Meet Our Team

Blue Zones Project is a community-wide, evidence-based approach to improving health and well-being that makes healthier choices easier for everyone living in Jacksonville.

Nicole Hamm


We're powering up in Jacksonville—join us!

From policy experts to engagement coordinators, we need creative and enthusiastic professionals who share our passion for well-being and helping people live better, longer lives.

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Join the movement that will make healthy choices easier in the Jacksonville area.
Together, we can make our community a healthier, happier place to live, work, and play.

Nicole Hamm

Nicole Hamm is the Executive Director for Blue Zones Project Jacksonville. Nicole oversees the overall development and execution of the project and works alongside community partners and stakeholders to achieve success. Nicole attended Howard University studying supply chain management and Daytona State College in accounting management studies. 

With a passion for service Nicole serves as the Senior Vice President of Jacksonville Urban League Young Professionals, past President of the Rotaract club of Jacksonville Beaches, and serves on the board of non-profit Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (B.E.A.M)

Nicole is also a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2022 and the Jax Chamber Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship Class of 2021. 

In her spare time she can be found reading, exercising, cooking, spending time with friends, and exploring the city with her seven-year-old dog. Nicole is passionate about the future of Jacksonville and looks forward to being a part of it.

Marlo Zarka

Marlo Zarka joins Blue Zones Project Jacksonville as the Public Policy Lead. Having worked in the public sector for more than two decades, Marlo has an accomplished track record for leading long range public policy strategies, public relations, and contingency planning for sustained business and stakeholder development. Marlo supports good people, good policy, and ultimately the betterment of Jacksonville.

A highly accomplished, results-driven public relations expert focused on municipal arenas, Marlo is an experienced political campaign consultant working with all political parties for city and county roles including serving as Strategic Planning Liaison for the nation’s 25th largest law enforcement agency serving the 12th largest city to develop strategic responses for high-priority events. The City of Jacksonville, Florida adopted her Capstone Research Thesis “Best Practices in Serving Public Needs.”

Marlo holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Florida. She is also an accomplished athlete; she ran the NYC Marathon and competed in the Ironman Triathlon. She adores everything Italian and is currently working towards becoming fluent in the language. She and her husband, Andy are so proud to instill a sense of place and belonging in their daughter, Amelia.

Rashid williams

Rashid Williams, a native of Miami, FL, earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing & Real Estate at Florida State University, a Master of Divinity from The Interdenominational Theological Center, and Master of Arts in Public School Leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Rashid Williams has 13 years of experience in the field of education, three as a teacher and ten in school leadership and program management. In the summer of 2009 Williams joined Teach For America and became a corps member in Charlotte, NC. Upon completing an intensive summer training program Rashid was hired as a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, where he completed his two-year commitment.  Williams remained in the classroom a third year as a 7th & 8th grade History teacher at KIPP Charlotte, a free open enrollment, college preparatory public school serving almost 400 students in grades fifth through eighth. 

As a teacher, his ultimate goal was to help students understand the importance of history and empower them to be agents of change as history makers. Rashid decided to leave the classroom and become the Associate Director of KIPP Through College program at KIPP Charlotte in 2012. In that role he assisted 7th and 8th students and families with high school placement and college readiness. In 2013 Williams and his family moved to Jacksonville, FL so that he could become the Founding Dean of Scholars at Valor Academy of Leadership, an all-boys, tuition free, Public Charter School.  He served in that role for three years until the unfortunate closure of the school. 

Since January of 2017 he has served in various roles as a member of the KIPP Forward Program (formerly known as the KIPP Through College Program) at KIPP Jacksonville Schools where he assisted KIPP alumni and their families with the process of determining their post-secondary pathways.  Rashid believes that every student deserves access to a quality education that provides them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to pursue the paths they choose – college, career and beyond – so they can lead fulfilling lives and build a more just world.

Brittnay Camps

Brittnay Camps is a two-time graduate of Florida State University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Public Administration. Her passion for helping others to succeed by improving their quality of life has influenced her education and career path.

Brittnay serves on the Current Program Advisory Council Member at South University, is a Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP) and Social Worker, and is the Former Employee Engagement Council Member, and Nurse Residency Faculty Member at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

Brittnay has a wealth of social service experience, including child welfare, geriatrics, and disability advocacy. In the healthcare industry, she’s worked as a director in a skilled- nursing facility, a lead patient experience specialist, led quality improvement efforts, and developed departmental policies and procedures.

In her free time, Brittnay enjoys event planning, baking, attending FSU athletic events, and creating memories with her family.

Kristin murray

Kristin Murray is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. She graduated from Florida A&M University with a BS in Journalism and received her MA in Strategic Communication and Digital Strategy from the University of Oklahoma.

Murray is a best-selling children’s book author, a Georgetown Leadership Institute graduate, and a thought leader in youth participation and involvement, globally. 

Kristin has always been fascinated with the life stories of other people and believes that people sharing those stories (giving witness) is a way to spread knowledge and healing. Kristin has worked as a teacher, journalist, professional communicator, and has spent over a decade in the non-profit sector. During that time she’s worked on several certifications around trauma, narrative storytelling and healing centered approaches. Most recently, Kristin completed her journey as a certified breath-work practitioner to help people soothe their nervous systems and reconnect with their innermost self.

Across all of her career paths, three things have remained consistent for Kristin – the value of human connection, the power of the human narrative, and the ability for each individual to live embodied. She gathers people to connect over justice, stories and personhood. Kristin works with individuals, nonprofits, and corporations to deepen connection with self and build relationships with others. In every place she steps into, Kristin believes in giving witness.

Yanira Cardona

With an indomitable spirit and fervor for uniting communities, Yanira “Yaya Love” Cardona has carved an illustrious path in the media landscape and beyond. Born in Guanica, Puerto Rico, this vibrant powerhouse has tornadoed her way through Florida, infusing energy and compassion wherever she goes.

Yanira’s affinity for radio blossomed in her teenage years. A fortuitous family move to Jacksonville, Florida, due to her father’s military assignment, ushered her into the world of radio at age 17. Beginning as a weekend presenter at 970am, Jacksonville’s sole radio station, she unwittingly set the wheels in motion for a stellar career. Her educational pursuits mirrored her passion. Yanira emerged as a valedictorian from Full Sail University, armed with an Associate’s degree in Sound Engineering and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Business.

Her professional journey is a rich tapestry of achievements and service. Yanira’s endeavors span from working with Latin music legends like Juanes and Luis Fonsi during her tenure at Universal Music Group Latino, to orchestrating community-centered events such as the “Latina Hot Summer Fiestas,” which saw over 10,000 attendees.

Yanira’s acumen in sales and marketing was showcased during her time with Norsan Media. As the Sales and Marketing Manager, she was the guiding force behind Latina 92.1 and La Raza 92.9 radio stations, as well as the Hola Noticias newspaper. She has also made a significant impact through her engagement with iHeart Media, where she served as the Promotions Director for Latin and Urban stations, spearheading community service events.

Perhaps one of Yanira’s most enduring contributions to her community has been through her brainchild, Yaya Production LLC. This venture has provided her with the platform to cement her legacy in event management and community engagement. Notably, through Yaya Production, she launched “Viva La Fiesta”, a landmark Hispanic festival in Jacksonville, and played a pivotal role in bringing the first Hispanic Cultural Film Festival to life.

A striking aspect of Yanira’s repertoire is her unyielding commitment to community. Whether it is organizing Thanksgiving giveaways, serving as a Program Coordinator for Moving the Margins, handling social media for the Cultural Council, or engaging in event coordination for Art Republic, her touch is ubiquitous. Furthermore, her work with James Weldon Park and other entities underscores her dedication to cultural unity.

As if her plate wasn’t full enough, Yanira’s mellifluous voice can be heard every morning from 6 AM to 10 AM on Flow 105.3 FM, where she hosts “The Yaya Love Morning Show”. Her work has not gone unnoticed; in 2019, she was honored with a nomination for the First Coast Hispanic Chamber’s Rising Star.

In essence, Yanira Cardona, known affectionately as “Yaya Love,” is more than just a media personality; she is a linchpin of community development and a catalyst for cultural amalgamation. Her journey is not just a series of milestones but rather a continuous surge of passion and dedication towards weaving together the diverse strands of her community.

Lewan Brunson

Lewan Brunson is a dedicated Public Policy Coordinator who made a significant transition in his life by moving to Jacksonville three years ago from South Carolina. Before making the move, Lewan primarily worked in city planning in South Carolina, where he lent his expertise to assist small communities with various endeavors. His contributions included facilitating facility upgrades, engaging in neighborhood beautification projects, and providing support for affordable housing and repairs. Additionally, he was instrumental in helping local governing bodies apply for community development grants.

Upon relocating to Jacksonville, Lewan became affiliated with the City of Jacksonville and was actively involved in helping to plan and secure funding for several projects, including city park upgrades, public facility maintenance, road resurfacing, and sidewalk repairs.

Lewan has developed a deep affection for Jacksonville and is particularly captivated by the diversity that the city offers. He expresses immense admiration for the unique character and atmosphere of each part of Jacksonville. The possibility of experiencing a different vibe by traveling 20 minutes in any direction makes him feel as though he is exploring different cities within one.

What resonated profoundly with Lewan and drew him towards the Blue Zones project was its emphasis on the vital connection between the health of communities and their surrounding environment. This concept has been a driving force behind Lewan’s career. He firmly believes that communities cannot be expected to thrive if their environments do not provide the necessary conditions for the citizens to flourish. Lewan has faith in the Blue Zones Jacksonville Project to address and rectify the factors that have been impeding community growth.

Brittany nazario

Brittany Nazario graduated from the University of North Florida with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. She holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Strategy and Business Opportunity from the Digital Marketing Institute, as well as Foundations of User Experience (UX) Design from Google. 

 After graduation, Nazario spent her time contributing to local organizations including the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, ElderSource, Feeding Northeast Florida, the Historic Eastside CDC, and the Phoenix Arts and Innovation District.

Nazario enjoys working on greater stability, improved health equity and increased resilience in Jacksonville neighborhoods. Her work is rooted in lessons learned from the world’s longest-lived cultures, translated to strengthen social ties and sharpen policies to support healthy choices. 

Nazario is a founding member of Museums as Progress and on the board of the Museum Computer Network. She actively volunteers at WJCT, the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, and in 2023 was named one of Jacksonville Business Journal’s 40 under 40. Nazario says the best piece of advice she received is from her mentor Kerrie Slattery, who always says “good comes from bad.” It’s encouraging for her to know even when times are hard, the negative will always be followed by a positive.

Outside of work, she loves supporting local artists and is a bourbon enthusiast, so you can find her at local galleries and exhibition openings, and local spots that can make a perfect Old Fashioned.

Tia Leathers

With 20+ years‘ management experience in the nonprofit and public sectors, she is convinced the keys to success in any environment include effective communication and strong relationships.

Tia earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a focus on Public Relations from the University of North Florida. She has since earned her Master of Business Administration degree, completed a Developing Managerial Effectiveness program at The Pennsylvania State University, and a Strategic Frameworks for Nonprofit Organizations program at Harvard University.  She also has national certifications in Cultural Intelligence and Unconscious Bias from the Cultural Intelligence Center. 

Tia served many years as the lead engagement professional for the 20th largest school district in the country, and worked with the nation’s 4th largest district with minority-male mentoring.  She has taught Group and Team Dynamics and Business Communications at the college level, was the Chief Executive Officer for a literacy nonprofit, and is a self-published author.

Tia is a member of and holds leadership positions in many community organizations. As a change-agent, Tia has positively influenced leaders, systems, and policies through compassionate communication with a pleasantly direct demeanor, and she believes her purpose is to help others do the same.  As her life’s story unfolds, she enjoys shaping the stories of others and helping to provide the strategies, support, and training necessary to make the world a better place for us all.

Carla Reddick

Carla Reddick is a dedicated professional with a strong background in mentorship, youth development, and organizational coordination. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Florida State University, which has provided her with a solid foundation in understanding the importance of community wellness and public health principles.

Carla began her career as a Mentor at TRIO, Upward Bound Program. She played a crucial role in empowering students to resolve current issues and develop coping strategies. By acknowledging students’ strengths and talents, she encouraged them to leverage these attributes. Her commitment to establishing healthy and trusting relationships through clear communication was a cornerstone of her mentoring.

Carla devoted herself to guiding and supporting low-income and first-generation college youths. She served as a Lead Pre-Collegiate Counselor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Her responsibilities included providing academic and non-academic counseling to high school students, helping them set and attain goals related to college readiness and career plans. Prior to her role at Blue Zones Project, Carla made significant contributions in the healthcare sector as an Assistant Program Coordinator for Infection Prevention & Control at Baptist Health. 

Carla’s skills include tutoring, mentoring, leadership, and team building, and she has a particular interest in youth development. Her educational background in Public Health and diverse experience show her commitment to nurturing and developing the potentials of young people, while also contributing to organizational efficiency and health and well-being programs.