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.

President-Elect: Erika L. Burgos, FRP, ACA

 

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 Ligori & Cappy in Tampa as lead trial paralegal in the litigation department. She is a Florida Registered Paralegal and State of Florida Accredited Claims Adjuster. 


Erika is also TBPA's Certification Ambassador and is actively leading a study group for paralegals taking the Certified Paralegal exam offered by NALA and Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam or Paralegal CORE Competency exam offered by NFPA.


Contact Erika here.


1st Vice President: Elaine Schroeder

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 benefitting 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.  

 

2nd Vice President: Susan Lee

 

Susan Lee recently relocated from the Boston area and has over ten years of law firm experience.  Working as an assistant administrator for an environmental firm and currently working for a firm that specializes in aviation sales and tax law.  She has a bachelors degree in Business Management and a completed the paralegal program at Boston University in 2011. 

 

She is a past member of the Association of Records Management and Administrators, having drafted a records management and disposition policy for her former firm.  She is also a past volunteer of the Boston Debate League, a former president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce chapter in her town of Braintree, MA. 

 

Susan enjoys being active and recently completed a sprint triathlon in Clearwater. 


She is looking forward to growing in the paralegal profession as well as becoming more involved in the community

 

 Contact Susan here

 

Secretary: Katie K. Turley, 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: 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.

Director: Kim Ross M.S., CP

Kim has been employed by Zinzow Law, LLC since 2012.  She has 5 years of experience handling construction, real estate, and business matters.  Kim has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida and a Master of Science Degree in Education from NOVA Southeastern University.  She received her Paralegal Certificate from St. Petersburg College and achieved the designation of Certified Paralegal (CP) through NALA in 2014.

   

Kim served as President of the Tarpon Springs High School Softball Booster Club for 2 years.  Currently, Kim volunteers as Vice President of Corporate Giving for the Zinzow Law Foundation, is active on the Education and Professional Development committee for TBPA, and is the TBPA delegate for FAPA. 

 

Kim has been married for twenty-one years to her wonderful husband, Randy, and has two incredible daughters.  In her spare time, Kim enjoys running, camping, kayaking, and spending time with her family.


Contact Kim here.

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Director: Carrie Tonski, FRP

 

Carrie Tonski has worked for Michael P. Maddux, P.A. since September of 2005 in the areas of personal injury and civil rights violations. She has worked in the legal field since 1990 with experience in personal injury, civil matters, criminal defense on the federal and state court levels, and family law.

 

Carrie attended Bay Area Legal Academy in Tampa, Florida and holds the designation of Florida Registered Paralegal.

 

 Contact Carrie here.

Director: Cherise Esposito, CP

 

 

 Cherise earned her B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of South Florida (USF) and her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies from St. Petersburg College (SPC).  She is a NALA Certified Paralegal.

 

Cherise has been working in law firms since 2006 with a primary focus on real estate and foreclosures.  She recently shifted to working on medical malpractice cases and is enjoying learning this new world.

 

Cherise adores spending time with family, friends and pets.  She enjoys traveling, discovering new restaurants, the beach and reading.

 

Contact Cherise here

 

Director & Past President: Barbara C. O'Shaughnessy, FRP

Barbara has been employed as a paralegal since 1985, beginning her career in a large nationwide foreclosure firm for 3-1/2 years then moving to a local foreclosure firm for 7-1/2 years. She also worked for 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 found employment at the firm of Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & Koche, P.A. in Tampa, where she has spent the last 20+ years specializing in commercial real estate transactions.

 

Barbara has been affiliated with the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (State and Hillsborough County Chapter), and the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. since 2005.  In 2007 Barbara became an active member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. (“TBPA”), where she has served on the Board of Directors in various roles, including Director, Secretary, Treasurer, First Vice President, President-Elect and President.  As a Member of the TBPA, Barbara is a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (“NFPA”) and has recently (October 2015) been elected as the Region III Director on the NFPA’s Board of Directors.  She has also been registered with The Florida Bar as a Florida Registered Paralegal since March 28, 2008. 

 

While not working on activities advancing the paralegal profession, Barbara spends time volunteering at the local USO Welcome Center at the Tampa International Airport. She is also an amateur photographer and likes to take photos wherever she travels (from Alaska to Hartford then on to Dallas and Hawaii and back to Florida). 

 

Barbara and her husband, Ray, who have been married since 1987, have three children, Jeremy, Jamie & Jessica.  In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, shopping, and spending quality time her family and friends.  Her favorite thing to do on the weekends is to play Texas Hold‘Em Poker!


Contact Barbara here.

Immediate Past President: Emily Merlin, CP

Emily A. Merlin, CP is an in-house senior paralegal and contracts manager with HealthPlan Holdings, Inc. and has over 30 years of experience in contract negotiations and management, real estate, corporate compliance, mergers and acquisitions, healthcare, telecommunications, intellectual property and complex litigation.

 

Emily is a founding Officer and has been an active member of TBPA since its inception in the fall of 2000.  She has served in various roles, including President, President-Elect, 1st & 2nd Vice President, as well as Chair for the Seminar/CLE, Membership, Technology/Website, Newsletter, State & National Affairs, and Bylaws & Standing Rules Committees, and the Subcommittee Chair for Military Legalman.  Emily is currently serving her 2nd year term ending in December 2016 as the President of the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (“FAPA”), which TBPA is an Association Member.

 

Emily has a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Administration from the University of West Florida (UWF) located in Pensacola, as well as two (2) Associate’s Degrees, one of which is in Paralegal Studies.  In addition, Emily achieved the designation of Certified Paralegal from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and continues to maintain the CP credentials. While not attending CLE events, working or volunteering, Emily enjoys spending time with her family and friends scalloping, sailing/boating, and fishing, as well as playing guitar and being active in her church’s choir. 


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.

 



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