President and CEO, Leadership Florida
Wendy Spencer serves as President and CEO of Leadership Florida. For thirty-five years, Leadership Florida has been known as respected non-partisan convener of committed individuals that enhances the knowledge and leadership abilities of Florida’s leaders through educational programs and encourages collaborative work for the betterment of the state.
Prior to her appointment with Leadership Florida, she served a five year term as the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). This federal agency role was a nomination by President Obama and confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. CNCS is a $1.1 billion agency which invests additional local resources in matching support to annually engage 345,000 Americans in service through AmeriCorps, VISTA, Senior Corps in local service to communities. The agency also supports community organizations through their Social Innovation Fund. The agency’s investments are made locally in all 50 states, D.C. and the U.S. territories.
Wendy has a proven track record of 34 years in administration, volunteer management, fundraising, disaster response and recovery work, marketing, legislative, and environmental work. She has worked in or closely with these sectors: corporate, industry, small business, nonprofit, faith organizations, and local, state and federal government. She has given over 1,800 speeches, presentations, and trainings throughout her career.
From 2003-2012, Wendy served Governors Rick Scott, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush as the CEO of the Florida Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism, commonly known as Volunteer Florida. As the leader of this bipartisan, governor-appointed commission, Wendy managed between $18 million and $23 million in federal, state, and local grants each year. During the state’s record-breaking 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, the agency coordinated donations worth more than $85 million and more than 252,000 volunteers, the largest mobilization of volunteers in the history of U.S. natural disasters at that time. Wendy received the prestigious 2005 Governor’s Award from Gov. Jeb Bush for her leadership of this effort.
Wendy has been recognized nationwide for her leadership in the volunteer sector. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Wendy to the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. And in 2010, she was elected by her peers to chair the American Association of State Service Commissions, the nonprofit association that advocates for 54 state service commissions promoting national and community service across the United States.
Before joining Volunteer Florida, Wendy served as the director of the Florida Park Service, where she oversaw natural resource and recreational management for 158 state parks spanning 600,000 acres. Wendy’s career includes a decade of service at the United Way of Big Bend in north Florida, and she credits her time there with teaching her the principles of recruitment, recognition, and retention of volunteers.
Wendy holds a B.A. in Fine Arts and Speech Communications from Valdosta State University. She and her husband Ron have four sons, three daughters-in-law, two granddaughters and a chocolate lab. She enjoys golf, snow skiing, travel, and watching all sports, especially Florida State University!