40 Under Forty: Amy Ingram

Age: 34

Business Analyst, United Health Group – OptumRx

 

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you? \

Being a part of the Junior League of Ocala I am constantly inspired by our members and community partners, they are some of the most strong, compassionate, caring people I’ve ever met! Whether it is helping underprivileged children, improving our parks or just giving a helping hand, everyone has a desire to improve the lives in our community and they all want to make a difference. It’s a pretty great group to be surrounded by!

 

What aspirations do you have for yourself?

I have worked in the Healthcare industry for over 15years and I would like to eventually move to the Project team within United that develops ideas for Healthcare reform. I would also really love to write a children’s book someday. I’ve had this story in my head for a long time about a little girl who has adventures through her love of reading. It’s inspired by my late grandmother, Shelby; I’ve even named it “Shelby goes” and I know one day I’ll get around to working on it.

 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community? 

I have always had a passion for volunteering. Through Junior League, I’ve had an abundance of opportunities to volunteer with our community impact projects and also help other non-profits with projects like painting at PACE, serving breakfast at Interfaith and mentoring the mothers at Project Hope. I also love being able to bring my daughters Lorelei (5) and Jules (almost 3) along with me to some events. I want them to understand the importance of giving back. Their favorite activities are when we help at literacy events at Oakcrest Elementary, ring the bells at Christmas time and help with local drives.

 

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area? 

I love that even though Ocala is growing, it still has that small town charm. Not growing up here, this town has welcomed me with open arms. It’s truly a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

40 Under Forty: Destiny Espinosa

Age: 29

Assistant Manager at Zone Health and Fitness East

 

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you?

I love being able to work where I get to be part of our members lives and watch them transform into the best versions of themselves.   

 

What aspirations do you have for yourself? 

To leave a legacy for my son and provide a bright future for him with opportunities that I never had.   

 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community? 

Every year, my son and I participate in the angel tree. We love anything that is related to helping kids.  

 

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area?

I love being part of a small community where it feels like a family.

40 Under Forty: Autumn Swanhart

Age: 32

Facility Administrator, RN at DaVita

 

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you? 

I have always been inspired by those who help others. There are so many organizations within the community that gives selflessly. I have both been a part of and witnessed the selflessness and compassion of organizations such as Dignity Roasters, The Women’s Pregnancy Center, Unlimited Discipleship Ministries, and Christian 12 Step Ministry to name a few. These organizations push me to be better because of the good I see them do. More so, my church home, Central Christian Church, is highly involved in community outreach. This is one of the reasons I love my church. They are continuously looking for ways to give back, which then gives us a chance as a church body to do so as well. Central hosts annual events such as “Jumpstart” and “Love Ocala” which is completely based on giving back to the community. I’m blessed to be a part of this. 

 

What aspirations do you have for yourself?  

Since giving back is something that gives me joy, I have recently been looking for ways that I can personally be more involved in the community. I am finally graduating with my BSN in August, which will free up a lot of time for me. I just joined Junior League of Ocala so that I can take this extra time to volunteer and make a difference in peoples lives. In addition, I aspire to be a great leader for my team. I hope to teach them and guide them, but more importantly, to listen to them and support them when needed. I love using what I’ve learned to teach and grow others. I also aspire to “Be Jesus.” As my pastor always says, we must love others and put others first. I always try to put God first in everything and aspire to be someone that anyone, religious or not, can talk to and be open with. Finally, I am a mother of two, and my biggest aspiration is to be a role model for my two babies. I want to teach them to love and have compassion for everyone. To give back, be selfless, and praise God for the opportunity to do so. There is no better way to teach than to lead by example, and I pray that my life and my actions will someday become milestones for my children.

 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

Although I love participating in large events that involve community outreach, I personally love every day small acts of kindness. It’s something you don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to do, but it still impacts the community. Little things like buying the person behind you in line a coffee, giving a compliment, or even holding the door open for someone to make a difference. Anything that puts a smile on someone’s face brings me joy, and I truly believe its impactful. 

 

 What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area?

What I love most about Ocala are the relationships that I’ve built here. It’s where I grew up and where a lot of my family lives. But it’s also where I met my husband, where we bought our first home, and where my children were born. It’s where I met some of my very best friends. And it’s where I get to continue to make wonderful memories with these people that I love most. Ocala will always hold a special spot in my heart.

40 Under Forty: Heather DeShaw

Age: 36

Owner Servicemaster

 

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you? 

I am inspired by two specific types of people; one is those who are willing to do whatever they have to do to support their family like working multiple jobs, traveling unthinkable distances, hustling to the late hours to make ends meet. I am also inspired by those who no longer must work but continue to give back to their community!  I have been and often find myself in the first category with aspirations of shifting to a more philanthropic lifestyle as the work finally begins to pay off. 

 

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area? 

There are several things that I love about Ocala.  First, I love the open arms and loyalty we have towards each other and our local businesses.  This has been a terrific place to use as home base for my commercial cleaning company. Second, and even more importantly, I love the family first mentality of our community.  We are a large family here. Lastly, I love the generous culture many of us business owners share of truly paying it forward.  We are blessed in this community and I am impressed to see many taking on the responsibilities that come with those blessings!

40 Under Forty: Anna Babbitt

Age: 39

Owner, Twice Upon A Time

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you? 

My community inspires me. Any time I have presented an issue to my community, families rise up and come together.  When my store flooded after Hurricane Irma, families came together to ensure I could rebuild. Any cause I have presented, my community has received with love and support and this support just inspires me to be better!

What aspirations do you have for yourself?

I am excited to keep growing as a person. I hope to help moms realize their worth and that they matter. I want to keep bringing people together and providing a safe place for all parents to just be themselves. We will be a community resource for all things parenting!  Car seat safety, breastfeeding support, cloth diapering, birth options, infant CPR  you name it. I’d love to educate and make it feel “normal” to families. 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community? 

We LOVE hosting events! We are a community of moms that come together and lift each other up in times of struggle.  We have hosted events/fundraisers for moms that have tragically lost children, we hosted a superhero day for a local 9-year-old superhero battling cancer.  We work with local schools to help provide clothing to children that may need it. We monitor a “Stork Station” in which moms leave items they no longer need such as diapers and formula so that families can help each other.

 

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area? 

I love the land and diversity here.  I love that I can be in a busy downtown, gorgeous open fields of horses, the forest with amazing wildlife, the prairies all within 30 minutes. The parks here are amazing for my kids.  Heritage Nature Park is so relaxing and Cohadjoe is a family favorite!

40 Under Forty: Ashley Justiniano

Age: 31

Gallery Director at Marion Cultural Alliance (Brick City Center for the Arts)

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you? 

The resilience of my mother, the wisdom of my father, the authenticity of my sister, the kindness of my grandparents, that free-spirited attitude my uncles & cousins have… I come from a big (and loud) Puerto Rican family. Mi Familia is everything.

What aspirations do you have for yourself? 

To create, live life to the fullest and continue spreading the important message that art & creativity are essential in our lives. 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community? 

By boosting our cultural art scene, and promoting creative experiences available for all to enjoy here in Ocala. Whether it’s the latest art exhibition, a new restaurant, a theatre play, a movie, a music concert, a local art venue, the local park, public art projects, a huge community event, or even a small one, our community has it all and locals don’t even have to take I75 to indulge in it.

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area? My favorite thing about Ocala is our local art community. I’ve never met so many people who share my passion for the arts as I have had the pleasure to in Ocala. We work together and stand stronger than ever together; ALL for the ARTS. I love it!

40 Under Forty: Billy Gilchrist

Age: 33

Hotel Development and Management

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you?

The people of our community inspire me. Growing up in Ocala/Marion County, my father was always very involved and as I approach the birth of my first child, it is my goal to carry on those same values to my children. I love the people of our community, they continue to inspire me to give back and do more every day.

 

What aspirations do you have for yourself?

To leave a legacy that I positively impacted the world I live in through my life whether it is professionally or personally.

 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

I love volunteer work and serve on several boards in Ocala/Marion County. My favorite way though is through my involvement with Ocala/Sunset Rotary which is finishing our fiscal year where we donated almost $100,000 to local charities through our various events as well as Marion County Literacy Council which just raised $38,000 through the Annual Kiss the Horse event. That money will help us reach folks that live in our community that cannot read/write currently or help those moving into our community from other cultures that cannot read/write.

 

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area?

I love our downtown and its continued growth, there is always something to do and tons of local spots.

40 Under Forty: Christina McGowan

Age: 34

Art Teacher

 

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you?

Without a doubt, children inspire me. One of the things that I love most about working with children is their hopeful nature. I love being involved in any type of community event that directly benefits a child’s education or well-being. As a Take Stock In Children scholarship recipient, I will always feel indebted. I loved participating in any type of fundraiser they have, even if it involves huffing and puffing in the cold during their annual Sneakers and S’mores 5k.

 

What aspirations do you have for yourself?

I hope to continue to wake up each day with the goal of making a child’s life better. In the near future, I plan on pursuing my master’s degree in counseling. I look forward to working one on one with the most vulnerable demographic and breaking down obstacles they’re facing while using creative tools in art therapy.

 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

Before I became an art teacher, I was a graphic designer. I love volunteering my time, designing for local organizations. Giving back to a community that has given me so much feels amazing, and having outlets to express my creativity is just a bonus.

 

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area?

I grew up in the North East part of Ocala in the Anthony area. One of my favorite things has always been driving through the winding country roads right before the sun sets. The colors of the sun going down on the sprawling horse farms are so beautiful and truly incomparable. From the lakes, crystal clear springs, and gorgeous oaks, I truly believe Ocala is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

40 Under Forty: Cindy Vieira

Age: 38

Owner of Ocala Swim Academy, Multi-Certified Instructor 

 

Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you?

It took me a long, long time to find out what my path was in life.  My business was not planned. When I was a little girl I almost drowned while swimming in a lake.  My daughter almost did as well, the weekend after completing a local swim program.  I’m inspired by the little faces that show up for lessons, some nervous and others excited.   If I can prevent just One of these little ones from drowning, If I can prevent one of my Awesome Clients from experiencing the near loss or loss of a child, My Job is Done!  

 

What aspirations do you have for yourself?  

I come from a family of Immigrants.  My family came here with nothing. I’m the child of a Teen Mom, who ultimately gave me up to be raised by my grandparents; A Blessing. My Grandparents are the hardest working people I have ever met. AND Family Always Came First!  My Grandmother’s only request for me was that I finish College. Neither of my grandparents went to school, they never learned to read or write. I ultimately accomplished her wish which became my ultimate goal.

As a Single Mother, My Sole Aspiration in Life is to provide a Positive Example for my children to follow.  There are no excuses as to why you cannot be what or who you choose to be.   

Since having my children,  I completed both my Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and a Masters in Business Administration. I’ve Completed Certifications in ESE, Water Survival, Swimming and Stroke.  I work out of my Modest Home, while my children laugh and play with all of the little ones and their siblings that visit for lessons. Life is Good!

 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community? 

The Love for Life Event!   My Good Friend (and Former Client) Rabecca Inouye came up with a concept to help provide scholarships for children to participate in Water Survival Lessons by providing pampering to Moms that otherwise wouldn’t be able to.  I rolled with it. With the help of the Community coming together, we are able to organize this event where all of the net proceeds go towards scholarships. We raised 10 scholarships during our last event.

The Love for Life Event brings the Community together.  We are a mesh of Cosmetologists, Entrepreneurs, Vendors, MOMS!  

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”  Mahatma Gandhi

 

What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area? 

Ocala is truly diverse in the sense that people from everywhere come here to raise their families in a small town setting, devoid of the issues that persist in larger cities.  I’ve met SO many amazing Mom’s here. Women from all walks of life. It’s in the brief moments in between clients that we get to laugh a bit, talk about the crazy things our babies come up with, share our plans and make arrangements for play dates.

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