John Thomas (JT) Davis

JT has served on the Florida Independent Living Council for the past six years and most recently as the President for the past two years.  He is from Perry, Florida and serves as the President of the Historical Society, volunteering many hours to preserve the history of the area.   He has a passion for disability history and envisions a disability museum for the State of Florida.  

He has received a resolution from the Taylor County Commissioners for his help with people with disabilities in the community, in recognition for receiving an additional award, “The Able Trust/ Florida Governor’s Alliance for the Employment of Citizens with Disabilities 2007 Youth Leadership Award”.  He helped plan the First Annual Florida Youth Summit in Orlando and has been a speaker at a variety of events.   He has arranged for teachers, aids and administrators to get credit for taking a course, “Disability History & Awareness” at Tallahassee Community College. He has also been a trainer of Disability Awareness at a variety of locations and serves as a strong advocate for disability inclusion and rights.   

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/30/16-Whitney Harris is the Special Projects Coordinator & Administrative Assistant to the the Executive Vice President at the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Whitney Harris

Whitney holds a Bachelors of Applied Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics from St. Petersburg College in 2012. After the completion of her residency in Denver, CO, she became a Certified Prosthetist by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics. Learning that her passion was in disability advocacy and not patient care, Whitney switched career paths and returned to Florida to work in the non-profit industry before joining the team at the Florida Chamber Foundation.
She is currently the Tallahassee Chapter President for LIM359 (a nonprofit that she helped found), secretary for the Association of Youth Leadership Forums, a long-time volunteer at Florida’s Youth Leadership Forum and a troop leader for the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle. Whitney Harris resides in Tallahassee, FL.

Thom DeLilla

Mr. DeLilla is currently retired after 37 years and living in Riverview Florida. He was the Bureau Chief for the Florida Department of Health, Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program. He serves as the chief administrator of the statewide program whose primary goal was to reintegrate individuals who sustained traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries back into the community. He was also responsible for the administration of the BSCIP Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver. He oversaw several state contracts with community partners to provide assistive technology, prevention, educational resources and long-term community supports.
He has experience in project development, management, and personnel supervision. Mr. DeLilla has served on many national, state and local boards, commissions and workgroups including serving as President of the Board of Directors for the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, Chairman of the Board for the North Florida Center for Independent Living, Commissioner for the Transportation Disadvantaged and the Governor’s Commission on Disability. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology.

Andrée Aubrey

Andrée Aubrey is a licensed clinical social worker and certified tobacco treatment specialist who began working in 1999 to improve access to treatment for tobacco dependency. She is the co-author of a six week group cessation curriculum, Quit Smoking Now, which has been used in all 67 counties in Florida since 2007.
The Quit Smoking Now group cessation intervention has consistently achieved a 38% cessation success rate. Ms. Aubrey joined the faculty and has directed the AHEC Program at the FSU College of Medicine in 2007 and has been awarded annual funding from the FL Department of Health
Tobacco Free Florida Program. Ms. Aubrey is responsible for developing and implementing statewide tobacco training and cessation programs for behavioral health and peer recovery organizations. She has worked with several CIL in FL to train staff as Tobacco Treatment Specialists and deliver tobacco cessation interventions to consumers. She worked with a team of disability specialists at FSU to create alternate format materials for the Quit Smoking Now program.
Ms. Aubrey trains medical faculty, practicing physicians and other clinicians, medical students, and numerous health sciences students. Through the leadership of Ms. Aubrey, the FSU College of Medicine Tobacco Treatment Specialist: 3 Day Foundation Course was nationally accredited in 2010 and is currently one of only 13 accredited training programs in the U.S. Ms. Aubrey serves as a subject matter expert for the Florida Certification Board’s certification of Tobacco Treatment Specialists.
In 2016, Ms. Aubrey co-authored Operation Tobacco Free Marines (OTFM), a standardized group cessation curriculum and manualized facilitator guide which is being used in every US Marine Corps installation in the world. She developed a specialized Tobacco Treatment Training for US Marine Corps Semper Fit employees who deliver the OTFM intervention.

Frank Cherry

Mr. Frank Cherry is the Executive Director for the CIL Disability Resource Center in Pensacola, Florida for 22 years. He was formerly an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Handicap Program Manager for the Naval Aviation Depot, in Pensacola, Florida. For 30 years he was the square dance teacher/caller for a group of people with developmental disabilities, the Pensacola Special Steppers, a group who was proud to demonstrate their capabilities nationally.

Mr. Cherry is married to Nancy and has a 52 year old daughter with Down Syndrome.  Each deals with severe disabilities and knows the challenges and needs of daily living. He also has two sons, Jason and David.
Accessibility for people with disabilities to live independently and advocacy for equal access has been his driving force for the last 52

Tasha Turner

Tasha Turner is in her sixth year of employment as Consumer Specialist and Community Work Incentives Coordinator at the Center For Independent Living of the Keys. Ms. Turner graduated from Florida Keys Community College with an Associates in Arts Degree.
From 2010 to 2014 Ms. Turner served as the secretary for the Florida Independent Living Council’s Youth Advisory Committee. She now serves as the committee president. She also currently does volunteer work serving the deaf community in her area.
She is happy to be a member of the Florida Independent Living Council and helping to make systems change that will continue to improve the lives

Ernie Martinez

Ernie Martinez was born in Cuba with a neurological condition known as Cerebral Palsy that was caused by birth complications.
Ernie had a life-changing surgery at the age of five that helped him start walking independently, and have significantly improved mobility. He was wonderfully able to walk with assistive devices. Against all the odds of the limitations posed by his disability, he was raised to learn responsibility, leadership, and independence skills.
During Ernie’s late 30’s, he decided to give more to the disability community by sharing his positive experiences, best practices of overcoming limitations caused by his disability conditions. Therefore, he felt a great need to champion the cause of disability rights. It inspired him to attend college and earn a degree as a Paralegal while doing an internship working with individuals with disabilities. After completing his degree, he was hired by Work Incentive Act (WIA), to connect people with disabilities with employment. Later in life, seeing that he would be a good fit do great work in the community through outreach at Center for Independent Living. For several years he has worked in this capacity, building several contacts in the community through networking and chairing numerous board. He continues to be the voice of the disability community through his advocacy efforts.

Julie Shaw

Julie has dedicated her entire career to serving people with disabilities for over 30 years across Florida.  She has been a registered lobbyist for over 16 years for Governor Jeb Bush and the three Chapters of the Paralyzed Veterans of America in Florida. Prior to moving to Volusia County in 2007, Julie was the Executive ADA Administrator for Governor Jeb Bush for eight years. She served as the Executive Director of the Americans with Disabilities Act Working Group and created the Clearinghouse on Disability Information for Florida.
She is published by the National Institute of Disability Research and has written several pieces of legislation for people with disabilities that has become laws such as the Florida’s service animal legislation, Florida’s Accessible Voting Law, creation of the Florida Coordinating Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and provisions in the Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction that exceed federal law.
She is currently the Executive Director of disAbility Solutions for Independent Living (DSIL).  DSIL is a Center of Independent Living which serves Volusia and Flagler Counties.  Under her direction, DSIL has implemented unique daily living skills instruction such as service animal training classes and cooking classes focused upon healthy living with chronic diseases.She is best known as a staunch advocate for people with disabilities and her proudest recognition was being adopted by the Florida Association of the Deaf as the first hearing person ever to receive their invite into their organization.
Julie currently represents all of the Centers for Independent Living on FILC as the network of Centers Rep and the Chair of the Legislative committee for the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living, Inc.

Robert Cox

Robert Cox is the Executive Director of the Disability Resource Center in Panama City, Florida for the past 10 years. He holds an undergraduate degree in Criminology from Florida State University and a Masters in Human Resource Management from Troy State University. He has worked in the Non Profit community helping people with disabilities for the last 19 years.

He is a Certified Aging in Place (CAP) Specialist and provides guidance to the community on disability issues. Over the years he has conducted site reviews for Centers for Independent living in conjunction with the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

He has served on a wide range of board and offices over the years including President of CIVITAN of Panama City, Ambassador for the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and President of the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living from 2010 till 2014.

Sara Gaver

Sara Gaver, 23, from Jacksonville, FL was born with a physical disability called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. Sara uses a power wheelchair, but lets no obstacle stop her. She was Ms. Wheelchair Florida 2015, has her very own TEDTalk, and is in the process of starting her own program for universities called Project CLOSER.

Sara is a recent graduate of UNF with a bachelors degree in Health Administration. She is a healthcare recruiter for Hueman People Solutions. Sara has a passion for promoting disability awareness and showing the disability community that their opportunities are endless with the right support.

nicoleNicole Attong, LMHC
Director of FIU Embrace

Nicole Attong is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 15 years of experience working with children, youth, and families in the human services field in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Ms. Attong graduated with an M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and has spent her career working for underserved populations. She has served in leadership positions in both the child welfare and mental health and substance abuse systems in Miami-Dade County, and was also the Executive Director for the Community Based Care Alliance. Nicole has experience in capacity building, implementing evidence based practices, and convening solution focused groups of providers, stakeholders, and constituents around social justice issues.

Ms. Attong has also served as the Project Director for the evaluation of the child-welfare system in the Southern Region, and two federally funded systems of care grants in Miami. Currently, Ms. Attong serves on two national workgroups aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of children, youth, and families. She is a member of the Community Based Care Alliance Board, the Humana Behavioral Health Practitioner Advisory Panel for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Center of Excellence, the Commission on Disability Issues and Florida Independent Living Council.