President: Erika L. Blackburn, ACA, FRP


Erika Burgos has over 15 years of experience handling personal injury cases including auto accidents, slip and falls, medical practice and nursing home negligence. She has worked as lead paralegal in numerous jury trials which resulted in favorable outcomes for the client. She has assisted with mediations, mock trials and focus groups. 


She currently works at Hillsborough Area Regional Transit in Tampa She is a Florida Registered Paralegal and State of Florida Accredited Claims Adjuster. 



Contact Erika here.

President-Elect: Barbara C. O'Shaughnessy, FRP

Barbara O'Shaughnessy is a Florida Registered Paralegal who has over 30 years of experience working in commercial real estate.  She has been employed with Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & Koche, P.A. for more than 20 years.

Barbara has been a member of TBPA's Board of Directors for over 10 years, including holding the following positions: Director, Secretary, Treasurer, First Vice President, President-Elect, President and now Second Vice President!  Barbara was also the Region III Director on the Board of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).  She is actively involved with TBPA and its Pro Bono and Community Service projects, including Wills for Heroes, PACE Center for Girls, End 68 Hours of Hunger and the USO - Central Florida.

In her spare time (LOL), Barbara enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband of over 30 years and three adult children, playing Texas Hold 'Em poker, traveling (especially to Las Vegas), going to the beach, watching movies, reading books, and relaxing in her backyard O'Asis!  Recently, Barbara is most excited about the arrival of her first grandchild, a grandson, due in August of 2018!

Contact Barbara here.

First Vice President: Rebecca S. Wilt, ACP, FCP, FRP


Rebecca is an Advanced Certified Paralegal specializing in commercial litigation.  She has been with the law firm Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & Koche, P.A. for 19 years and enjoys being part of the litigation team in a fast paced law practice.  Rebecca also works with the firm’s Executive Director on various projects, including the firm’s Technology Committee and as a trainer for new hires and paralegal trainees. 


In addition to Rebecca’s position as Chair of the Education/Professional Education Committee, she is active with TBPA's Mentoring Program wherein she recruits members to mentor students and new paralegals. She also has recently served as a TBPA Delegate to the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations.  

Rebecca is active in her church and volunteers as a team leader for its Haiti Mission and as a member of the church’s outreach oversight board.  In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys driving the back roads on her Harley with her husband and spending lazy afternoons at the beach with her adult children.


Contact Rebecca here.


Contact Rebecca here.

Second Vice President



Secretary: Katie K. Turley, M.S., CP, FRP

Katie recently received her Certified Paralegal (CP) designation through NALA and is employed at the law firm of Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & Koche, P.A. in the litigation department


While in graduate school, she worked at the law firm of Motley Rice, LLC, in the Anti-Terrorism and Human Rights Department on the 9/11 Team.  Katie has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.  


Shortly after graduating, Katie and her chef husband, Bobby, got married in Charleston’s historical district.  She and her husband are avid foodies and enjoy attending local food events, dining in local restaurants and trying new and exotic cuisines.  In her spare time, Katie enjoys offshore and inshore fishing, attending sporting events and spending time with her husband and their golden retriever, Rawlings.


Contact Katie here.

Treasurer: Melissa J. Cook, FRP


Melissa Cook is a transplant from Michigan and has been working in the legal field for 13 years.  She received her Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies in June 2002.  Her first law firm was Owens Law Group, P.A. in Sun City Center where she worked until February, 2011.  After leaving Owens Law Group, P.A. she worked for two more firms as well as working as a contract paralegal for a corporation before landing at her current employer, Peterson & Myers, P. A., in Lakeland, Florida where she works in the transactional practice group which consists of Commercial Real Estate, Banking and Finance, Agricultural transactions as well as corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and estate planning, to name a few.


In her spare time Melissa is involved with the Zephyrhills High School Band Boosters which both of her daughters, Kaitlyn and Amanda, are involved in the marching band, symphonic band and jazz ensemble.  Melissa also enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Mike, and the girls by going to Busch Gardens whenever possible or spending time at home just relaxing.


Contact Melissa here.

Director: Elaine Schroeder, FRP

Elaine Schroeder has been employed by Lizbeth Potts, P.A. since 2003.  Practice areas include Family Law, Estate Planning/Probate, Guardianship, Civil Litigation, and Immigration.  She is also working part time for the Bass Law Group.  Practice areas include Estate Planning/Probate, Guardianship and Business Law.  Ms. Schroeder earned her Associates of Science degree from Florida Metropolitan University in 2004.  She also has an Associates of Arts in Business Administration from National Education Center, Bauder College.


Elaine has been a member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association since 2006.  She has been on the board since 2012 holding positions of 2nd Vice President and Director. She is also the chairperson for the military outreach program benefiting Tampa’s local USO office which is located at the Tampa International Airport.  Elaine was on the advisory Board Committee for ITT Technical School for their Paralegal Studies from 2010-2012. Elaine has been a Florida Registered Paralegal since 2008. 


When Elaine is not working she enjoys spending time with her two children, volunteering at the USO Center of Central Florida and Give Kids the World Village, traveling, going to the beach, reading, and spending time with family and friends.  


Contact Elaine here.

Director: Margo L. Hirons, J.D.

Margo graduated from Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School in January 2017 and has been working in the legal field for over 10 years.  She has 8 years of experience in estate planning, probate and trust administration, settlement approvals, and guardianship proceedings.  She is currently employed at the law firm of Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & Koche, P.A. as a probate paralegal.  She also has experience in legislation as she attended many meetings at the Florida State Capitol during session regarding education reforms.

Margo was born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida and obtained her bachelor of science in psychology at Florida State University where she graduated cum laude with honors.  Margo recently married at St. John’s Episcopal Church to her husband, Peter J. Hirons, and loves spending her free time with him and their two dogs, Charley the king charles spaniel, and Meli the border collie.  When Meli finally gives Margo a break from throwing tennis balls for 50 hours, she gets to enjoy bike riding, cooking, painting and reading.  Margo also enjoys organizing philanthropic events and running marathons to raise money for charities.  She especially loves her Florida State Seminoles and college  football – GO NOLES!  

Contact Margo here.


Director: Valerie Cisco, FRP


Valerie Cisco grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and made the move to Tampa in 1981.  She graduated from Leto High School with Honors, obtained an Associate in Arts Degree in Commercial Art and Advertising from Hillsborough Community College with a minor in journalism, and an Associate in Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from Tampa College.  During college, Valerie excelled academically and was frequently named on the Dean’s list, graduating Cumma Sum Laude.  She also worked two jobs to pay her tuition; in the service industry as a bartender and as an intern with the RICO Division of the Attorney General’s office.  Valerie has over 25 consecutive years of experience in the legal field ranging from complex litigation in agency, State, Federal, and Supreme Court venues, including bankruptcy, creditors rights, land use, and property rights.  She is a member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association and the Paralegal Association of Florida, and is also a notary public.  Valerie enjoyed her volunteer work as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and Unit Consultant for 8 years, a position that allowed her quality time with her daughter while sharing new adventures together and giving back to the community.  She currently enjoys cooking, physical fitness, and the outdoors.  Valerie is Florida Registered Paralegal employed with Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen.


 Contact Valerie here.

Director: Jessica Stratton


Jessica Stratton has over 10 years of experience managing transactional and litigation matters including foreclosure/real estate, consumer protection, personal injury, contracts, and administrative law. She worked as lead paralegal assisting with administrative hearings and jury trials in the courtroom. She has coordinated and helped prepare for several types of litigation events such as depositions, mediations, and settlement agreement meetings.


She is employed at the Southwest Florida Water Management District where she supports the Office of General Counsel with a variety of areas such as enforcement compliance, land management, contracts, rulemaking, administrative hearings, appeals, and litigation preparation for civil litigation cases.  In addition, she works with other departments within the District on large projects that benefit the public’s interest. She obtained her Associate of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from Hillsborough Community College and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration from the University of South Florida.


Jessica has been an active member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association and Paralegal Association of Florida since 2009 and is also a notary public. She served as Co-Captain and Fundraising Chair for the Relay for Life event of the American Cancer Society for over 2 years. She is passionate in helping others and being a mentor to her fellow paralegals. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, community service, and outdoor activities.


Contact Jessica here


Director: Linda Woolard, ACP, FCP, FRP

Linda Woolard is an Advanced Certified Paralegal, a Florida Certified Paralegal and a Florida Registered Paralegal.  She received her Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies from Everest University, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA.


Originally from upstate New York, Linda has been in the legal field for almost 30 years.  She is a member of the Florida Bar’s Florida Registered Paralegal District Paralegal Committee and a paralegal member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.  She is also a member of NALA and the Paralegal Association of Florida.  


Linda is a regulatory paralegal at Health Insurance Innovations.  In her free time, Linda enjoys spending time with her husband and five dogs.

Contact Linda here.

Director: Lance Cochran LaFleur, FRP

   Contact the Lance here.

Immediate Past President: Dana Martinez-Jones, ACP

Dana Martinez-Jones is a transplant from Texas who has been working in the law for over 15 years. In 2002, she achieved the designation of Certified Paralegal (CP) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and achieved the designation of Advanced Certified Paralegal in Alternative Dispute Resolution in 2014. Dana is a corporate, litigation specialist in an in-house capacity for corporate counsel that defends nearly 100 skilled nursing facilities across the US. She enjoys learning each state's laws with respect to medical records and tries hard to be a “HIPAA guru”.

Dana is an advocate for the utilization of paralegals in areas outside of the typical law firm setting. She has been on the board of various paralegal associations for nearly 15 consecutive years and enjoys helping paralegals lead the way in developing and broadening the profession


Dana has been married for thirteen years to her husband, Paul. She has five children whom she adores immensely and four grandchildren that she loves to spoil rotten. When she is not working, she enjoys working out at the gym, writing on her blog, and taking part in local krewe events.


Contact Dana here.



TBPA is a voluntary professional association and does not make any representation, endorsement or guarantee as to the quality, reliability, competency, accuracy, business practice/standards/ethics, or professionalism of any member of TBPA.  TBPA does not conduct background checks or any other form of due diligence on any person or business applying for membership with TBPA.


Copyright © 2009-2015 by Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. 

All rights reserved. This material shall not be reproduced or distributed in any manner without the express written permission of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. 

© Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software