Staff /Volunteer Listing
Marina Pavlov, President CEO
Marina Pavlov is the President and CEO of the Florida Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Inc; a statewide resource center for Florida’s 54,000 nonprofit organizations. She assisted in the organizing efforts to form Florida Nonprofits in the late 1980 and early 1990. She developed Florida Nonprofits programs, educational resources, and advocacy efforts.
Marina received her BFA degree in sculpture from Florida Atlantic University and a MS degree in Education from Florida International University. She also attended Rutgers University and University of Miami for both graduate and undergraduate studies. In 1983 she traveled to Soviet Russia on a tour of Art and Architecture with the University of Virginia. Due to a scholarship award, Marina worked in the Doctoral Program at FIU’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Marina specializes in organizational development. Under her leadership over the past 17 years at Florida Nonprofits, she developed Florida Nonprofits’ programs, 57 thousand record database, newsletter and organizational structure, including the Florida Certificate in Nonprofit Management with Nova Southeastern University and Broward College. Under her direction and with the active members of the Florida Nonprofits board of directors, she successfully advocated and coordinated advocacy on behalf of nonprofits throughout the State for an overall change in Florida nonprofit sales tax exemption and on a federal level, she coordinated activities on the Charitable Giving Tax Exemption, the CARE Act, and was on record in the congressional record advocating defeat of the Istook Amendment which would have taken away nonprofit “freedom of speech”; she has published the Florida Nonprofits newsletter, now an e-newsletter, for over 20 years.
Over the years, Marina has done extensive fundraising, including capital campaigns, direct mail campaigns, membership drives, auctions and many special events. She teaches regularly and administers the Florida Certificate in Nonprofit Management including hiring faculty, developing curriculum and Florida Nonprofits’ current expansion efforts.
Recently, Marina was featured in Florida Trend Magazine to deliver the New Year’s forecast for the Nonprofit Sector. The announcement, for the first time ever, that the Nonprofit Sector has the status of “an Industry”, was the fruition of over ten years of work in Florida. Florida Nonprofits’ research projects spearheaded by Pavlov have identified the Florida nonprofit sector and the economic merit of all organizations and the people who work, volunteer, serve, and lead them. Florida nonprofit board members are responsible for 45,000 Florida nonprofits that annually spend $42 billion ($10 billion in salaries) and control $57 billion in assets.
Prior to Florida Nonprofits, Marina was CEO and Executive Director of a 1,000 member artist organization in Fort Lauderdale. Under her leadership she developed a 120,000 festival audience, expanded an art school to include 23 classes per week, and produced and mounted over a dozen juried and unjuried gallery exhibitions annually. Fundraising and “fun”-raising included: Masquerade Ball, Art Auction, and Midsummer Madness. The outcome of Marina’s advocacy work was State approval for a four-year plan for $1 million to build a permanent home for the institution.
Marina lives in Fort Lauderdale, her late husband is Russ Marchner, Executive Director Emeritus of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities, Inc. She has two grown children and three grandchildren.
Cornelia Dozier, Grants Development
Barbara Vega is International Grants Manager at Cross International / Cross Catholic Outreach. She is driven by her firm belief that people acting in concert taking even small actions can make a huge difference in the lives of countless many. Barbara Vega graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Human Resource Management, and from California State University with a Master’s degree in Adult Education (Applied Linguistics emphasis). She has held various titles and certifications as consultant, educational administrator, documentation/grants director, and professor. She lived abroad for two years in Puerto Rico and Mexico and has traveled much throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, which formed her global perspective.
J.L. Pelzer, Communications Director
Positive Team Player with European background, multicultural Experience in the area of Business Development, German Language Skills
Volunteer Experience with Green Peace, Holy Cross Hospital, Team of Life, Florida Non- Profits ( Fano )
Professional Experience with Mercedes Benz, Brian Tracy Seminars, Allstate Insurance
Preferred Literature Travel, Psychology, Food Anthropology and Architecture
Personal My Life Partner is Asian American, all our children have paws…..
“People do not care about what you know, until they know that you care ”
“Many things in life will capture your eye, but follow the ones that capture your heart…..” !
Maria has been working with Florida Nonprofits since 1999. While her title is Membership Specialist, she is so much more. Working diligently behind the scenes Maria handles data entry, billing and is the administrative assistant for the education program. Maria hails from a small coffee farm in Columbia. She speaks both Spanish and English.
Sonia Hedrick loves the nonprofit sector! Whether as a volunteer or as an employee, she has been involved with a number of organizations and efforts over the last 20 years. Sonia is delighted to share some of her volunteer time with Florida Nonprofits as she recognizes the importance of shared information and collaboration within Florida’s nonprofit community. Having a deep love for animals, she also sits on the board of directors for the Pet Project for Pets, a Broward-based nonprofit organization that helps chronically/terminally ill people retain their companion animals for as long as possible. Sonia is employed as Production Director for Learning Ally’s Boca Raton recording studio. Learning Ally, a national, nonprofit organization, creates audio textbooks and provides other services to students who are visually impaired, physically disabled, dyslexic and/or have other print disabilities. Her professional experience compelled an interest in the academics behind the third sector. In 2012, Sonia graduated with a Master of Nonprofit Management from Regis University. Sonia shares her life and home with Jerry, her husband of 23 years, Bertie Bert, a much beloved but quirky Chihuahua mix, Ruby, a sweet Golden Retriever mix and Gemma, a stubborn tabby cat.
Wendy Friswell, Executive Director, Spirit of Giving Network, Boca Raton, Florida. Wendy has previously worked with the YMCA, Twin Palms Center for the Disabled and American Association of Caregiving Youth. Wendy is originally from Trinidad. She attended high school in Philadelphia, earned her Bachelor’s degree from Temple University in Philadelphia and a Master’s degree in Recreation Management from Florida International University. In addition, Wendy spent 10 years with Dade County Parks and Recreation Department and holds a wellness coach certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. She has volunteered with the Boating and Beach Bash for people with Disability and has served on the City of Boca Advisory Board for People with Disability for three years.
Ms. Dixie as she is affectionately known is a self-taught artist from the US Virgin Islands. While living in Texas, California, Virginia and Florida where she lives now, Dixie always volunteered for the less fortunate from women in distress to disabled adults. She retired in 2005 as a paralegal to pursue volunteer work full time. In doing so, she realized there was a void for special needs adult programs. With a love of art and volunteering Dixie and her friends created Friends & Stars, Inc., which is known throughout Broward & Dade as the Circle of Friends & Stars Special Activity Club. They offer art, dance, music and arts and crafts program for adults and soon will expand to children with disabilities.
Cathy F. Bowers, CP, CSA, MSA, NCG, founder and president of National Patient Advocate, Inc, helps patients, their families, and other individuals navigate through the healthcare system, advocates on their behalf, and creates personalized plans for the tough challenges that frequently accompany illness or other healthcare concerns. When individuals are faced with healthcare challenges, there is not always the time, energy, skill, and/or knowledge to deal with all of the emotional and practical issues that may arise, such as medical care and treatment, end-of-life decisions, insurance, finances, family dynamics, and more. Retaining the support and guidance of Cathy in her multiple roles as patient advocate, guardian, mediator, and care manager helps to minimize the burden from the patient who instead should be focusing on his or her recovery. Cathy’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and nonprofit experience are key factors that contribute to successful outcomes for her clients. Her vast knowledge of community, social service, and political resources allows Cathy to offer a range of options for individuals/families to help reach their goals. She understands the challenges of the healthcare system from both the provider and consumer perspective, thereby enabling fair and balanced decision-making. Cathy’s top priorities are helping to reduce medical errors and focusing on the optimum well-being of her clients. As a “change agent”, Cathy brings a unique combination of knowledge and experience to the communities in which she has lived and worked and to the clients she loyally serves. She stays abreast of current issues by frequently attending meetings, conferences, lectures, workshops, and other educational and networking events related to the health and social services industry. Cathy partners with attorneys, insurance/financial advisers, CPA’s, healthcare providers, and other professionals in allied services. Through her wide network of contacts, Cathy is considered a “referral specialist” by helping to connect clients and colleagues with other individuals or service providers. She is often called upon to participate on task forces/committees, to facilitate webinars, and to speak at various engagements. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Cathy received her BS in Social Welfare Cum Laude from State University of New York at Buffalo and her MSA in Public Administration/Management from Georgia College. She now makes her home in Plantation, Florida.
Maura Brassil has been with Food For The Poor for the last 7 years, first as a supporter of events, then as a donor and then as a member of the team. Maura has been involved with sales, marketing, advertising, promotions and special events in the hospitality industry and the real estate industry for the last 30 years with focus on Florida and The Caribbean. Her philanthropic interests have spanned from Florida to the Caribbean to Latin America, and to the continent of Africa. Helping the poor and less fortunate has always been a priority and this has exemplified itself through charity and volunteer efforts. Children, the elderly and the poor have always been the major focus. Her efforts through Food For The Poor enables her to reach out to corporations and businesses in the joint efforts of saving lives, transforming communities and renewing hope to the poorest of the poor.
Eivina Muniute-Cobb, Ed.D. is a Principal Consultant with the Pontis Group providing organizational consulting, training, and coaching. She works with leaders, teams, and organizations in both nonprofit and for profit sectors. Eivina Muniute-Cobb guides organizations in leadership skills enhancement, positive organizational culture building, performance improvement, and change management. Among her other areas of expertise are employee selection, retention and motivation, capacity building, diversity and inclusion programs, team development and conflict resolution. Eivina Muniute-Cobb is Past President 2013 with the American Society of Training and Development, Palm Beach Group. She is an approved SCORE counselor to small businesses. Prior to establishing the Pontis Group, Eivina Muniute-Cobb held a local executive position with the community children’s mental health agency where she provided leadership to clinical and administrative staff, and carried responsibility for all business operations, OD, HR and PR aspects of the agency. She is a doctoral graduate from Florida International University in Adult Education and Human Resource Development. She received Master’s degree in Industrial Psychology from Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania.
George Gadsen, Training
An articulate, bi-lingual (Spanish), computer literate, creative, energetic professional with over 20 years of management experience in large banking institutions, private and non-private companies. Background blends strong technical analytical thinking, creativity, and innovative results-oriented business management experience.
Jade Pelzer, Communications
Jade has an extensive background in multi-media. She has produced a number of videos, maintained social media and developed content for organizations. She is a 2014 recipient of the Presidential Call to Service Award.