Good Beginnings That Last A Lifetime
Michelle brought years of first-hand involvement with Forty Carrots Family Center along with two decades of business leadership experience to the position of Executive Director in June 2013. Her Forty Carrots knowledge includes extensive volunteer efforts as a parent in the Parenting Program and Preschool; several key leadership positions as a four-year trustee, board officer and chairwoman of the Governance Committee. Michelle’s professional background includes leading a multimillion-dollar international import business and co-owner/ CEO of several local businesses.
In 2001, Michelle and her husband Eddie decided to make the move from Boston to Sarasota. Anxious to get involved in their new community, they came to Forty Carrots to attend a PIP class in the Parenting Center not knowing what an impact that one class would make on their entire family. Michelle quickly became an avid volunteer and long-term supporter. Their first child would continue on in the Preschool at Forty Carrots and then their second daughter would do the same. All the while, Michelle’s passion would remain with the Forty Carrots mission and she now leads the organization and their dedicated staff.
Diane O’Driscoll joined Forty Carrots in June 2010, bringing over 25 years’ experience in accounting and financial management. Following careers in accounting in both the UK and South Africa, Diane relocated to Sarasota with her family in 2002, and has since filled leadership roles in both finance and development for nonprofits including the Englewood Art Center, St Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy, and Suncoast Humane Society. In her quest to help build strong communities, Diane has also served as a volunteer with many local organizations including Guardian Ad Litem, Vision North Port and Literacy Volunteers.
Laura Josephson, MA
Parenting Education Director
Laura Josephson, M.A., in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education from Manahattanville College and a B.A. in Fine Art and Education from The University at Albany. Laura is responsible for overseeing the Parenting Education groups in both Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Laura came to the Parenting Program in 2012 with a background in Early Childhood and Middle School Education with over 8 years of teaching experience. Previous to a career in education, Laura was in corporate marketing and advertising. In addition she was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education in 2010. Laura co-facilitated Partners In Play® parenting groups at Gocio Elementary, Our Mothers House, Soar in 4, as well as Sarasota and Manatee Libraries. Prior to becoming the Director she was the Parenting Program Administrator. Laura completed her Graduate Certificate in Infant Family Mental Health from USF in 2017.
Flora Oynick, M.A. and a B.A. in Education, with a Certificate in Early Childhood Education. Flora’s background is rooted in over 30 years of Early Childhood teaching and management. After moving to Sarasota from Mexico City, Flora has worked in Early Childhood settings as an administrator, developing curriculum, finding and creating opportunities for professional development for her staff and herself, and building relationships with children and families. Prior to becoming the Preschool Director, Flora most recently worked as a Forty Carrots Parenting Educator at the Sarasota and Manatee County Libraries. When Flora is not at Forty Carrots she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading and traveling.
CARLA JOHANNS, MA, LMHC/S
Clinical Director, Child & Family Therapy Services
As the Clinical Director of the Child & Family Therapy services at Forty Carrots, Carla Johanns is overseeing a group of therapists and supporting the expansion of mental health services throughout the community.
Carla has Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New York University and a Master’s of Arts in Counseling from Montclair State University. She has a Post-Master’s specialization in substance abuse counseling. Carla has worked in the counseling field since 1999, primarily with children and adolescents. She is licensed in Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC.
Carla started her career as a Clinical Intern at the Mental Health Association of Essex County in Montclair, New Jersey. After receiving her Master’s degree, she was offered a position at the Mental Health Association to work in their Intensive Family Supportive Services Department. During this time, Carla worked primarily with children providing mental health counseling in schools throughout the county. She worked with children individually, but also facilitated psychosocial groups that focused on different topics such as social skills, depression, and anxiety.
In the 2 years following 9/11, she worked primarily as a Grief and Loss Support Counselor with families who had lost a loved one in the WTC terror attacks. This position expanded further into the community and Carla was able to offer these services to families who had lost a loved one due to violence.
In 2008, she accepted a position as a Mental Health Therapist at St. Benedict’s Prep School, an all-boys school in Newark, NJ. During her tenure there, she helped develop a Counseling Center at the school, offering counseling services not only to the students, family, and staff of the school, but also to the surrounding community. Through this Counseling Center, Carla was able to provide individual, family and group counseling as well as supervise an intensive Behavior Modification Program for at-risk young men.
In 2011, Carla started her own private practice where she was able to provide therapy to adults, children, and adolescents. At this time, Carla also returned to work at the Mental Health Association of Essex County as a therapist in their Center for Low Cost Psychotherapy. She relocated to Sarasota with her family in 2015 and has been working in the Parenting Program, at Forty Carrots since 2016.