Chamber’s Leadership St. Johns Class completes program


The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership St. Johns (LSJ) Class of 2018 has completed its year-long program, graduating 27 participants from all sectors of industry, commerce and public service, the most in the program’s history.

The graduates include: Michelle Adams, St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum; Janette Allen, Flagler College; Myrna Allen, St. Johns River State College; Carlos Aviles, St. Augustine Fire Department; Jeremiah Blocker, North Florida Lawyers, PLLC; Christopher Buttermore, Matthews Design Group, Inc.; Michael Dresback, St. Johns County School District; Debra East, Launchpad Consultants LLC/Blue Sky Life Coaching LLC; Alexius Ferguson, Children's Home Society; Donna Guzzo, Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach; Matthew Hartley, Gwanda, LLC; Stephen Hudson, Digital Mark Company, LLC; Bruce Jones, Vicar's Landing; Steven Ladrido, Coldwell Banker Premier Properties; Patricia Larkin, Early Learning Coalition of North Florida; Regina Mangus, Flagler Hospital; Lisa McGowan, VyStar Credit Union; Amy Miller, Carr, Riggs and Ingram, LLC; Samuel Morgart, Ameris Bank; Matthew Nelson, Advanced Disposal Services; Maria Sit, Northrop Grumman; Leslie Snyder, St. Augustine Youth Services; Matthew Stevens, St. Augustine Distillery Co.;  Jackson Taylor, St. Johns County Sheriff's Office; Thomas Torretta, St. Johns County Council on Aging; Janette Wagner, Capital City Bank; and Melissa Wissel, City of St. Augustine.

According to Bob Porter, the Chamber’s LSJ program director, members of the class of 2018 will continue to be mentored by program alumni who maintain and promote a positive difference in the region.

“The program provides a way to recognize talented individuals who will benefit from the experience and who can utilize the opportunity to advance their organizational and personal professional goals,” said Porter. “Additionally, strong connections established among class members are invaluable throughout one’s career and beyond.”

Isabelle Renault, the Chamber’s president/CEO and a graduate of Leadership St. Johns and Leadership Florida, said involvement in LSJ can be a stepping stone to participating in nonprofit and volunteer government advisory boards as well as potential involvement in future elected office.

            “We also want our class members to consider using the skills honed through the LSJ experience to engage actively in the governing of St. Johns County,” she said.    

The leadership development program was started in 2001 and has over 300 alumni including the former superintendent of schools and current Flagler College President Joseph Joyner, the current Superintendent of Schools Tim Forson, Flagler Hospital CEO Jason Barrett, local entrepreneur and St. Augustine Distillery founding partner Philip McDaniel, District 1 School Board Representative Beverly Slough and St. Augustine City Manager John Regan. The program was established to educate, connect and encourage elite and emerging professionals as they strive to make a positive impact on the local economy and community.

The Chamber will begin to accept applications for the new program year on July 22. The program runs from October through the following June. Class members need to be committed to meeting one day each month to experience a full day of policy briefings and onsite tours providing an in-depth overview of the challenges and opportunities faced by St. Johns County’s many industries, government agencies and nonprofits. Class members who successfully graduate from the program are accepted into the ranks of leadership alumni in St. Johns County and across Florida, and many LSJ graduates have been accepted into the state-wide Leadership Florida program. For additional information and to register after July 22, visit