PAF Leadership Team
2021 State Leadership Team
Asha Maharaj-Lucas, FRP – PresidentAsha Maharaj-Lucas has been a paralegal 20 plus years, beginning her career in the Federal Court System in the Northern District of New Jersey. In 2004, she relocated to Tallahassee. She is a strong advocate for the paralegal profession and focuses on strengthening resources and education for those currently in the profession, while inspiring budding students beginning their careers!
Asha has been diligently working with the Big Bend Chapter to continue its growth and stay competitive with local legal associations. She is currently the Immediate Past President of the Big Bend Chapter and has served as the President, and Vice President, and has served on the community service committee, job bank committee, and seminar committee as well as newsletter editor for the Chapter.
She also serves as Committee Chair for the State Scholarship Committee and Seminar Committee. Asha is also a member of the Florida Bar Enrichment committee where she is the Chair to the Specials Project Subcommittee. Asha received the NALA Affiliate award for 2019. (Email)
Michelle Ridge, ACP, FCP – First Vice President
Michelle Ridge has 30+ years of legal experience, primarily in family law and then a couple of years in insurance defense and recently began working in plaintiff's medical malpractice and personal injury for a law firm . During her tenure, with the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (“PAF”), she served as NALA Liaison, Technology Committee, Past President for the Boca Raton Chapter and 1st Vice President for the Big Bend Chapter. Michelle was the proud recipient of the 2016 NALA Affiliate award given in Las Vegas, NV, on behalf of PAF.
She is a member of both the Boca Raton Chapter and Big Bend Chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Annually, she volunteers with Broward Health to assist with their Charity Ball.
She has an affinity for culinary delights, the mother of 2 blonde chihuahua fur babies and the grandma of her first grandchild. (Email)
Tonya E. Wood, RP, FRP – Second Vice President
Tonya E. Wood is a PACE Registered Paralegal, American Alliance Certified Paralegal and Florida Registered Paralegal with the Law Firm of Donahoo & McMenamy, P.A. Tonya primary works in the areas of probate, guardianship, estate planning, tax and real estate and has been working in the legal field for over 20 years. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida, and she is a dedicated member of The Junior League of Jacksonville, an organization of women committed to improving the community through the action and leadership of trained volunteers.
Candice Mills Jones, FRP – Secretary
Candice has worked in various positions in the legal field since 1995. She received her Paralegal Certificate in 1997 and her Bachelor of Science degree in 1999, both from the University of Maryland University College (now known as the University of Maryland Global Campus). Candice has worked in the areas of personal injury law – encompassing major accidents, medical malpractice and product liability – constitutional law, family law, environmental law (her favorite), and currently, municipal personal injury defense.
Candice is a member of the Big Bend Chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), and of the Paralegal Section of the Florida Bar Association. In 2020 she was appointed by the Florida Bar to serve on the Florida Registered Paralegal Enrichment Committee.
Heather Rice, FRP – Treasurer
Heather Rice is a Florida Registered Paralegal at the Clark Partington firm in Tallahassee, Florida. She specializes in commercial litigation, working in the state, federal, and bankruptcy courts of Florida and Georgia. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and began her paralegal career focusing on catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation. She is currently the President of the Big Bend Chapter and a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Bea LeVine, CP, FRP – Immediate Past President
Bea LeVine is a Senior Paralegal formerly with the Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney firm in Tampa, FL and has specialized in immigration law for over 30 years. She received her Certified Paralegal designation in 1988 from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and her Florida Registered Paralegal designation from The Florida Bar Association in 2008. Bea is PAF’s Immediate Past President having served from May, 2016 to December, 2019. On a Chapter level, Bea is a Past President of the Hillsborough Chapter and is currently on the Board for our newest Polk County Chapter. At a community level, Bea has served on the Advisory Council for the Paralegal Studies Program at Keiser University since 2013 and has dedicated numerous pro bono and volunteer hours with various organizations and area churches in her community. In 2016 Bea had the distinct honor of receiving the Paralegal of the Year Award from the Solo and Small Firm Section of the Florida Bar. In 2018 she was appointed by the Florida Bar to serve on the Florida Registered Paralegal Enrichment Committee.
Cynthia B Johnson CP, FRP - Parliamentarian
As a Tallahassee, Florida, native, Cynthia Johnson has had the good fortune to have a wide and varied career, beginning in The Capitol at the Office of the Secretary of State in 1968. Cynthia has been a Certified Paralegal since 1986, and a Florida Registered Paralegal since 2008. The bulk of Cynthia’s legal career has been in complex civil litigation and insurance defense litigation. Prior to that she worked in the Administrative Law and appellate arenas, primarily involving the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. During 1985-86, together with a core group of 15± paralegals (f/k/a legal assistants) from the Leon County and Second Judicial Circuit Courts, varied Leon County and State of Florida agencies, law firms in Tallahassee, Cynthia was instrumental in creating and setting up curricula, materials, and venue for the first review course in the Big Bend area to prepare for taking NALA's two-day paralegal certification class which was first taken by 40± people in Tallahassee in 1985.
Cynthia is a founding member of the Big Bend Chapter of PAF and served as President (1987-88) of Tallahassee Legal Assistants Association; member of Tallahassee Association of Legal Assistants; member of Big Bend Paralegals Association; past member of Legal Administrators Association of Tallahassee. Cynthia has served the Big Bend Chapter on the Education Committee, Seminar Committee, Historian, Parliamentarian, and Liaison to the Tallahassee Community College’s Career Center Advisory Board.
Eva N. Gonzalez, FRP – NALA Liaison
Eva Gonzalez has over 20+ years of legal experience in Personal Injury and currently works at Brooks Law Group as litigation paralegal for Beach A. Brooks, III, Esquire. She has been an active member with the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., since 2003 and NALA since 2010. She has served as Suncoast Chapter’s President, Vice President, Treasurer and also volunteered on the Audit Committee.
She is the current President for Suncoast Chapter and the State NALA LIAISON.
Additional Board Members
Madison Harrell, Director (Chapter President – Big Bend)
Alicia Kendrick, Director (Chapter President – Boca Raton)
Hope Cremona, Director (Chapter President – Brevard)
Kristina Schiraldi, Director (Chapter President – Broward)
Tonya Wood, Director (Chapter President – First Coast)
Wendy Keller, Director (Chapter President – Hillsborough)
Olga Patterson, Director (Chapter President – Palm Beach County)
Chrystal Lunsford, Director (Chapter President – Pinellas)
Eva Gonzalez, Director (Chapter President – Suncoast)
Kristen Remling, Director (Chapter President – Treasure Coast)