April 24, 2018

Celebrating 50 Years

Trendsetters: Today and Beyond

High-impact leaders who are making a difference in Florida and beyond -- but whose biggest contributions may be yet to come. The governors also make their picks.

Mike Vogel | 9/1/2008
Lalita Booth
Lalita Booth

Self-Made Success
Lalita Booth

» Lalita Booth’s resume says it all: By age 27, the UCF student went from being a homeless, single mom to a student at Seminole Community College, where she won a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship and transferred to UCF. She dual-majored in finance and accounting. Reunited with her 8½-year-old son — who was living with his grandparents for seven months while Booth got on her feet — she’s been a congressional intern, has won a Truman scholarship and founded Lighthouse for Dreams, a program to teach teens to manage money. She also has worked to reform welfare-to-work restrictions that led her to turn down promotions so she wouldn’t lose benefits. She holds UCF’s Order of Pegasus, the university’s top student honor. She’s now married and hopes to attend Harvard’s public policy/MBA program after she graduates next year.

David Bankston
David Bankston
Online Neighborhoods
David Bankston

» Naples-based Neighborhood America’s patent-pending software was used by the Municipal Art Society of New York to gather thoughts from people about how to redevelop Ground Zero. It was used by the National Park Service in drawing on the public for ideas for the United 93 memorial in Pennsylvania and by TV networks to get audience feedback in the form of text messages, images and video on important issues. Chief technology officer David Bankston, 44, co-founded the 67-employee company in 1999 to change how companies and government communicate with the public. It hosts and operates software for clients over the internet that absorbs e-mails and comments, analyzes them and presents the results. It allows businesses to build online communities to learn from the “collective intelligence of customers.” Bankston was named a “modern-day technology leader” by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology Magazine.

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Fort Myers based drone business earns first local FAA exemption
Fort Myers based drone business earns first local FAA exemption

Soaring Sky, a local drone company is the first Fort Myers based company to earn an FAA exemption to fly commercially. Hear general manager, Ryan Cowell talk about the business. 

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