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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Damian Gregory

Damian P. Gregory is a journalist and community advocate for people with disabilities. Mr. Gregory is a twin who was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair as a result. He has been a self-advocate his entire life.

Damian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science from the University of Miami. After graduation, Damian worked as a journalist for several South Florida based publications, including the Chicago Tribune’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Caribbean Today.

For the more than 15 years, he has worked in the disability advocacy arena. His work has included stints as a Medicaid Waiver Support Coordinator, Travel Trainer, and Disability Rights Consultant.

The overall mission of Damian’s work has been to improve the quality of life and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including in the areas of transportation, education, employment, housing, and political & civic engagement.

In 2015 he joined CCDH, Inc.—Miami-Dade’s oldest non-profit organization serving those with developmental disabilities—as the Director of Outreach and Family Engagement.

In addition to serving on the ROOF Board of Directors, Damian remains active on several local and statewide boards. Damian is the immediate past chairperson of the Miami-Dade County Commission On Disability Issues (CODI), an official advisory board to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. Mr. Gregory currently is the Chairperson of the University of South Florida’s Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) Community Advisory Committee.

 

 

Jesse Larson

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.

 

 

Kathy Leigh

Kathy Leigh is a dedicated self-advocate with over 10 years of experience advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. She is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a leadership and advocacy training program that teaches individuals with developmental disabilities to become community leaders and catalysts for systems change. She has served on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council for over 8 years and continues to support many Council initiatives. Most recently, Kathy became a member of the Florida Self-Advocate Network’D (FL SAND) and was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of Residential Options of Florida (ROOF).

Kathy has been a Florida resident for 23 years and currently resides in Starke where she is actively involved in her locally in her community. She has worked for Walmart and has been an active member of the local Action Club for Arts where she has helped raise funds to support numerous local charities.”

 

 

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.