Laura Michele Branker
During her time on this earth, Laura Michele Branker always brought joy to her family and friends. She made us laugh and she made us appreciate how important we were in her life.
She taught us to live life in our own way and full of meaning. She empowered us to see the best versions of ourselves, even when we couldn’t see it. Most importantly, Laura taught us how to use our hearts to the fullest. A moment with Laura was always well planned and the most efficient use of that moment.
Born on November 26th in Manhattan, New York to Philip and Monica Branker, and later joined by her brother Philip. The family left Brooklyn and moved to Lauderhill, FL where she attended Ely High School in Pompano Beach. Laura attended Florida International University and then transferred to Florida A&M University where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism.
Laura started her career in South Florida then moved to Tallahassee to begin her adventure in Florida State Government. She was offered an opportunity to serve under the newly elected Governor Jeb Bush as Deputy Chief of Staff. Although she was honored at the opportunity, her greatest moment was having her parents be there as they watched the next chapter of Michele’s life unfold with pride.
Laura succeeded quickly in her job with the Governor and soon a vacancy soon opened up. Bush appointed Laura interim Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration in 2001 and became the First Black Woman ever to lead that Agency. However, she was never impressed by titles or recognition she truly just loved to work to make a difference.
Laura was always excited about the opportunities she had earned but she strived to be somewhere where she could do more. She left Tallahassee for Washington D.C., in 2003 where she took a position with UnitedHealth Group as its national director of government strategies. In 2007 she exited for Wal-Mart where for two years she served as the director of corporate affairs for health care. She served as a special assistant to the director of the District of Columbia Department of Health from 2009 to 2011. She then worked as an adviser on multicultural markets and engagement from Sept. 2011 to 2014.
She had a one-year stint as a senior vice president at Smith & Company, a crisis management and strategic communications company, before joining Concepts and Solutions in 2016 as its managing partner. She later joined PYXERA Global as a Key Client Manager followed by a position as Senior Vice President of Philanthropy, Communications & External Affairs at Capital Caring Health.
In addition to her career achievements, Laura was active in many community and civic organizations throughout her life including Junior League, The Atlantic-Florida chapter of The Association for Women in Communications, The Broward County Chapter of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Florida A&M University Board of Trustees, Georgetown Leadership Seminar in the Walsh School of Foreign Service, American Council of Young Political Leaders, The Links, Inc., and Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Laura loved food, fashion, travel, cultural and performing arts. Spending time with Laura (Michele) always involved hugs, laughter and a great meal or visit to a gallery, museum or the theater. Her travels included Barbados, Costa Rica, Italy, Germany, Amsterdam, France, Austria, South Korea and Morocco. She carefully selected thoughtful keepsakes from her travels to gift to family and friends. Laura always remembered your birthday, anniversary or other special day in your life.
Laura always had the brightest smile in the room with an infectious energy hard to deny. She was spirited, always down for an adventure and of course a nice evening on the town! Laura embodied what it meant to be a strong, independent, fierce and wildly unafraid woman.
Many of us cannot imagine a life without her “light up a room” smile but Laura leaves with us the encouragement to be that light, to take up space, and to always live life to the fullest. Take that trip, make those dinner plans, and most of all hug, squeeze and love your family and friends.
We know that her biggest joy were her nephews Xavier and Austin Branker. She always would brag about how tall they had become or how fast they were. She loved sharing in their success. As her family and friends enjoyed her celebrating their success. She loved her Goddaughters Jasmin and Brooke Sealy equally as well.
Laura is survived by her parents Philip and Monica Branker, sister Stephanie, brother Philip and India, nephews Xavier (Tiberius) and Austin, Godmother Shirley Byer, Goddaughters Jasmin and Brooke Sealy, numerous Uncles, Aunts and Cousins, Family, and Friends.
In lieu of flowers the Branker Family asks that you please make your donation to the Laura Branker Memorial Fund at Florida A&M University for Women Students studying Journalism.
- Forest Lawn South Memorial Gardens
- 2:00 PM
Forest Lawn South
2401 Davie Road Extension
Davie, Florida 33317
- 05/26/2022 at 4:00 pm