Board of Directors

The United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties, Inc., is 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 Income Support, 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 or our Board Secretary, both members of our Executive Board of Directors.

To review our Board Membership Application, download the PDF here.

Michael David Herrera - Headshot

Michael Herrera
Chair, Executive Board

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Michael David Herrera earned a BA from St. John Fisher College (Rochester, NY) and is a consultant with more than 25 years of organizational and philanthropic experience in the NGO sector.  Michael is a strategic bilingual executive with an ability to teach effective initiatives that improve performance, growth, and organizational engagement.  He is a genuine influencer who thrives on tough challenges and translates visions and strategies into actionable, value-added measurable goals.

Karen Hogans

Karen Hogans
Secretary, Executive Board

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Karen has lived and worked in Lake and Sumter Counties for more than 40 years. Her 28-year career in education began in the Sumter County School District and continued to Lake-Sumter State College first as a mathematics faculty member then as an administrator, currently serving as the Dean of General Studies. She is passionate about helping members of the Lake County and Sumter County communities live better lives through education. Her hobbies include reading, kayaking, and camping.

Dr. Adrian Manley

Dr. Adrian Manley
Director

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Dr. Adrian Manley is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with South Lake Family Counseling Services and The Pastor of Christ Centered Fellowship in Clermont. Adrian grew up in Groveland and is honored to partner with the United Way as he strives to fulfill his personal mission to help, uplift, encourage, and inspire.

Heath Nailos Headshot

Heath Nailos
Director

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Heath Nailos is a partner with the firm of Boyette Cummins & Nailos. His professional practice areas include personal injury, insurance disputes and civil litigation. Personally, Heath has been involved in and a supporter of numerous charitable organizations in the Lake County community, having served, or continuing to serve, as a Board member of Cornerstone Hospice, UF Health Leesburg Hospital Foundation, South Lake Community Foundation, South Lake Chamber of Commerce, and Project Scholars/Pig on the Pond. Additionally, Heath is actively involved in The First United Church of Clermont and is a proud Gator Booster at the University of Florida.

Laura Senzamici 
Director

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Laura Senzamici has outstanding leadership skills and experience as Regional Manager in her 25-year retail career, with award winning customer service and stellar sales and marketing results. She optimizes integrity, energy, hard work, and creative service and translates that into every detail of each Real Estate transaction. Laura builds strong and trustworthy relationships with each client and those around her.

Ellen Didion Headshot

Ellen Didion
Director

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Founder and president of the Sunshine Community Foundation, Ellen is a teacher whos career includes an internship with the National League of Cities, and experience in non-profit corporations including the Smithsonian, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Science Foundation, and The Graduate School, USDA.

She has worked as a grant writer, fund raiser, program specialist, teacher and consultant.

Work and travel to five continents has given her a greater appreciation of the importance sustainable development and environmental and natural resource economics, fueling her desire to develop ecological, sustainable communities through smart partnerships that optimize local and regional resources.

Dr. Laura Byrd Headshot

Dr. Laura Byrd
Director

Learn More About Dr. Byrd...

Lake Sumter State College:

Associate Vice President Institutional Advancement / Executive Director Foundation

Dr. Byrd witnessed the impact of United Way for more than 15 years in North Carolina. She worked with NC State University and had a partnership through the 4-H Youth Development program to assist with youth programs in disadvantages areas. She also has been part of the employee campaigns. Dr. Byrd wants to contribute to the work that United Way performs in both Lake and Sumter Counties. There are many deserving organizations that make a difference in the lives of so many in need. She is always amazed when she hears of the projects United Way serves. It is amazing the difference made with limited funds. She wants to be part of making a difference.

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Emily Madak
Director

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Emily Madak is a Customer Service Manager at Publix Super Market. She is also volunteer coordinator for Publix District 5 where she leads the organization of aid to the Special Olympics and local organizations suggested through United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties (UWLS).

Emily is a recipient of the Mr. George Community Service Award which recognized her as an outstanding member in the community through her volunteer efforts and giving. She personally volunteered over 250 hours and organized hundreds of Publix volunteers whom volunteered over 1700 hours as a group.

Emily has also personally given financial support to UWLS over her thirteen years with Publix. She began working closely with UWLS through volunteer efforts since 2015. Through those efforts, she has formed relationships with several of the organizations in our area. Emily led the 2017 UWLS campaign for Publix, attended and helped organize the “Seeing is Believing” tour, learning more of how the money is used and some of the parties that receive funding.

Emily is also a member of Life Church Assembly of God where she is currently serving as a choir member, praise team singer, and working with youth through music coaching.

Gene Kanikovsky

Gene Kanikovsky
Board Member

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Gene Kanikovsky is the Chief Financial Officer of Sumter Electric Cooperative located in Central Florida. SECO serves one of the fastest growing communities in the United States—The Villages. SECO Energy is also a three time JD Power award winner in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Prior to working at SECO Gene worked at Talquin Electric Cooperative and Cloverland Electric Cooperative as Director of Finance. While working at Cloverland his team initiated a buyout of a local inves-tor owned utility in 2005 that was completed in 2010 effectively doubling the size of the coop. Prior to electric utility Gene worked in the banking industry with a primary focus in commercial lending. He holds a Degree in Finance and Eco-nomics from LSSU as well as a Marketing Minor.

B.E. Thompson Headshot

B.E. Thompson
Board Member

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A Lake County native, B.E. has been employed with LifeStream Behavioral Center since 1996, and currently hold the position of Director of Development, which includes grant development and management, coordination of special events, community outreach, cultivating donors, and serving as a government liaison. I also manage LifeStream’s housing and homeless services continuum. His background includes developing and implementing youth prevention/early intervention programs, academic programs, and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs for local government. B.E. has a successful history of securing and managing grants and contracts from local, state, federal, corporate, public and private funding sources. He currently serve on several state, local, and nonprofit boards.

Beth Thompson
Board Member

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I have worked for Publix for over 15+ years and have supported United Way through Publix for the last 14 years. I am also the mother to two wonderful boys & a dedicated military wife. I look forward to serving on the board & supporting my community!

Connie Mahan

Connie Mahan
Board Member

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As a seasoned real estate professional, I understand that buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction: it’s a life-changing experience. That’s why I am dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service for all of my clients. I take great pride in the relationships I build and always work relentlessly on the client’s behalf to help them achieve their real estate goals. My philosophy is simple: Clients come first. I pledge to be in constant communication with my clients, keeping them fully informed throughout the entire buying or selling process. I believe that if you’re not left with an amazing experience, I haven’t done my job. I don’t measure success through achievements or awards but through the satisfaction of my clients.

Ken Gates Headshot

Ken Gates
Board Member

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Ken Gates is retired from the energy industry, having worked for a public utility (Pepco) for 32 years and for a consulting firm for 5 years. Ken resides in The Villages FL, and Wilmington DE with his wife Theresa.

Ken has been involved with United Way throughout his career. He served on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Cecil County in Maryland. He served on various committees and as President of that United Way.