Dr. Dennis Ray is Chair of the Florida Chautauqua Center, Inc. He is a retired professor of management from Mississippi State University where he served as Head of the Management Department. His teaching career also included the University of Florida and the University of Alabama. Dennis attended public schools in DeFuniak Springs from the first grade through the twelfth. He received his B.S.B.A., M.B.A and Ph.D. in economics and industrial management from the University of Florida and served honorably in the US Navy for four years. His practical experience includes extensive consulting work with several major American companies and the US Federal Government. In recognition of his contribution to management theory and the management discipline, Dennis was voted a Fellow by the prestigious Fellows group of the Academy of Management. He is the founding editor of the internationally recognized Journal of Management. Since retiring and moving back to his hometown, Dennis has been active in numerous community service organizations, city government, preservation efforts, and local businesses.
Dennis Ray, Ph.D.
Shirley is the secretary of the Florida Chautauqua Association and the registrar of the 2020 Florida Chautauqua Assembly. She moved from Mobile, Alabama in 1980 to Westville, Florida where she currently resides. She is a former restaurant owner and beautician. Shirley is president of the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood Foundation, president of the Walton County Art League, vice president of the Lions Club and a member of the Chautauqua Porcelain Artists and is a volunteer with Master Gardeners.
For more than 35 years, Cathy has been providing accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and tax return preparation services for individuals and small businesses. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Campbellsville College in Campbellsville, Kentucky in 1977 with majors in mathematics and sociology. in 1980, she added a major in accounting from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Since obtaining her CPA license in 1984, Cathy has continuously worked in either public accounting or industry (or both) giving her a wide diversity of experience to offer her clients. Cathy is a licensed CPA in both Florida and Kentucky and has also achieved CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) designation. She is an active member of the AICP (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and the FICPA (Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants). In November of 2012, Cathy relocated from Corbin, Kentucky to DeFuniak Springs, Florida and opened her office on Circle Drive where she serves clients in several states in addition to those in Florida and Kentucky. She and her husband Glenn live in Mossy Head, Florida. They have four grown children and two grandchildren.
Mary Catherine Disney, CPA, CGMA
Robert Daniel serves as Historian of Florida Chautauqua Association. He is a llifelong resident of DeFuniak Springs and a battalion chief for Walton County Fire Rescue. He attended Gulf Coast State College for EMT, paramedic, and firefighter certification as well as classes at the Florida State Fire College. Robert hods certifications as a Fire Officer 1, Fire Instructor 1, and Live Fire Instructor 1 through the Florida State Fire College. He has been a firefighter for 29 years and a paramedic for 18 years. He and his wife Linda share a love of historical tourism and travel which they enjoy throughout the year. He is an avid Mustang and old Ford enthusiast and enjoys restoring old Fords. He and Linda live in DeFuniak Springs.
Mr. R. Michael (Mike) Hill is the Founder, President & CEO of PanCare of Florida, Inc. that operates federally qualified health centers (FQHC) in 10 northwest florida counties including Freeport in Waltton County. Mr. Hill also is Executive Director of the Northwest Florida and Big Bend Health Councils, which serve 18 counties in northwest Florida. Additionally, Mr. Hill served a 3- year term as a member of the National Institutes of Health’s, Council of Public Representatives. He serves as president of the Florida Association of Health Planning Agencies, representing all 11 of Florida’s legislatively mandated Health Councils that serve Florida’s 20 million residents. In addition to developing and negotiating state and federal legislation for the Certificate of Need and Healthy Kids programs, Mr. Hill has led community coalitions that successfully established Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and an indigent clinic for Florida’s Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf, Franklin, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Walton and Washington Counties.
Before beginning his career in healthcare Mr. Hill held several positions in Florida’s educational community, including chief lobbyist for federal and state legislative and regulatory policy activities at the Florida Association of School Administrators. Mr. Hill has received many awards for his work for a broad range of civic and professional organizations.
Mr. Hill completed undergraduate studies in social and political science and graduate studies in Public Administration (MPA) at the University of West Florida. He earned an Ed.S. in educational leadership from Florida State University. He resides in Panama City and DeFuniak Springs, Florida.
Denise Mack was the program chair for the 2019 Florida Chautauqua Assembly. She is a retired high school teacher of history and taught in District 211 schools in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, the largest high school district outside the city of Chicago. She served as a curriculum specialist master teacher for the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History Grant. During her tenure as a teacher she was employed as a consultant and exam reader for the College Board. Accolades include recognition from the National Society of High School Scholars Educator of Distinction, University of Chicago Best Teacher, Coca Cola Educator of the Month, Most Memorable Teacher and Golden Apple Semi-finalist along with numerous Principals' Awards. Denise received her Bachelor's degree from Western Illinois University, Masters from Northeastern Illinois University and completed post graduate work at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Currently she is an active member of Impact 100 and the Avalon Beach subdivision on in Miramar Beach where she resides with her husband, Brian Jonland. But most importantly she is the proud grandmother of three granddaughters: Makenna, Sloane and Adalind.
Amy Meyer is a self-published author of “Day by Day - A Creative Guide to Living Your Best Life with Clarity, Intention & Flow.” She is a photographer, a creative entrepreneur and the creator of The Soul Shine Collective. The Soul Shine Collective’s mission is to inspire others to live their best life through challenges, coursework and workshops that can be utilized in both personal and professional settings. After a series of life altering events, including having two children under two, Amy was inspired to begin her own healing and wellness journey in the ﬁght against postpartum depression and anxiety. She uses her life experiences, creativity, gift of discernment, education and inspiration to encourage others to strive for excellence and live their most authentic life. Amy helps audiences connect deeper by determining one’s own self-worth and path for success. She earned a B.A. in Communications/Public Relations in 2005 from the University of West Florida and has more than 15 years of experience developing brand messages and strategic planning for government organizations, entertainment companies and corporate business clients to help channel their vision, develop team partnerships and direct marketing plans at local, regional and national levels. Amy calls DeFuniak Springs, Florida home where she lives with her two daughters and fur babies. “Connection makes life worth living," Amy likes to say. "I believe we each have a soul purpose and that we are meant to pursue our God-given destiny to be the light while we’re here on Earth-- to be loved, to be heard and to love others."
Chris is president of the Florida Chautauqua Association and the 2020 Assembly program chair. He is a resident of DeFuniak Springs and is employed by the City of DeFuniak Springs as the City's grant writer and public information officer. Chris is an award-winning broadcast journalist with WMBB-TV, and ABC affiliate in Panama City, Florida. He grew up in Foxboro, Massachusetts and received his BA in Political Science at Georgia Southwestern College (now Georgia Southwestern State University) in 1985 in Americus, Georgia. Following his college graduation, Chris worked as a personal aide to former President Jimmy Carter at The Carter Center in Atlanta, a nonprofit, non-partisan public policy institute affiliated with Emory University. His work with the Carters has taken him Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and England.
Jim Moore is a recent addition to the Association's Board of Directors. For years, he has served as a member of the Assembly faculty. Jim graduated from Walton High School in DeFuniak Springs. He earned a B.S. degree from Florida State University and attended University of Florida, College of Law to receive his LL.B degree. He continues to practice law and is an owner of the Holiday Inn Express in Niceville, Florida. His hobby is storytelling, a technique he developed over years as a Boy Scout leader. He has published two books and numerous articles on the history of Florida's panhandle. In 2011, he was a speaker at the 148th Prohibition National Convention in the historical role of Rev. Sidney J. Catts, a Baptist preacher from DeFuniak Springs who became the 22nd governor of Florida running on the Prohibition ticket.