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GRIT Season 2 Calendar

Session Information for the 2021 – 2022 Lifework: GRIT Journey


September 18, 2021: FOUNDATION 

  • Introduction to DISC Personality Profile
  • Objective of today’s class:  “Leaders must feed themselves for personal growth and development.” – Growing Leaders
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Leonard Chatman, Jr

Leonard Chatman Jr is a mover and shaker among motivational speakers.  As an interactive and dynamic speaker, Len delivers powerful keynote speeches that will provide any audience an experience like none other. He is also a two time best selling author, but above any accomplishment he is most proud of being a family man and friend to many.

September 19, 2021: WORLDVIEW

  • Introduction to Financial Management
  • Objective of today’s class: “Leaders develop values and principles to live by and set the tone for others.” – Growing Leaders
    Photo by Artur Solarz on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Susan Freese, DHL, MDiv, MBA

Susan Freese is the founder and president of All In Ministries International, which serves the local church by equipping under-resourced believers worldwide to be disciple-makers for Jesus. By God’s grace and support from her “all in” husband, sons, and team, Dr. Freese serves across Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, helping women disciple women across cultures.  Prior to All In, she led the women’s ministry at Chets Creek Church for ten years after leaving a corporate career.  Dr. Freese earned degrees with honors at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Rutgers Graduate School and received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Trinity Baptist. She is the author of Your True Story: The 50-Day Essential Guide to Your New Life with Jesus.

October 24, 2021: RELATIONSHIPS

  • Continuation of Financial Management
  • Objective of today’s class: “A leader’s future is shaped by the people closest to him or her. A leader’s personal network is his emotional fuel: his models, heroes, mentors, inner circle, and accountability partners. ” – Growing Leaders
    Photo by Wassim Chouak on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Diana Donavan

Diana is an experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working within the arts and culture industry, public sector, community relations and higher education. Skilled in Organizational Development, Project Management, Relationship Development, High Level Event Planning & Implementation, Public Speaking, Administration, Philanthropy, Process Designer. Strong and consistent leadership abilities, effective communicator, as well as a champion for innovative, inclusive, and collaborative strategies and programs.

November 14, 2021: COMPASSION / GENEROSITY

  • Continuation of Financial Management
  • Objective of today’s class: Leaders look for ways to treat others with love, compassion and generosity.
    Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Carmen Rosa-Brooks

Carmen Rosa-Brooks was born and raised in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.  She attained a Bachelors of Art degree in English with an emphasis in Psychology and Business Administration from Atlantic Union College and has also earned a Masters’ Degree in Human Resources Management from Everest University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.   For the past three years Carmen has been volunteering as a Director at the Southpoint Food Pantry where she weekly works with a group of volunteers serving and distributing fresh food items to individuals and families in our community. She has served as an officer of the First Coast Hispanic Chamber, a Director for Learn to Read Jacksonville and as a volunteer instructor at City Rescue Mission where she developed workshops and taught learning and development life skills to individuals who are overcoming homelessness and addictions.    Carmen has also served in various councils and community boards and was recognized in 2009 as one of the most influential Hispanic women in Jacksonville.  In 2013 she was nominated to Mayor Alvin’s Brown Hispanic Initiative for the City of Jacksonville. Carmen has enjoyed serving as chair of diversity councils and has received various awards for her efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion within the city of Jacksonville.  As a motivational speaker Carmen shares her personal experiences in overcoming adversity.    Carmen works in Training and Development as a Student Success Coach for a local University where she has developed programs to further educate the students in professionalism and self-development.    On her spare time, she enjoys writing and producing plays, hosting wellness workshops, and cake decorating.  She is also in the process of writing her first book.

January 9, 2022: DISCIPLINE

  • Continuation of Financial Management
  • Objective of today’s class: “Leaders don’t build character without crossing the bridge of discipline.” – Growing Leaders
    Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Nemiah Rutledge

Small Business Leader of the Year for the JAX Chamber Health Council, Nemiah Rutledge is the Founder and Owner of Body Paradox since 2015. Companies such as Harrell & Harrell, P.A. to health organizations as large as Baptist Health and Florida Blue are healthier and happier because of Nemiah and his team of certified fitness trainers that serve all aspects of physical wellness. In addition, his team brings personalized levels of fitness to individuals, small business and busy executives.  Nemiah is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, class of 2021, is a member of Leadership Florida and most recently, joined the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Leadership MVP Team. Always networking, leading and growing, his laser sharp focus on bettering the city, his business and himself, Nemiah’s energy and enthusiasm for life is inspiring and at most, contagious! We can’t wait to see what else he’ll be working on.

February 20, 2022: INTEGRITY

  • Continuation of Financial Management
  • Objective of today’s class: “Carnivals often have mirrors that distort how we really look. Poor leaders do this, pretending or posing to be better than they really are. Our level of integrity is the true reflection of who we are.” – Growing Leaders
    Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Council Vice President, Terrance E. Freeman – At-Large Group 1

  • Terrance is currently the Chief Executive Officer for READ USA
  • June 24, 2021 Councilman Freeman was sworn in as Jacksonville City Council’s Vice President
  • Terrance Freeman’s father was an Army veteran and Baptist minister and his mother was a career social worker. Together, they modeled what a selfless leader looks like, and Terrance has carried their example with him all of his life.
  • After a successful professional baseball career, he earned bachelors and master’s degrees in physical education and sports psychology, and is working on his Doctorate in educational administration.
  • Freeman has always believed that helping our young people succeed is a tremendous calling, and he spent over ten years as a teacher, a school administrator, and coach.
  • He was the Political Affairs Manager for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and then served as Executive Council Assistant for City Council Member Aaron Bowman.
  • In 2016 Mr. Freeman ran a very competitive, but ultimately unsuccessful, race for the House District 12 seat in the Florida Legislature, gaining name recognition in the community as an up-and-coming young political leader.
  • His reputation for civic involvement led to his appointment by Governor Rick Scott to fill the seat of a City Council member in 2018, and then he was elected to a full term in his own right in the spring of 2019 as an at-large council member representing all the citizens of Jacksonville.
  • A hard worker and student of government, in his short time on the Council Mr. Freeman has been the primary sponsor of legislation to extend an Inter-local  Agreement continuing the City’s participation in the First Coast Workforce Development Consortium; to honor the legacy of community activist Gary Lee Mills, Sr. with an  Honorary Street Designation; to appropriate $350,000 to purchase playground equipment for Lonnie Miller Regional Park; and to authorize an agreement for management of the City’s Moncrief Community Center by 100 Black Men of Jacksonville, Inc. and the I’m A Star Foundation.

March 20, 2022: HUMILITY

  • DISC Personality Profile – Study in the Model of Human Behavior
  • Objective of today’s class: “Leaders are often gifted but leaders sabotage themselves when their gift is bigger than they are.”  – Growing Leaders
    Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Assistant Chief Chris Brown 

Chris is a lifelong resident of Jacksonville and a second-generation law enforcement officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO).  After earning the International Baccalaureate Diploma from Stanton College Preparatory High School in 1999, Chris went on to obtain a Bachelor of Economics (2002) and Master of Business Administration (2004) from the University of North Florida.  In 2006, Chris joined the JSO and worked his way up the ranks to his current position, Assistant Chief of Public Accountability.  In this role, he oversees the areas that are responsible for media relations, officer investigations, and process improvement.  In 2014, Chris helped found Jacksonville’s Bold City Church, where he currently serves as one of the church’s worship leaders.

April 24, 2022: COURAGE

  • DISC Personality Profile – Study in the Model of Human Behavior
  • Objective of today’s class: “Mountain climbers are only successful if they are committed to their mission. Leaders are the same way. You cannot have involvement without commitment and be effective.” In order to choose and commit to a mission for this season of life, it takes courage to say no to other options.  – Growing Leaders
    Photo by Julentto Photography on Unsplash

Guest Speaker: Michael D. Gonzalez

Michael D. Gonzalez is a passionate leader who seeks to encourage and uplift those in his sphere of influence, whether in the workplace or in his community. Michael is an Orlando native who holds a Bachelor’s in Management and Finance from the University of Central Florida (go Knights!). Following college, he kick started his career with Lockheed Martin and currently serves as a Subcontract Manager while earning his Master’s in Business Administration. Outside of work and school, Michael and his wife enjoy traveling, discovering new food experiences, spending time with family, and serving in their community. As a man after God’s own heart, Michael’s mission is to ignite a generation to become all that they were made to be.

May 11, 2022: LEGACY (Career Information Night and Graduation)

“Leaders realize they are drivers and are responsible for their attitudes and destination in life.”- Growing Leaders



Tonight’s session will include a panel of local professionals who are leaders in their careers. The teens will have the opportunity to talk with these professionals from various career fields who will give tips, guidance and answer overall questions related to their journey into that specific career field.

Photo by Madhuri Mohite on Unsplash

Lifework First Coast / Lifework: GRIT does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions espoused by the Session speakers.

Please note that the schedule including posted dates, locations, and speakers is subject to change. To confirm the program schedule or for more information, please email