Board of Directors
Currently, our board consists mostly of our founding members and staff, which means that, in accordance with federal law, we will serve as volunteers until we can replace ourselves with citizens who feel passionately about OCN’s mission. See our biographies on the Meet our team page.
- Megan Stokes – President
- Isaac Benjamin Babcock – Vice President
- Jenny A. Babcock – Secretary
- Christopher Jepson – Authorized Representative
- Alex Babcock – Authorized Representative
Community Advisory Board
The CAB helps guide OCN’s coverage plans in Greater Oviedo and Winter Springs, offers new perspectives on community issues, identifies any biases or inaccuracies in OCN’s work, and reports any resident grievances so that the newsroom can make it right.
Members of this board serve as OCN ambassadors, spreading the word about our mission, and connecting residents with the newsroom through our survey, social media, newsletter and events.
CAB members also serve as OCN’s eyes and ears on the ground, sending story ideas and ideas for services and events that are needed in the community, and gaining feedback from residents on the newsroom’s work.
Members may have the opportunity to write opinion pieces for the newsroom, with guidelines in place to ensure contributions are not self-serving and meet journalistic standards. There will also be opportunities to participate in community projects that OCN creates. For instance, CAB members can nominate or even write pieces about citizens who are doing good things in the area.
How you can get involved
We invite members of the community to apply for a one-year term on the board. The board will be capped at 10 members.
We wish to achieve diversity in age, ethnicity, socioeconomics, geographic location, political ideologies and professional backgrounds. Our goal is to include people on the board who don’t normally engage with us to help give a voice to underrepresented people in the community.
The CAB meets once every two months on the Lawton House porch. The day and time is currently set on the first Monday of the month at 10 a.m. but that is subject to change based on availability.
Here are the CAB requirements:
- Members must live in Greater Oviedo/Winter Springs.
- Members must disclose any potential conflicts of interest and be willing to have those be made public.
- Members must be willing to meet virtually or in person at least quarterly and be available for occasional group chats or conference calls. Most communication to board members will be digital.
- Members must have respect for others on the board and their ideas and opinions.
- Members should have a deep interest in enriching their community and sharing ideas and information in order to form a feeling of connection among neighbors.
- Members must be a current financial supporter (made a monetary donation to OCN within the last 12 months of application date)
To apply, send your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application window is February-March annually.
Meet Oviedo Community News’ 2022-2023 CAB
Bob Putnam has lived in Winter Springs for 30 years. He worked as a professional engineer for 45 years. He’s retired and serves as the chair of The Oviedo Preservation Project (TOPP), a member of the Oviedo Historical Society, the director of the annual TOPP cemetery tour and 5K, The Rising, a period demonstrator/instructor as a Colonial-era broom maker, and a dramatic performer/lecturer for U.S. history. He’s an active volunteer in church and in Central Florida theater, and he loves outdoor sports.
Laura Leigh Wood
Laura Leigh believes in giving back to her community. She is humbled by her appointment as president of the Winter Springs Rotary Club. Professionally, Laura Leigh Wood has earned the prestigious honor of the REMAX Platinum Club.
Gerry has been living in Seminole County for 43 years, 27 of them in Winter Springs. He has served on the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in various capacities, including board president and chair of several committees. He served on the Leadership Seminole board, and has served in many capacities with the Winter Springs Rotary Club, including club president. Gerry has three grown children, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. He taught at Valencia Community College for 25 years as an adjunct professor and retired as a Master Sergeant from the Marine Corps Reserves. Gerry holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in business administration.
Bettie moved to Winter Springs from Syracuse, N.Y. nearly 35 years ago. Retired from the insurance industry, Bettie is very active at Antioch Missionary Baptist as a deaconess, secretary of the Usher Board and Benevolence Committee member. Pre-pandemic, she organized a breast cancer awareness fundraiser at Antioch for four years. She’s an 18-year survivor. Bettie spends her days helping her neighbors in a variety of ways, including rental and housing assistance. Last year, she went door to door in Oviedo, signing more than 300 people up for the COVID vaccine, either because they had trouble doing it themselves or did not have Internet access.
Tom has resided in Central Florida since attending Rollins College in 1975. After living in Winter Park for a few years, Carey and his wife, Robin, moved to a home on five acres of land near the University of Central Florida in 1983. Along with building their house, raising their three kids and working as a union electrician for 12 years (at Disney World for most of those), Carey founded and ran a community market garden called Sundew Gardens. As so frequently happens in Central Florida, Carey’s homestead and a big part of their former neighborhood was bought by a developer two years ago, sending them to their current home in Winter Springs. His recent foray into retirement includes extensively remodeling and building additions to his house, growing a garden and dabbling in photography and several forms of arts and crafts.
Connor has been a lifelong Oviedo resident, having attended Partin Elementary, Lawton Chiles Middle School and Hagerty High School. He majors in photonic sciences and engineering with concurrent minors in physics, mathematics, and pre-law at the University of Central Florida. Connor believes that the passion and innovation of Oviedo’s youth has untapped potential that can help shape the city’s future. He’s been appointed by the Oviedo City Council to serve on the city’s Sustainability Task Force. He serves on the Oviedo Historical Society’s board of directors, manages the Oviedo Farmers Market and frequently engages with Oviedo’s youth as a mentor and volunteer at local schools.
Marcie Gumieny is proud to call Oviedo home and loves everything it has to offer. Marcie grew up in the Chicago area and has been a Florida resident for 11 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising/public relations from the University of Central Florida. She earned her real estate license in 2019 and sells homes in the Oviedo area. She has nearly a decade of experience in industrial, foodservice, and beauty industry sales. Marcie has been married to her husband, Drew, since 2016. They have two boys, 2-year-old Archer, and 1-year-old Beau. Marcie and Drew enjoy traveling, gourmet cooking, entertaining family and friends, and updating and decorating their home.
Karen moved to Chuluota in 2001 and later to Oviedo, where she’s lived for 18 years. She retired from the University of Central Florida after serving as a college-level communications director for 16 years. Karen is an avid nature buff and is nearing completion of the Florida Master Naturalist Program. She’s also a newly hired contract instructor for the Seminole County Natural Lands department. Karen earned her bachelor and master’s degrees in the biological sciences.
Carolyn has lived in Central Florida for nearly half of her life and is most proud to call Oviedo home where she and her husband Mark, along with their daughter, Brinley, reside. Carolyn has worked at Full Sail University for 18 years in the student services division supporting students dreams on their educational journey. She loves writing, and especially rhyming, and has published her first children’s book titled “I’m a Unicorn with One Red Wing”. Carolyn aims to inspire young readers to think about their actions, care for others, accept their differences, love themselves, and leave a legacy of kindness. Carolyn enjoys traveling, bike riding, and trying new things, most recently ballet and kayaking.
2021-2022 CAB Members
Bob spent 28 years in the Air Force and retired in 1994 as a lieutenant colonel. In the years since, he’s been involved in numerous humanitarian organizations promoting international peace and reconciliation through education and dialogue for the peaceful resolution of conflict. He served three terms as a Winter Springs city commissioner (1997-2008). He and his wife, Margo, have resided in the Orlando area for the past 30 years and have three grown sons.
Dawn Raquel Jensen
Dawn Raquel Jensen, EMBA, is the former Oviedo Historical Society president and was an OHS board member for 10 years. Dawn brings more than 24 years of business marketing and training experience, working directly for start-up entrepreneurs and business owners to establish and grow brands. A Navy veteran, she currently resides as the VP of Customer Experience for Brand Manifest, and is an Adjunct Professor in Social Media for Seminole State College.
Madison has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones since 2014 and opened her own branch in 2016 in Winter Springs. She sits on the board of directors for HOPE Helps and the PARC’s Foundation, and is a member of the Winter Springs Rotary Club.
Vertrilla Kathy Price Hunt is a retired internship coordinator at Valencia College. She serves as president of Oviedo Citizens in Action, an organization that provides a voice to the underserved in the community. She’s lived in Oviedo for 29 years.
Hunt serves on the Florida African American Student Association board and the Oviedo Police Foundation board, she’s president of Mt. Sinai’s Shepherd’s Care Ministry, and she’s a member of the national group Be the Bridge.