2020 ACEL 
Mentorship Program

Applications to the ACEL mentorship program are free and open to the public; however, you must become a member once accepted. We also require a commitment to telling us your success story, sharing it with our membership, and attending our Annual Meeting at the end of June with your mentor. 

Below are the 2020 ACEL mentors bios. Click “Apply Now” – you can pick multiple members in the same application. 

Meet Your 2020 Mentors

Bobby Lee

Director of Operations

UF Small Animal Hospital

Bobby is the Director of Operations at the UF Small Animal Hospital where he oversees business operations, a satellite ER clinic, and information technology services.  Before taking on this role in 2016, Bobby held various roles in information technology for six years. After a stint in IT, he managed a veterinary practice for UF before leading an online veterinary education company.  Bobby has a BS from the University of Florida and an MBA from Florida International University.

Bobby’s professional interests include business development, team-building, and professional development.  He is passionate about cultivating talent and developing sustainable business growth models. Bobby also believes in promoting personal wellness in order to improve work life balance.



Choppy Hodes

Account Executive

Lee Crane Insurance

As a Gainesville native, I attended Eastside High School and the University of Florida where I earned a bachelors degree in Sport Management in 2008.  I began my career in insurance doing marketing and underwriting at Tower Hill Insurance Group and after several years ventured down to Deerfield Beach in South Florida to further my career underwriting Homeowners and Flood Insurance for Peoples Trust Insurance Company and TypTap Insurance Company.   

I currently serve as an account executive for Crane & Hyatt Insurance, a locally owned and operated insurance agency focusing on Property & Liability Insurance – mostly Home, Auto and Business. As an Independent Agency, we represent dozens of great companies and thoroughly shop the market for the best coverage and rates. We pride ourselves in our service and strive to treat each of our clients like family.  While I appreciate the experience gained on the corporate and underwriting side of property insurance, I believe I have found my niche on the sales side as an independent agent as I truly enjoy breaking down what at times can be complicated and confusing insurance concepts such as risk transfer and risk management into relevant terms and scenarios that don’t put people to sleep or make their eyes roll back and glaze over.

For the past 2 1/2 years I have been a member of the Alachua County Emerging Leaders active in the community service and professional development committees, as well as a member of the Gainesville Alachua County Association of Realtors Young Professional Network, and I serve as a Gainesville Chamber of Commerce Diplomat.  In my free time I enjoy running and biking the trails of San Felasco, the Hawthorne Trail and Barr Hammock Preserve as well as volunteering with Habitat for Humanity building houses. I also enjoy seeing a good live show at one of the local music venues, hanging out with friends downtown or at one of the breweries or restaurants, and I try to find time to go to the beach and fish as often as possible. 

John Montague

Investor, Advisor and Lawyer

With a law degree from the University of Florida, John was one of the first cannabis lawyers in his state. His experience raising over a billion dollars in funding for clients as well as serving as an adjunct professor at UF was the perfect setup for his latest venture John is an investor, advisor and lawyer for numerous startups and venture backed companies. John is also an avid surfer and enjoys practicing yoga. 



Katie White

Director, Customer Experience

The Wyman Company

I am excited to be a part of the ACEL mentor program.  I was a part of ACEL in 2007 when I was a new sales manager; a time where mentorship was so key for my professional development.  In 2004 fresh from graduation from UF, I started my professional journey in an advertising sales role for a publishing company in Gainesville; I made outbound calls and then eventually moved into a sales management position.  The company expanded and soon asked me to move to Atlanta in 2007 where I helped recruit, train, manage and coach sales reps for another 9 years. Moving to a new city to start a new office was a fantastic challenge; it helped me learn the value of being versatile in business.  In 2016, I changed careers; moving into a new role in a new industry (logistics). Making this change forced me to “be the new gal” again; a tough challenge for someone who had been used to teaching others for over 12 years in an industry that I knew so well. I had the opportunity to work in customer service and learn the ropes of a third-party logistics business that was built by a family over 40 years ago.  


In 2018, a new opportunity presented itself where I could be a part of a new company in the industry that I started in- advertising and sponsorship sales.  Taking on this new position meant moving back to Gainesville where we would build our first office. My life now consists of wearing more hats and learning new things on a daily basis. Being a part of a brand-new company has been the toughest career I have had to date but also the most rewarding and inspiring.  Thinking of each of my careers, the moments that I am most fond of and thankful for are those that involved individuals who were mentors to me. I hope that with the lessons I have learned with working with many different types of people in varied roles that I can help an up-and-coming professional leader in Alachua County.  I look forward to being back in Gainesville and being a part of the ACEL community.

Marc Lefton

Founder, Creative Director

Marketing General Contractors

Marc has over twenty years experience as an award winning creative director working at the highest levels of New York advertising agencies. His brand experience includes Coke, Budweiser, Samsung, Haier and many others. 

In 2004, he founded one of the first ever social networks, Adholes, which for many advertising professionals was the first one they ever used. In 2010 he founded Half Fiction, an agency he sold in 2013. Following another two year role heading up growth strategy at independent creative agency DiMassimo Goldstein (Gator 100) and teaching advertising concept classes at the School of Visual Arts, he moved to Gainesville to be closer to family where he founded Marketing General Contractors, a collective of worldwide talent working for clients nationally. He also founded Sentient Media with a focus on programmatic media planning and buying. 

His goal is to bring high level big agency thinking to smaller brands who need to move faster. He also serves as President of ACEL and studies improv comedy in his spare time. 


Pattee Green

Software Developer

I have three years of professional experience at a local drone manufacturing company that builds small scale aerial vehicles to compete for government contracts. I worked for a year and half on the WordPress website. I developed the WordPress theme and deployed it using AWS. During that time I developed my skills as a Front End Developer using Angular, React, and ‘vanilla JavaScript’. I also implemented designs using CSS and SASS. 

For the next year and a half I worked on two separate projects that used C++ and C#. The projects were to create desktop applications used as ground control stations. Between the website work and the work on the desktop applications I have learned a variety of skills in technology and had the opportunity to work on several teams.

Since I have experience in a variety of settings I can help people new to computer science and web development narrow down their path in deciding which to pursue. For someone closer to finding a job I can help explain the application process for jobs. I applied to a variety of companies and can help explain what to expect in the job application process. 


Scott Schroeder, APR, CPRC

VP of Operations

Liquid Creative

Scott Schroeder is the VP of Operations at Liquid Creative, where he is in charge of managing both new business and client services. A graduate of West Virginia University, he has been in the marketing industry his entire professional career and has spent more than 20 years living in Alachua County. Scott leverages his public relations expertise and strategic insight to assist customers in industries throughout the consumer and B2B markets, providing them with opportunities for increased visibility and brand growth. Having served on numerous local boards, he is highly involved in the Gainesville community.

About the ACEL Mentorship Program

Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters. Mentors have helped shape the lives of each new generation of leaders for as long as there have been new generations of leaders. They have helped pass on their knowledge and allowed a new generation to build on their successes and failures.

ACEL’s annual mentorship program connects existing leaders to emerging leaders in Alachua County. As an initiative of ACEL’s Professional Development Committee, the program was designed by a team that has worked on mentorship programs across the United States, combining best practices and structures from hundreds of mentorship programs.


During the early years of your career, it can be daunting to consider the dizzying number of directions you could go and the decisions you will have to make. You may wonder where to focus your professional development or what skills you will need in the future. What are you best at? How can you balance your personal life with your professional life? The simple act of sitting with someone who has tread that course is invaluable for young professionals as they begin that journey.

Program Structure

The process is simple. Mentors and mentees meet for a mixer to allow everyone to mingle and get to know one another. Afterward, they will be paired with their mentor through a mentor-selection process. Once matched, each mentor-mentee pair will meet approximately once a month on their own for six months, capped off with a final event.

Application Process

Applications for mentorship are currently open until 2/29/2020.