Foundation for Community Driven Innovation

Making the Future

FCDI's Board and Executive Director

FCDI’s Board of Directors hale from a diverse background of engineering, banking, tech, media, real estate, and civil service.  The broad spectrum of experience and dedication to the community based mission of innovation from the ground up provides a strong base of support and a bright future for FCDI and the communities it serves.


Terri Willingham

Terri Willingham

Executive Director

As executive director, Terri is caretaker of FCDIs mission and has the board’s full confidence in her stewardship.  A recipient of the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award in 2017, Terri maintains the daily operations of FCDI, oversees production of its events, nurtures and grows the collaborative relationships we have with our associates, and endeavors to ensure the acquisition of sufficient funding for our programs.   A professional writer by trade, Terri is the author of two books on health,  co-author of the book, Makerspaces in Libraries (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and Library Makerspaces: The  Complete Guide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).  Her work is focused on helping empower individuals to live and learn in meaningful, personally fulfilling and socially productive ways.  She was  Regional Director for FIRST in Central Florida from 2011-2017. 

Michele Mendez

Board Chair

Michele, a Vice President with Bank of America, helps small businesses secure loans they need to grow and prosper.  Michele has also participated as volunteer for FIRST team activities and events for many years, and more recently serves as the assistant-director of “PLuGHiTz Live”, a popular webcast covering geek culture, and the worlds of gadgets, gaming, Internet and media.    Michele is a strong supporter of the FCDI mission.

Steven Willingham

Finance Officer

Steve is a Systems Engineer and has been the key team leader on a wide variety of government projects for satellite communications, military and civil aviation, manned space flight, and commercial venues including insurance, financial services, and medical research. Steve is also the concept and design architect behind Tampa Bay’s precedent setting 10,000 sq. ft. public makerspace at the John F. Germany Library, the Foundry makerspace at Land O’ Lakes Library, and the makerspace at Regency Park Library.  Steve also served several years as the State Judge Advisor for FIRST Tech Challenge youth robotics programs in Florida. 

Carol Minor

Board Member

Carol is the Manager of Entrepreneur Services with Hillsborough County’s Economic Development Department and the Center Director of the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County. Ms. Minor brings a wealth of experience and expertise as a mentor and educator, to the FCDI’s Equity in Entrepreneurship program. In her present role, Ms. Minor manages a team of five Professional Business Consultants to deliver business management consulting and training to existing and start-up businesses throughout Hillsborough County. A specialist in finance, she helps businesses with finance and cash flow management as well as to gain access to needed capital by helping them to identify the best financing option.

Chimere Sidney

Board Member

Chimere Sidney joined the board in 2023, having served in a variety of Leadership, Coaching, Training and Development, Operations, Aerospace Medicine, and Sales positions over the years. Sidney is a nearly 20-year veteran of the Higher Education field, and has also worked in Finance EdTech, and is an Air Force Veteran.


Pam Oakes

Board Member

Pam is an Automotive Standards Expert with nearly 30 years in the industry, owner of U.S. Auto Training and a 4th generation auto tech. She’s author of Car Care for the Clueless and hosts a syndicated radio show by the same name, and the inventor of the Gas Cap Grip.  She brings sold workforce education knowledge and experience to the FCDI Board of Directors.

Vanessa Ferguson

Board Member

Vanessa is a Florida native, and an alumna of the University of South Florida and the University of Dayton. She is currently the managing director at Ferguson Legal, a business law firm that helps start-ups and small business address their business’s needs within their budget. Vanessa brings her legal knowledge and her passion for new ideas and innovation to the FCDI Board.

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FCDI is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.  All contributions to FCDI are tax deductible as permitted by law.

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