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Local Community Leaders Join the Cause for Affordable Homes

By December 22, 2020 No Comments
Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties welcomes new Board members

As a non-profit organization whose mission is to build homes, communities and hope for local families in need of a decent and affordable place to live, Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties relies heavily on the support of an elected Board of Directors. Board members serve for a minimum of four years. Some responsibilities include advocating for Habitat in the community, offering support and advice for our CEO, Becky Lucas, and giving an annual gift in support of Habitat based on their personal means.

After serving a four-year term, Board members can be reelected for on additional term, or term out. As old members term out, new Board members are elected. This year, our Board has gained five local community leaders and a newly elected Chairman.

Please join us in welcoming Chairman, Carl Barraco, as well as new members Diana Giraldo, Heather Turco, Nancy Ramos, Sandra Stilwell Youngquist, and Shiva Sharma. Along with the rest of our Board, they will work together to expand affordable homeownership opportunities for local, low-income families in need of a decent and affordable place to live.

“Each of these individuals brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board,” says CEO, Becky Lucas. “We couldn’t ask for a better group of individuals to help govern, represent, and advocate for the work we do here at Habitat.”

Chairman Carl Barraco

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties Board chairman, Carl BarracoChairman Carl Barraco is a professional engineer in the state of Florida, having received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of South Florida. Along with his associates, Carl founded Barraco and Associates in 1998. Together they provide civil engineering services throughout Southwest Florida. Notable projects in SWFL include the Midpoint Memorial Bridge, Colonial Country Club, Bonita Bay, Paseo, and many other high profile SWFL communities. During his personal time, Carl is a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer.

Carl joined the Habitat Lee & Hendry Board in 2015, and recently served as Vice Chairman. He offers over five years of Habitat experience and in his role as Chairman, Carl says, “leveraging Habitat’s knowledge and experience, I am most excited about starting conversations with our local governments and other relevant non-profit organizations to find housing solutions for families who lack access to such a basic need.”

Diana Giraldo

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties Board member, Diana GiraldoDiana Giraldo is the business development director at E3 Building Sciences. This local firm is involved with projects that impact livability and sustainability for sensible real estate development design, construction quality control, energy efficiency, energy tax credits, green building certifications, and more. Born and raised in Colombia, Diana received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Universidad de America in Bogota. Following her undergraduate education, she came to the U.S. to complete her Master of Science in Management at Hodges University.

Diana is a former candidate for the City of Fort Myers City Council and the first Latina in the City to run for an elected official position. She is the president and co-founder of the non-profit, Streets Alive of SWFL, and she is a Sustainable Communities Leadership Professional, a member of the Lee County Horizon Council, chairwoman for Run the Arts, as well as the operations leader for ArtFest Fort Myers. As a new Habitat Lee & Hendry Board member, she looks forward to exploring new ways to strengthen partnerships with other organizations that have the potential to add significant value to Habitat’s mission and operations.

Heather Turco

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties Board member Heather TurcoHeather Turco is a Crime Prevention Specialist for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Community Response Unit (C.R.U.). As a member of C.R.U., Heather works in our local community to establish and maintain grassroots partnerships designed to help deputies identify, address and resolve quality of life issues.

Prior to joining the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in 2017, Heather worked as a news anchor/reporter for NBC2. After 20 years of covering local crime stories, Heather transitioned into a career in law enforcement, hoping to educate people on ways to stay safe, feel empowered, and live healthier, happier lives. Heather believes that affordable housing can help to strengthen our community and the local families that live here and she looks forward to joining the Habitat Lee & Hendry Board as an active contributor to our mission.

Nancy Ramos

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties Board Member, Nancy RamosNancy Ramos is a longtime resident of Lee County and has been a Florida State Contractor since 1991. As the Owner of Ramos Builders Incorporated, Nancy is “Committed to Building a Better Community,” and over the years, Nancy has transformed her business into one of Cape Coral’s premier single and multifamily home builders.

As a member of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association’s Building Industry Oversight Committee, Nancy reviews the annual financial budget and monthly financial reports for the Department of Community Development for the City of Cape Coral. She is also a past board member of the CCCIA. Inspired by Habitat’s mission to provide hope for local families in need of decent and affordable housing, Nancy looks forward to joining the Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties Board of Directors, and helping others attain the sort of opportunities she has been afforded in her own life here in SWFL.

Sandra Stilwell Youngquist

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties board member Sandra Stilwell YoungquistSandra Stilwell Youngquist is the CEO and owner of Stilwell Enterprises & Restaurant Group and owns 6 local restaurants, inns, a marina and shopping centers based out of Captiva Island, Fort Myers, and Conch Key.

Sandra is committed to serving many local organizations. She is currently the President of SWFL Children’s Charities, an Executive Board of Directors member for Hope Hospice Healthcare, is on the board of Trustees for Lee Health, is the Vice President of a performing arts organization called Player’s Circle, plus, she serves on an advisory board for Lee Memorial Health Systems, among many other things. Sandra enjoys making a difference in the lives of others, and looks forward to joining the Habitat Lee and Hendry Board with the hope of empowering people to attain their dream of homeownership.

Shiva Sharma

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties Board member, Shiva SharmaShiva Sharma is a business leader with 20+ years of IT experience in Cyber Security, ERP, CRM, Data Science and Mobile Applications. As an Entrepreneur with sharp business acumen across a spectrum of verticals, Shiva has founded and built multiple IT and non-IT businesses organically and grown them into multimillion-dollar corporations.

Shiva serves on the Board of Advisors at Florida Gulf Coast University, plus, a leading national retail organization, and several local small business organizations. As a new member of the Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties Board of Directors, Shiva is excited to help drive the Habitat mission forward in any way possible.

Click here to see a full list of Habitat Lee & Hendy board members.