SARASOTA, Fla. – March 29, 2023 – Easterseals Southwest Florida is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its Operating Board of Directors and three new members to its Foundation Board of Directors. These new board members bring a wealth of expertise and leadership in their respective fields and will be a tremendous asset to the mission of Easterseals Happiness House.
“Our current Board of Directors is comprised of a dedicated team of community leaders committed to supporting individuals with disabilities throughout our communities,” said Tom Waters, President/CEO, Easterseals Southwest Florida. “These five newly appointed board members are highly engaged leaders, bringing various skill sets to complement the existing board,” he added.
Operating Board of Directors
Eric Kaplan has, since 2003, been a senior financial consultant with Bristol Consultants, LLC and with predecessor companies since 1985. Mr. Kaplan provides consulting services to high-net-worth investors and has expertise in real estate development and operation as well as philanthropic organizations. Prior to joining Bristol’s predecessor companies, Kaplan worked for International Financial Group between 1983 and 1995 and later worked as a manager in the tax consulting services division of Arthur Young & Company (a predecessor of Ernst & Young) during 1980 through 1983. Mr. Kaplan is a CPA and is a member of the New York, Florida and New Jersey bars. Kaplan serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota and DeSoto counties. In addition, he is a member of the boards of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service (“JFCS”) of the Suncoast; Goodwill Industries of Manasota; 40 Carrots Family Center; the American Skin Association; The Sarasota Private Trust Company and is co-trustee of the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic and Trust.
Colby Adams is a junior student at Riverview High School, maintaining a 4.4 GPA. Colby has experience with children of all ages, including those with disabilities. She participated in Easterseals’ STAR Leadership Training Program in 2022 as the creative committee chair’s STAR’s community outreach project helping local teenagers in the foster care system. Through this program, Colby has learned valuable leadership skills, communication, patience and the ability to work in a team setting.
Foundation Board of Directors
R. Dean Hautamaki MD FACP FCCP is a practicing Board Certified Internal Medicine/Pulmonary and Critical Care physician in Sarasota, Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Medicine, completing his post-graduate training at Washington University in St. Louis, Barnes-Jewish Hospitals. He’s an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine with the Florida State University College of Medicine and has served as Chairman for the Department of Medicine and Co-Director of Critical Care Services within the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Health Care System. He has served on numerous bio-medical and bio-technology companies both public and private. Currently serves as a director for Fibralign Corporation and First Wave Technologies. Dr. Hautamaki currently serves as the Chairman for the University of Florida College of Medicine’s President Council and as Co-Trustee for The Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust. He has presented numerous abstracts at national meetings and has published over a dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Charla M. Burchett is a partner in the Sarasota office of Shutts & Bowen LLP, where she is a member of the Private Client Services Practice Group. A Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, Charla is a Board Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates as certified by The Florida Bar and has an LL.M. in Estate Planning from the University of Miami. She has more than thirty years of experience assisting clients through challenging decisions and difficult times to preserve their legacies across generations. She focuses her practice on estate planning, including charitable planning and wealth preservation, estate and gift taxation, estate administration, and trust administration. Burchett has Bar Admissions in Florida and Kentucky and is current and past members of numerous professional and civic groups.
Jenifer Schembri is a principal at the law firm Blalock Walters, P.A. and practices in both Bradenton and Sarasota offices. She is the practice group leader for the estate planning and tax law service groups. Jenifer is Board Certified by The Florida Bar as an expert in Tax Law, in addition to having her LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida. She has received the AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Schembri represents both companies and individuals in the areas of individual and business tax planning, entity selection and formation, corporate governance matters, mergers and acquisitions, business succession planning and transitions, charitable planning, tax controversy matters at the federal and Florida levels, and all aspects of estate planning, including trust and estate taxation and wealth preservation.
To learn more about Easterseals services and programs, including Easterseals Academy, Autism Services, Children Services, Adult Services, Employment Services, Therapy Services, Family Support Services, Hippotherapy and more, visit www.easterseals-swfl.org.
Easterseals Happiness House has been part of the community for nearly 75 years and offers the highest quality of care and services to children, youth, and adults with disabilities so that they can enjoy access, opportunities, and increased life choices. Easterseals Happiness House is committed to remaining a leader in special needs services and an organization to which individuals and their families can turn for resources and support with a continuum of care throughout their lives.