Florida Department of State
Mrs. Benson is a graduate of Emory University in the
field of English. She is a former councilwoman for the City of
Pensacola, as well as a former state representative from 1992-1994.
She currently serves as chair of the Emerald Coast Utilities
Authority, chair of Pensacola Opera, and immediate past chair of
Foofoofest. She is a member of Five Flags Rotary.
Mrs. Benson is very involved in her local community, serving on the
boards of The Zoo of Northwest Florida and the Northwest Florida
Historic Preservation Board.
Mr. Deratany, a former Florida State Senator and
Representative, is president of Deratany Consulting, a Governmental and
Public Affairs firm. Prior to lobbying, Mr. Deratany served as Mayor of
Indialantic and Director of University Relations at the Florida
Institute of Technology.
At some point during each day, you can find Mr. Deratany painting in
his riverside art studio. An avid artist for the past ten years, Mr.
Deratany is a board member of the Brevard Museum of Art and Science and
previously served as Chairman of the Florida Seaside Art Show. He
belongs to the Brevard Watercolor Society and the Brevard Artists Guild.
For Mr. Deratany, art offers a welcome respite from the hectic world of
Katharine Dickenson has been a community volunteer
since 1973 with an emphasis on Historic Preservation and the Arts. She
served on and chaired such boards as the Boca Raton Historical Society,
the PalmBeach County Historic Preservation Board, and the Boca Raton
Junior League in early years. She went on to Chair the Florida Historic
Preservation Commission in 1988 and to Chair Florida's Council on Arts
and Culture for three terms. Mrs. Dickenson is the only Floridian to
have chaired both the Historical Commission and the Council on Arts and
Nationally, Mrs. Dickenson has served on the Boards of The
National Trust For Historic Preservation, The Edith Wharton Home in
Lenox, MA, the Robert Todd Lincoln home in Vermont, and the Manchester,
VT MusicFestival as well as The Dorset, VT Theater Festival. Serving
as Vice-Chair of the Federal Commsission to celebrate St. Augustine's
450th, Mrs. Dickenson has been involved with the Mayor and Commission of
St Augustine and the Department of the Interior who appointed her in
2010 to promote St. Augustine world wide. She also recently served on
the Strategic Planning Council For The Arts in 2005 and is currently
serving on the 2015 Council. The Lynn University Conservatory of Music
in Boca Raton recently asked her to join the Friends of The
Mrs. Dickenson resides in Boca Raton with her husband, David, an
attorney. Her three sons (who also practice law), their wives and 7
grandchildren live within an 18 minute radius of Katharine ... perhaps
one of her finest lobbying efforts.
Towson Fraser is president of Fraser Solutions, a
Tallahassee-based lobbying and communications consulting firm, and has
close to 20 years of political and governmental experience.
Most recently, Towson was a partner with Southern Strategy Group in
Tallahassee. Prior to that, he served Governor Charlie Crist as his
Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Affairs Director. As Deputy Chief
of Staff, Towson coordinated with numerous state agencies including the
Department of Environmental Protection, Department of State, Department
of Revenue, Fish and Wildlife Commission, Water Management Districts,
and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. As Legislative Affairs
Director, Towson managed the progress of the Governor’s priorities
through the legislative process including budget issues and landmark
legislation in regard to energy, health care, insurance, and property
Prior to working for Governor Crist, Towson served as Communications
Director for Speaker Allan Bense, as well as the Republican Party of
Florida, the Department of Management Services, and the Department of
Community Affairs. Towson also worked in the House Majority Office under
Speakers John Thrasher and Tom Feeney.
A native of Tallahassee who grew up in Jacksonville, Towson, his wife
Carrie, and their children Caroline, Jack, Helen and Sophie live in
Heather Mayo currently serves as the Assistant
Director of Production and Community Engagement at the Florida State
University (FSU) College of Music. In her position, she oversees the
production coordination of over a hundred events presented annually in
Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. Ms. Mayo also assists in various outreach,
engagement, entrepreneurial activities, and guest artist residencies at
the College of Music. Additionally, she works closely with university
and community performing arts partners such as Opening Nights Performing
Arts, Golden Tribe Lecture Series, the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra,
the Tallahassee Ballet, Tallahassee Youth Orchestras, and the Artist
Series of Tallahassee.
Ms. Mayo is the Immediate Past-President of the Friends of Dance
board within the FSU College of Fine Arts and is currently serving as a
2018 Catalyst with the Knight Creative Communities Institute in
Tallahassee. Throughout her tenure at FSU, she has served on various
university committees including the committee for the annual FSU
Veteran’s Film Festival, and occasionally serves as a guest lecturer for
seminars in arts administration and music entrepreneurship.
A classically-trained guitarist, Ms. Mayo earned a Bachelor of
Arts in Commercial Music at the FSU College of Music and shortly after
spent time working in the music industry in Nashville. Before returning
to graduate school, she spent time working in the financial industry in
Tallahassee and in 2012, earned a Masters in Arts Administration at the
FSU College of Music. During her graduate studies, she served as a
Program Assistant for the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and as
the Head House Manager for the FSU School of Dance.
A Florida and Tallahassee native, Ms. Mayo currently lives in the Capital City with her husband and two children.
Deborah Kynes, a Dunedin City Commissioner (1999 –
2009), (2014 – 2018) served as Vice Mayor from December 1, 2016 –
December 5, 2017, served as Vice President of the Institute for
Strategic Public Policy Solutions Board (SPC); is a Founding Member of
the Village Square (Pinellas); served as Chairman of the Utilities,
Natural Resources & Public Works Legislative Committee for the
Florida League of Cities (2017-2018) and serves on the Dunedin Fine Arts
Center Advisory Council. Deborah currently serves as the City liaison
to the Dunedin Fine Art Center and the North Pinellas Cultural
Alliance. She also serves on the Mease Manor Board of Trustees and was
appointed to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, July 16, 2018.
Deborah has served as: Florida Humanities Council Board, President
PACE Pinellas Center for Girls, a three-term Chairman of the Pinellas
Suncoast Transit Authority; Chairman of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning
Council; Chairman of the Environmental Quality Committee of the Florida
League of Cities; member, Florida Chamber Water Task Force; President of
the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin; Chairman of the Pinellas
County Arts Council; President of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday
Foundation; member of the Pinellas County Charter Review Commission; Bay
Care Medically Needy Task Force; the Board of Leadership Pinellas; on
the Morton Plant/Mease Community Impact Committee; Honorary Co-Chairman
of Art Harvest and Co-Chairman of the Hospice of the Pinellas Suncoast
“Hospice Ball.” Deborah also served on the Leepa Rattner Museum
Deborah is a member of Leadership Pinellas, Leadership Florida, the
Dunedin Rotary, the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin and the Junior
League of Clearwater Dunedin. Deborah has a B.A. in English from the
University of Arkansas and a J.D. from the University of Tulsa, College
Deborah is a voting member of the Cherokee Nation and a member of the
Cherokees of Central Florida. Deborah is a member of the Florida Bar.
Deborah’s awards include the “Deborah Vincent” Distinguished Alumni
of the Year Award 2013 for Leadership Pinellas; “Delightful Dunedin”
Award presented by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce; “History Maker”
Award presented by the Dunedin Historical Society; “Rotarian of the
Year” Award presented by the Dunedin Rotary Club and “Women Honoring
Women” Award (Soroptimist Club).
Deborah and her husband, Allen, live in Dunedin. They have two
children, Lessley, who currently teaches at the University of Tampa, and
Jordan, who is working on his Doctoral degree in Middle Eastern Studies
at Humboldt University in Berlin. Deborah and Allen have two
grandchildren, Olivia and Lucy Lowery-Kynes.