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Scholarship & Mentorships

Applications Now Being Accepted

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Florida State Florist Association Embraces Education

Each year,  FSFA International Awards to its' Members Scholarships and Mentorships during the Annual Convention.  2024 Scholarships and Mentorships will be awarded on: 

Saturday,  June 7, 2024 during the President's Gala and Awards Dinner.

 FSFA International 

is pleased to announce the following Scholarships:

The  FSFAI Jeanne Parsons Scholarship.

A scholarship in the amount of up to $1000. 


Jeanne Parsons 3/9/1927-10/29/88


The  William "Bill" Bobulinski Scholarship.

A scholarship in the amount of up to $1000 for the recipient to attend a class at Floriology Institute, Jacksonville, FL.  

William "Bill" Bobulinski 12/24/1965-11/15/2020 - Treasurer 2018-2020, Place in the Sun - State 2019


Additionally,  FSFA International will also be awarding Five Mentorships 

This year, Deborah De La Flor AIFD CFD AAF PFCI, Ian Prosser AIFD CFD PFCI, Andreia Muller AIFD CFD FSMD, Ralph Giordano AIFD CFD FSMD and JP Varvarigos have generously donated their time to mentor someone who is new to the industry or wishes to expand their knowledge.  The scholarship / mentorship program is one of the greatest benefits of membership in FSFA International. Submit your application by clicking the registration button below. 

Gale West FSMD - Scholarship Chair 

Christi Brown FSMD - Past President - Scholarship Chair Assistant

  Ashley Brant  CFD  - Scholarship Chair Assistant 

Delia Chen AIFD CFD FSMD - Scholarship Chair  Assistant

Your FSFA International  2024-2025 Mentors

Deborah De La Flor AIFD CFD PFCI

For 40 years, Deborah has shared her passion for the floral industry with international audiences through design presentations, seminars, competitions and commentary.

Deborah has said her childhood helped shape her career. She vividly remembers visiting her grandparents in Kentucky and feeling inspired by the verdant mountain landscape. She brought that love for natural beauty back to her home in South Florida, where, as a little girl, she planted flower seeds and tended a vegetable garden.

In 1981, Deborah began working at Dolly’s Florist in Miami, where she met her husband, Gus. Two years later, Deborah was named the Greater Miami Designer of the Year and Florida State Designer of the Year. In 1986, she and Gus opened De La Flor Gardens in Cooper City, Florida. 

Through all of her personal successes, Deborah has remained a dedicated and available counselor to other industry members and she has become a speaker whose vast knowledge, down-to-earth demeanor and infectious enthusiasm have made her a sought-after presenter for floral industry events.

Among dozens of honors, Deborah was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers in 1996 and into SAF’s Professional Floral Communicators-International in 2006. In 2000, she won First Runner-Up at FTD’s Americas Cup final in Atlanta. The same year, she won the FTD First Annual Great Masters Design Competition. Deborah represented the United States at the Interflora World Cup in Melbourne, Australia in 2004, and she served as a judge for the 2015 competition in Berlin, Germany. Deborah was asked again to judge the Interflora World Cup in 2019 in Philadelphia and for a third time as a judge in 2023 in Manchester England


Ian began his over 40-year successful floral career with three little shops in Glasgow, Scotland. His long list of accolades and achievements include becoming the youngest person to receive the honor of "Floral Designer of the Year" for all of Scotland and earning the “National Diploma of the Society of Floristry”, the highest European honor in floral design.

As a worldwide leader in the floral industry, Ian is a committed mentor to young designers. He still takes on each event personally with the utmost creativity and care, making him one of the most sought-after floral designers in the world. 

In 1989, Ian opened Botanica International to serve the greater Tampa Bay area and now, the expanded Botanica Design Studio designs events across the world. His luxury wedding and events team redefine beauty by bringing clients indescribable visions to life.

The recipient will be able to spend up to three days working one on one with Ian Prosser learning his key to success in the wedding and event business~!!!

Andie Muller AIFD CFD FSMD

A little about Andreia Müller, aka Andie. Andie is the lead designer of The Flower Studio Altamonte and The Flower Studio Oxford - a small business / boutique florist, both located in Central Florida. She absolutely loves what she does. You will notice her passion for flowers and for education.  She was granted 2 scholarships - one being the FSFA and the other from the AIFD Southern Chapter. She became a Florida State Master Designer in 2016, an honor for an Immigrant, Andie is from Brazil. She then was able to acquire the national title of Certified Floral Designer in 2017 and in 2018, she was invited to become a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers, an association that is recognized all over the world. 

Andie is the Treasurer for FSFAI, Membership director for CFWA- Central Florida Wedding Association, plus the Treasurer for AIFD Southern Chapter.  After 32 years as a florist, it is definitely time to give it back and help the next generation to become the best that they can.

Andie is a mother of 2 boys - a freshman in college and a freshman in high school. After them, flowers are the most important thing to her. She is a coffee lover - and a chocolate lover as well. In 2023,  Andie was on stage in Chicago, at the AIFD National Symposium for the first time ever representing our association. 

Ralph Giordano, Jr. AIFD CFD FSMD

Ralph is a 4th generation florist whose family came to the United States from Italy in the early 1900's. They started out pushing fruit and flower carts down the streets of Harlem until the 1920's when they opened "Ralph A. Giordano Funeral Home". They followed the opening of the funeral home with the opening of "Giordano's Pelham Bay Florist".

Being born the day after Mother's Day, Ralph was immediately introduced to the floral industry following the holiday rush, and hasn't slowed down since. Ralph began working in his family's floral shop as a young child, sweeping floors and processing flowers, and by the time he was a teenager, he was producing wedding bouquets and store-front designs.

At the age of 21, Ralph was working as an assistant manager at a shop in South Florida, until the opportunity to purchase his own shop came along. In March of 1998, Ralph and his wife, Leslie, purchased and began running "Flowers by Ann Smith" here at our current location. Two years later the name of the shop was changed to "Giordano's Floral Creations" to honor Ralph's Family's business in New York.

Since his ownership began, over 25 years ago, Ralph has completed thousands of weddings, served well over 100,000 customers, and has won numerous local awards from various businesses in our community, as well as the countless sponsorship and donations he has contributed to. He has spent the past years educating himself in modern design, as well as maintaining his knowledge in traditional floral design. Ralphhas become a well-known staple in the floral industry across the nation, as well as in our community, and serves on numerous boards and foundations within the industry.

John "J.P." Varvarogos  FSMD

John "J.P."  Varvarigos is a 3rd Generation Florist and owner of Wellington Florist. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, J.P. attributes much of his success in the flower business to his background in hospitality. After helping his parents with a busy Mother’s Day Holiday 20 years ago in 2003 he discovered he had a natural talent for design and quickly learned all aspects of the business. What was supposed to be a temporary job turned into a successful career as a top florist in the state of Florida. JP took over day to day operations as the general manager of Wellington florist in 2010 and has expanded the shop in 2014 and in 2023.

Our mission statement is "Make it Happen and Make it Pretty". I attribute all of our growth and popularity to this mission statement. We rarely, if ever, tell a customer no. We know that if we cannot accommodate them, then they will just call the next florist on the list. Once you have a customer, they are likely with you for life as long as you meet their expectations. I accepted long ago that I cannot do anything to change a consumer's behavior. Many florists bemoan the husband calling at 4 pm that forgot his anniversary, or the kid on his way to the prom that stops in needing a corsage on the spot, we accommodate. After a decade in the business, the last-minute buyer may have been the only consistent phenomenon there was in this business. I knew that in order to set myself apart from my competition I had to figure out a way to capture the last-minute market, and we did. Almost 75% of our orders are taken and delivered on the same day, if not within a few hours. Make it pretty refers to our product. As long as you make it pretty there will always be high satisfaction.

JP is a member of Florida State Florist’s Association where he recently was elected to the executive board and was awarded Retailer of the Year in 2023, he mentors young florists and promotes education in the field. JP is Married with two daughters and lives in Royal Palm Beach, FL.

Here's what a few Scholarship recipients have to say about winning...

"My life was dazzled winning the Jeanne Parsons Scholarship, This scholarship afforded me the opportunity to attend the 2016 AIFD Southern Convention, make more industry friends, continue my education and ultimately contributing to my dream. Scholarships are available for our advantage, but we must apply. Scholarships made a difference in my career path providing the necessary monetary help which allowed me the opportunity to create a better future' - Andreia Muller AIFD CFD FSMD

"The FSFA mentor experience was a great way for me to gain some insight and hands on experience in the floral industry. Bob Tucker AIFD was a remarkable mentor who challenged me to grasp design concepts and understand how I can be successful in the business world. I am thankful for this experience and gained a lot of knowledge on how to pursue my future aspirations" - Ashley Brant CFD

 "The scholarship and mentorship which I have been very fortunate to receive through the FSFA, has really launched my success in the floral industry. Between meeting very supportive and talented florists and receiving money for education, I have achieved what some florists spend an entire career building for themselves. I have developed lifetime friendships with my mentors and it is a huge comfort to know that I can always count on them for support in all aspects of the floral industry. Thanks to FSFA I am growing a successful floral business" - Kristina Metcalf AIFD CFD

Scholarship-Mentorship Guidelines 

Florida State Florist Association International is dedicated to the education and enrichment of our members within the association through the FSFAI Jeanne Parsons Scholarship, The William "Bill" Bobulinski Memorial Scholarship and the Mentorships that are awarded on a yearly basis. The scholarship and mentorships are available to any FSFAI member who meets the requirements listed herein.

The scholarships and mentorships are awarded yearly at the Annual Convention and must be completed before Annual Convention of the following year.

The following have generously worked with FSFAI to provide quality education to scholarship recipients:

AIFD Symposium/AIFD On-Line Courses

Floriology Institute - Jacksonville, Florida

Floral Design Institute - Portland, Oregon

YOLA GUZ's School of Floral Design - Miami Florida

The FSFAI Jeanne Parsons Scholarship is not to exceed $1000 (Open to all of the approved schools and programs listed above)

The William “Bill” Bobulinski Memorial Scholarship is not to exceed $1000 (Specific to Floriology Institute, Jacksonville, FL)

2024 Mentors

Deborah De La Flor-DelaFlor Florist & Gardens, Cooper City, FL

Ian Prosser-Botanica Design Studio, Tampa, FL

Andrea Muller-The Flower Studio Oxford, Oxford, FL

Ralph Giordano-Giordano’s Floral Creations, Fort Pierce, FL

J.P. Varvarigos-Wellington Florist, Wellington, FL

Reimbursement for all Mentorships is not to exceed $300.00 The Mentorships offered allow the recipient to experience a one-on-one educational opportunity with one of Florida’s Finest. When applying for a Mentorship please read the bios to help you choose which Mentor would be best for you to reach your goals. Whether the recipient spends time working with their Mentor at their location or the Mentor spends time with the recipient at their location; the time spent together is to be decided mutually between Mentor and recipient. (Please note that some Mentors may not be able to travel.)

Application Requirements:

1. Applicants must be 18 years of age and a member in good standing of Florida State Florists Association International to apply for a scholarship or mentorship. When applying please be specific that you are applying for a scholarship or a mentorship, in the case of a mentorship please be specific when choosing the Mentor.

2. Must have full registration to the Annual Convention and participate in the zoom interview process prior to convention.

3. Applicant may not have received a Scholarship in the previous year; however, recipients of a prior mentorship are eligible to apply for a Scholarship.   

4. Must submit their application no later than April 30,2024. Additionally, applicants must email three letters of recommendation to the Scholarship Committee Chair prior to the scheduled time of interview (Please note: Letters of recommendations cannot come from any sitting Board Member of FSFA International or Scholarship Committee Member)

5. Applicants will be notified by email as to the time of the interview

6. Upon acceptance of a Scholarship, recipient must notify the Scholarship Committee within 30 days of the intent of the Scholarship. If intent of use of the scholarship is not stated within the 30 days, the Scholarship is forfeited.  All registrations for such will be made by FSFA. Unused portions of funds may be applied to additional expenses only with the approval of the Scholarship Committee. Scholarship may not exceed the monetary value of the award. DO NOT register for any class or program on your own. All registrations must be processed by the FSFA Int Executive Director.

7. Upon Acceptance of a mentorship, recipient must notify the Scholarship Committee within 60 days the date the mentorship will take place.  If the date of the mentorship is not established within the 60 days, the Mentorship is forfeited. The recipient will be reimbursed up to $300 by FSFA Int for any of the following:

A. Gas receipts dated during the time frame of the mentorship, not mileage.

B. Meal receipts dated during the time frame of the mentorship

C. Lodging receipts dated during the time frame of the mentorship

D. All receipts must be submitted to the Scholarship Committee within 10 days of the completion of the mentorship. Reimbursement will be made within 30 days by FSFA Int to the recipient after receiving said receipts

8. Scholarships and Mentorships must be completed before the Annual Convention the

following year 

9. Recipients must volunteer at Mid-Season, Annual Convention or an FSFAI sponsored

event and help raise funds for future recipients 

9. All decisions of the Scholarship Committee are Final

Applications Now Being Accepted

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