Leadership Sarasota County, a program of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, will host the annual Celebrate Outstanding Leadership Awards on Tuesday, May 8, at 11:30 a.m. at the new Art Ovation Hotel. Awards will honor influential graduates of the Leadership Sarasota County program in three categories: Lifetime of Leadership, Impact In Action, and Leadership Sarasota Dedication. The honorees were nominated by fellow Leadership Sarasota County Alumni members.
W.E. “CHIP” GAYLOR
Lifetime of Leadership Award Honoree
Chip Gaylor is a partner in the law firm of Muirhead, Gaylor, Steves, & Waskom P.A. He received his B.A. from Asbury College, his J.D. from the Washington College of Law at the American University and his LL.M. from the University of Miami Law School. He is a member of the Florida Bar Association and Sarasota County Bar Association and is a member of the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section of both bar associations, and past Chair of the Sarasota County Bar section. He currently serves as President of the Sarasota County Bar Association.
Attorney Gaylor served on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc., and was Chair from 1995 to 1997. His law firm currently serves as general counsel to the Foundation. He joined the New College Library Association Board in 1998 and was elected President for two terms in 2000. In 2003 he was elected to the board of the New College Foundation and served until 2014.
He served on the board of SCOPE from 2002-2006. In 1999 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Council of Foundations headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and served as Board Chair for 2 years. Additionally, he has served on the boards of the Florida Winefest and Auction, Inc., Sarasota County Arts Council, American Cancer Society (Venice Chapter), the Laurel Civic Association and Community Aids Network. He currently served as Parliamentarian on the board of the Sarasota Yacht Club.
Chip has served as an adjunct professor at Manatee Community College. He’s a native of Sarasota County and in his spare time enjoys traveling, fishing, boating, scuba diving, and tennis.
Impact In Action Award Honoree
Veronica Brandon Miller has more than 25 years of creative vision and a level of unparalleled expertise in community engagement, branding and marketing, Veronica has leveraged resources and raises necessary funds for numerous charitable organizations. As the vice president for Goodwill Manasota’s Foundation, she has created and implemented multiple strategic development plans and obtained financial contributions to advance the organization’s mission. In addition, Veronica created the re-brand for Goodwill, which has led to more than 100 awards, including 5 for the best non-profit organization.
Her myriad accomplishments are a testament to her determination, hard work, and innovation. Of the many notable programs she has helped create, including the award-winning Goodwill Veterans Program and the Goodwill Ambassador Program, she is most proud of the 330 collaborations she has created in the community.
Veronica’s significant strengths are collaborations and partnerships. Her nickname in the community is “the Queen of Collaborations” and she used her assets to create, as well as, hosts both a TV SHOW on SNN called “Good News” and a radio show on WSRQ called “Tell Me Something Good.” Both media programs promote the “good” that is happening in our community – bringing on corporate partners and community partners. She also has a segment on ABC’s the Suncoast View TV Show called “Good News from Goodwill.”
Veronica moved to Sarasota from Washington DC where she helped raise money and advance marketing for the Smithsonian Institution — and the completion of the capital campaign for the national museum of the American Indian, the Navy League of the United States and the campaign for the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier, opening Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouses nonprofit – the Home Safety Council, creating an entirely new division for the National Safety Council and helped create a national following for ShelterBox USA.
Since moving to the area Veronica has also created the Women’s Leadership Council that is still going strong with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County and the Business Women’s Alliance Group.
Veronica earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University in marketing and graphic design, and her Master’s in Business from the University of Maryland. She has received numerous awards for marketing and has been published in many publications in relation to fundraising and marketing.
Veronica received her certificate from the Civilian Police Academy, is a graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute, Leadership Sarasota, and Leadership Manatee. She is an active Rotarian and is a Paul Harris Fellow. She currently serves the board for the Thriving Foundation, the board of directors for the McKay Academy, Leadership Manatee Alumni Association and the All-Star Children’s Foundation.
Impact In Action Award Honoree
Although he grew up immersed in the culture of the company, Drayton Saunders didn’t formally join Michael Saunders & Company until January of 2003. Since then he has held a number of key leadership roles that have culminated in his current position as company president as well as president of MSC Mortgage and MSC Title, two of the company’s full-service divisions.
A native-born Floridian and graduate of Colgate University, Drayton has served in varying capacities during his 15 years of service to the company, which was founded by Michael Saunders in 1976.
As proactive in his off hours, as he is during each business day, Drayton currently sits on the boards of Sarasota EDC, MFRMLS, Community Reinvestment Community Foundation of Sarasota, and Visit Sarasota County — the county’s official tourism agency. He is also actively involved in the exploratory Bayfront 20:20 project to optimize access to the Sarasota bayfront and create a common vision for its future.
In his spare time, Drayton enjoys sailing, cooking, spending time with his wife and his two young children and salsa dancing.
Leadership Sarasota Dedication Award Honoree
A fifth-generation Sarasota native, Dean Crowley has never ventured far from his roots as he still lives on the family homestead in Old Miakka. He attended Fruitville Elementary, McIntosh Middle and Sarasota High Schools before graduating with honors with a BS in Building Construction from the University of Florida.
Following a 19 year stay with W.G. Mills, Inc., Dean founded Crowley Services in 2011. Notable projects for Crowley Services include Sarasota Bay Club Tower 2, Grande Riviera, Phillippi Landings, Sarasota Memorial Hospital Hillview Parking Garage, New College Residence Halls, Tatum Ridge Elementary and McIntosh Middle School.
Dean was a graduate of the 2003 Leadership Sarasota County Class, Adult program Chair from 2009-2012 and Chair of the Leadership Council 2013-2014. He continues to serve on the Leadership Sarasota Council and is currently the Program Development Chair. He was a Board member of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce from 2013-2016. Other affiliations include: Board Member of the Education Foundation, 2011-2014, Greater Sarasota Sertoma Club, 1994 – present, Argus, Member, and Life Member of the Crowley Museum and Nature Center.