Women Who Make A Difference Gainesville

Women Who Make A Difference Gainesville

Billie DeNunzio has lived in Gainesville for the last 40 years where she raised two children who graduated from Eastside and P.K. Yonge before going to UF and the University of Central Florida. She is a Certified Chef and has been on the American Culinary Association Accrediting Commission starting in 2017.

Billie is currently an administrative lead evaluator for accreditation for secondary and postsecondary Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs. Her job has brought her all over the Eastern United States, but the most notable travels include Hawaii and Russia. As the former director of the Institute of Culinary Arts program at Eastside she had the privilege of knowing and working with many of the local chefs.

In addition to culinary interests, Billie is involved in her community and is currently the Chair Emeritus of the board for Catholic Charities in Gainesville. She participates annually with Souper Sunday as a participant with the Culinary Arts program students but for the last three years has been chosen as a celebrity judge.

Her proudest accomplishment is seeing all the students that have won scholarships and gone on to college and are now working in the industry. She can go into almost any restaurant in town and have students working there, some as owners, some as managers, and some as chefs. 

Veita Jackson-Carter is a proud native of Gainesville, Florida.  She has spent 38 years as an educator for the School Board of Alachua County.  Over the last 11 years, she has served in administration as an assistant principal, principal, and district administrator.  She currently serves as the Director of the Students to Successful Citizens/System of Care Program.  She was an Adjunct Associate Professor at Santa Fe College in the Educator Preparation Institute for 11 years.

She graduated from Gainesville High School and Santa Fe College with honors. She earned an Associate of Arts degree from Santa Fe College, Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida, a Master of Science in Education degree from Nova University, and an Educational Leadership Certification from the University of Florida.

Her professional and community affiliations include:

  • President, Gainesville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Chair, Partnership for Reimagining Gainesville
  • Chair, Alachua-Bradford County Women of Distinction Committee (Santa Fe College)
  • Board Member, CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services, Inc.
  • Board Member, Health, Promotion & Wellness Coalition
  • Past Board Member, Cotton Club & Museum & Cultural Center, Inc.
  • Past Board Member, River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding

She is a member of:

  • Florida Association of School Administrators
  • Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council of Florida
  • Black on Black Crime Task Force
  • Juvenile Justice Council
  • Past member of Envision Alachua – East County Education Committee
  • Past member of the Florida High School Athletic Association Public Liaison Advisory Committee

She has received the following honors:

  • Teacher of the Year 1999 (Eastside High School)
  • Alachua-Bradford County Woman of Distinction (2009) presented by Santa Fe College
  • Girl Scouts of Gateway Council - Women Who Make A Difference Award (2023)

She is actively involved in her Church and has served as Church Clerk at Springhill Missionary Baptist Church for 26 years. 

She is married to Aaron Carter, Florida State Athletic Hall of Fame (2015), and has two sons and a beloved sister, Mary.

Phoenix Heart's work, service, and activism spans over five decades. She brings the passion and energy of her name to all her endeavors, which include her work as an educator, activist, and champion of the environment, animal rights, human rights, social justice, peacebuilding, and gender equality throughout the United States and abroad.

She is currently living her dream in Gainesville, Florida as Co-Founder and President of the Board of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, which bears the name of her son. RPCP has developed successful partnerships with the Department of Juvenile Justice, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Alachua County Schools and countless other organizations through her tireless efforts to launch and drive the work of embedding best and next practices in the field of restorative conflict resolution.

She is a co-founder of The Peace Alliance and Peace Alliance Educational Institute, national non-profit organizations offering nonviolent solutions to conflicts. She is the past President and Board Member of the Florida Restorative Justice Association as well as the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery housed in Gainesville. Her passion and commitment to nonviolence have been the center point of her life, as evidenced by her celebration of over 45 years of vegan living.

Mary K. Wimsett grew up in Gainesville and is the daughter of Whit and Ruthanne Curry.   Mary K. attended Brentwood School for Elementary School, Ft. Clark Middle School and Eastside High School.  After graduating cum laude from Vanderbilt University, Mary K. obtained her J.D., with Honors, from the University of Florida. While at the University of Florida, Mary K. served as a Florida Bar Legal Services Fellow and a Center for Governmental Responsibility Public Service Fellow. 

Mary K. owns her own law firm where she primarily handles adoptions and guardianship.  Mary K. also serves as Special Counsel to the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program where Mary K. trains child advocates and assists with special projects regarding the best interests of children. Mary K. presents frequently statewide on topics related to adoption, adoption from foster care, dependency law, child advocacy and guardianships and is board certified in adoption law.

Mary K. has served as Vice-Chair of the Florida Bar Family Law Rules Committee, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Florida Bar Juvenile Rules Committee and Chair and Vice-Chair of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee. Mary K. is a past President of The Bennett Inn of Court and has served as a Board Member of this Inn for many years as a founding member. Mary K. is a recipient of the Florida Bar Pro Bono Award and regularly volunteers with Three Rivers Legal Services and Partnership for Strong Families.  For the past decade, Mary K. has provided between 150-200 hours per year of pro bono work to our community.  

Mary K. serves on several local boards including the ARC and PACE Center for Girls where she currently serves as President.  She is a member of the Women's Giving Circle at the Gainesville Community Foundation as well as the Women's Forum.  

Mary K. has three daughters, Emma (21), Charlotte (18) and Lily (15) with her husband Gary Wimsett, Jr., who is an attorney at Avera and Smith. Mary K. and her family enjoy playing tennis, swimming, watching movies, spoiling their dog and travelling together.  

A Girl Scout in Detroit, MI from the age of seven to thirteen, C. Ann Scott grew up in a family with a community-oriented mother and supportive father where both parents worked. She quickly learned the importance of the scouting sisterhood of females: teamwork, being prepared, and community service. She had a leader who was an exemplary role model that demonstrated and taught resourcefulness, innovation, leadership, craftsmanship, connection/respect for the environment/world and each other as well as compassion for others. She earned badges, went camping, sold cookies, helped others, practiced teamwork, and learned the importance of preparation and how to get along with others.

She retired as a school administrator from Ft. Clarke Middle School. She credits Girl Scouts for introducing her to the causes she supports today. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a BA in Special Education and Masters in Counseling, as well as earning Educational Leadership Certification at the University of Florida. Scott has served on the Girls Place Operations Board as Vice President, and a past board member of the Twenty Pearls Foundation (charitable arms of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority). She has chaired and continues to serve on, the Pink Dress Luncheon Committee (breast cancer awareness).  She mentors and is an Honorary member of the Martin Luther King Commission of Florida, Incorporated. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alumna Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. She is also a past member and president of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Scott is the mother of three adult children (Lori, James, and Jason), grandmother of four children, and widow of the late Dr. James Scott. She first became a scout leader when her daughter was in elementary school. She continued this role as her daughter progressed through the scouts. She wanted her daughter and other girls to have an opportunity to learn and grow through scouts as she had done.

As a mother, grandmother, retired educator, and community member, Scott believes that Girl Scouts taught her preparedness, our interconnection with others, leadership, teamwork, goal-setting, and the value of mentoring others.