Outstanding Citizen Diplomats honored

The Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council recognized four women who have volunteered their time and energy to the International Visitor Leadership Program: Pensacola Councilwoman Maren DeWeese; Elaine Mager, Pensacola City Council executive assistant; Sena Maddison, Protocol Officer for Escambia County Sheriff’s Office; and Shelia Sims, Chief Deputy Court Administrator.

In 2011, the Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council hosted 306 international visitors and their interpreters. DeWeese was honored for greeting each group and giving them an introduction to the community, tailoring it to interests of the delegation. Mager was cited for efforts to ensure each visitor received an honorary citizenship, making whatever last-minute adjustments were needed.

Several of the delegations were interested in our judicial system, law enforcement, domestic violence, at-risk youth and forensic science. Maddison coordinated the visits to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, having the proper personnel meet with the groups. Sims set up roundtable discussions with judges, State Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office, gave behind-the-scene tours and set up courtroom observations.

GCDC’s executive director, Jena Gissendanner, made the presentations along with board chairman John McMahon at the home of Marianne Estes, who hosted the event at her home.