Officers and Board 2017-18

Julie Kessel, M.D.

Julie has served on the LWVSPA Board since 2010, and has been president since 2015. A physician by training, Julie is Board Certified in Adult and General Psychiatry. In 1998, she retired from direct psychiatric practice and began working in the insurance industry, first in Philadelphia and then back in Florida where she has resided since 2004. She has extensive experience in the insurer aspect of the implementation of the consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act including appeal rights and prevention, as well as other aspects of PPACA.

She is presently employed as the National Medical Director for Coverage Policy for Cigna, overseeing the development, maintenance, and implementation of prevention, medical, drug and reimbursement coverage policy for the company. Throughout her long career in health care policy, she has maintained a private forensic practice with a specialty in homicide and death penalty post-conviction work. She has been involved in more than 50 post-conviction death penalty matters, performing psychiatric assessments, consultation, and expert testimony.

Julie enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, and all things Florida involving the sunshine and the water.

Sharon Winters
First Vice President

Sharon Winters moved to St. Petersburg in 2015 after a career in public and academic libraries.  She most recently served as library director at Tacoma Community College and holds MLS and MPA degrees.  As a volunteer, she's been most involved in historic preservation and urban design, founding the non-profit Historic Tacoma in WA State and currently serving on St. Petersburg's Community Planning and Preservation Commission.  Joining the League in 2016, Sharon serves on the Board and leads the gun safety working group.

Stephanie Owens
Second Vice President

Stephanie Owens is a Connector~Facilitator~Disruptor~Advocator~Innovator who strives to deliver meaningful social change one public policy at a time.

A veteran political strategist, Owens is the principle of Dolphin Strategies LLC, a community engagement and strategic partnerships firm specializing in creating corporate social responsibility and public participation strategies that build community capacity, create impactful public engagement and foster healthy communities.  She joined the League to encourage more organizations to participate in voter education, advocacy, and civic engagement activities.

Stephanie has spent over 20 in public service, as an appointee of both President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton. She held Senior Official positions in the White House, and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Owens serves as a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and a Board Member of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida.

Randi Hilleso

Randi Hilleso (pronounced Rondee Hill es uh) moved to St. Petersburg from the Pacific Northwest in 2015. She works part-time as Program Manager for the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. Ms. Hilleso holds a BA in Non-Profit Administration and an MA in Organizational and Community Development from Antioch University Seattle.  Over her career, she has been a non-profit administrator, small business consultant, designer and owner of a wearable art business, and college instructor.  Adventurous, she loves to travel and learn from other cultures. Ms. Hilleso is pleased to put her energies into the LWV and making our community a better place

Caroline Bloodworth
Treasurer 2016-2018


Caroline is a Florida native, USF grad, and licensed CPA, currently working as the Finance Director for the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. She finally joined the LWVSPA in 2008 because she always intended to. The League is in her genes - her mom was a chapter president. She was tapped as Treasurer in 2010 and is happy to make that contribution to a great League chapter.Caroline has previously served on WMNF's Board of Directors and the Board of the (unfortunately, now defunct) Florida Curling Club. She's lived in St Petersburg for more than 20 years and particularly loves our rich theatre, opera, and arts community.

Raechel Garafalo

As a previous board member and First Vice President of the LWVSPA, Raechel Garafalo has led the Voter Service Committee through the past few very busy election cycles, spearheading voter registration efforts, managing candidate forums, identifying and developing voter education opportunities, and directing the development of the League’s highly successful online voter guides.

She has lived in St. Petersburg since early childhood. Raechel comes by her interest in the LWVSPA naturally as her parents were political and social activists who were also members of the LWVSPA. She enjoys collaboration but is also comfortable with working independently to get things done. Her work experience includes retail management, manufacturer sales, and corporate and residential interior design. Raechel brings valuable knowledge and skills to our board from those endeavors.

Susan Mayer


Susan Mayer is a Florida native, born and raised in Miami, and a St. Pete resident since 2002. She became involved with the LWVSPA when she retired in 2011. A graduate of the University of Florida with a BA in English Education, Susan has been a flight attendant, flight attendant supervisor, and flight attendant training manager for a major international airline. She also taught high school English, serving as a department chair and district-level in-service training and curriculum developer in Miami-Dade County. After leaving her public school career, Susan worked as an educational consultant and regional manager for a nationally-recognized educational software corporation. While living in St. Pete, she was employed as a new teacher mentor in the Pinellas County Public Schools Transition to Teaching program.

Susan’s work with the League has been in member communications. She is editor of the LWVSPA Voter newsletter and supports other member communications by sharing her expertise in Constant Contact, the League’s email marketing provider. She enjoys living in St. Pete with her husband and two fur babies and is grateful for the opportunity to support the League through her volunteer work.

Kay Lahdenpera



Kay is a third-generation Alaskan who moved to Florida two years ago. She has a BS in Nursing from the University of Washington and an MS in Public Health from Loma Linda University. Kay holds inactive nursing licenses in Washington and New York, and active nursing licenses in Alaska and Florida. She is currently a Faith Community Nurse for St. Alban's Parish. In Alaska, Kay was Manager of the Municipality of Anchorage's Public Health Program and Director of Health and Human Services Region 10 Title 10 (Anchorage) Family Planning and Women's Health Program for 32 years. In 2014, she was inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame for Achievement in Public Health Nursing. Kay was active in the League in Alaska, serving on the board of directors at both the local and state levels.

Marty Shapiro

My journey began in New Jersey where I was born. Growing up I was an average student, but determined, later receiving a BS in Chemistry from Trenton State College. Then I moved to Columbus, Ohio to attend graduate school at The Ohio State University. I taught in Columbus for a couple of years and moved to Florida in 1974. I taught Physics and Chemistry in Daytona until I moved to Pinellas County in 1990. For the next few years, while teaching, I worked on completing my doctoral degree the University of Florida. As a teacher, I helped set up the Center for Advanced Technology at Lakewood High School. After teaching there for eight years, I served as the administrator for the program for nine years. My journey allowed me to be involved with various teacher’s associations at local and state levels participate in curriculum design projects for Physics sponsored by the NSF, held some leadership positions in a national organization of STEM schools. I have also been a member of the League of Women Voters in Volusia and Pinellas Counties. My wife, Jana Maples, was a teacher for 36 years and has lived in Pinellas County since 1970. We have a son, John Maples, daughter-in-law Christine Hall and grandson Jace who is in 5th grade at Lake St. George Elementary School. Our daughter Leigh Shapiro is a 4th grade teacher in Volusia County.

Iris Yetter

Iris Yetter


Iris joined the LWVSPA in September 2013. She has a BA from Hunter College, City University of New York, has done graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh, and has an MS from Florida State University, where she also did doctoral work. She has worked as a researcher for the Florida Department of Education's Education Standards Commission, and as a policy analyst for the Education Policy Unit of the Florida Governor's Office of Planning and Budgeting. In addition, she served as Associate Vice President for Staff Development and Director of Grants for St. Petersburg College, and as Director of Sponsored Programs at Eckerd College.

Karen Coale
President 2012-14


Darden Rice
President 2010-12

Darden Rice Photograph