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Council of Advisors

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Susan MacManus is a Distinguished University Professor at USF in the Department of Government and International Affairs. For the last six election cycles, she has served as political analyst for WFLA News Channel 8. Since 2008, she has been a featured columnist on sayfiereview.com—a widely read Florida-based political website. WFLA TV’s weekly program, Road to the White House, on which MacManus appeared as a panelist was nominated for a Suncoast Emmy award in 2008. She

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Stephen Zack is a former president of the American Bar Association and was the first Hispanic American to assume the ABA presidency. He was nominated by President Barack Obama for the position of Alternate U.S. Representative to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and also served as Senior Advisor to the U.S. State Department. Zack was the first Hispanic American and youngest President of the Florida Bar. He has also

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Stephanie J. Toothaker, Esq., is chairwoman and chief strategist at Toothaker.org, representing private equity firms, innovative companies, and entrepreneurial individuals seeking complex land development entitlements. She is a 1997 graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and practices land-use and environmental law in south Florida. Ms. Toothaker is consistently recognized as an effective advocate at the federal, state and regional level, regularly representing clients before governmental entities throughout South Florida. She has

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Scott Hawkins, the Vice Chair of the law firm, Jones, Foster Johnston & Stubbs (and Shareholder since 1990) and the Past President of The Florida Bar (2011 - 2012), is Florida Bar Board Certified in Business Litigation and practices commercial and corporate litigation with an emphasis on intellectual property, trade secret disputes, covenants not to compete, securities and real estate litigation. He also has significant civil and administrative litigation experience in areas involving environmental and

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Robin Gibson is a graduate of the University of Florida and the University of Florida College of Law. He is the senior partner at the Gibson Law Firm and is a certified specialist in both Civil Trial Practice and Business Litigation by Florida Bar Board of Specialization and Education. He is the former chairman of the Board of Regents, State University System of Florida; member of the Executive Committee, Education Excellence for Florida; member of

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Preston Haskell is the founder and chairman of The Haskell Company, the largest privately held construction company in Florida, and a top design-build firm in the United States. Haskell is also the founding chairman of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). He has authored design-build procurement legislation at both the state and federal level. Haskell was honored in 2002 with the Brunelleschi Lifetime Achievement Award from the DBIA. Haskell’s past public service includes serving as

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Pegeen Hanrahan is a registered Professional Engineer and Principal of Community and Conservation Solutions, LLC. A native and lifelong resident, she served Gainesville, Florida as its Mayor from 2004-2010, and as a City Commissioner from 1996-2002, leaving office both times as a result of term limits. For nearly ten years, one of her primary clients has been the Trust for Public Land's Conservation Finance Program. With TPL, Ms. Hanrahan has helped develop and pass ten

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Pam Iorio is the President/CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the country’s oldest and most effective mentoring organization, leading the organization since March 31, 2014. Iorio, the former two-term Mayor of Tampa, Florida, successfully led the 54th largest city in the United States, leaving office in 2011 with a remarkable 87 percent approval rating. First elected in 2003, Iorio’s tenure was marked by a revitalized downtown, massive investment in infrastructure, redevelopment throughout the

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Nicole Washington, has more than 10 years of experience teaching, conducting educational research and advocating for evidence-based educational policies. As the state policy consultant for the Lumina Foundation, Nicole plays a key role in developing the foundation’s Florida strategy and determining its investments. She has served as the associate director of governmental relations for the State University System Board of Governors and as the budget director for education in the Governor’s Office of Policy and

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Michael A. Downs is a global consultant specializing in business development, corporate social responsibility, and socially responsible investing initiatives. From 2002-2015, Downs served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Pension Boards–United Church of Christ, Inc., an Affiliated Ministry of the United Church of Christ (UCC) with net assets of more than $3 billion that provides comprehensive benefits plans and a program of ministerial assistance for more than 22,000 UCC employees. Under his leadership,

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Mary Chiles is a public relations professional that has passionately served Floridians for more than 28 years. She joined Gov. Graham’s administration in 1980 as the Public Relations Coordinator for the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. There she helped to institute and promote the Sunshine State Games. Chiles served as the County Organization Director for Gov. Graham’s first U.S. Senate race. After Graham’s successful campaign, Chiles was appointed as the Director of Constituency

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After graduating from law school at the University of Florida, Martha Barnett became the first female attorney hired by Holland and Knight where she has practiced law for 40 years. Barnett was elected president of the American
Bar Association in 2000, only the second woman to head
the ABA in its history. Barnett also served alongside first
lady Hillary Clinton on the inaugural ABA Commission
on Women in the Profession, which has produced leading research on women in the

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Liana Guerra is Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Rep. Darren Soto, in the U.S. House of Representatives. ​She earned a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Florida in 2015, and is currently completing an M.B.A. through UF. As an undergraduate, she was active in Bob Graham Center programs, and was in the inaugural class of Reubin Askew Scholars, a program that provides students with intensive leadership training and a research

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Joan Forrest is the president of the St. Petersburg-based Dawson Academy, a postgraduate educational and clinical research facility, dedicated to the advancement of dentistry Prior to joining the Academy, she was founder and President of Prime Performance, a training and consulting company specializing in developing self-directed work teams and facilitative leadership. Forrest’s career has also included management positions with AT&T and United Technologies. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in Interdisciplinary

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James H. "Jim" Pugh, Jr. serves as the chief executive officer, owner and chairman of Epoch Properties, Inc. one of America's largest multi-family developers. Epoch has developed over 37,000 housing units in 56 cities from Florida to California. Epoch is recognized annually as one of the "giants" of housing, and is ranked annually within the top 50 multi-family builders in the U.S. Recognized as a "Legend of Real Estate" in Florida. Pugh is a graduate

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James H. “Jim” Shimberg, Jr. is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Storm and the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Prior to this appointment, he served as Tampa City Attorney. He has served as general counsel for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Tampa Downtown Partnership and is a trustee of the Shimberg Family Foundation, formed

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J. Hyatt Brown is the former president and chief executive officer of Brown and Brown Insurance and currently serves as the chairman of the organization. B&B is the seventh largest insurance broker in the Unites States and is publicly owned (NYSE:BRO). He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1972 and served as Speaker of the House from 1978 to 1980. Brown currently serves on the board for International Speedway Corporation in Daytona,

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Douglas A. Wright is Holland Knight’s Operations and Finance Partner. In this role, he has primary responsibility for directing the firm’s operations, including its Accounting and Finance, IT, Real Estate and Facilities, Marketing, and Human Resources functions. Mr. Wright’s experience includes corporate and tax planning, and business and tax litigation. His transactional practice has focused on mergers and acquisitions in a variety of industries. He also has extensive experience in the formation and structure of

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Mr. Cunningham is CEO of The Brand Advocates, Inc. an award winning public relations firm in Miami. His team won the 2015 PRNews Platinum PR Award in the community relations category. These awards represent and honor the best work in the public relations industry. Mr. Cunningham is an expert in public relations and public affairs. He has led successful public relations and public affairs campaigns for a government and private sector clients over the last

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Senator Bob Graham is the former two-term governor of Florida and served for 18 years in the United States Senate. Graham also served for 12 years in the Florida legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. He is recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from healthcare and environmental preservation to his ten years of service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – including serving as chairman in 2001-2002. After retiring

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Albert O'Neill is a founding member of the Trenam Kemker law firm, where he practiced law in the areas of business transactions, employee benefits and compensation and securities. His professional involvement includes serving as the chair of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation; chair of the The Florida Bar, Tax Section; a member of the Tax Certification Committee; member of the American Bar Retirement Association Board of Directors; and a member of the Internal