Name: Brite Whitaker
Birthdate: December 10, 1974
Where were you born? Chicago, Illinois
What are your community activities? (church or faith-based involvement, local, regional and national professional organizations, non-profits, etc)
Member of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
Member of ANA’s Sponsorship & Event Marketing Committee
Graduate of Leadership Gainesville 30
Past-president of the Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association
Member of the LGAA Community Relations Council including co-chairing the LGAA 5K
Past board member and secretary of Alachua County League of Women Voters
Member of Road Race Management
Member of the Gainesville Youth Chorus Parents Association
List any awards you have won for community service:
Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association Leading by Example Award
What is your definition of success?
Being truly happy and content while making a positive impact, no matter what you do or your profession.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment is still to be achieved, but being named Foundation Director of Five Points of Life in 2010 tops the list right now.
How do you exemplify the spirit of a Forty Under 40 professional?
The last eight years of my life have been full of change, growth and excitement, and this is true for most under 40 professionals. My career has focused on service and making a positive impact in my community. Over the past three years I helped re-think the purpose of Five Points of Life and been apart of the evolution of a program turning into a standalone foundation. A foundation focused in teaching children and communities about the importance of becoming a donor. I have also been given the opportunity to grow a great running event into an amazing experience for thousands of participants, while showing the country and world the beauty of Gainesville. If I walk away tomorrow, I know I have made an impact in my community, helped my foundation grow and set it on a course for immense success both locally and nationally. I strive to prepare for and seize opportunities, commit to serve and always maintain humility and civility, this, to me, exemplifies the spirit of the Forty Under Forty professional.
Businessperson who has most inspired you:
I am very fortunate to work directly for the CEO of LifeSouth, Nancy Eckert. She continues to be an inspirational example of how to motivate employees, be a visionary and grow an organization. Five Points of Life and LifeSouth’s innovative LifeCord program would not exist without her vision and leadership.
Best advise ever received:
When I took a macro economics at Santa Fe Community College over 20 years ago, John Spence spoke to our class. He talked about how there in no competition, if you really want success, work hard and sacrifice, it can happen. We are our own competition and we get in our own way. This stuck with me because if you become the best version of yourself, anything is possible. I never look at others as completion, I only look at myself to improve and accomplish the goals I have set.
Greatest professional challenge:
It is HARD to balance a professional career and family. If someone says it isn’t, it is probably because they are failing at one or the other. I want to be highly successful at both, but realizing I can’t and having to sacrifice a little here and there is a challenge. I don’t think this is due to my gender or that my role is “mom”. I think this something many parents or spouses face. Ultimately, my family wins the race. I learned this lesson through a few tribulations, but I am very thankful the lesson was learned.
My parents have always owned their own business, so since I can remember I have worked summers on construction sites or in their office. My first job outside the family business was in 1992 as a runner for Rod Smith’s law office in Alachua when it was Smith & Fletcher. He was running for State Attorney at the time, so it was an exciting place to be.
What color crayon would you be? Why?
I am a blue green. I am fairly calm and genuine, which I think is a mix of the green and blue. I also like to collaborate, and the two colors blend together well to create one of my favorites.
Favorite after-work drink:
Vodka and diet tonic or wine.
If I had a magic wand, I’d:
What is your favorite Gadget?
I really can’t live without my iPhone. I fought having one for years, but I am hooked.
A wine opener is also a great gadget, pretty impossible to open a bottle without one.
How long have you been in Gainesville? Twenty five years with a short stint in Chicago after graduating from UF.
What do you love most about Gainesville/Alachua County?
There are so many things to truly love, and I am grateful for the opportunity to live in such a wonderful place. What I love most is my family is here, my parents, my husband’s parents and so are his grandmothers. It is a special place to grow up, go to college, start a career, excel in whatever your passion may be and then retire.
I also love the localness. You name it and we have it, and it’s all made here and all amazing, music, art, food, stores, fashion, builders, technology….
Three things people would be surprised to know about you:
I am adopted
I was an encyclopedia editor
I have had lunch with Warren Buffett
Advice you would give a younger you:
Stop looking ahead so much, be patient and enjoy the moment you are in, because you will never experience it again. Also, taking a year off from college and moving to Key West was not your best idea.