We had the good fortune of connecting with stacey udine and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi stacey, what are you inspired by?
I can think of no greater inspiration than my husband, Michael, and our three children—David (23), Matt (22), and Lexi (20). As Broward’s Vice Mayor, my husband embodies what it means to be a true public servant, taking on everything that comes his way with positivity, integrity, and compassion. Public service is nothing new to our household, as my husband has spent the last 18 years advocating for Northwest Broward County—first as a Parkland City Commissioner, then Mayor, followed by his 2016 election to the County Commission. In fact, those qualities that make him a great community leader are reflected every day in his dedication to what’s most important: family. Despite his own hectic calendar, he knows the kids’ schedules and makes it a point to talk to them every single day. We all love the inspirational quotes that he sends in our family group chat as a reminder to strive to be the best versions of ourselves. But just as he provides inspiration to all of us, my husband and I are equally inspired by our children in their continued pursuit of education to better themselves and the world around them. Currently in his first year of medical school at the University of South Florida Morsani School of Medicine, Matt is dedicated to healing those around him, one patient at a time. While Matt has gone into the medical field, David—also a graduate of the University of Florida—is pursuing an MBA with a concentration in real estate development at the University of Miami. I’m always so impressed by his leadership qualities and can’t wait to see what exciting venture is in store for him next. Finally, our youngest, Lexi (20), is currently a junior at University of Florida, where she studies telecommunications, public relations, and marketing. It was the 2018 MSD tragedy that inspired Lexi to pursue a career in telecommunications, where she studies how to improve communications systems for keeping the public informed during crisis situations. In fact, for the past three years, my husband has also been learning and advocating for upgrading our local public safety system to improve our ability to communicate during a crisis. As you can see, that’s just one example of how they serve as inspiration to one another. To sum it all up, while we each have our own unique interests and passions, we’re all inspired by the common goal of giving back and serving others. In ways both large and small, there’s no gift more rewarding than seeing the difference you can make in someone else’s life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For the past 25 years, I’ve lived in Parkland, Florida with my husband and our three beautiful children. In those 25 years, I’ve been an active volunteer, community advocate, and full-time mom. In fact, I started out as a PTA mom before becoming PTA President and chairing our local School Advisory Forum. I guess it’s safe to say I’ve kept plenty busy! In addition to our local schools, I’ve spent many years volunteering and raising money for charitable organizations like Not My Daughter, the National M.S. Society, and many other worthy causes. But it was on Valentine’s Day in 2018 that my life took its most unexpected turn when the unthinkable happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Needless to say, February 14, 2018 was one of the most tragic days in the history of our nation. Bearing witness to longtime neighbors and friends suffering the anguish of losing loved ones from senseless violence—along with the mental trauma it inflicted—inspired me to take a leading role in a non-profit dedicated to ensuring everyone in the community has access to mental health support and counseling. And that’s how Parkland Cares came to life – as a core, dedicated group of individuals doing boots-on-the-ground fundraising to help provide immediate and long-term funding and awareness for mental health counseling for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting survivors, their families, and the community at large. Suddenly becoming the executive director of a non-profit was a lot like jumping right into the deep end. Having little experience in non-profits, I’m so fortunate to have been mentored by Howard Dvorkin, our generous founder, who’s given me great insight into what it takes to raise money for a non-profit organization. Three years later, Parkland Cares is an integral part of my life, and I wake up every day feeling gratified knowing I’m able to help those who are suffering access the mental health support and care they need to heal. I’ve never before been a part of a project so important or meaningful, and I look forward to continuing to help provide hope for a better tomorrow.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First I’d show them the City of Parkland’s many beautiful sites like the equestrian center, the amphitheater and all the beautiful parks we have. next, we would do some shopping at Town Center then pamper ourselves at the Boca Beach Club. Eating local is always fun, cook in the cork for a gourmet meal or Japango for sushi are two of my favorite .weekend plans would include heading down south to Miami to Wynwood walls and dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab. Back home to Parkland On Sunday for our incredible Farmers Market.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
my close circle of friends, my incredible family and my MSD community
Facebook: stacey herman udine / parkland cares
LK photography lkwzphotography