Florida State Parks Foundation Staff

Julia Gill WoodwardChief Executive Officer

Julia Gill Woodward is a ninth-generation Floridian whose love for our state and our award-winning park system runs deep. She is honored to serve as the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer as we seek to help protect, preserve and sustain our state’s natural treasures for generations to come.

Julia is a dynamic leader with more than ten years of campaign and government experience. She has worked across the spectrum in Florida politics – including managing multiple campaigns, serving as a Congressional Chief of Staff in Washington and most recently, managing Gwen Graham’s gubernatorial bid. 

Campaigns under her leadership have been recognized nationally as the best-run operations in their cycle. In 2014, Roll Call named the campaign she managed one of “The Best Congressional Campaigns of 2014” and the Cook Political Report ranked the campaign as one of the “Most Impressive Campaigns”. The Tampa Bay Times even named Julia the “newest star consultant in Florida."

In addition to her campaign and governmental management experience, Julia has helped raise more than $25 million dollars for candidates and organizations throughout the course of her career.

Julia is a graduate of Florida State University. She currently resides in Tallahassee with her husband, Paul, and two sons, John and Mark. She enjoys hiking with her family, craft beer and watching the latest mountaineering documentary.

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Paula Russo -  Grants and Programs Administrator

Paula's family moved to Florida from Long Island, New York in 1956. "Before the age of air-conditioning and when it wasn't uncommon for a moccasin or rattlesnake to cross your path -- a much different Florida than most people know today,” she says. While she is not a native Floridian by birth she thinks of herself as one by choice and believes there is no better place to live, then, or now.

Most of her working life was spent employed by a growing veterinary practice in South Florida where she began as a ‘night attendant’ cleaning cages and mopping floors eventually becoming hospital administrator for her employer’s chain of five practices.

In 1989, Paula next went to work for the Center for Independent Living of Palm Beach County as Director of Advocacy and Community Education. She rallied local support for the successful passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Then, conducted numerous presentations, training's, and surveys for local businesses and government entities to help them understand and comply with the new law.

Moving to Broward County in 2001 her most recent employment was with Broward County Parks and Recreation at the Anne Kolb Nature Center. She conducted environmental education programs for children and adults to teach the value of mangrove estuaries. 

Paula has been involved with the Florida State Parks Foundation almost since its inception in 1993 and served many terms on the board of directors. "I am passionate about protecting the environment. No matter where you live or travel in Florida there is a Florida State Park nearby. Lands set aside and managed for preservation and for the benefit and enjoyment of Florida's citizens and its many visitors.  We must work to make sure this is always so."

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Lauren Kelly-Manders - Director of Institutional Giving

Lauren Kelly-Manders is a native Floridian with a sincere passion for environmental preservation. She has an appreciation for the extraordinary biodiversity in our state, and credits much of the environmental education of her youth to time spent in state parks. She feels fortunate to be able to expand this interest in her role as Director of Institutional Giving.  

Lauren has eight years of combined experience in higher education program management at the FSU College of Law and grants administration in FSU’s Office of Research during two years of record-breaking research funding. She is a longtime volunteer for various equity, empowerment, and social justice causes and brings the same enthusiasm to her environmental advocacy for Florida’s most precious natural resources: our state parks. 

She is a two-time alumna of Florida State University and lives in Tallahassee with her partner, Rebecca. Outside of volunteering, Lauren takes advantage of local bike paths and running trails and loves to spend time reading, gardening, learning about native plants, and photographing landscapes and wildlife.

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