2019-20 Citizens Advisory Committee Biographies and Photos
Mary Ann Morgan is the chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee. From Winter Park, she is an AV-rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell and managing partner of Billings, Morgan and Boatwright (soon to become Morgan Trial Law). She served on The Florida Bar Board of Governors, representing the Ninth Judicial Circuit, from 2009-2018. She is former chair of The Florida Bar Communications Committee, former chair of the Disciplinary Review Committee and served on the Board of Governors Executive Committee. In 2016, Morgan was presented with the Tony Boggs Excellence in Discipline Award by the president of The Florida Bar. The award recognizes dedication, integrity, intellectual excellence and extraordinary work in and on behalf of the lawyer discipline efforts of The Florida Bar. She also serves on The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services and has donated countless hours representing the interests of children. She is a past president of the Orange County Bar Association and past president of the Orange County Legal Aid Society. She has been selected as a member of the National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Pre-Eminent Women Lawyers.
Maggie Davis is the vice-chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee. Davis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Pensacola, with specializations in nonprofit management, grant writing and research, and mental health services. She has co-authored publications in the Journal of Cognitive Therapy and Research and in the Journal of Evidenced-Informed Social Work. In service and project management roles, Davis has been event coordinator for the Task Force on Interpersonal Violence in a university setting and has participated in a service project with the Kids League in Kampala, Uganda. Davis has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kennesaw State University and a master’s in social work from Ohio University. She also has completed a Graduate Business Foundation Certificate from the University of West Florida. She currently is serving as a member of the 1st Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “A” and as president of the Advisory Committee at Pathways For Change in Pensacola. She also has served as a member of the Community Building and Engagement team for The Florida Bar Foundation’s “Escambia Project.”
Patience A. Burns, a Certified Association Executive (CAE), was employed by the Palm Beach County Bar Association from December 1980 until her retirement in October 2016. She served as its assistant executive director from 1980 until September 1989, when she was promoted to the position of executive director. She previously worked for The Florida Bar from 1978-1980. She is currently the executive director of the Fourth District Court of Appeal Historical Society and serves as a consultant to small voluntary bar associations. Burns earned the American Society of Association Executives’ CAE designation in 2005. Only about 5 percent of association executives nationwide have achieved this designation. During her tenure with the PBCBA, she served on The Florida Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service Committee from 1983 until 2012 and also on the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee from 1989 until her retirement. She was also active with the National Association of Bar Executives, serving on numerous committees, as a consultant to other bar associations and as a member of its Board of Directors. In 2012, she was awarded the inaugural Marshall R. Cassedy, Sr. Award from The Florida Bar for outstanding support of the legal profession.
Karen Cespedes is a consultant on complex litigation with Esquire Deposition Solutions in Miami. With more than 12 years in the legal industry, she has significant experience establishing strategic partnerships, developing and implementing consultative litigation strategies and collaborating with legal professionals. Cespedes has served as a State Department Political Fellow in Taiwan and led the human rights, human trafficking and judicial reform portfolios during her tenure at the American Institute in Taipei. Upon her return to Miami, she forged a partnership between Esquire and the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) to subsidize CABA’s pro bono efforts and facilitate interpreters and court reporters for pro bono attorneys who represent human trafficking victims. The success of the partnership persuaded Esquire and its CEO, Terrie Campbell, to drive the program nationally. Currently, Cespedes sits on the CABA Pro Bono Board of Directors, The Florida Bar’s 11th Circuit Grievance Committee I and is the incoming chair for the Young Professionals arm of Legal Services of Greater Miami. Cespedes was recently awarded the 2017 Publico Award CABA for leading efforts to provide relief to Hurricane Irma victims by recruiting and coordinating more than 100 volunteers to staff hurricane legal clinics in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
Vincent Cuomo is a senior vice president and Southeast regional director of sales for Esquire Bank. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Jupiter with his family. Cuomo has been in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. He has many licenses and accreditations, but is most proud of his licensing as a Certified Financial Manager. He specializes in helping those in the legal field with their financial needs. Cuomo has previously served on a Florida Bar Grievance Committee for the 15th Circuit. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County and on the board of directors for a number of non-profit organizations. Additionally, he has helped to raise funds and awareness for local charities supporting the welfare of children. He has raised more than $100,000 for these charities and last year received a Certificate of Appreciation from Palm Beach County commissioners.
Allen Jackson is the president and CEO of Triune Consulting, as well as the pastor of Ark Restoration Church International. Jackson served in the U.S. Army before his career in law enforcement working for the Pompano Beach Police Department and then the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Jackson has focused on community outreach during his career receiving such awards as Outstanding Community Service Award: City of Pompano Beach; Outstanding Civilian of the Quarter Award: Pompano Police Department (1995); Distinguished Service Award: Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (1996); Outstanding Community Service Award: Pompano Beach MLK Committee (2002); and Outstanding Civilian Award: Broward Sheriff Office (2004). Jackson has been a guest speaker and panel guest on various radio and local television shows. He has been featured and reported on in various local TV media and print media because of his community involvement work.
Thomas A. Kontinos is the chief Operating Officer for eGuarded, LLC., and President/Owner of TKInvestigations, Inc. In 1979, he began in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and was later promoted to detective in the General Crimes Division. In 1989, he was assigned to a Federal Task Force to investigate the murder of a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informant and the first bombing of a DEA office in the United States. In 1993, he joined the State Attorney’s Office, 20th Judicial Circuit, as an investigator. During the next 10 years, he rose through the ranks to special investigative assistant to the State Attorney. He helped create Southwest Florida’s first Economic Crimes Unit. He retired from law enforcement in 2005 and started a private investigations and employment screening business. He holds an A.A. in Criminal Justice from Edison Community College (now FSW); a B.S. in Public Administration from Barry University; and a M.S. in Information Systems Management, Summa Cum Laude, from Hodges University.
Steven Robert Maxwell was born in Coral Gables. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science, public administration and higher education from the University of Florida (B.A.), University of Dayton (M.P.A.) and Florida State University (Ed.D.). Maxwell has more than 35 years of experience in state and local government (city and county management, program management), education (university, community college and public school administration, instruction and coaching) and radio and television broadcasting as a live talk show host for public affairs programs for a decade. He is employed by the School District of Lee County and Florida Southwestern State College as an adjunct professor. Previously he served two governors as an appointed public member for the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission. He also was appointed as a public member by the Florida Supreme Court to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society and is a budget reviewer for the Government Finance Officers Association. Maxwell is the president and owner of Maxwell’s Sanibel Lime-elo, Inc., a Florida citrus corporation.
Hong Potomski, MBA, MA, is executive director for Andrews Research & Education Foundation (AREF), the research and education arm of Andrews Institute, an orthopedic and sports medicine program in Northwest Florida and South Alabama. Potomski is responsible for the development and implementation of operational and growth strategies for AREF. Her areas of expertise include operational excellence, service line development, strategic planning and business strategy. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Pensacola, Potomski is an active member of the community. She serves on numerous boards. She is the current governing board chair with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida. In addition, she is a member of Impact 100. Potomski is also an alumna of Leadership Pensacola and Leadership Florida’s Connect Florida Class VI. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida and dual Masters (MBA and MA) with a concentration in health care from the University of West Florida.
Diana Santa Maria is the managing and founding partner of the personal injury firm, the Law Offices of Diana Santa Maria, P.A. She is an author and lecturer to other lawyers within the field of personal injury and medical malpractice. She has served as an adjunct professor of Law at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law and on various boards in the legal community including the Board of Directors for the Broward County Bar, Broward Justice Association, the Florida Justice Association as well as the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Fort Lauderdale Chapter. In 2004, she was appointed by the governor and served four years as a commissioner on the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.
Melanie Shore is a senior vice president and private banker with Ameris Bank. She has been a banker for over 30 years. A native of Lakeland, she is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a BSBA in Marketing/Management. She is accredited through the Florida Public Relations Association and has received the designation of APR (Accredited Public Relations professional). Shore has been a president, board member and campaign chair for United Way of Alachua County, and served many years on the United Way of Florida Board of Directors. She currently serves on the board and executive committee of The Community Foundation of North Central Florida. She is a University of Florida Performing Arts emeriti board member, a member of the WUFT Friends of Five Board of Trustees and serves on The Education Foundation of Alachua County. She also serves on the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Gainesville and is a board member of the Board of Trustees at North Florida Medical Center.
Wilhelmina Tribble is a certified International Facilitator and Founder of Lowe Tribble & Associates (LTA) Inc. She is a speaker, educator and coach. She has facilitated meetings and training sessions in more than 20 countries. She also trains and certifies other facilitators. Tribble is the founder and president of LTA, an SBA 8(a) certified woman-owned business that has provided training, facilitating and coaching to organizations in the private and public sectors since 1989. Tribble earned a M.S. degree in Education Administration from California State University and her B.S. degree in Education from the City University of New York. She has advanced certifications in Executive Coaching, International Protocol, International Facilitation and various human resource assessments.
Holly Tyrrell is a relationship manager and associate director at Legacy Trust Family Wealth Offices. As a Certified Financial Planner, she has worked in financial services for more than 14 years. Tyrrell has a passion for working with second-generation “kids” ages 17 to 70 along with Legacy’s women clients. Taking her meetings off-site, incorporating “games” and using the Legacy Trust Investing 101 Curriculum are some of the tools she uses to create connections with her clients. Tyrrell currently is chair for the Beaches Boys & Girls Club Unit Board and is on the Board of Governors for Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida. She is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Northeast Florida and the Association of Corporate Growth North Florida. Growing up in Jacksonville, Tyrrell graduated from Stanton College Preparatory High School. She holds a B.S. in communications from Florida State University.
Lorene Wilson of Tallahassee is retired after a career in health care. She has 35 years of professional supervisory and management experience, with primary responsibilities in policy and procedures development and coordination of citizen policy-making board. Wilson most recently worked for 12 years with the Florida Department of Health, where she was chief of the Bureau of Management Services in the Division of Medical Quality Assurance. Before that, she worked in Leon County government as well as in other departments in state government. Wilson now serves as a volunteer with SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders), a free program, offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and local Area Agency on Aging organizations, to assist senior citizens with health care options. Wilson has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida A&M University and a master’s in psychology from the University of South Carolina.