Stacey L. Herring (LC ’13)
Stacey L. Herring, Vice President of Private Banking with Morgan Stanley Private Bank, is no stranger to leadership, hard work and service to others. Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Herring has devoted her life to making a difference in the lives of those she encounters both professionally and personally – something she attributes to the lessons her aunt taught her growing up.
Herring shares, “I was exposed at a very young age to children who didn’t have the same life and opportunities that I had. It really had an impact on me and made me realize how blessed I was.”
Now she’s putting that passion to work for the LCF Alumni Association serving on the Board as the Leadership Lunch Chair and former Vice Chair.
Throughout her 25-year career in the financial industry, Herring has achieved great professional success. She has applied that experience and her passion for helping children to her community involvement, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition to winning awards as a top producer professionally, Herring was named a 2007 Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40, 2013 Champions for Learning Glass Slipper Award winner, and 2014 Community Foundation Women of Initiative.
Since getting involved with Leadership Collier, Herring has channeled the vast knowledge she gained and the profound connections she made along the way to make a meaningful impact in her community endeavors. During the LC sessions, she never missed a chance to meet each presenter and followed up with them afterwards knowing that one day she may need to call upon them. By being engaged, asking questions, staying involved and taking action, Herring has gotten the most out of her LC experience and our community is better for it.
As a self-proclaimed social person and constant learner, Herring enjoys her work with the LCF Alumni Association because of the opportunities it provides to spend time with other like-minded people committed to the greater good, to deepen relationships and stay connected with fellow alumni as well as stay up to date on topics that are valuable to making and keeping our area the best place to work and play. Something she takes back to her service work.
Herring said, “When choosing opportunities to give back, I prefer a leadership position or to serve as chair. I have a strong vision for the task at hand and bring passion and heart to my service work.”
The long list of her leadership roles for local charities includes Chair and Vice Chair of the Women of Initiative; Chair and Vice Chair of Junior Achievement of SWFL Business Hall of Fame; Chair of the Youth Haven Annual Lunch; Chair of the NCH Hospital Ball Gala; and Chair, Co-chair and Auction Chair for C’Mon Dream Gala.
Herring adds, “I believe that one person can make a difference, but a collective spirit can change the world. Leadership is what ties us together. Whether it’s a class project, serving on a board or chairing an event, Leadership Collier gives those of us who care a chance to come together and make a real impact by exposing us to the challenges that impact us as a community every day.”
Matin A. Nestares (GAIN ‘17)
Born in Argentina and raised in Maryland, attorney Martín Nestares has made Collier County his home for just over four years and he is already making a significant impact. Martín is a Founding Partner of ABN Law, Vice-Chair of Collier Child Care Resources, a board member of the Council of Hispanic Business Professionals, a member of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, and is involved with the Collier County Bar Association. He is also raising a family here – he and wife Kennedy have a 15-month-old son, Francisco – and he is a graduate of Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) 2017.
Martín’s favorite part of his GAIN experience was “making lasting professional and personal relationships while gaining a deeper understanding of the community around me” and seeing the areas in his community where he might be able to give back. He cites these as some of the reasons Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF) programs are so important for Collier County.
“The challenge with community involvement is that it sometimes may feel that you are on your own,” explains Martín. “GAIN allowed me to develop a stronger network of professionals who are willing to be engaged in their community and work together in order to make Collier County a great place to work and live.”
He believes that LCF alumni can make a difference in the key issues facing Collier County. “One of the biggest challenges for our community is how do we continue to grow while at the same time protecting our natural resources which attract so many of our visitors and new residents,” explains Martín, who enjoys spending time outdoors. He also cites lack of civility and listening to other points of view as another challenge, saying “we may not always agree on everything, but we should have an open mind and listen to the ideas of others.”
Martín encourages LCF graduates and other professionals “to become just a little more involved in their local government,” such as attending a County Commissioners meeting to voice their opinions, and to help foster that open dialogue that is so important for our society.
Tim Philbrick (LC '06)
Tim Philbrick (LC ’06) is on a mission to help Youth Leadership Collier participants “realize their potential and give back to the community they live in.” He would love the help of LCF Alumni like you to provide internships, mentoring, and learning experiences to maximize the impact of the YLC program.
Longtime Youth Leadership Collier facilitator and Sales and Marketing Consultant Tim Philbrick hopes the YLC program will continue to “provide opportunities and open doors to the graduates” of the program. He is eager to inspire more Leadership Collier graduates to get involved and support the program with their time. According to Philbrick, when LCF Alumni invest in the Youth Leadership Collier program by providing mentoring, internships, and opportunities, “This helps us guarantee that YLC graduates will continue to come back and give back to our community.”
“There is nothing better than having LCF Alumni take an inspired student and give them a chance to live and grow right here in Collier County,” Philbrick said. “We have heard so many times that the students did not know about all there is in Collier County and what they can do to live and work here, until YLC.”
Philbrick has been dedicated to supporting the Chamber in meaningful ways for over a decade. He says working with the Chamber is one of the “most inspiring things” he’s done and that “the inspiration continues year after year.”
“It is an absolute joy to now be seeing YLC grads becoming such contributing members in our community and to know that our group of facilitators helped stoke that fire,” Philbrick said.
Apart from his generous support of Youth Leadership Collier, Philbrick serves on the Small Business Council and is a sort of “Chair Emeritus” of the golf committee, having helped organize this signature Chamber event for 15 years. He has since handed off chairing the committee to Buddy Hornbeck (GAIN '12, LC '17) and Nikkie Dvorchak (GAIN ’17) who he says, “have taken the event to great places.” No stranger to jumping in to help others, Philbrick has been awarded two Volunteer of the Year Awards from the Chamber and three American Red Cross Good Neighbor Awards for his dedicated public service.
With 25 years of marketing experience for companies including Cannon and Xerox and having owned his own print and copy centers around Southwest Florida for 13 years, Philbrick is now a Sales and Marketing Consultant with Business Dynamix Solutions, LLC. He trains and consults businesses on marketing strategies, sales, customer service, and human resources.
When it comes to business, Philbrick offers up this piece of advice from St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists: Be who you are, and be that well.
Philbrick notes that Collier County has “such a special customer base that is unique to anywhere else in our nation and world.” He wants business owners to understand that our local customers “look forvbusinesses to be masters of their craft and to have an understanding of their customer’s needs.” He says to be a successful business in Collier County your business should “only do what you can do well, keep your ears open, and let your customers bring out the best in you.”
Thank you for inspiring all of us, including the next generation of leaders here in Collier County, Tim!
Dr. Kamela Patton (LC '12)
When it was time to honor a Leadership Collier Foundation alumnus with this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award, our winner, Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton, stood out for her commitment to the entire Collier County community and her dedication to ensuring its future is bright thanks to its future residents, employees and leaders.
The award is presented each year to an individual who fulfills the mission of the Leadership Collier Foundation through his or her continued education and work toward community solutions in the public interest. Dr. Patton fit the bill perfectly, according to Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Michael Dalby.
“We’re looking for those who have led significant, impactful efforts, embodying the LCF tagline: Be Informed, Be Engaged and Be the Difference,” Dalby says. “This year, in light of Dr. Patton’s game-changing leadership in public education and CCPS’s annual participation in our LCF programs, we felt Kam was most deserving of this recognition.”
Past recipients of the LCF Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award are Michael McComas, CJ Hueston, Ted Soliday, James French, Don York, Ed McNamara, Bud Hornbeck, Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, Carlton Case, Jeff Fridkin, Alan Reynolds, Fred Thomas, Terri Douglas, Barbara Berry, Scott Salley, Tom Schneider, Russell Budd, Patrick O’Connor, Paul Marinelli, Dave Weston, Donna MacNiven, Bart Zino, George Drobinski, Jan Kantor, and Patrick Neale.
Dr. Patton is a Leadership Collier Class of 2012 graduate and has continued to give back to LCF in a variety of ways, including serving on the LCF Board of Advisors from 2012-2015, returning to speak to LCF and GAIN classes, and having the school district support one staff member to complete the LCF and GAIN programs each year.
Patton was surprised with the award recently--the same way her own Golden Apple Award-winning teachers have received their awards. She was formally honored at the Leadership Collier and Growing Associates in Naples Class of 2019 graduation ceremony on Thursday, April 18, 2019.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is far from the only honor Dr. Patton has received during her eight-year leadership of CCPS. She has been named Superintendent of the Year by several statewide education associations and received honors from diverse organizations including the NAACP, Boys & Girls Club, Salvation Army, and several Southwest Florida publications’ “who’s who” lists.
But, says Dr. Patton, the Distinguished Alumni Award “is very special because this is a special community. You’re very honored when you’re recognized by a group that has so many distinguished alumni. The LCF family is made up of so many leaders and people who are so passionate about this community.”
In fact, ensuring she joined a Leadership Collier class was one of the first things Dr. Patton did when she moved from her previous role at Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “The first call I made was to get into this program,” Patton said.
Dr. Patton’s tenure has focused on connecting the community with the district and its diverse community of 48,000 students and 7,000 teachers. Many of these connections have come from Patton’s involvement with LCF and its alumni from her class and others.
“I’m grateful that Leadership Collier has directly connected me to this community,” she says. Of her status as an LCF graduate, Patton says it creates an automatic connection with more leaders in Collier County than her role as superintendent could have otherwise.
“You don’t even have to know that person to know you have a connection (due to LCF),” Patton says. “The community support is just unprecedented.”
Those LCF connections have become integral as the district begins working toward its new goal to ensure every student has a plan for “college, career, and life.”
Programs geared toward ensuring students are ready for the post-high-school world, no matter where it takes them, include a robust internship program for high school students, mentoring programs for students interested in trades, and the Future Ready Collier program.
Supported by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, Future Ready Collier is a “network of organizations, businesses, schools and community members working to ensure every child is ready for kindergarten and every young person enters adulthood with a vision and plan to accomplish that vision.”
LCF even came to the rescue before and after Hurricane Irma when the school district turned into the county’s sheltering system, ultimately providing shelter for 17,000 people at 28 buildings. Alumni helped connect the district with “whatever we needed.”
Many residents would be surprised to learn some of the unique challenges the school district faces, including a population where 66 percent of students are provided free or reduced-price lunch, 103 languages and dialects are spoken, and more than 60 percent of students are considered economically disadvantaged.
Despite these and other hurdles, CCPS has excelled under Dr. Patton’s leadership and is now ranked third of 67 county school districts in Florida – up from number 33 just a few years ago. The graduation rate has also increased to 92 percent, up nearly 20 percent from seven years ago.
Dr. Patton credits the strides CCPS has made with “laserlike focus on individual students,” as well as looking at each student as a whole person rather than simply a set of grades and test scores. “Academics will catch up because they know we care about them,” she says.
As part of the district’s three-year strategic plan, a new focus on social-emotional wellness includes advisory boards for students to provide district leaders their feedback on programs and new ideas; community-building events such as school movie nights and nights at the fair for CCPS employees and their families; time during the day for students to collect their thoughts and organize their days; and even “buddy benches” for students to extend an offer of friendship to someone new.
Ultimately, Dr. Patton says, the district’s efforts to prepare students should mean students feel confident coming out of school and into whatever life they choose ready to become the next generation of leaders in Collier County.
“When we shake their hands on the graduation stage and ask our kids, ‘What’s your pathway?’ they know their answer,” says Dr. Patton.
Thank you for your leadership in our community, Dr. Patton!
Andres Paz (GAIN '15)
Local Sales Manager for Media Vista Group, Vice-Chair of this year’s GAIN class, and GAIN 2015 alumnus, Andres Paz is proud to call Collier County home. Andres often expresses his appreciation for his participation in the GAIN program and is now focusing much of his volunteer efforts with LCF, working to promote the GAIN, YLC, and Leadership Collier programs through new and different media. His goal: To encourage more diverse applicants so that classes more closely resemble Collier County’s demographic makeup. He is especially excited to spark the interest of Hispanic professionals so they apply to LCF programs.
“Many Hispanics that I know of have never heard of any LCF programs,” Andres said. “I’m inspired to spread the word so that more Hispanics can go through programs like GAIN and enjoy the benefits of being an LCF alumnus.”
Elected by his GAIN classmates to represent them as graduation speaker, Andres says the program for emerging leaders had a huge impact on his life, both personally and professionally. Andres credits GAIN with providing valuable connections who have shaped his business relationships and friendships. He says, “the quality of my fellow GAIN 2015 Gold-Standards is outstanding,” crediting several of his classmates with inspiring him to “become a better person” and “opening doors” to new opportunities, organizations, and entities.
Even with a busy career, Andres finds time to give back to the community. Andres says GAIN “was a game changer for me,” connecting him to the young professionals who are working every day to make Collier County the best place to live, work, and visit. GAIN inspired him to dig in and volunteer more, surrounding him with new opportunities to give back that he never would have known existed.
Because of GAIN, you can call Andres a fairy godfather for children at Youth Haven, Southwest Florida’s only emergency and residential shelter for boys and girls ages 6-18 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Andres has collaborated with fellow LCF alumni, including Denise Murphy (GAIN ‘15) and Danny Pate (LC ‘16), to provide unique opportunities for children at the shelter. Just this month, he took a group to the Collier County Fair for a night of fun and games. In past years, Andres organized a night out at the movie theater.
A fan of our envious weather, Andres enjoys the opportunity Naples’ climate offers for him to play soccer and ride his bicycle year-round. While some complain about traffic during season, he doesn’t mind it and is appreciative of the economic impact our snowbirds and tourists have on the local economy.