Individually, we are many things. We're lawyers. We're educators. We're professional communicators. We're accountants. And 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 an associate attorney in GrayRobinson’s Orlando office, practicing in government relations and lobbying.
Kyle Meredith, Co-Overall Chair
Kyle was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and graduated from Florida State University in May of 2014 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. At Florida State, Kyle was very active in multiple student organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Dance Marathon at Florida State University, and the Chi Phi Fraternity. He was a 2 year dancer, served as the Security and Risk Management Assistant in 2013-2014, and he even participated as an Alumni Dancer for DM at FSU 2015.
Currently, Kyle is part of the Operations Leadership Development Program at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, located in Orlando. Outside of work, he loves sporting events, specifically Orlando Magic basketball and Florida State Seminoles football.
Taylor Harmon, Dancer Relations Chair
Taylor was born in Charleston, SC but has lived in Central Florida for the past 15 years. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management.
Throughout her time at UCF, Taylor was an active member of multiple student organizations, including Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, UCF's Homecoming and Knight-Thon, UCF's Dance Marathon benefitting Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. She was a proud member of the Knight-Thon Morale team for 3 years.
Currently, Taylor works within the Health Information Management Office of Orlando Health. When she is not at work, Taylor loves to travel! Although she has traveled to 8 countries and 42 states, she is most passionate about helping the local kids at Arnold Palmer Hospital. She is excited to be apart of the Florida Miracle team for the second year and looks forward to helping even more miracles happen!
If you are interested in creating a team or participating as an individual, Taylor would love to help you!
Contact Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stafanie Scalish, Communications Chair
Stefanie is an Orlando native, born at Arnold Palmer Hospital. She is a graduate from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications.
While at UCF, Stefanie was an active member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and Knight-Thon, UCF's Dance Marathon benefiting Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. During her time with Knight-Thon, she served as a Team Captain, Recruitment Director, Dancer Relations Manager and participated as an Alumni Dancer. Stefanie was also involved in the community as an intern at a local non-profit benefiting children in Orlando and around the world.
Currently, Stefanie works at a local Advertising Agency on the Social Media Team. In her free time, you can catch Stefanie exploring local coffee shops, driving to beaches all over the state or spending time with friends and family.
Ingrid Tojanci, Events 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 obtained a master’s degree in International Business from Hough Graduate School of Business at UF and most recently completed the professional MBA program at the same business school.
During her undergraduate years, Ingrid was active in multiple organizations including Florida Blue Key, Student Government, Delta Delta Delta sorority, UF Dance Marathon, and various philanthropies. She first experienced Dance Marathon as a dancer and a co-chair of fundraising for the 2009-2010 Dance Marathon at UF. Because “standing for the kids that can’t” was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life, she continued to participate in Dance Marathon at UF as a Morale Staff member.
Last year, Ingrid was part of the Florida Miracle team as the Recruitment and Dancer Relations Chair. Previously, Ingrid was part of 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 and continues to be active in corporate citizenship efforts. She is excited for Central Florida to come together once again and stand for OUR kids who can’t!
Chris Walker, Sponsorship 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 four 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.
David DeVinney, Finance Manager
(Bio Coming Soon)
Chelsie Moss, Dancer Relations Captain
Chelsie graduated from Florida State University in 2015 with a degree in Family and Child Sciences and Psychology.
During her undergraduate career, Chelsie was active in Sigma Delta Tau sorority and FSU's Dance Marathon. She proudly served as a Committee Member and Recruitment Assistant for FSU's Dance Marathon. Her passion to help the kids drove her back to Tallahassee to participate as alumni dancer for the 2016 FSU Dance Marathon.
Currently, Chelsie is working toward her Master's in Social Work degree from the University of Central Florida and is a social work intern at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.
Sarah Watson, Dancer Relations Captain
Sarah Watson was born at ORMC before Winnie or Arnold Palmer Hospitals opened their doors. An Orlando native with short forays into Gainesville, Tampa and Holland, Michigan (one of these is not like the other) Sarah returned back to Central Florida last spring after nearly a decade away.
During her tenure at the University of Florida, Sarah was a member of Alpha Delta Pi, The Florida Scholastic Press Association, Ad Society and AdWerks, all while serving in various capacities with her beloved Dance Marathon at UF. After attending three DM’s prior to actually being a student at UF, Sarah danced her Freshman year and then served as a Recruitment captain before joining the Dancer Relations team in her junior and senior years.
Sarah has experience in corporate marketing and non-profit strategic communications, and currently works for lululemon as a community connector for their girls’ brand, ivivva.
After a few years away from the FTK life, Sarah is excited to serve with the Florida Miracle for the first time in 2017.
Andres Malave, Communications Captain
Andres is new to Central Florida, but has called the sunshine state home for over 20 years since his family moved to Miami from Caracas, Venezuela. Andres graduated from Florida State University in 2007.
While at FSU, Andres was active in student government, FSU International Program, Dance Marathon benefiting Shands Children’s Hospital at UF and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Taking advantage of studying in the capitol city, Andres pursued his passion for politics by working at the Florida Department of State's communications office. After graduating, Andres worked on various local, state, and national political campaigns and as a legislative aide at the Florida House of Representatives.
Andres is a regional communications manager at a national public relations firm, In Pursuit Of. He focuses on strategic communication for issue advocacy organizations. Andres lives in Orlando with this wife Ashley.
Kevin Craig, Communications Captain
Kevin was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida before moving to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. While at UCF, Kevin was active within the Student Government Association, Sigma Nu fraternity and worked in the university’s News and Information Office.Currently, Kevin serves as the Director of Public Policy for the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association.
In his spare time, you can catch Kevin on the golf course or in Jacksonville, watching his beloved Jaguars unsuccessfully try to win football games.
Kevin is excited to be involved with the Florida Miracle team for the first time in 2017 to help make miracles happen here in Central Florida.
Leigh Anne Thompson, Communications Captain
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.
Hillary Thorton, Events Captain
As a life-long Gator, and following in the footsteps of her father and sister, Hillary graduated from the University of Florida in 2015. Her degree is in Political Science, but she also obtained a minor in Public Leadership and certificates in International Relations and Public Affairs.
Hillary was involved in many organizations during her time at UF. She served Dance Marathon at UF for all four years of undergrad in multiple capacities, including Morale Staffer and Entertainment Captain. She was also the Secretary of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Council, a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and a Supervisor at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Last year, Hillary was part of the inaugural Florida Miracle team as the Recruitment and Dancer Relations Captain.
Currently, Hillary is attending the Florida State University College of Law and plans to graduate in 2019. She is very excited to be involved with Florida Miracle for a second year and can't wait to see what the Central Florida community can accomplish for the kids at Arnold Palmer Hospital!
Kate Sajdak, Sponsorships Captain
Kate was born and raised in Holland, Michigan before moving to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida. There she graduated from the Burnett Honors College with an undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, concentrating in health science and business.
Currently, Kate works as a contracts negotiator for Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in their Early Career Development Program. Since January 2016 she has been on the executive board of the Orange County Young Republicans. Through this role she has had the privilege to plan and participate in fundraisers for various nonprofits throughout Central Florida.
Kate was a dancer at Florida Miracle 2016 and is excited to join the planning committee for 2017!
Valentine Particini, Sponsorships Captain
Val was born and Worcester, Massachusetts and became a Floridian 22 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.
Last year was Val's first year volunteering as a dancer at a Dance Marathon. This experience has motivated him to become more involved with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals through Florida Miracle. He is eager to bring Central Florida together to help the kids at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.
Currently, Val is a Senior Litigation Paralegal at Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford P.A., and will be pursuing a Professional MBA degree at UCF in the fall. When he isn't spending time volunteering or working he enjoys outdoor activities, soccer games, the beach, and flea markets.
Julia Hanusa, Sponsorships Captain
Julia is a Wisconsin native who has called Florida “home” since 2005. She has fallen in love with Orlando more and more every day since moving here in 2010 to attend the University of Central Florida.
While a student at UCF, Julia was involved in Knight-Thon, UCF’s Dance Marathon, as a dancer, the Family & CMN Hospitals Relations Director, and the Mini Dance Marathon Director. She held the honor of being top fundraiser for three consecutive years and of being the top alumni fundraiser for Knight-Thon 2016. She was also a teaching assistant for microbiology and immunology labs and a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. She graduated from the Burnett Honors College with a degree in biomedical sciences in May of 2015.
Currently Julia is an assistant store manager for Starbucks, a career she started in Bradenton, Florida when she was 16 years old. When she is not fundraising “For The Kids” or sharing her passion of coffee with others, she enjoys being a dog mom to her rescue Jackson, cooking, baking, playing music and traveling.
Emily Reed, Events Captain
Emily is a Floridian, born and raised in West Palm Beach and also lived in Jacksonville, Florida. She is a graduate from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Event Management.
While at UCF, Emily was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, an Orientation Team Leader, a group exercise instructor at the Recreation and Wellness Center and involved with Knight-Thon, UCF's Dance Marathon benefitting Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. During her time with Knight-Thon, she served on the Morale Team, as the Promotion and Merchandise Coordinator, and the Event Operations Coordinator.
Currently, Emily works at the Institute of Internal Auditors as the North American Conference Specialist. When she is not at work, she enjoys traveling and hanging out with her friends and family. She is excited to be a part of Florida Miracle 2017!
Jimmy Carlsen, Events Captain
Jimmy is a Florida-native and earned degrees in both Civil Engineering and Political Science from the University of Florida. He then attended the Hough Graduate School of Business at UF and earned his MBA focusing in Real Estate and Finance in 2011.
At UF, Jimmy was involved with many organizations including UF Student Government, Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and Dance Marathon at UF. Jimmy's Dance Marathon experience includes serving as the Overall Operation Chair in 2009 as well as 2 years as a Morale Captain. This will be his first year involved with Florida Miracle, and can't wait to get going!
Professionally, Jimmy is a construction Project Manager for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, focusing on new and renovated Retail and Food & Beverage experiences. He has run over 35 half marathons and 5 marathons, but Dance Marathon is the race truly closest to his heart.
Shelby DeVinney, Events Captain
(Bio Coming Soon)
Stephen McLaughlin, Events Captain
Steve was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida and is a Construction Management Planner at Walt Disney World. He attended the University of Florida where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Master’s degree in Community Sciences.
During those years in college, Steve was very active in many student organizations. He served as the Vice President of Alumni for Florida Blue Key Honorary, President of his fraternity – Beta Theta Pi, as well as several roles in the University’s Homecoming and Gator Growl events.
Steve was also very involved in the University of Florida’s Dance Marathon. He was a two year dancer, family relations and morale captain, and also served as the 2012 Overall Chairman of Morale. Last year, Steve served as a Morale Captain for the first Florida Miracle.
Lauryn Parra, Sponsorships Captain
Lauryn is a native Floridian, hailing from the tiny, Southernmost island of Key West. She is currently in her senior year the University of Central Florida, pursuing an Elementary Education degree. In her 4 years at UCF, she has been involved in Knight-Thon, UCF's Dance Marathon benefitting Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, as both a participant and a Team Captain.
Knight-Thon and CMNH helped her find her passion for working with children, inspiring her to become a teacher as well as an active volunteer, advocate, and friend to various youth service organizations. She has recently relocated to Melbourne, Florida, where she is a Daisy Troop leader, substitute teacher, and student.
Lauryn's hobbies include running, anything involving the ocean, all things Disney, and trying new, kitchy foodie joints. In February, Lauryn will be running her first half-marathon at Walt Disney World, sponsored by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.