A lifelong Imperial Polk Countian, I was born and raised in Lakeland and spent summers in Lake Wales on the lakes near Camp Mack. I attended public schools and graduated from Lake Gibson High School in 1988. Go Braves! (although I had many friends from Lakeland and Kathleen too). After graduation, I attended Polk Community College, and then on to University of South Florida, while holding down full time jobs; finally earning my bachelors in 1999.
Also during that time, I married my soulmate Jay Hannifan in 1992. We then added our twin sons, Nathan and Noah, to our family in 2001 through adoption. Over the past 28 years of marriage it has been our greatest blessing and privilege to raise our two wonderful young men who are now 21 years old!
There have been many jobs across my career and resulting in a diverse and robust spectrum of experience. I’ve been employed by businesses large and small, family owned and corporate, local and international. I’ve worked for minimum wage, earned six figures and everything in between. As a licensed Realtor, I am now a small business owner. Regardless of the job, I was chosen to work in areas with high demands with high expectations. Exceeding those expectations and then documenting those outcomes is what I became known for and what I do best!
My passion for community organizing grew while attending, and on to then facilitating an advocacy training program called Partners in Policy-making. I worked for seven years training citizens on how to advocate and partner with policy makers for legislation and funding. I mastered special education law and put it to use advocating for students with disabilities while collaborating with public school systems. This work was not only very rewarding but also reignited my love for our Constitution and the framework that our founders provided to keep government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
After joining the non-partisan education movement called The Abigail Adams Project, I attended numerous training’s about grassroots advocacy, precinct organizing, candidate education, and get out the vote initiatives. Putting my training into action, over the past 15 years I have worked seven election cycles for many candidates in a variety of roles from federal to local races. With each election cycle, I have continued to learn and grow in leadership roles.
When not on the campaign trail, you’ll find me out and about across Polk County running with my friends! I’ve completed four full marathons, over thirty half-marathons, and countless 5k, 10k, & 15ks over the past ten years.
When I’m not running, I enjoy spending time with my family in my butterfly garden, at Disney, or on a cruise! We’ve also worked very hard over the past 15 years renovating our home built in 1916 in the historic area Lake Morton in Downtown Lakeland. Jay and I have earned several awards including Historic Preservation Award and City of Lakeland’s Residential Beautification Award.