Pastor Gardner has been teaching and preaching the Gospel message since the age of seventeen and pastoring since he was twenty.
Pastor Gardner serves as Senior Pastor of the New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Lakeland, FL., He also serves as the Late-night Chairman for the Mt. Pilgrim District, Director of Evangelism for the Progressive M and E Baptist State Convention of Florida, Inc., a member of the Lakeland Gang Task Force Committee; President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Lakeland (IMA), and a lifetime member of the NAACP. He is happily married to the lovely Tasnee D. Gardner.
Reverend Titus Gainous is the Community Interventions Director for the St. Petersburg Police Department. For 32 years, Rev. Gainous worked in the Computer Information Technology field with several Fortune 500 Companies such as IBM Global Services, AT&T Global Network, and Publix Super Market Information Technology. Rev. Gainous is currently employed with the Polk County School Board District. He is very happy to share his experience with us.
Hotep is the president and founder of Hustle University. He is well known for his hardcore approach to teaching leadership. Hotep believes that entrepreneurship is the start to freedom for everyone. We are happy to have him working with R2L.
Lynne Simpkins is a Senior Planner for the City of Lakeland and the orchestrator of this event. With a near 30-year history of working in the City’s Community Development Department, her warm and can-do demeanor has seen many neighborhoods come together. She is the type of person who knows someone where ever she goes. She continues to be an encourager and is thrilled to have you attend the REFUSE TO LOSE Youth Summit.
Dr. Sallie Brisbane is an educator with over 23 years of experience as a teacher, Principal and adjunct college professor. She currently serves as an educational consultant with Compass Smart Solutions and owner/operator of Well-done Events!, a media production company. In 2016 she started the Well Woman Foundation, a community oriented, non-profit organization helping women become spiritually, mentally, physically and financially well thorough educational empowerment, coaching and training. Dr. Brisbane completed her graduate studies at Capella University where she earned a Doctorate Degree in Education Leadership and Management. She is one of the many fantastic assets to this event and we are proud to have her in our corner.
“Growing up in Lakeland, Florida, and attending college out of state, I found that people are most interesting and worth sharing my time with. My favorite quote is, ‘I’m glad that change for the better stops at difficult and not impossible’” -Deliza Elizee, MBA. Deliza is a graduate of Oral Roberts University of Tulsa Oklahoma and Southeastern University of Lakeland, Florida. She is the founder of Del-Guard Consulting LLC, a company that helps organizations engage consumers through strategic planning, marketing campaigns and public projects.
Crystal S. Brown is the Juvenile Services program coordinator for the Lakeland Police Department and the founder of The Community Arts Mentoring program. She holds a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management Leadership from Spring College where she also serves as an adjunct instructor. Crystal spent twelve years working for Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Probation and Community Corrections- five of which she worked as a Government Operation Analysist for Juvenile Justice reform. During her tenure with the LPD, she has played a major role in developing and implementing improved procedures to the departments Truancy Interdiction Program to generate ongoing partnership between the Police, DJJ, and the School Board. Crystal Brown is a testament to hard work, tenacity, resiliency, and is a monument to beating the odds.
Reverend Kenny Irby is the Community Interventions Director for the St. Petersburg Police Department. Reverend Kenny Irby is the Community Interventions Director for the St. Petersburg Police Department. Being the first is nothing new to Rev. Kenny Irby. Yet, his 2016 mayoral appointment as the first Community Intervention Director for the St. Petersburg Police Department is the greatest challenge of his life thus far. If that were not enough, he is also the program director for Men In the Making an innovative role modeling and academic enrichment program for Black and Latino male youth. Both programs seek to redirect and restore hope in the lives of youth.
His spiritual life is rooted in Christian service as he pastors the 122 year-old congregation at Historic Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg Fl., and is passionate about teaching the good news of Jesus the Christ around the world. He is known nationally for his outreach ministry to men and youth. Rev. Kenny devoted 8- years of service as an Episcopal Officer- leading The Sons of Allen (SOA) Men’s Ministry Director for the state of Florida and Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
Irby is now an independent visual consultant and affiliate at Poynter Institute for Media Studies where he created the internationally recognized Photojournalism program in 1995. He also created the nationally recognized Write Field program in partnership with The Tampa Bay Rays, The Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas County Schools, The St. Petersburg Police Department and a group of local partners in 2011. The program was celebrated by the American Graduate Project as one of the top 10 programs in the nation for reducing the dropout rate and redirecting the prison pipeline in 2014. In 2016, after leaving his 20+ year post, Irby was honored by the National Press Photographers Association as the first recipient of the John Long Ethics award. He was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement award from the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists Griot Drum.
In this role, Kenny travels to amplify the voice of the visual journalist and teaches diversity as a frequent motivational speaker, lecturer, judge and expert voice. He brings to his teaching endeavors 30+ years of experience focused on building integrity and excellence through authentic storytelling and building bridges.
His work and contributions have been recognized with distinction: The Sprague Lifetime Achievement award presented by the NPPA, chair of the jurors’ panel for the coveted Pulitzer Prize in the photojournalism categories and he currently serves as a juror for the Hearst Collegiate Journalism Awards.
David Moscrip is the Worship Pastor at Legacy Christian Church in Lakeland, FL. He serves on the Lakeland Gang Task Force Committee. David’s organization, International Safehouse, was formed to fight child trafficking in West Africa and earned him international recognition for his work with the Nigerian government. David’s passion for improving the lives of others led him to be heavily involved in both national and local politics in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. His work in music has garnered radio play and won him songwriting awards. He is excited to contribute to the mission of REFUSE TO LOSE.
Larry Giddens began his law enforcement career in 1984 as an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Lakeland Police Department. He was hired full time by the department in 1985 with patrol assignments including Field Training Officer, Honor Guard and Uniform Crime Scene Technician. He was selected as a SWAT member in 1987 and served on the departments Street Crimes Unit. Larry was selected as a K-9 Officer in 1989 assigned to the Street Crimes Unit and Patrol Division.
He is a Certified Public Manager through Florida State University and graduated from the Senior Management Institute for Police in July 2011. In 2014, Larry Giddens was sworn in as Chief of Police of which he currently retains office with an open-door policy.
Phillip Walker graduated from Kathleen High School and has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He has been the owner and agency principal of a Lakeland Allstate Insurance agency since 1991. Prior to entering the private sector, Mr. Walker was a Lakeland Police Officer. In 2000, Phillip received the Polk Mentoring Award from Governor Jeb Bush. He presently serves on the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, the Board of Directors for Good Shepherd Hospice, Christ Community Christian Center Church, Board of Trustees for McKeel Schools of Technology and a member of other organizations. As a City Commissioner, Mr. Walker serves on the following committees: Legislative Committee, Utility Committee, Finance Committee, Real Estate and Transportation, and the Transportation Planning Organization. He is also Founder and Board Member of the Lakeland/Polk County Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and past chair for Florida League of Cities, Growth Management and Economic Affairs serving on the Florida League of Cities Advocacy Committee.
Jennifer Clark‛s undergraduate work was in Business administration and Special Education.
She has a Master‛s degree in Educational Leadership, both a Master‛s degree and a Doctorate degree in Christian Counseling. She is a Certified Behavioral Analyst and a Certified Nonprofit Manager from USF in Tampa, Florida. She is the founder of Clark Global and is a SCATT Honors Graduate and a lifetime member of Phi Kappa Phi. She served the Polk County School system for 15 years in various roles from classroom
teacher, referral coordinator, site administrator, School to Work district coordinator, and Action
Team Leader. She has served on many committees such as District Reading, Positive Behavioral
Supports (PBS), Discipline, and School Advisory committees.
Assistant Chief Ruben Garcia began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 1987 after returning home from four years of honorable service in the United States Marine Corps. He served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Street Crimes Officer, Drug Detective, Drug K-9 Handler, DEA Drug Task Force Officer, Intelligence Officer and SWAT Sniper. Currently he is assigned as the Commanding Officer of the Neighborhood Services Bureau. He is very proud to have the neighborhoods of Lakeland come together to make the pledge to REFUSE TO LOSE.
From 2009- 2014, Dr. Jeanene N. Robinson-Kyles, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist served at the University of Central Florida’s counseling center as the Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion. Within this position, Dr. Kyles conducted individual therapy, trainee supervision and provided consulting services for various UCF departments and student organizations. As of 2014, Dr. Kyles has opened Robinson-Kyles Counseling and Testing Services, LLC, a private practice in Lakeland, Florida, where she now serves her home community. Her services encompass a variety of needs specializing in marriage and family counseling, as well as: counseling and testing for learning disabilities, and personality and mental health concerns. One of her greatest passions is working with parents, teachers and school counselors to institute plans for successful student outcomes for children of all ages.
Mayor Howard Wiggs is in his 25th year as an elected official; 21 of those years as a Commissioner. He and his wife Linda recently sold their 64-year-old advertising company and have begun a new company, Bagley Wiggs CoLab.
Mayor Wiggs is a graduate of Florida Southern College, the Florida School of Banking, and the Bank Marketing School at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the Chairman of Utility Committee and the Airport Advisory Board. He has served on the Boards of the Florida League of Cities, the Florida League of Mayors, and the Federal Action Strike Team. He is on the United States Conference of Mayors’ Transportation and Communications Committee and the National League of Cities’ Information Technology and Communications Committee. He also serves on the Boards of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, the Lakeland Economic Development Council, and the Transportation Planning Organization.
Mayor Wiggs has inspired many initiatives including the Gang Task Force. The City of Lakeland Gang Task Force has enacted a sub-committee to develop a curriculum for the Refuse to Lose Initiative which will address prevention, intervention and treatment strategies focusing on the safety of our youth. To date, the task force has coordinated a Summer of Safety March, Summer EXPO, developed a website www.RefuseToLoseLakeland.com and will host the Refuse To Lose Summit.
Mr. Donald Fryson is a visionary, entrepreneur and leader with 25 years business management, sales and marketing, television and music production experience. He is particularly concerned with the negative direction hip hop had on youth, Don Fryson founded 360 Entertainment International, LLC in 2009 — with a mission to utilize music to entertain, educate and empower people around the world. Don has worked with many sports and youth organizations and believes our best assets are our children. He served on the Board of Directors of the Black Business Council- Osceola Chamber of Commerce, 360 ESAH as Board Chair, education committee of Osceola Educational Foundation, and sponsors Florida's Crime Prevention Association.
Queen Nique is a jack of many trades. She received an Associate of Science Degree in Computer Science majoring in Computer Programming and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management with Emphasis in Human Resources & Business Administration. Currently, she is working on her PHD to become a lawyer.
Queen is a board member of R.E.A.C.H. Community Economic Development Corporation, Inc. located in Winter Haven. She is also the proud owner of NY Flava Professional Services Inc. based out of Polk County. As the chief leader, Queen works all segments of the company. These are just a few of her job titles: Event Coordinator, Promoter, PR, Music Manager, Community Activist and Radio Personality. To learn more, please visit www.nyfpsi.weebly.com. Thank you!
Ray and Gwen Allen are dedicated to investing in people, community, and business. Together, they serve on the pastoral team at Epic Church in Lakeland, Florida. Ray works for Southeastern University as the Director of Student Conduct and leads a Diversity and Inclusion initiative for the college. Gwen works for Polk State College. She is the current President of the Cleveland Heights Neighborhood Association and is spearheading a re-launch. They both sit on the board of United City - a collective group of individuals and churches seeking unity in our city for combined efforts of greater impact.
Ms. Sharp was born and raised in Ohio and moved to Florida in April 1996. She is married with 6 children and 16 grandchildren. She joined the Lakeland Police Department Community Services Unit it October of 1996 as a part time Neighborhood Watch Coordinator and became a full time Crime Prevention Practitioner in December of 1996. She holds a certification as a Florida Crime Prevention Practitioner. She also holds designations in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), Advanced Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, Elderly Services, Child Passenger Occupant Protection Specialist, and Bicycle/Pedestrian Specialist.
Ms. Sharp was selected as the Lakeland Police Department 2009 Civilian of The Year. She has served as President for the Polk County Community Traffic Safety Team in the years 2002 – 2004. Ms. Sharp served as Vice President of the Suncoast Crime Prevention Association in the years 2010 – 2012. In 2013, she was elected as President of the Suncoast Crime Prevention Association, a position she currently holds. Ms. Sharp has had the honor of being a guest presenter for the Florida Neighborhood Conference and the Southern States Crime Prevention Conference. She has also served on numerous boards throughout her career at the Lakeland Police Department.
Susy Aviles has been with the Lakeland Police Department for 5 years. She is certified as a Florida Crime Prevention Practitioner and in Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).
Angie was born and raised in New York City, N.Y. When she graduated from high school, she relocated with her parents to Miami, Florida. She attended the Florida Highway Patrol Academy in 1997 where she graduated and became a Florida State Trooper. In 1999, she married and left her career in law enforcement to help her husband with his family furniture business in Sebring, Florida. Her husband sold the family business in 2007 when they decided to move to Lakeland, Florida. She became a stay at home mother for several years and then decided to pursue a career with TSA/Department of Homeland Security as a Transportation Security Officer. Angie began her career with LPD in April 2014 as a Public Safety Aide and will now serve the department as a Crime Prevention Practitioner.
Gwen was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida and graduated from Lakeland Sr. High School in 2005 with High Honors with Distinction. She was in the banking industry for 8 years, but it was never really her passion. Gwen was ready for a change and began pursuing a career with the City that would allow her to be out in the community making a difference. She is loving her role her at LPD and looks forward to meeting new people and building relationships with the community.
KKC (Double K C) was founded in 2011 by Kenyon Thomas, Kaeland Thomas, and Cameron Copeland. Their style of dance is mainly comprised of “New Style Hip Hop” and “Body Isolation”. Aside from dancing, they also have a passion for drawing, and creative literature. They enjoy a great variety of different hobbies such as art, watching anime, playing videogames, making music, but most notably and importantly, dancing. The name “KKC” represents the first letter of their first names; they wanted it to be humble and simple, and not to be too complicated.
When they began dancing together they were still in High School and they would most often perform in projects such as talent shows, events sponsored by the city of Lakeland, and event projects hosted by modeling and entertainment companies such as RUSK and StudioTime. They love the soul, feeling and emotional entity that is “dance”, and it has helped create a balance in their life for a long time.
In the past, they were always eager at the thought of taking their dream of dancing to the next tier, but they dance for the love of it. They hope to one day perform on tour with world renowned music artists, compete in international dance battles, and orchestrate their own dance workshops to contribute their passion to the world of dance.
Sharron Searight, now better known by his stage name, CASSO is a native of Lakeland, Florida. His stage presence is infectious and his style is refreshing and uniquely diverse which captivates the audiences of all ages. His heart for Christ bleeds through his music and his lyrics paint a picture of hope for the misguided, misinformed and misunderstood. Although obscure to the mainstream CHH industry at this point, one encounter with the young man behind the music and you will realize that his career is destined to reach the pinnacle in which God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2; "I will bless you, And make your name great!"
Thank you, Stay connected with me via social media: Instagram: @casso_ossac Twitter: @Casso_Ossac Facebook: Casso