One Orlando Alliance Board of Directors
Sherri Absher is a financial services representative with New York Life Insurance Company, where she has been serving for the past 4 years, focusing on her passion for the LGBTQ+ and women’s markets. Prior to entering the financial services arena, Sherri served for 12 years as a police officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, rising to the rank of Detective Sergeant. Sherri is also a proud veteran, having served in the United States Marine Corps and has always volunteered to give back to her communities. While in St. Louis she helped as a Board Member to grow Responder Rescue Inc., a non-profit assisting sick and injured first responders in the St. Louis, Missouri area.
After returning to Florida and financial services to be closer to family, Sherri wanted to join efforts for equality and inclusion and joined the Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando, Central Florida’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, where she later was elected to the Board of Directors and currently serves as VP of Operations and Programming Chair. As a board member, she strives for equality through economics in the Central Florida region and assists in developing and managing programs to reach those goals.
Sherri also currently serves on the Leadership Council of Out and Equal of Greater Orlando as Co-chair, where she works for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Upon formation of One Orlando Alliance, Sherri began volunteering and coordinating member meetings. She was later elected to the Board of Directors by the membership where she continues to serve today as a Membership Representative and as head of the Membership Committee.
Paul F. Bryan
Paul F. Bryan is a lifelong Orlando resident and eighth generation Floridian. Today, he is active in varied business enterprises: real estate development, technology and cell tower operations. His career has included the practice of law, founding the Orlando Magic, CEO of a national real estate company and various entrepreneurial ventures. He was a partner in developing the notable Bank of America Tower in downtown Orlando and is still an ardent supporter of the evolution of Orlando’s downtown into a national destination.
Throughout his years in Central Florida, participating in community organizations, in particular arts and social services, has been a top personal priority. Growing up, he watched his parents volunteer service in and lead many organizations that supported Orlando; his commitment to service is a heritage. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Aspire Health Partners, a non-profit organization and Central Florida’s largest provider of behavioral health services. He serves on the board of Cultural Fusion, a theater company focused on African-American and Latino theater. He was a founder and is on the board of The Zebra Coalition, a nationally recognized charity serving LGBT+ young people. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Creative City Project, a nationally recognized weekend event for performing arts held annually in Orlando, Florida. He was appointed to and served on the One Orlando Fund Board of Directors, which directed the distribution of over $30,000,000.00 to survivors and families, after the Pulse Tragedy of June 12, 2016.
Mr. Bryan is a graduate of the University of Florida, with an undergraduate degree (B.S. in Political Science and English) and Juris Doctor degree from the Levin College of Law.
Carlos Carbonell (Chair of the Board of Directors)
Carlos Carbonell is the founder and CEO of Echo Interaction Group, a successful tech strategy and mobile app development firm with hundreds of apps and tech feasibility consulting projects under its belt. A leader in the local tech, business, Latino and LGBT communities he is part of several boards including Orlando Economic Partnership, Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, Creative City Project, Orlando City Soccer Foundation, Contigo Fund and the OneOrlando Fund. Carlos is a passionate community organizer and leader in the tech scene, was one of the founders and current President of the Board of the Orlando Tech Association and also serves on the boards of the tech co-working space Canvs, and the only evergreen seed fund in the Southeast, FireSpring Fund for which he has helped raise over a million dollars to help fund startups.
Carlos is the recipient of the prestigious Don Quijote Award for Hispanic Business of the Year awarded in 2013 by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. He was named one of the finalists for the Orlando Sentinel’s 2015 Central Floridian of the Year and the LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s Community Champion award.
Carlos was named one of Orlando Business Journal’s 40 under 40, one of Orlando Sentinel’s local “Power Brokers” and included in Orlando Magazine’s “Most Powerful List’s 15 to Watch in 2016.” Watermark Magazine’s named him one of the “Most Remarkable People of 2016.” In 2014, Governor Rick Scott’s office awarded hs company Echo with the Business Excellence. That same year, Congressman Alan Grayson entered Carlos into the Congressional Record for outstanding contributions to the LGBT, Business and Latino communities in Central Florida. Carlos has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Orlando Business Journal, Orlando Sentinel, El Sentinel, Fox News, Univision, and Telemundo and is a regular contributor to the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida 100 Opinion Section.
Sam Graper (Membership Representative)*
Sam Graper has always had a unique perspective on life. As the Community Relations Manager at Orlando Immunology Center (OIC) he is forging new paradigms in healthcare communication and corporate social responsibility. His passion for empowerment through education drives his direct community engagement and development of cross-sector relationships. His focus for the last 9 years is utilizing these formidable skills to ending HIV in Central Florida.
Envisioning a better community in childhood, he dedicated his life early to this endeavor by achieving Eagle Scout rank. As a Landscape Architect, his effectiveness at communicating complex information and bringing diverse communities together created solutions that were successful in achieving common goals. Circumstances brought Sam into recovery, changing his life’s trajectory but equipping him with a particular set of skills and experiences to become a leading LGBT healthcare and HIV expert in Central Florida.
His current role at OIC is an industry first for a private practice making Sam a national pioneer. He wrote the job description and everything he’s does focuses on putting patients first. He makes healthcare uncomplicated for patients, improving their experience and health outcomes. Sam developed and is expanding OIC’s brand beyond that HIV through new collaborations and diversifying community involvement. He launched a social media presence across four platforms and devised a strategy of engagement that is increasing followers at a rate of 100% a year. Creating great content and unifying groups has amplified messaging for health awareness days reaching over 100,000 in the last year. Sam also serves as Chair of the Central Florida HIV Planning Council (CFHPC) which is responsible for planning HIV care and prevention for Central Florida’s 3.2 million residents. His volunteer work on The National HIV Strategy at the state and local level provides a broad overview of healthcare and exemplifies his commitment to ending HIV in Central Florida.
Leah G James, CPA, MSTax
Leah G James, CPA, MSTax is the president of gecko CPA Firm in Winter Park, Florida where she works closely with LGBTQ+ individuals, businesses, changemakers, and not?for?profit organizations. She has been in the field of public accounting for almost 30 years, providing tax, accounting, consulting, and management advisory services.
Leah has been a resident of the Orlando area for 24 years and began her local community work by serving 4 years as Treasurer and Membership Director on the board of the Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando, Central Florida’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. During that time, she also served for 2 years, including on the founding committee for Come Out with Pride. On the City of Orlando Audit Board, she served 6 years in various roles including Chair and Vice Chair.
Leah is a graduate of Flagler College with an undergraduate degree (BA, Cum Laude? Accounting, Business & Psychology), and Master of Science in Taxation from University of Central Florida.
Leah is also an avid photographer and Certified Yoga Teacher.
Adrian Kierulf, a transplant to Orlando, spent the majority of his childhood moving across the United States and developed a deep love for travel and adventure. His journeys took him to California, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Indiana, where he graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. Upon graduation, he relocated to Chicago, IL, where he served with City Year, a national education non-profit and AmeriCorps program focused on keeping underserved youth in school and on track to high school graduation.
He also served with City Year’s Civic Engagement department, where he engaged corporate donors and organized large-scale beautification projects across the City of Chicago. In 2012, Adrian had the opportunity to expand City Year’s national footprint in Florida, helping to found the program in Orange County Public Schools.
His ardent passion for public service, citizen engagement and social responsibility led him to join Orange County Government in 2015, where he served as an aide to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. In that role, Adrian coordinated ongoing special projects on behalf of the mayor, served as the mayor’s liaison at community events, and facilitated community outreach efforts with particular emphasis on the LGBTQ, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic communities.
Following Mayor Jacobs’ two terms in office, Adrian transitioned to JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he currently works in Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs, helping to drive strategic communications, community and government relations, civic engagement and the firm’s philanthropic efforts across the states of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Andrea began a new chapter of her career when she was appointed President/CEO of the Harvey and Carol Massey Foundation. She also took on the role of Sr. Vice President for Community Relations for Massey Services, Inc, the nation’s fifth largest pest prevention company. In her work with the Foundation, Andrea oversees its daily operations to ensure that its mission and goals are in alignment with the Board’s plans and vision for charitable giving and outreach. Andrea also manages the strategic community relations efforts of Massey Services and its team members.
Prior to managing the Harvey and Carol Massey Foundation, Andrea was President/CEO of Massey Communications, driving all facets of the full-service advertising, graphic design, public relations and marketing agency. She has over 20 years of marketing, advertising and public relations experience with clients from varying industries.
Andrea is a fervent advocate for educational advancement and the arts. She serves on several boards including Orange County CRC Governing Board, Nemours Florida Board of Managers, the Rollins College Hamilton Holt School Advisory Board, the Orlando Shakes Board of Trustees, the Mead Botanical Garden Board of Trustees, the YMCA of Central Florida and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Board. She is a 2011 winner of the Woman of Distinction award presented by Girl Scouts of Citrus Council, and was also a 2012 nominee for the Orlando Business Journal’s Women to Watch award.
As a deeply-rooted Floridian (her family has lived and worked here for over 30 years), Andrea has been the driving force behind many successful volunteer initiatives, including the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign. She graduated from Rollins College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communications. Andrea lives in Winter Park, Florida with her husband James and her twin sons, Ethan and Tedy.
Felipe Matos Rodriguez
Felipe Matos Rodriguez is the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Sr Specialist for the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the City of Orlando. In this capacity, he proposes policy recommendations, programs, advocates for best practices on LGBTQ issues, immigrant and refugee affairs; as well as, outreach in the Muslim, Brazilian, Arab American, and Haitian communities to encourage greater participation in city services.
Previously, he was the Manager of Collaborative Partnerships at the City of Orlando. In this role, he served as the point of contact on behalf of the City on all issues focused on the long-term recovery from the Pulse tragedy.
Felipe managed deliverable, removed barriers, and created qualifiers and quality standards for those served at the Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC), a program created to serve those directly impacted by the Pulse tragedy. The OUAC was made possible by a collaboration between the City of Orlando, Orange County, and Heart of Florida United Way. He advocated and supported the various stakeholders of the mental health and social service systems, the LGBTQ community and communities of color, all whom are integral in the creation of a successful support system.
Felipe is an immigrant from Brazil and he came to Miami when he was 14 years old. In 2010, he walked on the Trail of Dreams, a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to Washington, DC, to share the stories of immigrant youth. He also worked with Presente.org, an organization seeking to solve some of the most pressing issues impacting the Latino community through communication strategies.
He co-directed GetEQUAL, a national social justice LGBTQ organization, and he served as the Deputy Managing Director at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth network in the country. He worked at ThoughtWorks, a multinational software company, working at the Office of Social Change Initiatives as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. He graduated from Miami-Dade College with an Associates in Arts in International Relations and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies and a Minor in Economics from St. Thomas University.
Robin Maynard-Harris has served the citizens of Orange County as a Paramedic and Crime Scene Investigator since 1995. After the loss of her Mom Libby to breast cancer in 2006, Robin knew saving lives would take on a whole new path and with that, Libby’s Legacy was formed in 2007. Robin worked full time as a CSI while running the foundation until 2009 when she cashed in her 401K and left her career to dedicate herself to this foundation in her Mother’s honor and memory. Robin has gone on to receive certification in Patient Navigation from the George Washington University and has received numerous awards including Hometown Hero, Non-Profit Leadership award from the Women’s Executive Council, Congressional recognition during women’s history month, Public Citizen of the Year from National Association of Social Workers and Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2016. Robin is a passionate advocate who served as Vice-Chair for Pulse of Orlando and who is committed to ensuring every person gets the care and treatment they need to live a long and full life.
Robin continues to work with the Pulse affected community and advocates for resources and healing. She lives on 28 acres with her wife Tracey and 2 rescue dogs, Winston and Sloan.
Debbie Tuzzolino serves as Florida accounting manager for Turner Construction Company, where she is responsible for all accounting functions for Turner’s Miami, Orlando and Tampa offices and job sites. She has been with the company for the past 16 years. Debbie started her career with Turner Construction in Arlington, Virginia, as a senior accountant, followed by a move to Tampa, Florida, where she traveled across the country with Turner’s internal audit team.
Turner Construction’s significant and ongoing investment in diversity, inclusion, and workplace equality is visible through the Pride Alliance, the company’s LGBTQ employee resource group. In 2015, Turner became the first construction company to place on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and in 2016, the company earned a score of 100/100 – a perfect score it’s held for the past three years.
During her time in Tampa, Debbie served on Moffitt Cancer Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council as an advocate for the LGBTQ community. She has also spoken to medical students, nursing students and other audiences about how healthcare disparities can impact LGBTQ patients and their families.
In 2016, Debbie formally launched Turner Orlando’s Pride Alliance chapter, with the mission to promote LGBTQ equality both within Turner and externally, and provide a safe space for Turner coworkers who are members of the LGBTQ community and to advocate on their behalf. Under her leadership, Turner became the first commercial construction company to join MBA Orlando and participate in the Come Out with Pride festival, and Debbie continues to advocate for supplier diversity in the construction industry. In 2018, Turner’s Pride Alliance was named Pride Superstars/Employee Resource Group of the Year by MBA Orlando.
Debbie sits on Turner’s Pride Alliance Executive Leadership Board, a ten member national board where she is the first representative from Turner Southeast. In 2018, she was named an Outstanding Diversity Champion by the Orlando Business Journal.
Rizwan Zaman is a native of India, however he has called Orlando home for over 40 years. From an early age, he has always had been involved in community programs and development; whether it was feeding the homeless, organizing interfaith events, or developing a youth program. As a devout Muslim, his family were the original founders of the Islamic community and continue to support social, educational and outreach programs with Greater Orlando. He recently came out as a proud gay Muslim and has been involved with organizations which support other Queer Muslims struggling with their identity within their homes and community. Professionally, he received his MBA in Healthcare Management from University of Miami and has owned a consulting firm in the same field for over 20 years. Although his work requires him to travel across the United States, his personal support of his local Orlando roots has remained constant. He currently serves on the United Arts Board for the past 2 years. Additionally, he serves on the Board of the Holocaust Center for the last 5 years and Snap! Gallery Board for the last 3 years. He has been an avid supporter and patron of many community organizations including Zebra Coalition, Orlando Ballet and The Holocaust Center’s Anti-bullying Initiative, for the last 5 years and continuously promotes their important work throughout the community. Rizwan’s personal passions also extend to fashion, which led him to attend Parsons School of Design in New York to learn Fashion Design at which he is currently enrolled.
*Membership Representatives are elected by a vote of the organizations that are members of the Alliance.
One Orlando Alliance Staff
Jennifer Foster, Executive Director
Jennifer Foster is the Founding Executive Director of One Orlando Alliance. Her journey to this role is the direct result of her personal desire to help Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ community through the trauma of the Pulse tragedy of June 12, 2016. Jennifer, along with Carlos Carbonell, convened 18 LGBTQ+ organizational leaders on June 16, 2016 with the simple yet crucial call for communication and collaboration. It was at that meeting that she ensured that the collective of leaders met with representatives from local, state and federal government officials and began to craft a shared recovery strategy. Prior to accepting the ED position, Jennifer helped spearhead the formation and program development of One Orlando Alliance and was named Chair of the Board, by coalition members, during the formation process in 2017. She served solely in a volunteer capacity from 2016 until becoming Executive Director in October, 2018.
In June of 2016, Jennifer was appointed by Mayor BuddyDyer to serve on the OneOrlando Fund board to help provide oversight of the funds donated to assist those directly affected by the Pulse tragedy. She proudly helped ensure that every single cent of the over $30,000,000.00+ raised – in just over 3 months, from donors across 127 countries – went directly to family members of those who were taken at Pulse and survivors of the tragedy. Jennifer has also served on the Advisory Council of the Orlando United Assistance Center, a collaboration between The City of Orlando, Orange County Government, and Heart of Florida United Way to connect those affected by the Pulse tragedy to community resources and support long-term recovery in the Orlando community, since inception. The OUAC began as a direct resource provider for family members and survivors and has since broadened its reach as a resilience center for all impacted.
Jennifer she has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights for over two decades. She is the co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign in Central Florida, serving on the local board for 10 years and national board for 8. Jennifer also served on the statewide board of the Florida Red and Blue campaign in 2004 to oppose Florida’s marriage amendment. She has received numerous local and national awards for her activism over decades of service and her bio was included in the U.S. Congressional Record in 2014.
Jennifer is also the Owner/President of Foster Productions, Inc. – a video production company located in Orlando, Florida with clients around the globe. Over the past 25 years, she has written, produced, and directed projects for many of the most prestigious corporations in the world. Her portfolio includes a wide range of content including Commercial, Documentary, Interactive, Learning Development, Marketing, Animation, and Broadcast media. Foster Productions celebrated 20 years in business in 2019 and Jennifer now chooses to limit her work to projects that she feels makes the world a better place and do not distract from her work with One Orlando Alliance.
As the sole staff member, it is Jennifer’s responsibility to abide by member driven strategies with board driven oversight. There is nothing typical about her days as they can range from grant writing to meetings with community stakeholders to reviewing legislative policy to attending member and/or community events. Her work is as diverse as her passion for the cause and she feels that she is doing exactly what she is meant to be at this stage of her career path.