LWVF Board of Directors
Pamela Goodman, President
Pamela Goodman currently serves as President of the Florida State League of Women Voters. Educated at the University of Iowa in journalism and business, Goodman spent her professional career in retailing, rising to President/CEO of Limited Express, with $1.5 billion in revenue and over 850 stores nationwide. Her international business relationships involved the Far East, Europe, India and Israel.
She served as president of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County from 2005 to 2009 and has been serving on the League of Women Voters Florida Board of Directors from 2007 to the present. Since 2006, she has chaired the Fair Districts campaign statewide for the League and was responsible for coordinating all League work during the campaign to secure passage of the two Fair Districts constitutional amendments. She continues to work with all litigation regarding this issue.
Goodman has also served on the League of Women Voters of the United States Nominating Committee and Membership Recruitment Committee. In addition to being a member of the first “Sisters Across the Straits” delegation that traveled and met with women in Cuba, she has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Susan B. Anthony Award for Outstanding Feminist from the National Organization for Women.
Goodman also serves as President of The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, a nonprofit organization that has more than quadrupled its revenue under her guidance and now serves as the key fundraising, education and advocacy organization in Palm Beach County supporting the Ten Year Plan to end homelessness.
Goodman also serves as a Director on the Board of Hospice of Palm Beach County Foundation.
She resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Chuck O’Neal, First Vice President
Chuck O’Neal is a lifelong resident of Florida, having grown-up in Winter Park. He is a graduate of Duke University, with two majors – Mathematics and Public Policy, and an entrepreneur who has, among other things, produced local television programs. Chuck also has been for some years, and presently is, president of a residential investment and rehabilitation company.
Chuck has a passionate attachment to Florida’s natural resources and beauty. His participation in the League of Women Voters has given him an opportunity to put that interest to good use. He now serves as chair of both the Natural Resources Committee of the League of Women Voters of Florida and of the Orange County League. His varied background has helped him draw media and community attention to Florida’s water and land conservation crisis.
Most recently, in addition to leading the League’s participation in the Florida Water and Land Legacy constitutional amendment campaign, Chuck has been working to restore the Wekiva River in Central Florida to its former health by addressing the problem of groundwater pollution by a water treatment facility and other sources.
Chuck is well versed in the many policy and fiscal challenges Florida faces as it struggles to preserve its great water and land resources – the bases of Florida’s beauty and its economy.
Maribel Balbin, Second Vice President
Maribel Balbin’s commitment to the Greater Miami community has manifested itself through years of service in multiple organizations. For the last 20 years her work at the League of Women Voters has earned her recognition for effectively engaging citizens in the democratic process. She’s got an unwavering commitment to increasing the participation of women in the elected office, focusing on encouraging women to run for office. She’s currently involved with Political Parity’s Latinas Represent initiative working to increase participation of women at all levels of government.
Her community service includes board membership in Miami-Dade College School of Continuing Education and Professional Development Board, the Nominating Committee of the Citizens Independent Tax Trust, the Greater Miami Hotel Association Sustainability Council and the American Association of University Women. She’s a former Chair of the Miami Dade County Commission for Women, former president of Latin Business and Professional Women and has served in the Community Relations Board and Art in Public Places Trust of Miami-Dade County. Through the years she’s been involved with the plight of women inside Cuba through various organizations including RedFem and Conciencia Cubana.
Professionally, her career in public service has revolved around environmental protection. After working for the Miami-Dade County Commission she joined the South Florida Water Management District’s Everglades Restoration Team. In this post she was instrumental in the coordination of public engagement and the education of government officials on the importance of this project. She later served as the first Water Conservation Manager for Miami-Dade County developing an award winning program that is currently saving millions of gallons of water and has allowed for the deferral or elimination of costly infrastructure projects. She’s published several articles in science journals on water use efficiency and has been a speaker at conferences throughout the country and South America. Her last project was the development and implementation a Green Business Certification Program with strategies for a Green Economy.
She has received various awards and recognitions for her community and professional service. The City of Miami Commission for Women recognized her with the 2012 Trail Blazer Award, the Women’s History Coalition named her a 2012 Woman of Impact and she’s a 2005 in the Company of Women Honoree. The American Society of Public Administration recognized her with an Excellence in Public Administration Award. And she’s a Cuban Women’s Club Floridana.
Ms. Balbin received an Associates Degree from Miami Dade College and a Bachelor of Public Administration from Florida International University. She also holds certificates in Project Management and Executive Development from Florida International University and is accredited as a LEED Green Associate by the USGBC.
Patricia Drago, Secretary
Pat Drago was born in Florida and with the exception of twelve years in New England, has lived in Florida her entire life. She attended Eckerd College (Florida Presbyterian College at the time). Pat worked for the Volusia County School system until her retirement in 2009 from her position as Executive Director of Facilities. During her 22 years of service with the school district she oversaw a $750 million building program, was responsible for management, operations and maintenance of 9 million square feet of education facilities and supervised a staff of 350. It was a privilege to serve in her home county and make a difference in the future of Volusia students. She treasures those years of hard work and creativity.
Pat has been a League member since 1981 and credits her League education and exposure for securing her the position with the school district. Pat has served as a local League President, Natural Resources Chair and on the State Board in the 1980’s. She is excited to be in a position to once again be an active and contributing League member.
In addition to her League activities, Pat participates in several local government boards, reads, cooks, sews, gardens and travels. Her husband, Arnie, is also a supportive League member and participates in many League activities. They have one daughter, Daria, who lives in Denver, CO., and is an environmental engineer. Due to her efforts, they have three terrific grandchildren.
Theresa Francis-Thomas, Treasurer
Theresa has lived in the Orlando area for over 25 years. Theresa has spent most of her career with a background in public service. She has served as a Legislative Aide, a Business Analyst, and for almost 30 years worked for the Florida Department of Revenue and currently is a Tax Audit Supervisor. She volunteers with the American Red Cross.
At Jacksonville University she earned her bachelor degrees in Management and Economics and continued post-baccalaureate work in accounting at the University of Central Florida. Theresa has served not only as Chairperson of the Budget Committee for the last three years but has also served as a member of the LWVF Board.
Annie Betancourt, Director
Annie Betancourt is a Director of the League of Women Voters of Florida. A League member for more than three decades, Betancourt has shown true dedication to the cause of citizen participation and good government. She learned the ropes by conducting voter registration drives, monitoring local elections and participating in study groups focusing on Florida’s fiscal policies.
Betancourt served as President of the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County from 1988 to 1990 and was later appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to serve on the South Florida Water Management District. Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1994, Betancourt championed laws that promoted job opportunities and access to higher education. In addition, she fought public corruption on several fronts along with law enforcement agencies. Betancourt served in the House until 2002 when term limits forced her to step down. Between 2007 and 2009, she served a second term as League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County President.
Paula Dockery, Director
Senator Paula Dockery left the Legislature after 16 years—six in the Florida House and 10 in the Florida Senate. She served as Environmental Protection Chair, Criminal Justice Chair, a budget subcommittee chair and for three stints as majority whip. She has been very active on transportation issues and has been recognized nationally for her expertise on water resource issues.
Dockery earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master Degree in Mass Communications, both from the University of Florida. She has provided political analysis for ABC Action News in Tampa and is a frequent guest on political TV and radio programs. Her political opinion columns have been published in many of the 30 Florida newspapers that had the syndication rights.
Active in her community, Dockery is a board member of the Polk Education Foundation, a board member of Lakeland PigFest, a member of the Lakeland Kiwanis Club, and is organizing a citizens support organization for Colt Creek State Park. She has been married for 25 years to Doc Dockery and currently resides in Lakeland.
Sandra Colyer, Director
Sandra Colyer has already served two terms as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Florida. She learned of the League after eye-opening experiences in Miami serving as a poll worker and assistant clerk.
She brings to the League more than 25 years of business experience, beginning her career as a small business owner and progressing to senior management positions with multinational corporations, including AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Getronics. Sandra has an M.B.A. from Seton Hall University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
She looks forward to serving as an active voice on the Board of Directors.
Elizabeth C. Pines, Director
Elizabeth C. Pines has been practicing immigration law for nearly 20 years and is the founding partner of Elizabeth C. Pines, P.A., a boutique law firm dedicated to helping foreign nationals with immigration matters in the U.S.
Pines is very involved in the state and local communities in which she lives. She chairs the League of Women Voters of Florida Immigration Committee and is part of the Fair Districts Committee. She is also a graduate of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute. Ms. Pines was appointed by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to serve on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women in 2012. She was also appointed to serve in the Labor Relations Committee of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association for 2013 – 2014 term.
Pines remains active in her local school as mentor to high school girls from Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. She has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1996 and has formerly served on the South Florida Chapter board.
Ms. Pines received her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Miami in 1985 and earned an M.B.A. there in 1988. She received her Juris Doctor degree from St. Thomas University School of Law in 1994.
Alex Villalobos, Director
Alex Villalobos is a Director of the League of Women Voters of Florida. Alex draws on more than two decades of legal and public service experience in counseling clients on a broad array of legal issues including State governmental operations and regulatory matters. Alex has represented clients before State and Federal trial and appellate courts including the Florida Supreme Court. He has also proven to be an effective advocate in the court of public opinion, engaging with media opinion leaders to generate editorial support for client objectives.
Alex served for eight years in the Florida House of Representatives where he was Chair of Criminal Justice Appropriations. In 2000, he was elected to the Florida Senate and re-elected to this legislative body in 2004 and 2006. During his legislative career, he held many leadership positions including Senate Majority Leader, Senate Majority Whip, Chair of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation and Chair of the Committees on Judiciary, Criminal Justice and Education. Most recently, he served as the Senate Rules Committee Chair until November, 2010.
Patricia Brigham, Director
Patti grew up in Orlando and attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in Liberal Studies. After several years at We Care, Inc., a suicide prevention/crisis intervention center, Patti forged a career in radio with responsibilities as a reporter, writer and producer. During this time she was recognized with several awards from media organizations including American Women in Radio and Television and the Associated Press. She also worked as a freelance reporter for the Orlando Weekly, writing about the arts.
Patti formed the League’s statewide Gun Safety Committee, which she chairs. She serves on the LWVOC board and is an active participant of the Membership Committee. In her spare time, Patti volunteers for a marathon training program and cares for her two retired racing greyhounds, Merlin and Cassie, who are the faster runners in the family.
Cecile Scoon, Director
Cecile Scoon, received a Visual and Environmental Studies undergratuate degree from Harvard and is presently a small town civil rights lawyer in North Florida, commonly called “L.A.,” for “Lower Alabama.” After graduating from U. Virginia School of Law,’84, she spent five years as an active-duty Air Force JAG prosecuting in military courts martial. She retired from the A.F. reserves as a Major in 2005.
Cecile attempts to protect the rights of those wronged at work due to their race, religion, age, disability, place of birth, or unwanted sexual advances made to them.
When not burning the midnight oil drafting lengthy pleadings, Cecile enjoys parenting her three children, 18, 21, and 24 and along with running, gardening, painting, and watching soccer with her best-friend, husband, law partner, and LWV member, Alvin Peters.
Cecile attended high school at National Cathedral School for Girls in DC. She has an under graduate degree in art design and a lot of art history from Harvard, more formally called Visual and Environmental Studies.
Penny Walker Bos, Executive Director
Penny Walker Bos is a 32-year veteran of Florida politics having worked within public and private sectors. She is well versed in many critical issues affecting Florida and brings a wealth of expertise and insights in her new role as Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Florida.
Ms. Bos’ career began as a legislative aide immediately after receiving her Political Science degree from Florida State University in 1983. She served as a lobbyist and press secretary for a state attorney, public information officer for Senate Reapportionment Committee, and senior policy analyst for the Joint Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice, program administrator overseeing the design and implementation of three state websites promoting health care transparency. She has worked on issues including welfare reform, Everglades’ restoration, and hunger/food security, developmental disabilities, food stamp fraud, and vocational rehabilitation. She has written and/or managed millions of dollars in federal grants. As a senior consultant for a national management consulting firm, Mrs. Bos helped state and local governments across the country improve efficiency and effectiveness through strategic planning, performance reviews, and program evaluations.
“The League has always been a leader in starting the conversation, whether that is through voter registration tables at community events across Florida or on the steps of the Capitol during the Legislative session.” Bos continued, “The League’s reputation for detailed analysis and non-partisan assessment of key issues is unparalleled. It is my privilege to take on this exciting challenge during this important time.”
Ms. Bos is married and has two sons in public schools. She is active within her church, secretary of her son’s Boy Scout troop and volunteers with the homeless shelter and Meals on Wheels programs.
Debbie Harrison-Rumberger, Legislative Advocate
Debbie Harrison Rumberger brings 3 decades of public policy experience to her position as Legislative Advocate for the Florida League of Women Voters. Working with local, state, national and international conservation organizations she has been a key player in the establishment of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, Everglades Restoration, growth management and water quality issues and climate change initiatives. Ms. Harrison Rumberger has worked with World Wildlife Fund, The Wilderness Society, National Parks and Conservation Association and the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust during the course of her career.
Ms. Harrison Rumberger has also served on numerous state and federal Commissions including the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, the South Florida Regional Planning Council, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Council, the Monroe County Land Authority, and the Florida Energy and Climate Commission. She also served as the President of her local School Advisory Council for five years.
Throughout her years of service, Ms. Harrison Rumberger has been recognized with the Chevron Conservation Award, the nation’s oldest conservation award for conservation achievements by an individual; NOAA’s Environmental Hero Award; The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Colleague Award; Audubon of Florida’s Conservationist of the Year and Florida Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Conservationist of the Year. Recognitions have also been bestowed by the Department of Interior, the Department of Commerce, the South Florida Regional Planning Council and the Monroe County School District for her work.
Ms. Harrison Rumberger is a graduate of Central Michigan University, Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology (Canada), an AICP certified planner and a member of the American Planning Association.
Shawn Sytsma, Office and Events Manager
Shawn Sytsma is a dynamic and talented woman who has taken on the position of Office and Events Manager. Her bubbly personality, high energy and organizational skills fit perfectly with the many demands of her job including all travel tours, Summit and Convention planning, Constant Contact event designs and marketing, as well as all office management details.
Shawn is married and has one daughter who is enrolled in middle school in the Leon County public school system.
Catherine Barrios, Legislative Intern
Our Legislative Intern, Catherine Barrios graduated from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida and received an Associate of Arts degree in Political Science with Highest Honors. During her studies at Santa Fe College, she interned with the League of Women Voters of Alachua County where her passion for the League’s mission was ignited. She then transferred to Florida State University where she is currently a third year student in pursuit of a double major in International Affairs and Political Science with a minor in Chinese.Catherine plans to combine her personal experience and future graduate work to continue her involvement in public policy and in improving her community. When she is not working, studying, or traveling abroad, Catherine is learning more languages, playing tunes on her sax and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Abdelilah Skhir, Legislative Intern
Abdelilah is a native of Miami and has called Tallahassee home for the past five years. He is a Master’s candidate in the Applied American Politics and Policy Program at Florida State University. He graduated from Florida State in the Spring of 2014 with a double major in Political Science and International Affairs. In addition to being involved in the legislative session at the Capitol, he has also signed on part-time as LWVF bookkeeper. Abdelilah hopes to continue to be a part of the legislative process after obtaining his Master’s degree.