Business course

Director receives governance training, TikTok expert hired

Travis Ray, Associate Managing Director of Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, was appointed Gulf Coast Board Institute of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in the fall of 2021. Through this program, he received high-level governance training during four training experiences in October.

Participants in each session are selected through a competitive process with the aim of creating a group of individuals with a variety of backgrounds. Regardless of previous board experience, all participants should make a personal commitment to use what they have learned through the Gulf Coast Board Institute to strengthen the governance capacity of a nonprofit organization in the gulf coast region.

Ray owns a brand of handcrafted bow ties and accessories, Dapper Bowtique. He was named in the “40 under 40” class of 2020 by the Business Observer, named “Entrepreneur of the year” by Manasota Honors and obtained a “Business Cohort” entrepreneurship with the “Build Bradenton, Build Basics” program at Bradenton.

He has worked with the Alliance Theater, Atlanta Coalition of Performing Arts, King Tut Exhibit, Atlanta Falcons, Children’s Theater of Charlotte, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater Company and Tyler Perry Studios.

Ray holds an MA in Theater Management / Arts Administration from the University of Alabama and a BA in Theater Performance from Alabama State University. He trained as a professional actor at the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film / Nebraska Repertory Theater.

In August 2021, KnaQ hired a TikTok expert Karissa leist to run social media campaigns for the Sarasota-based tech startup.

Leist, from Lakewood Ranch, is an influencer who has organically grown her social media platforms to over 1 million followers on TikTok and 72,000 followers on Instagram. She will work alongside the Director of Marketing to create the social media marketing, digital ad campaigns and influencer outreach program designed for KnaQ.

KnaQ offers simplified knowledge and skills sharing. From the obvious to the obscure, buyers can now find the knowledge, skills, services, answers and help they need to improve their lives. KnaQ is a trusted supplier that offers buyers and sellers the protection of their personal data.


Sarasota Financial Investment Advisor Raul elizalde was awarded the 2021 Five Star Wealth Manager Award; this is the fourth consecutive year that he has received this honor.

Elizalde is the Founder, President and Chief Investment Officer of Path Financial, a Florida-registered, Sarasota-based investment advisory firm. He is also a regular columnist for, covering economics, markets and investing.

The award, presented by national market research firm Five Star Professional, recognizes outstanding wealth managers across the United States for customer satisfaction and service. Selection is based on criteria such as credentials, customer retention, assets, experience and regulatory review.

Elizalde manages client portfolios with a strong emphasis on minimizing their risk exposure.

With a career on Wall Street spanning three decades, Elizalde’s experience includes positions as a global fixed and quantitative income strategist for ING Barings, head of research at Santander Investment Securities, and fixed income and markets strategist. Emerging Markets for Banc of America Securities.

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