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 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.

President-Elect: 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


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.

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: Elaine Schroeder (Member Services)

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.  


Contact Elaine here.

Director: Kim Ross M.S., CP (Certification and Student Relations)

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.


Director: Valerie Cisco (Seminars)


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 (Technology)


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: (Legal Affairs)

Contact the Legal Affairs Chair here.

Director: (Luncheon)

Contact the Luncheon Chair 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.


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