The Power of LAI comes to Florida!

Article authored by:

Holly Elmore - LAI At-Large Member & LAI Assistant Communications Director

Holly's eclectic career path includes multiple facets ranging from the corporate arena (Arthur Andersen Auditor & Trammell Crow Controller) to the foodservice industry (owner of a corporate catering business & restaurants) to sustainability-industry leader (Zero Waste Zones & Elemental Impact Founder).  In addition, Holly is an avid nature & documentary photographer and respected journalist with prominent articles and photographs featured in national publications.

After residing in Atlanta for 40 years. LAI Global Assistant Communication Director and former LAI Atlanta Chapter Board Member, Holly Elmore returned to her hometown, Sarasota, Florida in 2021. With no current chapter in Florida, Holly established an environmental Suncoast Leadership Group (SLG) of At-Large LAI members.

LAI Suncoast Leadership Group

Established in late 2021, the SLG consists of prominent environmental leaders in the Sarasota area with a stated commitment to the economic impact of water quality on the region. Located on the Central Florida Gulf of Mexico Coast, Sarasota is a gem in The Sunshine State. 

With amazing barrier-island beaches (Siesta Key was named #1 beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor,) and lovely intracoastal waterways, Sarasota's economy is water-quality based and driven by tourism.

 A poignant quote by Luna Leopold sets the theme for the SLG:

The health of our waters depends upon how well we live on the land

The SLG orchestrated an impressive February 17, 2023 LAI Coastal-Water Quality: Challenges, Solutions, and Economic Impact Global Webinar. The global webinar was the second program in an eighteen-month series about water and land economics around the globe hosted by the LAI Global Water Group.

Watch the webinar recording on LAI TV to learn about Sarasota’s successful collaborative water-quality projects and programs; the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) Magazine article, Coastal-Water Quality: Challenges, Solutions, and Economic Impact, provides an in-depth synopsis of the webinar content; panelist PPT presentations are available for download within the article copy.

The RiA article, Coastal Water Quality: land-based activity determines the quality & related economic impact, showcases many of the impressive water-quality initiatives accomplished and in-process by SLG members.

LAI Global Chapter Development Support
With the SLG’s prestigious membership and above-mentioned accomplishments, LAI Global Leadership committed to support and invest in the development of a formal LAI Suncoast Chapter.

LAI President Kathy King traveled from Los Angeles and LAI Past President, LAI Fellow, and New Chapter Development Chair Steven Gragg from El Paso, Texas to support the underdevelopment chapter. Over their three-day Sarasota visit, a total of 13 new LAI members were inducted with several in individual ceremonies. The visit culminated in an impressive event hosted at the Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) Finish Tower. NBP is an internationally renowned rowing facility, known as one of the top three rowing facilities in the world.

The November 28 event was attended by 40-plus SLG members as well as potential new members. As the event keynote speaker, MOTE Marine CEO Dr. Michael Crosby shared MOTE Marine's history, dynamic impact, and the status of the MOTE Aquarium under construction. The Finish Tower event facility overlooks the MOTE Aquarium construction site.

The RiA article, The Power of LAI comes to Florida, recaps the empowering three days; the Holly Elmore Images album, LAI Suncoast Chapter (underdevelopment) Event, showcases the November 28 event while the LAI Suncoast Tours, Meetings, and Inductions album chronicles the plethora of activities during Steve and Kathy's three-day Sarasota visit.  

Chapter Development
With LAI Global support and guidance, the SLG will expand membership to include esteemed professionals in the multitude of land economics professions. Additionally, at least quarterly, the SLG will host a social-networking event, meeting, and/or tour for existing and potential new members. 

Once the Suncoast LG meets the established chapter-development protocol, LAI will charter a Suncoast Chapter and continue to support the young chapter. It is thrilling to bring "The Power of LAI" to the Florida Central Gulf Coast!

A group photo completed the induction ceremony.
Pictured left to right, front row: Mary Dougherty, Jane Grandbouche, Jan Pitchford, Kathy King; back row: Steve Gragg, Charles Reith, Tim Rumage, John McCarthy, Mary Anne Bowie, Bridgett Luther.

As the event keynote speaker, MOTE Marine CEO Dr. Michael Crosby showcased MOTE Marine's history, impressive impact, and the status of the MOTE Aquarium under construction.
Prior to the event activities, LAI Fellow Steve Gragg poses with the world renowned Nathan Benderson Park rowing facility in the background.
The inaugural Suncoast LAI Chapter (under development) event was well attended with an array of diverse professionals. LAI International President Kathy King is ready to give Dave Tomasko his certificate and pin once the induction ceremony is complete.
Before settling into a lovely lunch, the group appreciated the amazing bay view at Spanish Point Preserve.
The superb Spanish Point tour ended with a group photo. Pictured from left to right: Mary Dougherty, John McCarthy, Kathy King, and Steve Gragg.

Posing in front of the "Siesta #1 Beach in the USA!" sign is an obligatory photo op for Sarasota visitors. Steve Gragg was happy to oblige!

Located on the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, the Rod & Reel Pier restaurant built in 1947 was the first stop on the Sarasota-barrier-Island tour. A visit to Turtle Beach at sunset closed the productive day.

All photos are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.



KeyNotes is the online publication of Lambda Alpha International and contains articles written by the members, chronicles chapter activities and successes, and celebrates member awards and accomplishments. Posts are distributed to the global membership and published within LAI’s social-media network. Check out the latest articles today!

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