Board of Directors


Operating Board


Bliss Browne - Chair

Bliss Browne is founder and president of Imagine Chicago, a mother of three, an ordained Episcopal priest and a former Division Head of the First National Bank of Chicago where she was a corporate banker from 1975-1991. Her civic leadership positions have included serving as Chairman of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the MidAmerica Leadership Foundation and the Chicago Ethics Coalition; as Trustee of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club; and as an Advisory Board member of Public Allies, Archeworks, the Chicago Children's Choir, the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, and the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative. She has been on the Community Advisory boards of the Field Museum and the Chicago Historical Society, and the Alumni Council of Harvard Divinity School. She served on the Illinois Governor's Public-Private Child Care Council and the Presiding Bishop's Consultation on Reconciliation. She was the first female priest to preach at Westminster Abbey, in 1979, and has served in voluntary parish ministry for 30+ years. Bliss was a member of the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America, convened by Robert Putnam at the Kennedy School of Harvard University, that recognized national innovators in developing social capital. She is an Associate of the Taos Institute and serves on the International Advisory Board of the PLUS network and the International Advisory Council of Communities of the Future (COTF).

Bliss is a graduate of Yale University (BA, History 1971), Harvard University (M.Div, Theology, 1974) and the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern (MM, Finance, 1978.) She is a sought after keynote speaker, facilitator, consultant, coach and trainer nationally and internationally, in civic engagement, leading and managing systemic change, collaboration, youth development and developing the generative capacity of communities. She does consulting work with business, church, health, government and community organizations. Bliss was a Rockefeller Fellow in 1974-75, a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow in 1989-91, and has received the Eureka Community Award (1995-1996), the Chicago Mercedes Mentor Award (1998), the Chicago Justice Pioneers Award (2003), and the IWA Chicago Woman Extraordinaire Award (2008). She is author of numerous journal articles, two books: "Ten Years of Imagination in Action", a conceptual framework for imagination as a social movement and "Women Alive: A Legacy of Social Justice", as well as a book entitled "Imagine: A Conversation with the Future" to be published soon by Taos Institute Publishing.


Barbara Essenwine - Vice Chair

Barbara Essenwine is a long-time resident of Palm City. She and her husband, John, have one son, John and his wife, Linette, and four grandchildren. Barbara is the Vice President and Business Manager of GCY, Inc.—Surveyors and Mappers. Barbara is a member of the Palm City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, is the Treasurer for the Kiwanis Club of Stuart and serves on Helping People Succeed’s Autism Advisory Committee. She developed the Palm City Chamber of Commerce Adopt A Class program that raised over $1,000,000 for public schools in Martin County. She was the first recipient of the Charlene Hoag Award from the Business Development Board and was the recipient of the Economic Council of Martin County 2014 Leadership Award.


Melody Floyd - Secretary

Melody Floyd brings both programmatic and fund development experience to the Helping People Succeed Board. In addition to her experience as a clinical psychologist (now retired) with the St. Lucie County School Board, she has served on the board of and as the Chairperson of the Celebrities Fore Kids for a number of years. Melody and her husband, Bob, have both assisted with and attended Helping People Succeed events for the past two years.

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Board Members


Lee Borellis

Retiring from a successful business career, Lee Borellis moved to Palm City with his wife Bonnie in 1995 expecting to spend the remainder of his life on the golf course. After a few years he realized it wasn't all about play. Getting involved in local charities, and living in a community of many retirees, he became aware of a need for quality, compassionate and reliable home health care. Lee and Bonnie started their own business: Treasure Coast Home Health Care. Being supportive of seniors and their needs Lee is involved with the non-profit Treasure Coast Advocates for Seniors. Lee learned of Helping People Succeed and their needs and immediately began to lend a helping hand. Lee serves on the Marketing Committee and has a strong interest in the Autism Program. In Lee’s free time he likes to golf, fish and travel.


Cher Fisher

Cher Fisher is retired after 28 years as an account executive with Attorneys' Title Fund Services, a title insurance underwriter. The majority of her employment with the company was spent marketing The Fund's technology to title companies and real-estate-related businesses across South Florida. Most recently she worked with real estate attorneys in Palm Beach County, and was responsible for over $8 million in annual revenue. Married to Brian with two adult children, Allison and Jason, Cher is expecting her first grandchild soon. She is also a board member of the Kiwanis Club of Stuart.


Charles Gerardi

Charles “Chuck” Gerardi is the Director of Sales & Marketing for Southeastern Printing Company in Stuart. Previously Chuck was the Vice President of Revenue and General Manager of the Palm Beach Post; and for two years was President and CEO of the Economic Council of Martin County. In addition to serving on the Helping People Succeed Board, Chuck serves on the Board for the Education Foundation of Martin County, the Clark Advanced Learning Center Management Advisory Board, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the South Florida Fair. Gerardi is a 2003 alumni of Leadership Palm Beach County and a 2016 graduate of LEADERship Martin County.


Phyllis Gillespie, Esq.

Phyllis Gillespie has been a partner of the law firm of Laws Scott & Gillespie since 2013 and previously with Gary, Williams, Parenti et al, for over 17 years. She handles complex civil litigation. She is the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Contract and Entertainment Law and a Dean's Award for copyright. She is licensed in both Florida and Tennessee and is a member of the Florida, Tennessee and National Bar Associations. Additionally, Phyllis is active in the community and civic organizations. Phyllis Gillespie has been a partner of the law firm of Laws Scott & Gillespie since 2013 and previously with Gary, Williams, Parenti et al, for over 17 years. She handles complex civil litigation. She is the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Contract and Entertainment Law and a Dean's Award for copyright. She is licensed in both Florida and Tennessee and is a member of the Florida, Tennessee and National Bar Associations. Additionally, Phyllis is active in the community and civic organizations.


Joan Jefferson

Joan Jefferson is a long time Stuart resident and former mayor of Stuart. She was the Director of Main Street Florida for nine years and has retired to Martin County. She continues to consult with various state agencies and private concerns. She previously served on the Tri-County Rehabilitation Center Board during the 1970 – 1980’s.


Susan King

Susan King is essentially a lifelong resident of the Treasure Coast. Susan is happily married for 22 years and has two children. She is the owner of Martin Funeral Home and Crematory with her husband, Lee. Susan has volunteered on occasion at Helping People Succeed and her younger son has appeared in the annual Helping People Succeed calendar. She is a graduate of University of Central Florida, a devout Christian and an avid tennis player. Susan is an advocate for people with Autism.


Claire Y. Nash, PH.D., CPA

Claire Nash is a Professor of Accounting at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA). Before joining PBA she held academic positions as an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Florida Atlantic University, and as an Associate Professor of Accountancy at Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee where she held the Morrie Moss Chair in Accounting and served as Chair of the Accounting, Finance, and Business Law Department. Prior to joining academia, her professional career spanned more than twenty years during which she held positions as Vice President, Tax Director for Union Planters Corporation, (merged with Regions Bank) and, as a Manager for the professional services team of Ernst & Young, LLP (formally Ernst & Whinney), an international professional services firm. Dr. Nash’s primary research interest is U.S. tax Policy affection the taxation of capital and labor as it related to pass-through entities and wealth accumulation by individuals. Her research is published in leading tax and accounting journals. She is the recipient of several academic awards, honors, and grants.

Claire has a long history of giving back to the community and the accounting profession. She serves, and has served on numerous boards and committees: Trustees of the Educational Foundation of the Florida Institute of Public Accounts; Corporate Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Martin County; Board of the United Methodist Foundation of the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences; Board of the United Methodist Church (UMC) Insurance Company; Board of the General Council on Finance and Administration of the UMC; City of Memphis, Division of Housing & Community Development – CDC Grant Evaluation Committee; City of Memphis, Divisi9on of Housing & Community Development – Micro Loan Committee; and Editorial Adviser for The Tax Adviser.

Claire earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Accounting and Master of Accountancy with a tax emphasis from the University of Mississippi, and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Eastern Illinois University. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the states of Illinois and Tennessee.


Kelley Ann Quinn

Kelley is a Certified Public Accountant with 20+ years of experience working in the private and public sector. She also holds a masters’ degree in accounting and a real estate license.

She currently does consulting and tax work as well as financial analysis, strategic planning and business development. Additionally she works with the Quinn Real Estate Team, specializing in high end and resort properties.

She is currently a resident of Stuart Florida. She moved back several years ago after working for an accounting firm for five years in London, England. Prior to moving to London, she was a long-time area resident.

Kelley graduated from Martin County High and then received an accounting degree from Florida State University. When not working, she is very active with outdoor activities including boating, kayaking, gardening, triathlons and 5k’s.

In addition to serving as a Director on the Board for Helping People Succeed and a member of the Finance Committee, Kelley also does volunteer work for the Sunshine Sprint fundraising triathlon, held annually in Stuart.


Honorary Board Members


Carolyn Timmann

Carolyn Timmann, a long-time Martin County resident with an extensive background in state public service, has served on the operating board of Helping People Succeed since January of 2012.

Carolyn is also the Martin County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller, taking office in January of 2013.

Carolyn started her career in the state court system working for a judge in the old Martin County Courthouse. She then worked in a local law firm before serving as a legislative assistant in the Florida House of Representatives, based in Stuart. Following that role, Carolyn and her family moved to Tallahassee where she served in the Attorney General’s Office as Special Assistant to Florida's Solicitor General.

In 2006, Carolyn transferred to the Office of the Governor as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff overseeing military and veterans’ affairs, gubernatorial councils and commissions, and statewide consumer and technology projects. Included among her responsibilities were the organization and oversight of the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and the Governor's Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders. In January 2011, the Governor appointed Carolyn as his Division Director managing public records and projects to provide statewide electronic information. She resigned from that role in 2012 to return home to Martin County and seek the Office of Clerk & Comptroller.

Clerk Timmann attended the University of Georgia, Indian River State College and Florida State University earning B.A. and A.A. degrees, as well as Certificates in Public Administration, Legal Assistant Technology, and Public Records Management.

Clerk Timmann has also completed the professional development certification program for Court Clerks, which was developed by the Florida Supreme Court in conjunction with the Florida Association of Court Clerks & Comptrollers. Recently, she was appointed by the Governor to represent the statewide Clerks of Court as a member of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Information Systems Council for 2014-2016.


Helping People Succeed Foundation Board


Beth Prinz Lowy - Chair

Beth Prinz Lowy, an attorney with Spraker and Prinz, Stuart, Florida has been affiliated with Helping People Succeed for more than 9 years. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration from USF and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Stetson University College of Law. Beth’s practice is concentrated in the areas of Estate Planning , Probate and Guardianship law and she is a member of the Florida and Martin County Bar Associations.


Bonney Johnson - Vice Chair

Bonney Johnson is a Senior Trust Officer for U.S. Trust and has been in the banking industry for nearly thirty years. She works with clients on basic trust structures to innovative wealth strategies, and helps meet their individual, family and charitable objectives. Her primary responsibilities are associated with administering trusts and carrying out client’s instructions. Bonney has been a board member of Alzheimer’s Community Care since 2013 and was most recently appointed as Chair of their Development Standing Committee. She is a current member of the Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation Board and serves on several committees. Bonney is also a member of the Martin Health Systems Professional and General Advisory Boards. Bonney has served as Vice Chairman of Safe Space, Inc. Board of Directors, a domestic violence shelter and prevention organization in Indian River and Martin Counties. She has also served on the Board of Dogs and Cats Forever, a no-kill sanctuary located in the Treasure Coast, Kiwanis and has volunteered for the Humane Society, United Way, and Helping People Succeed.


Mary Kay Buckridge - Secretary

Mary Kay Buckridge retired to Martin County in 1985 following a 32 year career as a classroom teacher and guidance counselor in New Jersey. She is a previous board chair and year round underwriter. She also has served on the Board of Trustees for St. Michaels School (Pine School) and the American Cancer Society.


Claire Y. Nash, PH.D., CPA

Claire Nash is a Professor of Accounting at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA). Before joining PBA she held academic positions as an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Florida Atlantic University, and as an Associate Professor of Accountancy at Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee where she held the Morrie Moss Chair in Accounting and served as Chair of the Accounting, Finance, and Business Law Department. Prior to joining academia, her professional career spanned more than twenty years during which she held positions as Vice President, Tax Director for Union Planters Corporation, (merged with Regions Bank) and, as a Manager for the professional services team of Ernst & Young, LLP (formally Ernst & Whinney), an international professional services firm. Dr. Nash’s primary research interest is U.S. tax Policy affection the taxation of capital and labor as it related to pass-through entities and wealth accumulation by individuals. Her research is published in leading tax and accounting journals. She is the recipient of several academic awards, honors, and grants.

Claire has a long history of giving back to the community and the accounting profession. She serves, and has served on numerous boards and committees: Trustees of the Educational Foundation of the Florida Institute of Public Accounts; Corporate Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Martin County; Board of the United Methodist Foundation of the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences; Board of the United Methodist Church (UMC) Insurance Company; Board of the General Council on Finance and Administration of the UMC; City of Memphis, Division of Housing & Community Development – CDC Grant Evaluation Committee; City of Memphis, Divisi9on of Housing & Community Development – Micro Loan Committee; and Editorial Adviser for The Tax Adviser.

Claire earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Accounting and Master of Accountancy with a tax emphasis from the University of Mississippi, and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Eastern Illinois University. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the states of Illinois and Tennessee.

Our Mission

Contact Us


Helping People Succeed provides choices and opportunities that help children, families and adults improve their quality of life through education, training, and employment. Our passion is building successful families and futures–one life at a time!

Helping People Succeed
1601 NE Braille Pl
Jensen Beach, FL 34957

Tel: 772.320.0770
Web: www.hpsfl.org
Email: gparris@hpsfl.org

DIRECTIONS

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network Agency for Persons With Disabilities Children's Services Council of Okeechobee Florida Department of Children & Families Children's Services Council of Martin County Healthy Families Florida United Way of Martin County Division of Vocational Rehabilitation *The Florida Department of Children and Families. Partially funded by the Martin County School District.
 

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