PHOTO: Matthew Gaulin
Age: 30 • Chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Lake and Sumter Counties
Glimpse into the future: Growing up in Panama City, Florida, I came from two working parents. My father was a doctor and my mother was a mental health counselor. As a seventh-grader, I began attending the Boys and Girls Club after school when the sports I played were not in season. I enjoyed the supportive, positive environment and continued going there until I graduated high school.
Giving back: In 2007, I became area director of the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County and oversaw three clubs. I loved going to work every day. The organization brought out the best in me and now I had an opportunity to do the same thing for today’s children.
Spreading his wings: I joined the Boys and Girls Club of Lake and Sumter Counties as chief executive officer in 2012. We currently serve 2,100 children ages 6 to 18. I love living here because of the people, lakes and excellent quality of life.
Future goals: I want to serve more children and make an even greater impact. I would also like people to look at our club as a national model and replicate what we do in terms of fundraising, building a strong board of directors and developing effective, full-time programming.
Leading by example: Although I am CEO, I still find time to interact with the kids we serve. I help them with homework and play pool, basketball and video games with them. I want the kids to know that I am one of them and, despite their circumstances, they can grow up to be CEO of a company just like I did.
Guilty pleasure: Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for the Boys and Girls Club. I’ll write the idea down and then play a college football video game on PlayStation for one hour.
Favorite junk food: Doritos Cool Ranch.
Married life: I am married to my best friend, Melissa Williams, an attorney with Boyette, Cummins and Nailos, Attorneys at Law. She keeps me grounded and helps me strive to do my best each day. We are expecting our first child in June. I cannot wait to be a father!
Worst grade you made in school: I won’t tell you the grade, but I will say I was terrible at geometry. It did not make sense, and I never understood how I would use geometry in real-life situations.
Last book read: “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I read this book a lot because I enjoy rooting myself in spirituality. The work I do isn’t for me; it’s about doing things for God in a higher purpose.
Something nobody knows about me: I have a tattoo on my right shoulder.
Freddy graduated from the University of Florida with bachelor’s degrees in political science and mass communications in 2008.
As director of the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County, Freddy helped the organization win multiple national awards, including best programs in character and leadership development, health and life skills, marketing and arts. In 2014, Freddy was named as Rookie of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club of America Southeast Region. The award recognizes an up-and-coming professional officer in the organization.