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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Power of LAI comes to Florida!

LAI Induction Ceremony
Photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
On Tuesday, November 28, 2023 the underdevelopment Lambda Alpha International (LAI) Suncoast Chapter hosted their inaugural meeting at the Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) Finish Tower. NBP is an internationally renowned rowing facility, known as one of the top three facilities in the world.

 About LAI

LAI is the honorary global network for thought leaders in all fields related to the preservation and sustainable development of land.

LAI is a growing network of chapters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Each chapter offers a wide variety of programs with industry leaders, discussion forums, community service projects and networking events.

Membership is highly selective through a nomination process initiated by an LAI member. Nominees for LAI membership must demonstrate ten or more years of experience in their fields, professional distinction, and outstanding contributions to the community in their field of endeavor.

LAI is committed to excellence and high professional standards to make a difference. A value to members is knowing you are someone who helped make that difference.

Suncoast Chapter (underdevelopment) History
In December 2013, Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder & CEO Holly Elmore was inducted into membership and served on the LAI Atlanta Chapter Board.  As the International Assistant Communications Director, Holly serves on the LAI Global Executive Committee.

After residing in Atlanta for 40 years. Holly returned to her hometown, Sarasota, Florida in 2021. With no current chapter in Florida, Holly established an environmental Leadership Group (LG) of At-Large LAI members.

LAI Suncoast Leadership Group

Steve @ Siesta #1 Beach sign
Photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images
Established in late 2021, the LG consists of prominent environmental leaders in the Sarasota area with a stated commitment to the economic impact of water quality on the region. Located on the Central Florida Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Coast, Sarasota is a gem in The Sunshine State. 

With amazing barrier-island beaches (Siesta Key was named #1 beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor,) and lovely intracoastal waterways, Sarasota's economy is water-quality based and driven by tourism.

Below are the LG members:

  • Bridgett Luther, Table2Farms Founder & Visionary
  • Charles Reith, Ph.D, Suncoast Urban Reforesters Founder
  • Christine Johnson, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast President
  • Dave Tomasko, Ph,D, Sarasota Bay Estuary Foundation Executive Director
  • Holly Elmore, Ei Founder & CEO
  • Jan Pitchford, Sarasota Office Department Administrator at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
  • Jane Grandbouche, Chair The Jane Family Foundation
  • John McCarthy, V.P. for Regional History at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
  • Jon Thaxton, Gulf Coast Community Foundation SVP for Community Investment
  • Mary Anne Bowie, FAICP, Retired & Universal Unitarian Green Team Chair
  • Mary Dougherty, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange Executive Director
  • Sandy Gilbert, Solutions to Avoid Red Tide (START) Chair
  • Steve Suau, Consultant with Carbon Life LLC
  • Tim Rumage, Ringling College of Art & Design Professor of Environmental Studies

LG members, along with their respective headshots and bios, are listed on the Ei LG page.

As shared by Christine, the poignant quote by Luna Leopold sets the theme for the LG:

The health of our waters depends upon how well we live on the land

The LG members are committed to action via projects, education, and collaboration within the Sarasota community; initial focus is on the Sarasota Bay-water quality including prevention of contaminants flowing from the land and cleansing pollutants within the water.

Coastal-Water Quality: challenges, solutions, and economic impact
With tourism a major regional economic driver, it is imperative to retain the pristine status of the region's barrier-island beaches, the bays and estuaries, the Gulf, and inland water-oriented recreation areas. 

Ei orchestrated an impressive February 17, 2023 LAI Coastal-Water Quality: Challenges, Solutions, and Economic Impact Global Webinar. The global webinar was the second program in an eighteen-month series about water and land economics around the globe hosted by the LAI Global Water Group.

LAI LG Members shared on global-coastal-water challenges along with the economic impact to the local and regional communities. With a well-orchestrated plan, via the Water-Quality Playbook, community organizations execute programs designed to prevent water contamination from land use and to cleanse contaminates in the water.

The Sarasota Bay Report Card documents achievements and remaining challenging scenarios. Teamwork is required for success with support provided by local, state, and federal governments as well as the community (foundations and taxpayers.)

Panelists included:

  • David Tomasko, Ph.D
  • Jon Thaxton
  • Christine Johnson
  • Sandy Gilbert

Sarasota ROCKS when it comes to water-quality commitments; after all, the local economy and way of life depend on healthy waters!

Watch the webinar recording on LAI TV to learn about Sarasota’s successful collaborative water-quality projects and programs; the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) Magazine article, Coastal-Water Quality: Challenges, Solutions, and Economic Impact, provides an in-depth synopsis of the webinar content; panelist PPT presentations are available for download within the article copy.

The RiA article, Coastal Water Quality: land-based activity determines the quality & related economic impact, showcases many of the impressive water-quality initiatives accomplished and in-process by LG members.

LAI Global Chapter Development Support
With the prestigious membership and above-mentioned accomplishments, LAI Global Leadership committed to support and invest in the development of a formal LAI Suncoast Chapter.

A profound meeting ended 
with a group photo

Photo courtesy of Holly Elmore Images

LAI President Kathy King traveled from Los Angeles and LAI Past President, LAI Fellow, and New Chapter Development Chair Steven R Gragg from El Paso, Texas to support the underdevelopment chapter. Over their three-day Sarasota visit, a total of 13 new LAI members were inducted with several in individual ceremonies.

The impressive November 28 event was attended by 40-plus LG members as well as potential new members. As the event keynote speaker, MOTE Marine CEO Dr. David Crosby shared MOTE Marine's history, dynamic impact, and the status of the MOTE Aquarium under construction. The Finish Tower event facility overlooked the MOTE Aquarium construction site.

After Dr. Crosby's keynote presentation, Steve gave an intro to LAI followed by the member-induction ceremony. Kathy presented each inductee with their LAI-member certificate in a leather-bound case.

The Holly Elmore Images album, LAI Suncoast Chapter (underdevelopment) Event, showcases the November 28 event while the LAI Suncoast Tours, Meetings, and Inductions album chronicles the plethora of activities during Steve and Kathy's three-day Sarasota visit. 

Chapter Development
With LAI Global support and guidance, the Suncoast LG will expand membership to include esteemed  professionals in the multitude of land economics professions. Additionally, at least quarterly, the LG will host a social-networking event, meeting, and/or tour for existing and potential new members. 

Once the Suncoast LG meets the established chapter-development protocol, LAI will charter a Suncoast Chapter and continue to support the young chapter. It is thrilling to bring "The Power of LAI" to the Florida Central Gulf Coast!


Tax-deductible donations in any amount are greatly appreciated to support Ei's important work. 


About Elemental Impact:
Elemental Impact (Ei) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2010 as the home to the Zero Waste Zones, the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost. In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of Recycling Refinement was Mission Accomplished and entered the Era of Regeneration. Current focus areas include Nature PrevailsSoil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, and Water Use | Toxicity.

The Regeneration in ACTION Magazine articles, From Organic Certification to Regenerative Agriculture to Rewilding Landscapes: an evolution towards soil integrity and SOIL & WATER: the foundation of life, published to explain and substantiate the importance of Ei’s rewilding urban landscapes work within the Nature Prevails focus area.

The Holly Elmore Images Rewilding Urban Landscapes-album folder documents two active pilots: the Native-Plant Landscape Pilot and the Backyard Permaculture-Oriented Pilot.

To work with industry leaders to create best regenerative operating practices where the entire value-chain benefits, including corporate bottom lines, communities, and the environment. Through education and collaboration, establish best practices as standard practices.

Ei’s tagline – Regeneration in ACTION – is the foundation for Ei endeavors.

The following mantra is at the core of Ei work:

Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

For additional information, contact Holly Elmore at 404-510-9336 |