Board of directors

Sue Christiano | President
(Founding Member)

Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Sue owes her business ethic and passion for community service to her dad who was an entrepreneur and career Rotarian.  She worked in his Kingston office, during the summers from the age 14, after graduating high school and until she moved to the States. Her first board appointment was at 17 where she served as the Vice President of the Rotaract Club of Kingston, the young adult club affiliated with the Rotary Club. Involvement with this organization included fundraising and events to help under privileged and handicapped children.

She worked as a paralegal specializing in real estate for 14 years in New Jersey before settling down to raise her family.  Later, a part-time position with AT&T evolved into full-time and Sue ventured into the world of Power Generation managing the Power Generation Group for AT&T, the group handled the back-up/emergency power sources for AT&T’s 200 critical sites. 

Her love of the arts and recognizing the need for an arts program for kids and for afterschool activity, not sports related, she started, Bravo Center for Performing Arts in Westfield, New Jersey.  Bravo was performing arts, after school and weekend program that offered singing, acting, creative writing and more for children age 5 through high school. Her passion for the arts continued and when she moved to Florida she was one of the founding members of Opera Naples, serving on their board and as their Director of Development from 2005-2006. Other organizations that she was actively involved in are, The Bach Ensemble, The Gay and Lesbian Chorus and Bayshore, CAPA.

With real estate partner, Arlene Goldberg, Sue worked with Equality Florida to Co-Chair the first ever LGBTQ Gala in Lee County in 2014 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center.  The event was to raise funds for Equality Florida especially in their quest for marriage equality. The following year, by popular demand, they again co-chaired a Gala, this was to raise community awareness for the LGBT Fund through the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

As a Florida Realtor for the past 11 years, Sue is a certified Short Sale/Foreclosure Specialist, Certified International Specialist and an Accredited Commercial Property Specialist.

Sue is honored to serve as the first President of the Southwest Florida Harmony Chamber of Commerce this ground-breaking organization and the quest to embrace diversity and equality. 

Arlene Goldberg | Vice President
(Founding Member)

As vice president, Arlene is excited to work with the business community while working tirelessly for the LGBTQ community.  She is an Activist, liaison to the press, public speaker representing the SW Florida LGBTQ community.  In a Landmark case, was a Plaintiff in an ACLU federal same sex marriage law suit that legalized marriage for Florida in 2015 and was issued the first legal document (death Certificate) for a same sex married couple in Florida/first same sex marriage recognized in Florida.


Arlene is quite active in the LGBTQ and Ft. Myers community:

  • Past member Board of Directors of United Way of Lee County
  • Past Chairperson UUCFM’s Welcoming Congregation
  • ACT’s Community Action team
  • Initiated Hope Hospice LGBT Bereavement group
  • Steering Committee for the start-up of Kaleidoscope (CARES) suicide prevention for LGBTQ
  • Steering committee for development of LGBTQ fund in collaboration with the SW Florida Community Foundation
  • Re-activated PFLAG Fort Myers
  • Board of Directors PRIDE SW FLORIDA, Inc.
  • Co-Founder and past member of the Exec. Board for Visuality, Inc.
  • Co-Founder and Vice President of SW Florida Harmony Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Board of Directors.
  • LGBTQ member of WGCU Diversity Advisory Group
  • Member of Lee County Homeless Coalition
  • Recipient of Equality Florida’s 2014 “Voice for Equality” award
  • Recipient of  2016 newly developed PRIDE SW Florida, Inc. Goldberg Award for outstanding leadership in LGBTQ community
  • Initiated and participates in LGBTQ panels requested by local organizations, i.e. Guardian Ad Litem Lee and Charlotte County’s, Area Agency on Aging of SW Florida, Lutheran Services, and Children’s Network of SW Florida, FGCU;
  • Facilities/Safety Manager in various organizations/companies
  • REALTOR at RE/MAX Trend
  • Recipient of The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South's 2017 “4-Way Test” award

Ron Penn | Treasurer

Ron joined the Southwest Florida Community Foundation as Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer in December 2007. He came to the Foundation after a 30-year career in the banking industry in Colorado and five years as Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administrative Officer of a nonprofit providing services to disabled persons in Hilo, Hawaii.

Ron earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of Colorado and is a graduate of the Colorado Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado and the College for Financial Planning. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Ron has served on several nonprofit boards of directors in the human services fields, homeowner associations and public utilities.

Ollie Gentry | Secretary

Florida native, graduate of University of North Florida, and U.S. Army Reserve veteran, Ollie moved to Fort Myers ten years ago after working in real estate and mortgage banking for twenty  years.  He decided to follow his passion and opened Ollie Mack Gentry Photography Studio and Gallery in downtown Ft. Myers .  Due to a desire to gain equality and recognition of rights in the LGBTQA community, Ollie has worked on Pride boards for Atlanta, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida and marched on Washington in April of 1993.  He has also been an advocate in our fight, prevention and cure of HIV and AIDS by volunteering and fundraising for AID Atlanta, Catholic Charities in Jacksonville, Florida and McGregor Clinic here in Ft. Myers.  Ollie is a member of Pride SWFL and hosts their annual art auction and has always been involved in some form of fundraising or volunteering for the LGBTQA community in Southwest Florida since moving here.  Ollie also serves on the Artwalk Committee, ART for A.C.T., the River District Alliance in downtown Ft. Myers, and is a member of the Ft. Myers Historical Society.  When he isn't busy in his studio, gallery or working in our community, Ollie enjoys free time with his fiance' Jerry and their dog Chance, going to the beach, biking, tennis and enjoying the Southwest Florida lifestyle.

Scott Cornish | Director

Scott's Biography coming soon.

Tyla Vaccaro | Director

Tyla cares for the Social Media of the HCC

Kevin Berrett | Director

Kevin comes to SWFL from Wisconsin and is the webmaster for HCC

Eric Berglund | Director

Eric's Biography coming soon.

CONTACTS

swflharmonychamber@gmail.com

PO Box 07427
Fort Myers, FL, 33919

800-967-7750

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