Board of Directors and Advisors


Bridging Freedom’s board of directors and advisors include community leaders who boast a wide array of business skills and life experiences. Combined, their backgrounds include developing start-up companies, raising capital funds, planning public health intervention programs and many years of working within youth discipleship.

Bridging Freedom is extremely grateful to those who dedicate their time, energy and talent to supporting our mission. If you are interested in applying for our board of advisors, please visit our Get Involved page.

 

 


Corporal Alan T. Wilkett

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Corporal Alan T. Wilkett Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Alan T. Wilkett carries two professional titles as a Corporal at the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and as Pastor of a non-denominational church located in Dade City, Florida.

As a sworn Law Enforcement Official, Corporal Wilkett has specialized skills in the areas of investigations, property crimes, major crimes, cold case, narcotics, child abuse, administration, public safety, training and crime prevention.

Corporal Alan Wilkett has received numerous awards and acknowledgements for his ministerial, civic and public service.  Corporal Wilkett received the 2009 Lifestyle Change Award from the American Heart Association, and in 2007, Corporal Wilkett was awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for Pasco County Sheriff’s Office where is currently serves.   In his 21 years as a public official, Corporal Wilkett has also served his community as Chaplain of Police Service for Indiana State Police.

Mr. Wilkett earned a Bachelor of Theology Degree from Indiana Bible College.  As a public servant he has dedicated his life to the service of others. His vocations are humanity and ministry oriented and he considers all aspects of his life to be in the service of God and mankind.  Pastor Wilkett has a combined 34 years as a minister in the areas of pastoral, evangelism and college level teaching.  He is also passionate about International and Domestic Ministry. He has specifically served in Russia, St. Petersburg, “Winds of Change”, Israel, Jerusalem, spoke outside the Wailing Wall and preached a communion service at Golgotha. Within North America, Pastor Wilkett has led Family Camp in Canada, Toronto, and multiple churches in ministering in almost every state through Conferences, Camps, Rallies, Prisons and Street Meetings.


Rebecca Sykes

Vice President of the Board of Directors

Rebecca Sykes Vice President of the Board of Directors Rebecca Sykes has served as a passionate and progressive community advocate on a multitude of community non-profits and committees in the Tampa Bay area for over 20 years.  Mrs. Sykes has held impactful positions to advance solutions for some of the toughest needs within the community with both time and finances.  She has chaired and co-chaired many fundraising events supporting education, poverty and hunger relief, cancer and heart disease.

Dennis M. Schleper, CPA

Treasurer of the Board of Directors

Dennis is the Chief Executive Officer of CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, with oversight over Firm direction, operations, acquisitions, and strategy. Dennis is the former Chief Business Officer and Chief Practice Officer-Geographies for the Firm with oversight responsibilities for all Regions.  He is the former Managing Partner for the East Coast Region, Partner in Charge of Healthcare, Managing Partner of Offices, Partner in Charge of the St. Louis, Missouri office and former Partner in Charge of health care services in the St. Louis office.  He has over 30 years of experience in the health care industry.  Prior to joining CliftonLarsonAllen, he was the Director of Finance/Assistant Administrator for a not-for-profit organization that owned and managed a skilled long-term care facility, assisted housing, a supervised living facility and a home health care operation.

Dennis’ professional focus has concentrated on serving long-term and continuum care health care providers, primarily in the non-profit sector.  These services include traditional audit, accounting and tax services and a wide range of operational and financial consulting.  Dennis’ consulting experience includes reimbursement issues, strategic planning, facility purchase and integration and internal control structure review.

Dennis is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).  He is a member, and past Chapter President, of the Institute of Management Accountants.  Dennis is involved in the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging and various State Associations of Nonprofit Providers for the Aging. Dennis serves as a member of the Florida Governor’s Continuing Care Council.

Dennis is a graduate of St. John’s University where he received a B.S. degree in Accounting and Business Management.


Jennifer Wilson

Secretary of the Board of Directors

Jennifer Wilson Secretary of the Board of Directors Jennifer Wilson joined Adams and Reese in 2016 and is an Associate in the firm’s Tampa office. Jennifer is a skilled advisor on public policy and legislative matters and a passionate advocate for her clients. With a decade of experience working for the Florida Legislature, where she drafted and analyzed legislation as a staff member for four elected officials, Jennifer understands the inner-workings of Florida’s legislative process. She has written numerous pieces of legislation that became law in Florida, on topics that range from economic development and transportation to criminal justice reform.

Prior to joining Adams and Reese, Jennifer worked as a top advisor and campaign manager for several Florida state senators and representatives. In those capacities, she became an accomplished presenter and public speaker and mastered the depths and complexities of public policy analysis. Jennifer is well-versed on a wide range of the major public policy matters that face her clients, and that are important to her community. She is a skilled problem-solver who understands the needs, operations and goals of the industries she represents before the Legislature, and she is a tenacious advocate for her clients.

A native of Tampa, Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Leadership Studies from the University of South Florida in 2007, and graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2015.


Vince Collie

Member of the Board of Directors

  Mr. Vince Collie serves as an Account Executive with Corus360.  He has had success within the IT business to business technical sales management for over 28 years.  He holds numerous certifications and competencies in technology disciplines including hardware, security, disaster recovery and services.  He has been successful in Compliance Services and Business Analytics as well.

Mr. Collie’s strong technology background coupled with success in building loyal customer relationships has earned him many awards and success.  Mr. Collie has been awarded multiple monthly Sales Accomplishment Awards, multiple years as Top 3 Account Manager, twice as Employee of the Year, and has had the esteem honor of earning the President’s Club Trip for several years.

Prior to his career with Corus360, Mr. Collie held the position of Senior Account Manager at Mainline Information Systems, and as Systems Engineer and Account Manager at Bay Resources/Sayers.

Mr. Collie is a founding board member of Bridging Freedom.


Terry Coonan, J. D., M.A., M.Div.

Member of the Board of Directors

Terry Coonan, J. D., M.A., M.Div. Member of the Board of Directors Terry Coonan graduated from the University of Notre Dame, subsequently working in Chile and Central America with torture victims and the families of the disappeared. After studying law on a human rights fellowship at the University of Cincinnati, he was selected for the Justice Department Honors Program, and served for several years advising U.S. judges on immigration and refugee law. He went on to litigate asylum and torture victim protection cases throughout the country.

He has also worked with the UN Sub Commission for Human Rights in Geneva and the UN High Commission for Refugees in Washington, D.C. Since its founding in 2000, he has served as the Executive Director of the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and is an Associate Professor in the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Professor Coonan teaches courses in Refugee & Asylum Law; Human Trafficking; and Human Rights & National Security (FSU Law School), International Human Rights and Film (FSU Film School) and International Human Rights Law (FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice). He continues to litigate pro bono asylum, domestic violence, and trafficking victim cases nationwide.

Professor Coonan has also done leading work nationally on human trafficking, designing and delivering trainings for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Florida Office of the Attorney General, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Florida Department of Health. Professor Coonan has also done extensive work training state judges throughout the country, serving as a lead instructor for the National Judicial College. In 2013, Professor Coonan was invited to the White House to advise the Obama Administration on best practices in combating human trafficking. He writes and publishes on topics ranging from human trafficking to immigration law and transitional justice.


Laura Hamilton, MPH

Member of the Board of Directors, Founder and President/Executive Director

Laura Hamilton, MPH Member of the Board of Directors Founder and President/Executive Director Laura Hamilton is the Founder and President of Bridging Freedom. In this role, she oversees Bridging Freedom’s operations and start-up development in bringing the community and state together to establish a successful model in the Tampa Bay area for young girls rescued from child sex trafficking.  Mrs. Hamilton facilitates Bridging Freedom’s collaborations with law enforcement, legislators, state agencies, universities, community service providers, faith-based organizations, and many business professionals within our communities.

Ms. Hamilton has over 30 years of experience within the corporate and faith-based communities in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk Counties. Her specialties include business development, program planning, intellectual property, grants proposals and management, teaching and youth discipleship.

During her time working with the Department of Justice Funded Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking, Laura created an impactful process for the fight against human trafficking.  She created a framework and structure for the task force’s community campaign, developed focus groups, and appointed and trained campaign leaders and subgroups which later became The Free Network.  Additionally, she created a Gap Analysis of Services for child sex trafficking victims for the Task Force in 2010. The analysis was in response to the undercover agents need for placement solutions, indicating Florida’s urgent need for a successful safe home program.  It was at that time that Ms. Hamilton founded Bridging Freedom to fulfill this urgent need.   

In April of 2014, Laura was invited by the National Director of the FBI, to join 57 others from around the nation to receive the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for the hard work she is doing in bringing a sustainable solution for the healing of our children within the Tampa Bay area.

Laura obtained her Bachelors in Bio-Medical Sciences and her Masters of Public Health in Global Health Practice at the University of South Florida.  She had the honor of completing her Field Experience with the undercover agents who rescue children from child sex trafficking in Tampa Bay. 


Steve Shaw, PE

Member of the Board of Directors

Steve Shaw, PE Member of the Board of Directors Mr. Shaw, Sr. Development Manager at DeBartolo Development, is responsible for the planning and coordination of several of DeBartolo Developments most complex ground-up multifamily projects. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of ground-up projects from initial site selection, market research and underwriting through design and entitlement, capitalization, construction and disposition. Mr. Shaw has more than 20 years’ experience in civil engineering and development. His background gives him a unique ability to leverage the talents of all those involved to successfully navigate the intricacies of the development process as well as satisfy end user expectations. Mr. Shaw has successfully completed over 3.4 million square feet of commercial space and over 4,300 residential units.

 Angeline Wade

Member of the Board of Directors

Angeline Wade Member of the Board of Directors Angeline Wade is a graduating senior at the University of South Florida within the school of Psychology.  In her years of study and research her focus has been on Motivation, Social Psychology, and Drugs and Behavior.  Mrs. Wade is a founding board member of Bridging Freedom.

 

Wellspring Living

This nonprofit in Atlanta is one of very few existing organizations that are successfully confronting the issue of child sex-trafficking, Wellspring Living provides Bridging Freedom with organizational mentorship for its planned rehabilitation program and therapeutic safe home.

Over the past four years, Wellspring Living has trained individuals and groups throughout the United States on how to open restoration homes for girls and women. We are grateful for the guidance and support we receive from this established and very successful organization.