Board of Directors

The United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties, Inc., is a registered non-profit organization providing financial, volunteer, and professional resources to effectively and efficiently meet needs in Lake and Sumter Counties, most commonly in the areas of Economic Mobility, Education, and Health. In many ways, the United Way exists because of our generous volunteers and their efforts. Each member of our Board of Directors is a volunteer and often a donor. Professionals, leaders, influencers, givers, and supporters are all accurate words to describe each of our Board Members and as you will see below, they come from multiple avenues, industries, and rich backgrounds.

If you have a heart for giving, a talent for finance, a volunteer spirit, or wish simply to leave a legacy that makes a difference, you may be our ideal new Board Member candidate. We are honored by your interest. We are also grateful to our new and long-serving Board Members who’s information you will see below. It is because of their efforts that we continue to be better and better.

To learn more about applying for Board Membership, contact our Board Chair.

Meet Our Executive Committee Members

Michael Herrera, Chair

Michael Herrera, Chair

Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Valencia College

Michael David Herrera is a highly accomplished non-profit professional with over twenty-five years of experience dedicated to community development. Currently serving as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Development at the Valencia State College Foundation, his leadership is evident in successfully navigating fundraising and management challenges. Michael’s commitment to positive change extends beyond his professional role; he actively engages with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Advisory Council, serves as the Board Chair for the United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties, and contributes through diverse mentoring roles. His bilingual skills enhance his ability to connect with diverse audiences. In summary, Michael’s extensive experience, passion for community engagement, and leadership in non-profit initiatives underscore his commitment to making a meaningful impact in education, health, and the community at large.

Dr. Laura Byrd, Past Chair

Dr. Laura Byrd, Past Chair

Sr. VP of Institutional Advancement, LSSC Foundation

Dr. Laura A. Byrd serves as the Senior Vice President at Lake-Sumter State College and the Executive Director of the Foundation. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Institutional Advancement, including the Foundation and grants, cultivating new and existing donors, and developing and maintaining relationships with internal and external audiences for fundraising activities. In addition, she works with a 20+ member board of directors and handles gifts made to the LSSC Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Byrd is very active in her community and holds leadership roles on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Florida Council for Resource Development Board, the United Way of Lake & Sumter County Board and First Baptist of Lady Lake. She serves on college-wide committees, including the President’s Cabinet. She attends community events & activities on behalf of the college.

Prior to joining Lake-Sumter State College, Dr. Byrd spent 17 years working in higher education at Mayland Community College, North Carolina State University, and South Piedmont Community College. She received her Master of Arts in Higher Education from Western Carolina University and her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University.

Gene Kanikovsky, Treasurer

Gene Kanikovsky, Treasurer

CEO, Joe Wheeler EMC

Emily Madak

Emily Madak

General Manager, Publix Supermarkets

As a Store Manager for Publix Supermarkets, Emily Madak is passionate about making the community she lives and works in a better place. She believes that everyone can impact their community if we all contribute what talents we have; whether that be your time, talents or resources. Through this thought process, Emily has organized numerous volunteer events for Publix Associates across Lake and Sumter county over the years to reach those in need. Hundreds of associates are given the opportunity to make their community “a little bit better because of them”, as Mr. George Jenkins would have put it. Outside of Publix, Emily is also an active member of LIFE church Assembly of God, using the talents God gave her to work with youth and to serve with the gifting of music. “Working with young children and adults and to see their gifts blossom so they can use it for the Kingdom of God is very rewarding.” Through the ministry of LIFE church, Emily has been able to serve on several mission trips focusing on bettering the communities of others in different parts of the country.  Emily is also a proud mother of 2 children and wife to a loving husband of 12 years. She enjoys a simple life of giving back wherever she can and strives to be a servant leader to those she comes in contact with.

Laura Senzamici

Laura Senzamici

Real Estate Agent, Engel & Völkers Realty

Laura is a top-performing Real Estate Advisor and Broker Associate at Engel & Völkers. With a 25-year career and roots in retail management overseeing 25 stores across 9 states, she excels in exceeding profit goals and setting customer service standards. Laura, originally from Brooklyn, is a Lake County resident of 20 years with her high school sweetheart Chris. As empty nesters, they share their home with their toy poodle, Gracie, while their twin daughters embark on a new chapter in Brooklyn.

Beyond her real estate success, Laura actively contributes to the community as an executive board member of the United Way. Her extensive business acumen and commitment to community well-being uniquely position her to provide valuable insights and leadership in supporting local initiatives.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Darryl Owens

Darryl Owens

Associate Vice President of Communications and Engagement, Beacon College

Darryl E. Owens is the associate vice president of communications and engagement at Beacon College.

He is the creator, executive producer, and host of “A World of Difference: Embracing Neurodiversity,” a monthly PBS TV show (airing in Central Florida on WUCF-TV), which celebrates and empowers families rearing children with learning differences, ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences as they navigate the neurodivergent journey.

He is the founder and director of the Beacon Salon Speaker Series, the college’s free annual monthly community outreach speaker program.

Prior to that, Owens worked for 25 years as a general assignment reporter, lifestyle writer, and later local and state columnist and editorial board member at The Orlando Sentinel.

During his journalism career, Owens stood side-by-side with neurosurgeons chronicling every cut of their scalpels during two brain surgeries, covered the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, interviewed Hall of Fame athletes, civil rights icons, flew in police chase helicopters, and grilled dissembling politicians.

He also discussed issues impacting Central Florida and the state on the titular radio segment, “Darryl Owens Perspectives” on Orlando NPR-affiliate WMFE-FM, and was a regular voice on the station’s Friday news roundup on its “Intersection” program.

During his Sentinel stint, he won a handful of awards including First Place, Commentary and Criticism, in the 2012 Sunshine State Awards and First Place, News Commentary in the 2010 National Association of Black Journalists “Salute to Excellence Awards.

As a public relations practitioner, Owens has earned many public relations, communications, and media awards including three Telly Awards, three Anthem Awards, a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Orlando Radiance Award, Grand Image and Image awards from the Florida Public Relations Association, and gold awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Owens is an ordained deacon and in May celebrates 34 years of marriage to his wife, Sherri. The couple has two adult children, Kelli Pierre-Louis and Brian Owens, and one grandchild, Marli Jade Pierre-Louis.

Justin Horton

Justin Horton

Athletic Trainer

A native of Clermont, Justin Horton is an Orlando-based business owner and former professional football player. He spent the last two years in banking, working for US Bank and JP Morgan Chase. Previously, he worked with a nonprofit, Community in Schools, within the Duval County Public School system as a mentor and reading advocate. After graduating from Jacksonville University with a degree in sociology, he spent four years playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Orlando Apollos and Edmonton Eskimos. He now runs his business, 52Fitness, empowering Central Florida professionals to improve their wellbeing. Justin is excited to start working with United Way and has always dreamed of returning to Central Florida and contributing to a community he holds in high regard.

John Scandura

John Scandura

Administrator Allied Health & Support Services, Orlando Health

John Scandura has been with the Orlando Health system for almost 20 years and has served in his current role as Administrator of Allied Health and Support Services at Orlando Health South Lake Hospital since 2022.  He is responsible for operational strategy and oversight of ancillary services in Orlando Health’s North Central region that includes the 170-acre Clermont campus which comprises 177 patient beds, a short-term rehabilitation facility, an ambulatory surgery center, the National Training Center, other pre- and post-acute healthcare services, and two off-site free-standing ambulatory campuses along the highway 27 corridor.

John has extensive experience in operations and leadership in the healthcare sector and has been instrumental in helping to lead several growth initiatives, both at the system level and at South Lake Hospital.  Current projects include a bed tower expansion at the South Lake Hospital campus which will provide improved access to care for the growing population of Lake County.  His initial focus with Orlando Health in 2003 was in the physical therapy department at ORMC, eventually moving to South Lake Hospital and becoming Manager of Rehab Services.  John’s expertise in operations, planning, and leading services lines led him to his prior role as Director of Support Services role where he gained extensive operational experience while managing a 1 million square foot portfolio for the North Central region.

John received his bachelor’s degree from UConn and a Master of Science (Physical Therapy) from University of Central Florida.  John and his wife, Casey, enjoy living in Winter Garden with their two wonderful children.  When he is not at South Lake Hospital, John enjoys attending concerts, playing golf, and spending time with his family and friends.

Lisa LaBoo

Lisa LaBoo

CEO, Prosperity Investment Services, Inc.

Lisa LaBoo is the CEO of Prosperity Investment Services, Inc., which provices financial services.

She holds an MBA from Florida A&M University and has earned a long list of financial and benefits advising certifications.
Lisa is active in her community and is also involved as a philanthropist, charter member of New Covenant Baptist Church, YMCA board member, the Chair of the FAMU Foundation and more.

Lisa and her spouse Christopher have three children, Christopher II, Alexus, and Jonas — all MBA graduates of Florida A&M University. On the weekends, Lisa and Christopher enjoy spending time with family and friends. They enjoy traveling, working out, and spending time outdoors.

Chief Randy Parmer

Chief Randy Parmer

Chief of Police, City of Wildwood

 Chief Parmer grew up in Jacksonville and is a graduate of Southern Illinois University. He began his career with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 1982.
During his tenure there, he served as the Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Unit, SWAT Team, Narcotics Division, Bomb Squad, and various other units within the agency. He retired from the sheriff’s office in 2013 with 31 years of service.
Since that time, he has served as the Assistant Chief of the Duval County School Police, Chief of Police in Taos, New Mexico, and a Division Captain for the Florida Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
Randy moved to Wildwood in 2019 and was appointed as the Chief of Police for the Wildwood Police Department.

Darlene Bell-Alexander

Darlene Bell-Alexander

Attorney, Community Legal Services

Darlene Bell-Alexander, Esq. is currently Senior Managing Attorney for Community Legal Services’ (CLS) Real Property Rights Protection Unit (RPRP). She has served in multiple capacities at CLS including Director of Operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. CLS is a full service civil legal aid law firm that promotes equal access to justice to help those in need protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families.

Mrs. Bell-Alexander has served on the boards of many organizations including the National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division of Miami Dade County (NBA/WLD), now the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association. During her tenure as President of the NBA/WLD the organization founded and organized Teen Empowerment Day, a program tailor-made for students attending a school for pregnant teens. For many years she has served on the Board of Directors for Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. (H.O.P.E.) Inc., an organization dedicated to fighting housing discrimination in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Mrs. Bell-Alexander is a graduate of the University of Florida and a Lifetime Member of the Gator Nation Alumni Association. She is currently a student in University of Miami’s Robert Traurig-Greenberg Traurig LL.M. in Real Property Development program. She is a member of the Florida Bar Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Committee (RPPTL).

She and her husband Audwin have raised five young men and although she enjoys her professional life immensely, her greatest joy by far is being a wife to her husband of 35 years who is a retired Miami-Dade firefighter and being a Mom/Coach to her sons.

Myrna Mojica

Myrna Mojica

Administrator, Team Fishel

Myrna Mojica works in Operations at Team Fishel in Groveland. Her professional background includes more than 30 years of business management and team-building experience at Fortune 500 companies.
She is the Founder of Indigo Village, Inc., a nonprofit organization; and director of the senior program, JOY, at Woodlands Lutheran Church.
Her passion and inspiration is generated by community involvement and volunteer work. She is an active member of the Clermont Women’s Club and the South Lake Chamber.
Myrna also loves music and sings with local groups.
Carly Mullins

Carly Mullins

Director of Service Center Operations, Suncoast Credit Union

Carly has worked for Suncoast Credit Union for over 15 years, where she has served in her current role, Director of Service Center Operations, since April 2022.
Carly has a bachelor’s degree from St. Petersburg College in management and organizational leadership. She has many years of experience providing financial literacy training.
She currently resides in Bushnell with her husband and daughter, where they regularly look for ways to give back to their community. Carly enjoys spending time with her family and friends, travelling, and participating in outdoor activities.