Brenda was a senior-level news and media professional with BBC News in London for forty years. She travelled all over the world covering some of the major news stories as a field newsgathering editor leading a team and ensuring smooth and efficient functioning of live news coverage and programming for radio and television on tight deadlines and in high-risk and high pressure environments.
Brenda took up the role of Editor, Newsgathering for TVNZ based in Auckland for two years before arriving in Sarasota in 2015. She has freelanced for the BBC since then covering the last election. In 2017 Brenda married Richard Reston, a former foreign correspondent with the LA Times and editor/publisher of the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette.
Vilia Johnson is a year-round Sarasota resident and community activist. She grew up in Tampa and holds BA degrees in Speech/Communications and Political Science from the University of South Florida. After working in major cities across the country she has returned to enjoy retirement on the Gulf Coast. Vilia has corporate management background as well as entrepreneurial experience including stints as AVP Sales at L’Oréal, National Sales Manager for Cross, and President of her own manufacturer’s rep agency in the Northwest. Vilia previously served on the boards of several industry organizations as well as the regional YWCA in Seattle.