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2020 Bob Graham Center Awards for Excellence in Public Service
October 16 at 11:00 am
Celebrate the outstanding achievements of the 2020 Florida Citizen of the Year, Ms. Alex Sink, and the 2020 Brian Dassler Young Floridian of the Year, Mr. G.C. Murray II, during the Bob Graham Center Awards for Excellence in Public Service. The ceremony will include appearances and brief remarks by each of the honorees, a public question-and-answer session, and video presentations showcasing the impact of the awardees’ civic engagement efforts. Graham Center Director Matt Jacobs will present the awards on behalf of former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.
This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Note: The Bob Graham Center for Public Service is committed to ensuring its programs are accessible to all individuals. For questions about accessibility, or to request accommodations please contact Leah Honaker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 846-1575. Requests should be made as soon as possible, and preferably one week prior to this event.
Ms. Sink’s recognition as the Citizen of the Year exemplifies the Graham Center’s ideals of service, leadership and civic engagement, according to attorney and Florida Rep. Ben Diamond of St. Petersburg, who nominated Sink for the award.
“She’s been a trailblazer in business and politics and has dedicated her life’s work to making sure our young Floridians have a better chance to succeed by creating equal opportunities for them,” Diamond said.
Many Florida voters will remember electing Sink to statewide office in 2006 as Chief Financial Officer, a race she won with more than 53 percent of the vote. Four years later, despite skillful guidance of the state’s treasury and other public funds through a national recession, she lost the Governor’s race by just 1 percent of the vote to Rick Scott.
Before seeking elected office, Ms. Sink worked 26 years in the banking industry, ascending to the presidency of Florida operations for NationsBank (now Bank of America). At a time when few women held senior executive leadership roles in business, Ms. Sink championed gender, race and economic diversity in the industry as well as in the many community organizations where she volunteered.
Since retirement from business and public life, Ms. Sink has founded the Florida Next Foundation to attract tech entrepreneurs to the state, and been active with Junior Achievement and Tampa Bay Wave, a nonprofit accelerator that helps tech entrepreneurs build, launch and grow their startups into breakout businesses. She also founded Ruth’s List, a political organization that supports electing Democratic pro-choice women to all levels of office in Florida.
Sink’s dedication to communities across Florida has made her a popular figure in political and civic circles, Diamond said, known for her ability to forge relationships across political boundaries.
“Alex is one of the few people who is well-respected across partisan lines and across industries,” Diamond said. “She is a consummate connector and volunteer—always trying to bring organizations and people together to better serve their communities,” he added.
Murray’s dedication to revitalizing the civic culture of Florida embodies the Graham Center mission, according to nonprofit executive and Florida Rep. Ramon Alexander of Gadsden and Leon counties, who nominated Murray for the award.
“He is a champion for change and there is a great intersection between his work and the Center’s mission and purpose,” Alexander said. “It is not only his efforts to give back to those less fortunate but his determination to inspire others to do the same and build our communities from the inside out.”
Murray, 33, is president and CEO of the Innovative Community Engagement Foundation, a nonprofit that uses unique approaches to inspire volunteers, many who are attorneys, to become more involved with community service. The organization is headquartered in Tallahassee and has opened chapters in Jacksonville, Miami, the Gulf Coast, Orlando, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Through his foundation, Murray has spearheaded countless mentorship, service and professional development events for youth, like the Backpack Bash, which provides school supplies and food for thousands of families in need.
Raised in Miami, Murray learned a tradition of service early on by helping his father assemble holiday gift baskets for persons in need. In high school, he was encouraged by his mother to start the “When No One is Looking” project to collect food and clothing in spring and summer for families when the holiday season donations ran out. The project is ongoing; the chapter that Murray organized in the Big Bend area has annually collected thousands of dollars’ worth of used professional clothing.
Murray earned an undergraduate degree from Florida International University’s Honors College in 2008, then a law degree from Florida State University, where he was a Mason Ladd Scholar and a Calvin Patterson Scholar. In 2016, the American Bar Association recognized him with an “On the Rise” award, given annually to the nation’s top 40 young lawyers under 40. Presently, Murray is president and CEO of Association GC, a full-service association management firm, and Special Counsel and membership director of the Florida Justice Association.