Gerry was born and raised in north central Alabama and along with his wife, Natalee, and two boys, moved to Central Florida in 1989. In 2007, Gerry put away his automotive tools and became a home-based travel agent. In 2008, he created Ash Travel, and has been serving the Clermont area as a travel consultant on all types of travel ever since. Gerry and Natalee have been married 34 years, and have 5 grandchildren in Alabama and Georgia.
After opening Ash Travel, Gerry joined the South Lake Chamber of Commerce and the South Lake Business Leaders networking group, of which he is still a member. Shortly after joining the Chamber, he became a Chamber Ambassador and is still very active in that role. He enjoys networking with others and doing volunteer work, so being an ambassador is a great fit. Gerry was awarded the Ambassador Choice award in 2011 for his work in the community, and was named Ambassador of the Year for 2011-2012.
Born and raised in Tampa Florida. Have been a cheerleader for Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Swashbuckler). I enjoy snow skiing, playing tennis, writing and raising Barzona beef cattle for over 23 years. I have been in the beauty industry for over 29 years and I love every minute of it. I enjoy helping women feel pretty and confident about themselves as we resolve some of our facial issues. I have my own Day Spa in downtown Clermont just off of 10th street. I do customized facials to fit your needs.
I’ve been a resident of Clermont since 2012. I’m a Realtor and work for Keller Williams Realty. My business partner is my mother Susan Halverson. Together we are “The Cruz Team” and have over 30 years of experience with buying, selling and investing in real estate. We love what we do and work hard at providing great customer service. We don’t focus on one transaction, but rather, we are your realtors for life.
I am involved in many different organizations throughout the Clermont area and thoroughly enjoy giving back to the community whenever I can. I’m a member of the: Kiwanis Club of South Lake, Clermont Toastmasters, the Women’s Giving Alliance, South Lake Junior Women’s Club and Whew! Women’s Group and much more.
Steve was born in New York, lived in Biloxi, Mississippi and Lebanon, Illinois and ended up in Florida after college in 1975. Becoming the Director of Operations for a McDonald’s franchise with seven stores in Central Florida brought him to Clermont in 1990. At that time, Clermont had 6,000 people and virtually stopped at Highway 27. He has seen the population triple since then, and has been a part of the community growth both as a family man and a business owner.
In 1993, Steve started working in the insurance industry and in 2003 opened his own agency, D’Amico and Associates. His goal was to provide the best customer service for people seeking home, car and life insurance, while also offering financial services and investments. He and his staff are committed to serving and helping people get the best insurance at the most affordable price. Having 20 different homeowner companies and 12 auto companies, all at least A rated, allows him to offer the best solution for most people’s insurance needs. Also, being an independent financial adviser, he is able to shop the entire market to provide the best options for retirement plans, mutual funds and annuities, 401k rollovers, life insurance or any financial needs a client might have.
Steve has been married for 31 years to his wife Andrea, and has three children and one grandchild. His children all grew up in Clermont and have fond memories of wonderful people and places. Wanting to serve the community he loved led him to join the Chamber in 1998 and a short time later become even more involved by becoming an Ambassador. As a South Lake Chamber member, Steve made many acquaintances in business and also true friends. A stage 4 throat cancer survivor, Steve credits most of his recovery from the prayers and support he received from his friends at church, the Chamber and his community. For all the Chamber and the South Lake community has given him, he is honored to represent them as an Ambassador for he truly loves South Lake County!
Colleen Donlevy-Burns has been a multi-million dollar producer since she started her career in Real Estate in 2004 and in 2015 she was nominated Realtor of the Year for Lake and Sumter Counties. Colleen was born in New Jersey and lived in several different states growing up, as her father’s work required frequent relocation. Her father was President of Pepsi Cola for numerous years; he was Colleen’s mentor and inspiration as he was hard-working and much respected leader.
After completing high school at St. Mary’s, Greenwich, CT. Colleen did dual enrollment between Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY and Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY and earned a B.A. in Psychology and Special Education. Life after college took her to the Big Apple – New York City, where she enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life. To continue stimulating her intellect, a few years later, Colleen went on to pursue a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Miami, Coral Gables. It was there in Miami where she met her husband, Glenn, who was in Coral Gables on a construction job and was from Clermont a 4th generation Floridian. Colleen’s corporate job with Kellogg’s had them move to Iowa and then MI. Missing warm weather and family, they moved back to Florida and settled in Montverde, where they raised 2 lovely girls, Megan and Anna. In 2004 Colleen left the corporate world due to her youngest not liking that her sales career had her traveling throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Since she has been in real estate Colleen has been a member of the Chamber. She loves the feeling of being part of a community and knowing the people who are making this town a wonderful place to live. In 2018 Colleen decided the Chamber has given so much to her that she needed to give back by becoming an Ambassador and let newcomers know we warmly welcome them to our home town.
Debbie was born in Orlando, Florida and is a true Florida native! She moved to Minneola in 1993 and calls Minneola her “forever home.”
Debbie has been with the Ambassadors since 2014 and enjoys helping businesses connect with the community and all South Lake has to offer. She is a Daughter of the American Revolution, a member of the Clermont Elk’s Lodge, a former Commissioner on Minneola’s City Council and currently serves as Chairwoman of Minneola’s Planning and Zoning board.
She holds an Associate of Arts degree from Valencia Community College and attends Lake Sumter State College part-time to finish her degree in Organizational Management. Debbie and her husband, John have three grown children and twin granddaughters. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and enjoying the outdoors!!
Kim Holt is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, and spent her school years as an Army brat, traveling to Germany, Maryland, and Kansas. She moved to Florida in 1983 and climbed up the accounting ladder in the construction industry.
She is married to Dutch Holt and moved to Clermont in 1997. They have 4 children, Veronica, Saralyn, Deborah and DeWitt. She enjoyed being a stay-home mom, traveling all over Florida searching for the perfect beach and climbing every lighthouse. She is very artistic and had her own cake decorating company. She decided to go back to work full time, where she could interact with people (instead of accounting). She landed a Sales and Design Consultant position with Marks Floors in September of 2017. Mark needed a representative for the company at the various Chamber’s and Kim jumped at the opportunity to fill that spot.
Anessa relocated from Stockholm Sweden here to Central Florida and has been an active resident for over 20 years. She comes with 20 plus years of leadership, promotional, and professional sales background. Anessa currently serves in the role of Campaign Director with the United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties; she heads up major campaigns with Corporations, local community organizations, works with event planning and volunteerism.
Her educational background is in Human Services with an emphasis on non-profit. Anessa continues to educate herself by actively pursuing the Executive Coaching program under the mentorship of Mrs. Marilyn Donnellan who has over thirty years of experience as a nonprofit CEO, and consultant. Anessa is actively participating in the Harvard Mentorship program, developing stronger leadership and community skill sets. Anessa is not a fundraiser. She is a catalyst for change!
Joe and his beautiful wife, Kristin, moved from Kansas City to Florida in May of 2006. He pursued a career in building material sales for several years until, Kristin, who had started her business, Success Mortgage Partners in January 2014, was too busy growing it and needed help. One year later, he quit the building industry and became licensed to be a Loan Originator. Success Mortgage Partners now employs thirteen LOCAL people and is still growing quickly.
Joe and Kristin have two daughters, Kansas (born 2009), and Maggie (born 2013) who attend Montverde Academy, and Joey (2017) who is enrolled at Lady Bird. The family enjoys going out into the community and meeting new people, helping, and giving back while there. Most of all, they enjoy taking the boat out on Clermont’s wonderful chain of lakes. Stopping into Lilly’s or the Tiki Bar and letting the kids play on the beach while basking in the sun and sipping a cocktail.
The reason Joe loves being an Ambassador is that it affords him the opportunity to meet a ton of great people. He gets to meet them at the place they are most comfortable and usually proudest of . . . their business. He gets to learn the ins and outs of what they want their business to be and what they hope to gain from being a part of the community, as well as giving back. The Chamber events are usually a blast, and the other Ambassadors are fantastic! Joe has made several new friends and plans on knowing them for quite a long time.
Raised in the dry Texas Panhandle, Keith’s first introduction to wine was at the ripe old age of 17 at a northern uncle’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner (Italian Swiss Colony Muscatel).
He began a more traditional appreciation of the grape while attending Western Michigan University, eventually graduating with a Bachelors degree in marketing (1982), and a job at Michigan’s largest winery, Warner Vineyards (1972). After climbing through the ranks to middle management, and pressing a few thousand tons of grapes in cold weather, an opportunity arose to return to the sunny south.
In 1985 the Mullins family loaded up a rental truck and headed for Tallahassee and Lafayette Vineyards & Winery, where he soon was helping to press grapes in the sunshine. After a couple of good years in the capital city, the family once again headed south to head up what was to be an expansion project in Clermont, Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards.
After the millennium, with the kids out of college, and retirement only a couple of decades away, it was time for some new adventure. In the spring of 2004 Keith & his wife Karen opened Bacchus Vino Etcetera, a retail wine shop in downtown Clermont to supply the residents of South Lake County with quality wines from around the world.
Keith is a member of the South Lake Kiwanis, Clermont Downtown Partnership, South Lake Animal League, and the South Chamber of Commerce.
Jacquie has an eclectic background in counseling, journalism, and management/marketing which she combined with her husband’s background in business, digital marketing, and sales when they opened Splash Social Marketing in 2010. They’ve combined their strengths to help local business owners maximize the marketing opportunities available in the digital realm. Jacquie is proud to have taken their business international by bringing on clients located in Australia, the UK, and Canada over the past 4 years, but the focus of business remains on the small, local business community.
Upon joining the Chamber, Jacquie immediately asked how she can become more involved. A number of members suggested the Ambassador program and she found it was a great fit. One common theme along all of her past positions is relationships. She is a strong believer in building strong relationships which will be beneficial to everyone involved. That’s what the Chamber is all about and that is how the Ambassador program helps the Chamber and the members.
Jacquie is also known as the Business Engagement Expert and speaks to companies and organizations on the importance of developing strong relationships to improve business.
Susan is a Florida licensed Orthotic Fitter, as well as an American Board for Certification credentialed Certified Fitter for Orthotics and Mastectomy. She has a dual role as both a clinical care provider and as the office administrator for the practice. Susan is also on several boards of charitable organizations and County/community organizations.
Al Schlazer, Ph.D.
Al moved to Clermont from Miami in 1997, after 40 years in Education and retiring from Miami Dade College as Dean/Athletic Director to open up Disney’s Wide World of Sports/ESPN, as their Senior Sports Event Manager. He retired from Disney in 2016, after 19 years.
Al had a wonderful career in Miami, where he was elected to the Florida Colleges Athletic Hall of Fame, the Lipton Tennis and Metro Dade Tennis Halls of Fame, and the FCCAA State Hall of Fame. He also taught tennis for the city of Clermont two nights a week. In his spare time, Al volunteers at Out Patient Services at South Lake Hospital.
Al has been a member of the Chamber for many years and recently became an Ambassador.
Basha is originally from Miami, but relocated to Clermont in 1997 when she retired from the Miami Parks and Recreation Department after being in charge of their programming, special events and marketing for almost 30 years. She now works part-time for Belk stores doing events, which gives her a great way to meet people and talk about the Chamber.
Basha first joined the Chamber in 1997 when she was working for the South Lake YMCA. Not long after, she became an Ambassador, which gives her a chance to meet new people and get them involved with the Chamber. She believes the growth of Clermont over the years is due to the work the Chamber does and is proud to be a part of Clermont, the South Lake Chamber, and the South Lake
Otis has been a resident of Clermont since 2011, relocating from Orlando. He was born and raised in Chicago but moved to Orlando in 1989. He was in the automotive industry for over 35 years. Otis operated his own automotive repair shop and later in his career working for Chrysler Dodge dealerships as service manager and parts manager. He retired from automotive in 2011 as he and his wife made the decision to take care of his disabled mother-in-law in their home for the last five years of her life, until her passing in 2016.
During those five years of caregiving Otis gained a great awareness of compassion, patience and selflessness. His eyes were opened to the realization that there were needs in the community and his heart wanted to fill those needs. As a result, Otis founded Give A Day Foundation. His purpose in doing so was to help bridge the gap with people that were in need and also help non-profit organizations whose mission was to help people in the community.
With the Foundation’s many volunteer opportunities and youth empowerment programs, they are very busy out in the community working to make a difference. Currently, Give A Day Foundation has provided over 30,000 volunteer hours in the community.
Lea and her husband moved from a suburb of Philadelphia to Clermont in October of 2015. While in Philadelphia, Lea founded and ran her own custom window treatments business, Distinctive Designs, for ten years. Even though Lea is no longer pursuing the home decorating business, she is passionate about making connections, serving the community and looking into a new career path.
She is currently working on her memoir about how she went from a first generation refugee immigrant to a research scientist to a successful business owner. Lea has overcome many obstacles in her life thanks to the supportive people who live in this land of freedom and opportunity. Her dream is to be able to empower and inspire other women to step out of their comfort zone and conquer their fears to build a better life.
Lea enjoys being an Ambassador because being a member of the Chamber and an Ambassador is the best way to get to know people, businesses and the community as a whole. She looks forward to making many new friends in Lake County. Lea has been a Femfessionals Orlando board member since December 2015 and was a board member of Femfessionals Philadelphia from 2011 to 2015. Lea is also a member of Powerful Networking Women and a very active member of the Clermont Toastmasters.
Deena is an experienced Real Estate Broker and sales & marketing professional specializing in New Home Sales, marketing exclusively for Regal Park Homes, a Luxury Semi-Custom Builder in Central FL. She grew up in south Florida, traveled abroad in her early career and finally settled in Clermont in 2002 where she and her husband Rick plan to remain as they love the beautiful rolling hills and are avid boaters who enjoy the Clermont chain of lakes. Deena joined the South Lake Chamber and quickly decided to give back to the community by becoming an ambassador. Being a Chamber ambassador allows her to meet and network with other community residents and business professionals while volunteering her time in the local community.
As your Business Advisor at Dex YP, my goal is to understand your business inside and out. I will build a customized marketing program that will help you win, keep and grow your customer base. I am a proud Ambassador of the South Lake Chamber. If you ever have any questions about your membership, give me a call.
Lori was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and lived there until she met and married her husband Mike, who had just finished Naval boot camp and training at Great Lakes Naval Station. She accompanied him to Virginia for the remainder of his Naval career and then moved back to Illinois. They have three children Steven, Elizabeth & Allison and four grandchildren Adam, Shane, Damon & Adelaide all of whom still live in Illinois.
Lori has had several types of jobs over the years but found her passion in bookkeeping. Lori has been in the accounting field for 18 years solving problems and helping people with their businesses. Lori & Mike decided to make the move to Florida in 2017 and settled in Minneola. There she decided to start her own bookkeeping firm in 2018, utilizing the skills she learned in the 18 years working for the accounting firms up north
One of the first things she did after starting her business was to join the South Lake Chamber. She has met a variety of people in different businesses and has built some solid relationships. She believes that the best way to grow your own business is to help others grow theirs and building relationships is key and as an ambassador, she hopes to encourage that with the newcomers.
Lori was the treasurer of the Chicagoland QuickBooks ProAdvisor Group for 8 years, is a current member of Bookkeeping Buds and serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of her BNI Chapter.