BOARD OF DIRECTORS DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY
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Carol Davis, Co-President
Carol, former second vice president, retired as director of elementary math programs after 25 years at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing company. She holds a master’s degree in Education from Boston University and a bachelor’s in Education from Duquesne University. Before accepting a position in textbook publishing, Carol was an elementary teacher with the Department of Defense Schools on military bases in the United States and Germany. She is president of Delta Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and is actively involved in the NAACP.
Leesa Bainbridge, Co-President
Leesa, former second vice president,also serves as our Communications Co-Chairperson. She has an extensive background in writing and editing and specializes in public relations and speaking. Leesa coordinates our social media, League communications and serves as the chief editor of outgoing information. Formerly, she was Communications Director for the Orange County Clerk of Courts and served as an Orlando Sentinel editor.
Maria Padilla, First Vice-President
Maria is a veteran journalist, author of the blog Orlando Latino and a regular contributor to the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida 100, a group identified by the paper as the area’s most influential people. A former editor of La Prensa, Maria also was a reporter and an editor at the Orlando Sentinel, where she launched and edited the paper’s Spanish-language weekly, El Sentinel.
Gloria Pickar, Second Vice-President
Gloria was President and Chief Academic Officer for a for profit distance learning service company that markets, recruits and supports students for online and blended e-learning degree programs in partnership with colleges and universities. At Compass Knowledge Group, she demonstrated strong
interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Coalition building is her passion. She was also nursing clinician, educator and author of two nursing textbooks, one a best seller published in 9th edition. She has a proven record of building community, government and education partnerships. She has been co-chair with Patti Brigham of the LWVOC Gun Safety Committee.
Leslie Feinberg, Treasurer
Leslie is an aerospace engineer specializing in materials and manufacturing processes with 36 years of industry experience. She has actively participated in the Central Florida community, serving on various school boards and committees, as high school team treasurer and coaching basketball in a local recreational league. More recently, Leslie is the registrar for the LWVOC monthly Hot Topics events.
Sandi Vidal, Acting Secretary
Sandi is Vice President of the Community strategies and Initiatives Central Florida Foundation. She has served as an officer on the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, and as Executive Director and CEO of the Christian HELP/Central Florida Employment Council. Sandi has served on numerous boards, and has received multiple honors, including nominations in 2011 and 2013 for the Orlando Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” award. Sandi also writes a blog for the Huffington Post
Ann joined the LWVOC in 2008 after retiring as deputy managing editor of the Orlando Sentinel.She served as president of the LWVOC from 2011-2013. Her career in journalism began in England in 1956 and took her to South Africa at the start of the anti-apartheid movement and Canada before she immigrated to the United States in 1967. In 1973, she was named Florida news editor for The Associated Press, the first woman to head a state news gathering operation in the news agency’s history. Ann joined the Orlando Sentinel in 1986.
Pat Grierson, Membership Chair
Pat currently chairs the Membership Committee. Previously she managed the League’s statewide campaign in support of The Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment and the League’s first, statewide membership challenge.
For 35 years she was a commercial office designer in Washington DC, first as owner of her own practice and then as vice president and studio leader with a leading architectural firm.She holds a Bachelor of Design from the University of Florida and a Masters of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.
Carmen was born in San Juan, PR and grew up in New York City. In the early ‘80’s, she worked as a Railroad Clerk with the NYC Transit Authority, and subsequently as a NYC Police Officer. Carmen lived in Marion County, FL, for ten years and there she helped organize Hispanic Caucuses in Silver Springs Shores and Marion Oaks communities. Moving to Orange County in 2003, she retired from the Dept. of Corrections Intake Unit. With the LWVOC, she has loved registering voters and working with the Speakers Bureau to explain ballot issues. Carmen is the spouse of FL State Senator Victor M. Torres, Jr. and mother of FL State Representative Amy Mercado.
Theo Webster, At Large Board Mbr.
Theo brings a wide breadth of experience from Orlando city government to the arts and more. She's been a member of our Government and Immigration committees and is helping with our consensus study of Open Primaries. Her longtime public service to preserve the Arts for all Americans continues as she is now an Arts and Non-Profit Management Consultant.
Karen Climer, At Large Board Mbr.
Karen is a successful grant writer with experience in fundraising, communications and business. She blogs at letsraisesomemoney.com. In 2008, Karen was named one of the nation’s top three up-and-coming fundraisers by FundRaising Success Magazine. She also has her own entertainment business
Barbara Granade, At Large Board Mbr.
Barbara is also our Co-Chair of our Speakers Bureau. She is a longtime Orlando travel agent who retired after 30 years in the business. She brings event planning and administration skills to the board as well as a commitment to the health of nonprofits. Barbara helped to rejuvenate 100 Women Strong, a philanthropic giving circle in Central Florida, and serves on the executive committee. She also researches and vets nonprofit groups for the Central Florida Foundation.
Terry Gillam, Nominating Chair
Terry worked as an elementary school library media specialist for more than 20 years in Orange County and San Antonio. Her final two years were spent at the OCPS district office as District Media Specialist. After retiring, Terry became involved with Ten Thousand Villages in Winter Park and eventually was elected President of the Board. She is chair of the League’s Education Committee and served on the 2015-16 Nominating Committee.
Nominating Committee Members, 2017-18