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Board of Directors

 

 

Nicole Coratti

Nicole is a professional in the field of social work and a self-advocate with extensive experience empowering individuals with disabilities to advocate for themselves. She has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Central Florida. Her skills include public speaking, facilitating groups and workshops, and connecting individuals to resources. She uses a person-centered, culturally competent approach to assisting clients. In addition to serving on ROOF’s Collier Board of Trustees, Nicole currently volunteers for several organizations, including Kiwanis, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, StarAbility Foundation, and Naples Community Hospital. These organizations are close to her heart and she enjoys using her knowledge and skills to help her community. Previously Nicole worked with Youth Haven as an in-house case manager, where she assisted the organization with implementing a therapy dog program and created individualized resource referrals for clients. Nicole is also an artist, writer, and blogger. She is an up-and-coming radio host of a show called The View from the Chair, which is broadcast on WGCU from the Florida Gulf Coast University campus, through the radio reading program.

 

 

Lisa DiFranza

Lisa DiFranza is a solo practitioner attorney whose practice focuses on guardian advocacy, guardianships, elder law, probate, and estate planning. She serves Jacksonville Area Legal Aid as their expert in the Guardian Advocacy clinic for pro bono Attorney’s and clients.  Lisa was awarded the 2018 Small Business of the Year, Beaches Division of the JAX Chamber.  Lisa started her solo practice in the area of guardianships and guardian advocacy by volunteering with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) and she continues to work in the community volunteering with JALA and a mentor with Chet’s Creek Elementary School.  She enjoys educating colleagues and the public by giving lectures on guardianships, advanced directives, durable powers of attorneys, trusts, and living wills and probate issues to community and professional groups. Lisa currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Florida Bar Consumer Protection Law Committee and will serve as Chair of this committee for 2019-2020.  She also serves on the JBA Pro Bono Committee and liaison to 4th Circuit Pro Bono Committee, Elder Law Committee and Estate Planning and Tax Committee.  She endeavors to use her more than 25 years’ experience to be a positive influence and force for her clients and the community.  She endeavors to use her experience to be a positive influence and force for her clients and the community.

 

Renee Edwards

Reneé Edwards has been working as an advocate for nearly 20 years. As the parent of a young adult with disabilities, Reneé is passionate about working with families and individuals wanting to experience a successful housing and living arrangement that best accommodates their needs. Most recently, Reneé worked as the Director for the Tourette Association, Florida Chapter, using her organizational skills, advocacy skills, and systems knowledge to help assist those in the Tourette Syndrome/Tic Disorders community.

Reneé has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from UCF, and has served as a volunteer advocate on the national, state, and local levels, including a governor-appointed position with the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. She currently serves as a member of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities Community Advisory Committee, USF, and dedicates her time to assisting families as they navigate systems. Reneé lives in Brevard County with her husband and three boys.

When asked about the importance that ROOF serves in the community, Edwards said, “It has been my honor to work as a part of ROOF from its beginning. As the parent of a young man with disabilities and a professional who coordinates services for persons with disabilities, I am grateful to have an organization such as ROOF working on housing goals in Florida. Experiencing the need first-hand is a perspective that I enjoy sharing within ROOF’s process for reaching our mission and vision.”

 

Steve Evangelista

Stephen Evangelista is the Principal of Evangelista Consulting, focusing on Advocacy, Alliance Development, Fundraising and Non-Profit Management.  He began his consulting business retiring from the Arthritis Foundation in 2015. He began his career with the Arthritis Foundation in 2001, where he served as President and CEO of the Northern and Southern New England Chapter. He was the 2005 recipient of the highly regarded Clifford Clarke Award for Outstanding Leadership. Steve serves on the Board of Directors of the New England Healthcare Institute, the New England Biotech Association, STARability Foundation, Powered for Patients, and is Chairman of the Rhode Island Health Advocacy Forum, the Vasari Cares Foundation and the former Ocean State Theatre Company.

Steve began his non-profit career in 1970 as the first Executive Director of the Rhode Island Special Olympics. In 1988, he was appointed to lead the Dole Foundation for the Employment of People with Disabilities in Washington, DC. In 1992 he was appointed to the role of Deputy Chair for Boy’s Town New England where he was instrumental in raising $20 million to build the Boy’s Town New England Campus in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In 1994, Steve was appointed to President/CEO of the National Kidney Foundation for New England.

Steve received his BA from Roger Williams University and his MA from Rhode Island College and has received numerous awards and citations. Steve and his wife Arlene reside in Bonita Springs, FL. where he is proud to serve on ROOF’s Board of Directors and lend his expertise and knowledge.

 

 

Eddie Hall

Eddie Hall was born and raised on a farm in Michigan and moved to Florida at a young age. Eddie became a paraplegic at age 8 and was the first student in a wheelchair to attend his elementary, middle, and high schools. He received his AAS Degree in Computer Engineering from Polk State College in Lakeland.

Eddie is a 26-year retiree from Publix Supermarkets and continues to work part time at Home Depot as a Greeter. He is a resident of Lakeland, Florida and has a wife and three children. Committed to giving back to the community, Eddie is involved in various organizations that have paved the way for his involvement with ROOF. Currently, Eddie is on the Board of Directors for Florida Development Disabilities Council, Family Cafe, Florida Alliance of Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST), President of Florida Self-Advocates Network’D (SANDS), and is a Commissioner of the Lakeland Housing Authority.

 

 

Arizona Jenkins

Arizona Jenkins is a very positive and caring individual. He was born with cerebral palsy and is “partially paralyzed” on his left side. He leads an independent life, using a motorized wheelchair. Arizona stays connected on-the-go with a cell phone and Bluetooth receiver in his right ear.

He is a tireless advocate for people with disabilities at the local, state, and national levels. He is the President and Treasurer of New Horizon Support Group, Inc., which he founded in 2007.

Arizona serves on the HARTLINE ADA Committee, the Hillsborough County Children’s Committee, the Florida Self-Advocacy Alliance, Florida Self-Advocates Network’D (SANDS), and the USF Community Inclusion Center. He volunteers as a mentor for children with disabilities at LaVoy Exceptional School and Booker T. Washington Elementary School. Serving as a model patient, Arizona teaches third-year medical students at USF how to treat and communicate with people with disabilities as patients.

 

Yesse Leyva

Please stay tuned for more information on this individual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesse Larsen

Jesse Larsen holds an MBA in Finance from Florida Gulf Coast University with 12 years of experience in the banking industry. He serves as Vice President, Business Banking Credit Manager at Florida Community Bank in Naples. Jesse was elected in 2018 to the Collier County Board of Trustees for Residential Options of Florida. Jesse will combine his knowledge and experience to support the financial goals for the organization. A major focus will be the development of relationships to advance the mission of ROOF in our community. His passion to serve includes mentoring at the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, as well as coaching basketball for the YMCA and flag football at Fleischman Park.

 

 

Mary Smith

Mary Smith is a wife and mother as well as an advocate and supporter for individuals with developmental disabilities. As a mother of a child with disabilities, she understands the issues facing these families. Mary is the owner of P.C.A. Plus, Inc. A provider company in Northeast Florida, providing home and community-based services to individuals with disabilities, under the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Mary is a stakeholder working with many state agencies and organizations to ensure the future of community inclusion, services and to create opportunities for independent living. Mary serves multiple roles in Family Care Council -Area 4, Family Care Council Florida and serves on the board of Residential Options of Florida(ROOF)

When not advocating across the state, Mary enjoys painting with watercolors and spending time with family.

 

 

 

Richard Stevens

As Vice President and a Senior Investment Advisor of PNC Financial Services Group in the West & Central FL, Richard works to help deliver comprehensive investment advice and solutions to align your portfolios with your overall financial objectives.

Prior to joining PNC, Rich was the Senior Investment Officer for a private wealth advisory firm with offices in Naples and Ohio. Rich served as chairman of the firm’s investment committee setting policy and asset allocation targets. Additionally, he researched, developed and implemented investment strategies and managed client portfolios. Before moving to Florida in 1999, Rich managed investment funds internationally in Bermuda for 14 years, working with both institutional clients and high net worth families.