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MRN Board of Directors

Shirley Cronley- Board President

was born in Pensacola and has dedicated much of her life to the community. Shirley and her husband, Jim Cronley, along with other partners, own several properties in Pensacola. Shirley worked in Sales and Marketing for fourteen years and served as the Executive Director of the Pensacola Sports Association for six years.

Shirley has served and continues to serve on numerous boards for groups around Pensacola including but not limited to the Southern Youth Sports Association, Boys and Girls Club of Escambia County, Pace Center for Girls, and the Pensacola Cultural Center. She also currently serves as the

Chair of the Tourism Development Council. For her years of service to her community, Shirley has won the following awards;Recipient of the Community Medallion from the City of Pensacola,Sportsman of the Year from the Pensacola Sports Association, Emerging Leader of the Year from the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce, and Outstanding Board Member of the Year from the Boys Clubs of Escambia County.

As President of the Board of Directors for Mr. Robbins’ Neighborhood, Shirley plans to use her experience in leadership and community service to help MRN achieve their mission of preparing the youth of Pensacola for their bright futures.

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Aaron Ball-

is a business coach and brand manager for athletes, celebrities, community leaders, speakers and everyday folks — teaching them how to use media, messaging, and technology more effectively. As an award-winning producer of videos, events, and books, Aaron helps leaders make a lasting mark on the world. His network of accomplished and reliable media and marketing partners is second to none. Having traveled to 30+ countries on five continents working with under-served people groups and causes, Aaron specializes in capturing ‘history in the making’ on film and social media. In 2018 Ball was honored with the Martin Luther King “Living the Dream” award by his peers in recognition of


his long-standing support for projects supporting urban youth. 

Aaron, Todd Morris, and their daughter Ruby live in Molino on their horse farm and pecan orchard called Family Orchard Farms (aka the Nut Farm). It is a life-long goal to create a farm environment for equestrian therapy, corporate retreats, and family events.  

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David Bear-

David Bear received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the Vice President of the Lewis Bear Company located in Pensacola. He is married to Cindi Flanders Bear in 2004 and they have two children, Julia and Max.

In the community, David Bear serves on the Arts Council of Northwest Florida and cofounded the Culture Club. In addition to many other community engagements, he also cofounded the Scooper Bowl, a fundraiser that serves the Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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Theresa Chmiel-

has worked in the nonprofit and public health space for more than 25 years. She has served as a Senior Health Educator, Public Information Officer, fundraiser, Chief Executive Officer for the Escambia County Healthy Start Coalition and has returned to fundraising as VP of Communications for Military Non-Profit Consulting - a national firm serving NPO’s focused on active, reserve / guard, veterans and their families. Her passion for helping to make significant impacts in our community is what drew her to the mission and goals MRN has already accomplished. She is ready to propel MRN to the highest level of achievement.

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Madrina Ciano-

is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii and has lived in Pensacola, Florida since 1990.  She is a licensed Medical Esthetician and has owned and operated various businesses in the area, including a Day Spa that received the “Best of the Coast” award, a retail clothing boutique, and an Anti-aging skincare center with a prominent Pensacola dermatologist.

Madrina’s passion in life is to be an ambassador for her community. She is a full-time community volunteer which has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. When Madrina isn’t serving as a volunteer, she enjoys spending time with her four grandchildren or 

enjoying the fabulous Florida life with her husband Mark. 

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Ashton Hayward-

joined Andrews Research & Education Foundation as President in January 2019. A native of Pensacola and a graduate of Florida State University, Hayward previously worked in New York as an executive at the AT&T Corporation and the Financial Times. In 2003, Hayward and his wife, An, returned to Pensacola to raise their son, Aiden. Hayward founded a successful real estate development company, which he managed until taking office as Mayor of Pensacola in 2011.  Hayward led regional economic development by working to create a cultural environment where businesses grew and thrived.

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Andrew Hobbs-

is a career law enforcement officer with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. He is currently assigned as a Major assigned to the Community Relation Units which include the Public Information, Community Policing and Domestic Security.  He began his career in 2003 and has held several different assignments within the agency. Throughout his career, he has been the agency representative for Domestic Security, hurricane preparedness, and large event coordination.Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and is a graduate of the National Command and Staff College. He was selected as an Inweekly “Rising star” in 2015 and is a

member of Leadership Pensacola Class of 2018. Andrew is heavily involved in the community and has both organized and participated in many events aimed at making the community a better place. 

Andrew and his wife, Nicole, have a son (Granger) and are expecting a daughter (Nora) in spring of 2020. 

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Eric J. Nickelsen-

has been a real estate developer in the Florida panhandle market, from Pensacola to Destin and Fort Walton, since 1998.  Before his career in real estate Mr. Nickelsen was a banker, with varying responsibilities relating to operations and lending between 1966 and 1998.  By the end of his banking career, Mr. Nickelsen led the Northwest Florida region for Barnett Bank serving as its Chairman, President and CEO.  Mr. Nickelsen was a director of Whitney Holding Corporation and Whitney National Bank from 2000 until 2011, when he joined the Hancock Whitney board in connection with the merger.  


Mr. Nickelsen is very involved in various civic and charitable organizations throughout the Florida panhandle, including serving as the chairman of institutions such as the Pensacola State College Foundation, the University of West Florida Foundation, the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce, Rebuild Northwest Florida, Inc and the Sacred Heart Health System (a large health organization operating four hospitals and other facilities in the Florida panhandle) and as chairman or director of numerous other civic and community groups.  

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Shelly Nightengale-

is a long time resident of Pensacola and a proud alumni of the University of West Florida. Shelly currently works with the University in the Athletics Department as the Corporate Partnership Director. In this role she oversees corporate sponsorship and engagement for 15 student athlete teams. Shelly is a 2018 alumni of the Leadership Pensacola (LeaP) program where she served as the LeaP Into Fitness Class Project Co-Chair. Shelly has also served on many other community organization Boards from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Toastmasters of Cordova Club and the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life Leadership Team.

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Erik Nilssen-

moved to the Pensacola area in 2009 to begin his career as an orthopedic surgeon. When he’s not working on knees, ankles, and feet, he spends time with his wife and three children building memories. His lifelong interest are personal development and healthcare entrepreneurship. 

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Erica Reed-

is In-House Counsel, Director of Claims & Risk Finance at Baptist Hospital. A graduate of Fordham University and NYU school of law, Erica performed as a Rockette at Radio City for five years. Having grown up in the arts her, she enjoys teaching dance and musical theater to youth, teens, and adults throughout the Pensacola community. 

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John Rigsby-

has for more than twenty years developed and participated in the development of both forprofit, as well as, not-for profit ventures around the country.  John began consulting with the formation of J. A. Rigsby & Associates, a public and community relations firm, that worked primarily with public institutions in the areas of multicultural marketing and outreach.  

John is presently the Founder/CEO of The Training Company, The Soft Skills Training Institute of Florida and has proven once again to be a skilled executive and a visionary entrepreneur.  Additionally, John is a co-founder and executive of three other active firms to include The Urban

Development Center where he serves as President; eduocity, where he serves as CEO and Orange Apple Media and Films where he serves as CEO and Chief Content Developer. 

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Emory Smith-

Emory works closely with Realtors, Insurance Agencies, Home Inspectors, Appraisers, Title/Escrow Attorneys and Consumers to make the process of purchasing a home less stressful. As a Mortgage Consultant, Emory provides service with excellent communication and provides weekly updates on the mortgage process. Emory takes great pride in executing his fiduciary responsibility when advising his clients and potential customers on which mortgage program will best benefit their goals and needs. His knowledge of a wide range of mortgage products has given him the skills and ability to solve complex mortgage issues by providing real reachable

solution. Emory is enthusiastic about the opportunity to be an extension of your organization by providing expert advice and exceptional customer service with outstanding communication, during the mortgage loan process. With his expert advice and follow-up skills on your side, you will be able to focus on marketing and sales activities that will increase your profits. Emory, a native of Pensacola, Fla., grew up with three brothers and two sisters and graduated from Escambia High School. He was recruited to play football at Clemson University (CU) where he was named the Offensive MVP of the 1993 Peach Bowl. After graduating with a B.S. in Marketing, Emory earned a spot on two NFL team: The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. In 1999, he joined the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe, and suffered a career-ending knee injury. With a professional sport career no longer an option, Emory turned to his marketing degree and spent nine years in the health care industry selling durable medical equipment, home health care and hospice services. After a successful career in the healthcare industry, he ventured into Real Estate Sales and finally settled in Mortgage Consulting where he has been for the past five years. All of these experiences, whether it was blocking, scoring touchdowns on the football field or providing hospice service for grief-stricken families, have been learning opportunities that were both rewarding and personally fulfilling. In all of his career opportunities, Emory rests upon the lessons he learned on the football field. First, proper planning prevents poor performance. Second, hard work and discipline are the keys to success in any industry. Third, and most important, take care of your team. Emory’s team has changed from his brothers on the football field, to his current team of highly skilled mortgage professionals who get people and families into the homes of their dreams.

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