Individually, we are many things! We're lawyers, educators, professional communicators, accountants. The list goes on. But collectively, we are lifesavers!
Together, we are raising funds and awareness for the Children's Miracle Network Hospital in our area and dedicated to giving every kid the childhood they deserve. We're also cheerleaders, dancers and innovators. We're committed to one cause and we do it all #ForTheKids.
To raise funds that support Children's Miracle Network at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children by building a community focused on health and hope.
Chris Dawson, Co-Overall Chair
Chris is a sixth-generation Floridian, born in Pensacola, Florida, and raised in nearby Santa Rosa County. He received his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida.
While at UF, Chris was active in student government, Florida Blue Key, Dance Marathon benefiting Shands Children’s Hospital at UF and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law. He pursued a joint degree at UA, also obtaining his master’s degree in civil engineering with a focus on construction methods and management. Chris also worked as a graduate assistant in the University of Alabama College of Engineering and served as adviser to the University of Alabama Dance Marathon benefiting Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Though a Gator at heart, he has occasionally been known to utter “Roll Tide!”
Chris is now an attorney and lobbyist at GrayRobinson, P.A. He primarily focuses on lobbying and government relations for public and private sector clients at the executive and legislative levels of state government, as well as before political subdivisions of the state, including counties, cities, airport authorities, transportation authorities, port authorities, school districts and water management districts.
Ingrid Berry, Co-Overall Chair
Ingrid graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 with degrees in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, Business Administration, and French. The following year, she graduated with a Master of International Business degree from Hough Graduate School of Business at UF and, most recently, completed the professional MBA program also at Hough.
During her undergraduate years, Ingrid was active in multiple organizations including Florida Blue Key, Student Government, Delta Delta Delta sorority, Dance Marathon at UF, and various philanthropies. She first experienced DM at UF as a dancer and a co-chair of fundraising for the 2009-2010 DM. Because “standing for the kids who can’t” was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life, she continued to participate as a Morale Staff member. In 2016, Ingrid joined the Florida Miracle team and served as the Recruitment and Dancer Relations Chair. In 2017, she served as the Events Chair and in 2018, as Co-Overall Chair.
Ingrid previously worked in the finance organization at the Walt Disney Company and was an active member of the company’s community service planning group. Currently, she is part of the finance organization at Verizon Communications Inc. and continues to be active in corporate citizenship efforts.
Jessica Layne & Drew Strochak
Orlando Health Foundation, Hospital Representatives
Leigh Anne Thompson, Communications Chair
Leigh Anne is a Tallahassee native, and a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in business management. Go Noles!
Born as a premature baby herself, Leigh Anne dedicated time volunteering for the March of Dimes throughout her time in school. She joined Central Florida Dance Marathon in 2017, after moving to Orlando and hearing about the great things Florida Miracle does for children.
Leigh Anne is currently a business development specialist at GrayRobinson, P.A in Orlando, Florida.
Valentine Particini, Communications Committee Member
Val was born and Worcester, Massachusetts and became a Floridian 25 years ago. He graduated from Florida State University in December 2012 with a degree in Political Science and Economics.
Since moving back to Orlando in 2014, Val has been an active member in the community as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Val joined Florida Miracle in 2016 and hopes to take this experience, and his motivation “For The Kids” even further in 2019 to communicate the amazing accomplishments of Children’s Miracle Network in the Central Florida community.
Currently, Val is a Paralegal at Parkway. When he isn't spending time volunteering, he enjoys outdoor activities, soccer games, the beach and reading.
Caitlin Ramirez, Communications Committee Member
Caitlin earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida studying social science and mass communication. While at UCF, she was was active with Knight-thon, Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, Pack to Attack Hunger, and worked as a Resident Assistant for the student-athletes (Go Knights!) Currently, Caitlin works at Findsome & Winmore, a classic digital marketing agency. She is a proud dog mom, and can be found traveling, wine tasting, or rooting on her Alma Mater.
Christine Smith, Events Chair
Christine was born in Pennsylvania but grew up in Lakeland, FL and considers herself to be a true Floridian. She is an alumna of the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Event Management. During her time at UCF, Christine was an active member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Knight-Thon. Go Knights!
Currently, Christine works in Sales and Marketing at Universal Orlando Resort. She is passionate about all things tourism and travel.
She is excited to be apart of the Florida Miracle team and is looking forward to helping make miracles happen!
Meaghan Kula, Events Committee Member
Meaghan was born and raised in Orlando, Florida making her a proud and true local of the Central Florida community. In 2017, she graduated from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida with a degree in Event Management.
Since graduation, Meaghan has been working for Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida in the Development department, helping plan events to raise funds to grant the wishes of over 300 local children since her time on the team. Meaghan is also a host at Tasty Trivia, bringing trivia fun to guests all over the Orlando area.
She has been involved with Florida Miracle’s Dance Marathon in one way or another for the last three years and is excited to be a part of the team this year and grow this event to be bigger and better than before!
Jimmy Taylor, Events Committee Member
Jimmy was born in Pittsburgh, PA – but after his family moved in the early 2000s, Orlando quickly became his home. Jimmy graduated in 2015 with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida. Can I get a Go Gators? Currently, Jimmy is pursuing a graduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida as well. Can I get another Go Gators?
Dance Marathon at the University of Florida was a major part of Jimmy’s undergraduate experience – dancing for four years (that is 104.8 hours) and serving as his fraternity’s delegate. Award winning delegate, that is! Jimmy also served as Tau Kappa Epsilon’s president and he was involved with pre-professional organizations as well.
When Jimmy is not dancing or doing homework, he works as a Materials & Processes Engineer at the Kennedy Space Center where he interfaces with both private sector companies and government projects.
He is extremely excited to be on the Florida Miracle team and cannot wait to see the heights this event can reach.
Hillary Thornton, Events Committee Member
As a life-long Gator, and following in the footsteps of her father and sister, Hillary graduated from the University of Florida in 2015. She obtained a degree in Political Science, a minor in Public Leadership, and certificates in International Relations and Public Affairs.
This is Hillary's eighth year of Dance Marathon involvement. She served Dance Marathon at UF for all four years of undergrad in multiple capacities, including Morale Staffer and Entertainment Captain. Further, this is the fourth year in which Hillary has had the pleasure of being part of the Florida Miracle family. She was on the inaugural Florida Miracle team as the Recruitment and Dancer Relations Captain and has served as an Events Captain for the past three years.
Currently, Hillary is in her last year at the Florida State University College of Law and plans to graduate in May 2019. She is very excited to continue the momentum from the previous Florida Miracle events and can't wait to see what the Central Florida community can accomplish for the kids at Arnold Palmer Hospital this year!
Chris Walker, Sponsorships Chair
Chris was appointed partnership development manager for the Orlando Magic in January 2016, returning him to Florida where he was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. Chris received his undergraduate degree in sport management with a minor in mass communications at the University of Florida, and then went to pursue his MBA at the University of Alabama. While at the University of Florida, Chris was active in student government, Florida Blue Key, Dance Marathon benefiting Shands Children’s Hospital at UF and Theta Chi fraternity.
With more than six years of experience in sports marketing handling corporate partnerships, sponsorship strategy, contract negotiations, account management and premium seating, Chris' responsibilities with the Magic include creating co-promoted and co-branded marketing campaigns that will encompass branding awareness, traffic driving retail promotions and cause marketing efforts with a community relations emphasis.
Before assuming his current role with the Magic, Chris had served more than three and half years with Learfield Sports in three separate capacities from May 2012 to December 2015: corporate sales assistant at the corporate offices in Plano, Texas, the account executive at Coyotes Sport Properties in Vermillion, South Dakota and then the business development manager with MVC Sports Properties in St. Louis, Missouri.
Taylor Greer, Sponsorships Committee Member
Taylor was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida and graduated cum laude from the University of Florida in 2014 with a bachelor of science in Building Construction and a minor in Business Administration. While attending UF he participated in Dance Marathon each year through the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, serving as operations staff and two years as captain. Dance Marathon at UF reshaped how he viewed the world and proved how easy it was to make a difference in the lives of others and he hasn't slowed down since. The Children's Miracle Network holds a special place in his heart from the years of amazing miracle children and families he has been fortunate enough to interact with.
While at UF, Taylor also served as fraternity President and Student Government Senator. His community involvement included Gators Going Green, the LEED Competition Team (ASC regional and national champions) and various other construction-related organizations. Since graduating UF he has continued giving back through Dance Marathon Alumni (DMA) and the Tampa Bay BCN Gators, for which he serves on the board of directors. He loves anything outdoors or on the water, and participates in service events related to cleaning up the ocean and environment whenever he gets the chance. He has recently started helping the Tampa Bay Watch and Sarasota Bay Watch with restoration efforts of marine life and this year especially, battling the red tide.
During the week Taylor works for Gilbane Building Company as a Superintendent leading construction projects from Sarasota to Tampa. He is a member of various professional organizations including ABC Gulf Coast Chapter, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and ACE Mentoring in Sarasota. Outside of work he enjoys training, fishing, food and traveling - there's no cuisine or activity that he's not willing to try at least once!
Shannon Kelly, Sponsorships Committee Member
Shannon was born and raised in Orlando. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While at school she began her journey with Children’s Miracle Network through the University of Florida Dance Marathon. She participated as an Entertainment/Productions Captain for the UF Dance Marathon.
Shannon is now working at AdventHealth in Central Florida as the Manager of the Standardized Patient Program. She spends her days with the simulation team assisting in training health care providers. On the weekends you can find her playing with her gang of pups or teaching Zumba. She is excited to continue her journey with Central Florida’s Dance Marathon!
Lauryn Vaughn, Sponsorships Committee Member
Lauryn is a native Floridian, hailing from the tiny, Southernmost island of Key West. She is an alumna of the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!) and its dance marathon, Knight-Thon, which she participated in each year she attended UCF as both a Team Captain and dancer.
Lauryn currently resides in Brevard County and is committed to getting all of Central Florida involved in Florida Miracle. Outside of this organization, she is a third grade teacher at Pineapple Cove Classical Academy in Palm Bay, Girl Scout troop leader, dog mom, Disney park hopper, and beach bum. This is her third year with Florida Miracle and she is excited to continue being a volunteer, advocate, and passionate supporter of Greater Orlando Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals!