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2012 National Haitian American Forum Panelists

    2012 National Haitian American ForumWe are pleased to announce our confirmed 2012 panelists for the National Haitian American Forum to be held on May 26th in Palm Beach Florida. Learn more These influential thinkers, entertainers, and politicians will take center stage to express their thoughts about some of the most pressing issues of today and to inspire innovative and lasting solutions.. “Reaching For The Dream” is our theme. The forum is free and open to the public


    Mayor Joseph Makhandal ChampagneMAYOR JOSEPH M. CHAMPAGNE (NJ)
    Joseph Makhandal Champagne is Mayor of the Borough of South Toms River, New Jersey.  He was elected on November 2, 2010.  In 2008, Mayor Champagne won the Council seat.  Mr. Champagne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Columbia University. After graduation, he attended Law Center’s Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-law Institute program at Georgetown University, where he won the Best Respondent Advocate award (Class of 1999).  Mayor Champagne earned his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School (VLS). While at VLS, he founded The Vermont Law Student Leadership Collective for Human Rights.  As an exchange student, Mayor Champagne also studied European Union Law at the University of Trento, School of Law, in Trento, Italy. Mayor Champagne served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Wendell E. Daniels, J.S.C., of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Ocean County.  Mayor Champagne practices in New Jersey and focuses primarily on immigration, criminal and civil law.  Mr. Champagne is a member of the Ocean County Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in the New Jersey Supreme Court, the United States District Court, the Third and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States of America.

    In addition to State and Municipal courts throughout New Jersey, he appears regularly in Federal courts. He serves on several advisory committees including Alternative Dispute Resolution, Law Day, and Minority Concerns.  He is a board member of Ocean Community Economic Action Now, (O.C.E.A.N., Inc.), the Global Syndicate, the Haitian-American Leadership Council, and the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON).  Also, he served as an assistant to the Public Policy Counsel and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. Mr. Champagne was appointed by Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson to the Superior Court Monmouth Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns.   He serves on the Subcommittee on Minority Access to Justice.


    Freda Laurent

    Versatile in Public and Private Hospital Administration, Psychiatric Nursing and Professional Management, totally dedicated to the service of quality health care delivery while maintaining strong work ethics and standards. She earned a Master in Public Administration and Management at Harvard University (JFK School of Government, a Master in Psychiatric Community Mental Health Nursing at Boston University, Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Boston, Massachusetts. Actually, she is working as School Health Nursing Supervisor in Health Care District of Palm Beach County; Oversight of Nursing Care Management at 15 Public Schools and Disaster Preparedness stressed for this coastal region in Florida. She was Director of Nursing Sandy Pines Hospital, in Tequesta, Florida and in Taunton State Hospital, in Taunton, Massachusetts Chief Nursing Supervisor Tufts/Bay Cove Mental Health Cent. She has excellent interpersonal skills with ability to elicit interest, enthusiasm and motivation using common sense approach.

    Adept at analyzing situations and developing alternative courses of action in order to increase and maintain levels of effectiveness. Some of her publications are: “Overview of Haitian Cultural Heritage” by Anne-Florence Duchard & Freda “Progressive Nursing Management: The Impact of Change in Nursing Management, Structure in a Public Psychiatric Hospital” by Joy Grunwald, Michael Laferney and Freda Laurent; and Freda Masters piece: “Haitians and Problems of Acculturation”. Among many of her community affiliations some are: Appointed to RPB Education Advisory Board, Royal Palm, Fl.; Volunteer member of the American Red Cross, West Palm Beach, Fl.; PTO member of Crestwood Middle school, Royal Palm Beach; Co-founder and 1st president of Haitian Women of Palm Beach County Inc.

    She did close collaborative work with the minister of Haitians living abroad. ; PTA member of Winnebrook Elementary School, West Palm. She volunteer member of Red Cross, Martin County. She is C0-Founding Member of OPADEV (Non-Governmental Organization for Peace and Development) Haiti-based with U.S affiliates. She is member of Haitian Women, a multicultural women group in Massachusetts. supportive of Haiti‘s women struggle. She was leading Member and English-Creole Translator for the 1995, 5th New England Observers Delegation (NEOD) to Haiti in solidarity with the people’s struggle. Member of the Cultural Committee for the Haitian Consulate, Boston, Mass. Official English-Creole, English-French Translator for three Haitian political personalities flown to Boston for medical care (Airport and other social functions). She is a founding Board Member of Haitian American Public Health Initiatives, Boston, Massachusetts. She is Co-founder of Top Youth of Brockton for Teens, Brockton, Massachusetts Co-founder of Haitian Nurses Association (H.N.A), Boston, Massachusetts.


    Rep. Mack Bernard

    Rep. Mack Bernard was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and moved to Palm Beach County, Florida when he was 10-years-old. Rep. Bernard grew up in Delray Beach where he attended Atlantic Community High School. He currently resides in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in a special election, August 2009. He was subsequently re-elected in November 2010. He brings to the House a wealth of knowledge and business expertise.  Rep. Bernard attended Florida State University where he received Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Criminology. He went on to attend the University of Florida, where he received his J.D. in 2002 and Master’s of Laws in Taxation in 2003. In 2004, Rep. Bernard started his own law practice and title company, which he continues to operate. Rep. Bernard serves Florida House District 84, which encompasses Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay, Riviera Beach, Lake Park, Mangonia Park, and West Palm Beach. As a member of the State House of Representatives he currently serves on the following committees and sub committees; Business & Consumers Affairs Subcommittee, Health & Human Services Committee, Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Civil Justice Subcommittee, House Redistricting Committee, and House Redistricting Subcommittee.

    In addition to holding state office, Rep. Bernard served on the Delray Beach City Commission where he was vice-mayor. As an elected official, he understands that his main priority is to serve the public interest by working to improve the quality of life for citizens of House District 84 and the State of Florida.


    Cosy Clergé JosephCOSY C. JOSEPH
    Cosy Clergé Joseph is the Program Manager at Florida Power & Light and the Chairperson of a non-profit organization.  Cosy oversees the foundation’s philanthropic activities both in the United States and in Haiti.  Her non-profit work includes leading large medical missions in the South of Haiti where thousands receive medical, dental and surgical care.  Her organization provides full tuition scholarships to 180 students a year in Haiti and is also the proud sponsor of the Palm Beach Haitian Heritage Month Essay Contest.  Last but not least, her non-profit organization is responding to cholera through the implementation of a clean water distribution center in Roche-a-Bateau which will provide potable water to 9,000 people a day. At Florida Power & Light, she is responsible for building high performing teams that are accountable for the delivery and execution of complex software development projects for Power Distribution, Transmission and Smart grid.   She has been in the field of Information Management for 19 years.  She is the proud recipient of the CIO Recognition of Excellence Cup for her Six Sigma/Quality improvement initiatives at Florida Power & Light.

    Cosy was born and raised in Les Cayes, Haiti.  She migrated to New York in 1981 where she received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science at Pace University.  She later completed her Masters of Science degree in Management at Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey. She is married with two children and enjoys photography and “Do it Yourself” projects.


    Commissioner Jean MonestimeCOMMISSIONER JEAN MONESTIME (FL)
    Commissioner Jean Monestime believes that there is no greater gift than the gift of service to others. Mr. Monestime was first elected to District 2 on November 2, 2010. After 30 years as a resident of Miami-Dade County, he became the first Haitian-American to ever serve on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. District 2 includes portions of the City of Miami, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, and the unincorporated areas of Liberty City, Biscayne Gardens and North Dade Central. Jean, his wife Kettia and their two sons, Darnell & Clarence are long-time residents of District 2. Commissioner Monestime is President of Jacob – Monestime & Associates, LLC, a full service real estate and Insurance company located in North Miami. He is also a small business consultant, and works part-time as an Adjunct Professor of Management at the University of Phoenix, South Florida Campus. During the previous eight years, he was President and CEO of MJM Capital Realty, Inc.

    Commissioner Monestime is a former Councilman and Vice-Mayor for the City of North Miami. During his tenure, he was nominated for the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce Quality of Life Improvement Award for the year 2003.  He has served on several boards including The North Miami Mayor’s Economic Task Force, the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency, and The Minimum Housing Appeal Board of Miami-Dade County.

    Mr. Monestime has represented the City of North Miami at both the Florida League of Cities and the National League of Cities and served on Business, Transportation and Economic Development committees and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Subcommittee.
    He has served as a member of the African-American NON-GROUP Coalition, HAAP, NAACP, National Black MBA Association, Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, Turner Tech High School Academy of Finance Board, HAPAC, Little Haiti Optimist Club, and HAHS. Mr. Monestime also served on the Governor’s Haiti Advisory Group and the University and Community Zone Schools Advisory Committee for the Miami-Dade County School Board.

    Commissioner Monestime is a former Miami-Dade public school teacher. He has been a member of Eden SDA Church since 1981. He has served the church as Youth Director, Music and Choir director and First Elder (church leader). He has lectured, presented dozens of seminars, and has been a guest on several radio and TV programs on issues relating to Community Leadership, Business and financial matters, local government and Civism. Jean Monestime has been an advocate for equal justice and economic development.

    Mr. Monestime obtained his MBA from the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business & Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University. He also received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Florida International University. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions.


    National Haitian American Forum

    Marc is currently one of the Managing Partner at Haiti Ventures LLC. Prior to Haiti Ventures, Marc was the Managing Director of Payfacile, a startup international bill payment company with proprietary technology that is poised to revolutionize the remittance world. Among many successes, he successfully co-led a team that won the 10K WMY New Venture Business Plan Competition at Wharton. He currently serves as the VP of Business Development at The Mullings Group where he is co-spear heading the development of disruptive analytical technology that will revolutionize the web 2.0 and Real Estate investment world. Marc has a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Miami. He is currently pursuing an MBA at Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School with concentration in Entrepreneurship and Global Management..


    Ms. Marli LalanneMARLI LALANNE
    Marli Lalanne is the Director of Operations at Konbit for Haiti, a non-profit organization dedicated to
    connecting the Haitian Diaspora to the re-development of Haiti. She holds a degree in Business
    Administration from the University of Miami. Born and raised in Haiti, Marli has always been involved in
    leading her peers into action and has motivated others as  volunteers for different causes.



    Representative John Patrick JulienJOHN PATRICK JULIEN
    John Patrick Julien was born in Haiti and emigrated to New York at the age of seven. John is a product of the public school system. He graduated from Ditmas Junior High School and Erasmus Hall High School and Academy of the Arts in Brooklyn, NY. John attended fine learning institutions such as Nassau Community College, Brooklyn College and Pace University. John received a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York’s College at Old Westbury. In 1986, John moved to Miami where he resided in Kendall and later moved to Homestead. John became active in politics by working on elections in Homestead, Florida City, North Miami Beach and a few County Commission seats. Not long after moving to North Miami Beach in 2002, John decided to run for public office. In 2005 John was elected to the North Miami Beach City Council where he served 3 consecutive terms. During his tenure as a Councilman in the City of North Miami Beach, John Patrick Julien has set himself apart from other politicians by showing a willingness to help any and all who come before him. As a councilman, John has appeared before the Miami Dade County Commission on behalf of residents outside of his municipality. He has worked with the Jewish community after their synagogues were defaced, worked hard to reduce crime in the unincorporated areas just to name a few accomplishments.

    John Patrick Julien is married to Julie and have five children. In 2009, John won a third term as a councilman; a seat he won unopposed and was the only elected official to go unopposed that election year. John has had extensive conversations with his advisors and his constituents and decided to give up his guaranteed seat for the opportunity to serve District 104. On August 24, 2010, John was elected as a State Representative for District 104. During his freshman term, John showed a willingness to remain open to different ideas and met with as many groups as possible in his quest to make the most informed decision for the constituents of District 104. With a clear understanding that we have a representative democracy, John has worked across party lines without sacrifice to his ideals and beliefs.


    Former State Rep. Phillip BrutusPHILLIP J. BRUTUS
    Phillip J. Brutus (born November 26, 1957, in Port-au-Prince) is a former member of the Florida House of Representatives. Brutus graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York. He got his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1982 and his J.D. degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1985. Brutus moved to Florida in 1985. Prior to his election to the Florida House, Brutus was a member of the Miami Community Council from the Third District. In 2006, Brutus did not seek reelection. Brutus has announced he will run for the seat in the United States House of Representatives currently held by Kendrick Meek.[1] This district needs a leader who understands the community’s needs and is able to implement policies that will advance its priorities. As law practitioner for 22 years, Mr. Brutus has represented clients in the community on a range of issues including: immigration, civil rights violation, discrimination, and foreclosure defense.


    Miss Gabrielle AlexandreGABRIELLE ALEXANDRE

    Over the past few years Miss Gabrielle Alexandre has  achieved many things.  She is the winner of the 2010 SoBe Life Essay contest. In May of 2010 She obtained her CPR Certification and in 2011 her Certified Medical Administrative Assistant certification. Recently, she obtained her EKG Certification. In January of 2012 she won the SoBe Life Essay Contest and in May of 2011 she was the winner of the Barnes and Noble Essay Contest for Boynton Beach. Upon graduation she received the Advanced Placement Economics award, Advanced Placement Psychology award, and the Advanced Placement English Literature award. She was ranked number two out of 414 in the graduating class of 2012. She has been a member of the National Achiever’s Society since 2008. She was a part of the Palm Beach Lakes High Ram Regiment Marching Band from  freshman to junior year. She was the president of the National Honor Society and French Honor Society and Vice President of Student Council, Parliamentarian of the Future Business Leaders of America and a member of the Health Occupations Students of America.

    She will begin her pharmaceutical studies at Florida Agricultural Mechanical University in the fall. Her aspiration is to become a pharmacist. After obtaining her Pharm. D and working as the head of a hospital pharmacy for a number of years, she desires to work as a professor at a university and teach pharmacy while conducting more research.  She recognizes that cures for diseases such as Sickle Cell and Tay Sachs can be discovered with additional research and professionals. She wants to be a vital part of the scientific research community dedicated to helping the ill and hopefully creating a cure.


    Mr. Karl GuedesKARL-HENRY GERDES
    Karl-Henry Gerdes was born in the city of Cayes, Haiti in December 1959. He moved to the US in 1982 after attending College Roger Anglade. Since moving to the USA, he has worked in a silk screening business, and attended night school at Miami Dade Community College where he earned an Associate in Science degree. In 1995, he graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor Of Health Science in Physical Therapy. His career as an entrepreneur led him to start several businesses over the years to include a small package courier service between the US and Cap Haitien in 1987, a Medical supply company from 2000 – 2005, a Therapy staffing services from 2006 – 2008. His main focus for the past two years has been teaching others how to create wealth using the Direct Selling model. He has achieved the position of National Director with 5Linx, a telecommunication company that provides a unique opportunity for an average individual to earn a passive income.

    Karl-Henry is also very active in the community through his Church activities at Salem Community in Lake Worth. He currently is a board member in The Salem Scholarship Fund, which provides $1000 to qualified student who are members of the church each year that they are in school.



    Frantzsi Saget AKA Solo was born in Petite Riviere Artibonite and grew up in Saint Marc with his grandmother. He is the second child in my family. he has an older brother, and two younger brothers. He moved to Florida in 1997 where I reside until this day. He attended Santaluces High, then Palm Beach State College, and later, Florida Atlantic University from which he received a Bachelor of Intercultural and Organizational Communication, and a minor in Sociology. He discoverd his artistic talents very early; in singing/rapping, drawing, as well as painting, around the age of 11. After high school and through out college was when he started recording music professionally. He completed his first album on his own in December of 2010 which has yet to be released. His genre of music is rap or Rap Kreyol, but rap in English as well. He categorizes the nature of his music as social and classical.


    Mayor Andre PierreMAYOR ANDRE PIERRE
    Born in Arcahaie, Haiti on March 23, 1969, Andre Pierre immigrated to the United States in 1983. He is married to Bernadette Toussaint Pierre, a teacher at Michael Krop Senior High School. They have two sons, Dominque and Andre, Jr., both of whom attend David Lawrence, Jr. K – 8 Center in North Miami. Mayor Pierre proudly proclaims that his roots are in North Miami, both in family and in business. Mr. Pierre first opened his own law firm in North Miami in 1997. After six years in practice, he joined a partnership firm Douthit, Murray and Pierre, PA, from 2003-2007. In 2008, he left the partnership to once again open his own firm, the Law Offices of Andre D. Pierre, P.A. His firm specializes in Immigration Law. Mayor Pierre is also an adjunct member of the faculty at Barry University, where he teaches Immigration and Naturalization Law. Andre Pierre attended high school and college in Long Island, New York. He is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. He went on to earn a law degree from the University of Miami, School of Law.

    Heavily involved in the community for many years, Andre Pierre has served on many of the City of North Miami advisory boards, including the Planning Commission and the Charter Review Board. He has also been an active member of North Miami’s business community, having served on the executive board of the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce for over six years. He was also elected, as President of the Chamber’s Board. Mayor Pierre is the former Vice President of the Haitian Lawyers Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Society of Black Engineers and served as a mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Miami. Andre D. Pierre was appointed to serve on the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel Nominating Committee and the City of Miami Community Relations Board.

    Mayor Pierre was appointed Co-Chair to Miami Dade County 2010 Census Complete Count committee. He was also selected by the U.S State Department to represent the United States Government as a delegation member at the International Conference of World Cities and Regions for Haiti in Martinique, France. Additionally, he was also appointed to as a member of the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Council on Youth, Education, and Families for 2010.


    State committee woman Evelyn Garcia EVELYN GARCIA
    As the oldest of eight siblings born to Haitian immigrants, she was fortunate to benefit from those who gave of their time to create a quality education system, and knew the importance of community through home ownership. Now, after a successful real estate career, and years as a volunteer, she has chosen to formally give back so that future generations can also partake in the American Dream. She is a Democratic National Committeewoman married to Guy Garcia with 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. She Graduated from Bay Shore High School, Bay Shore, N.Y.; Associate Degree, Hartford College for Women; Bachelor’s Degree, University of Hartford; Paralegal Certificate, American Bar Association.


    Mr. Josue PierreJOSUE PIERRE
    Born in Jacmel, Haiti, Josue Pierre migrated to the United States with his parents at the age of five. Pierre earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Baruch College. Upon graduation he accepted an offer at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a leading global financial accounting firm, and later worked as a real estate investment advisor at Marcus & Millichap. Pierre gleaned best financial practices from the corporate world and shared them with his business community through his participation in his local chamber of commerce. Pierre’s political aspirations emerged during his youth through motivating political debates used by his father to develop his interest in local and international politics. This strong interest and belief in the need for greater civic engagement in his local community led him to join the Haitian-American Association for Political Action PAC (HAAPA PAC) in 2006. Since 2010 Pierre has served as HAAPA PAC Political Director; this work has allowed him to lead HAAPA’s efforts in a number of elections including two city council races and a judicial election. Pierre worked as Campaign Manager during Rodneyse Bichotte’s successful bid for District Leader/State Committee of New York’s 42nd Assembly District.

    Pierre was elected by the voters of New York’s 42nd Assembly district in 2010 to the Democratic County Committee as well as the Judicial Convention. In early 2012 Pierre launched his campaign to become the first Haitian-American Male District Leader/Democratic State Committeeman in Brooklyn, New York. Pierre’s mission is to transform the Haitian-American community into a formidable political machine within New York State and beyond.


    Professor Moise DerosierMOISE DEROSIER
    Moise Derosier is deeply passionate about ensuring that every child has access to a quality education that is capable of transforming lives and communities.  He is currently a high school math teacher with the Palm Beach County School District.  During his tenure with the school district, he has led teams of Geometry and Algebra I teachers in curriculum design and planning.  In 2011, he organized and facilitated professional development trainings for teachers and school directors on the island of La Gonave, Haiti.  In addition, Moise has great interest in educational entrepreneurship.  He was the Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Neekobee Tutoring Center, a company that provided tutorial services for three school districts in South Florida.
    Moise holds a Master’s Degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University, where he was named a Noel McGinn Fellow.  He has a B.A in Mathematics and Economics from Calvin College and an M.S. in Economics from Florida Atlantic University.


    More of our guests will be added soon

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