The Honorable Jennifer S. Carroll, will receive the Trailblazer Award at the 24th annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) Gala scheduled for Friday, November 17, 2017 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington D.C.. Established in 1994, the CARAH Awards celebrates the achievements of outstanding individuals of Caribbean descent who have made extraordinary contributions to their fields of expertise, such as Cecily Tyson, the Hon. Eric Holder, and Rita Marley, to name a few.
The Honorable Jennifer Carroll made history as the first Caribbean-born Lt. Governor in America, for the state of Florida, where she advocated on behalf of millions of Floridians," said Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of ICS, the CARAH Awards, and White House Champion of Change. "She is truly a testament to the indomitable will of the Caribbean woman, and a demonstration of the contributions that immigrants from the Caribbean make to the well-being of these United States of America."
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Carroll was Florida's 18th Lieutenant Governor. She was the first female elected as Lieutenant Governor in Florida and the first African-American elected statewide. Prior to that Mrs. Carroll spent more than seven years in the state legislator, where she worked to pass meaningful laws that enhanced economic development, including the procurement of $2.9 million to fund the Florida Export Finance Corporation to help employers have access to short term loans in order to retain and create jobs. She sponsored Entertainment Economic Development Legislation and a Jobs Package that created thousands of jobs for Floridians, and secured tax credits to companies and provided over $183 million for several infrastructure, health, education, social programs, water and environmental projects in northeast Florida. As Lt. Governor Mrs. Carroll oversaw the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, and Chairperson of Space Florida. She was also the Governor's Designee on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, and Chairperson on the Governor's Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection.
Mrs. Carroll career in public service began in 1979 when she enlisted in the United States Navy rising from the ranks of an enlisted jet mechanic E-1 to retire as a Lieutenant Commander Aviation Maintenance Officer after 20 years. Her numerous awards include: Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, and three Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbons.
In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed her to "The White House Presidential Scholar's Commission," where she served until the spring of 2004. In May of 2004, President Bush appointed her to the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission where she served until October 2007. She has also been a Chairman for the Republican National Convention (RNC) Committee, an RNC Delegate and an Elector of the Florida Electoral College.
More recently Mrs. Carroll served as a Senior Advisor for Global Digital Solutions Inc. Advisory Board and, as the former President and C.E.O. of North American Custom Specialty Vehicles, Inc.. Mrs. Carroll is an acclaimed public speaker, the bestselling author of "WHEN YOU GET THERE," and former political analyst.