For Jamie Andersen (LC ’18), life is coming full circle.
Having grown up in Collier County, attending Pine Ridge Middle School and Barron Collier High School, Andersen left for the early part of her adult life and a career in New York City. She returned in 2015 to a little town that had grown up. Since her homecoming, Andersen has contributed to our community in significant ways, as she inspires others to fulfill their leadership potential.
“I’m so impressed by everything that has transpired in the county. For a population to have the resources we do—to have the arts and culture scene we do, to have access to great education opportunities at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University, to have such a strong business community spearheaded by the Chamber and to have a very patriotic, charitable community—is really special,” Andersen said. “I’m just loving every day being here and raising my family here.”
Andersen is mom to Jimmy (6) and Julia (3).
As alumni of the Leadership Collier Foundation know, our leadership programs encourage participants to get more involved in our community. For Andersen, Leadership Collier also inspired her to deepen her commitment to the Chamber.
Since graduation, Andersen joined the Greater Naples Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, participating in discussions about pressing issues in the area, including workforce housing and growth management. Andersen joined the committee, “to stay engaged on the topics that impact our community and to sustain relationships with other leaders, which will benefit the community in times of need.”
As a member of “The Great 1-8,” the Leadership Collier class that took place in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Andersen experienced such a time firsthand.
“Although it presented a lot of scheduling challenges, people were very gracious in moving around sessions,” Andersen said. “It was wonderful to have that type of community in place in that challenging year.”
For Andersen, the shared experience of Hurricane Irma brought an immediacy to the program, demonstrating why Leadership Collier is so important. It also helped to inspire the class to give back by creating an endowed scholarship fund with the Community Foundation of Collier County to support the Leadership Collier Foundation and future program participants.
Andersen proudly serves as Board Chair for Florida’s Southern Gulf Chapter of the American Red Cross, covering Collier, Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties.
“The Red Cross is a community asset that depends on volunteers,” Andersen said. “In an area with so many veterans, in an area that faces hurricanes and wildfires, I encourage anyone with an interest in giving back to get involved. This organization means so much to me, and we’re always looking for people to join.”
In addition to her work with the Red Cross, Andersen serves as Vice Chair of the Community School of Naples’ “CSN Fund for Excellence,” a fund supporting the independent school’s annual budget. She also participates with the Business Hall of Fame Advisory Board for Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida. Junior Achievement provides financial literacy education and mentorship for youth in our area. Every year the organization recognizes two outstanding business leaders from Collier County.
“I’m inspired by the businesspeople we recognize and the students that we’re doing this on behalf of. It’s a nice tradition for Collier County,” Andersen said. The event also serves as the main fundraiser for JA.
Spurred by her involvement with the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, Andersen was selected to sit on the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Oversight Committee. This citizen committee oversees how the money generated by the one-cent sales surtax, approved by voters in 2018, is spent.
“I value the will of the people of Collier County,” Andersen said. “They’ve invested this one-cent sales surtax, and I thought it was very important to make sure we had proper citizen oversight and that their hard-earned taxpayer dollars were used for the intended purpose.”
To expand her community work to a statewide level, Andersen traveled to Tallahassee in February as a representative of the Southwest Florida delegation. It was an opportunity to experience the legislative process firsthand. Andersen and the group met with lawmakers—including Senate Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo (LC ’91)—to discuss needs and priorities for our area.
When Andersen reflects on leadership, she thinks of a line from consumer advocate and environmental activist Erin Brokovich: Superman is not coming.
“It’s up to us. We’re the leaders of this community,” Andersen said. “If there is something that we want to tackle or needs to be done, there is nobody better to do that than those equipped by Leadership Collier. Go for it!”