Press Releases

group photo

Catalyst Update

Snow skiing, picnics, showtunes: KCCI Catalysts are engaged in more than just shaping the community. We are pleased to introduce a more personal side of the University-Community Connectivity project with The Connect, a series of Catalyst bios.

Meet the 2018 Catalyst Class below:


Name: Bryson Bard

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Canopy.

Dream concert: Imagine Dragons. Our company hosted a concert for them, and I couldn’t go because we had a son, so it was worth missing the concert!

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: New Zealand. It looks so beautiful.

Would love to live in the world of: Iron Man or some other superhero movie.

Favorite gift: The first house we bought, we closed on my birthday.


Name: Long Chen

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Young. It’s full of young professionals because of the universities.

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: Big cities with cultural legacies like museums and famous historical sites. I like to know more the culture and history of cities.

Favorite gift: My girlfriend sent me a wallet she made herself. It’s this handmade thing–it’s not about the wallet being fabulous, it’s about the love and the things within the wallet.

Would love to meet: The Vice President of the Chinese Academy College, Jong Lee. I read about his arguments on climate change and the equity behind this climate change. He’s talked a lot about housing, about equity things–about how nations deal with climate change together. If I have a chance to meet with him, I have questions I’d want to discuss with him.


Name: Elizabeth Emmanuel

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Fun. We have a lot of fun things to offer: parks and festivals and things to do every night.

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: I would go on a worldwide tour so that I could hit ALL of the countries!

Dream concert: It would be a mash-up of Yo-Yo Ma…probably several rappers, including Biggie…it would also probably involve a couple really great jazz and R&B artists, just to get a good kind of eclectic bunch.

Favorite gift: A trip with my husband. We went to New Orleans where we got engaged. We had a great time exploring the city, eating at great restaurants, and revisiting places.

Would love to meet: Through my job with Leadership Tallahassee we’ve explored community trustees in Tallahassee, people that have shaped its history, so I’d go back and visit some of those. One in particular is Catherine Murat, she’s of the Prince Murat fame but actually after he died she became a land donor, she became big in historic preservation, and she did all of this while being a widowed woman, which is incredible. She was also instrumental in Mount Vernon, which shows Tallahassee’s national impact.


Name: Blair Gregg

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: Italy. Sicily, specifically. My husband’s family is from Sicily so I think it would be pretty neat–he probably still has family there that he doesn’t know about! I love digging into that history.

Dream Concert: Gershwin.

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Family. To me, as a local, my family is here and I’ve built a family of my own here. I think that’s one of the things that really draws people to Tallahassee–they feel like they make connections with people that feel like their family. That’s what sets Tallahassee apart from other, bigger cities.


Name: Mary Lee Kiracofe

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Authentic.

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: Iceland or New Zealand and Australia.

Would love to meet: Amelia Earhart. I’d like to find out what happened–I’m curious.

Favorite gift: For one of my birthdays, my husband put together a book with letters from friends and family and people from college, and a compilation of pictures he had found from throughout my entire life. So he made a very special book that sort of synopsized several different things. That was very time-consuming, but a very exceptional, memorable gift.

Dream concert: We’ve had a lot of dream concerts here! Alison Krauss and Union Station…if you go to Opening Nights, you’re gonna get some dream concerts.


Name: Lindsey Magura

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Close-knit community. I just moved here in March, and I’m already ingrained in the community. People are open, they’re friendly, so it’s been great to be embraced somewhere.

Would take an all-expenses paid vacation to: Australia. That’s my next destination. I’ve always wanted to go, but it takes a little bit of time–I’d want to spend two to three weeks there and life just hasn’t allowed me to do that lately! I love scuba diving, and I love the way of life there.

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Close-knit community. I just moved here in March, and I’m already ingrained in the community. People are open, they’re friendly, so it’s been great to be embraced somewhere.

Would love to meet: Mahatma Gandhi.

Favorite gift: An annual coffee mug that my sister creates from photos of the previous year. I use it all year long and I get to look at it all the time.


Name: Heather Mayo

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Family.

Favorite gift: My electric guitar when I was 10 years old.

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: Argentina. I love the beautiful landscape there, just from photos I’ve seen, and the culture and the food are great.

Dream concert: I just saw Coldplay this summer–they’re my favorite band, so that’s my dream concert!

Would love to live in the world of: An American in Paris. I love that movie. Just living in that time–with the art, the romance, and all that.


Name: Slaton Murray

Would love to meet: Dr. King. He made a serious impact and had a vision that was light years beyond his time. The leadership he showed during the Civil Rights movement is moving for everyone that’s ever been on this planet.

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: Japan to go snow skiing. They have really good snow skiing there–crazy snow.

Favorite gift: My first car from my grandparents. When I was 16, my grandad gave me his old Ford Explorer, so being able to drive right at 16 was pretty great.

Dream concert: I’ve heard the Rolling Stones were really good in their prime, so probably that. But nowadays, I’d love to see Tame Impala. I have some friends that have seen them and they said it was an incredible show.


Name: Douglas Sanders

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Amazing. How much it has to offer – its activities and hobbies and things I like to do. For me personally it’s hunting 30 minutes north and fishing 30 minutes south, and everything in between that’s daily lifestyle–eating and work and everything like that, I just love it.

Favorite gift: A great family. I have a fantastic nuclear family unit, being the youngest of five.

Dream concert: Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Love ‘em.

Would love to meet: Arnold S. He’s got an amazing story from where he started in Austria to joining an all-men’s Austrian army–everything he did for bodybuilding wasn’t allowed, and he took certain risks. He’s got a really amazing story before he got political.

Ideal Tallahassee date night: Getting food to-go, along with a pop-up table and a white linen, and going to the Miccosukee Greenway at night on a clear night and doing a candlelit dinner.


Name: Rose Skepple

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Eclectic.

Favorite gift: Well….I liked the chocolate-covered strawberries I just got as a birthday present.

Would love to meet: Maya Angelou.

Ideal Tallahassee date night: Food Truck Thursday.


Name: Daniel Wagnon

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: A sense of home.

Favorite gift: Children.

Dream concert: I’ve been to my dream concert. It’s the Allman Brothers at Fox Theater in Midtown Atlanta.  

Ideal Tallahassee date night: Going to one of our established, fantastic breweries and having a pint, then going to Bella Bella because my wife and I love Italian and it’s been kind of a roots place we’ve been going to since we moved here from Atlanta in 2003. And having a one-on-one, catching our breath, reconnect date night. Then heading home not too late, since the kids get up early. It’s nice to hit the time-out button and reconnect with the person who made it all possible with you as a partner.

Would love to meet: Stonewall Jackson. He grew up a very poor farmer in Virginia and was one of the greatest Confederate generals–but he did it out of a sense of duty. He never owned a slave or supported the component of slavery. He did it out of a sense of duty to what he saw as his country, the Confederacy. A second one is an individual named Nicholas Trist, who negotiated the sale in Mexico in 1848 of modern-day California, and Arizona, and New Mexico, and all the way up to Oregon, so almost a quarter of our country, without the blessing of the president at the time. It happened to be one week before the gold was found in California, which created our economic base and gold standard we have today. And I’ll give you another one: Robert Woodruff, founder of Coca-Cola and former CEO. He’s given more money than anyone in the history of Georgia, to charities. And it wasn’t until years after he died that they realized he had donated all this money, because he wrote the checks anonymously.


Name: Marcia Warfel

Tallahassee in one word/phrase: Community.

Would take an all-expenses-paid vacation to: Somewhere in Europe. I think it encompasses community, diversity, things to do, places to explore, and opportunities for exchange.

Dream concert: Barbra Streisand.

Wants to live inside the world of: Pride and Prejudice.

Favorite gift: Recently, I have to say, I’ve been pretty pleased with my Apple watch!