Michele G. Johnson was recognized for community leadership and volunteer service during The Tampa Connection’s 24th Annual Graduation Ceremony recently. Ms. Johnson, Class of 2009, joined the ranks of more than nearly 1,500 professionals who have graduated from The Tampa Connection since 1985. The Tampa Connection is an all-volunteer, nonprofit leadership program that prepares mid-level professionals for active volunteerism and leadership in the Tampa Bay community.
In addition to workshops introducing participants to local and regional issues, The Tampa Connection class members partner with nonprofit organizations to develop and implement comprehensive service projects that address current community needs, donating more than 1,500 hours of volunteer service hours annually during the nine-month program. Service projects are selected based on current community needs and often continue after each class ends. Ms. Johnson participated as part of the Blue Team in a service project for Angels Unaware, Inc. Ms. Johnson was voted Blue Team Member of the year by her fellow team members.
Also named during graduation was The Tampa Connection’s Citizen of the Year, recognizing a previous graduate who has truly epitomized the importance of community service in the business community throughout their career. This year’s Citizen of the Year is Suzanne Murchland, director of community relations and executive director of the Rays Baseball Foundation. Murchland is a Tampa Connection Alumni and also served on the Board of Directors. Murchland implements and manages all community outreach and Rays Baseball Foundation programs, which invested more than $600,000 in youth and education programs in 2008. Past honorees include Gordon Gillette, Jim Shimberg, Jr., Simon Canasi and Betty Tribble.
Applications are now available for The Tampa Connection Class of 2010. For more information, visit www.tampaconnection.org or call (813) 317-3624.