Leadership Law Alumni

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Tom Bacchus

Tom Bacchus is a Senior Vice President in Business Banking and has been a banker in Central Florida for over 30 years. Tom is a Florida native and moved to Central Florida with his family in 1961. He is a graduate of Florida State University, is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan, and has been an avid runner since he was a teenager.

Tom and his wife Nancy moved to the Lake Eola Heights neighborhood in downtown Orlando in 1994 and have taken great pleasure in restoring their 1924 bungalow. Tom and Nancy find their highest enjoyment in traveling whenever possible. Their favorite destinations include Paris, Prague, Dubrovnik, and anyplace in Italy. They are set to visit Greece in 2012.

Senior Vice President · M & I Bank, A Part of BMO Financial Group · 407-648-2141 · Contact by email

Cathi Balboa

Cathi Balboa is currently the Chief Administrative Officer for the Orange County Clerk of Courts. Over the past 6 years there, she has been a Manager, then Director providing oversight on Strategic Planning, Talent Management, Vendor Relationship Management, and Organizational Development. Previously she has founded and led two consulting firms that focused on Organizational Effectiveness and Organizational Transformation and Transitions. Cathi had a 20+ year career with Southwestern Bell and AT&T in sales, IT, strategic and operations planning, OD, and business process consulting. Cathi received her B.S. from West Liberty University and her M.S. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has been the past President of the Greater Orlando Organizational Development Network and is active with American Society for Quality. Cathi enjoys travel and has traveled to over 20 countries.

Chief Administrative Officer · Orange County Clerk of Courts · 407-836-6343 · Contact by email

Diana E. Banton

Diana Banton is the Corporate Administration Manager for IC International Group, LLC, in Orlando, also with offices in Venezuela, Panama in the Republic of Panama, and Shanghai, China. Prior to joining IC International Group, Diana worked for 40 years primarily in business administration. In her role as Corporate Administration Manager, Diana has responsibility for Accounting, Finance, General Services, Human Resources, Legal and Logistics across the company. Diana has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management and she has been trained in all aspects of business administration.

Administration Manager · IC International Group, LLC · 407-403-6737 · Contact by email

Mellanie J. Bartlett

Mellanie J. Bartlett is a principal in the marketing and public relations firm of Sweeney & Bartlett Marketing Partners, Inc. Prior to forming Sweeney & Bartlett in 2008, Mellanie served as a legal marketing professional for two prominent Orlando law firms and is one of the original founders of the Orlando Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. Speaking and writing engagements include serving on the faculty of the Legalworks Marketing Partner Forum, an international conference devoted to law firm client development.

Prior to her career in legal marketing, Mellanie served in a regional marketing capacity for an upscale golf community developer and as the director of communications for a 4,000+ member trade organization. She also has extensive experience in tourism and hospitality marketing.

Currently, Mellanie is serving as 2011-2012 President of the Mid-Florida Home Builders Foundation, the charitable arm of the Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando.

Mellanie holds a double major, in journalism and radio and television production from the University of Central Florida and her master’s degree in corporate communication and technology from Rollins College.

Principal · Sweeney & Bartlett Marketing Partners, Inc. · 407-902-7141 · Contact by email

James A. Beckman

James A. Beckman is the first permanent chair of the Department of Legal Studies at the University of Central Florida, where he also holds tenure and the rank of Associate Professor. From 2000-2011, he served as a professor of law at the University of Tampa (UT), serving as an assistant professor of law from 2000-2006 and a tenured associate professor of law from 2006-2011. While at UT, he also served as the director of the UT’s Law & Justice program from 2000-2011, and as the chair of the Department of Government, History and Sociology from 2007-2010. In 2011, Professor Beckman was selected as the chair of the newly founded Department of Legal Studies at UCF. Prior to entering academia, Professor Beckman served as an active duty military lawyer for the Army in the 1990s, serving on the Staff & Faculty of the United States Military Academy at West Point, as well as an active duty assignment at Fort Meade, Maryland. He also served as a litigation attorney for the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC. He has been a licensed and active member of The Florida Bar since 1993.
Professor Beckman holds degrees from the University of Tampa (B.A.), The Ohio State University College of Law (J.D.), and Georgetown University’s Law Center (LL.M. in International & Comparative Law). He has published numerous diverse articles on history and law and is the author of four books (with a fifth book under contract), including serving as the editor of the two-volume work entitled, Affirmative Action, an Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, 2004), which has been described as “inspired” and a “well designed reference” and is in the collections of more than 850 college and university libraries worldwide (including such places as Harvard University, Yale University, Georgetown, Cambridge and Oxford Universities, and the United States Supreme Court Law Library, among other places). Professor Beckman is passionate about history and loves spending time with his wife, Maria, and their multiple rescue animals.

Department Chair · UCF - Department of Legal Studies · 407-823-1670 · Contact by email

Chasity Benitez

Chasity Benitez graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2012 with a degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Management. She has actively volunteered for a number of groups, which include the Valencia Volunteers Club, the Baby DJ Program with XL 106.7, New Hope for Kids, Kids Beating Cancer, and Pet Rescue by Judy.

Chasity served as the Notice to Owner Department Researcher in 1999 and gained enough experience to move onto become the Notice to Owner Department Supervisor. She served in her role as a supervisor until 2008 when she became the now instituted Notice to Owner Department Manager.

Manager · NACM South Atlantic · 407-299-7491 · Contact by email

Shelby M. Benson

Shelby Benson is a Business Banking Relationship Manager with SunTrust Bank. A Central Florida Banker for 15 years, Shelby has extensive experience working with business owners and entrepreneurs. As a Relationship Manager, Shelby’s clients include Attorneys, Physicians, Manufacturers, Software Companies, and Non-Profit Organizations. Shelby’s goal is to provide her clients with the service, solutions, and relationship they need to build a foundation for their company’s success and growth.

Shelby is a native Central Floridian and proudly supports her alma mater, The University of Central Florida! Shelby earned her B.A. in Psychology from UCF. She has served as team leader for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in addition to volunteering with Junior Achievement & the United Way. She enjoys running & spending time with her husband, Attorney Joe Benson and their 3 beautiful children.

Business Banking Relationship Manager · SunTrust Bank · 407-359-4319 · Contact by email

Florian Boehm

Owner Florian "Flo" Boehm, a native German, has a long professional background from his involvement in a family video and film production company. After graduating college and completing military service in Germany he attended Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, and graduated with perfect attendance and Valedictorian awards.

While studying Flo developed an interest in bringing his technical knowledge and skills to the legal community and received his certification as a Certified Court Video Specialist. After completing his Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees he founded Boehm & Boehm, serving clients in Orlando, Central Florida, as well as the United States and outside with highlights such as different Soccer World Cups, Olympic Games and other prestigious events.

Boehm & Boehm Forensic Media Consulting was founded in 2007 as a litigation solutions and support provider with an additional focus on media production. Since then, Boehm & Boehm has continued to expand to meet added service demands involving video, photo, audio and other media related applications. The main offices are located in Orlando, Central Florida. Boehm & Boehm is a preferred vendor and exclusive AV service provider of the Orange County Bar Association. Boehm & Boehm has a staffed office in Germany for its European operations.

Principal · Boehm & Boehm Forensic Media Consulting · 407-557-2744 · Contact by email

Dr. Wanda Bonet-Gascot

Dr. W is a Coach and Family Mediator, specialized in Emotional Intelligence. Actually she is the Coaching School Director at DRW Life Skills Institute, a global Emotional Intelligence Education Provider and Coaching School based in Kissimmee, FL. She serves as chair of the Society of Emotional Intelligence Orlando Chapter, seats as board member of the Chapter 57 - City of Orlando Civil Rights Board and she is an Ambassador for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. She is the author of the book "Why am I'm not happy?" and the DRW Emotional Intelligence Holistic Model. She is a former chemist with an MBA in Accounting and a doctor degree in Holistic Health.

Certified Coach and Family Mediator · DrW Life Skills Institute · 321-209-4379 · Contact by email

Kevin Bonnewitz

Kevin Bonnewitz serves as Equal Opportunity Officer for Valencia College. In this role, Kevin supports the College in efficiently and effectively promoting legal compliance with federal and state laws and regulations in the areas of equal opportunity employment and civil rights, and ensures that all complaints are handled in compliance with applicable laws and College policies and procedures.

Kevin previously served as a Market Human Resources Manager for Walmart Stores, Inc., where his responsibilities included ensuring compliance with company policies and procedures and supporting the company’s mission, values, and standards of ethics and integrity. Prior to joining Walmart, Kevin served as Benefits and Human Resources Manager for ABC Fine Wine and Spirits. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Purdue University and a Master’s Degree from Rollins College.

Kevin is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification. He is currently a mentor for the Take Stock in Children Program, and served as a board member for the Central Florida Compensation and Benefits Association.

Equal Opportunity Officer · Valencia College · 407-582-3421 · Contact by email

Joyce Boudoin

Joyce has been with the Clerk’s office for five years. Prior to being employed by the Clerk’s office, she worked for Sprint Corporation for 17 years. While at Sprint, she served in various leadership roles, including Operations Manager, Quality Manager and Training Manager. Joyce enjoys leading teams and is passionate about employee development.

Joyce obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Florida State University. She has served in various volunteer leadership roles related to her two passions, youth and Diabetes awareness. She currently in volunteer leadership roles with the National Achievers Society and the American Diabetes Association. Joyce has also served in leadership roles in the community with the National Achiever’s Society and the American Diabetes Association. Joyce is married with 2 daughters.

Director of Process Improvement & Project Management · Orange County Clerk of Courts · 407-836-2223 · Contact by email

Sharon Brandt

Sharon Brandt – A Business Executive with proven sales and service success in the Technology Industry. She has dedicated over 20 years of service to the 3rd largest telecommunications provider and Fortune 500 company - CenturyLink (also known as CenturyLink Technology Solutions). Sharon’s career started in a call center in 1992; receiving inbound calls for residential and small business customers. She earned multiple awards for her superior service and sales along with numerous accolades from customers. Her consultative selling approach aided in her success and steered her to a sales management position, where she led a sales team for over 7 years. She currently works as a Senior Enterprise Account Manager and is located in the Central Florida area working with Enterprise Business clients in the United States as well as overseas. Sharon is currently working on completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Business, while engaging in weekly training to stay abreast with the ever-changing technology savvy world we live in. Sharon’s expertise and product set includes: Customer Service, Contract Negotiation (external and internal), Project Management, Business-case pricing and terms & conditions negotiation, Sales, Networking, Telecommunications – Voice, Data, Data Center, Co-location, Hosted VOIP, and The Cloud. Sharon is married to Mark Brandt, a retired United States Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, and has 2 children; in addition she is an active member of the Ocoee Rotary Club.

Major Account Manager · Centurylink · 407-661-5633 · Contact by email

Allie Braswell

Founder · Braswell Management Group LLC · (407) 926-2454 · Contact by email

Gary Brewer

A retired Professional Scouter, Gary Brewer was the Senior Development Director and Director of Learning for Life for the Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America, responsible for the development of the council’s endowment and major contributions to enhance the facilities and programs that serve nearly 60,000 youth members in seven Central Florida Counties, as well as Learning for Life, an integrated character education program. He has served in numerous volunteer capacities with the Boy Scouts for more than five decades, including Central Florida Council President, 1997 to 1999 and now a member of the Central Florida Council Executive Board of Directors. An Eagle Scout and lifetime Scouter, Brewer is a former mayor of the City of Winter Park and President & CEO of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. A resident of Winter Park for more than 40 years, Brewer arrived in Central Florida in 1973 to open and manage the new Jacobson’s department store on Park Avenue. In 1982, he was elected to the Winter Park City Commission and as Mayor in 1993, serving continuously until 1997, earning the distinction of being the longest serving elected official in the history of Winter Park. He has served the community in numerous capacities including; Chairman, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce; Chairman, United Way of Winter Park, Chairman, Consumer Credit Counseling Service; Chairman of the Mayflower Retirement Community; President, Winter Park Rotary Club, Chapter President of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP); Board Member, Metroplan of Central Florida; Board Member, Orange County Tourist Development Council; Board Member, Cornell Arts Center and Advisory Board Member of the Hamilton Holt School, Rollins College. He presently serves on the boards of the AFP U.S. Government Relations Committee; The AFP National Political Action Committee; the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Central Florida; and Chairman of the Winter Park Civil Service Board. He currently is a candidate for election to the Winter Park City Commission, Seat 1. The General Election is March 10, 2015.

Certified Fund Raising Executive · Boys Scouts of America - Central Florida Council · · Contact by email

Rebekah Brown

Rebekah Brown is CEO of The Marketing Square a Winter Park, Florida, and Madison, Wisconsin, website and ad agency. The Marketing Square is a boutique firm with a mature staff that provides advertising-based websites and marketing. Clients receive traffic and new revenue in a specified timeframe. Companies can handle their day-to-day business while The Marketing Square works for them online and offline, year-round in any economy.

A proud Wisconsin Badger and certified Cheesehead (Go Pack GO!), Brown is an awarded journalist and copy writer who enjoys photography, videography, sports, opera and deep sea fishing.

CEO · The Marketing Square · 407-434-9328 · Contact by email

Todd A. Bryant

Todd Bryant is a Financial Advisor and founding partner in Signature Wealth Advisors, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and has called Central Florida home since 1996. He started his career with Northwestern Mutual in Downtown Orlando and was with their firm for 7 years. While there, he twice led the region in new clients and held multiple leadership roles within the company. In 2014, Todd took the next step in his career by becoming a founding Partner in Signature Wealth Advisors, LLC. With the move, Todd is able to receive the support of a large and established organization, but still offer an intimate environment to bring greater flexibility toward achieving client’s financial goals. Todd holds the ChFC® (Chartered Financial Consultant) and CLU® (Chartered Life Underwriter) through the American College. Since 2012, he has achieved the National Quality Award from NAIFA, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He is also very active in many local organizations. Todd is a member of the UCF Alumni Association, the UCF Business Mentorship Program, the Citrus Club Board of Governors, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando Finance Committee, Alzheimer’s Association of Central & North Florida Audit Committee, founding member of the Med School Classic Advisory Board, and a Tri County Youth Sports Board Member.

Partner/Financial Advisor · Signature Wealth Advisors, LLC · 407-270-4992 · Contact by email

Lori Burbank

Lori Burbank is the Regional Operations Director for the Webster University, Central Florida Campuses, the Assistant Director of the two Orlando Sites and an adjunct full professor. She joined the Webster team in 1995, after a 20 year career in the United States Navy. She has over 30 years of management, operations, training and teaching experience in the military and private sectors.

Regional Operations Director · Webster University · 407-869-8111 · Contact by email

Bob Burke

Robert H. (Bob) Burke, Jr., AIA, NCARB, is a forensic Architect providing expert witness services to attorneys who represent owners, contractors, design professionals, subcontractors and suppliers regarding design and construction issues on a wide range of projects types throughout Florida. A University of Florida graduate and Distinguished Alumnus with over 43 years of experience, Bob recently retired from Burke Hogue Mills, Inc., the firm he co-founded in 1974, to form RHBj Consulting, LLC. His focus is on litigation support, forensic architecture and design.

Architect · RHBj Consulting, LLC · 407-376-2316 · Contact by email

Julie Buxton

Director of Human Resources · Miller Bearings, Inc. · 407-425-9078 · Contact by email