Jacksonville, FL (April 4, 2023) – Scenic Jacksonville is pleased to announce a new Board President, 2023 Officers and two new Board Members.  In the Board leadership roles, Michael Kirwan was named Board President; Bill Hoff Jr., Vice President; Susan Caven, Immediate Past President; Laura D’Alisera, Secretary and Tom Larson, Treasurer.  New Board Members Melinda B. Powers and Rebecca Williams have joined returning Board members for the 2023 term.

Michael Kirwan succeeds Susan Caven, who will continue to serve as an officer and immediate past president. Kirwan is a partner with the international law firm of Foley & Lardner and was recently awarded the firm’s national community impact award, the Lynford Lardner Award, for his community contributions. He has been with Scenic Jacksonville for ten years, leading the Underground Committee and the Great Cities Symposium. Caven was president of Scenic Jacksonville for two different terms spanning over eight years, and has been a longstanding civic advocate for trees, billboard removal, historic preservation, and scenic beauty.

Melinda B. Powers is the founder and manager of Intentional Professionals, LLC where she consults and coaches small business owners and corporate professionals. She coaches business clients and corporate professionals one-on-one, facilitates trainings and workshops for organizations, and subcontracts for larger organizations on consulting projects. Melinda is a member of the 2023 class of Leadership Jacksonville and has served on local nonprofit boards including the Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation Shircliff Society, River City Education Organization, Jax Chamber’s Downtown Council and Junior League of Jacksonville. She holds a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School, a Master’s in Business Management and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from UNF.

“I feel the mission of Scenic Jacksonville is important because it speaks to me personally. It is all of our responsibility to keep the uniqueness of the city intact without compromising it and that takes effort and I am proud to continue the mission alongside the Board,” Powers said. 

Rebecca E. Williams is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fruit of Barren Trees, LLC, a neighborhood revitalization firm. After seeing the floorboards break beneath her aunt’s feet, Rebecca realized she was just one degree removed from poverty. She decided to dedicate her life’s work to transforming communities through development, revitalization, and investment strategies. 

Rebecca is also the founder of the FOBT Pipeline Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded to combat environmental injustice for overlooked and underfunded neighborhoods that have challenges rooted in resiliency, climate impacts, and disinvestment. The FOBT Organizational umbrella includes workforce development & training, housing development, and business technical support. FOBT’s services bring equal opportunity in the job market for construction management, engineering, and ESG sectors to uplift distressed neighborhoods by impacting heads of households with the skills to ensure significant increase in income and earning potential.

“The mission of Scenic Jacksonville is a wonderful blueprint that challenges the lack of investment in Jacksonville’s market offerings, exposure, and beautification strategies for the city. I’m hopeful, after experiencing events such as the Great Cities Symposium and other forums, that this organization will elevate mindset of our residents to believe in what is possible for Jacksonville through a development and planning lens,” said Williams. “I believe Scenic Jacksonville’s impact will not only lead to more beautiful communities, but to healthier families, less economically burdened households, and ultimately shift the mindsets of residents. We must love what we see when we step out of our homes and commute throughout our city.”

“We are very fortunate to have such talented community leaders joining Scenic Jacksonville’s Board,” said Michael Kirwan. “These new directors bring energy and enthusiasm to our already active and passionate board. They will help us continue our mission of preserving, protecting, and enhancing the scenic character of our city.”