Vivian Richardson is the first woman to serve in multiple leadership roles that included president and chairperson of the board of directors. She moved through the ranks over several years serving full terms as 2nd Vice President and 1st Vice President under Walter Boone. She served as President 1/2007 – 12/2008. Following her election to the Board of Directors from 2012 – 2013, she served an additional term as Chairperson 2014 -2015. Vivian remained committed to AACS throughout many years. She fondly recalls as Chairperson of ‘Ways & Means’ Committee traveling to New Orleans historic Chevy Chase Restaurant, churches, and museums in the original Black areas. The group also hosted a trip to see the Tampa Bay Rays baseball against the Yankees. In addition, to dinner dances, and such, Vivian says, “of course, we raised lots of money keeping AACS afloat!” During President Pinto’s tenure, Vivian raised $800 to go toward building the monument on U.S. Hwy 1. Recalling that, “I only had a couple of days, but raised the money over the weekend, she says, “Every time I pass it, I feel proud”. Vivian has many fond memories of her time with AACS. She adores entertainment and joined several AACS members in “a wildly successful play”, Bill Withers – Who Is He (And What is He to You). During AACS, 20th Anniversary in 2011, Vivian saw an article in the paper about Andrew Young who was being honored for his Civil Rights achievements in St. Augustine. She seized the opportunity to head down to St. Augustine to approach Mr. Young with an invitation letter to speak at the anniversary celebration. To her delight she was invited to attend the luncheon for Andrew Young by the Mayor of St. Augustine along with Herman Price and his wife Madalyn, who happened to be there. And, as she said, “the rest is history”. Vivian was honored by her inclusion in this tribute to AACS Women Leaders during Women’s History Month and excited to share her story. She continues to be very active in the Palm Coast community serving as president of the Afro-American Caribbean Heritage Organization (AACHO) for multiple terms.
Stephanie Ecklin is the youngest person to have been elected in a leadership role at AACS. She served as President from 1/2014-12/2015. Stephanie’s focus as president was bringing young people into the organization, she understood the importance of leaving a legacy. Stephanie has often given back to her community and was commended for being among Flagler County Leaders in working with FEMA to distribute aid after Hurricane Matthew. She has always been an advocate for youth fostering multiple youth programs. She states that, “I think its essential (students) know their talent is not in vain”. Stephanie was publisher of “Our Voices Thrive” (OVT) Teen Magazine, administrator for a youth after school program in partnership with the Flagler County School System, chairperson for the Flagler County NAACP ACT-SO, an achievement program for youth. She was also instrumental in bringing the Boys and Girls Club to Flagler County and was the director at their Rymfire/Palm Coast branch of the Volusia/FlaglerBoys and Girls Club. Currently she serves as regional manager for Child Protective Services of the Connecticut Judicial Branch for Juvenile matters.
First women to hold a top leadership role in AACS:
Jacqueline Browne, Chairperson 1995 – 1998
A retired educator and a graduate of Hunter College in NYC where she earned a BA & MS degree, Jackie also earned a diploma in public service at St. John’s University. After more than 25 years at the Board of Education, she elevated herself to Deputy Superintendent and Admin Superintendent before retiring as community Superintendent of District 25 in NYC. She also served as vice president of the NY Association of School Superintendents and has held seats on numerous boards. Contributing toward organizing the structure of the AACS not long after it was initially formed in 1991, Jackie was instrumental in developing the prospectus which would aid in moving the AACS toward land ownership and funding the building of our current facility. After her leadership role chairing the Board of Directors at AACS Jackie took the lead in reorganizing the local branch of the NAACP. She became their first-elected Branch 5147 president. The Jacqueline A. Browne Memorial Golf Tournament became a fundraiser formed in her honor after her death to commemorate her contribution to the organization.