Kristi House elects officers and new board members

Nelson Diaz of Becker & Poliakoff to serve as president

May 10, 2012, Miami – The Kristi House Board of Directors elected Nelson David Diaz as its president, along with four officers and eight new Board members at its annual meeting May 10th. These officers and members will serve two-year terms for the non-profit child sexual abuse agency which serves as the Children’s Advocacy Center for all of Miami-Dade County.

A Board member since 2007, a leading fundraiser and vice president for the past year, Diaz is credited most recently with leading Kristi House’s effort in the successful passage of the Florida Safe Harbor Act which changes how commercially sexually exploited children are viewed and treated in the Florida.

“Sexual human trafficking of children is an increasing pandemic in this country,” Diaz said. “The Safe Harbor Act will allow first responders the option of treating commercially sexually exploited children as victims, and not criminals, by placing them at private treatment centers, or Safe Harbors, to treat these children and offer them hope for a brighter future.”

Diaz is an attorney and lobbyist with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff.  As Kristi House’s pro bono advocate lobbying for the passage of the Safe Harbor legislation, he described this legislative victory as the conclusion of a long and, at times, arduous road, but the beginning of many, many success stories for all child victims of sexual abuse.

Diaz represents local governments, businesses, trade associations and other corporate clients before the legislative and executive branches of state government. He has successfully guided many pieces of legislation into Florida law. His previous experience as Chief Legislative Aide to the Former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and now U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, along with a history of elections campaign and fundraising work, make him ideally suited to lead the Kristi House organization, which is supported by public and private sector grants and philanthropy.

Bobbie Jones-Wilfork, Assistant Aviation Director for Administration at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, was elected Kristi House vice president. She has been a Board member since 2006, and served as secretary for the past two years. At Miami International Airport she has management oversight responsibility for the Administrative Services/Employee Development Division, Information Systems Division, Technical Support Division, Commodities Management Division and Contracts Administration Divisions. Most recently she is credited with helping Kristi House launch a first-of-its-kind training program for airport staff for identifying human sex trafficking child victims.

Lauren Harrison Genovese was also named vice president after two years on the board and two years chairing the organization’s signature fundraising event, the Touch a Heart Dinner, which nets 10 to 15% of Kristi House’s annual operating budget. Genovese’s community experience is extensive, having served on the boards of Coral Gables Community Foundation, Children’s Home Society, Arts and Business Council and Junior League of Miami, for which she served as president 2007-08. The mother of seven-year-old twins, she retired in 2002 from a 21-year accounting and financial services career.

Antonio Zamora, CPA, a board member since 2006, was re-elected to the office of treasurer. He is a principal at Paucar Zamora & Hernandez CPAs. He has 15 years of experience in the accounting profession in Miami and holds a Master of Science degree in taxation and an undergraduate degree in accounting from Florida International University.

Chuck Vodicka, a Kristi House Founding Board Member with service dating back to 1995, was elected as secretary of the board. A partner and senior vice president at InSource, a leading South Florida independent insurance agency, he has consulted on risk management issues for several other non-profit organizations in our community.

Newly elected board members include:

  • Serena Dyer, founder of www.Stop-Child-Trafficking.org, which aims to end domestic child trafficking through education and awareness
  • Fran Feinberg, Esq, 15-year, senior staff attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Criminal Court Project co-located at Kristi House
  • Jorge J. Perez, chair of the National Receivership Practice Group at McDonald Hopkins and former Circuit Court Judge
  • C. Ryan Reetz, a partner with DLA Piper representing clients as trial counsel in international and domestic commercial and regulatory disputes
  • Kara Zeder, a residential realtor with Esslinger Wooten Maxwell who has been working with Kristi House fundraisers for the past two years.

The officers and board members will assist Kristi House in its mission of healing and ending child sexual abuse, and will be dedicated to ensuring services remain free to children and their non-offending family members and that no child is turned away for help.