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The League of Women Voters of Florida Board of Directors

Meet the women and men leading our efforts across the state

Executive Committee
Patricia Brigham, President

Patricia Brigham, President

A proven national and Florida grassroots leader and coalition builder, Brigham joined the LWVFL state board in 2015 and moved into the position of first vice president in 2016. After joining the League of Women Voters of Orange County (LWVOC) in 2013 Patti quickly assumed leadership duties, serving on the Membership Committee and working with young League members to organize and host “Speak Easy with the League” events. In 2014 she formed the LWVOC Gun Safety Action team which was later adopted statewide. That same year she was appointed to the LWVOC Board of Directors and served for two years. In 2016, in the days following the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Patti partnered with Goodman to form the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence which now includes more than 100 organizational partners.

Patti grew up in Orlando and attended the University of Central Florida, where she earned a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in Liberal Studies. After several years at We Care, Inc., a suicide prevention and crisis intervention center, Patti forged a career in radio with responsibilities as a reporter, writer, and producer. During this time, she was recognized with several awards from media organizations, including American Women in Radio and Television and the Associated Press. She also worked as a freelance reporter for the Orlando Weekly, writing about the arts.

Cecile Scoon, First Vice President

Cecile Scoon, First Vice President

Cecile Scoon received a Visual and Environmental Studies undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1981. She is currently a civil rights lawyer in Panama City, Florida. After graduating from U. Virginia School of Law in 1984, she spent five years as an active duty Air Force JAG prosecuting in military courts martial. She retired from the A.F. reserves as a Major in 2005.

Cecile attempts to protect the rights of those wronged at work due to their race, religion, age, disability, place of birth, or unwanted sexual advances.

When not burning the midnight oil drafting lengthy pleadings, Cecile enjoys parenting her three children, 21, 24, and 27 as well as running, gardening, painting, and watching soccer with her best friend, husband, law partner, and LWV member, Alvin Peters.

Cecile is the president of the Bay County LWV and First Vice President of the LWV of Florida. In that capacity, she is also the chair of the state League efforts on the Restoration of Rights and for Health Care. Cecile is also a proud member of the Xi Omicron Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Shawn Bartelt, Second Vice President

Shawn Bartelt, Second Vice President

Shawn recently retired as Vice President and General Manager of WFTV, Channel 9, and WRDQ, Central Florida’s TV27. She joined Cox Television in 2000 as Director of Sales at WSOC-TV and WAXN-TV, and was promoted to General Manager in Orlando in 2006. She began her broadcasting career at WWSB-TV in Sarasota, Florida in 1977 as a reporter.

Shawn has served on the Board of Directors for Heart of Florida United Way and has chaired a United Way Campaign and Chef’s Gala.  She is also served as a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Metro Orlando, and was nominated as a Community Gem for the Hispanic Community by the chamber. She has been a volunteer in the Read 2 Succeed program and was instrumental in launching a groundbreaking mentor program, Operation Positive Direction, with Orlando Police Chief Val Demmings.

Born in Key West, Shawn is from the “Conch Republic” and lived in Marathon, Miami, and Sarasota before college. She attended USF and graduated from UF. She has two children and lives in the Delaney Park neighborhood of Orlando.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theresa Francis-Thomas, Treasurer

Theresa Francis-Thomas, Treasurer

Theresa has lived in the Orlando area for over 25 years and spent most of her career in public service. She has served as a legislative aide, a business analyst, and for almost 30 years, she worked for the Florida Department of Revenue and currently is a Tax Audit Supervisor. She also volunteers with the American Red Cross.

At Jacksonville University, Theresa earned a bachelor’s degree in Management and Economics and continued post-baccalaureate work in accounting at the University of Central Florida. She has served as Chairperson of the Budget Committee for the last three years and as a member of the LWVFL Board.

Directors
Lisa Hall

Lisa Hall

Lisa draws from nearly three decades of media experience—on both the receiving and sending ends. After almost 17 years as a broadcast news producer, she launched her intended career in public relations in 2000 and led the public affairs practice as Senior Vice President of SalterMitchell (formerly Herrle Communications Group) until July of 2013.

As director of public affairs, Lisa played an important role in strategic planning by facilitating brainstorming sessions, developing creative content, and identifying news angles. She has led statewide campaigns that have resulted in major client victories, as well as a grassroots campaign that helped save Florida’s State Library.

While continuing her work with SalterMitchell clients as a senior consultant to the firm, Lisa launched Hall+Media in part to pursue additional opportunities to advocate on behalf of judicial branches that are under siege across the country.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Hall moved to Florida in 1987 to accept a position as News Producer for WSVN in Miami. In 1990, she migrated north to Tallahassee, where she continued her journalism career as Capital Bureau Chief and Regional Manager for a television news cooperative serving 10 stations across Florida. She went on to serve as News Director for WTWC and Managing Editor for Florida’s News Channel before making the move to public relations. Lisa is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and credentialed as a Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) by the Florida Public Relations Association. She is active in numerous community organizations.

 

Maggie Lawrence

Maggie Lawrence

Maggie plays an active role in changing minds for the better as a project manager and media buyer with SalterMitchell, a behavior change marketing firm in Tallahassee. In her capacity with the agency’s public relations and behavior change divisions, Maggie leads and supports integrated marketing communications campaigns, with a special focus on paid media strategy and implementation, for high-profile governmental, nonprofit and corporate clients, including the Federal Voting Assistance Program, No Kid Hungry, Florida Impact, and the International Rhino Foundation.

Formerly a manager for the League of Women Voters of Florida, Maggie is well-versed in Florida state politics and public affairs issues, as well as voting rights issues and voter service initiatives. After leaving the state office, she maintained her involvement with the organization at the local level as a board director for the League of Women Voters of Tallahassee before joining the state board.

After graduating in 2010 from the University of Florida with bachelor’s degrees in English and journalism, Maggie earned a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from Florida State University. In her free time, Maggie volunteers as a foster parent for the Tallahassee/Leon County Animal Service Center, raising homeless kittens into adoptable pets.

 

 

 

 

 

Michele Levy

Michele Levy

Michele was born in The Bronx, New York and she grew up in the city and attended public schools. She graduated from the City College of New York with a BA in English and a minor in Education. In 1973, Michele’s husband was transferred to Orlando and she began a new career as a social worker, and went back to School at UCF. She worked for the state in what was then the Department of Family Services determining eligibility for welfare, food stamps and Medicaid. Several years later she began working for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and spent a rewarding career working with children and adults with developmental disabilities.

She retired in 2005 after 30 years and then began her own company, MRL Training Consultants where she trained job coaches, supported living coaches and direct care staff. In 2007, she joined the League of Women Voters in an effort to become more involved with community and local politics. She has served as co-president of the Orange County League for three years and as co-chair of the Government Committee for six years. She has worked the polls for the League since the historic election of 2008, and became interested in Open Primaries soon after. Michele chaired the statewide study on Open Primaries, and saw most of the consensus statements approved at our last Convention.

Mark Pafford

Mark Pafford

Mark S. Pafford is a native Floridian from North Miami. He earned his bachelor degree in Public Administration and minor in Political Science at Florida International University. As a college student he worked as a naturalist/interpretive guide at Arch Creek Park in Dade County. After college he worked for Congressman Lawrence J. Smith and later as State Representative Lois Frankel’s legislative assistant.

Pafford served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 88 (2008-2012) and District 86 (2012-2016) which included Haverhill, Loxahatchee Groves, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington and West Palm Beach in Palm Beach County. Pafford’s professional career in the non-profit sector includes work at the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter, The Lord’s Place, Area Agency on Aging Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Florida ACLU, Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for the Everglades and Florida Community Health Action Information Network (FL CHAIN).

As a member of the Florida House Pafford served as the Democratic Caucus’ Policy Chair (2012-2014) and as the Democratic Leader (2014-2016). As a legislator Pafford was a an outspoken advocate for the People of Florida on issues relating to the environment, health care, public education and the annual budget.

Pafford serves as a volunteer for FL CHAIN and enjoys hiking and birding in Florida’s vanishing wilderness areas.

Marty Sullivan

Marty Sullivan

Marty feels strongly, as a fifth-generation Floridian, about our State and its social, political, economic and environmental future.

He worked with LWV Orange County on voter registration and served as chair of Orange County League’s Natural Resource Committee. Orange County League presented him “Natural Resources Hero Award” for winning major environmental battles.

He has worked as an environmental advocate, beginning in 1994 with George Barley’s Save Our Everglades campaign, and has served on regional and municipal boards advocating for quality of life and the environment. He chaired the MetroPlan Orlando Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and also served on City of Winter Park Utilities Advisory Board, Stormwater Board of Appeals, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and Lakes and Waterways Advisory Board. He currently serves on the Orange County Public Works Advisory Board.

He is a professional engineer as were his father and grandfather.  He grew up in Tampa and moved to Winter Park in 1982. Marty holds his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of South Florida, an MS degree in economics (FSU) and an MS degree in engineering (UCF). He is currently retired from work as a geotechnical engineer. In his spare time he enjoys many outdoor activities.

Marty and his wife, Maura Smith, enjoy traveling, paddling, and camping together as well as spending time with their granddaughter Livvy, son-in-law Tom, and daughter Liz, who serves as Hillsborough County League treasurer. They now live on the Hillsborough River in the house in which Marty grew up.

Staff
Lisa Calleja, Operations Director

Lisa Calleja, Operations Director

Lisa Calleja has called Central Florida home for over 30 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and master’s degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Central Florida. Lisa’s career includes ten years with HD Supply Waterworks, a nationwide distribution company. As Manager of Credit, she was responsible for $600M in accounts receivable and supervised a team of seven credit personnel. She left HD Supply in 2016 to care for her young son.

Lisa currently serves as co-chair of the gun safety committee for the League of Women Voters of Orange County. She is passionate about this cause and is extremely happy to volunteer and work for an organization devoted to advocacy, education and empowerment. In her free time, Lisa enjoys going outdoors with her husband and son.

Elijah Jennings, Bookkeeper

Elijah Jennings, Bookkeeper

Elijah was born in St. Petersburg, FL and grew up in Orlando, where he attended the University of Central Florida. While working as an Operations Manager at Albertson’s LLC,  he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. He then went on to work as a Tax Auditor with the Florida Department of Revenue. After two years of public service, he was offered and accepted a position with a franchise real estate firm called, Realogy, Inc. where he worked as a corporate auditor for the State of Florida. Currently, Elijah is serving as a bookkeeper for the LWVFL. In his time of leisure, he enjoys cooking, going to the movies, and spending time with his dog, Tyson.

Abdelilah Skhir, Communication & Membership Director

Abdelilah Skhir, Communication & Membership Director

Abdelilah is a Miami native who has called Tallahassee home for the past five years. He is a master’s candidate in the Applied American Politics and Policy Program at Florida State University. He graduated from Florida State in the spring of 2014 with a double major in Political Science and International Affairs. After joining the League as a Legislative Intern in 2015, he signed on as the LWVFL bookkeeper. Abdelilah hopes to continue to be a part of the legislative process after obtaining his master’s degree.

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