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Patricia Dawson, P.A.

MMERIEAC Chair

Attorney

Attorney Patricia Dawson is a practicing attorney, for over 26 years, focusing on Criminal Defense, Family Law, Personal Injury, Title IX, and litigated several high-profiled cases. Presently Attorney Dawson is a solo practitioner of the Law Office of Patricia Dawson, P. A. since 2006. She formerly served as a Prosecutor for the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office for over 11 years. During that period, she litigated cases involving murder, sexual battery, trafficking, racketeering, domestic violence, stalking, dating violence, robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, etc. Over the years, Attorney Dawson has provided legal commentary and analysis with requested appearance on Fox 13 News on topics such as legal analysis Transgender Restroom Debate; legal advice for “Ask a Lawyer;” and provided commentary on a high-profile case.

Attorney Dawson has an established commitment to the legal profession, as exemplified through her participation and leadership in legal organizations and associations. She is Co-Chairs the CLE Committee of The Florida Bar and Chairs of FAMU Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) External Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of The Florida Bar, Florida Bar Criminal Law Section Executive Council, Florida Bar, National Bar Association, George Edgecombe Bar Association, Hillsborough County Bar Association, Hillsborough County Association of Women Lawyers, Florida Association of Women Lawyers, Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Black Prosecutors Association.

In addition, Attorney Dawson has led and participated in other organizations in the Tampa Bay community: Presently Board Chair of the Sickle Cell Association of Hillsborough County, Inc. Also, Attorney Dawson formerly was a board member of the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs (TOBA), board treasurer for the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc. and other boards and advisory committees. She has participated as a mentor for Middleton High School’s Tampa Bay Male Club, Eldridge F. McLane Middle School, TOBA’s Ladies in Training Mentor and Sponsorship Program, and Hillsborough County Girl’s Court. I

Attorney Dawson is a Tampa native; graduate of Florida A. M. University; and earned her Juris Doctorate from Florida State University in 1994.


Patricia Dawson, P.A.

Mr. Barney Spann

MMERIEAC Vice-Chair

Business Executive – Jacksonville, FL

Business executive and technology management professional with over 30 years of demonstrated leadership capabilities, addressing problems and devising effective solutions to meet organizational goals and objectives. Motivated, personable business professional with a successful record of building profitable business for large corporations. Experienced in overseeing improvement initiatives and aligning technology services with business goals. Ability to lead enterprise-wide implementations while exuberating confidence and leadership. Extensive background in management, consulting, project management, forecast/budget management and business development.

High visibility for developing, managing and sustaining relationships with supplier partners such as Oracle, InfoSys, SAP, Total Systems. Cognizant, Moneygram, Tririga, PeopleCube, Mastercard, Visa, Verizon, KOFAX, Pega Systems, Hogg Robinson Group International Travel(American Express), Accenture, CTA-FOS, Gulfstream, Concur Technologies, Symphony, BCD Travel, and Tangoe.

Flexible and versatile – able to maintain a sense of humor under pressure. Well-developed interpersonal and communication skills. Thrives in dynamically-challenging environments requiring strategic leadership, business and management execution.


Barney Spann

Dr. Na’im Akbar

Retired Clinical Psychologist

Noted scholar, lecturer and author, Dr. Na’im Akbar has established a highly respected reputation for his research in African-American Psychology. His scholarship in this area has led to numerous honors including the Distinguished Psychologist Award from the National Association of Black Psychologists; Honorary Doctorates of Human Letters from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Lincoln University as well as commemorative Days named in his honor in a half dozen major American cities and a Development Chief in Ghana, West Africa.

Dr. Akbar has served on the Boards of Directors of several important civic and professional organizations, including the Board of the National Association of Black Psychologists to which he was elected president in 1987.

Dr. Akbar is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. He served as chairman of the Department of Psychology at Morehouse College and on the faculty at Norfolk State University. In 2008 after twenty-eight years, he retired from the psychology faculty at Florida State University, to devote full time as President of his private consulting and publishing company.

He has received world renown for the important books that he has written, especially his widely read books Visions for Black Men and Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery. He has been sought as an expert on numerous national television talk shows including The Oprah Winfrey ShowTavis Smiley’s Annual State of Black America, the Geraldo Show and many others.  Significant articles about him have appeared in many national and international newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, and Essence Magazine. Akbar has been lauded for his eloquence and expertise at Conferences on five continents and he is recognized as one of the great Thinkers and Orators of our time. He identifies himself as most notably, the father of three highly successful adult children and two young grandchildren.


Dr. Na'im Akbar

Mrs. Gloria Anderson

Director of the Smith Williams Service Center (Retired)

Civil Rights Historian, Public Administrator
Community Educator and Organizer,
Independent Genealogist and Gerontology Specialist

Gloria J Anderson is a native of Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida.  She attended public schools in Leon County and Florida A&M University.  She was born, raised, worked and studied in Rattler Territory. While employed at FAMU during the 70’s and early 80’s, she studied and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration‐Political Science and History.  In 1981, while she was a wife and mother, she earned a Master’s Degree in Adult and Community Education.   She is a life-long learner and truly believes  “We are never too old to learn”.

During the early 1960’s, Gloria became interested in civil rights while she was in high school and was inspired by her high school teacher, Mrs. Christine Knowles, who at that time was the secretary to Rev. Dr. C. K. Steele, Sr. of the historic Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and President of the Inter‐Civic Council, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During those turbulent years, the high school students participated in the marches and sit-ins lead by the college students.  She has participated in many demonstrations, mass meetings and public court hearings.   As a member of the local Inter-Civic Council of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Gloria attended numerous local and national meetings the SCLC for a period of over 40 years.  She became very active with the Women of SCLC which included locals as the late Mrs. Maryola Gaines and Mrs. Laura Dixie and also served with the National Women of SCLC lead by the SCLC wives and associates which included Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Mrs. Lois Brock Steele, Mrs. Rosa Parks, Mrs. Juanita Abernathy, Mrs. Evelyn Lowery, Mrs. Andrew Young,  Mrs. Winnie Mandela and many more. After many years, Gloria became the local convener for the Tallahassee Chapter-Women of SCLC. She attended rural Barrow Hill Elementary and Junior High School where she was bussed daily, ten miles each way, and never missed a day except in 1958 when it snowed and her father would not allow them to go because it was too cold. She is also a 1965 graduate of the Old Lincoln High School in Historic Frenchtown.

In the recent years, the local Women of SCLC focused on remembering and recognizing elderly civil rights footsoldiers who sacrificed and struggled for equal rights and justice.  The local Women of SCLC also sponsors a charter bus to Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 1965 Bridge Crossing Jubilee each March.

Gloria is retired from the City of Tallahassee as Director of the Smith Williams Service Center and has continued her work community work by serving on numerous advisory and foundation boards to help improve the lives of our citizens. She also manages speaking engagements to local school children and others in her presentation entitled “Have I Got A Story To Tell”.

Since her retirement, Gloria has researched and documented her ancestors slave history in Leon County back to 1785. She continues to participate in training programs of interest at local colleges and universities. Gloria was married to the late Bernard C. Anderson Sr. and they have three adult children and four grandchildren.


Mrs. Gloria Anderson

Dr. Ed Clarke

Program Evaluator in the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention at the FDOH

Dr. Edward L. Clark II is a Program Evaluator in the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention at the Florida Department of Health. Dr. Clark earned a doctorate from the FAMU Institute of Public Health in 2017, and a Masters of Social Work from FAMU in 2011. In his current role, Dr. Clark develops and evaluates chronic disease prevention programs that address health disparities involving persons with disabilities and provides routine surveillance related to chronic diseases, conditions, and associated risk and protective factors, with an emphasis on disability. Dr. Clark has worked at the Florida Department of Health for three years and has worked with the Leon County Health Department and the City of Tallahassee for more than five years on initiatives that address maternal and child health and gun violence mitigation. His other areas of interest include social epidemiology, mixed methods research designs, and health equity.


Dr. Ed Clarke

Dr. Patrick Mason

Professor of Economics & Director, African American Studies Program, FSU

Patrick L. Mason is Professor of Economics & Director, African American Studies Program, Florida State University. His primary areas of interest include labor, political economy, development, education, social identity, and crime. He is particularly interested in racial inequality in the US, Caribbean, and Mexico, educational achievement, income distribution, unemployment, economics of identity (race and religion), family environment and socioeconomic wellbeing, and transitions in family structure and public policy, racial profiling, computerization and employment, and innovation and development in Caribbean economies.

In addition to membership in the America Economic Association and the National Economic Association, Professor Mason is also Chair, Board of Directors, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI); Member, Board of Directors, Fair Foods Standards Council (FFSC); and, Vice-President, Smith-Williams Service Center Foundation (SWSCF).

He has authored about 90 journal articles, book chapters, books, and other professional publications.

Professor Mason was born Tallahassee, FL but raised in Sebring, Florida. He is married to Winifred G. Mason, father of three, and Deacon, St. John Missionary Baptist Church (Tallahassee).


Dr. Patrick Mason

Dr. Bhavin Patel

Consultant and Physician

Currently the Chief Practice Management Officer of Healthy Option Consulting. Graduated University of Florida as a Microbiologist.  Followed by graduate studies at St. Matthews University School of Medicine in George Town, Grand Cayman, BWI. His experience as C.O.O for three primary care walk-in clinics that sub-specialize in medical cannabis consultations and anti-addiction services provides us with the unique ability to assess existing practice workflow and documentation protocols, and maximize the office efficiencies of medical cannabis practices. In addition, is an owner of a Medical Marijuana and CBD hemp laboratory for third party testing in Port St. Lucie.


Dr. Bhavin Patel

Ms. Valeria Robinson-Baker

Consultant Pharmacist

Valeria Robinson-Baker R.Ph., C.Ph. is the Pharmacy Supervisor for the Non-Sterile

Compounding Section and the Hazardous Drugs Program at the state-of-the-art FDA Outsourcing Facility, Olympia Compounding Pharmacy in Orlando, Fla.

Ms. Robinson-Baker oversees the operations of the non-sterile compounding department. She was instrumental to the establishment of the Sterile Compounding component of the facility upon its opening in 2013, serving dual roles as the Sterile Compounding Pharmacist Supervisor and Quality Manager. While she has held her current role for nearly four years, Ms. Robinson-Baker has spent 39 years in pharmacy industry garnering comprehensive leadership skills and knowledge in hospital, compounding, consultant pharmacy and hospital pharmacy administration.

A graduate of Florida A. and M. University’s College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, she obtained licensure as a Consultant Pharmacist and certifications in Pharmacy Regulatory Specialist, Medication Therapy Management (MTM), FEMA Emergency Preparedness, Women’s Health Issues and Pharmacy-Based Immunizations. She currently licensed in Florida, Oregon and is seeking licensure in the state of Michigan. Throughout her career, Ms. Robinson-Baker assumed leadership roles that enhanced her expertise. She first served as the first Director of Pharmacy at Sand Lake Hospital (now known as Dr. Phillips Hospital) for 11 years and subsequently served as Pharmacy Director at Orlando Regional Medical Center in 1997, where she managed budgetary activities, regulatory inspections, executed corporate initiatives and managed a staff of 43 employees. She has also served as the Director of Pharmacy at Osceola Medical Center and at St. Cloud Hospital. In each, she provided management of all budgetary activities, clinical initiatives to meet the requirements for medication therapy management by state and JCHAO s. After departing from St. Cloud Hospital in 2013, she began her affiliation and served as the Supervising Pharmacist for sterile compounding at Olympia Compounding Pharmacy FDA Outsourcing Facility, simultaneously serving as acting Quality Manager until December 2014. In that role, she trained staff to meet high-risk sterile compounding practices and ensured compliance with cGMP. In 2015, she began consulting advisor role with GuidePoint and Avella Pharmacy as a clinical pharmacist. In early 2017, Valeria returned to Olympia to initiate and manage the Hazardous Drugs Program. She designed the Hazardous Drugs Program to serve as an on-going educational tool for staff to meet NIOSH recommendations. She was key player in the transition towards Olympia becoming a 503B Outsourcing facility. She has acted as lead for both FDA and state board inspections.

She is a season and highly recognized professional as she has received various honors and accolades including the Distinguished Service Award from the Florida Pharmacy Association. Ms. Robinson-Baker was very active in community-based programs such as Junior Achievement and served on the board of The Central Florida YMCA.

Valeria is married to Dr. Robert Baker, a gastroenterologist and owner of Central Florida Gastroenterology Specialists. She is mother of two children. Her daughter, Dr. Brittney Baker is the Supervising Sterile compounding pharmacist. Her second daughter, Camille Baker, is an app developer and has received recognition for her “Pull Up a Seat” app. Ms. Robinson-Baker’s success stems from a true love for pharmacy and a desire to make a difference. She is an ever-evolving professional and who diversifies her skills to increase her work-life options.


Ms. Valeria Robinson-Baker

Dr. Patricia Snyder

UF Distinguished Professor

Patricia Snyder, PhD is a University of Florida Distinguished Professor of Special Education and Early Childhood Studies. Dr. Snyder is the inaugural occupant of the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies and the founding director of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies. Dr. Snyder is an applied researcher. Her work focuses on ensuring evidence-based promotion, prevention, and intervention strategies that support the development, learning, and well-being of young children with vulnerabilities due to genetic, biological, or environmental risk are implemented effectively by their caregivers and early learning practitioners in community-based contexts. She is a former editor of the Journal of Early Intervention and has published more than 120 scholarly articles, book chapters, or books. She lives in Gainesville, FL and serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Trust of Alachua county.


Dr. Patricia Snyder

Rev. Lonnie D. Wesley, III

Pastor (Greater Little Rock Baptist Church – Pensacola, Fl)

Lonnie Davis Wesley, III, was born and reared in Pensacola, matriculating through the local school system and graduating from Escambia High School in 1987. Upon high school graduation, Wesley attended Alabama State University (ASU) in Montgomery, Alabama, where he lettered four years in baseball, and was graduated in 1992.

Wesley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications (Public Relations) from ASU. After starting on a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Wesley finished and was graduated from Selma University in the spring of 2006. Pastor Wesley earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Biblical Preaching from Anderson University of Anderson, South Carolina, on May 10, 2019.

Active in the community, Dr. Wesley has served on a number of local boards to include Achieve Escambia, United Ministries, and Baptist Hospital. He is also a past Moderator of the First West Florida Baptist District Association.

Dr. Wesley is married to the former LaTonya Neal of Pensacola, and the couple has three children: Kalen, Jeffrey, and James.


Rev. Lonnie D. Wesley, III

Mr. Morris A. Young

Sheriff-Quincy, Florida

Sheriff Morris A. Young was born and raised in Gadsden County where he passionately serves as the Sheriff since 2004.  Sheriff Young graduated from James A. Shanks High School and later attended Chipola Jr. College and Tallahassee Community College Law Enforcement Academy.  He started his career in law enforcement as a police officer with the Quincy Police Department where he served for 11 years.  He then became a deputy with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office in 1998.  His passion for giving back to the community inspired him to run for Sheriff of the county.  He became the second African American Sheriff in the state’s history.


Mr. Morris A. Young
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