Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Recommend us on Google+ Watch us on YouTube Join us on LinkedIn NLC on Reddit
New Leaders Council

NLC Tampa Bay Announces its 2018-2019 Executive Board

Tampa Bay, FL – The Tampa Bay Chapter of New Leaders Council announced James Chan and Jamie Klapholz have returned as the chapter’s Co-Directors for the 2018-2019 program year, with Co-Deputy Directors poised to take over the following year. The organization also announced the following key leadership and chair positions:

Co-Directors, James Chan and Jamie Klapholz

Co-Deputy Directors, Belinthia Berry and Brandon Ledford

Recruitment Chair, Christine Durrance

Selections Chair, David Hughes

Curriculum Chair, Kristy Andre

Mentorship Chair, Kimberly Williams

Engagement Chair, Kisha Linebaugh

Finance Chair, Lisa Thelwell

Communications Chair, Marcus Klebe

NLC Tampa Bay is in its sixth year of operations as the premier leadership development program for young, progressive and civic-minded leaders, actively recruiting applicants and accepting nominations for the Tampa Bay region’s incoming sixth class from the surrounding region, primarily Hillsborough County and Pinellas County. The board represents emerging leaders that come from various sectors in the Tampa Bay region, including legal, non-profit, education, public policy, local government, technology and business. Information about the chapter is available at

About New Leaders Council

New Leaders Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit leadership development organization whose mission is to recruit, train and promote the next generation of progressive leaders. NLC operates an annual intensive training institute at each of its local chapters which focuses on training these next leaders in entrepreneurship, fundraising/finance, communications/new technology, political/business/non-profit management, and policy issues (local and national).

NLC operates the highly selective institute in more than 50 communities nationwide, with more than 7,000 alumni that have come through its ranks since 2006. Many of our alumni have gone on to run for public office, start innovative businesses, and run non-profits. In 2019, NLC will train nearly 1,000 fellows to be change makers in communities across the United States. Information about NLC is available at

About the Board Members

Kristy Andre MPH, MSM is a dynamic public relations and public health practitioner with more than 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and academia focusing on health equity, social justice and systemic sustainability. Kristy is dedicated to empowering others to ‘live a more enriching existence and livelier livelihood’ through teaching the science of optimal health and healing, life coaching, strategic advising, and supporting nonprofit development and community improvement projects. Her efforts include coalition building, branding and public relations, change management, strategic planning, grant writing, fundraising, grassroots organizing, and special events. She also assists businesses optimize operations, run more efficiently, maximize resources and implement employee health and wellbeing programs. Kristy is currently a Relationship Manager for IT and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. She has a BS in Public Relations from the University of Florida, and from the University of South Florida a MS in Management (Designing Sustainable Enterprises and Leadership & Organizational Effectiveness) and Master’s in Public Health (Health Policy & Management).

Belinthia Berry, M.S. is a native of Tampa, FL. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations with a minor in Human Resources from Florida A & M University and a Masters in Organizational Leadership and Management from Springfield College. She is also certified in Media Sales, Contract Training and holds several leadership certificates. Belinthia is a Program Director who manages workforce and professional development training programs that meet the needs of local and national businesses, industry and individuals. Her experience is diverse and includes community, government and media relations; consultative and business development; events and communication planning and social media. As an advocate and community servant, Belinthia provides service and advocacy to her community through several nonprofit organizations.

James Chan works to ensure that the voices of the emerging American majority are heard in the democratic process. He’s previously served as the Research Director for former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink at the Florida Next Foundation. James has worked on the State and Local Government Affairs team at Target Corporation’s headquarters in Minneapolis. In 2017, the Tampa Bay Business Journal named James as an Up & Comer Under 30. James is an alum of New Leaders Council and is currently the Chapter Co-Director of New Leaders Council Tampa Bay. He also serves NLC on the National Programs Committee and as the National Pride Caucus Co-Chair. He’s an alum of College Leadership Florida Class XIII and Connect Florida Class VII, both programs within the Leadership Florida organization. A proud University of Florida alum and UF Hall of Fame inductee, he holds a BA in Political Science and Business Administration. He also holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.

Christine N. Durrance is a native Floridian born and raised in Brandon, Florida, and lives in the Tampa Bay Region. She currently works with the national technical assistance firm Collaborative Solutions, Inc., where she focuses on providing training and capacity development to government and nonprofit organizations serving special populations and vulnerable communities, including those experiencing homelessness. Christine's ten years of professional service have been dedicated to addressing social justice through improving government and nonprofit policy and programming in the areas of: affordable housing, homelessness, LGBTQ and gender equity, domestic violence, and behavioral health. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of South Florida. With a passion and commitment to social justice, Christine utilizes her personal and professional life to advocate for the most disenfranchised in both local communities and on a national scale. As a 2018 Tampa Bay Chapter Fellow, Christine now serves on the Tampa Bay NLC Board of Directors as the Recruitment Chair, as well as a member of the national Pride Caucus.

David Hughes is an attorney at Hill Ward Henderson in Tampa, Florida where he specializes in the defense of complex medical malpractice claims. David is also active in many charitable, governmental and philanthropic circles in the Tampa Bay area, including board memberships with Men of Vision, the Hillsborough County Health Care Advisory Board, as well as New Leaders Council Tampa Bay.

Jamie Klapholz was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida. Her foray into politics began with an internship at the United States House of Representatives in the office of Dennis J. Kucinich, where her research and legislative contributions were focused on the advancement of animal rights protections. Jamie serves on the Board of Directors of WMNF 88.5 FM Community Radio as Chair of its Bylaws Committee, as Precinct Committeewoman for Precinct 121 on the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, on the Greater Tampa ACLU Legal Panel, and as Treasurer of Tampa for Justice. Jamie is also a past Vice President of the Hillsborough County Young Democrats (HCYD). A cum laude graduate of both the University of Florida and the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Jamie now practices in the areas of health care and administrative law at the law firm of Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP. Jamie is an alumna of the Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA) Leadership Institute, a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, the Health Law Sections of both the Florida Bar and HCBA, and often donates her time to provide pro bono legal assistance to economically disadvantaged members of her community.

Marcus Klebe serves on the Candidate Recruitment and Training Committee of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee (HCDEC) and also as a Precinct Committeeperson in Hillsborough County. In addition, Marcus is a member of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Tampa Bay (DPCTB), where he serves on the Steering Committee, as Chair of the DPCTB Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures Committee and as Co-Chair of the DPCTB Campaign Committee. He is focused on identifying, recruiting and training progressive candidates for office. Marcus spent many years working as a successful corporate attorney in New York, Germany and California, during which time he discovered an aptitude, and love, for mediation. As a trained mediator with The Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (Attorney Pro Bono Mediation Program), Safe Horizon (now called New York Peace Institute), and Kings County - Brooklyn Civil Court (through Safe Horizon, an approved Community Dispute Resolution Center ), he helped resolve interpersonal conflicts in hundreds of cases. Now, Marcus is using this skill set, which includes active listening, empowerment, validation and consensus-building, in community organizing. Marcus previously served as Political Advocacy Task Force Officer and on the Steering Committee of Indivisible Action Tampa Bay (IATB), a grassroots progressive group that has grown to nearly six thousand members since it was founded right after the 2016 November elections. During his tenure, he inspired and educated the members of the group to engage in political activism at the local, state and federal levels. Marcus is deeply committed to the revitalization of the Florida Democratic Party, doing his part to help build winning coalitions, as well as to drive Tampa Bay to the Left politically and forward into the future. He received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and his J.D. from New York University.

Brandon Ledford is the Vice President of Human Capital at MGT Consulting Group. In his role, he leads the Compensation & Classification and Organizational Review practices, ensuring people are paid fairly, equitably, and to the market, and ensuring organizations run well. Brandon holds a Master of Public Policy from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts from Pennsylvania State University, and he was recently selected to join one of Florida’s premier leadership programs, specifically Leadership Florida Connect, Class IX. Brandon is also a rare cancer survivor who volunteers, gives speeches, and raises money for the American Cancer Society and Moffitt Cancer Center.

Kisha (Robinson) Linebaugh was born in Oxford, England into an Air Force family and spent her formative years in Germany. Her travel and experiences in Western Europe serve as the foundation for her core values and worldview. Kisha's family relocated to Tampa, Florida, where Kisha graduated from Robinson High School attended the University of Tampa and eventually graduated with a degree in Economics from the University of Florida. In her 25+ years living in the Tampa Bay area, Kisha has been a consistent volunteer and activist with a variety of organizations. She has worked for two non-profit art organizations, the Morean Arts Center and Hands On! And She served on the board of Directors for FreeFall Theatre and 88.5 WMNF Community Radio where she was awarded the Vicki Santa Development Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015. She currently works as a licensed real estate professional leading the Living Loving Tampa Team a five member real estate team dedicated to community minded real estate.

Lisa Thelwell is a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. She is assigned to the Special Victims Section of the Criminal Division, where she prosecutes a variety of cases including, but not limited to, human and sex trafficking, and child exploitation offenses. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Lisa served as a local state prosecutor in Miami-Dade County from 2012 to 2016. A proud double Gator, Lisa graduated cum laude from the University of Florida, Frederic G. Levin College of Law in 2012 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, Warrington College of Business, with a minor in African-American Studies and Leadership in 2008. While in law school, Lisa served as the Managing Editor for the University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy and the National Director of Communications for the National Black Law Students Association, for which she received the distinct honor of being named “National Board Member of the Year” for her outstanding service. Lisa is passionate about seeking the truth, serving as a voice for victims and the socially oppressed and ensuring that justice prevails. Her desire is to be a catalyst for change in the criminal justice system and public policy by zealously upholding the laws of this country while maintaining a spirit of honesty and integrity. Since relocating to Tampa in June 2016, Lisa was selected for membership with the Herbert G. Goldburg—Ronald K. Cacciatore Criminal Law American Inn of Courts and a 2017 NLC Fellow. She is a past State Representative and Programs Chair for the South Florida Chapter of the National Black Prosecutors Association and a graduate of the Florida Bar’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy.

Kimberly Williams is an experienced public health leader with over 15 years of experience in both community and healthcare settings. She has a true passion for empowering communities to engage in healthy behaviors, make changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other illnesses, and improve access to health care services. Kimberly serves in the role as Director of Community Benefit for Florida Hospital West Florida Division where she works to bring health equity to communities by providing programs that strengthen the health and wellness of communities by responding to identified community needs. Kimberly has also worked to improve community health while serving in health education and program management roles with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Florida Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kimberly has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee; a Master of Science in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention from Florida International University, Miami; and a Master of Science in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Women’s Health from University of South Florida, Tampa.

Atlanta - Augusta - Austin - Boston - Broward - Capital District NY - Chicago - Cincinnati - Cleveland - Connecticut - Dallas - Denver - Des Moines
Detroit - Houston - Kentucky - Los Angeles - Louisiana - Madison - Maine - Maryland - Miami - Montana - Nashville - New Hampshre - New Jersey - New York City
North Carolina - Oakland - Omaha - Orlando - Palm Beach - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Rhode Island - Sacramento - San Antonio - San Francisco - Silicon Valley