Vice President, Public Affairs
With a background in public service and skill for building partnerships, Joe Durso serves as Vice President of Public Affairs for Embrace Families, the region’s lead organization for foster care and adoption services. In this role, Joe has been instrumental in policy development at a regional and state level and in expanding Embrace Families from Seminole County to Orange and Osceola counties.
In addition to his work at Embrace Families, Joe has served as Longwood’s District 2 City Commissioner since 2008, serving as the youngest mayor in the city’s history from 2011 – 2012. Joe has also served as deputy mayor in 2009/10 and again in 2013/14. As commissioner, Joe has led job creation, economic development and SunRail initiatives for Longwood, and represents the city on several development boards and civic commissions. Joe is also a professor of political science at Seminole State College of Florida.
Prior to his experience at Embrace Families, Joe was chief of staff to Florida State Senator Lee Constantine and worked on the staffs of U.S. Senator Connie Mack, Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite. Deeply involved in community and civic affairs, Joe devotes his time to numerous charitable organizations including the Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools, the Orlando Science Center and the Rotary Club of Longwood. He was selected as one of Orlando Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” in 2011 and again in 2015.
A cum laude graduate of Florida State University with undergraduate degrees in Political Science, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences/Economics and a certificate in Political Economy, Joe earned a master’s degree in Political Management and Communications from George Washington University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Emerging Leaders program.