Meet the Team
Nashid Madyun, Executive Director
Dr. Nashid Madyun grew up in the small historic town of Helena, Arkansas. The town has a rich cross section of important historical periods; Civil War, African American Leadership during Reconstruction, and Gospel and Blues Music Heritage. Dr. Madyun attended Mississippi Valley State University and Delta State University to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, and Southern New Hampshire University to obtain an MFA in Creative Writing. After working for the Department of Arkansas Heritage, he obtained a Doctorate in Management, conducting research in nonprofit sustainability and organizational leadership.
Dr. Madyun has served as the Director of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Texas State History Museum, President and General Manager of Gibson Retail Group (a division of Gibson Music Instruments), the Art Museum and Archives of Hampton University, and most recently, as the Director of the Carrie Meek and James Eaton Sr. Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
He continues to teach courses in Humanities, African American Art, U.S. History and Graduate courses in Business. Dr. Madyun has served on a host of boards and public service commissions; including but not limited to, the Blues Foundation, the Austin Arts Council, Arkansas Black History Commission, Virginia State Heritage Preservation Board, and the Visit Florida Cultural, Heritage, Rural And Nature Committee, and the African American History Task force for the State of Florida.
Patricia Putman, Associate Director
Patricia joined the Florida Humanities staff in 2001. She assists the Executive Director in the overall supervision and direction of the organization. Patricia is responsible for direct oversight and management of the grants and public programs team and leads Florida Humanities efforts to develop strategic partnerships statewide. In addition to the grants program, she has directly administered a variety of projects, including PrimeTime Family Reading Time, veterans’ programs, summer seminars for high school students and teachers, and special initiatives initiated by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Patricia holds a Master of Arts Management degree from the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a St. Petersburg native.
Brenda O'Hara, Chief Financial Officer
Brenda joined Florida Humanities in September 2003. Brenda is a native of St Petersburg, FL. She attended the University of South Florida where she earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting. Her previous work experience is mainly in the non-profit area. Previous positions include business manager with Lifelink Child and Family Services, CFO with Easter Seals/M.A.R.C, and director of accounting with PARC, a center for the developmentally disabled. As the Florida Humanities Chief Financial Officer, Brenda oversees the financial aspects of the agency, including the preparation of financial statements, budgets, and funding requests, reporting to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the state, and assuring the accuracy of the organization’s accounting records to meet required auditing standards.
Stephanie Chill, Grants Coordinator
Stephanie joined Florida Humanities in the summer of 2021 to assist with coordination of competitive grants. She supports the promotion, awarding, and administration for Florida Humanities’ various grantmaking programs, and the sharing of grantee success stories. A first-generation Floridian and native of Pinellas, Stephanie has worked and volunteered locally with various art, cultural, and historic museums and non-profits. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Organizational Communications from the University of Central Florida, and Master’s in Heritage Studies from Newcastle University, England.
Lashonda Curry, Communications Director
Lashonda Curry joined the Florida Humanities in August 2021. As the Communications Director, she leads the digital and print multimedia efforts of the organization, including overseeing the production of FORUM Magazine. She also serves as the principal spokesperson for the Florida Humanities’ messaging to internal and external audiences.
Lashonda was born and raised in Atlanta, and graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts – Print Journalism. She moved to Florida in 2001 and spent 11 years as a newspaper reporter in Ocala and Gainesville. Lashonda also previously worked as an editor and content strategist for association magazines, and managed communications and public relations at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.
Brooke Dressler, Administrative Assistant
Brooke joined the Florida Humanities in 2021 as the Administrative Assistant. She is the Board of Director’s Liaison, administratively supports the Executive Director with meetings, correspondence, event planning, as well as, provides office support to all staff. Brooke has worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years including the Morean Arts Center, the Florida Orchestra, the Dali Museum, and the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History. Brooke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. Originally from Philadelphia, Brooke has resided in Florida for 22 years.
Lisa Lennox, Director Digital Initiatives
Lisa relocated to Florida from New York in 2006 and joined Florida Humanities the same year. Lisa oversees the website, the Florida Stories app, and provides operational support for the online grants system. Prior to coming to Florida Humanities, Lisa was employed with Clear Channel Communications and Telemedia Communications as a website developer.
April Myerscough, Public Programs Coordinator
April joined Florida Humanities in the summer of 2021 as the Public Programs Coordinator. She manages the Florida Talks program, pairing high-quality speakers with humanities non-profits across the state to share the history and culture of Florida. April also assists in the management of the Museum on Main Street program, bringing Smithsonian exhibits to rural areas of the state. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Mercer University and an M.A. in Museum Studies from Harvard University. April is a second-generation Floridian and a Pinellas County native.
Jacki Levine, FORUM Editor
Jacki Levine is editor of FORUM Magazine, the print publication of Florida Humanities. Previously, she was the founding editor Gainesville Magazine, a bi-monthly city magazine published in conjunction with The Gainesville Sun, and managing editor of The Sun, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, for 14 years. Jacki holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a master of arts degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. She is a board member/ past president of the Florida Magazine Association; member/immediate past chair of the UF College of Journalism and Communications Journalism Advisory Council, and current chair of the Gainesville Women’s Giving Circle.
Lindsey Morrison, Grants Director
Lindsey joined Florida Humanities in early 2019 and assists the Executive Director in the direct oversight and management of Florida Humanities’ competitive grant programs, including Community Project Grants and other special initiative grants. As Grants Director, Lindsey oversees the awarding of funds received from the National Endowment for the Humanities to nonprofit organizations and public institutions across Florida. These funds are crucial to supporting locally driven, bold and impactful humanities-rich programming across the Sunshine State. A seventh-generation Floridian hailing from Sarasota, Lindsey holds an B.S. in Anthropology from Florida State University and an M.A. in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. Before joining Florida Humanities, Lindsey’s career spanned the Florida Division of Historic Resources, the National Park Service, and the American Battlefield Trust.
Mara Utterback, Membership Coordinator
Mara joined Florida Humanities in Fall of 2019. She is a native of the Tampa Bay area and graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. As the Membership Coordinator, she coordinates all aspects of the membership program for Florida Humanities, including development of giving levels, assisting in promotion of the program, and maintenance of the membership program. Mara is also responsible for entering accounts payable, accounts receivable, and deposits.