Board Members

President:  Dr. Gregory Bush

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A  historian at the University of Miami and Director of the Institute for Public History, is a long time officer (and a founder) of the Urban Environment League and an advocate for public parks. Founder of Nature Links back in 2007, he is also father to Paula Baizan Bush, and an author of several books and articles on the history of South Florida, including MIami: An American Crossroad (with Arva Moore Parks and Laura Pincus).

Vice President:  Maricé Chael

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LEED AP, is Principal of the architectural firm Chael, Cooper and Associates, specializing in civic, mixed use buildings, and residences for walkable communities. She practices in affiliation with the New Urban planning firm Dover Kohl and Partners, and her portfolio includes award winning McKean Gateway and Rinker Admissions Building at Rollins College, the Port Royal Post Office, residences in historic Cambridge Lawns and Alys Beach, and building studies for communities in the US and abroad,including Istanbul, US Virgin Islands, Antigua, Maui, El Paso, Charleston, and all over Florida. She has worked as Architect for the City of Coral Gables and has also worked in drafting the guidelines for building design for Miami- Dade County’s Heritage Parks.

Maricé currently serves as President of the South Miami Neighbors and the bike, ped, transit advocacy group Bike SoMi.  She is part time faculty at the University of Miami School of Architecture.   She is the mother of Thomas Brandon and Theresa Lee Dover.  Theresa Lee is a Coral Reef Sr High Arts Magnet ESE student,  who teaches her by example that special needs young adults are sensitive, intelligent, creative and caring, and have a lot to contribute!

Treasurer:  Albert Ruder

Recently served as a Council Member for the Town of Bay Harbor Islands for more than 8 years, including one year as the Town’s Vice Mayor.  Mr. Ruder, who earned an MBA Degree, has over 23 years of public sector and about 10 years of private sector work experience .  His public sector experience included serving as the City of Miami Parks and Recreation Director for more than 14 years beginning in 1988.  Prior to that he held several Executive level positions in the City of Miami Manager’s Office including Assistant and Special Assistant to the City Manager. His other City of Miami positions included Economic Development Department Business Development Division Manager and International Trade Promotion Department Assistant Director. Mr. Ruder began his public sector career by working one year for Miami Dade County as a Community Relations Specialist in the Miami Dade County Manager’s Office Division of Latin Affairs. His private sector experience included holding the positions of Sales Audit Department Financial Section Manager and Special Financial Project Manager for Burdines Department Store as well as working as the Manufacturing and Financial Administrator for the import and export firm, National Trading, Inc.  In 1993, Mr. Ruder completed the prestigious Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government.  He currently is a member of the Urban Environment League, Inc. Board of Directors and serves as Board of Director Secretary of the 9300 Harbor Terrace Condominium Association, Inc.

Secretary:  John De Leon

AV rated by Martindale Hubbel & is the managing shareholder of the Miami offices of Chávez & DeLeón, P.A. It is a trial firm. De León is also the consulting attorney for the Consulate of Mexico in Miami. De León worked with Sayre and Chavez in California where he was counsel on a shareholder’s derivative suit involving a publicly listed company and worked on the class action suit against the U.S. government involving NAFTA and the Mexican trucking industry. As former President of the Greater Miami ACLU, he confronted some of the most contentious issues facing this community. He also served as trial attorney with the Miami Dade County Public Defender’s Office for twelve years.

Lixon Nelson

Co-founder of the organization ACES MIAMI- ACES work with individuals afflicted with a wide range of disabilities- including mental, emotional and physical impairments. Our goal is to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to secure and maintain employment. Lixon himself is a success story, he has worked through his own disability to arrive at a position where he can help others achieve similar success.

Robin Matusow, M.Ed, CRC

Robin Matusow is a workforce disabilities specialist and a former Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. She has worked with large public systems to develop disability programing, policy and process. Specializing in development of policy using community partnerships, she has assisted both private and public systems on issues of compliance and profitability.  Her Miami- Dade County Public School experience includes administration of Adult Education services to students with disabilities. She has worked extensively with adult and secondary education teachers and administrators applying data driven policy in the transition of students with disabilities to Post-Secondary Adult/ Vocational Education and employment.

She earned her M. Ed. in Counseling with a specialization in disabilities at Florida Atlantic University and her B.S. in Education at the University of Miami. Additionally, Robin is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a nationally recognized certification used in private and federal disability services.

John Richards

Founding Director of start-up Culinary Arts School in Miami Florida with the construction of an 8 story LEED certified state of the art culinary arts teaching facility and curriculum grounded in “green” facilities planning, sustainable food and energy sources with International partners from France, Spain, Portugal, Peru, Argentina and China as real-time HD broadcast partners for college, community and corporate educational programming. First enrollment in August 2010. He also was CEO, Executive Chef at Cove Management, Music Director at Red Onion International and President of City Lights.

John de Olizarra

 

Helene Furgang

 

Denise Prehay, MSW

President of People First (north) a self advocacy group; board member of Family Care Council (FCC) area 11; Member of Project Self-Advocate Leadership Training (SALT); Nature Link board member who is a person with a disability (Cerebral Palsy) who provides a unique perspective and advocates for people within her community.