American Independent Business Alliance

AMIBA Board Transitions

May 2014

Board members come and go.  Some transition away, having done a “solid” for the organization, some you are happy to see go, and then there are some you wish you could hold onto forever.  AMIBA bids a fond farewell to two folks and friends of the latter vein.

Steve Bercu, President of the Austin IBA and owner of Book People, joined AMIBA’s board in 2004 – when AMIBA was just 3 years old.  Steve served us during our very formative years when both AMIBA and the Localization Movement were new and has help build AMIBA as a Localization Movement leader.  We’ve relied on his valuable perspective as an independent business owner and pragmatist and will miss his directness and dry wit.

Carla Jimenez, founding member and past president of the Tampa IBA and retired owner of Inkwood Books, joined AMIBA’s board in 2008.  As the arcs of our lives impact our actions and interests, this is particularly true for Carla, who, now that retailing is in her past, is devoting her present to organizations seeking a cure for ovarian cancer, among other endeavors. She is now involved locally with Keep Saint Petersburg Local in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. Carla’s passion for life and for AMIBA’s mission is infectious, needed, and will be missed on our board.

At the same time, we are excited to announce two new additions to AMIBA’s board!

Lily Brislen is a PhD candidate (ABD) in Rural Sociology (focused on food system and community development) at the University of Kentucky.  We first met Lily when she was a newly-hired program manager at a community development corporation in a rural Oregon community whose local business owners expressed specific interest in starting a ‘buy local’ campaign. Lily heard Jeff Milchen speak at a rural development conference and she soon acted upon ideas raised there, founding Think Local Umpqua.

According to Lily, “The following three years were the most challenging and rewarding of my life as I worked with our economically distressed rural community to build a vibrant initiative that celebrated our local character and worked collectively to strengthen our local economy.”  AMIBA has engaged Lily as a speaker on behalf of AMIBA over the past several years. She also is a board member of Seedleaf and the Community Farm Alliance in Kentucky.

Nicole Kelly is an independent business owner who serves on the board of Keep Saint Petersburg Local — the city’s Independent Business Alliance. Nicole and her husband, John, own and operate the Hideaway Cafe, St Petersburg’s Original Listening Room, where they strive to provide truly appreciative listening audiences for local artists.  They have been at the forefront in supporting original music in St Petersburg since their move from Nashville, TN in 2000 and strive to bring independent musicians to the table in the pro-local cause.

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Vanderbilt University.  She has worked in site development for many industries and companies, including FOX, WebMD, AEGON, and Columbia/HCA, as well as several successful startups. In addition to Hideaway Cafe, Nicole offers technology consulting services through her web development company, Technikelly Kreative. In her downtime, she enjoys being a “baseball mom” to her boys, Jackson and Brennan.

See more of AMIBA’s board and staff

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