Leadership Pasco Newsletter - Spring 2020

The Leadership Pasco Newsletter is published quarterly. SINCE 1991, THE MISSION OF LEADERSHIP PASCO is to identify and recruit current or potential leaders of Pasco County, facilitate the development and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented learning environment for these leaders and the citizens of Pasco County in order to encourage an ex-change of ideas and generate enthusiasm for community growth and development.

The Leadership Pasco Newsletter is published quarterly. SINCE 1991, THE MISSION OF LEADERSHIP PASCO is to identify and recruit current or potential leaders of Pasco County, facilitate the development and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented learning environment for these leaders and the citizens of Pasco County in order to encourage an ex-change of ideas and generate enthusiasm for community growth and development.


You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

<strong>Newsletter</strong><br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong><br />

Leaders United<br />

Class Bonds are Forged in Fire

To Our <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Family,<br />

With due regard to the health and<br />

safety of our community, the <strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Board of Directors has made<br />

the difficult decision to cancel the<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> program for the 2021<br />

class year. The Board felt this was the<br />

best course of action to take with the<br />

information available.<br />

While we are extremely disappointed to make this unprecedented decision,<br />

we also recognize this time as an unforeseen opportunity. It is our<br />

goal to provide the best possible experience to every class participant<br />

every year. Over the next twelve months, we plan to continue to improve<br />

program content, develop new relationships and pilot some new and<br />

exciting ideas. Please be sure to follow us on social media for current happenings.<br />

As always, your participation and feedback is welcomed.<br />

We truly appreciate the tremendous work done by the Board, Class,<br />

Alumni, Program Day Leaders, Community Partners and so many others<br />

to make our program an amazing and valuable experience for all involved.<br />

We are proud to be a part of such a caring and generous community and<br />

are grateful to all of our first responders, local government, elected officials<br />

and essential workers for their leadership and dedication during<br />

this time of uncertainty,<br />

Stay safe, stay grateful and we hope to see everyone soon. THE BEST IS<br />


Warmly,<br />

Kim Hamm, Class of 2015<br />

President, <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

Owner - Time Trap Escape Room<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong><br />

<strong>Newsletter</strong><br />


PASCO is to identify and recruit current or<br />

potential leaders of <strong>Pasco</strong> County, facilitate<br />

the development and interaction of those leaders,<br />

and to foster an issues-oriented learning<br />

environment for these leaders and the citizens<br />

of <strong>Pasco</strong> County in order to encourage an exchange<br />

of ideas and generate enthusiasm for<br />

community growth and development.<br />

The <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> <strong>Newsletter</strong> is published<br />

quarterly. Please direct correspondence about<br />

this publication to <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>, P.O. Box<br />

695, Elfers, FL, 34680. Readers also may reach<br />

staff by sending an email to administration@<br />

leadershippasco.com.<br />

Editorial Staff<br />

Amanda Hart '14<br />

Editor<br />

Jason Longo '17<br />

Design<br />

Photo Credits<br />

J. David Wright '20<br />

(<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> class days)<br />

Board Members<br />

Kim Hamm '15, President<br />

Don Anderson '16, President Elect<br />

Brendan Gorman '18, Secretary<br />

Manny Long '16, Treasurer<br />

Nichole "Nikki" Alvarez-Sowles '13<br />

Carla Armstrong '14<br />

Stefanie Ambrosio Pontlitz '13<br />

Tom Celotto '11<br />

Angel Cook '18<br />

Heather Grimes '11<br />

Amanda Hart '14<br />

Crystal Lazar '13<br />

James Mallo '12<br />

Tara O'Connor '16<br />

Leah Peake '19<br />

Joseph Poblick '14<br />

Laura Raposa '19<br />

John Willis '15<br />

© <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>. All rights reserved.<br />

SPRING <strong>2020</strong> NEWSLETTER

3<br />

6<br />

2 4 9<br />

Features<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

9<br />

10<br />

Infrastructure and Growth Day<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> in Action Day<br />

SIMSOC<br />

Class Officer Updates<br />

An Update from Becky Bennett '07<br />

Class Officer Updates<br />

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>,<br />

Student Perspective<br />

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>,<br />

Graduation<br />

Sponsors<br />

Bay to Bay Roofing<br />

Bene's Career Academy<br />

Blackjack Media Group<br />

Centennial Bank<br />

Clearwater Gas System<br />

Duke Energy<br />

Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce<br />

Greater <strong>Pasco</strong> Chamber of Commerce<br />

Jarrett Ford<br />

Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A.<br />

Medical Center of Trinity<br />

Micro Solutions<br />

O'Connor Law Group, P.A.<br />

Oliver & Fox PA<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County Clerk & Comptroller<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County Sheriff's Office<br />

Pontlitz Asset Advisors<br />

Ralph the Lawyer<br />

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point<br />

Ron's Bar-B-Que<br />

Saint Leo University<br />

Simpson Environmental Services, Inc.<br />

TECO Energy, Inc.<br />

Time Trap Escape Room<br />

United Way of <strong>Pasco</strong> County<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />



Infrastructure and<br />

Growth Day<br />

by Robert Marin ’19<br />

Our tour began with a pleasant greeting and introduction<br />

amid the beautiful grandfather oaks of<br />

4G Ranch. After listening to a brief and welcoming<br />

speech, we were guided into a grand dining area<br />

for lunch. Inside was a smorgasbord of delicious<br />

treats and options for everyone. Our bellies full,<br />

we were ready for the tour. The staff and hosts<br />

were beyond accommodating and informative. It<br />

felt less like a guided tour and more like greeting<br />

old friends.<br />

It was time for the tour! We boarded the “swamp<br />

buggies” for the tour of the wetlands and reclaimed<br />

facilities. Our guides were informative<br />

and took the time to explain everything in detail.<br />

The weather was picture perfect. During the tour<br />

we learned that the wetland/reservoir project spans<br />

across 100+ acres of man-made wetland habitat and<br />

a 500-million-gallon water reservoir to stabilize the<br />

wet weather season and dry weather strains placed<br />

on the wetlands. Assisting in protecting water<br />

quality through natural biological treatment. It was<br />

interesting and reassuring to learn that entities so<br />

different in nature and purpose could come together<br />

and work towards the benefit of the environment<br />

and vitality of the future. With the immense<br />

amount of growth in our county and state, water<br />

is crucial to the sustainment of all life, human and<br />

creature alike; as well as sustaining the habitat<br />

amidst the immense amount of development. It is<br />

pleasing to know that something this magnificent is<br />

happening in our county.<br />

2 SPRING <strong>2020</strong> NEWSLETTER

<strong>Leadership</strong> in<br />

Action Day<br />

by Patrick Bene ’17 and Vicki Bene<br />

This year's class had a wonderful day discussing<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> principles and implementing them<br />

in our workplaces. Class members spent a little<br />

bit of time discussing the theory behind the Peak<br />

Leader Model and the differences between being<br />

a manager or a leader. Leaders motivate, inspire<br />

and set the direction, while managers plan, budget<br />

organize and carry out the vision.<br />

We watched a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek, “How<br />

great Leaders inspire action” and the meaning of<br />

Why and the Golden Circle. Are we working on<br />

the business or working in the business?<br />

Everyone took a DISC assessment test, a personal<br />

profile system to delineate your leadership<br />

characteristics. As we sifted the room into four<br />

corners, everyone got to stand in a similar group<br />

of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness<br />

and found that their actions and reactions<br />

were very similar in the workplace.<br />

Vicki Bene was a wonderful hostess and kept<br />

the group fed and caffeinated. She picked up<br />

lunch from Publix and kept the group happy with<br />

coffee and energy drinks.<br />

In the afternoon, we talked about Angela<br />

Duckworth’s book. “Grit” and the inherent characteristics<br />

of a gritty person. We also referenced<br />

Annie Duke’s “Thinking in bets”, making decisions<br />

without all of the information.<br />

After a short refresher on Jim Collins’ book<br />

“Good to Great”, we applied those principles to the<br />

non-profit industry using a primer called “Good<br />

to Great and the Social Sectors”.<br />

We wrapped up the day looking at the same<br />

leadership principles and how they are illustrated<br />

in a family business and the need to have long vision<br />

even if you are operational involved in day to<br />

day activities.<br />

A final presentation on goal setting and incorporating<br />

those principles into your life was illustrated<br />

by some photos of racing and challenges<br />

that I have faced running a 100 mile race. Some<br />

key elements included the mental strength to set<br />

goals, achieve those goals, utilize your grittiest<br />

self, and create success.<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />



Best class photo ever. Thank you J. David for your talents.<br />

4 SPRING <strong>2020</strong> NEWSLETTER

The class "read the book" but society still had some casualties.<br />


Heather Grimes '11<br />

In January, the Class of <strong>2020</strong> had an amazing experience at the beautiful Florida FFA <strong>Leadership</strong><br />

Training Center in Haines City, Florida for SIMSOC. As you can see from this newsletter's cover and<br />

the photos on this spread, the class and alumni volunteers were all smiles even in SIMSOC death.<br />

I can't thank the alumni volunteers and sponsors enough for making the weekend a success! The<br />

class had many great comments this year, including "Wow! The work of the volunteers behind the<br />

scenes to make this exercise go was just amazing and really appreciated." Another wrote, " This project<br />

is simply fantastic! Fun, frustrating, satisfying and a great understanding of HOW society really<br />

works. The decisions of one affect all. I hope my classmates actually realized and learned as much as I<br />

did. Thank you for this great experience."<br />

The weekend activities were full, but the class still had opportunities to also enjoy the natural setting.<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />



Class Officer Message<br />

by Thomas O'Connor Bruno and Kera Arnone ’20<br />

The Class of <strong>2020</strong> appreciates all the support<br />

that the community has showed to our Class and<br />

to the <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> program as we continue<br />

to navigate social distancing and sheltering in<br />

place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The<br />

Board has been beyond supportive during this<br />

unknown time<br />

The Class of <strong>2020</strong> is grateful for this experience<br />

and will continue to support the Suncoast Voices<br />

for Children class project even without a physical<br />

fundraiser. Thank you so much for the time,<br />

effort, and attention that it takes for a Class to<br />

exist and to support allowing each class member<br />

to truly find what makes them a good leader.<br />

Better days are ahead. Stay well!<br />

6 SPRING <strong>2020</strong> NEWSLETTER

A Message from<br />

Becky Bennett '07<br />

I am a proud <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Alumni from<br />

the Class of 2007 "Oh Thank Heaven for 2007." I<br />

started working in <strong>Pasco</strong> County in 2004 to work<br />

in administration at Hernando <strong>Pasco</strong> Hospice<br />

and moved to New Port Richey from Clearwater<br />

permanently in 2005. I was fortunate to have<br />

a few mentors including Evie Parks and Sandy<br />

Barley who were alumni and suggested that the<br />

best way to become involved in this county were<br />

to join a Rotary Club and <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>. After<br />

a couple of years, I was able to do both and truly<br />

believe that they were the best decisions I have<br />

made both professionally and personally. From<br />

the start with the eye-opening bus tour with<br />

Harold Sample to SIMSOC (yellow team with Jeff<br />

Lucas) to Graduation, there is a camaraderie with<br />

classmates and other alumni that is like no other.<br />

Thirteen years later, I am still close with many<br />

of my classmates such as Jamie Mick, Julie Best,<br />

Matt Murphy and Jim Simms.<br />

Our class project was renovating a Hudson office<br />

donated by <strong>Pasco</strong> County to <strong>Pasco</strong> Kids First<br />

for their Healthy Families <strong>Pasco</strong> Program. After<br />

learning about the tremendous impact the program<br />

had on at-risk children and families from<br />

classmate Jennifer Beldotti, literally changing<br />

generations of abuse and poverty, I knew I had to<br />

be a part of it. I became the Program Manager of<br />

the Healthy Families Program in May 2007 and<br />

have worked with <strong>Pasco</strong> Kids First ever since.<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Kids First has been serving kids and families<br />

in <strong>Pasco</strong> County for 30 years through child<br />

abuse prevention, assessment and treatment<br />

services. Last year, our county had over 8,000<br />

child abuse reports and <strong>Pasco</strong> Kids First's Children's<br />

Advocacy Center reviewed 6,600 of them<br />

serving 1,500 kids with child abuse assessments<br />

or therapy services.<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> (and <strong>Leadership</strong> Hernando<br />

Class of 2008) have been a key part of my journey<br />

teaching the importance of relationship building,<br />

connecting with community leaders and being<br />

an active part of our county by staying educated<br />

about the current and future needs and giving<br />

back through service. I encourage everyone,<br />

whether they are new to <strong>Pasco</strong> County or lived<br />

here for 25 years, to attend <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> and<br />

I promise they will also become an advocate in<br />

the future.<br />

Becky Bennett '07<br />

Director of Development<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Kids First, Inc.<br />

“...there is a camaraderie with<br />

classmates and other alumni<br />

that is like no other. Thirteen<br />

years later, I am still close<br />

with many of my classmates<br />

such as Jamie Mick, Julie<br />

Best, Matt Murphy and Jim<br />

Simms.”<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />



Education Day<br />

by Laura Raposa ’19<br />

On February 20, the <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Class<br />

of <strong>2020</strong> participated in Education Day. The class<br />

started their day at <strong>Pasco</strong>-Hernando State College’s<br />

Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch and was<br />

welcomed by campus Provost, Dr. Kevin O’Farrell.<br />

After a brief introduction and tour of the campus,<br />

the group set off on a bus tour of Central<br />

and Eastern <strong>Pasco</strong> County schools. The first stop<br />

was Sanders Memorial Elementary School. The<br />

group met by Principal, Jason Petry, his staff and<br />

students and got to see a 5th grade pod in action.<br />

The next stop was Land O’ Lakes High School<br />

where the class met with Principal, Ric Mellin<br />

and enjoyed lunch prepared by the students at<br />

the Academy of Culinary Arts. The last stop was<br />

Cypress Creek Middle/High School where the<br />

group was met by Kurt Browning, Superintendent<br />

of <strong>Pasco</strong> County Schools. They also met with Tim<br />

Light, principal of CCMS and toured their engineering<br />

academy and criminal justice academies.<br />

On the bus to and from stops, the group learned<br />

more about <strong>Pasco</strong> County Schools planning, after<br />

school enrichment programs, and communications.<br />

Finally, the day wrapped up with information<br />

from PACE Center for Girls, <strong>Pasco</strong> Pathways<br />

and a Kahoot! to review all the information.<br />

Here are a few quotes from the Class of <strong>2020</strong><br />

about Education Day:<br />

“Loved the tours of the different schools”<br />

“Loved the Kahoot wrap up. Enjoyed the tours<br />

of the facilities and am excited for the future of<br />

education in <strong>Pasco</strong>. Loved touring the Criminal<br />

Justice program. Passionate educators and students”<br />

“Loved the culinary arts lunch. Just wonderful<br />

seeing the kids learning those skills in action”<br />

Thank you to our Education Day sponsors:<br />

O’Connor Law Group, <strong>Pasco</strong> Education Foundation<br />

and <strong>Pasco</strong>-Hernando State College.<br />

8 SPRING <strong>2020</strong> NEWSLETTER

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> class members participating in a group activity.<br />

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong>, Student<br />

Perspective<br />

by Bertell Butler ’20<br />

“The program has motivated<br />

me to encourage others to<br />

stay in <strong>Pasco</strong> and to advance<br />

its mission of building a<br />

prosperous, lively community.”<br />

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

provided me with an exceptional<br />

experience.<br />

The program actively<br />

promotes the philosophy of<br />

networking, and lived up to<br />

that philosophy in introducing<br />

me to many community<br />

and business leaders. I<br />

learned first-hand from speakers in the community<br />

of the qualities associated with leadership.<br />

The originality and character of these speakers<br />

made the experience all the more engaging. From<br />

Sheriff Nocco to the Superintendent of Schools,<br />

each influential community member we met had<br />

a story to share and a lesson to learn from. Youth<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> connected me to other youth<br />

from different schools and diverse backgrounds,<br />

offering us an opportunity to build our networking<br />

circles through valuable friendships. By the<br />

end of the program, we were not clustered among<br />

familiar faces or sitting with our school groups;<br />

we were intermingled, sharing stories, collaborating,<br />

and taking in the depth of Youth <strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong>’s insightful lessons as a team. Our<br />

eyes have been opened to all that <strong>Pasco</strong> has to offer.<br />

The program has motivated me to encourage<br />

others to stay in <strong>Pasco</strong> and to advance its mission<br />

of building a prosperous, lively community.<br />

Through Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>, I have made<br />

friends, met leaders from around the county, and<br />

have learned how to put my leadership into use.<br />

The experience was worth every moment.<br />

Sponsors<br />

Hudson Rotary Club<br />

O'Connor Law Group, P.A.<br />

Rotary Club of Dade City Noon<br />

Rotary Club of Holiday<br />

Rotary Club of New Port Richey<br />

Rotary Club of Port Richey<br />

Rotary Club of Seven <strong>Spring</strong>s<br />

Rotary Club of West <strong>Pasco</strong> Sunset<br />

Rotary Wesley Chapel Noon<br />

Rotary Club of Trinity<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />



Youth <strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Graduation<br />

by Rob Aguis ’01 and Barbara De Simone ’96<br />

The Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Class of <strong>2020</strong><br />

graduates include: Dylan Acosta, Isabelle Blasdel,<br />

Geoffrey Brown, Bertell Butler IV, Hailee Byrne,<br />

Christina Care, Ava Caudle, Victoria Davis,<br />

Mackenzie Dice, Yazmin El Oufir, Jacob Farmer,<br />

Colson Gantt, Liliana Gonzalez, Elliana Gorecki,<br />

Claire Haiber, Luke Hobbs, Omar Juarez, Ashleigh<br />

Lacey, Lizzette Lianos, Krysten Manley, Olivia<br />

March, Giovanni Mourino, Anisa Nanavati,<br />

Camille Penick, Callie Rhodes, Reagan Stinnett,<br />

Devin Taylor, Veronica Vallecillo, Parker Wallace,<br />

Olivia Walters, and Nathan Wilford. Participants<br />

included students from high schools throughout<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County.<br />

The Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> program, under the<br />

leadership of Rob Aguis, Barbara De Simone, Ben<br />

Diel, and Carla Armstrong, is designed to inform,<br />

motivate and increase participants’ awareness of<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County through issue-oriented seminars and<br />

interaction with community leaders.<br />

10 SPRING <strong>2020</strong> NEWSLETTER

See you before the holidays at ...<br />

Class of <strong>2020</strong> Graduation and our next mixer.<br />

Our leadership is creating additional<br />

opportunities to connect<br />

as a part of our mission in <strong>2020</strong>-2021.<br />


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!