Glasser/Schoenbaum is an integral part of our community. They not only provide critical commercial space for non-profits but also build networks within our community to meet the needs of our most vulnerable.
Here on Florida’s Suncoast we see more people and businesses find their way to these shores every year, but this also means the number in need grows as well. Ensuring that everyone has access to the services needed for their health, wellbeing and quality of life is a challenge that Bill and Barbara Little have worked with The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center to meet head on. Bill and Barbara have spent their lives working in health and human services as well as nursing education respectively, seeing firsthand the complexity of addressing needs of people in our community. We need dedicated and passionate individuals to lead this effort to ensure lasting change.
This is why we are honoring three intrepid nonprofit staff who have shown their ability to collaborate within and outside their organization to put self-interest aside and find systemic solutions for a better future. Please join us in recognizing our first-ever Emerging Leader Award Recipients as they pave their path!
In the Physical and Behavioral Health category we have Tiona Settles, a certified community health worker with CenterPlace Health since May 2022. She learned the importance of humanitarian work and advocacy in the community during her study at Florida A&M University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in health science. During her undergraduate study, Tiona not only learned more about humanitarian work but also how networking could be used to combine efforts and accomplish those goals. Tiona solidified these interests into a goal during a medical mission to South America where she helped provide people with free medical and surgical care. Being in foster care at the time, Tiona didn't have financial support in pursuing higher education but still pushed herself to do so and earned her Masters in Public Health after returning from her medical mission trip.
Since then, Tiona has been working in similarly frontline positions such as the Sarasota County Department of Health where she was educating the public, providing free vaccinations, and advising care facilities on their infection control practices. It’s this kind of work that has provided the foundation of her leadership. She relies on both her ability to learn and adapt, as well as her own lived experiences.
Tiona spoke last year to students at Booker High School as part of a program with Take Stock in Children, which helps to connect underserved students with mentors and college scholarships. She gave advice using her professional knowledge, and also talked about her own experiences to connect with the students. The courage to be vulnerable, combined with her sharp mind, make Tiona the inspiring leader she has come to be.
In the Arts and Culture category we have Kelly Duyn, the Assistant Director of Education & Community Engagement for Venice Theatre. As the first-ever student intern for Venice Theatre she experienced the way that an opportunity like this could inspire and nurture someone who is growing up and finding their way in the world. After earning her BA in Theatre from the University of Central Florida she continued her career with her passion for both education and theater.
Kelly has a 20-year teaching resume including coaching a nationally ranked speech and debate team and developing, as well as running, theater programs for elementary through high school, both in the US and China. Among these theater programs is Venice Theatre’s Troupe in A Trunk Outreach Program and Venice Theatre’s Youth Production Company. Kelly’s colleague Tim Wisgerhof, Resident Designer for Venice Theatre, speaks to Kelly’s ability to turn these theatrical productions into conversations. The themes and subject matter of her shows contain important and engaging topics all on their own, but Kelly pushes that further to create actual dialogues with the cast and audiences. In one of her recent projects, directing a production of Godspell, Kelly deftly created an environment where the cast and crew could speak with her openly about their thoughts and experiences. Rehearsals included meaningful discussions on religious diversity, not only aiding the integrity of the performance but also ensuring that the those involved were empowered on an individual level. This is where Kelly shines as a leader, in the way that she paves a path for the next generation.
It's fitting that one of the first three recipients of this award would be someone who embraces the concept of supporting new leaders in her own work the way that Kelly has. She has encouraged her students and peers to speak honestly to her, to not shy away from mistakes that can be learning opportunities, and to find the confidence to chase their dreams.
In the Human Services category we have Dana LeBlanc who currently works as the Assistant Director for Faces of Accomplishment and the Quality and Utilization Management Liaison for the Safe Children Coalition. Dana graduated from Georgia Southern University and worked in public relations for a large cable company for some time before moving to Sarasota. She came here to care for her two daughters for many years before returning to the workforce with an interest in the field of social work. She has since been working with the Faces of Accomplishment as well as the Safe Children Coalition, showing her care for others and a drive to always continue learning.
Faces of Accomplishment is an organization that works to provide mentorship and scholarships for underserved and struggling students. Dana showed her commitment to these students as a mentor and was offered the role of Assistant Director as a result. As her role expanded, Dana responded by expanded her skills to gain more of an understanding of the nonprofit field. While Dana already possessed excellent writing and communication skills from her time in public relations, she worked hard to hone new skills like community networking, grant writing, and public speaking to name a few.
Despite having an experienced career and a position in leadership, Dana continues her journey to learn more. In her words, “Leadership takes initiative!”. Dana certainly leads by example, as she has put in the time to learn all about her new industry to better serve her community. Using this as a way to not only better herself, Dana also to brings those lessons back to her students. Dana defines her leadership by her love of people and her willingness to always continue learning.
The staff at Glasser/Schoenbaum have done a great job of connecting the many organizations on campus and creating a space that sparks collaboration. This sense of community extends to staff and clients alike, helping to break down barriers and leading to innovative ways to serve the community as a whole.
Real estate is one of the greatest costs in a business budget. Our partnership with The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center allows more money to go towards our mission. And what better place to house our office than on a campus with nineteen other outreach agencies.