The Fairchild Palms is the young professionals’ networking group of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The Fairchild Palms donates all fundraising proceeds to The Fairchild Challenge, a South Florida-based environmental education and conservation program credited for leading a green revolution in schools nationwide. The program is dedicated to fostering lifelong environmental awareness, scholarship and stewardship in teenagers, pre-teens and their families.
Full members of The Fairchild Palms are invited to join planning committees, attend members-only events, and work directly with the students of the Fairchild Challenge as part of our volunteer teams.
The Fairchild Challenge, the premier outreach program of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, combines hands-on research, creativity and a wide variety of engaging projects. It’s provided free every academic year to participating public and private schools to foster environmental awareness. Tens of thousands of students participate every year. In its eight years of existence, the Fairchild Challenge has become one of the most comprehensive and influential youth environmental education programs in the world. To learn more about The Fairchild Challenge, go to www.fairchildchallenge.org.
Alyssa Barton, President
Alyssa Barton is the sole member of Barton Law LLC, a firm established to provide legal assistance to other attorneys and law firms engaged in environmental and land use related law in South Florida. Her goal is to support the sustainable use of our natural environment and resources through the practice of environmental, land use, zoning, governmental, and real estate law. Alyssa has four years of combined litigation experience in property insurance and association law, three years of management experience, and more than four years of experience working on the Board of Directors of the Fairchild Palms where she has held roles of increasing responsibility, including Secretary and President. She worked for 18 months as a legal fellow with National Parks Conservation Association and also takes on pro-bono cases on behalf of local environmental non-profits in her spare time. Alyssa received her JD in 2009 from the University of Miami School of Law, where she was a Dean’s Merit Scholarship recipient all three years. Prior to moving to Miami in 2006, she lived in Annapolis, Maryland, and attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, on a full Humanities Scholarship, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in English and a Minor in writing. She has published one short story and writes and works on other projects in her spare time. She is an active volunteer with several other organizations, including Sierra Club, and enjoys the arts, camping and outdoor activities, event planning, and reading and collecting books.
Megan Cottle, Vice President
Megan Cottle is the Director of Development for Miami Theater Center, responsible for overseeing MTC’s fundraising, sponsorship, and special events. She comes to MTC from her most recent role as Executive Director of The Alabama Ballet. Prior to her role at The Alabama Ballet, she served as Associate Development Director at the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Cottle is a proud member of the Americans for the Arts, Public Policy Research Council, National Grant Writers Association, Junior League, Fairchild Palms and American Fundraising Professionals. She holds a BA from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide Roll), MPA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Go Blazers!), is a member of both National Alumni Societies.
Monica Ochaney, Treasurer
Monica Ochaney, a Chicago native having lived on both the east and west coasts is a Miami resident and an environmental and sustainability consultant. She is a Boston University alumna that came to Miami as an Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellow to pursue graduate studies that included the University of Miami and Florida International University faculty. Her passions include green business growth, sustainability strategies and encouraging tomorrow’s young leaders to help achieve a greener planet today. After working with several climate change task forces she continues to volunteer time to environmental professional organizations and enjoys giving back to the community by working with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. While her interests in the outdoors, tropics and education brought her to the Fairchild Palms and Fairchild Challenge she also relishes time on the water boating and basking in local farm-to-table and other culinary delights.
Alejandra Navas, Secretary
The Planners, Inc.
Owner of The Planners, Inc., which provides event planning and other services, Maria Alejandra Nava has a B.A. in public relations from Florida International University and has worked in the field for several companies and organizations. She also enjoys working with various service and nonprofit organizations. Besides her involvement with Fairchild Palms, of which she has held several positions including Past President, she’s a former president of the fraternity/sorority organization Order of Omega. She has worked with Alonzo Mourning Charities, Inc., and was an event coordinator at Miami-Dade’s youth-focused Lyfe Foundation. She currently serves on the board for the alumni Association for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for Florida International University.
Andrew Quarrie, Digital Branding
Andrew Quarrie is the founder of Silverpulp, a boutique offline/online digital marketing and branding agency. He has pursued a creative path in a variety of roles such as audio engineer – both studio and live sound reinforcement, video producer, and graphic/web designer; this has culminated into his current status as an online digital marketer, helping businesses market their brands creatively through social media and other avenues on the web. Besides the Fairchild Palms, he has lead a life of service through various non-profit initiatives and community projects, including OWIT South Florida and continues to serve at Fellowship Church Miami. Some of his most memorable creative moments include sound mixing for Actors’ Playhouse’s production of the Carbonell Award nominated musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Buddy Holly Story”, and “Don Quixote: Adventures in Miami” at the Colony Theater Miami Beach. Once a founding member of the now defunct band “Phoray”, he now settles for appreciating music from various genres, being a husband and dad, and holidays with his rambunctious Puerto Rican in-laws.
Suzanne Schmidt is a Vice President with Kreps DeMaria, one of Miami’s leading public relations and marketing firms. She specializes in developing strategic communication strategies for companies in a variety of industries, including real estate, law, banking and the luxury sector. As a former journalist, Suzanne has a keen understanding of the media and knows how to reach the right audiences, which is a tremendous asset to her clients, with whom she works closely with on a daily basis to assist in achieving their communication goals. A native of Miami, Suzanne holds a B.S. in journalism and English and a Master’s in Business Administration. In addition to The Fairchild Palms, she is actively involved with Friends of St. Jude
Abbigail Webb, an Indiana native, is an attorney at Liebler, Gonzalez & Portuondo, a 60+ attorney firm based in Miami, Florida. She practices litigation across the state of Florida handling civil and commercial lawsuits in both a defensive and offensive capacity. She received her Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law, and thereafter earned an LL.M. Masters of Laws degree in international commercial law with merit honors from King’s College London. In addition to the Fairchild Palms, she is an active volunteer at the Dade County Bar Association’s Legal Line. Ms. Webb has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys watersports, camping, boating, and reading. Ms. Webb may be reached at AEW@LGPLaw.com.
John C. Malloy, Golden Palm – Advisory Board
Malloy & Malloy
Fairchild Palms, Past-President, John Malloy is an intellectual property attorney who oversees patent and trademark litigation at his firm, Malloy & Malloy. With credentials that include a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, a law degree from the University of Miami, and board certification in intellectual property law, John taught intellectual property law for almost a decade at St. Thomas University Law School. From 2003-2007 he was chairman of the International Trademark Association’s Model State Trademark Bill, overseeing the passage of trademark legislation in a half dozen states and personally spearheading the enactment of Florida’s current trademark statute. When not working, he’s usually volunteering at community organizations or taking friends out to sea on his beloved boat. Despite all his legal and maritime prowess, however, he’s far outnumbered at home, where his three children and obese beagle rule.
Marcie Voce, Golden Palm – Advisory Board
Marcie Voce was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She earned a degree in sports medicine from the University of Miami and currently serves as President on the board of the University of Miami Alumni Club of Broward County. She is a 2010 and 2011 PRIDE Award Winner for volunteerism, as well as a University of Miami Alumni Marshal. With more than a decade of experience in the insurance and financial services industry, Marcie also works as a financial advisor servicing clients out of her Edward Jones branch in Hollywood, Florida. Prior to this, she was an exercise physiologist and the fitness director of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Corporate Health and Wellness Center. Marcie devotes much of her time to helping other people in short-term missions to Australia, South Africa, Jamaica, Peru, Brazil, and The Bahamas. In her spare time, she enjoys a broad array of active pursuits, including photography, volleyball, skiing, and skydiving.
Mary Scott Russell, Golden Palm – Advisory Board
Currently president of Chamber South, a chamber of commerce serving south Miami-Dade County, Mary Scott Russell is a Miami-Dade Community College graduate who has been passionate about serving the public in county politics, business, and community organizing for more than a decade. She has served as city commissioner, vice-mayor, and mayor of South Miami, and been involved with many nonprofits over the years, including Fairchild Palms, Informed Families, Kidventures, the Children’s Trust, Abilities of Florida, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School, and the Miami-Dade County Sports Commission. Mary has also been a frequent recipient of awards from the likes of the Police Benevolent Association, the National Women’s Political Caucus, Crime Watch, and the South Florida Business Journal.