Jul. 9, 2019  

SPJ Florida Pro Nominating Slate 2019-2020

The SPJ Florida Professional Chapter’s annual election meeting is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, July 20, 2019, following the Sunshine State Awards ceremony in Fort Lauderdale.

Interested in running? Read more about our award-winning board here.

Meet the 2019-2020 Florida Pro Nominating Slate:


President: Emily Bloch

Bloch is an education reporter for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and a regular contributor to Teen Vogue. She’s been an SPJ member since 2015 and a board member since 2016. Most recently, she served as SPJ Florida’s VP of Programs for two terms. While in that position, Bloch helped create and promote multiple programs that have since spread nationally.

Executive Vice President: Cassidy Alexander

Alexander is an education reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and previously covered local government for the Sarasota Observer. She graduated from the University of North Florida with degrees in journalism and graphic design, and was editor-in-chief of its student publication, the UNF Spinnaker. She was a contributing editor at First Coast Magazine and Perversion Magazine, and is the former winner of a Green Eyeshade Award for best columnist and a Sunshine State Award for best news story. Alexander previously served on the SPJ Florida board of directors.

Vice President, Membership: Michele Boyet

Boyet is the digital marketing manager for The Breakers Palm Beach, where she manages the resort’s email marketing, online advertising and overall digital strategy. A past president of SPJ Florida, Boyet formerly worked as an associate homepage producer at the Sun Sentinel. She is the co-founder of the First Amendment Free Food Festival and received the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment award from SPJ National.

Vice President, Programs: Lulu Ramadan

Ramadan is a reporter at The Palm Beach Post, where she covers government, community news, crime and politics in southern Palm Beach County. She joined The Post in 2015 after graduating Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s degree from the School of Communication. At Florida Atlantic, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the student publication, the University Press, for a year. Ramadan previously served on the SPJ Florida board of directors.

Secretary: Brendon Lies

Lies is currently the Art Director at South Florida Gay News, where he also writes as a columnist. He attended school at Minnesota State University Moorhead before transferring to Florida Atlantic University, where his career as a designer earned him the title of Creative Director at the University Press, the FAU school newspaper. He never sits still in his spare time, and uses his intense interest in social justice and ethics as inspiration for his exploration of the arts.

Treasurer: Chris Persaud

Persaud is a freelance journalist and programmer. He has done data journalism for the Palm Beach Post and Bankrate.com. He owns and runs DataJournalismJobs.com, an online jobs board for data journalism jobs. He also owns and runs RichBlocksPoorBlocks.com, a subscription website that maps rent and income data for every neighborhood in America.

Immediate Past President: Christiana Lilly (appointed)

The web editor at Boca magazine, Lilly also freelances and has been published in outlets like the Miami Herald’s Indulge magazine, Fort Lauderdale magazine, South Florida Gay News, Fox News, Newsweek and Fusion. Previously, she worked at Newsmax, HuffPost Miami and Forum Publishing Group, where she covered the Sunrise and Plantation city beat. A proud Gator, Lilly graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism and a minor in anthropology. Although she was born in Florida, Lilly moved around in Asia for 14 years before moving back stateside for college. The board President from 2017 to 2019, she has also served as Executive Vice President and Secretary.

Directors-at-Large (six spots available)

Richard Gaspar

Gaspar is a full Professor of Mass Communication at Hillsborough Community College and has taught for 20+ years. He has been recognized as a site level, county level, and state level teacher of the year. He serves as a judge for national publications contests, awards and as a critique adviser for student publications. He has attended numerous state, national and international journalism and communication conferences. He is also a CMA Distinguished Two-Year Magazine Adviser, CMA Distinguished Two-Year Newspaper Adviser, and SPJ Dori Maynard Diversity Fellow.

Lindsey Kilbride

Kilbride is the Special Projects Producer at WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville, where she spends her days creating and producing podcasts. Among her statewide and national accolades, she was recently named the 2018 Best Radio Reporter in a large market by the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters. Previously she was an education and city government reporter at the station responsible for daily radio spots and features, many of which aired statewide and nationally. Before starting with WJCT, she completed the radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Hannah Lee

Lee is an assignment desk editor at Action News Jax (WJAX/WFOX). She is about to graduate from the University of North Florida where she was Editor-in-Chief of the student publication, UNF Spinnaker. Lee previously interned at the Florida Times-Union where she worked on a variety of news and features articles. For the 2018-2019 school year, she was one of the co-leaders of the #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement.

Carina Mask

Mask is a South Florida freelance photographer. Her photos have been published in Miami Herald’s INDULGE magazine, The Miami Herald, POLITICO, HCP Media, Miami New Times, South Florida Gay news, Project We Forgot, Palette magazine and more. Carina is half Japanese and half American. Her father worked for the US Government and moved around a bit as a child but now calls South Florida her home. She was introduced to photography and documented her grandmother during her near decade-long battle with dementia.

Abbi Perry

Perry is a Web Producer for Citrix Systems, Inc.  Formerly, she was the Assistant Editor for Society Scene as well as a writer and web content developer for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. While working for Forum Publishing Group, Perry served as Web Director, Calendar Editor and Columnist. Her columns were published in Jewish Journal. Perry’s additional writings and editorial work were published in South Florida Parenting, Teenlink and Jewish Journal. Perry holds a Master of Science degree in Communication and Media from Lynn University (2013) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Studies (concentration in Journalism) from Radford University (2008). She served two years as Secretary and two years as Executive Vice President of SPJ Florida.

Suzette Speaks

Speaks is a television and multimedia host based in Miami, Florida. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she enjoyed a successful career as an attorney before she felt called to follow her passion for journalism and communications. Suzette freelances on multiple platforms and has worked with Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Caribbean National Weekly. She has also served as president of the South Florida Black Journalists Association, an affiliated chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

Student Rep (one spot available)

Kristen Grau

Grau is the managing editor of Florida Atlantic University’s student newspaper, the University Press. She previously served as the paper’s features editor and a staff writer. On top of that, she is a freelance editor and reporter for South Florida Gay News. This year, Grau won third place in the SPJ Green Eyeshade Awards’ “Best Feature Writer in the South” category. She is an upcoming senior at FAU, where she studies multimedia journalism and sociology.

Gabriella Paul

As a journalism and history student at the University of Florida, Gabriella is ceaselessly driven to uncover today’s human stories surrounding race, politics and entertainment to relay them for the public ear. Through mastery of language and keen journalistic curiosity, she is drawn to the medium of the long form narrative. Post-graduation, she aspires to continue her storytelling as a features writer for a newspaper or magazine. Now approaching her senior year, she continues to contribute to the student-run newspaper, The Alligator, as well as the local newspaper The Gainesville Sun. In her last semester, she served as a Capitol news correspondent for the college’s in-house newsroom, WUFT News, to cover Florida’s 2019 legislative session. Among other notable published works, she also helped author research, “Slavery and the University of Florida: African Americans, Seminoles and the Origins of Higher Education in Florida,” that is soon to enter the university’s archives.



The chapter’s annual election meeting is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, July 20, 2019, following the Sunshine State Awards ceremony in Fort Lauderdale.

Election shall be by simple majority vote of eligible chapter members. All chapter members in good standing are welcome to vote by in-person ballot at the election. Want to check your status? Email President Christiana Lilly to see if you’re eligible.


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