Guest Speaker

June 12, 2019

Deborah Barra

Chief Assistant State Attorney

2018 Women's Achievement Awards Government Honoree

Deborah Barra has been an assistant state attorney for fourteen years.

In addition to her extensive trial work, Ms. Barra has held various management and leadership positions throughout the duration of her career and over the course of three different administrations. Most recently, State Attorney Ayala appointed her as her Chief Assistant State Attorney. In this position, Ms. Barra is responsible for the supervision of approximately 180 assistant state attorneys, oversees the day to day operations of the office, and continues to prosecute cases. 

Prior to becoming Chief Assistant, Ms. Barra served as a trial unit director during the previous administration. As a trial unit director, Ms. Barra supervised approximately 40 employees and prosecuted violent felony cases. Prior to that position, Ms. Barra was also appointed the chief of the sex crimes unit. As chief of the Sex Crimes Unit, she had a trial caseload and also supervised the sex crimes prosecutors in both Orange and Osceola Counties. 

In addition to her extensive management experience, Ms. Barra has been the lead attorney in over 150 trials including homicide and sex crimes cases. She also has been an instructor at a local Police Academy for nearly 10 years and was selected to be one of two trainers who travel throughout the state to instruct prosecutors on how to successfully prosecute sex crime cases. 

Ms. Barra is a graduate of the University of Florida School of Law, Flagler College and Dr. Phillips High School. 

​High profile cases where Ms. Barra was part of the prosecution team include Juan Rosario (death penalty case), serial rapist Darryl Patterson (Windermere rapist), serial rapist Joel Pappas (deemed by media as the Eastside Rapist), Scott Bush (Windermere resident who molested his children and led to a perjury charge and conviction against former Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor), Scott Batterson (expressway authority board member who was convicted of bribery) and Aaron George (which resulted in the first life sentence for sex trafficking in Florida).


  • July 10: Kelly Lafferman, Chief Marketing Officer & Principal | Findsome & Winmore
  • August 14: Bernadette Spong, Chief Financial Officer | Orlando Health
  • September 11: Roseanna Harrington, Chief of Staff | Orange County Government
  • October 9: pending
  • November 13: WEC Elections and Business 


  • Heatherann Antonacci | 2018 Women's Achievement Awards Education Honoree, former President, Herzing University
  • Cornita A. Riley | Retired, Chief  Orange County Corrections, 2016 Women's Achievement Awards Central Florida Woman of the Year
  • Kirsten B. Carter, MD | Internal Medicine Physician, Grace Medical Home
  • Secily Wilson, | WOW Legacy; Shanta Barton Stubbs, PhD, MA, LMHC | New Image Youth Center; Deanna Snyder, RN | Be Well Essentials
  • Karen Willis | Chief Executive Officer, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County



  • Cyndia Morales Muñiz, EdD, Assistant Director of Multicultural Academic & Support Services | University of Central Florida
  • Kari Conley, Director, Community Relations | Orlando Health
  • Diane O'Dell, President of Community & Diversity Relations & Executive Director of the Foundation | Universal Orlando
  • Maryann Barry, CEO | Girl Scouts of Citrus
  • Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, Retired Army, Senior Vice President, Global Partnering, Leadership Development & Health Performance Strategies  | Florida Hospital
  • Michelle Brady Palmer, Manager, Community Engagement | SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando
  • Barbara Jenkins, EdD, Superintendent | Orange County Public Schools
  • Joie Cadle, Elected Board Member, Orange County Public Schools, 2017 WEC Woman of the Year