Yolanda Cash Jackson, South Florida attorney and lobbyist at Becker & Poliakoff, has been named FLORIDA TREND’s 2022 Floridian of the Year in recognition of her groundbreaking efforts to create pathways of opportunities for others and to garner support for Florida’s history-making achievement in becoming the first state to have an African-American, Mary McLeod Bethune, represent it in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Cash, who grew up in Liberty City and followed an uphill journey to become one of the state’s leading legal and legislative advocates, is profiled in the December 2022 issue of FLORIDA TREND. Cash was selected by the FLORIDA TREND editorial team in a deliberative process that considered a number of Florida business community leaders who have created a positive impact on the state in the past year, as well as how those efforts help shape the future of Florida.
“Yolanda Cash Jackson’s incredible path to success and her work to empower and elevate others is an inspiring one to share with our readers,” said FLORIDA TREND Publisher David Denor. “In many ways, her story is a Florida story: Her commitment to education and community and using her unique talents to create pathways of opportunity for others represents the best attributes of Florida’s dynamic business community.”
Jackson’s accomplishments include:
- Quarterbacked a state lobbying effort to replace a Confederate general’s statue representing Florida in the U.S. Capitol with one of civil rights pioneer Mary McLeod Bethune.
- Persuaded state lawmakers to reserve a medical marijuana business license for at least one Black farmer.
- Secured record amounts of state funding three years in a row (2020, 2021 and 2022) for Florida’s three private historically Black colleges and universities.
- Spearheaded the creation of the HBCU Pathway to Law Endowed Scholarship fund at the University of Florida’s Frederic G. Levin College of Law (endowed with gifts totaling more than $1.1 million) that provides scholarships to at least five graduates of historically Black colleges and universities who enroll at UF’s law school each year.
- Co-founded the National Black Professional Lobbyists Association with Alabama lobbyist Gregory Jones and government and external affairs consultant John.
- The group, which convened its inaugural conference in October, aims to grow the ranks of African-American lobbyists and Black-owned government affairs firms across the nation. “We need to have other Black lobbyists in the pipeline,” Jackson says.
- This fall became chair of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s official economic development organization, and serves as an at-large member of Enterprise Florida.
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