How long have you been a FCCMA member?
I have been a FCCMA member for 2 years.
Are you an ICMA member and if so, how long?
I have been an ICMA member for 2 years.
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Florida A&M University, and Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Local Government Administration from Florida State University.
What got you interested in public service?
I’m a Tallahassee native, and grew up being fascinated with law, and politics. I grew up in a family who taught me the importance of staying involved in my community, and informed on current events, especially politics.
What is your current occupation?
I am the Finance Manager for the City of Lake Helen, FL.
Please give a brief job description.
As Finance Manager, I direct the City’s financial functions including budget development and monitoring, accounting, procurement, and manage its grants. I also manage some areas of intergovernmental affairs including legislative advocacy, as well as manage the City’s internship program.
Please describe your typical day.
My days aren’t very typical aside from basic financial management. I represent the City on regional boards, complete special projects such as writing reports and policy memos, build relationships with our state and federal legislative delegation, as well as building relationships with our sister cities and governmental partners.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is generally helping my Commission realize its goals for the community, and helping them advocate for Lake Helen’s needs.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
My least favorite part is being unsuccessful in the above. A recent example was helping the Commission work with the Legislature to include a large capital project in the State’s FY 19 Budget, only to have it vetoed on the Governor’s desk. It was the first time in years the City had gotten a project through both Chambers.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
My entire tenure has been memorable. There’s never a dull moment in the “Gem of Florida.”
What are hobbies/interests?
Aside from work, I enjoy fitness, and solo travel. My lifetime goal is to backpack in and around each of the world’s largest cities. I’ve covered four and have about 20 more on my list. I also practically live at the beach, even during the winter months.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
A career in the public service is one of few in which you’ll have the chance to contribute something meaningful to humanity. It is, at times, thankless and brutal, but ultimately fulfilling.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other young public administrators?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of mentors. When I first became interested in local government, Tallahassee’s former City Manager of 20 years, Mrs. Anita Favors-Thompson invited me to her office to talk about her career and experiences as City Manager. Vince Long, Leon County’s Administrator, gave me my first local government job as his Management Intern. My former professor and now colleague, Raoul Lavin, who is Tallahassee’s Assistant City Manager got me really interested in budgeting in graduate school. My current City Administrator, Jason Yarborough, has been a valuable mentor. Leondrae Camel, the City Manager of South Bay, and with whom I share an undergraduate alma mater, has also been valuable. They are all FCCMA members.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
I’ve always worked in the public sector. My first “real” job after undergrad was with the Florida Legislature. My very first job at 14 years old was at the Leon County Public Library through its summer jobs program. I later served as the County’s Management Intern during graduate school.
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
If I had to choose another career, I would have been an Economist. I really enjoy perusing economic data, analyses, and predicting trends, because market conditions shape politics and society as a whole.