JCCI's Six Questions usually focuses on volunteers, speakers and participants. But this month, we're turning the tables....and featuring Staff! Learn more about the folks in the office and let us know what you think!
Name: Dr. Laura Lane
Role with JCCI: Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
JCCI: What do you do from 9-5?
LL: I am Vice President at JCCI and my main work is securing contract work for the organization. I'm about telling people what JCCI does, writing project proposals and then helping get the work done. Last week I sent proposals to a Community Foundation in the Chicago area and one to an agency here in Jacksonville.
JCCI: What do you do outside of work?
LL: I teach yoga at the University Athletic Center on Wednesday mornings at 6am and also to a handful of employees at the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday evenings. I practice at Bliss Yoga Shala in San Marco. My partner is pretty good at noticing when I haven't been practicing, and she'll say, "do you need to go to yoga?" I'm not a naturally well-adjusted person, so I grab all the support I can get.
JCCI: How and when did you get involved in JCCI or JCCI Forward?
LL: I applied for a 6-month contract in fall 2000. I was hired to do some research for the upcoming review of the Quality of Life Indicators. My job was to find all the same data we had for Duval County but for Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Leon, and Orange counties. It totally opened my eyes to where I had been living for 6 years. I parked myself in this guy Ben Warner's office, and he made me laugh a lot. When he made really bad jokes I couldn't help but forgive him because he had no idea how bad his jokes really were (he has a lot more self-awareness now).
JCCI: What is your favorite hidden gem in Jacksonville?
LL: We have one of the coolest events in the nation when it comes to marathons and it is coming up next weekend. The 26.2 with Donna Marathon draws people from all over the U.S. and the world. It's the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. People come to Jacksonville for the weekend to 1) support breast cancer research and 2) run on Jacksonville Beach. And the entire Beach community turns out for it. It's very cool because of the cause, it is homegrown, and the marathon shows off our stuff. It's like getting our swagger back on the marathon course.
JCCI: What issue is on your radar right now and does not get enough attention right now?
LL: In September, the Jacksonville City Council voted to exclude me from protections ensuring everyone has an opportunity to make it here. I know a lot of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender who move away from Jacksonville because they think their life will be better elsewhere. I did it, too. I moved back, fortunately. I love Jacksonville even though City Council says it's okay to fire me because I'm a lesbian. I love Jacksonville enough to get mad and stamp my feet but not run away. The part that is not getting enough attention right now is my transgender people. My transgender people deserve a lot more respect than they get.
JCCI: Why is JCCI important to you and Jacksonville?
LL: JCCI is important to me because it is where people see how and when they can contribute to the future of their neighborhood and city. I need to work for an ideal and JCCI's ideal is that everyone has a voice, a stake, in the policies and decisions that get made here everyday. JCCI is important to Jacksonville because one of the things we learned in the JAX2025 survey is that people like the small-town feel here. Lots of people want to live in a community with big city amenities. Jacksonville is only going to grow. That doesn't mean that we have to lose the community idea. We can grow and continue to build consensus, engage with each other, and keep the community idea alive.
Get to know Laura, and all the JCCI Staff and volunteers, even better - join us at an upcoming event like our quarterly JCCI 101. Check out our Calendar of Events for details.