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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 9 months ago

Latitude Margaritaville Foundation donates $5,000 to First Step Shelter

Also, the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors installs new officers.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

The Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach Community Foundation recently awarded First Step Shelter with a $5,000 donation on the National Day of Giving, Tuesday, Dec. 1. 

Each year, the foundation reaches out to local nonprofits and organizations, who then complete an application asking for monetary help. The residents of Latitude Margaritaville then decide which ones they want to support, said Latitude Margaritaville resident Michael McLean. This year because of COVID-19, and the need many organizations found themselves in as a result, all 13 nonprofits that applied received a $5,000 donation.

At each new home closing, buyers donate $100 to the foundation, and Minto Communities matches the donation. With over 3,000 homes planned for Latitude Margaritaville Daytona beach, this will generate funds exceeding $600,000 for the foundation, according to a press release. Aside from First Step Shelter, other recipients included Food Brings Hope, Friends of the Marine Science Center, the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and the Halifax Humane Society. 

For McLean, First Step Shelter's mission to serve the homeless community is the reason he advocated for the foundation to assist them. 

“Whatever way we can be helpful to support them," McLean said. "Since Latitude Margaritaville is a neighbor in Daytona Beach, I thought it was appropriate to try to direct some of the resources that way to First Step."

Officers and directors installled

The 98th-annual installation and awards banquet of the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors, held at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach, saw Alisa Rogers, of 1st Florida Realty, installed as its 2021 president.

Ormond Beach resident Harold Briley also earned the Realtor of the year, and Realty Pros Assured owner Bill Navarra was recognized with the Honorary Life Member award, according to a press release. In addition, Jessica Blodgett, of Exit Beach Realty, and Savannah Dow, of Oceans Luxury Realty, were presented with Rising Star Awards. Newton White and Nancy Cortez, both with Adams Cameron and Co. realtors and Don Burnette, of the Mortgage Firm, received Community Service Awards. 

Nicole Chapman, of NextHome at the Beach, and Patty Lynn, of Realty Pros, both won Special Merit awards. Vince Cardone, of Residential Inspection, was honored as Business Partner of the Year. Rounding out the awards were five members who were presented with Outstanding Customer Service Awards: Susie Gordon, Marianne Boyles, Elle Gilbert, Debbie Callahan, and Marty Opelt.

Lynn Byrne, broker-owner of 1st Florida Realty, installed the officers and directors:

  • Marsha Cooksey, Realty Pros Assured, president-elect
  • Justin Falb, Oceans Luxury Realty, vice president
  • Jack Bailey, Home One Realty, treasurer

The two-year directors are Felicia Caruso, of Adams Cameron and Co. realtors; Theresa Geyer, of Watson Realty; PW Mabry, of RE/MAX Signature; Nancy-Ellen Otte, of Century 21 Sundance Realty; and Mary Smith of RE/MAX Signature. One-year Directors are Daniel McHone, of Coldwell Banker Premier Properties; Lucy Stewart Desmore, of EXP Realty, LLC; and Kristin Petersen of Adams Cameron and Co. Realtors. Lynn Byrne, broker and owner of 1st Florida Realty, was installed as a director by virtue of her position as MLS Committee Chair, and Harold Briley of Adams Cameron and Co. Realtors took the oath as immediate past president.

'Best accounting firm for women'

Stetson University alumna Suzanne Shaw Forbes is the managing partner at James Moore Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, and her firm was recently recognized as the best accounting firm for women in 2020 by Accounting Today, the university said in a press release. 

Suzanne Shaw Forbes joined James Moore Certified Public Accountants and Consultants in 1987. Courtesy photo

Forbes was encouraged to pursue an accounting degree by a high school mentor because she excelled in math. She later worked part-time for a local certified public accountant while dual enrolled in college courses. By the time she arrived at Stetson in 1984, she was only a few credits short of an associate's degree, according to the press release.

She graduated with a master's degree and a CPA license after three years. In 1987, she began working at James Moore Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, and became a firm partner in 1995. 

Professor appointed to task force

Valrie Chambers, an associate professor of accounting at Stetson University, was recently appointed to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Task Force of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, according to a press release.

Valrie Chambers said she is passionate about social justice. Courtesy photo

“I’m passionate about social justice and believe that the accounting profession should evolve with our society,” said Chambers, who was appointed to FICPA’s board of directors in January. “Diversity and inclusion creates a stronger and more trusted profession. I believe there are opportunities to expand diversity and inclusion within the accounting profession in Florida. The task force will be on the front lines for shaping an inclusive environment for potential members.”

The charge is to develop, design and implement diversity, equity and inclusion programs, as well as provide input on future diversity initiatives, create resources and obtain feedback on establishing a diversity summit, the press release states.

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