By The Editors

It’s time again to recognize Winter Park Magazine’s Most Influential People. The program, in its ninth year, recognizes those who — sometimes quietly — make a difference through their professions, their volunteerism, their philanthropy, their talents or their community engagement. 

The selectees are presented in the summer issue and celebrated at an event, the date and venue of which will soon be announced. On the following pages, please meet the Class of 2024 — which is every bit as deep and impressive as any previous class and, as always, includes some people you may not know as well as some longtime community icons. 

This year, we’ve introduced a new category: The Living Legend Award is designed for an individual whose primary civic activities may have been decades ago but whose influence has remained powerful in the ensuing years and warrants special recognition. 

The Influentials come from all walks of life but share a love for Winter Park — and a desire to keep it as special as the founding visionaries intended. As we celebrate the 2024 inductees, let’s ponder ways in which we can celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event in 2025. If you’ve got ideas, please contact

Larry Gergley, in the stands at Winter Park High School’s Larry Gergley Stadium. Photo by Carlos Amoedo


Larry Gergley

Former Head Football Coach, Winter Park High School


In 1971, as he prepared for his first season as head football coach at Winter Park High School — which had suffered through 11 consecutive losing seasons — Larry Gergley’s Wildcats looked awful at the Kissimmee Jamboree, a preseason exhibition in which they went scoreless during quarter-long matchups against Osceola and Jones. “I told the players to make a decision,” Gergley later told the Orlando Sentinel. “The choices were ‘screw around’ or ‘play football.’ They insisted they wanted to play, so we simplified things, made some practice demands and got a total commitment.” Subsequently, in what the now-legendary coach describes as a “miracle season,” the unheralded Wildcats went 9–1 and snared the district championship before losing to Fort Pierce Central, 8–0, in the state playoffs. And it was no fluke. From 1971 to 1996, Gergley’s teams went 213–72–2, including an astounding 87–13 run during the 1980s that made Winter Park the winningest program of the decade in Florida. Gergley stepped down at Winter Park in 1996, took a season off, then coached two years at Bishop Moore, where he led the Hornets to their first district championship in 21 years. He returned to the Wildcats in 2000, going 50–29 over six seasons and notching an unexpected trip to the state semifinals in 2005. But the 82-year-old coach isn’t quite as impressed with gaudy numbers as the rest of us are. “The value of sports for kids is unbelievable,” says Gergley, who now enjoys watching Little League games involving his grandchildren. (He and his wife, Jane, have two adult children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild). “Kids learn things they need so badly today — accountability, camaraderie, respect, sportsmanship. When you win, it’s just momentary glory. When your players come back as adults and say, ‘Thank you for what you taught me,’ that’s what’s most important to me.” As a player, Gergley went from the University of Buffalo to the Canadian Football League. From there, following a foot injury, he joined the semipro Daytona Beach Thunderbirds and the Continental Football League’s Orlando Panthers before becoming a coach and physical education teacher at Glenridge Junior High School. “Being a coach sort of fell into my lap,” says Gergley, who in his prime was a muscular but agile 250-pounder whose playing days had been mostly as a tight end and a defensive lineman. Demanding, methodical and unflappably patient — traits he would display throughout his career — the rookie coach quickly found his groove and guided the school’s football team to a county championship in 1970. Winter Park’s new principal, Wib Robertson, an irrepressible sports enthusiast who also officiated football games, had known Gergley through the Panthers and wanted him for the Wildcats. “Wib brought new life to the whole athletic program,” says Gergley of Robertson, who hired a raft of new coaches for other sports as well. Once on board, Gergley surrounded himself with an ensemble of assistants, many of whom would remain with the program for decades: Chuck Fielding, Charles Friedley, Harry Livengood, Tom Munsey, Tony Manzonelli, Bill Orr and, a few years later, former player Johnny Miller, who is now special events manager for the City of Winter Park and remains an assistant football coach at his alma mater. Although he and Gergley are longtime friends, Miller says he would never address his mentor by his first name. “He’ll always be ‘Coach” to me,” says Miller, who adds that Gergley’s personal style has had a profound influence on him and others. “He never cursed — cursing wasn’t allowed — and when a kid made a mistake, he never demoralized him or put him down.” Although Gergley isn’t one to dwell on past wins and losses, he’ll tell you that among his most memorable seasons was 1984, when Winter Park had to win at Vero Beach to make the state semifinals. The announcer, in a pregame prayer, intoned: “God, let the best team win — and we know it’s Vero Beach.” God, though, apparently had other ideas. In the final seconds, the Wildcats kicked a 50-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. In OT, Winter Park scored and kicked an extra point. Vero Beach also scored, but when they lined up to kick the extra point a torrential rainstorm began and the kick was botched. The Wildcats — perhaps with divine intervention — got the upset but lost in the state semifinals at Miami Southridge. For the past 17 years, Gergley’s winning tradition has been upheld by his successor, Tim Shifflet, a former Gergley assistant (at both Bishop Moore and Winter Park) whose father, Joe, was a Gergley teammate at Buffalo. Shifflet has racked up two undefeated seasons and 10 playoff appearances. (Winter Park went 9–1 in 2023, losing to Jacksonville Mandarin in the regional quarterfinals). That game, by the way, was played on Showalter Field at Larry Gergley Stadium — with the stadium’s namesake present, seated as usual in a special sideline section reserved for him.


Larry Gergley is a legend not just because of wins and losses and X’s and O’s, although he was brilliant at adjusting his offensive and defensive schemes based upon the skill sets of his players. That way, the Wildcats always had a chance to win even when they were outsized or outmanned. More importantly, however, he’s a legend because of his character and the life lessons he taught to generations of players who still revere him. 

Jeff Briggs on Park Avenue. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Jeff Briggs

Planning Director Emeritus, City of Winter Park


Jeff Briggs, a New Jersey kid raised on a New England aesthetic, had just earned a master’s degree in planning from Georgia Tech University when in 1977 the City of Winter Park advertised an open position. “The next thing I know I’m walking in my wool suit on Park Avenue and the rest is history,” he says. Since then, Briggs has worked for 11 city managers and 32 city commissioners. He announced his retirement last year and remains as a consultant and planning director emeritus until 2025 — which will mark the conclusion of a 47-year career. The long arc of his influence can be seen in how Winter Park looks today — still visibly linked to its roots as a haven for cold-weather tycoons that has served as a planning model for other towns. His operating philosophy has always been to balance the pressure for new development with the city’s desire to keep its scale and character intact as a village-like refuge adjacent to the No. 1 tourist destination in the world. Briggs is often at the center of development debates, called on by city commissioners to describe how a project might conform — or not — to the city’s code. “I think my best attribute is that I’m the Howard Cosell of planning,” he notes. “I just tell it like it is.” One of his most lasting imprints, though, has nothing to with planning. Briggs was just a year into his job when City Commissioner Jerome Donnelly suggested that the newly acquired freight depot near Park Avenue should be used to host a farmers’ market — which would be the region’s first. Briggs, the “eager young pup” tasked with making it happen, printed flyers and lined up vendors. “The first Saturday, everyone sold out by 11 a.m.,” he recalls. In 1992, Briggs joined former Rollins College President Thaddeus Seymour and developer Hal George to start Habitat for Humanity of Winter Park-Maitland. The group, which Briggs still serves as treasurer, is now working on its 60th home. An endurance athlete who has competed in the Boston Marathon, Briggs — who has an adult daughter from a prior marriage — is now working to leave a legacy of more historical markers. “Buildings come and go,” he says. “The Farmers’ Market and those historic marker signs will outlive you and me.”


You can’t regulate development in Winter Park without taking heat. Briggs has served the city for 47 years and has reached the end of his career as a battle-tested planning veteran whose goal of protecting the city’s charm (and honoring its history) was largely achieved.

Matt Certo at Findsome & Winmore. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Matt Certo

CEO and Principal, Findsome & Winmore


If Matt Certo, who started a website-building business at age 19, was an early bloomer, he says it’s only because he wasn’t better at basketball. As a freshman on the team at Rollins College — where his father, Sam Certo, was dean of the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business — the younger Certo realized that he wasn’t destined for the NBA and began looking for more practical ways to make a living. In 1995, fascinated with the nascent internet, he made a successful pitch to create the first website for Rollins. Soon, others sought his help to navigate the online world, and with his father’s help, he incorporated Websolvers. That company later evolved into a full-service marketing agency called Findsome & Winmore, an amusing recasting of “Finding and Winning New Customers,” the tagline of Websolvers. “In this Instagram-TikTok world, identity is a very fluid concept,” says Certo, who has honed his own brand by authoring a book, Formulaic: How Thriving Companies Market from the Core; hosting a podcast, Brand Narrative; and publishing a weekly e-newspaper, The 32789, which covers happenings in Winter Park. Certo started the The 32789 during COVID-19 because he saw a vacuum in local news coverage and his staff had spare time as his company’s clients retrenched. “If I see a need, I like to attach to it,” he says. “To be chasing these opportunities is fun.” One of four children, Certo moved to Central Florida from Terre Haute, Indiana, in fifth grade when his father left Indiana State University to teach business at Rollins. He credits his parents for his values and Rollins, where he earned a degree in organizational leadership, for his commitment to community service. As a student, he was particularly inspired by a campus visit from Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield — founders of Ben & Jerry’s — who gave a presentation on social responsibility. Certo is past board chairman of both Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. He’s also board vice chairman and corporate secretary of the Edyth Bush Foundation — an organization that he has served for more than 20 years — and founding president of The First Tee of Central Florida, a nonprofit youth development program centered on golf. Certo and his wife, Jennifer, a Realtor, have three young children. 


Certo is emblematic of the sort of socially conscious entrepreneurs that Rollins College turns out. It has been to Winter Park’s benefit that he chose to stay here, building a successful cutting-edge business and using his organizational skills to bolster good causes.

Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon at the Orlando Museum of Art. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon

Chief Curator, Orlando Museum of Art


Forget the cloud of scandal over the Orlando Museum of Art’s exhibition of purported Basquiats, about which she was outspokenly dubious. Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon, OMA’s new chief curator, is beaming with excitement about what’s ahead. She’s eager to stage exhibitions that are socially relevant and to take the 100-year-old museum beyond the confines of its physical space through digitalization of its collection. Currently on view at OMA is the 10th installment of the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art — the first over which Claeysen-Gleyzon has had complete control — and this fall will bring displays of skateboarding photography as well as punk and new wave fashion and graphic design. Plans are also underway to show selected works donated by New York-based collectors who are interested in LGBTQ issues. With such significant but out-of-the-ordinary exhibitions, Claeysen-Gleyzon hopes to broaden the public’s definition of art and make the museum “a place where people feel that they belong and can bring questions and ponder issues raised by artists.” She fervently believes in the importance of relationships and collaborations. For example, her connection with the Arkansas-based Art Bridges Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, yielded a $400,000 grant to support free admission to OMA once a month. Claeysen-Gleyzon, who joined OMA as an associate curator in 2018, had previously been director of the Jai Gallery and a volunteer curator at Snap! Orlando. She and her husband, Francois-Xavier Gleyzon, a literature professor and Shakespeare scholar, moved from Beirut, Lebanon, to Orlando in 2011 when Francois was offered a teaching post at UCF. Originally from the Burgundy region of France, Claeysen-Gleyzon spent part of her childhood in the African country of Niger. She earned a bachelor’s degree in culture, media and communications, then a master’s degree in visual culture from Lancaster University in England. She also holds a degree in language sciences and cultural mediation from the Université Paul Cézanne, Aix-Marseille III, in France. She has been a curator for Urbis, a museum in Manchester, England; director of The Third Line gallery in Doha, Qatar; and an independent art consultant in Beirut, Lebanon. She and Francois have two teenaged children, a son and a daughter, and live in Winter Park. Her goal, says Claeysen-Gleyzon, is to position the museum so that it’s relevant in the 21st century “and, ultimately, an agent for social change.”


Claeysen-Gleyzon’s most important job is to rebuild community trust in OMA — a responsibility that she takes very seriously as the institution celebrates its centennial.

Sharon Line Clary at the Winter Park Center for Health & Wellbeing. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Sharon Line Clary

Vice President, Strategic Marketing and Communication, AdventHealth 


Many successful businesspeople started in the mailroom. Not many did it before they had lost all their baby teeth. At age 6, Sharon Line Clary was stuffing envelopes with letters and brochures at the iconic Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. Her grandfather, entrepreneur Nick Beucher, had bought the historic but bedraggled golf compound, which was then called the Floridan Country Club, in 1964. Over the next five years, the golf-loving erstwhile cattle commodities broker transformed the property into one of the most elite retreats in Florida. “But it wasn’t like work for us,” says Clary of her (very) early exposure to the overlapping worlds of business and sports. “We did it for a milkshake or a pack of gum.” A first grader when she joined the family business, Clary didn’t realize that envelope-stuffing set her on a path to become vice president of strategic marketing and communications at
AdventHealth as well as volunteer executive board leader of both the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, which attracts high-profile sporting events to the region, and Florida Citrus Sports, which operates bowl games at Camping World Stadium. Yet, the progression makes sense. Clary, who continued to work at Mission Inn through her graduation from Lake Highland Prep in 1987, then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marketing, sports information and communication technologies from Florida State University, where she also had a job in the athletic department and sometimes hosted recruits such as Charlie Ward, Marvin Jones and Chris Weinke — all future legends for the Seminoles. Back home, Clary — whose husband, Michael, is an architect — joined the groups that successfully touted Orlando as a host city for soccer during the 1994 World Cup and the 1996 Summer Olympics. She then ascended the ladder at AdventHealth, winning a slew of marketing awards and earning induction into the National Marketing Hall of Fame in 2018. She also serves on the boards of the Mennello Museum of Art, the Orlando Museum of Art, the YMCA of Central Florida and is a founding member and president-elect of WISE (Women in Sports Events) Orlando. “I’m a maximizer who thrives in taking something from good to exceptional,” she says. “I’m also strategic and can see lots of ways we can get to a solution or approach a challenge.”


What a powerhouse! Sharon’s impact on the community is twofold — through AdventHealth’s major partnerships and initiatives, and through her role in helping to make Orlando the No. 1 destination in the country for hosting sporting events.

Laura and Mark Cosgrove in one of their backyard gardens. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Mark Cosgrove

President, Cosgrove & Company 

Laura Cosgrove

Co-owner and Manager, Apenberry’s Gardens 


Works of art representing every genre and medium imaginable occupy just about every square foot in the Winter Park home of Mark and Laura Cosgrove, which over the years has become a repository for their vast and eclectic collection. Mark, president of Cosgrove & Company, an investment banking advisory firm based in Winter Park, and Laura, for years an attorney and now co-owner and manager of the iconic Apenberry’s Gardens plant nursery on Edgewater Drive in College Park, became acquainted when they found themselves attending the same fundraisers, auctions, events and exhibitions. The couple married — and merged their burgeoning collections — in 2006. Since then, they’ve become among the city’s most prominent arts patrons and volunteer nonprofit leaders. Mark is on the board of Flying Horse Editions, the fine-art press of the University of Central Florida, and a member of the acquisitions and exhibitions committee of the Rollins Museum of Art. Laura is advancement director for the Friends of the Mennello Museum of American Art and co-chaired the museum’s capital campaign to fund expansion of its facility in Loch Haven Cultural Park. A native of Buffalo, New York, Mark graduated from the State University of New York in Geneseo, where he majored in history and political science, and moved to Central Florida in 1982, where he earned an MBA from the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. Laura, a third-generation Central Floridian, attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where she majored in political science, and then the University of Florida’s College of Law. Prior to becoming a practicing attorney, she joined Eidson Insurance — founded in 1943 by her grandfather, George — and rose through the ranks to become president and CEO. In 2008, she became one of four co-founders of the Foundation for Foster Children, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve opportunities for children in the foster-care system. (The organization, marking its 15th anniversary, has touched the lives of more than 7,500 youngsters in Central Florida.) Laura’s recent purchase of Apenberry’s with friend and business partner Debra Dremann Ushkowitz, a land development consultant, should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever visited the Cosgrove home. A certified Master Gardener, Laura has designed a magical and whimsical backyard that consists of a Sculpture Garden, a Moroccan Garden and an Asian and European Garden, all interconnected by pathways. Says Laura: “One of my greatest joys is bringing people together and finding common interests.  I also have the experience of being an active participant in organizations and being in leadership roles since an early age, combining my ability to be both creative and strategic.” Adds Mark: “I think in terms of pure influencing, if I do anything, it’s setting an example for others — and most times that’s through pure displays of enthusiasm and exposing people to something that they, in turn, will support.”


The Cosgroves combine genuine enthusiasm for the causes they support with business acumen and follow-through, making it easy for those who know them to jump on whatever bandwagon they’re driving.

Sheila DeCiccio at Winter Park City Hall. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Sheila DeCiccio

Attorney; Mayor of Winter Park


Sheila DeCiccio made history this year as the first woman elected to serve as Winter Park’s mayor. By the time her term is up, though, there’s a good chance she’ll be remembered just as much for her no-nonsense, problem-solving approach to the job that marked her term as a commissioner. Streetlights not working along Park Avenue? DeCiccio bird-dogged a solution at commission meeting after commission meeting. Flooding after Hurricane Ian? She pushed for studies to prioritize the drainage work needed to prevent damage after the next major storm. Rundown public playing fields? She led the charge to renovate seven out of nine parks used by thousands of kids. As a Winter Park resident for 41 years, DeCiccio began to notice where the city needed some attention as she raised her own children, both now grown. “I felt like this city is a gorgeous jewel, but it needed polishing,” she says. That persistence, along with her diplomatic, consensus-building style, elevated DeCiccio from the 11 years she spent in mostly anonymous and often thankless roles on the code enforcement and planning and zoning boards. Today, she’s one of the most recognizable mayors in Central Florida. The former Boston-area assistant district attorney, a graduate of the New England School of Law in Boston, arrived in Winter Park in 1983 for a job at the Lowndes law firm. She made history there, too, as the first woman partner. Later she joined her husband, Dan, at his practice DeCiccio & Johnson as they raised their family. During her term as mayor, she wants to stay focused on the quality-of-life issues that drew her into service in the first place. One of her first acts was to form a committee that will help determine architectural design standards for local business districts defined by Orange, Park and Fairbanks avenues. “The purpose is for continuity and consistency, but each area will have its own personality,” she says. That’s just one example of how she hopes to set policies that will leave a lasting imprint. “The emphasis has to be on fixing our infrastructure — whether it’s the lights on Park Avenue or the flooding we’ve had — and the No. 1 complaint from people is traffic,” adds DeCiccio. “Those are the issues to keep Winter Park the wonderful place where you want to live.”


DeCiccio will work to retain the charm, character and culture of Winter Park — without needless drama — while her lawyerly analytical style will be deployed to tackle such crucial issues as infrastructure Her mantra: “Put the residents first at City Hall.”

Craig DeLongy at John Craig Clothiers. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Craig DeLongy

Founder, John Craig Clothiers


Craig DeLongy’s dream growing up in Wichita, Kansas, was to play professional golf. And by his early 20s, he was living the dream as a club pro in Missouri. But in 1974, on an annual Florida swing to compete in winter tournaments, DeLongy decided “it was time to settle down and get a job.” He joined Champ’s Sports, the West Bradenton-based sports apparel company, and eventually became a partner in 11 locations. Champ’s Sports sold out in 1985 to the Woolworth Corporation (owners of Foot Locker). DeLongy then opened several sporting goods stores in Central Florida before deciding to create an upscale menswear shop. His formula: Offer not only top-quality clothing, footwear and accessories but also lavish personal service of the sort that chain operations (and later the internet) couldn’t possibly match. In 1996, John Craig Clothier — named for DeLongy’s maternal grandfather — opened in a well-appointed storefront on Park Avenue, less than a mile from where he and Suzanne, his wife of 45 years, make their home. The handsome haberdashery quickly became one of the storied downtown district’s most successful (and now iconic) retailers by catering to discerning customers who sought an “experience” that included VIP treatment — such as style assessments and personal shopping — from polished and knowledgeable professionals. John Craig has since expanded its footprint and currently boasts eight stores. In addition to Winter Park (which has the original store plus a more casual concept, Current by John Craig, next door), there are stores in Jupiter (Harbourside Place), Ocala (the Equestrian Hotel), Ponte Vedra Beach (Sawgrass Village) and three locations in Naples (Third Street and Waterside Village). The third Naples location, also on Third Street, is a Carter & Finlay store — named for DeLongy’s first grandson — that specializes in resort wear. John Craig was named to the Esquire Retail 100 and has notched numerous “best of” recognitions from glossy regional magazines. But the ultimate accolade came in 2023 when DeLongy was named “Merchant of the Year, Specialty Store” by MR Magazine. During the awards ceremony in New York, DeLongy was introduced by his daughter, Blair, the company’s Naples-based vice president. “I still cry when I hear the speech,” says DeLongy. (Son Brant operates his brokerage business out of Craig’s office and is both an adviser and a golfing buddy to his dad.) “The honor isn’t about me,” DeLongy insists. “It’s about my people.”


Craig has tapped into what Park Avenue should be all about — a locally owned and operated business that considers staff and customers to be like family. And he has proven that the formula for his success can be exported to other markets.

Carroll Hanley Goggin at Rollins College. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Carroll Hanley Goggin

Owner and CFO, DBG Promotions


Carroll Goggin, owner of DBG Promotions and current board chair of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, has a resumé packed with leadership posts past and present. In addition to her chamber activity, she’s on the Rollins College Board of Trustees and was co-vice chair of Bright Together: The Campaign for Rollins (which raised $293,483,635). She was also the alumni representative on the search committee that hired Grant Cornwell as the college’s president in 2015 and is a member of the search committee that will seek Cornwell’s successor when he retires in the summer of 2025. What’s more, she’s on the Government Relations Action Committee of the Promotional Products Association International and was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the Florida Council on Arts & Culture, which she describes as “inspiring and rewarding.” Goggin, who’s a graduate of both Leadership Orlando and Leadership Winter Park, recalls late-night bull sessions in college with friends: “If you’d asked who was most likely to be a member of a college board of trustees, the answer would not have been me! I was very much a later bloomer.” It is Winter Park’s good fortune that she blossomed here. Goggin grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, as a “math-science-computer nerd” whose dyslexia didn’t keep her from building a solid academic record. After coast-to-coast college visits, she chose Denison University in Granville, Ohio. But a family friend urged her to consider Rollins, which she admits that she had never heard of. She flew south in the dead of winter to investigate — and it was love at first sight: “I looked around and thought, ‘These are my people.’” A pianist, Goggin enrolled as a music major and switched to math as a sophomore. After graduation in 1985, she worked in the corporate world “but didn’t find my niche” until 1991, when she started DBG Promotions, a company that offers such branded promotional products as pens, shirts, water bottles, towels and totes. Goggin — who has two adult sons with her husband, David — is on a meta-mission to preserve the qualities that make Winter Park special while tackling such issues as the need for more workforce housing for her alma mater. She describes herself as a “lifelong learner” and insists that “the most wonderful leaders feel they still have much to learn.”


Carroll is a consensus builder who has the passion to serve and the savvy to use data and metrics to understand the challenges faced by the causes she champions. When she takes a position, you know it’s been thoroughly vetted and based on research.

Marc and Sharon Hagle (with their furry compatriot, Saba, the Space Dog) at the office of SpaceKids, which is shared with Tricor. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Marc Hagle

Founder and CEO of Tricor

Sharon Hagle

Founder, and CEO, SpaceKids Global


For years Marc and Sharon Hagle were generous if somewhat under-the-radar philanthropists. Then they made headlines by building a 40,000-square-foot home on Palmer Avenue, by blasting into space on Blue Origin’s rocket New Shepard and by avoiding catastrophe when they opted out of a frequently delayed undersea expedition to view the remains of the Titanic on OceanGate’s ill-fated submersible Titan. But if all you know about the Hagles is what you’ve read, then you don’t really know these civically engaged residents who — their penchant for unconventional adventures notwithstanding — have for decades quietly supported worthy causes. Marc, a native of Newburgh, New York, was raised in Winter Park and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue University (in electrical engineering and industrial administration, respectively). He’s the founder and CEO of Tricor, which has developed commercial buildings totaling more than 18 million square feet in addition to thousands of apartments and single-family homes nationwide. Sharon, a native of Charleston, West Virginia, sold commercial real estate and met her husband-to-be during the site selection process for a Publix. Married since 1996, the high-flying Hagles now have three grown children and five grandchildren. They’ve been major donors and volunteer leaders for the region’s most impactful nonprofits, whose missions encompass everything from the arts to the environment to health and human services. In 2022, the couple pledged more than $5 million to UCF Athletics for expansion of its football campus, which will now be anchored by The Sharon and Marc Hagle Gateway. Clearly, the Hagles are proactive when they identify a need, especially when it’s close to home. In 2004, after hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne destroyed fully one third of the city’s treasured tree canopy, they launched the Winter Park Live Oak Fund through which 800 replacement trees were planted. (Marc, in fact, chaired the committee that drafted the city’s Tree Protection Ordinance in 2012.) The couple also started the Fallen Officers College Education Fund in honor of Winter Park Police Department Lieutenant Stanford Locke, who died in 2019. They’re particularly proud, however, of SpaceKids Global, founded in 2015 by Sharon with the goal of promoting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) plus environmental education and “bringing the possibility of space to kids everywhere.” SpaceKids Global, which shares an office with Tricor on New England Avenue, hosts an array of challenges — including an essay contest — meant to inspire kids to pursue careers in the space industry. The nonprofit also sponsors field trips to Kennedy Space Center for selected fourth graders from Title 1 schools in Orange County and extends its reach worldwide through space-oriented online videos. All that activity — plus Sharon’s in-person multimedia presentations — have reached nearly 800,000 students to date. 


It’s impossible to overstate how important the Hagles are to Winter Park and all of Central Florida. Following their adventures (vicariously) is fun — but more important is the fact that they actively and creatively make the community better for everyone.

Krista and Jonathan Ledden at Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Jonathan Ledden

Investor; President, Orlando Ballet Board of Directors

Krista Ledden

Dance Instructor; Director Emeritus, Orlando Ballet


When Jonathan and Krista Ledden joined the Orlando Ballet board of directors in early 2017, they believed that the organization was recovering from its near bankruptcy in 2015. Not so — yet another “save the ballet” cash crisis loomed. Jonathan, recently retired from a 20-year career in finance, and Krista, a former dancer with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company in New York, felt called to help — but not only by writing a check. “That pattern had to be broken,” says Jonathan. The Leddens — who describe themselves as “all or nothing people” — pushed for fundamental operational and philosophical change, which led to resistance and upheaval on the ballet’s board. Today, however, on the heels of the ballet’s triumphal 50th anniversary season and its new $3.6 million production of The Nutcracker, there’s only gratitude. Sure, the couple wrote checks, donating some $2.6 million to the ballet since 2017. But they also spearheaded the tough jobs of changing leadership and staff, instituting a long-range business plan and reconnecting the ballet to the community. Jonathan, who became (and remains) president of the board, led the bold restructuring effort. Krista, who chairs cultivation and stewardship, took responsibility for assuaging the exhausted donor base and turning around the money-
losing school. “We are authentically a great team,” notes Jonathan. “She brings the heart; I bring the business side.” Donations to the ballet through the annual United Arts Collaborative Campaign have grown 500 percent since 2017, with 400 individual donors giving a total of more than $1 million this year. To help the school, which had been too narrowly focused on elite dancers, Krista became certified to teach “BeMoved” dance classes for adults, an initiative that evolved into the ballet’s successful “Fitness Thru Dance” program for teens and adults. Krista, who began dancing at age 5, was recruited by Tharp’s company at age 17 and began a professional career instead of accepting a scholarship at The Juilliard School in New York. After a year she returned to her hometown and joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. There she met Jonathan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and spent a decade managing performing-arts productions — the work that landed him at Hubbard Street. While in the Windy City he earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and began a career in investment banking at Wasserstein Perella & Co. before joining Citadel Global Equities, from which he retired as chief operating officer. The couple moved permanently to Orlando in 2014 and then to Winter Park in 2022. “We believe in the importance of community,” Jonathan says. Beyond the ballet, the Leddens — who have two adult children — are contributors to, among others, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando Health and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida. In 2019, the couple received the Kenneth F. Murrah Esq. Award from the Central Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. 


The Leddens are an extraordinary team who genuinely believe the arts are a critical part of any region’s infrastructure and are willing to put not only their money but their respective talents into ensuring that Central Florida’s arts institutions thrive.

Bill Orosz at Cristo Rey Orlando High School. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Bill Orosz

Founder, Hanover Capital Partners


Bill Orosz, through his succession of family-owned companies, has built more than 22,000 homes in Central Florida over a career that has spanned four decades. That’s quite a legacy for anyone. But Orosz, a native of Royal Oak, Michigan, says that his most important legacy by far will be Cristo Rey Orlando High School, a private career-preparatory school that will serve students from low-income households. The school, for which Orosz is founding board chair, is located on South Rio Grande Avenue, just south of Orange Blossom Trail, which encompasses one of the poorest zip codes in Orange County. It’s slated to open next year for the first 125 students (full enrollment will be 500). The nonprofit Cristo Rey Network, founded in 2000, consists of 38 such schools nationwide. Orosz, who was also board chair of Annunciation Catholic Academy — a local K-8 school — notes that 95 percent of Cristo Rey graduates attend college and complete their degrees at three times the national average for low-income students. “These are kids who would otherwise have no expectations of what their futures would be,” notes Orosz, who’s active in an array of Catholic charities. Earnings from the school’s innovative Corporate Work-Study Program — together with recently approved state vouchers — will cover most of the cost to attend. So far, 39 local employers — including AdventHealth, Orlando Health, Rollins College and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (for which Orosz is a trustee) — have agreed to hire student teams to work five days per month. The Orosz Family Foundation bought the school’s 71,000-square-foot building — which previously housed a military training center — and renovations are nearing completion. The school’s second phase will include a gymnasium, a performing arts center and a health center for students and their families. Orosz, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School, was president of Catalina Homes in the 1980s before founding Cambridge Homes in 1991. In 2005, he sold the company and its subsidiaries to K. Hovnanian Homes and established Hanover Capital Partners, a holding company for other development ventures. Orosz and his wife, Jody, have three sons — Stephen, Andrew and Matthew — who launched (and sold) Royal Oak Homes and Hanover Family builders before founding Trinity Family Builders in 2024.


Bill Orosz became a dominant figure in homebuilding through family-owned operations despite ever-increasing competition from national megacompanies. But he knows that building strong communities requires more than bricks and mortar — and is committed to improving the odds of success for young people in underserved communities.

Leslie Kemp Poole at Indian Key. Courtesy Leslie Kemp Poole

Leslie Kemp Poole

Associate Professor, Rollins College


When you’re looking for a guidebook to the most environmentally significant places in Florida, you want to find one that was written by someone who knows — and preferably cherishes — the territory. That certainly describes Leslie Kemp Poole, a former Orlando Sentinel reporter and current associate professor of environmental studies at Rollins College. Poole has authored a new book, Tracing Florida Journeys: Explorers, Travelers and Landscapes Then and Now (University Press of Florida), in which she follows routes taken by historical figures and ruminates on what has happened to the places that they visited and described. But publication of the book isn’t the first time that Poole has placed the state’s besieged biosphere front and center. The Tampa native and fourth-generation Floridian, whose undergraduate degree from the University of Florida is in journalism, was the lead reporter on a 2006 and 2007 series of Sentinel articles dubbed “Florida’s Shame,” which detailed environmental problems that the state faced as a result of rapid growth and lax regulation. In addition, she penned a memorable feature about re-creating a 100-mile boat journey along the St. Johns River that had been taken in 1933 by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her rustic buddy Dessie Smith. (Rawlings wrote about the trip in Scribner’s Magazine and later in Cross Creek.) In 1991, following her newspaper stint, Poole earned a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Rollins — where she taught environmental literature as an adjunct — and in 2012 notched a Ph.D. in history from UF. Her academic career has focused on the state’s ecology and its most important advocates — especially women — including Marjorie Harris Carr (who battled the ultimately aborted Cross Florida Barge Canal) and authors Rawlings and Marjory Stoneman Douglas (River of Grass). Poole, who in 2018 was named an Environmental Hero by UF’s College of Journalism and Communications, has published several books and numerous articles while involving herself in the Winter Park Land Trust (she chairs the Tree Committee) and the Orlando Land Trust. She and her husband, Michael, an investment banker, have two grown children. “With 1,000 people a week moving to the state, we need the public to understand the history and treasure of our springs, rivers, wetlands and coasts,” says Poole. “If you understand them and love them, I believe you’ll want to protect them.”


As a trained journalist, Leslie Kemp Poole has the skills needed to communicate the urgency of protecting the state’s natural resources in accessible, understandable and engaging ways.

Craig Russell at the Winter Park High School weight room. Photo by Carlos Amoedo

Craig Russell

Coach, Winter Park High School; Winter Park City Commissioner, District 2


Craig Russell is not only the city’s first Black commissioner in more than 130 years, but — at age 43 — also the youngest. The political newcomer is still learning the ropes at City Hall after a 34-vote victory in the Seat 2 race this year — but he’s no stranger to the city he’s called home since he was a young boy.  Russell coaches wrestling and football (he’s the defensive coordinator) at his alma mater, Winter Park High School, where he was crowned homecoming king in 1998. Returning to Winter Park after earning an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida and, later, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Stetson University, is a point of personal pride, he says. “Winter Park made me into the person I am,” adds Russell. “It gave me a feeling of stability and safety that I hold dearly. The pride I have for my community is second to none and I want to be a part of giving the same positive experiences to future generations.” He says he wants to bring a fresh voice to City Hall — one that represents the interests of working people. He’d also like to inspire more youth to become involved in local government and to encourage more people to pursue volunteer opportunities. Before he ran for office, Russell served on the Winter Park Library Board of Trustees along with the city’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. But his community advocacy extends beyond that. He and his wife, Kate Demory, who’s also a teacher, founded a charity in 2019 called Army of Angels. The group focuses on helping local unhoused people and youth who are facing adversities with a mission to “ensure youth and young adults have basic essentials and support needed to become productive, healthy, independent, positive contributing members of their communities.” During the pandemic, the nonprofit helped feed hundreds of families, leading Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell to name Russell and Demory to his list of  “10 People Who Make Orlando a Better Place” in 2020. Notes Russell: “My personal style is youthful and inclusive. I pride myself on being able to build positive, lasting relationships with a wide range of people.” Russell and his wife have a blended family of five children ages 10 to 19.


“Coach” has earned his civic credentials. Now, as a city commissioner, the longtime defensive line boss will need to play offense for the constituencies he has pledged to represent. 

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