Key SWFL business leaders power Blessings in a Backpack

A dozen entrepreneurs, community leaders and experts in their fields have teamed up to fight childhood hunger in Southwest Florida. The 2018 Advisory Board for Blessings in a Backpack carries a wealth of professional and philanthropic experience into the effort to feed the 60,000 local elementary school students who struggle to get the food they need over the weekend.

“This board has moved mountains in order to make sure we can feed the hungriest of children here in Southwest Florida,” says Cecilia St. Arnold, executive director for Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida. “They are passionate and committed to the cause.”

 “The thought of children right here in Lee and Collier Counties going hungry, is all the motivation we need to continue powering on to raise the necessary funds to feed even more children each year,” says Scott Fischer, founder of Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida and CEO of Scott Fischer Enterprises and Six Bends.

 The following advisory board members will help the organization carry out its mission through fundraising, event planning, community outreach and more:

  • Nathan Fred Shaw, realtor, Market America Realty Network. Shaw is acting chairman of the Blessings in a Backpack Advisory Board. He has 25 years of experience in real estate with a background in business and law.
  • Scott Fischer, founder and CEO of Scott Fischer Enterprises. Fischer served nine years as chairman of the board of Blessings in a Backpack and has coordinated with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the March of Dimes and Junior Achievement.
  • John Nicholson, realtor, Royal Shell Real Estate. Nicholson is also a founding member of the organization and has more than 30 years of experience in Southwest Florida real estate.
  • Jim Parker, retired chief operating officer, Global HR. Parker is a retired U.S. Secret Service special agent and worked with Fortune 100 companies, including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
  • Chris Rakos, president and chief operating officer, Colonial Roofing. Rakos is a past president of the SWFL Roofing Contractors Association and remains on the board of that organization.
  • Craig Albert, president and CEO, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. Albert is a founder of the bank and served as president and treasurer of the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club.
  • Travis Merrick, Fort Myers branch manager, GFA International. Merrick is a member of the Lee County Building Industry Association and the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.
  • Lynne Kimmich, financial representative, Alliance Financial Group. Kimmich organizes the annual Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Conference at Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • Connie Ramos-Williams, president and chief marketing officer, CONRIC PR & Marketing. Ramos-Williams serves on the boards of the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association, Multicultural Centre of SWFL, Greater Fort Myers Chamber and Above Board Chamber.
  • Dana Vidussi, managing partner, Vidussi, Goldsmith, Hull & Co. Vidussi has more than 30 years of experience providing financial guidance and formerly owned a fine wine and gourmet food store.
  • Taylor Loethen, director of communications, Scott Fischer Enterprises. Loethen has taken leadership roles for several charity events and served as community director for the March of Dimes.
  • David Teets, chief financial officer, Bonness Underground Inc. in Naples. Teets serves on the boards of Junior Achievement of Palm Beach County, the East Coast Chapter of Associated General Contractors and the Gulfstream Council of Boy Scouts of America.