The Gainesville Area Women’s Network (GAWN) is governed by its own members through an elected board of directors. Every member in good standing is eligible for a leadership position. We rely on volunteers to serve on the board and committees, and to help with individual events. Leadership networking gives our members invaluable business connections.

GAWN’s fiscal year begins July 1, when the new board members are installed; it ends on June 30. Applications to serve in the next fiscal year are due in April and May, but we invite you to submit an application at any time. All hands are welcome. The board consists of four Officers; Chair, Incoming/Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. All other positions are considered Directors, including at large members.

2020-2021 BOARD


Sara is an Alachua county professional- working in the mortgage industry since 2005. She currently holds a position as Senior Mortgage banker for our local, Renasant Bank.  Sara’s background includes working for Florida’s top businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies.

Sara works with people daily to help them secure a piece of the “American Dream” of homeownership. Her passion is helping customer’s purchase or build their dream home– especially when they didn’t think it was possible. 

Sara resides in Keystone Heights with husband, Matt and two youngest boys- Andru and Garrison while their two oldest sons- Kyler and Fletcher are attending college.   On the weekends you can find her enjoying her time with family, attending church, or at the baseball field.



Kristy served as GAWN's 2016-2017 Chair. She owns Brightway Insurance, The Moffat Agency, serving clients in the Gainesville area. She is a member and Past President of the North Central Florida Chapter of the CPCU Society, as well as a member of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Alachua County Emerging Leaders (ACEL), and Gainesville/Alachua County Associations of Realtors (GACAR). She earned her BS and MEd from the University of Florida and has worked in the insurance industry her entire career. www.brightwaymoffat.com


Jennie Whitson is an entrepreneur based out of Gainesville, Florida – Independent Consultant with Rodan + Fields Skincare Products, bookkeeping for several small business, and real estate property investor. After living in five cities across the US, Jennie moved to Gainesville to be near her sons, who state they will not live any place colder than Florida. her best times now are spent with her wonderful grandkids, Ethan (12) and Sarah (11) in Orlando, declaring "they keep me young", and the company of good friends here in Gainesville. "I am truly loving my life everyday." www.jmtw.myrandf.com


Jamie joined Rodan + Fields in October 2009 with her husband and now business partner Bob. They had been retired from the corporate world for over 3 years and were enjoying “life on the farm”. She wasn't looking for the opportunity, especially not in network marketing. But she quickly realized that in order to grow their business they needed to grow their network!

It was at a Chamber 101 meeting for new members that Jamie first heard about GAWN. Walking through those doors at Sweetwater was ONE of the BEST decisions she ever made. She was somewhat introverted when she joined GAWN and the thought of talking to strangers had her hyperventilating! Everyone at GAWN was so friendly and she quickly overcame her fears.  She met some amazing and talented women (and men). They encouraged her to step further outside her comfort zone and join the GAWN Board. Her first position was Secretary. She believed so much in GAWN that she was ready to step into the role of Vice Chair, Chair, Ambassador, then stayed an extra year in the Ambassador/Advisor role.  Now after a hiatus Jamie is back on the board once again stepping in where she is needed.  


Leslie is a website administrator at the University of Florida for two departments in the College of Medicine.  When she is not working on websites she is traveling.  In 2007 Leslie took her first trip to Europe and was hooked.  She enjoys traveling the world, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.  She has been to all 50 states, and 39 European Countries just to name a few.  Leslie enjoys researching travel and helping others plan trips both on land and sea.  Leslie works at Anywhere Inc., a full service travel company. They are one of the largest family owned cruise agencies in the country and have been in business since 1972 . They have expanded the business to include land based world-wide travel and work with some of the best tour groups in the industry to get you the best deal on your ideal vacation.  www.ldmerry.com


Christine Damm is currently an Account Manager at GRUCom, providing internet, data transport, colocation leasing, tower leasing and backhaul networking solutions for businesses within locations in Alachua County.  She moved to the Gainesville area in 2007, worked a few years at UF in hospital administration, then accepted a position with GRUCom in 2011.  Prior to her time at UF, she worked many jobs including as a fitness instructor teaching hi-low and step aerobics classes.  She ran her first marathon in 2003 and enjoys walking, running and working out.  She is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, with a BS from George Washington University and a MBA from Norwich University.


Ben has been a Realtor® since 2002 and joined the Focus Real Estate Group team in 2006, after working six years as a Realtor® in the South Florida area. While there,  Ben served as assistant manager for the Keyes Boynton Beach office, as well as sales manager for the Coldwell Banker Boca Raton's Central & Beach offices and their combined 300 agents.

Ben is also a veteran of the US Air Force for six years, with tours in Europe as well as the United State Air Force Academy, receiving two Air Force Commendation medals as well as numerous other achievement awards and recognition. Ben also serves on the Board of Directors for Alachua Habitat for Humanity. In this position,  Ben has been able to leverage his real estate influence and experience to promote a renewed partnership with the local Realtor association and local business partners to raise money, resources and awareness of Habitat’s ongoing mission and the expansion of its New Home Builds, Critical Home Repairs, and Brush of Kindness programs. 

Ben married his wife Kimberly and they share four incredible children in Zack, Brandon, Lauren, and Kiersten. 


After years in the dental field, it was time for a change. Trish Nystrom left the dental world in 2014 to start a new career in Real Estate and hasn’t looked back since. In 2017, Trish and her husband moved from Charlotte, NC to Gainesville, FL for her husband’s job and Trish started re-building her business in real estate. Joining Watson Realty, Trish specializes in making the real estate process smooth and seamless for everyone. In an effort to meet new people and get integrated in Gainesville, Trish came to a GAWN luncheon and loved it- so much she asked about serving on the board! In her spare time, Trish loves spending time with her family, 2 dogs and pot-bellied pig, Bubbles.

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