Board Members Bios
Lynne W. Gassant, MS-HRM, Founder: Lynne founded Scholar Career Coaching in December of 2012 to coach, motivate, and support college-bound students, with a focus on English as a Second Language. Grew up in Haiti, Lynne is a first generation college student and the first in family to complete a college education. She received her Master of Science in Human Resources from Florida International University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management from Florida Atlantic University. With her 10+ years of experience in Human Resources and Business, she’s the Managing Director and HR Business Partner at Virtual HR & Company, LLC. She has completed numerous courses and trainings in nonprofit management, grant writing, volunteer management, recruitment, onboarding, managing talents, and many others. Lynne was nominated and proudly selected by Volunteer Florida in August 2017 for the Champion of Service Award. The Award was presented to her by Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet. In 2018, she was humbly chosen for the Alumni MLK Leadership Award presented by Palm Beach State College. In addition, she received the MLK Jr.’s Drum Major Innovation Service from the Department of Education in Washington, D.C in 2018. Lynne has a deep passion for education and youth. Hence, she is constantly striving to make a positive impact in the community. She is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and an active member of Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Dr. Eddie Ruiz , Vice President: Eddie is the Florida State Director for Charter Schools USA. Prior to joining Charter Schools USA, Ruiz served as Assistant Superintendent of the Division of Student Services, Equity, and Access for the School District of Palm Beach County. Dr. Ruiz holds a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Phoenix and received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. Ruiz served 15 years as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal and has worked passionately to ensure that all students receive a quality education that will equip them with the skills needed for post-secondary education and employment in today’s ever-changing world. He is excited to be part of the Scholar Career Coaching board. Influenced to become an educator as a result of being impacted by caring educators who saw talents in him, Dr. Ruiz’s mission is to inspire and motivate the next generation, one student at a time.
Lisa Rabinsky, VP/Finance Director: Lisa joined the Scholar Career Coaching Board of Directors in 2014 and took over the role of Finance Director. She is a Florida native who attended Palm Beach State College. She has 30+ year experience in banking and commercial finance and is a top performer in her industry. She is currently Senior Vice President at CenterState Bank in her role as a Commercial Relationship Manager. She has provided the expertise to help in growing revenues and managing our finances. Lisa has been active with many nonprofits for over 30 years; our focus on disadvantaged youth was a primary driver for her.
Laurie Myers, Executive Secretary: Laurie serves on the Board of Directors as the Executive Secretary for Scholar Career Coaching since 2016 where she facilitated new SCC by-laws and has helped the organization with various projects. Laurie graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education. She is a certified Senior Human Resources Professional with 20+ years of HR experience currently working at Zimmer Biomet. Her HR work history includes supporting wholesale distribution/sales, retail sales, manufacturing, and non-profit / governmental organizations. Laurie also volunteers with Human Resources of Palm Beach County and All-For-One Pet Rescue.
Nicholas C. Johnson, Esq., Outreach Director: Nick is an Attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, and a member of the firm’s Complex Tort Litigation practice. In that role, Nick’s practice focuses on medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and personal injury cases. Earlier in his career, Nick practiced as an Assistant Public Defender in Palm Beach County, where he represented indigent clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies, ranging from DUI to crimes punishable by life in prison. Nick remains active in the legal community and is currently the Immediate Past President of the F. Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association. Nick believes a strong education can open so many pathways, and his passion and commitment to helping the younger generation establish an educational foundation, led him to Scholar Career Coaching in 2018.
Gillian Ebanks Knowles, Board Member: Gillian serves as our newest general board member at Scholar CC. Professionally she works as a Senior Mortgage Advisor for Waterstone Mortgage Corporation in Jupiter, Florida. She has over 15 years of experience in the lending and financial services industry. Gillian has aided our community through past organizations like Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer Awareness; The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum for Summer Camp; and Harvard University, where she serves as an Ambassador and Candidate in their Business Analytics Program. She expects to utilize her skills in finance, technology, marketing, and leadership to support the growth and development of Scholar Career Coaching programs.
Jessica McCann, Director of Donor Relations & Engagement: Jessica is a consultant and relationship manager with FranklinCovey, a performance improvement company that works with organizations around the globe. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Resource Development and Organizational Development from the University of Texas at Tyler and brings 13 years of experience working with clients in for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental sectors to the Scholar CC board. She volunteers in the community with the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the Audubon Society’s Sea Turtle Rescue, and the Association of Talent Development of South Florida. Jessica is a first-generation college student who received a need-based scholarship and mentorship from leaders, so she is passionate about the mission of Scholar CC to provide opportunities and relationships to young people in the community.
Mario F. Guzman, Director of Workforce Readiness: Mario has over twenty years of experience in government operations and is currently the director of support services for the City of West Palm Beach. He is a practitioner of servant leadership and is passionate in ensuring the team is working to its best potential. After originally starting in the skilled trades field, he transitioned into executive management to make impactful changes in operations. Mario has presented as keynote speaker and facilitated numerous trainings to various groups on his leadership philosophy and how to engage team members. He has a master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University and is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County class of 2020. As a board member he is enthusiastic in creating young leaders.