Born a New Yorker, Sammi came to Florida at a young age and hasn't wanted to leave the beachy sand since! A graduate from Lemon Bay High School and getting her hospitality degree from the University of Central Florida, Sammi has a passion for the growth and development of the Young Professionals organization and is excited to spend this year as chair. When she isn't busy managing her own social media management company and overseeing the Young Professionals, you can catch her kayaking, relaxing with a great book on the beach, or visiting any of the theme parks (all she really wants is to hug a penguin at Sea World)!
Brice Ferguson is a Mortgage Loan Originator with Caliber Home Loans and the current Vice-Chair for the Venice Area Young Professionals. When not helping families establish financing for purchasing homes, Brice finds himself very involved with several different organizations in the greater Venice area. These organizations include the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce, the Venice Area Board of Realtors, Business Network International and many others. Brice is also the father of two young children who take up the lion’s share of his free waking hours. Brice is excited to see the continued growth and expansion of the Venice Area Young Professionals.
Hello my name is Kayla Hilton. An original native of Pennsylvania; I have been living in the Venice Area for 3 years and a member of Venice Area Young Professionals for 2 years. I was the last years co-chair for the events committee. I am currently working as the Administrative Assistant for Laura B. Kopple INC. Realtors. I am looking forward to hopefully getting my Realtors license in the spring. VAYP has been such a growing experience for me over the past two years. I have gotten to meet so many great people and really branch out as a person. I really enjoy helping others so if anyone has any questions or needs any help please feel free to get in touch with me and I will be happy to help. I hope we can make this the best year yet.
Kevin O'Connor is a product of Venice. He was born at Venice Hospital. He went to Venice High School where he was a member of the 2000 State Champion football team, as well as a graduate of the Honors Academy. Kevin went through the whole scouting program with Venice-based Pack and Troop 77 where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. After graduating he attended the University of South Florida, earning a degree in Economics. While in college he held internships with a local US Congresswoman and the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County. After graduating he spent three years working as an English teacher in South Korea. Upon returning home he worked several jobs, while also working with Backwoods Barbecue on the side. He quickly learned he had a passion for cooking barbecue, and bought the business in 2015.
I am a busy, working mom, a Registered Nurse by day and fitness coach all the other hours in between. I decided to become and Independent Team Beachbody Coach to provide the same help that was provided to me. I know that when starting a fitness journey support is key! I joined Venice Area Young Professionals last year in hopes of spreading my support to others and encouraging others in their health and wellness. When I’m not changing and saving lives, I enjoy traveling with my husband and son, especially to Disney. I’m a sporting event guru and can easily navigate through most crowds and stadiums. I am excited to be the Community Involvement Chair this year in hopes of spreading more of my love for helping others here in our community.
Chris Eaton - associate agent with James Ball Insurance, Inc, a Nokomis native, United States Marine and soon to be USF alumni. At James Ball Insurance we specialize in life insurance and employee benefits. We work with the owners of companies to offer affordable, quality, and effective insurance benefits to their employees. I am the professional development chair with VAYP where I'll be scheduling lunch and learns as well as corporate walkthroughs.
Born in St. Louis Missouri and moved to Venice Florida in 1983. My Father started the business in 1983 and we are keeping the family tradition alive. At Gulf Breeze Apparel we do custom apparel and promotionals for small to larger corporate business. We specialize in customer service and quick turn around. When we aren't clothing Venice one shirt at a time we are on the water paddleboarding and enjoying the beautiful Florida cost.
Amber Winegard, born in Sebring, FL, raised there and in Englewood, be careful not to get her too mad or you'll hear that country accent. Graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2006, with a Bachelors in Communications; Public Relations, and a number of minors not worth mentioning. Also a proud Zeta Tau Alpha alumni. Sometime after graduation and the market collapse, she took a gamble & started her own marketing company, Amber Lynn Marketing; Representing a handful of companies in the area and providing freelance consulting. In the VAYP world you know her as the Marketing Director for Off The Wagon Bar & Grill, and some know her as Sales for Gulf Breeze Apparel, while constantly juggling multiple hats, the most important "hat" will always be, Momma of the most "diva-istic" 6 year old you'll ever meet.
Nicholas Carter is the Vice President and Co-Founder of CIA Carter Insurance Agency. Nicholas has been involved in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties through several organizations, The Venice Area Young Professionals ( Finance Chair), Charlotte Harbor Rotary Club (President Elect), BNI Referrals to Riches (Vice President) and Chairman of the Sarasota MS Walk as well as the Port Charlotte MS Walk. Leadership and Professionalism is the standard way Nicholas and the Team at CIA Carter Insurance operate. Nicholas’ Friends, Family, Clients and Colleagues know him as honest, dedicated, and motivated. CIA Carter Insurance is your Local Independent Insurance Agency and strives to treat all of their clients as their own family members and as an Independent Agent he has the ability to get you the coverage you and your family needs.
Kati Council is an entrepreneur and marketing professional specializing in individual empowerment and success via network marketing. She is passionate about VAYP’s mission, and assisting them in providing social, developmental, and community involvement opportunities to encourage engagement of the younger demographic in our community. Kati has studied at several different Universities in a wide variety of topics, and earned a degree in Marvelousness from Amazement University.