Fierce Award Winners 2024

Exceptional Leadership: Nancy Eckert Receives 2024 FIERCE Legacy Award  

By Deborah Holmen, M.Ed., NBCT 

Meet the 2024 FIERCE Legacy Award Winner, Nancy Eckert. This prestigious award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, service and impact in the Greater Gainesville community. Eckert’s achievements genuinely embody the spirit of a FIERCE legacy. 

Eckert is driven by a deep-seated passion to make a difference in her community and beyond. As the president and CEO of LifeSouth Community Blood Center, her unwavering dedication and compassion have saved countless lives and supported those in need. 

“I am fiercely dedicated and committed to two aspects of my life. One is my family, and the other is helping people through my work with the blood bank. Both are long-term commitments requiring hard work, patience, persistence and love,” she said. 

Eckert’s 50-year marriage with two successful children is a testament to her devotion and commitment. She also takes these attributes into her professional life.  

Throughout her tenure at LifeSouth, Eckert faced many challenges and fostered immeasurable growth.  

Fierce Awards 2024


Abby Antigua
Alison Ungaro
Andrea McClintic
Angela Tharpe
Bea Awoniyi
Christine Caven
Cynthia W Curry
Dayna Miller
Debbie Frederick
Dr. Tracy Leibach
Heather Parker
Jane Kupfer
Jessica Vander Biezen
Mary Mele
Michelle Lee
Michele Lieberman
Monica Vosilla
Nina Grayson
Sarah Ingley
Shannon Miller
Shannon Reintgen
Michelle Vickers
Stevie Doyle
Taryn Rivera Buckley
Taylor Williams

Legacy Award

The annual Fierce Awards showcase women in our community who are influencers, leaders, and game-changers dedicated to improving Greater Gainesville. Fierce presents the LEGACY AWARD. This award recognizes one fierce woman who exemplifies qualities of trailblazing and committing to continuous improvement of the local community.

2024 Winner

Nancy Eckert

2024 FIERCE Legacy Award Winner Nancy Eckert epitomizes exceptional leadership and service in the Greater Gainesville community. As the former president and CEO of LifeSouth Community Blood Center, she dedicated over four decades to saving lives and supporting those in need. Eckert’s transformative leadership propelled LifeSouth into a regional powerhouse, expanding its reach across the southeast and beyond, ultimately saving more lives than ever before. Under her guidance, LifeSouth initiated groundbreaking programs like the Cord Blood Program, leaving an indelible mark on healthcare. Now retired, Eckert’s legacy of compassion and commitment continues to inspire, reflecting her belief in the power of selfless giving. Her profound impact on the community will resonate for years to come.

Past Winners

2023- Mary Chance, President/CEO of Consortium of Florida Education Foundations


Staci Bertrand
Addison Bethea
Tatila Brock
Sarah Cain
Dr. Melissa Cere
Mary Chance
Tammy Dygert
Carrie Gratto
Ronna Jackson
Lacey Jones
Jennifer Lester
Melissa Long
Stephanie Marchman
Monica McMillen
Amber Miller
Shereka Nicole
Minde Prince O’Sullivan
Erin Porter
Christina Ramos
Brande Smith
Shannon Sumerlin
Zabel Thur de Koos
Kayla Turner
Dr. Miranda Whitmer


Monika Baldwin
Lesley Banis
Ashley Banks
Carissa Blaser
Kara Bolton
Evangeline Tsibris Cummings
Heather Damron
Billie DeNunzio
Nancy Eckert
Chessie Flanders
Dr. Yvette Godet
Cecile Lynch
Jayne Moraski
Margarita Purvis
Dr. Jennifer Sager
Jeanne Singer
Stacey Steinberg
Usha Suryadevara
Dorothy Thomas
Julie Waldman
Betsy Whitaker
Dr. Heather White
Dr. Miranda Whitmer
Mary K. Wimsett
Marilyn Tubb


Staccie Allen
Carly Barnes Dodd
Tara Blythe
Dr. Naima Brown
Joleen Cacciatore Miller
Mary Chase
Marcia Conwell
Magi Crawford
Deidre Dodd
Sara Emmanuel
Traci Gresham
Amy Howard
Leanna Iacobellis
Kim Jamerson
Kathleen Joseph
Melissa Mamatas
Amber McClave
Barzella Papa
Kathey Porter
Jenn Powell
Norinda Rosario Yancey
Rebecca Shinholser
Tiffany Thomas
Nicole Yucht


Holly Bender
Yvette Carter
Sandy Chance
Melissa Curry
Susan Davenport
Debby Kinman-Ford
Debbie Lee
Virginia MacKoul
Carlee Marhefka
Brenda McDowell
Susan McQuillan
Jamalee Montgomery
Dana Nemenyi
Arpita Oselimo
Bobbie Robinson
Maureen Tartaglione
Jonelle Toothman
JoAnn Wilkes


Jessica McKinney
Stephanie Gordon
Heidi Jones
Michele Brewer
Grace Horvath
Dr. Nicole Mullally
Carissa Blaser
Linda Bennett
June Porter Allen
Stacy Lang
Tarin Acaron
Natalya Bannister
Katheryn Sarantos
Sherry Kitchens
Jodi Hunt
Wanda Robinson
Janna Magette
Roberta Watson
Randi Elrad
Alissa Dragstedt
Kathy E. Viehe
Deborah V. Bowie
Susan Crowley
Alisha Kinman
Sherri Cousins
Sherry Houston
Jacquelyn Brooks
Della M. Tuten
Susannah Peddie
Lisa Magary
Sheena Asbell
Jennifer Denault

Lacey Jones


Lacey Jones is a recognized thought leader in strategic communications and marketing for both public and private companies. Lacey is currently the Marketing Officer and Associate Vice President of Revenue Operations for Infotech. With over 12 years experience focused on building effective teams, she enjoys advancing companies by helping others see the power of strong branding and communications. In 2020, Lacey received national recognition as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders in the software technology industry. Additionally, Lacey is a 2023 Fierce Award recipient, recognized for her outstanding leadership in the Alachua County area.

Lacey holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Florida. She currently lives in Alachua, Fla., with her husband and two young children. In her spare time, she writes devotional content on her Instagram @red.headedboymom, which focuses on encouraging other moms to always choose faith in Jesus.

Keynote Description

Being fierce is both a mindset and a lifestyle. Fierce is knowing you have a great amount of influence and making an intentional decision to use it for good. As a previous Fierce Award winner, Lacey Jones understands the importance of being the best version of yourself so you can help others pursue their full potential. Her story of career growth in a male-dominated industry, becoming an executive by age 30, is a testament to the power of a fierce woman. And, as a full-time working mom who has experienced extreme disappointment navigating unexpected health challenges with her daughter, she understands what it takes to not give up when life gets hard. Lacey will kick off Fierce Awards 2024 sharing her story and what it looks like to ignite the flame of being fierce.