Melanie is a wife, mother, and a Podcast/Radio host of Soul of Tha Matter at 107.5 The Vibe.

The Chaotic Beauty of life influences Melanie to write and work to change her life and community. By using her soulful melodic voice to capture the attention of the audience. Melanie has recited at Selby Botanical Gardens, Manatee Performing Art Center, nightclubs, art galleries, and more.

Writing “Psalms of The Elusive Black Housewife,” Melanie found a way to transform anxiety and depression into poetry and community activism. This mother, wife, and author chose not to give up but to use the skills taught to her by her elders to keep moving and transform that energy into creativity.   

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Stephanie Rosado Certified Wellness & Health Coach

 Stephanie Rosado is a Ph.D. student at the University of South Florida (USF) School of Social Work and a Certified Wellness & Health Coach (CWHC). She started her doctoral journey after a diverse background of professional experiences: professional athlete, various roles within healthcare, and working as a licensed social work supervisor in a child welfare agency in Philadelphia. She recently finished serving two consecutive terms as an executive committee member for the Alliance of Social Workers in Sports (ASWIS) and remains involved with several of the organization’s efforts and projects. These diverse projects embody sport social work as they focus on the intersection of sports and social work practice, athlete wellbeing through a social work lens, and sport for development. Stephanie is a member of the Florida Education Fund’s McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (MDF) program representing the only social work graduate student in her fellowship cohort. Since the MDF is a Florida-wide fellowship, Stephanie founded a monthly support group for USF fellows to build a sense of community among this diverse fellowship of Black and Hispanic/Latino doctoral students on the USF campus. She is also an ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation and was recognized by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation as the 2022 Walk to Cure Arthritis Adult Honoree. Additionally, Stephanie also serves as a mentor for MSW students in the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Minority Fellowship Program. Stephanie enjoys hobbies that involve staying active, spending time at the beach, traveling, digital art, and going out to eat to support her “foodie” side.

view her talk here

Shvonne Townsend Abstract Artist & Healing Arts Coach

 Through her own journey with mental health and battling a rare blood disorder, she experienced the healing effects of art therapy. She is passionate about helping others health through creating art, and she is an advocate for art therapy. When she is not creating art and helping others on their healing journey, Shvonne works for Manatee County Government as a Real Property Specialist in the Property Acquisition Division.

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Diana Shoemaker Director of Strategic Development and Communications for Elders Action Network and former President & CEO of Manatee County Habitat for Humanity

 Diana Shoemaker is currently serving as Director of Strategic Development and Communications for a national nonprofit Elders Action Network.  She was the President and CEO of Manatee Habitat for Humanity and has worked with the organization for 12 years.  Diana served as the first Director for Family Promise of Manatee County, a non-profit providing shelter and resources to homeless families.  She has served as chair of the Manatee County Affordable Housing Task Force and member of the City of Bradenton Housing Advisory committee.  She is and is a graduate of Leadership Manatee and the LWRBA Executive Academy.   Diana has an MSW from Columbia University and more than 25 years of experience in community and educational program development and services.

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Olivia D’Amico, Founder of Kinspoke and Friendly City Flea

Olivia D’Amico is an artist, writer, public theologian, and entrepreneur living and working in Bradenton Florida. 

Olivia is a graduate of State College of Florida where she studied Graphic Design and Vocal Performance. She continued her studies at Southeastern University in Lakeland where she received her undergraduate degree in Ministerial Leadership and then a graduate degree in Divinity with a focus on ethics, contemporary theology, and art.

As a Bradenton local, she has worked as a pastor/ministry leader in churches across Bradenton and Sarasota area, inspired by the deep conviction that people are worth loving, listening to, and learning from regardless of background or belief. Her work focuses on understanding our changing beliefs, how we think about God, and how those ideas make us relate to one another through our American lens.

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Mercedes Soler Co-owner and President of Solmart Media

Mercedes Soler is co-owner and President of Solmart Media, a Spanish radio and digital media company in Sarasota, Florida, founded with her husband Tomás Martínez. Solmart Media’s core mission is to entertain, inform, educate and elevate its underserved community. Their two FM and one AM radio stations reach nine counties, and about half a million Hispanic residents of Florida’s west coast. Mercedes oversees editorial content, outreach, advocacy, marketing, public relations, productions for non-profits, internships and mentoring.

Prior to this, she spent 25 years as a Spanish language international correspondent with Univisión and an anchor for CNN Español. She also wrote weekly columns for El Nuevo Herald and co-authored the book Dish & Tell: Life, Love and Secrets [HarperCollins].

Mercedes serves on the board of directors at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Campowerment’s Give her Camp. She is on the Advisory Committee of ISLAC, the University of South Florida Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean and a member of the International Women’s Forum. Ms. Soler is the recipient of 5 Emmy Awards, 1 Peabody and 1 GLAAD award, among other accolades. Her most valuable title is that of “Mamá” to Victoria and Thomas, who are both pursuing post graduate degrees in Philanthropic Management and Law, respectively.

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Lorraine Williams

Lorraine Williams is a proven team builder with a strong focus on process and performance optimization. This year, Lorraine celebrated her sixteenth year serving as the Executive Director of Information Technology for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. 

Lorraine is a is credentialed coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She is certified by College of Executive Coaching and The Institute of Neuroleadership. 

Lorraine’s career spans Government and Corporate America.  Noteworthy prior professional endeavors include serving in guidance roles for the Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin.  Throughout her career, Lorraine’s underlying passion has been and continues to be Leadership Development.  Lorraine feels strongly that leadership is the cornerstone to success regardless of one’s station in life.  She feels most privileged having the opportunity to have spent several years in the classroom teaching and grooming IT technicians to become certified systems engineers.

On a local level, Lorraine established a Leadership Coaching program within her agency that was endorsed and promoted by the Sheriff.  The process is based on Leadership Values, Principles and Emotional Intelligence.

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The Honorable Justice Shannon Frison

Justice Shannon Frison was appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court at age 42.  She took that seat after serving for more than three years on the Boston Municipal Court, beginning her tenure on the bench at age 39. 

Before appointment, Justice Frison practiced locally and abroad as owner of Frison Law Firm, P.C.  Her practice focused on “blue collar” criminal law and military justice.  She tried several high profile murder, rape, and conspiracy cases in the Boston area and in the military courts of North Carolina, Pensacola, Florida, and Okinawa, Japan.  Prior to that, Justice Frison spent nearly seven years as a litigation associate at the firm Dwyer & Collora, LLP in Boston.

Justice Frison holds a Bachelors Degree in Government from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. She holds the rank of Major in the United States Marine Corps and is a Marine Corps Judge Advocate.  Since the beginning of the hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, Justice Frison has been mobilized to active duty twice in both legal and nonlegal capacities. 

View her talk here