james-baker-testimonialJim Baker
Executive Director

“I wanted to work with people with disabilities, not be one.” Having spent several years as a teacher and
working in disability organizations, a sudden car accident began a life changing journey for Jim Baker,
Executive Director for the Florida Independent Living Council. “After years of headaches, pain,
medications, physical therapy and alternative methods of medicine, I couldn’t take it anymore and the
doctor recommended surgery. Having my neck fused at three levels, I was supposed to wake up feeling
great, no longer experiencing the daily headaches and constant pain in my arms. Looking back, one of
the greatest things that ever happened to me, was the doctor hit my spinal cord during that surgery.”

Gaining an understanding of the struggles related to experiencing loss, fighting to regain some abilities,
Jim learned firsthand what it was like to experience his own disabilities. This opened an understanding
and deeper passion for the Independent Living Movement and its’ Philosophy.
Jim has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Education, a Bachelor of Religious Education, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. He has been Executive Director of Centers for Independent Living in
Washington, Los Angeles, and Miami before taking his role with the Florida Independent Living Council.
– Peer Support
– Transition (Nursing Facility to Community & School to Adult life)

Jenny Bopp
Operations Director

Jenny Bopp, a long-time resident of Tallahassee, began her career at the Florida Independent Living Council, Inc. (FILC) in 2004 and now serves as Operations Director. 

Jenny is an ardent advocate for persons with disabilities and is passionate in her belief of the independent living philosophy.  Jenny coordinates all meetings, events, and activities for FILC and the Youth Advisory Committee and ensures that all are accessible for persons with disabilities.  

Jenny has two adult children and two granddaughters and loves to read.  

Shelly Gurr
Administrative Assistant

Shelly began working with the Florida Independent Living Council in 2015 as the part- time Administrative Assistant. She has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Florida State University. Shelly enjoys volunteering outside of work on various projects; her longest volunteer experience was with the Tallahassee Lupus Support Group for over 30 years.