meet the board

The Alachua Business League (ABL) is dedicated to fostering a thriving local business community. Our Board of Directors is made up of business owners, employees and retirees, all of whom have the desire to share their knowledge and experiences with the members. It is this group effort that keeps the ABL focused on its progress and forward direction. 

our dedicated team

Michele Lee

Michele Lee - President

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Valentina McConnell

Valentina McConnell - Vice President

A resident of Alachua, Valentina has 4 children and 4 step children, 10 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Also, being a cancer survivor she is a strong promoter of 5K For The Cause and Relay for Life! She loves sports, meeting people and helping people whenever she can and has a kind heart! Valentina loves both of her jobs! One in the office of Dr. Mitch Fearing and the other as a consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics! Between the two jobs, she has you covered inside and out. Being one of the members of the Alachua Business League’s Board of directors, she is focusing on learning lots of new stuff and looks forward to meeting lots of wonderful folks.

Mark Rizzotto

Mark Rizzotto - Secretary

Mark has lived in the Alachua/High Springs area since the beginning of 2000. He is currently semi retired. Mark joined the ABL in 2018 for the Main Street Festival, but has since found he can serve the community and the local business owners better from the inside. Having been a business owner on Main Street, he is a strong supporter of revitalizing the downtown area for the benefit of the business owners and residents alike.

Marilyn Vanover

Marilyn Vanover - Treasurer

Marilyn retired from banking in 2020, having been the manager at Renasant Bank (formerly Alarion Bank) since 2006. She has been a member of the Alachua Business League since 2003 and has served as both Vice President and Treasurer. She is involved with the Alachua Main Street festivals, usually coordinating the registration table on the day of the festival. She feels that the Alachua Business League is a great community organization designed to help small businesses grow and to be involved in the growth of the City of Alachua.

Kathy Colson

Kathy Colson - scholarship chairman

Since 1981, Kathy Colson has been with Radiant Credit Union serving in key roles in Accounting, Finance, and Risk/Compliance. She has served in leadership roles with numerous community organizations, including her current Board of Directors Secretary with the Rays of Hope Foundation, Inc. Kathy has been an active member of the GFWC Alachua Woman’s Club since 2003. She grew up in the Alachua area attending schools in Alachua before going on to Lake City Community College and the University of Florida. Kathy has been active in the ABL since 2003, and served as ABL President from 2007-2013 – receiving the ABLe Award in 2012. She continues to actively help promote the Alachua Main Street Festivals. She remains focused on helping individuals and organizations in the Alachua community create an improved lifestyle balance, as well as helping the youth in our community grow through education. All this, with the goal of giving students the opportunity to live productive lives and grow their families in the Good Life Community!

julie smith

julie smith - social media specialist

A Native Floridian born in Daytona Beach Florida and married to Bill Smith with two children and one grandson. Julie is the creator/owner of High Springs What’s Happening Facebook group and the Executive Administrator for Andersons Outdoor Adventure based in Alachua County. Julie sits on the Visit Natural North Florida Tourism Task Force (The Original Florida Tourism Task Force) representing Alachua County promoting and marketing ecotourism in 14 North Florida counties with a mission to support community leaders with financial resources to boost ecotourism. Julie’s career objective is to build sustainable profitable businesses while maintaining a high level of professionalism and organization for local entrepreneurs in small communities. Julie enjoys paddle boarding on the Santa Fe River and Ichetucknee River or fishing in Steinhatchee and Suwannee River on the gulf of Mexico with her husband.

joy hampson

Joy Hampson - Consultant

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Bill Smith - consultant

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