Joseph G. Kern is Senior Vice-President, Division Counsel - Development Law, with Darden Restaurants, Inc., the publicly traded company that owns and operates over 1,500 casual and fine-dining restaurants throughout the United States under the Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Yardhouse, Eddie V’s and Seasons 52 brands. Prior to joining Darden, he was a partner at the Orlando law firm of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., practicing in the area of real estate and land development. He earned his bachelor’s and law degrees at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Mr. Kern is a member of the Florida Bar Association, International Council of Shopping Centers and Association of Corporate Counsel.
Mr. Kern’s involvement with Easterseals Florida began in 1988 as a volunteer and participant in a Softball Challenge for Easter Seals Camp Challenge. His connection with the affiliate grew through his involvement in special events and his appointment as the first chairman of Easter Seals Florida’s Central Florida Regional Advisory Board. Mr. Kern has been a member of Easter Seals Florida’s board since 1994 through today. He also served as the organization’s general counsel from 1996 through 2002. Mr. Kern received the affiliate’s Chairman of the Board Volunteer Award in 1997, the Central Florida Region’s Guardian Angel Award in 1998, and the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2004. He has held the positions of chairman, 1st and 2nd vice chairman, treasurer and secretary, and has chaired the affiliate’s Fiscal, Program, Development and Strategic Planning Committees.
At the national level, Mr. Kern has been a member of Easter Seals House of Delegates, and has served as chairman of the House Nominating Committee and Membership & Organizational Structure (MOS) Committee, and as a member of the Affiliate Services, Bylaws, Fiscal, House Coordinating, Public Affairs, and Rules, Agenda & Resolutions (RAR) Committees. He served as vice chairman of the house in 2005-2006 and as chairman in 2007-2008. He also served in 2007 as chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Easter Seals Convention. First elected to the board in 2009, he served two three-year terms. At the October 2014 board meeting, Joe agreed to serve on Easterseals Board of Directors as a board-elected member. Mr. Kern serves as chairman of the board.