African American women are chameleons. They have adapted and excelled in a society that often underestimates and sees through them. I am fascinated by the contributions of African American women because they have had to try harder to achieve equal access and opportunity. I am also fascinated by the flavor that African American women add to our communities. Their contributions are unique because their perspective is so different. Whether it is academic, social or the arts, African American women add a special ingredient that is not provided by other groups in our society. Finally when I think of the contributions of African American women I am grateful. African American women are compassionate and are willing to go the extra mile. They are loyal and they have learned
to persevere. African American women look and really see people instead of looking beyond or through people.
I chose to become a lawyer because I knew that a legal education would open the doors to many opportunities. The law is a part of the foundation of any business. It is at the heart of public policy and the operation of governments. It has a direct impact on individuals and communities.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to contribute to our community by serving as a public policy leader in higher education and transportation. I am honored to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the State University System. The Board of Governors is a Constitutional body that is charged with leading and developing policy for our 11 public universities and over 320,000 students in the State of Florida. I have worked diligently with the Board to develop policy that will ensure quality and access. Our families
deserve a system that will give our students the competitive edge and prepare them for successful careers. Further, the university system is an economic engine for the state and it is building Florida's knowledge-based economy.
I have also had an opportunity to serve our community as the Chairman of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. The JTA
is a unique authority that develops policy for the transit system and plans and builds roads and bridges. Moving people, whether on public transportation or roads, builds neighborhoods and determines the culture of a community.
My parents were my role models. They were very active in the community and believed in volunteering their time and talents to
help others. They were great leaders because they practiced "servant leadership". They understood that leaders are good listeners and good followers.