President Lynn Gager-Cherry founded Carpe Diem Community Solutions in April 2003.
Carpe Diem Community Solutions was formed to provide solutions and build communities and organizations.
The Carpe Diem Community Solutions team are veterans in the field. We have worked at a local, regional, state and national basis. The depth and breadth of our knowledge will help your community or organization reap truly competitive advantages.
Lynn Cherry, President, Carpe Diem Community Solutions
With a heart for communities and public service, Lynn Cherry started her 30+year career working with not-for-profit organizations. Working as a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and then a caseworker for a United Way referral agency, she saw the need for better health care and social services for our nation’s most vulnerable people. Her passion for communities grew from these experiences and led her to a career in higher education.
While working at Gulf Coast Community College (GCCC) in Panama City, Florida, she pioneered and created the first partnership between the Kettering Foundation and a community college. This partnership led to GCCC being nationally recognized as the leading training site for the Kettering Foundation. Serving as GCCC’s director of its Public Policy Institute (PPI) for 11 years, Lynn was responsible for training moderators for deliberative democracy community forums. In addition to training, Lynn provided the leadership for over one-hundred community forums in Florida with topics ranging from the environment to poverty. Expanding beyond the local community, she led the college’s efforts in supporting the Kettering Foundation’s United States – China Relations issue framing, and community forums were held across the United States and China.
As a companion to the PPI, Lynn created and directed the Kellogg Foundation’s national award-winning Citizen Leadership Institute (CLI), a community college and statewide citizen-based leadership training program. The CLI won numerous awards including the Bellwether Award for Instructional Excellence (League of Innovation in the Community College), the Exemplary Practice Award for Community Service, the Adult and Continuing Education Commission Award (Florida Association of Community Colleges), the Outstanding Leadership Program Award (Association of Leadership Educators), the David Pierce Work Force Development Award for Organizational Leadership (National Institute for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness), the Exemplary Program Award, Region IV (National Council for Continuing Education and Training), the Exemplary Practice Award, and the Curriculum and Instruction Commission Award for Academic Excellence (Florida Association of Community Colleges).
As a girl scout, Lynn developed a passion for Florida state parks that continues to this day. In 1995, she led the state effort to acquire and support the development of Camp Helen State Park in Bay County, Florida, leading to the first partnership between a state park and a community college in the U.S. Lynn is the recipient of The Nature Conversancy Florida Chapter Grassroots Leader, the Bay County Audubon Society Conservationist of the Year, the Florida Parks Citizen Support Organization of the Year, and the Florida Parks “Best in the District” awards. Additionally, Lynn has served in a leadership capacity, including president of the Friends of Camp Helen State Park for over ten years, during which time The Friends of Camp Helen State Park received the “Best in the State” award. She recently expanded her volunteer commitment to Florida state parks and now serves on the statewide Friends of Florida State Parks Foundation and advocates for recreation and education programs. Lynn recently received a certificate of achievement for over 20-years of volunteer service to Florida state parks.
After a successful career in higher education, Lynn created a small business to continue her quest in helping communities. Carpe Diem Community Solutions began in 2003. With a “seize the day” spirit, Lynn has served as public information officer, trainer, program developer, facilitator, and leader. Her extensive experience in moderating and facilitating group discussion encompasses focus groups, board retreats, strategic long-range planning, visioning, and community forums. Lynn has a solid track record and the unique ability to plan and implement the appropriate public education awareness tools and involvement experiences. She creates public engagement and awareness strategies that focus on and garner community approval. Flexible methodologies are adapted to meet the needs of the community and the site. She has successfully grown a client base of governmental entities, non-profits, and community organizations.
Lynn has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Florida State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Child Development from Auburn University. She is certified by the National Charrette Institute as a facilitator in charrette systems which is used to support community decision-making.
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Kathy joined the Carpe Diem Community Solutions team in 2015 where she serves as the Public Information Associate working on the 23rd Street Flyover Florida Department of Transportation construction project. She is originally from upstate New York and relocated to Panama City Beach in 2011 having held communication and public relations positions in Tampa, Atlanta, and Reno. She is a cum laude graduate of Oswego State University with a degree in Communications and has worked in many marketing and advertising arenas including advertising agencies, television stations (senior account representative, digital sales director and on-air personality) and private businesses. In addition to being a graduate of the Leadership Bay class of 2016-2017, Kathy is a member of the Panama City Beach Rotary Club, Bay Chamber of Commerce, Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, Krewe of St. Andrews and Northstar Community Church.
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Angela joined the Carpe Diem Community Solutions team in January 2017 and serves as the Public Information Specialist for various PD&E and Design Florida Department of Transportation D3 projects. Prior to her position with Carpe Diem Community Solutions, she worked for over seven years for the Florida Department of Education in the Division of IT leading, planning, developing, and implementing best practices for various stakeholders, human resources, and for the contract management team. She is a State of Florida certified contract manager and successfully completed numerous State of Florida professional development programs and certifications. She is a Phi Theta Kappa graduate of Tallahassee State College.
Angela has always made it a priority to give back to her community by serving local community-based organizations. She is a member of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and serves on its Education Committee, Emerald Coast Woman’s Business Association, Emerald Coast Fellowship, and is a graduate of the Leadership Bay Class of 2017-2018.
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Missy joined Carpe Diem Community Solutions in April 2018 as a part-time Public Information Specialist after retiring from Florida State University Panama City as its Director of Student Affairs, Financial Aid and Enrollment Management. Prior to a career in higher education, she served in the U.S. Army as an ammunition officer, traveling between the US and Europe. Missy enjoyed a career in journalism and broadcast production & programming before entering the Army.
Since moving to the Panama City area, Missy has been a fellow for the Gulf Coast Community College Citizen Leadership Institute (CLI); the Public Policy Institute (PPI) in conjunction with The Kettering Foundation in Kettering, Ohio, and worked as a consultant for Carpe Diem Community Solutions since its inception. She has moderated and framed public policy concerns and has contributed to many community projects, such as the Bay County Florida Community Health Taskforce, the Better Bay County Twenty Year Visioning Plan, Bay County Land Use, Redistricting: Representing Bay County’s “Community” Of Concerns, Homelessness in Bay County project, the League of Women Voters Candidates’ forums, state legislative forums, and other area land use and visioning projects.
Missy has a Master’s Degree from Florida State University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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