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JUNE 2010

just4 WOMEN


Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Marketing your woman owned business Here’s a news flash for women business owners. Women and men are not the same! No, not in the obvious ways. I mean that we market our businesses differently. Here are some statistics that may surprise you: • The number of woman owned business startups continues to grow at twice the rate of all U.S. firms • Woman owned businesses equal and in some cases surpass the survival rates for those started by their male counterparts Why? There are many reasons. 1. Women tend to start businesses they know something about and/or have experience in 2. Seventy percent of women owned businesses asked for help at the startup phase. (Similar to asking for

directions?) 3. Women tend to be more right brain oriented than men and to use both sides of their brain when making business decisions 4. Women are more intuitive and follow their hunches on business decisions 5. Women who started their businesses in the last 10 years have more managerial experience and education than in the past. For example, there are now more woman owned professionals (doctors, attorneys, counselors), and more women owned manufacturing, import/export, technology based and IT businesses 6. Women market their businesses differently than men Let’s take a close look at that last one. How do women owned businesses market? In the past, women concentrated on traditional, service

Marie Stempinski oriented types of business. Often our customers were other women. After all, women make up 80 percent of all the buying decisions for U.S. households. That meant that while most men market for sales, we had to market by building relationships. Yet, up until the late 1990s, women without male companions, were shut out of membership in many national civic clubs, some private clubs, some golf courses, and many other traditional places where business relationships were made. So what did we do? • Women are networkers. We formed or joined existing women focused professional

organizations such as American Business Women, Business and Professional Women, The National Association of Women Business Owners, The National Association for Female Executives and many others. As soon as we were allowed, we joined the Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. in numbers. We joined local Chambers of Commerce. We became active in charitable and philanthropic organizations. In fact, research shows that 7 in 10 woman business owners volunteer at least once a month, 31 per cent contribute $5,000 or more to charity annually, and we are more likely than our male counterparts to choose leadership positions in volunteer organizations. • Women work well in teams. Since we were girls, we have learned that groups accomplish more if everyone plays fair and cooperates.

Women’s Business Centers The Small Business Administration Women’s Business Center Program is a national network providing educational resources to help women start and grow successful small businesses. The program’s mission is to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs still facing unique obstacles in the business world. The Association of Women’s Business Centers is a nonprofit organization representing business oweners through a network of women’s business centers. The association supports entrepreneurial development among women as a way to achieve economic self-sufficiency, create wealth and participate in economic development through education, training, mentoring, business development

and financing opportunities. Call 207-236-9753 or e-mail Below are Women’s Business Centers in Florida: Florida Institute of Technology Inc. Donn Miller-Kermani 150 University Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32901 Call 321-674-7007 Florida Women's Business Center Jennifer Brin Kovach, executive director 401 W. Atlantic Ave. Suite O9 Delray Beach, FL 33444 Call 561-265-3790 Jacksonville Women’s Business Center Pat Blanchard, executive director Jacksonville, FL 32202 Call 904-366-6640

Women also form strategic alliances (work with vendors and allied businesses) to expand and enhance their business clout and their marketing and advertising dollars. • Women increasingly make the most of government contracts and grants. • Women take calculated risks. Often criticized for not taking enough business risk, research finds that women actually are risk takers. The difference is that we weigh all the options, calculate the risks and rewards and then make decisions. • Women publicize what they do. We use public relations, social networking, and word of mouth to tell our customers about what we offer and how it benefits them. • Women are generally socially conscious and often incorporate some environmentally friendly and com-

munity oriented aspects into their businesses. So what does all this mean to you, the woman business owner? Follow your hunches. Market your business through networking, strategically placed ads targeted to your specific customer, social networking and through your civic and philanthropic involvement. Maximize Strategic Alliances to promote and share advertising dollars. Publicize your business through good public relations. Make the most of government contracts and grants. Feel free to ask for help. Most important, use your imagination. As Lauren Bacall said, “Imagination is the highest kite one can fly!” Marie Stempinski is the founder and owner of Strategic Communication, a full service PR/Marketing. Call 526-2910.

The Women’s Council of Realtors The Women’s council of Realtors Florida chapter, according to its Web site, is a network of successful Realtors, empowering women to exercise their potential as entrepreneurs and industry leaders. The council offers information, resources and networking opportunities that help members stay on top and out front of the real estate business. The history of the Women’s Council dates back to 1938, when the president of the National Association of Realtors encouraged the formation of the Women’s Council after being impressed by the California group and the potential of women in real estate.

Women began to recognize the immense benefits of careers in real estate combined with a WCR membership, including: • Salaries equitable to men’s since “commission is commission.” • Flexible work schedules allowing REALTORS® the ability to raise a family and have a career instead of choosing one or the other. • A support system of women in the same field garnering many friendships, networking capabilities – and referrals. The President of the Florida Council of Realtors is Melissa Meide Matthews. She can be reached at 904-662-3605. E-mail at

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Dress for success serious suit look much better than a lot of jewelry. A note on sizes: Remember, nobody knows Working as a fashion consultant for a department store in the area, I experienced the plea- what size you purchase. It’s on the label inside. sure of putting on fashion shows for many So please don’t try to jam yourself into a smaller groups of club ladies and was invited to do size than you should just for the numbers. Wear shows and give talks to companies and help em- the size you need. If it needs letting out or taken in, let your alployees understand the acceptable dress code for teration person help. If you can sew, so much their businesses. the better. Fix that Uniforms are a hem yourself – thing of the past, and shorten or lengthpeople can express Take a tip from the men who have en – or take in the themselves in their made it to the top positions. They waist or let it out. clothing within reaMost importantly, son, but each busidid it by fitting in. if the sleeves of the ness demands a jacket are too long, certain respect; thereplease have them fore, a delicate dress shortened. code is enforced. Take a look on the street or in an office and Here are some hot topics mentioned to me one thing that stands out is that someone looks over and over by employers: • Please don’t show us your tattoos; hide nice in a suit. But it just needs that inch off the cuff. When you can’t see her hands, it kills the them, if possible. • No arm or clinging noisy bangles, and no look. So buy the outfit, but a tiny little alteration makes a world of difference in your costume. ring on every finger. Showing respect for your work does not hurt • No bare sundresses. Use a jacket over them for day use in the office. Shoes, no flip flops. in any way, so you do need to dress in a businesslike manner, and it is not more expensive Save them for the beach. • If the four-inch heel is what you love, and than any other dressing you would have. You you can walk in them properly, OK, but employ- can mix and match many items from your own ers prefer a mid-heel more suitable with busi- closet to extend your wardrobe. Most valuable of any purchase you make is a ness attire. jacket, tailored. Either a blazer style or fitted, de• Tone down the wild nails. All in all for the interview and the work world, pending on your figure type. Choose navy black you will be appreciated all the more if you simply or perhaps tan, whichever basic color goes with tone down makeup and just fit into the world most items you have in pants and tops. Use that jacket over and over; it never tires. Wear it over you want to fit in and enjoy working in. Take a tip from the men who have made it to dresses and you have an investment that pays the top positions. They did it by fitting in, looking off. Sure hope something here has been of help. right for the work world, wearing a neat shirt, tie and suit. Good business shoes. They dressed Good luck and remember – a firm handshake, every day for the future and it worked. So take a good eye contact, manner and a winning smile tip from those who have succeeded by dressing will bring you good luck in whatever you are looking for. for the job you want. Betty Coomber is the former fashion director Scarfs are a great accessory. The oblong shapes can tie at the neck in a soft bow and of a local department store, handling fashion command attention by adding color to your at- presentations for clubs and some companies in tire. The large square looks wonderful worn the Tampa Bay area. She is now a freelance under the collar of your jacket. It can soften a too writer who lives in Largo. By BETTY COOMBER

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Networking 101 Specifics to get you started The aim of networking is to develop and maintain relationships – something women are naturally good at in their personal lives but not so great at when it comes to their careers. Think of networking as sharing: time, information, resources and opportunities. It can be as simple as just talking to everyone you know. Networking is crucial throughout your career, but at this moment, you’re networking with a purpose: to find job opportunities. Your goal is to spin a huge web of contacts who will lead you to the person who will offer you a great new job. The larger your web, the more prospects you’ll have. The following tips and ideas will help you network like a pro, but it’s up to you to take action. Keep a Rolodex. It’s crucial to keep track of everyone you contact. We love the old-fashioned fun of flipping through a Rolodex, but you may prefer the convenience of a Palm Pilot. An inexpensive notebook, address book, or box of index cards is just as effective too. Save all the business cards you receive during your networking activities and make cards for prospective contacts. Mark down the date of each interaction with each person: meetings, phone calls, and résumé mailings. Record who refers you to whom and how you followed up. Regularly flip through these contact cards or notebook pages to make sure no contact falls through the cracks. Start close to home. The question is: who do you know? And the answer is: more people than you think! And those people know countless other people. So get the word out – seize every opportunity to publicize your job search. Shout it from the rooftops! Begin asking for assistance with the right attitude. You are in business to get a job. Tell your clergy, clubs, professional organization members, volunteer contacts, merchants, civic leaders, neighbors, and anyone and everyone they know as well. Don’t leave out your classmates, former classmates, school alumni, teachers, professors, coaches, and anyone who was ever on your team or in your class. Co-workers, former co-workers, bosses and friends’ bosses count, too. Be specific! Instead of just asking them “who’s hiring,” let them know the type of

position you’re looking for. Get your hair cut and your teeth cleaned. Mention what you’re interested in to everyone: your personal trainer, the babysitter, the butcher, the baker ... you get the idea. You never know who might know someone who knows someone who knows someone. Hairdressers and dentists tend to know everyone, so tap them for leads. Be a good listener. Even if you’re not great at small talk, it’s easy to be a g o o d l i s t e n e r. Everyone loves to talk about him – or herself, and other people’s experiences are a great way to learn about a career or a company, as well as potential job openings. Just ask a few key questions, such as, “What do you do?”“Where are you working?” “How’d you get started in that line of work?” Then sit back and soak up the information. A random encounter at a coffee shop or on a subway may spark a new job or industry idea in your head. Find a reason to call. We know it’s uncomfortable to call someone out of the blue to say “hello,” especially when what you really want to do is scream, “Can’t you find me a friggin’ job?” Find articles or news programs that you might recommend to your key contacts. “I saw this article and thought of you” shows people that you are up on your current events and that your professional life is at the top of their mind. This tactic is sure to impress! If you can’t come up with something quite as clever, invite your contact for afternoon tea or an evening cocktail at the newest spot in town. It’s less expensive than a whole meal, and that drink could lead to great connections. Instead of asking for a job, start by offering your contact the opportunity to share their career advice and individual

stories. Use your alumni association. College alumni are an often-untapped resource, which is a shame since they can be some of your best connections for career networking. Aside from maintaining a vast network of contacts, many of whom are ready to help fellow graduates, career service offices also offer a range of services. These include résumé critiques, career assessment instruments, seminars, career days, employer information sessions, alumni networking clubs, and access to online job listings. Most schools around the country provide reciprocity for their alumni at other schools. If you attended a small college and you’ve found that none of the alumni connections are relevant, ask your alma mater to write a letter on your behalf seeking services at other career centers around the country. Such arrangements allow you to tap into that network and make use of their resources. Similarly, when approaching alumni for assistance with your search, be prepared to share the latest campus news and excitement. This often provokes a sense of nostalgia and triggers memories from their time on campus. That connection can strengthen their desire to assist your efforts. It is also an opportunity for them to learn what kind of career opportunities new graduates are currently pursuing. Build your board of directors. Success is not just about what you know, it’s who you know...and how you keep it all organized. Make sure you begin building a personal dream team or your very own board of directors, those people whose helping hands will boost you to the top of the career ladder. From people with a heart of gold to those with a pot of gold, the idea is to create a prize-winning database of individuals who know your name and take your calls.

Support network. Oprah has Gayle – her best friend and sidekick – who she knows will always tell it to her straight. In addition to shopping, gossiping and doing other activities, they’re also able to love, laugh, and cry together. They know each other’s secrets, strengths, and foibles – and they adore each other, on good and bad days. It’s rare for any of us to thrive on our own. We don’t need just intimate partners or romance, we also need a solid support system to aid us in our personal and professional pursuits. The most successful women have indentified and developed such circles to aid their success. Regardless of your income level or field, it’s important to have a best friend, mentor and role model. Sometimes it’s one person who fills all three roles; for other women it’s many. Do your homework. Before getting in touch with your new or old contact, research his or her company thoroughly. Go beyond reading the Web site. Read trade journals and other industry magazines. Prepare for an informational interview. You’ve convinced someone to give you their valuable time. Don’t squander it. Be prepared, professional, polite, and to the point. Create a list of questions to ask them based on your individual goals and the knowledge you have gained through your research.

Beyond the basics Getting ahead in your career is not just about contacts, it’s about relationships. And one way to solidify relationships is with consideration. Remember, it’s often the little things that count such as cards, gifts, a phone call, or an interesting article clipped from the newspaper. Here are some inexpensive ways to keep yourself in the minds of your professional contacts. Meet for drinks and appetizers. This is an easy way to say hello and spend a few minutes with a casual contact. If there’s someone she knows who you want to know too, ask her to bring that person along too, and remind them that you’re treating so there’s no arguing or confusion. Tell your contact why you want her to bring someone else along, of course. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being used without their permission. Make a sports date. This is a classic stay in touch ploy in the world of men. It’s time we adopted it too. There are so many avenues to pursue: golf, tennis, jogging, walking, Yoga, a Pilates class, aerobics or kickboxing, for instance. You’ll be doing your heart a favor as you work on your networking too! Have a networking party. This is like a Tupperware party, but you’re selling yourself, not plastics. Invite a group of contacts you think would be congenial with each other for brunch See 101, page 14

Networking provides business, social benefits By BOB McCLURE

At a time when many people are making contact through text messages and other electronic means, many women in the area are discovering the positive benefits of networking meetings. Most notably, they’re finding out the importance of face-to-face contact with other professionals in a variety of industries. Jackie Tatsak, president of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, says social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked In, are fine to a certain degree. But personal contact is the way to go when trying to develop business relationships. “The Linked In thing has been great because I’ve found friends from high school and college who have good contacts,” Tatsak said. “But the way I met them (originally) was face-to-face. “I’m a face-to-face person,” she added. “I want to be with people and have the experience.” Tatsak said many people today have forgotten how to communicate one-on-one and for true communication people need to sit down together and speak. “Interacting with a person is above and beyond an e-mail,” said Tatsak. “You build relationships by meeting them.” Julie Corcoran, an insurance agent from Madeira Beach, uses networking groups as her primary means of marketing herself. “I do 100 percent of my business through networking,” she said. “Every day I go to a networking meeting group. I never go more than five miles from my home.” Corcoran is co-director of the Business Networking Professionals group that meets Thursdays at the Sports Bar and Grill, 9685 Bay Pines Blvd.; a member of another group that meets Wednesdays at the Treasure Island Yacht and Tennis Club and a few others.

“It’s all about helping other people,” she said. “The whole idea is building relationships and it takes about six months to get business from it.” Corcoran said the key is to not sell to members of the group, but instead sell to their friends and family. “When you go into a networking group, you go in to learn about other members’ businesses,” she said. “At some point, you might meet someone who is looking for the service they provide and you can recommend them.” Nancy Giles, business relations director for PARC, said she networks all over the Tampa Bay area to promote the nonprofit organization she works for. “It’s a way to form relationships with other businesses,” Giles said. “You don’t go into a networking meeting to sell someone. You go in to form relationships.” Giles uses both social media and network ing groups to effectively promote PARC. She said the two piggyback together and form a solid one-two punch to market the interests of the nonprofit. Giles pointed to PARC’s recent Mardi Gras fundraiser as an example. A link on PARC’s Web and social media sites linked viewers to a YouTube clip featuring Michael Israel, this year’s featured entertainment, which helped sell additional tickets. “You would tend to think (social media) is for a younger generation but it’s not,” said Giles. “It’s truly a business networking medium.” She said networking is “all about volume, meeting people and showing them what we’re about.” For others, networking is a means of marketing themselves. See NETWORKING, page 14

Photo by BOB McCLURE

Nancy Giles, left, business relations director of PARC, and Jackie Tatsak, president of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, are both strong believers in the benefits of business networking.


Just 4 Women, June, 2010

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Hotz Insurance Group, Inc. 4615 Central Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33713 Robin Napper is a Licensed Insurance Agent holding a 220 General Lines License with a designation as a CPSR, Certified Professional Service Representative. She has worked in the Insurance field for 20+ years, following her late Father, Robert McGuire Sr. and older sister, Sharon Nash, as licensed insurance agents. Robin is currently on the Board of Directors for the Insurance Professionals of Saint Petersburg, and a member of the National Association of Insurance Women. As a customer service representative, she learned to Educate her clients on the Policy details and changes in the Insurance Industry. She enjoys providing them with options to secure proper coverage with the best premiums to fit their needs and budget. Robin gave a special thanks to Diana Fink & Glenn Cook of Central Insurance School & Edwin Hotz for having trust in her to Build his agency, and provide quality service with a smile. Robin M. Napper. 727-321-6646, ext. 114.

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Auto mechanic enjoys serving her community By THOMAS MICHALSKI

PINELLAS PARK – Hope Peterson was abandoned by her parents at an early age and grew up as a ward of the state of Connecticut. She lived a hard life and knows what it’s like to be a poor single mother. But she overcame obstacles that would have condemned most to a life of misery. Since 1994 she’s owned and operated New Hope Auto and Truck Services at 10801 49th St., and her goal is to help single mothers and other financially strapped people with their car problems. She not only takes the time to explain what needs to be done to a mechanically-challenged vehicle, but teaches her customers about the workings of their cars and trucks through free classes and other methods. Peterson also donates $2 from every oil change and $5 from every diesel oil change to the Pinellas Park Boys and Girls Club. She helps with diapers and other donates for the Pinellas County Pregnancy Center. One of her two sons, Chris, 23, is a mechanic at New Hope. Another son, Robert, 20, works in another profession. So recognized is she in the vehicle mechanics circles that General Motors partnered with her to offer a series of car care clinics for various demographic groups to be held at various Tampa Bay area locations. But before Peterson became a businesswoman and community leader, she paid her dues by waitressing in restaurants and pizza joints. She worked in telemarketing and sales. She worked anywhere to put food on the table. Her life changed when she participated in the Women on the Way program at St. Petersburg College. She then took part in self-sufficient, housing and child care programs. One day Peterson, with only a 7th grade education, took an aptitude test. It said she’d make a

great automobile mechanic. “I was the only girl in the classes,” she said. “I took welding, basic mechanics and other courses and loved it.” She later earned certifications in auto steering, light truck anti-lock brake systems, diesel engines, marketing, service advising, repairs and management. She’s logged in more than 1,900 hours of training and continues her education. Peterson opened her small repair shop in Clearwater, but soon outgrew that location and moved into her present 6,000-square-foot facility. She has three full time mechanics. More than 75 percent of her customers are women who trust her mechanical and people skills. “Garages take advantage of people who know little or nothing about their cars,” Peterson said. “Some would rather get a root canal than take a car to get fixed.” Peterson never forgot her own childhood and young adulthood. She can relate to single mothers and the working poor who come to her with their auto woes. “We don’t use pressure and I do encourage people to get a second opinion,” she said. “As a mechanic, I’m not always the bearer of good news.” Maintaining a car is important to keep it free of problems. Peterson urges anyone buying a used vehicle to drive it over to a mechanic to determine if any problems exist. It costs between $30 and $80 to examine a car for defects, a small price to pay for the peace of mind knowing that a vehicle is mechanically sound. During her car care classes Peterson provides both classroom and hands-on training. She teaches her students about tire pressure, fluid levels, brakes and the importance of preventative maintenance. “People never read their auto manuals,” Peterson said. “It’s amazing the things you can


Hope Peterson went from being an abandoned child in Connecticut to a professional auto and truck mechanic with her own Pinellas Park garage. learn about your car from them.” Today she is president-elect of the Pinellas Park Rotary Club. She’s on the board of directors of the Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce and is active in such organizations as Working Women of Tampa Bay, the National Car Care Council and Network Profession-

als, Inc. When not working she spends time with a Doberman named Zeus, two goats named Billie and Nanny and a pair of cats, Sassy and Cleo. Peterson can be reached by calling 5728877.

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Looking for leads? Attend a networking session Networking groups, also known as leads groups, meet on a regular basis at various locations in the area. Some groups charge a fee to attend, and most require reservations. Persons considering attending any group for the first time are encouraged to make contact in advance. The editors have attempted to identify the leads groups that are tailored for women by highlighting them in bold type. If there are any changes needed in the listing of your group, please e-mail us at • Network Professionals Inc. Networking Leads Club, Thursdays, 7:30 a.m., RG’s Restaurant, 1565 S. Highland Ave., Clearwater. Call Liz at 424-8995. • Seminole Business Masters, Thursdays, 7:30 a.m., Mama’s Kitchen, 5885 Seminole Blvd., Seminole. Call Judy Miller at 798-4332. • Network Professionals Inc. Networking Leads Club, Thursdays, 7:30 a.m., Panera Bread in the Bardmoor Shopping Center on the corner of Bryan Dairy and Starkey roads, Largo. Call Barbara at 573-1935, ext. 402. • Executive Business Network, Thursdays, 7:30 a.m., Perkins Family Restaurant, 8841 Park Blvd. N., Largo. For reservations, call Mike Moore at 586-1111 or visit www.ex • BNI Grand Slam Network Exchange, Thursdays, 7:30 a.m., Heritage Holiday Inn, 234 Third Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Visit • Network Professionals of St. Pete, Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. For more information and meeting location, call Ron O’Connor at 367-3737. • Professional Leads Network, Patriots Chapter, Thursdays, 8 a.m., Boris Family Restaurant, 11411 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Visit • Gulf Beaches Power Lunch Group, Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Sports Bar and Grill, 9685 Bay Pines Blvd., Seminole. Call Sandy Schell at 415-4772 or Julie Corcoran at 902-1185. • Network Professionals of St. Pete, Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. For more information and meeting location, call Ron O’Connor at 367-3737. • BNI Success Masters Seminole Chapter, Thursdays, 7:25 a.m., at Seminole Lake Square, 8333 Seminole Blvd., Seminole. The meeting includes breakfast. Cost to attend is $5. Call Marilyn Stuelke at 441-6167. • Network Professionals Inc. Clearwater-Largo Chapter,

Thursdays, 7:30 a.m., RG’s Restaurant, 1565 S. Highland Ave., Clearwater. Call Liz at 424-8995. • Network Professionals Inc., Countryside Lunch Chapter, Thursdays, 11:45 a.m., at the Countryside Country Club, 3001 Countryside Blvd., Clearwater. Call Rhonda Pulver at 744-8059. • Ali Lassen’s Leads Club, Central Pinellas Professional Women, Thursdays, noon, Chili’s, 5430 East Bay Drive, Clearwater. E-mail • Free Networking International, Thursdays, 1 p.m., at the Belleair Grill and Wine Bar, 1575 S. Fort Harrison, Belleair. Purchasing lunch is optional. Call Rita Shepard at 415-9496. • BNI Referral Masters, Fridays, 7 a.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Call Bill Mantooth at 639-6690 or visit www.bnireferral • Professional Women emPower, Countryside Breakfast Chapter, a women’s networking group, Fridays, 7:30 a.m., Jason’s Deli, 25801 U.S. 19 N., Suite 1110, Clearwater. Call 492-3803 or visit www.professionalwomen • Network Professionals of St. Pete, Fridays, 7:30 a.m. For more information and meeting location, call Ron O’Connor at 367-3737. • Professional Leads Network, Upper Pinellas Chapter, Fri-

days, 8 a.m., at Daddy’s Grill, 3682 Tampa Road, Oldsmar. Visit • Professional Leads Network, Bay Area Executives Chapter, Fridays, 11:45 a.m., at Tum Rub Thai, 32716 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor. Visit • Network Professionals Inc., Mondays, 7:30 a.m., at Perkins Restaurant, 8841 Park Blvd. N., Largo. Call Ron O’Connor at 367-3737. • Professional Leads Network, St. Petersburg Chapter, Mondays, 7:45 a.m., at Ricky P’s, 6521 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg. Visit www. • Ready Set Grow Group, Mondays, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., at Hometown Family Restaurant, 10395 Seminole Blvd., Largo. Call Jamie Limbaugh at 831-2450 or e-mail jamieL@freenet • Free Networking International, Clearwater Two Cups Connect Group, Mondays, 2:30 to 4 p.m., at Bay Coast Coffee Market, 2525 Gulf-toBay Blvd., Clearwater. Call Wayne Porter at 6426173, e-mail waynep@freenetworkinginter or visit • Professional Leads Network, First Watch Chapter, Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m., First Watch, 2569 Village Drive, Clearwater. Visit • The Board, Network Professionals, Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m., at Panera Bread, Bardmoor Shopping Center, corner of Bryan Dairy and Starkey roads, Largo. Call 742-6343. • Business Network International, Winners Circle, Tuesdays, 7:30 to 9 a.m., Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Call Dave Proffitt at 230-9240. • Network Professionals Inc., Seminole Chapter, Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m., Perkins Family Restaurant, 8841 Park Blvd., Largo. Call Ron O’Connor at 367-3737. • Yacht Club Breakfast, sponsored by Creative Business Connections, Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m., St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Call Darrell Baker, area director, at 586-4999 or visit • Network Professionals of St. Pete, Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m. For more information and meeting location, call Ron O’Connor at 367-3737. • Business Ladies Advancing Business, Tuesdays, 9:30 to 11 a.m., at A Therapy Above, 1590 Seminole Blvd., Largo. Call Addie Romanowski at 599-4999. See LEADS, page 12

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Community activism pays off for Largo woman By MARIE STEMPINSKI

Many of us learned the value of civic involvement from our parents. But few of us had a role model like Peri Craven’s mother. “My 90-year-old mom, Doris Helies, was a volunteer for the Largo Chamber for years. She also worked at St. Jerome’s Church. She was preaching and practicing community every day. Volunteering was just part of my upbringing. She got my husband and me involved in the Chamber. Now, we’ve passed that on to the next generation,” Craven said. All that civic activism paid off for the city of Largo. Peri Craven was recently named Largo Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year for 2009. “I was totally surprised that I was even considered,” she said. “You don’t get something like this by yourself. There are many people who should also be recognized.” A licensed funeral director at MossFeaster Funeral Homes in Largo, Craven has been part of Largo’s growth for years. She saw the Chamber change its name to The Mid-Pinellas Chamber, watched its membership grow, and was involved in building the

new chamber buildings. She has served on the Chamber’s board of directors. Craven was also instrumental in the development of the Largo Library and has worked closely with the police and fire departments. She served as the charter president of the Indian Rocks Rotary Club and is very involved with the Largo Medical Center. In her free time, she is a devoted daughter, wife, mother and grandmother. Craven credits her activism to both her upbringing and the people in her life. “In addition to my mom, I’ve had many great role models,” Craven said. She listed teachers like Mrs. Gegan at St. Cecilia’s School, Sister Regina Agnes, Father Gromola at St. Jerome’s Church, and many community and chamber members. “Tom Feaster is also a great role model. He is a mentor and a true professional, I wouldn’t be where I am without him,” Craven said. “I take to heart John Kennedy’s words and I’ve paraphrased them for people thinking about getting active in the chamber,” she said. “ ‘Ask not what the Chamber can do for you. Ask what you can do for the Chamber.’”

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

CEO offers tips for success learned from her story as part of a new management team that in a few years helped grow the business from $38 ST. PETERSBURG – Mindy Grossman has million to $300 million. However, even though climbed to business heights that many seek Grossman was valued and the company was but few achieve – women and men alike. She successful, it was growing quickly but she did took risks and numerous times many around not see the opportunity for her role to widen. Grossman took a risk and accepted the role her thought her career decisions would kill her future, only to find that she just rocketed high- of president of Chaps Ralph Lauren, which was then a $28 million business that did not er. Grossman, CEO of Home Shopping Net- have a clear identity and was part of Warnaco, work, Inc., was the keynote speaker at the St. which was run by a woman who was known Petersburg Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 as being one of the toughest bosses in the Women’s Symposium in March and shared the country. However, Grossman saw that Ralph eight key lessons that she has learned through Lauren was a major player in the menswear industry, that there would be few chances for her business journey. “Why do some women have the courage to a woman to become president in the business, take that plunge, to defy convention and oth- that she had a strong vision for the brand and ers do not and perhaps never really know that working for Linda Wachner could be where life could have taken them? I think it Grossman’s “equivalent of an MBA.” A chorus of people told Grossman that she comes down to two things – purpose and passion,” Grossman said. “Believing in yourself made a huge mistake by making this shift, enough that you are willing to sacrifice the that she would fail and that she had derailed lure of short-term security for the unknown her career. However, in just three years, she and having both the passion and intellectual had built a team, re-launched the brand, created the new “main floor collections” genre in curiosity to see what else life can offer.” Grossman’s first big risk came in 1977 menswear, and the brand was generating $280 when she was 20 years old and a senior in col- million. By that time she was also overseeing lege in Washington, D.C. She was engaged to the entire menswear portfolio at Warnaco. “Lesson number three: Accept the fact that her high school boyfriend, was the first generation in her family to attend college, was major- the unfortunate nature of most people is to bet ing in English literature and philosophy and against someone taking a risk. Don’t take it was planning on starting law school in the fall. personally. It diminishes them, not you,” Then one day she realized that this wasn’t the Grossman said. “It also gives you the amazing life she wanted for herself. She quickly quit opportunity to really see who your friends and school, broke off her engagement and moved supporters are and who are not. I have a very to New York City to find and follow her dream strict rule: I never bet against anyone. ... I bet and independence. on who is going to succeed, not bet on failure.” Though she didn’t know it at the time, this Although Grossman continued to have sucwas the beginning of her philosophy. cess at Ralph Lauren, loved her team, was “If you believe passionately, act with integri- treated well, financially rewarded and had a ty, take personal ownership of the impact of good relationship with both the organization your decisions, and have the ability to look and Ralph Lauren himself, she was also aware yourself in the eyes and admit when you are that the culture of the company was toxic, due wrong, the rewards are that much greater to a “volatile CEO.” than if you never had the courage to make “I could not reconcile being part of a culture bold moves affect transformation or ultimately of fear,” Grossman said. “Regardless of how I strive to have a positive and lasting impact on was being treated, if I stayed, it meant I conyour life as well as the lives of others,” Gross- doned it for nothing else than my personal man said. gain.” Grossman said she believes it is harder for Therefore, three years and two days after she women than men had signed her first to admit having contract, Grossman ambition and resigned, even “Don’t be afraid to leave sooner than though she had a 4wanting adventure, but she later if you feel you are in an year -old child, wasn’t going to environment that is not going to allow could not afford not let that hold her to work, did not you to succeed.” back. She took have another job her first job as lined up and was – Minday Grossman, CEO the assistant to leaving a brand Home Shopping Network the president of that she was rethe international sponsible for reindivision of a venting. The CEO’s menswear company but soon found that that response was that Grossman must either be environment would not help her – a woman – independently wealthy, have another job or is with career development. Therefore she joined just stupid. Grossman replied, “Or D, none of a small company where she had the opportu- the above.” nity to learn every aspect of the business and Just two days later, Ralph Lauren and his had a crash course in the textile and fashion partner called her and said they were sorry to industry. see her leave, but they loved what she had “Lesson one: Don’t be afraid to leave sooner done to the brand. Therefore, they added, if than later if you feel you are in an environ- she didn’t already have another job lined up, ment that is not going to allow you to suc- they wanted her to become the new vice presiceed,” Grossman said. “Too many people dent of new business development to try to unsuccessfully keep trying to aim their own identify new business opportunities for the personal battering ram at a brick wall. Find company. Grossman agreed but insisted that another wall and go around it.” she could also add a women’s business to Soon Grossman worked for Designer Jeffrey broaden her expertise. Banks who, she said, “believed in me, motivat“Lesson number four: The values of a comed and supported me, gave me responsibility pany, the reputation and behavior of the way beyond my experience, and that engen- leader of that company and your personal dered tremendous loyalty and made me want compass are much more important than the to make him successful.” Even after that busi- short-term financial gains you may be realizness division closed, the two maintained a pro- ing,” Grossman said. “Be so careful with who fessional relationship, so that Grossman was you affiliate yourself with and never ever quesone of the first people he wanted to hire when tion your values.” he became creative director for Menora Sport a Her independent study staff role led Grossfew years later. Now, 30 years later, they con- man to the self-realization and understanding tinue to work together as Banks’ products are her personal motivations. She learned that she on HSN. This leads to Grossman’s second les- needs interaction with people, she loves teams son: and thrives on motivation – and all of these “Find people who will give you the stretch were missing from her position. Fortunately for challenge and do everything you can to use her, in less than a year, she helped conceive, those challenges to push yourself, even if it develop and set out to launch the Polo Jeans puts you out of your comfort zone,” Grossman Company, which also helped her meet some said. “You will be amazed at what you can ac- key people who she would work with again complish and how it will encourage people to when she came to HSN. In a few years she want to have you on their team. Keep those re- grew the company to $450 million and then lationships and build a powerful network of the company was acquired by Jones NY. By people who are invested in your success and then, Grossman loved the entrepreneurial be equally as invested in wanting them to be world and did not feel like this aligned with her new management. successful.” The opportunity came up to interview with People should decide what level of risk they are willing to take and to be aware that this Nike – a brand that she had obsessed over for can change, Grossman said. For instance, in years, she said. However, even though it was 1987 she joined the company Tommy Hilfiger her dream job, she initially turned it down be-



Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Inc. was the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce’s keynote speaker at its 2010 Women’s Symposium, where she spoke on the eight key lessons she has learned through her business journey. cause she didn’t want to move her family across the country to Portland or be okay with being out of the country for 20 to 25 percent of the time. She got a call a week later from the chairman of Nike saying they really wanted her at the company and they could be flexible and have her commute from the east coast. After a family meeting, the Grossmans agreed that she should take the opportunity. Despite another chorus of naysayers who said she would only last six months, Grossman joined Nike in 2000 as vice president of global apparel, became a corporate officer and the highest ranking woman in the company. In six years she added $1 billion in revenue, championed diversity, led the transformation of the Nike women’s business globally and cochaired their first women’s leadership council. Her experiences there helped her realize lesson five: “Follow your dream, block out the noise and go with your gut,” Grossman said. “Invest in yourself for the future and be strategic about what you want next. Take a risk where the reward for success will be so much greater than the downside of failure. The Nike experience catapulted me to the front lines and gave me the depth of leadership experience that would be invaluable as I embarked on my biggest gamble yet.” Even though Nike was a wonderful experience, it was hard to be away from her family so often, she said. She made a wish list for her current position that included a direct-to-consumer business, a business attached to advanced technology and could adapt to changing the habits of how consumers interact with products, an entrepreneurial environment, scale and reach, less global travel, and a free standing CEO role. Grossman presented her wish list to a recruiter friend. A few months later, the recruiter said Grossman should have lunch meeting with Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of InterActiveCorp, and run IAC Retail. At the time, Grossman had no idea what IAC Retail was, but soon learned it was HSN, and Cornerstone Brands were a “portfolio of e-commerce and catalogue companies, was a $3 billion direct-to-consumer business, a TV network that broadcast live into 90 million homes, (and) a powerful e-commerce platform...” Initially, Grossman considered all the areas that she lacked experience – no retail, television or media experience, having never operated an e-commerce business, and no experience in most of the product divisions that made up most of the portfolio. And she had never even watched HSN. However, Grossman is not one to let such things hold her

back. By the time she met with Diller, Grossman had extensively researched the company, was obsessed with her vision to “create a new revolution in retail.” “I walked Barry through what I saw as an opportunity to transform HSN from a linear television selling platform to a network of lifestyle content and commerce across multiple platforms,” Grossman said. Diller embraced her vision and Grossman resigned from Nike. Once again, many people said her move was “career suicide, although the Nike chairman said he supported her decision and said he would have been disappointed in her had she left for something traditional or expected. Many others, however, did not initially see her vision for HSN. “Lesson number six: Most people can only see what is in front of them today,” Grossman said “Most cannot take the leap and conceptualize a new vision. That is why I surround myself with creative thinkers – people who emanate positive energy, who have the capacity for three-dimensional thinking and who want to break the rules. There is nothing I hate more than stereotypes and ignorance. They stifle creativity and limit possibilities.” On Grossman’s first day at HSN, she decided to do what all other new employees do on their first days – attend orientation. This not only shocked her orientation group when it was her turn to introduce herself and her role at the company, but the news rippled through the company. “It personalized and humanized me and sent a message that things really were going to be different,” Grossman said. “I believe in transparency, accessibility, promoting a culture of honest feedback. I don’t believe that you can have a successful company without an engaged culture of brand evangelists.” In October 2006, she announced the new vision “to become an original brand experience that is a disruptive force on the retail and cultural landscape” and then in August 2007 relaunched HSN and In November 2007 she learned that Diller was going to spin off HSN and three other IAC businesses into individual public companies, which she saw as a good chance to gain more independence as a company. Unfortunately, HSN went public in August 2008, just as the economy sunk and consumer spending halted. To weather this period, the company increased communication and morale boosting activities, sticking to its message, strategy and goals. The company managed to climb to be ranked 7th in the U.S. in See CEO, page 14


Just 4 Women, June, 2010



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â&#x20AC;˘ Free Networking International, Seminole Group, Tuesdays, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., at Palace of the Orient, 10425 Park Blvd., Seminole. Call David Doerges at 542-8686, e-mail david@freenetworking or visit www.freenetworkinginternatio â&#x20AC;˘ Network Professionals Inc., St. Pete Lunch Chapter, Tuesdays, 11:45 a.m., Red Lobster, 2773 66th St. N., St. Petersburg. Call Ron Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor at 367-3737. â&#x20AC;˘ Network Professionals Inc., ICOT Lunch Chapter, Tuesdays, 11:45 a.m., at Tucsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Southwest Grill, 13563 Icot Blvd., Clearwater. Call Eddie Montoya at 813477-3533. â&#x20AC;˘ Tri-City Network Profes-


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Restaurant, Wednesdays, 1170 Starkey Road, Largo. Call Mende at 251-3955. â&#x20AC;˘ BNI Wealth Builders, Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m., Palm Harbor Community Center Parks and Drew Valk Recreation, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor. Visit â&#x20AC;˘ BNI Power Team, Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m., East Lake Woodlands Country Club, 1055 East Lake Woodlands Pkwy., Oldsmar. Visit â&#x20AC;˘ Network Professionals Inc., Downtown Clearwater Breakfast Chapter, Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m., at the Residence Inn, 940 Court St., Clearwater. Call Kim Anton at 539-7110. â&#x20AC;˘ Network Professionals of St. Pete, Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m. For more information and meeting location, call Ron Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor at 367-3737. â&#x20AC;˘ Wednesday Morning Investors Meeting, Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m., Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, 2375 Curlew Road, Palm Harbor. Call 461-6619. â&#x20AC;˘ Free Networking International, Oldsmar Group, Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m., at Twisted Bamboo Bar and Bistro, 3687 Tampa Road, Oldsmar. Call Nova Montgomery at 942-0444 or email nova@freenetworking â&#x20AC;˘ Professional Leads Netw o r k , F o x y s C h a p t e r, Wednesdays, 11:45 a.m., Staceyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Buffet, 1451 N. Missouri Ave., Largo. Visit

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From left, sisters Noelle Krol, Shelly Rocktooff, Nicole Stoot and mother Joan Passonna pose at Clearwaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fun â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;N Sun Clearwater Airpark Open House May 1. Stoot, a hometown astronaut, was the guest of honor. She is scheduled to return to space on the last shuttle mission that could launch in September. Stoot has said in an interview with the Online Journal of Space Communication that she has found that opportunities have been available to her â&#x20AC;&#x153;every step of the way and I never felt like being a woman had an influence (positively or negatively) on these opportunities.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;˘ St. Pete Professional Chapter of Ali Lassenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leads Club, Wednesdays, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hilton Hotel, 333 First St. S., St. Petersburg. For reservations, call 813-221-1441 or visit â&#x20AC;˘ Network Professionals

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Teacher’s mid-life career change rewards her By MARIE STEMPINSKI

Feisty octogenarian Ann Barager says she retired too early. “I wish I had stayed in the recruiting field for another 10 years,” she said. “Many people have skills, energy and will power well into their 60’s and 70’s and beyond. They have much to offer. I say, stay employed as long as possible!” Barager knows whereof she speaks. Although she retired for the last time at 65, she packed her working years with an entrepreneurial spirit and jobs that helped others. Born in Washington, D.C., Ann graduated from George Washington University and spent 22 years teaching in Virginia. “Kindergarten was my specialty. Eventually I had a private kindergarten of my own. I strongly believe kindergarten should be a learning experience, not just a play time. My little ones learned to read,” she said. She became a Floridian in 1969 when she moved to Orlando with her first husband. “As we were coming through Orlando we saw people water skiing on Lake Ivanhoe. That did it. We stayed.” Barager said that while she was retired from teaching, she was only 44 years old and still full of energy. “I wanted to do something different. I went to Snelling and Snelling (a job placement firm) and they

offered me a job. I learned the recruiting business and after five years was recruited away by another company. I spent another five years there and then I opened Ann Grogan and Associates, my own recruiting firm. It’s still in operation,” she said. Barager talks about one special memory during her recruiting years. “We worked with many large companies. At one point I placed a young man just out of college with Johnson and Johnson as a sales rep. He quickly moved up the ladder and then was recruited away. A few years later he called me and said he had made a big mistake. He wanted to go back to Johnson and Johnson. However, the company had a policy of not hiring back an employee who had left. I was able to talk them into hiring him again. It was a great source of satisfaction for me and he was very grateful,” Barager said. Along the way Barager lost her first husband and remarried. Over time her second and third husbands passed. By 1991 she had settled in Clearwater at Regency Oaks. But that didn’t stop Ann. “I’m very busy,” she said. “I love to dance, so I started an exercise class. It’s really dance steps to big band music. I’m also a greeter for new residents. And, I’m part of RORO, our Regency Oaks Resident Organization. We put on amateur plays and I’m one of the actresses.” Her advice to other seniors? Stay active!

Krista Keith, D.O.

Winner of a Regency Oaks crazy hat contest, Ann Barager, with Elden Weiss.

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Board Certified in Family Practice I have been in Pinellas County since 2000 after graduating medical school at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. I completed my residency in Family Practice in 2003. Prior to this, I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Biology from Palm Beach Atlantic College in West Palm Beach. I first became interested in medicine as a teenager, and knew I was best suited for family practice with its flexibility and wide range of patients and health issues. I enjoy the variety that comes with Family Practice and I am especially interested in women’s health. I am a rare find these days as a true Florida native. I was born and raised in Bradenton. I am married and have two beautiful children. In my “spare time,” I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling and watching football. I have been in private practice since 2003 and will be relocating my practice soon. All patients are welcome! My new phone number is 727-258-4991. JFW62410

Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern 801 West Bay Drive, Suite 518, Largo 727-692-4217 • Naomi Waters Karrick, owner of Still Waters Therapy, has a Masters Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Clinical Sexology at the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists in Orlando, Fla. She is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Naomi is trained to do psychological assessment of potential egg and sperm donors as well as surrogates. Her own life journey brought her to a passionate study and practice in the fields of reproduction, trauma, and sexual issues. Naomi is skilled in couples’ work and also provides services to families and individuals. Naomi’s training and background along with an open and non-judgmental approach offers some of the best therapeutic support and counseling in her field. JFW62410

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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

101, from page 4

or wine and cheese. There’s no need to do any kind of presentation, because you’re just inviting folks to get-together socially. Your hostess skills and your enthusiasm will leave them with a positive impression without the stiffness of a formal presentation. Make this gathering a tradition. Make your get-togethers so great that people will be clamoring to get in. Remember reading about the Grand Salon in Paris? In 1750, it was the place to be seen. But not only was it fashionable to visit the salon and view beautiful artwork, it was political too. There’s great prestige in rubbing elbows with influential types ... and that goes for today as well as 18th century France. Get in for free. Call your local Chamber of Commerce and other major business organizations in your city to get a calendar of events where you might make good contacts. Volunteer to help prepare, set up, clean up, or perform any other service that will get you into the event at no charge. Women For Hire’s favorite trick is to volunteer to work at the check-in desk where the nametags are displayed. This way you’ll be able to meet and NETWORKING, from page 4

Tatsak, for example, recently lost her job as director of Pinellas Hope, and uses networking as a means to promote her job skills. She is confident her next position will come through networking. “I’ll find a job through someone I’ve done business with or known from the past,” said Tatsak, who was previously employed in assisted living administration. Corcoran said contacts through one of her networking groups led to a man who recently relocated to the area landing a marketing job in the hospitality industry. “He was in the bar at the Conch Republic on the beach and told the bartender he was new to the area and looking for a job in the hospitality industry,” said Corcoran. “The bartender told him about one of the groups in the area. After a couple of meetings, he made contacts and he got a job.” Giles is so sold on networking that she started a

greet every attendee, then schmooze with them later when you’re off duty. Use the power of technology. Design a Web site about yourself and promote it to everyone in your address book. One woman we know got a job by writing a very clever E-mail about herself and sending it to everyone on her address list. She requested her E-mail buddies to forward her information to five friends. She re ceived two job offers within three weeks. Get published. Promote yourself as an expert to association newsletters, local newspapers, community Web sites and other publications. Most smaller publications are eager for good content and happy to consider a well-written article or even a short tidbit. Getting published means getting your name out in public (in front of eyes who may be hiring), and a published article is always a good résumé item or notable achievement to mention in an interview. If you’ve designed your own Web site, be sure to link your articles to it. Reach out and touch someone important. Next time you see a newspaper or magazine article about a successful woman in your industry, write her a note of congratulations and ask if she has any advice to offer a peer in her field. Most women will be flattered that you

read about them and happy to share some nuggets of wisdom. Why not ask to interview the most admired woman in your field? Consider writing an article about her for an association newsletter. If your article is published, the featured woman will not only read the article, she’ll share it with her friends and colleagues. Learn your rights. If your spouse was relocated, check with his or her company to see if spousal support is offered for job placement. Many human resource offices offer career assistance helping a spouse find a job. Employee Referrals One great way to avoid not feeling guilty about bugging your friends and family to help you find work is to check into their company’s employee referral program. Find someone inside your ideal company to email the human resource department on your behalf with a strong referral. If a current employee writes to their human resource contact saying, “Here’s someone my neighbor went to college with. I’ve talked to her and she sounds very intelligent. I’d like to forward her résumé,” that contact is much more likely to take a look at an unsolicited résumé than if your résumé came in with the ordinary mail.

new group last week that meets the first and third Tuesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the food court of the Tyrone Square Mall. She’s also actively involved in the Tampa Bay chapter of the eWomen Network, which has more than 500 members in seven counties; and is in the process of organizing a social enterprise group. Social enterprise pushes for nonprofits to have earned income, as opposed to receiving government grants, which are quickly disappearing. “You partner with other schools, corporations and other nonprofits,” said Giles. “They do something for us and we do something for them.” She pointed to PARC’s partnership with Sun Country Dry Cleaners. PARC lists Sun Country as a partner on its Web site and when customers mention they support PARC, Sun Country donates 20 percent of the sale to PARC. “It’s kind of a dicey thing because you have to be careful to not lose your focus on your mission,” said Giles. “But I see it as a great thing.”

Why do internal referrals work? Companies want to maintain good relations with current employees. Even if your résumé doesn’t look perfect, the human resource department may touch base with you simply out of courtesy. Then it’s up to you to impress a hiring manager with your strong interpersonal skills. It helps if your recommendation to human resource came from a senior-level employee, but even an assistant’s referral will get positive attention. Many large companies offer financial incentives for referrals that lead to successful hires. But even if the employee doesn’t end up with money through their firm’s employee referral program, the real motivation is helping a friend or contact get a foot in the door! Remember, networking goes both ways. Your recommender may need your referral too some day soon. This article was provided by Women For Hire, which offers several recruitment services for women. The company’s Web site, women, offers a wide variety of career-related information and videos geared to working women, and an online job board that helps leading employers connect with top-notch professional women in all fields.

CEO, from page 10

customer service, increase employee engagement scores, and was one of the few retailers to record sequential growth from 2007 to 2009, she said. “Lesson number seven: Culture defines your company and is a key element to longterm success,” Grossman said. “Be yourself, don’t be afraid to be accessible and put yourself in every one of your employees’ shoes.” She added that one should never be afraid to over -communicate important things such as the vision for the company because as many times as you may have heard it, there is always someone hearing it for the first time. Finally, Grossman said she never felt that she was held back because she is a woman. She believes in diversity and advocates for

the advancement of women in the workplace. At HSN, four out of five of the corporate officers are women, and there are many women executives at the company, she said. “Lesson number eight: Why are only 15 percent of corporate officers and only 5 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs women and why, in 2010, does it still feel that we have a long way to go until we have more diversity in the workplace?” Grossman asked. “My personal philosophy is that the answer lies in our hands. Women who have achieved success must take personal responsibility for mentoring and developing other women, create opportunities for advancement and champion diversity and have the toughness and resolve to reject those, no matter how talented, whose values are such that they do not share in the philosophy that diversity drives innovation and lasting value.”

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Possum Marine, Inc. 6790 118th Avenue North, Largo 727-289-7174 • Barbara is a long time resident of Pinellas County. She worked in education and is retired from the Pinellas County School System. Her love for the water and fishing led her to start Possum Marine along with her son Jason. The company was started to service boaters with a line of used parts. We have now started a new service with after market marine parts and products. Boaters are served nationally and internationally by access to a robust Web site. Possum Marine is a distributor for several well known manufacturers of marine products. We pride ourselves in helping people find that “impossible to locate” part! We also sell fishing tackle and accessories at the store. Boat and trailer storage space is also available for rent. Come and visit the gang at Possum Marine!

RE/MAX METRO 9400 Seminole Boulevard, Seminole Mobile: 727-403-3979 • Office: 727-397-1800 x251 You probably know her as “Angel.” The nickname, the Mobil stations, Triple Crown Car Wash and maybe even her old love for Corvettes, might ring a bell. Her name is Denise Stonik and after years in the gas station/car wash business, she’s back in action as a Realtor with RE/MAX Metro. The Detroit native came to Florida in 1978 and has been living and working in the Seminole area. She’s been a business owner for over 30 years, raised money to fight leukemia and served on the Seminole Fire Department’s Citizen Advisory Board, and supported many fund raising events in the greater Seminole community. For fun, Denise “Angel” Stonik loves to landscape, cook Greek food and help anyone. She would love to help you find your next home or business. E-mail her at



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Just 4 Women, June, 2010

Family Practice & Internal Medicine For more than 35 years we have provided quality healthcare in the Seminole/Largo communities. A 2nd generation of physicians, Dr.’s Todd Clarkson and Donald Collins are here to serve the healthcare needs of our Seminole and Largo patients.

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