March 24, 2019

Rising Young Professionals

Florida's young professionals are making their presence felt in government, non-profits and business.

Barbara Miracle | 10/1/2009
MARIA BATES, 34, St. Petersburg

JOB: Executive director, Project Patchwork; lawyer in private practice

WHILE STILL IN LAW SCHOOL, Maria Bates launched Project Patchwork, a non-profit adoption agency that provides counseling for birth parents and home studies for prospective adoptive families. She became interested in adoption after volunteering at an orphanage in Bolivia during college. The agency has completed 25 adoptions, including placing children from foster care. “I feel very called to make a difference,” she says. “It’s not a job for me.” Bates also has a private law practice, where she specializes in adoption, family law and non-profits, but she says that work is separate from Project Patchwork, which has an outside attorney.

Community Activities: Active in juvenile justice and human rights issues

[Photo: Mark Wemple]

[Photo: Peter Barrett]


JOB: Founder of You Ask, We Tutor, a tutoring service staffed by students

JAY SHECHTMAN'S entrepreneurial vision paid off big this year when the National Federation of Independent Business gave him a $10,000 scholarship and named him the 2009 National Federation of Independent Business/Visa Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Shechtman started the business four years ago on his own with a focus on math and Spanish tutoring. He later added eight to 10 tutors in other subjects. Once Shechtman was sure he had the tutoring system down, he made up business cards, ran classified ads, developed a website on his own and visited with guidance counselors and teachers at his school and other schools in the area. “I did it 100% on my own,” he says.

charges $25 for the first hour and $20 for the second hour in a tutoring session, less than half of the going rate for teachers who tutor in Broward County. “My goal was not to rake in a lot of dollars. My goal was to build a solid business,” he says. Because he will be attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Shechtman tapped a trusted friend to run the day-to-day operations this year.

NOEMI COLTEA, 25, West Palm Beach

JOB: Associate director of development
for Boys Town/South Florida

IN 2008, Noemi Coltea’s fund raising made it possible for the non-profit group where she works to help more than 4,000 children through youth care and healthcare programs that include intervention, assessment and in-home crisis management. Coltea, who joined the organization three years ago, coordinates the annual Crystal Ball fund-raiser at The Breakers resort in Palm Beach. She also oversees the Thanksgiving Basket Brigade, which last year provided baskets of Thanksgiving fixings for more than 300 families.


[Photo: Haley Lamb]

Tags: Politics & Law, Banking & Finance, Government/Politics & Law

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