2014 Board of Directors
Elections are held during the Annual Meeting in November of each year. If you are interested in becoming an Officer or Director, feel free to contact any Officer or Director listed on this page
Board Meetings are held at 5:30 pm on the second Monday of every month. These meetings are open to all members and if you are interested in serving this organization, we encourage you to attend the next board meeting. To verify date and location, please contact President, Yvonne DeAntoneo.
President: Barbara C. O'Shaughnessy, FRP
Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & McBride, P.A.
Barbara has been employed as a paralegal since 1985, beginning her career in a large nationwide foreclosure firm and after 3-1/2 years moved on to a local foreclosure firm for 7-1/2 years. She then worked for a brief 1-1/2 years with a national firm who was local counsel to a national bank with offices in Tampa. When the local firm closed its doors due a bank buyout, Barbara was forced to change jobs and has happily spent the last 11 years with the firm of Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & McBride, P.A. in Tampa, specializing in real estate.
Barbara has been registered with The Florida Bar as a Florida Registered Paralegal since March 28, 2008. She is an active member of Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc., and has been affiliated with the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (State and Hillsborough County Chapter), and National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. since 2005.
While not working, Barbara spends time volunteering, and is the President of the Parent Advisory Board, at the Interbay Boys & Girls Club where her children spend their time after school and on school holidays and vacations. She is an amateur photographer and takes the team photos for her children’s high school football and basketball teams, including making DVD movies/slideshows from the teams’ regular and post-season games.
Barbara and her husband, Ray, have been married since 1987, and they have three children, Jeremy, Jamie & Jessica. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, shopping and spending quality time her friends and family.
President Elect: Emily Merlin Closuit, CP
WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Emily is a founding Officer and member of TBPA, having previously served on The Board of Directors in the capacities of First Vice President, Second Vice President, Director and Newsletter Editor at various times during her tenure of her membership since 2000. Recently, Emily was the Seminar Chair from 2010 - 2012 tenure as 1st Vice President, including the recent 2012 Seminar held at the Hilton at Carillon Park which was TBPA's most successful seminar since its inception. Emily has been involved in the Pro Bono Committee relative to the Military Legalman Project since the fall of 2007 wherein she sends the TBPA member donated items in care packages to military paralegals who are deployed abroad, including to the Middle East, Central America and onboard deployed ships. In addition, Emily has been the Bylaws & Standing Rules Committee Chair and currently is the TBPA Technology Committee Chair and TBPA webmaster.
Emily received her Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Administration from the University of West Florida and obtained the designation of Certified Paralegal from the National Association of Legal Assistants. Her main focus in her paralegal career has been in the areas of contract negotiation and management, corporate compliance, corporate governance, business transactions, acquisitions and mergers, telecommunications, healthcare, real estate, intellectual property rights, and complex litigation.
Emily is currently employed with the publicly traded healthcare network corporation, WellCare Health Plans, Inc., as their senior paralegal/legal contracts manager focusing on reviewing, negotiating and managing the company’s vast number of commercial contracts, real estate leases and pre-litigation settlement agreements.
1st Vice-President: Katelyn Dougherty, CP
Katelyn J. Dougherty moved to the Tampa Bay Area in 2008 trying to get away from the long, cold months in Maine. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in both Criminology and Sociology with the intent of one day going to law school.
Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & McBride, P.A.
After graduation and in a better attempt to feel out her passion for the legal field, Katelyn began her career in 2010 working for Gordon J. Schiff of Schiff Law Group P.A. and later became a Certified Paralegal in November 2012. In December 2012, Katelyn joined as a paralegal with Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & McBride P.A. when it merged with Schiff Law Group P.A.
Although Katelyn has only been a member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association since December 2012, she is not only excited to be a member of the TBPA but to be on the TBPA Board of Directors so that she may have an inside track in becoming more involved within the Association. Prior to becoming as a member of the TBPA Board of Directors, Katelyn had the honor of being recruited to assist and write for the TBPA Newsletter “The Reporter”.
When Katelyn allows herself to have free time she enjoys going to Church, and volunteering with Hands on Tampa Bay. She also loves spending time with her wonderful and supportive boyfriend Troy -- a Deputy in Pasco County-- watching movies or simply taking walks along Bayshore. She also enjoys a good book, horseback riding and shopping with good friends.
2nd Vice-President: Thelma Poston
Allen Dell, P.A.
Thelma Poston has worked in the legal field for more than 35 years. She has recently transitioned to Allen Dell, P.A., after being employed by Fowler White Boggs, P.A. as a Probate Paralegal for over 11 years. Prior to her employment with Fowler White Boggs, P.A., she was employed by Berg & Wheeler, P.A. in Brandon, and Gray Harris, P.A. in Orlando, in various areas of law.
Thelma graduated in 1976 from Indian River Community College with an A.A.S. degree in Legal Secretarial Science, and in 2010, she graduated with honors from Hillsborough Community College with an Associate’s degree in Legal Assisting. Thelma obtained her Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) designation from The Florida Bar in 2008, and her designations of PACE Registered Paralegal (RP) from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and Certified Paralegal from National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) in 2009. In 2009, Thelma was the recipient of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association Scholarship Award, and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Lambda Epsilon Chi, National Honor Society in Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies.
Thelma’s hobbies include visiting with family (especially her grandsons), reading, and quilting.
Treasurer: Dana Jones, CP, ACP
Health Care Navigator
Dana Jones is a native Texan who began working in the law in 1999. In 2002 she became a Certified Paralegal through NALA and recently became an Advanced Certified Paralegal in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Dana is a corporate paralegal for Health Care Navigator and manages litigation and HIPAA compliance for over 70 long term care facilities throughout nine states.
Dana was active in the Tyler Area Association of Legal Professionals (TAALP), in Tyler, Texas where she served on the Board of Directors for five years. Upon moving to Florida in 2008, she joined the Northwest Florida Paralegal Association (NWFPA) and served on its Board of Directors for four years; two terms as President, and one term each as Ex-Officio and Treasurer before moving to the Tampa Bay area.
Dana has been married for ten years to her husband, Paul, and is the proud mother of five children and proud grandmother of four grandchildren. She loves working out at the gym and has a passion for Zumba.
Secretary: Nancy Daniel, CP, FRP
Holland & Knight, LLP
Nancy has been employed as a paralegal for over twenty years. For the past twelve years she has worked with the firm of Holland & Knight, LLP, in Tampa.
Nancy attended the University of Tennessee and earned her bachelor of science degree in education from David Lipscomb University. She taught high school civics and English, and elementry physical education before returning to school to complete the Paralegal Studies program at Tulane University. She is a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, and a past member of the New Orleans Paralegal Association and the National Education Association. Nancy earned her designation as a Certified Paralegal (CP) from the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA) in1996, and is a Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP).
She has spoken on case management and organization at seminars for litigation paralegals and for lawyers doing pro bono work. She was a troop leader for Girl Scout Troop #152 and works as a volunteer and fundraiser for Special Olympics Florida, LifePath Hospice, and the Alpha House.
Director: Jan Brown
James, Hoyer, Newcomer, Smiljanich & Yanchunis, P.A.
Jan Brown is a paralegal with the law firm of James, Hoyer, Newcomer, Smiljanich & Yanchunis, P.A. where she works on consumer law cases, including class action and qui tam cases. Jan graduated from Indiana State University with bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and in History. She received her paralegal certificate from Pennsylvania State University while working as a paralegal with the law firm of McArdle, Caroselli, Spagnolli & Beachler in Pittsburgh. There she worked on medical malpractice, asbestos/toxic tort, and personal injury cases. Jan has been a litigation paralegal for over 15 years working for plaintiff and defense attorneys. Over the years, she has also worked on nursing home, product liability and contract law cases.
Jan recently served as 2nd Vice President, and previously as a Director. She is currently the Pro Bono Committee Chair and has served on the Audit, Newsletter, Job Bank and Seminar Committees in the past. Jan was also co-chairperson of the NFPA annual convention held in Tampa in 2005.
For relaxation, Jan enjoys acting on the big stage in community theatres in the area. She and her husband enjoy boating and fishing.
Director: Melissa Cook, FRP
Drummond Wehle LLP
Melissa moved from Michigan in the late 90s, but did not enter the legal field until after graduating from Florida Metropolitan University in 2001 with an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies. Her first law firm was with Owens Law Group, P. A. in Sun City Center, Florida where she worked up until February, 2011. She left Owens Law Group in February, 2011 to join The Strategic Counsel Law Firm, P. L. where she primarily specialized in Probate, but will often assists with Estate Planning and Corporate work. Melissa is currently a paralegal with the firm Drummond Wehle LLP., an estate, business and tax firm.
Melissa has become involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America in participating in fundraising in their “Take Steps Be Heard” walks raising money to assist in finding a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Colitis as her youngest daughter, Amanda, was diagnosed at age 7 with Ulcerative Colitis. Not only is Melissa a past board member, but she is also a member of the Hillsborough Community College Paralegal Advisory Counsel at the Ybor campus.
In her spare time you will find Melissa hanging out with her husband Mike, and her two daughters, Kaitlyn and Amanda, either watching movies, playing the Game of Life, video games or participating in any event involving her daughters’ Middle School band.
Director: Elaine Schroeder
Lizbeth Potts & Associates, P.A.
Elaine Schroeder is a Florida Registered Paralegal since 2008. She has been employed by Lizbeth Potts & Associates, P.A. since 2003. Practice areas include Family Law, Estate Planning/Probate, Guardianship, Civil and Immigration. Ms. Schroeder earned her Associates of Science degree from Florida Metropolitan University. She also has an Associates of Arts in Business Administration from Bauder College. Ms. Schroeder is currently on the Advisory Committee for ITT Technical School for the Criminal Justice and Paralegal Programs.
Director: Juanita "Nita" Serrano, RP, FRP
La Cava & Jacobson, P.A.
Nita Serrano, RP, FRP, is a litigation Paralegal with the Tampa law firm of La Cava & Jacobson, P.A.
Nita has been a paralegal for almost 15 years, four of those years as a freelance paralegal. Nita specializes in the areas of civil litigation, insurance defense, medical malpractice, personal injury, nursing home and general negligence. She has also worked in the areas of criminal and family law. Prior to becoming a Paralegal, Nita worked for two large Tampa Bay Area Hospitals as a Certified Health Unit Coordinator in the Emergency Room/Trauma Center, Transplant, Orthopedic, and Maternity Ward.
Nita earned her Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies from Florida Metropolitan University, her designation as a PACE Registered Paralegal (RP) from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations in March, 2007 and Florida Registered Paralegal designation in March, 2008.
In addition to serving as President for the Tampa Bay Paralegal Associations, Inc., Nita has served as Second Vice President and President Elect. She also served on the Seminar Committee, and was very active on the Pro Bono/Community Service Committee. Nita is currently the newsletter editor for the association's bi-monthly publication The Reporter.
Away from work, Nita can usually be found spending time with her husband, three children and two American Eskimos.
Director: Jacque McMillon, FRP
Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegna,P.A.
Past President (2012/2013): Yvonne DeAntoneo
Nationwide - Tampa Bay Trial Division
Yvonne Lewis DeAntoneo has been a paralegal for many years in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, Yvonne is working for Nationwide in their Tampa Bay Trail Division. Prior to Nationwide, she was with Knopik Deskins Law Group, as well as with Abrahamson & Uiterwyk for several years handling their mass tort tobacco litigation. Yvonne has a paralegal degree from St. Petersburg College and a Bachelor’s of Arts in English & American Literature from the University of South Florida.
When not at work, Yvonne enjoys spending time with her husband, David, an IT director for a St. Petersburg law firm, as well as their two daughters, Katherine and Sarah and their two dogs. She is also an avid reader and scrapbooker.
2010/2011: Juanita "Nita" Serrano, RP, FRP
2008/2009: Leslie Matthews, CP
2007: Lee Ann Mitchell
2006: Mary McKay, RP, CP
2005: Rochella Jackson-Ruff
2003/2004: Jay Quigley, RP, CP, FRP
2001/2002: Yvonne Lewis-DeAntoneo, RP