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A SPECIAL ANNUAL PUBLICATION OF SRQ MAGAZINE | 2020

MOM’S WORLD MID-PANDEMIC FIVE LOCAL MOTHERS CELEBRATE MOTHER’S DAY IN A WHOLE NEW WAY

ROAR OF A SURVIVOR

ON OVERCOMING CHILDHOOD ADVERSITY AND FALLING ILL TO THE COVID-19 VIRUS

WOMEN WHO ROAR | CELEBRATING WOMEN LEADERS POSITIVELY IMPACTING THE REGION

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written by abby weingarten | photos courtesy of each family

FIVE LOCAL MOTHERS ADAPT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Mom’s World Mid-Pandemic

(AND CELEBRATE MOTHER’S DAY IN A WHOLE NEW WAY).

Mom time has morphed into a 24-7 undertaking—a multitasking feat that makes both “me time” and downtime scarce. Laundry baskets, dishwashers and email inboxes seem to fill up as quickly as they are emptied. There are often too many (and, somehow, also too few) minutes in a day. This all-work, all-family, all-home, all-the-time schedule has been an adjustment for local mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, as much as it is sprinkled with stress and uncertainty, it is equally packed with snuggles and simple blessings. For Dr. Kathy James, Bridget Ziegler, Jovanna Morgan, Kaitlyn Jones and Betsy Wild, navigating the current health crisis has been an unnerving (but mostly inspiring) learning experience. On Mother’s Day weekend, these five women agreed to participate in a sort of parental pandemic time capsule, documenting their day-to-day ins and outs (the flowery, the funny and, occasionally, the frightening). They are each powering through the challenges, focusing on quality time with their children inside their individual bubbles and finding calm amid the cultural chaos. Their “day in the life” diary entries reveal, hour-to-hour, sunup to sundown, what life has truly been like in 2020 thus far. These are their boldly authentic social-distancing stories.

Jovanna Morgan Jovanna is a wife and mother of three, and a sales executive for a national company that helps financial institutions with customer engagement. She lives in Sarasota with her husband, Alex, and their children: Lucas, 6; Callie, 4; and Caleb, 2. Before COVID-19 hit, Jovanna would regularly fly to other states for full days of meetings, and then land back in Sarasota just in time to tuck her babies in for the night. When Morgan is not visiting clients, she is working from her home office. She also posts about wellness and mindset on her blog and Instagram account, @wellnessjovi.

Opposite page and cover: Photo by Brianna Watkins Photography, courtesy of Jovanna Morgan.

What are the incredible joys that come with pursuing a strong professional and family life? I find that I am happiest and most at peace with myself when there is a fair degree of balance in my life. I absolutely love being a mom and I also get a tremendous amount of fulfillment from my work. On the days that I feel like I am doing both well (because it’s certainly not every day), I feel on top of the world. I love the days when I am charging full speed ahead and all of the logistics work out. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush, flying out of Sarasota, having back-toback meetings with clients in another state, and then flying back home and landing in time for bedtime stories.

On those days, I feel tired but victorious. On the flip side of that, when I’m not traveling, I get to work from home and it affords me some flexibility with my schedule. On those days, I get to snuggle in bed with my kids and sip coffee while they watch cartoons. It’s a totally different dynamic and I love that I get to experience both. What are the challenges you feel you face in pursuing both? As a working mom, I’m never quite fully where my feet are. I may be in a boardroom talking to bank executives about how to grow consumer loans, but my mind is simultaneously thinking through my responsibilities at home: Did

I order those diapers I needed? What am I cooking this week? Did I mention the holiday performance to our parents? It’s sort of a nonstop hamster wheel of thoughts and to-dos. When I am off work, I try to really be where I am, but occasional reminders cross my mind: What’s the deadline for that product campaign? Did I call that person back? I used to wonder what it would be like to have that running list silenced for a while. The pandemic has given me a glimpse of what that’s like, and it’s nice. Could you share one recent challenge and how you overcame it? A recent challenge I’ve had is one faced by working par-

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Mornings With Jovanna 5:50am I wake up to the words “cuddle mama.” My 2-year-old climbs out of his crib and stealthily walks to our bedroom, like he does every morning. I pat the bed next to me, inviting him to get in for “just a few minutes.” We cuddle and I walk him back to his room (my alarm had gone off at 5:30am and I’d been snoozing ever since, so really, he did me a favor). We cuddle again on the rocking chair in his room, at his request, and then I put him back to bed and head downstairs to say good morning to my husband (he’s up by 4:30am every day) and pour some coffee. 6:00am Back in my bedroom. Caleb is back asking me to wake up. I tell him he can get up at 7am and walk him back to his room. We do this song and dance until 6:40am. At that point, all three kids are up and I give up on sending them back to bed. They all crawl into my bed to watch Super Wings while I shower and get ready for the day. Alex is doing a garage workout and will be on his way to the office by 7am. 7:30am Breakfast is served! Callie insists on serving herself her oatmeal with almond milk, drizzled with Florida honey. Nothing is spilled. Hooray! Lucas and Caleb want one of the gluten-free blueberry muffins they baked with Gigi (grandma, my mom-in-law), and I negotiate them down to an avocado first and then a muffin. While the kids are eating, I pick out their clothes (two options for Callie because she’ll want to decide), grab their toothbrushes and pack their snacks. They get dressed, build with LEGOs and watch some bits of The Magic School Bus. I review my work and personal calendars, answer a few emails and plan out my day. 8 | srq magazine_ SHEROARS20 live local

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ents everywhere right now. I am finding myself with a full-time job and the expectations and responsibilities that come with it, while also having three young kids at home (all day, every day). When our childcare situation became that we essen-

tially had none, my husband and I had to reassess how we were going to balance this new dynamic. We took an approach of transparency, flexibility and grace—transparency in that I called my boss and shared the situation I was in, instead of trying to shoulder it on my own. I offered to take paid time off for the hours I couldn’t find coverage for, and my boss understood. It was a relief. My husband and I have had to be flexible. A solid 8am–5pm workday isn’t feasible right now. We’re being flexible with where and when we work and for how long. We’re checking emails before the kids wake up and firing our laptops back on after the kids go to

bed to finish what didn’t get done during regular work hours (what even is that anymore?). Grace is my word for this season. It’s impossible to do it all right now, so we’re having grace with ourselves, each other, our kids and everyone else. What that looks

like is unfinished laundry, kids with mismatched socks, less than ideal dinners and way too much screen time. It’s temporary and we know it, and it’s OK. Share a moment in the recent past when you felt overextended. How do you manage it? My oldest turned six last weekend. My mom and two nieces came to visit from Miami to celebrate him and Mother’s Day. We had all been social distancing, and it was our first time seeing each other in months. I wanted to make my son’s birthday magical (because that’s what moms do, we bring the magic!), despite not being able to have a birthday party. I also wanted to spend

Opposite page, bottom left and this page, above left: Photos by Brianna Watkins Photography. Opposite page, center top in the treehouse and this page above right: Photos by Cliff Roles; courtesy of Jovanna Morgan.

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quality time with my mom, who I hadn’t seen in months, and also make my mom and mother-in-law feel celebrated and loved for Mother’s Day. In all the planning and coordinating and celebrating, I felt overextended. In the moments of overwhelm,

I try to take a step back and reframe the situation with a perspective of gratitude and appreciation. In this particular example, I was feeling overextended because I had too much celebrating to do for the people I love. Wow, sounds so silly. My shift in perspective changed everything and I was able to enjoy my time. I also committed to taking a real break the following weekend, and knowing I had that to look forward to energize me. How has the pandemic changed the dynamics of your balance? The pandemic slowed things down. It grounded all of us and allowed us all to really spend time with our kids in our

home. The opportunity to do that has been such a gift. At the same time, I think the pandemic has wiped out any semblance of balance. We’re all finding ourselves with the scales tipped in all sorts of crazy ways. We’re all figuring out our new normal. What is your biggest hope as we start to recover from the COVID-19 crisis? My biggest hope is that I don’t forget the joy I derived from a quiet life. For so long, I worked to reduce the “noise” in my life. We were overcommitted and overscheduled. When all the to-dos were erased and we got to slow down with the rest of the world, I think we all got to breathe a collective sigh of relief. My hope is that we will be intentional and selective about what we let back into our schedules and routines. What lessons do you think your children will have learned through the COVID-19 challenge? To wash their hands!!! In all seriousness, our kids are still young, so it’s hard to say. It’s been a gift to see how resilient and flexible kids are. Their entire little worlds were wiped away when schools closed and they had to be away from their friends and family, yet they persisted with smiles on their faces and found ways to find joy in other things. As we get older and more set in our ways, it’s a good re-

minder to be more like kids in that regard. I think COVID, among other things, gifted us the ability to have a laser focus on what’s important. It reminded me that if I have my family and we have our health, everything else is just details. I’m reminded that “stuff” very quickly loses its value and perceived meaning (unless it’s toilet paper) when greater things are at risk. What is the one thing most likely to be unfinished at the end of a busy day? Laundry. Laundry is never all done. If you could capture a day in your life with the title of a song, what would it be? Is there a song that just says “Hey mom!” 1,000 times? Because that would be it! What three words do your kids use to describe you? My kids are only six, four and two, but their answers are: nice, beautiful and a good cook. I’ll take it! What’s next for you and the family? I think we’re all slowly easing into a new normal. There is so much that is still unpredictable; it’s hard to plan. I want to make sure I make the best use of this time so that I have no regrets when things go back to “normal.” I try to ask myself daily, “What are the things I will have wished I would have done during quarantine?” And then I do those things.

WE INVITE YOU TO READ THE FULL INTERVIEWS AND DAY IN THE LIVES OF OUR FIVE MOMS ON OUR WEBSITE. WE WILL BE POSTING MORE OF THEIR STORIES IN SRQ DAILY THIS SUMMER. TO SIGN UP GO TO SRQMAG.COM/SRQDAILY.

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A Day in the Life With Kaitlin 6:30-6:45am My 4-year-old comes running into our room, hops on the bed and declares that he stayed in his bed all night long!

8:00am All four kids are awake and I have had at least one cup of coffee so far. Breakfast (usually waffles, eggs and fruit) is being served.

10:00am Baby girl is down for a nap, the oldest is on a Zoom call with his kindergarten class, and the other two are probably dumping out LEGOs everywhere or throwing Play-Doh at each other. 11:30am-Lunch They love “red cheese” soup, which is tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I have to sit with my 2-year-old so he doesn’t feed the cat his lunch.

1:00pm Naptime for the little two while the big two watch their favorite show. This is the only time I can get my exercise in, so I usually work out in the backyard. I use this time to clean up, prep dinner and, if I’m lucky, lie on the couch for a few minutes.

3:30pm Everyone is up! Time to go play outside! We ride bikes, blow up our waterslide, or play “survivor” and make forts out of leaves and sticks. 5:30pm Supper is ready! With little ones, they are usually starving. Our favorite family meal is honey-soy salmon with roasted broccoli and coconut rice. All of my boys ask for seconds. We always talk about “highs and lows” from our day, and also share something we love about each other. 7:00pm Bedtime for the little two while the big two read in their room. Get water, do potty breaks and tell 17 stories before they are tired. 8:00pm All the little people are in bed! Now it’s time to binge-watch something good on Netflix with the hubby and maybe fulfill a few orders for my shop. It’s so important to have one-on-one time with each other and decompress at the end of the day.

Kaitlin Jones

Kaitlin is a stay-at-home mom, wife and mother of four, living in Sarasota with her husband, Seth, and their young children: Winslow, 6; Hogan, 4; Silas, 2; and Monroe, 7 months. She holds a degree in psychology and takes care of her babies full time, while her husband works in the banking industry with a private wealth management sector of Bank of America. Having four children ages six and younger keeps Jones unendingly busy, wishing for extra sleep, but also deeply satisfied with domestic bliss and quality mothering moments.

What is your biggest hope as we start to recover from the COVID-19 crisis? That the “slowing down” of our everyday lives sticks around. It’s been so nice to not be rushing here and there all day, and I feel that there is sometimes an unspoken “competition” to fill your days to the brim.

What are the incredible joys that come with pursuing a strong family life? For a long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a mother. I worked in the banking industry before moving to Sarasota, but a huge reason we moved here was so that I could have the biggest promotion of my life: becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom. My kids are my biggest joys and they are the reason I get up every single day—to serve them, to sew passion and love into their hearts, and to teach them to be kind humans. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had and I’m always on call, but I wouldn’t change it.

busy I was. Between school drop-offs, speech therapy, the gym, volunteering at school and church, running a small business, and trying to fit in naps for my younger two babies, I was SO exhaust-

What lessons do you think your children will have learned through the COVID-19 challenge? That being together as a family is so life-giving. No one is missing dinner be-

ed. I didn’t know it until all of that stopped and we didn’t go anywhere. I am grateful for this realization now because, in the future, I am going to make sure all this busy-ness has purpose. These things are all good things, but when stacked on top of each other, they can be overwhelming. And you know what? Stopping by the drive-thru for a sweet tea from Chick-fil-A helps me manage. Sometimes you just need a little pick-meup to get you through.

cause of basketball practice and we aren’t having to scarf down our breakfast on the way to school. Having this slower pace of life has been so beneficial for my kids’ growth and happiness.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it? Sleeping!! I almost never get a night of uninterrupted sleep when two of my kids are two years old and under.

If you could capture a day in your life with the title of a song, what would it be? “It Won’t Be Like This for Long” by Darius Rucker.

Could you share one recent challenge and how you overcame it? I used to have a little side business that made T-shirts, decals, etc., and I also was taking care of my four children. We adopted our youngest baby six months ago, and when we brought her home, I thought I could just pick back up with “business as usual.” Well, adding a fourth baby to the mix was not easy. I had to take a step back and realize that I actually cannot do it all, so I put my shop on hold and it was such a good decision. Realizing that it was OK to say no was actually really good for me. How did you manage a moment in the recent past when you felt overextended? It wasn’t until COVID that I realized just how

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What’s next for you and the family? Our dream is to buy some land, build a house, and add some goats, chickens, maybe a horse, and a huge garden to the mix. Also, my boys would love a dirt mountain in the backyard.

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Dr. Kathy James A Day in the Life With Kathy 8:00am Wake. No alarm needed!

8:30am Go for a run. Kiss my husband as he goes off to work. 9:15am Eat frozen acai and fruit that one of my daughters has made for me (yum)!

9:30am–Noon Kids do online schoolwork while I am online with my work. The free clinic is currently closed, so I have been working to complete my mandatory pharmacy continuing education hours and staying current with medical news (as well as education advocacy).

Noon-1pm Lunch with hubby and kids.

1-6:00pm Laundry, cleaning, puzzling, reading, Zoom calling with our son in Tampa some days, organizing and sorting all my messes I made when life was “too busy,” and learning to use new kitchen gadgetry (like the Instant Pot and sous vide) to make interesting family dinners.

6-7:00pm Family dinner, rotating cooks so mom isn’t always cooking!

7-8:30pm Family bike ride and watching the sunset.

8:30-10:30pm Family movie.

Kathy is a registered pharmacist, breast cancer survivor, wife and mother of four, who lives in Englewood with her husband, Dr. Raymond James. The couple’s children are: Jonathan, 24, a professional in the Internet technology field in Tampa; Ashley, 21, a University of Florida (UF) premedical student; Savannah, 18, a recent graduate of State College of Florida who will also graduate from Pine View School this year; and Alexandra, 15, a rising sophomore at Pine View School. The family also has two chocolate Labrador Retrievers named Daisy and Duke. Dr. James volunteers at the Englewood Community Care Clinic, Inc.—a nonprofit she and her husband helped found. What are the incredible joys that come with pursuing a strong family life? I have always loved a challenge. Becoming a pharmacist provided a wonderful challenge to me and it allowed me to meet my husband, who is also in the medical profession. When we decided to have children, we thought we would hire a nanny so we could both continue to enjoy our professions. Little did I know that, when I held my firstborn, I would become so smitten with motherhood that I would not want to go back to work (but instead have three more children)! I maintained my licensures in both Michigan and Florida. Eventually, my husband and I, with the help of some incredible people in our community, helped found the Englewood Community Care Clinic, Inc. in 2011. Finding a balance in my professional and personal life is so important because it helps validate my self-worth and my purpose in life. Could you share one recent challenge and how you overcame it? Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. It happened on my 26th wedding anniversary, and the week before my second child turned 18 and was about to graduate from high school. The prognosis was bleak and it turned our world upside down. My support system of friends was so overwhelmingly kind to me and my family, and they sustained

us through our darkest times. That kindness, in turn, helped our family endure and gave me the strength to get through chemotherapy, surgery, radiation (and, currently, a clinical trial at Moffitt Cancer Center). It is thanks to the kindness of others that I am still here to enjoy and appreciate each day with my family. Hopefully, I have modeled to my children the importance of resilience and strength. How has the pandemic changed the dynamics of that balance? Interestingly, the pandemic has not changed much for us. The challenge of facing death from cancer was much greater and had already altered how we view life. COVID-19 has simply reinforced the importance of never taking life for granted, and the importance of living each day to the fullest.

What do you enjoy doing to recharge? I jog two miles every day, and I have for as long as I can remember. I try to do it first thing in the morning, planning my to-do list for the day as I run. I give myself those 30 minutes each day, knowing that this “indulgence” makes me happier, more organized and better able to handle whatever life throws my way. Could you share the last time you had a really good laugh? As crazy as it may sound, my most recent good laugh came in the form of a “virtual audition” for a play during COVID-19. In an effort to try to boost my brainpower from the loss of it from chemotherapy, I spent some time trying to memorize lines from a play. I practiced the lines over and over, and video-recorded myself to try to improve my performance. The deadline for the virtual audition had al-

ready passed but I sent my audition in anyway. Much to my surprise, I was called back to audition for a role in the production and was subsequently offered that part. The play is slated for November but, with COVID-19, who knows if the production will see the lights of the stage. Life is funny. What three words do your kids use to describe you? This is a fun question! I texted my kids in a group text and this is what they came up with: strong, intelligent, kind, resilient, passionate and gritty. What’s next for you and the family? Our annual summer trip has been postponed/canceled, so we will be on the boat a lot this summer, snorkeling and looking for treasures and adventures in our beautiful local paradise we are lucky enough to call home.

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Mornings with Bridget 4:45am Fallon Rose, my 1-year-old, wakes up unusually early and doesn’t go back to sleep.

5:30am Reagan, my 6-year-old, wakes up and snuggles with me on the couch while I try to get at least an additional hour of rest before the day begins.

Bridget Ziegler Bridget works in the commercial insurance and risk management consulting industry as the vice president of USI Insurance Services. She is a Sarasota County School Board member, a wife and a mother of three. Pre-pandemic, Bridget commuted to her Tampa office two days a week and then worked remotely (her job is currently a full-time remote undertaking). With her husband, Christian Ziegler (who runs his own business and is a Sarasota County Commissioner), she has three daughters: Reagan, 6; Sloane, 4; and Fallon Rose, 1. Both sets of the couple’s grandparents also live in Sarasota, and the Zieglers have “an amazing support nanny” to help with the children.

7:00am Reagan, seeing how tired I am, tells me she is going to help with getting the girls their cereal and fruit for breakfast, and offers to make me coffee. She loves helping, and I often refer to her as my chief of staff. 8:00am I jump on my first virtual meeting for the day while my daughters finish getting dressed, brush their teeth and head to their playroom/classroom with my littlest one to work on a few Montessori lessons until my meeting is done. 9:00am Reagan and I log onto ClassTag to go over her lessons for the day, while Sloane (my 4-year-old) heads into our master bedroom where my husband’s office is set up. She logs into her morning Zoom meeting with her class. My 1-yearold regularly tries to climb anything and everything in sight, making it somewhat difficult to focus on the lessons I am working through with Reagan, but we make it work. After about an hour of computer time, the kiddos take a break and head outside to our backyard to run and play or work on their ever-growing LEGO land (on weekends, we often wake up to Sloane and Reagan working diligently on their next LEGO project, and we love it). 12 | srq magazine_ SHEROARS20 live local

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What are the incredible joys that come with pursuing a strong family life? I am an incredibly passionate person. I love the work that I do. When people hear “insurance,” they typically start snoring. But risk is everywhere, and being properly prepared can mean the difference between surviving a loss, protecting employees and staying in business (or not). I genuinely love helping people solve problems and be successful, often by challenging them to approach things in a way they hadn’t before. I have the same passion for what I do as a school board member and policymaker. I feel so honored to be in the position I am in—to help families and students, staff and the community, and be their advocate. It’s not always easy; it can be very difficult and even emotionally draining at times. However, somehow, it’s as if the more challenging things become, the more motivated I am to work harder. The most important part of it all is the example I am providing for my three daughters. I talk with them about what I do, what my work entails—the challenges, the successes—in the hopes that they will take the good and leave the bad. My hope is that this may help shape how they approach their various goals and struggles. But mostly, I want them to see that passion is the most powerful motivator, and when you find it, run with it.

ing mom), there is this feeling that you’re not doing enough or can always do better. However, I believe the feeling of mommy guilt is the reality for many of us moms who are juggling a lot. Some days are harder than others, but those days when you nail it—you get the kiddos out of the door on time, make your meetings on time, get dinner on the table, do bath time, story time and bedtime and hear your child tell you a story or whisper a sweet something before you turn out the lights—you just want to do a little victory dance in the hallway by yourself afterwards.

What are the challenges you feel you face in pursuing both? Yikes! Where do I begin? Honestly, “mommy guilt” is real, but it is real regardless of your circumstances. Whether you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom (which, let me be clear, is still a work-

How has the pandemic changed the dynamics of that balance? It has been very difficult, but it has forced me to truly realize that there is only so much you can do in a day, and it has forced me to put things into perspective. Despite the stressful days I may be

Please share a moment in the recent past when you felt overextended. How do you manage those moments? The COVID-19 crisis kicked everyone into feeling overextended, myself included. My professional and public responsibilities accelerated further (add to that at-home distance learning and the stress of the quarantine). To manage it, I’ve realized I need to create a calm setting at the end of the night. After dinner, I dim the lights, turn on meditation music on Alexa, and begin bath time, reading and bedtime. It’s funny because I’ve found myself leaving the meditation music on for hours after the girls are in bed while I clean up, finish work or catch up on laundry. It definitely helps me unwind, and I’ve continued this regimen since.

experiencing, I am speaking with people who are truly struggling and are in far more troubling, stressful and scary situations. I continually remind myself that, while the days may be tough, I am grateful for my family, our health and what we have.

provided an opportunity for me to connect with my children more than I had before. We spend a lot more time outdoors together, taking walks, biking, etc. I hope that continues and I have asked my girls to hold me accountable.

Humor can be an important release. Could you share the last time you had a really good laugh? It was probably about week two of the safer-at-home order when three of my girlfriends and I were all feeling the stress and struggle of virtual learning/teaching/ working and being confined to the house with little ones. We scheduled a virtual “girls’ night out” through Facebook Messenger, which has all of these filters that we weren’t initially aware of. Once we started using them, I swear I have never laughed so hard in my life! My husband was in the other room and, after I got off, he said, “What the heck were you all doing? I’ve never heard you laugh like that!” It was much-needed and still cracks me up. Laughter is seriously the best medicine!

What lessons do you think your children will have learned through the COVID-19 challenge? They certainly are more aware of the necessity of washing their hands and practicing overall good hygiene. They have also become tremendously experienced with virtual meeting platforms and appropriate etiquette (i.e., using the mute function when in a large group).

What is your biggest hope as we start to recover from the COVID-19 crisis? My hope is that we all continue to practice individual responsibility to help keep everyone safe, allow our economy to rebound, and allow people to return to work and children to return to school. I believe this experience will alter a lot of the way we interact for business, entertainment and learning. What that precisely looks like, I am not sure, but I do know that we are all incredibly resilient people and can adapt and evolve for the better. And despite the hectic schedule during quarantine, I also believe it

What three words do your kids use to describe you? According to my two oldest daughters: beautiful, loving and kind (of course, hearing this made me cry, which has become a far more common reaction to happiness than I’d like to admit since becoming a mother). What’s next for you and the family? We are renovating our home as our family has grown, which is something I’ve wanted to do for some time now. It’s exciting to include the girls in some of the projects. My parents certainly made sure that my brother, sister and I participated in home projects, and it taught me a lot. Aside from that, who knows?! The unknown is the exciting part of this journey of life. If you asked me six years ago what I would be doing now, I would have hoped to have a family. But I would never have imagined I’d be serving in public office, with three kids, while continuing to work in the private sector. I am grateful for it all and wouldn’t change a thing.

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written by ashley grant | photo courtesy of sebrena pawley

Roar of a Survivor Since the start of 2020, Sebrena Pawley had been eagerly anticipating her birthday. She had planned a “travel bucket list” vacation to Africa. But while she counted down the days to her departure, a dark cloud was looming on the horizon. And on March 25, the day she was born, instead of the trip of a lifetime, Pawley received a diagnosis that she knew could end her life. She tested positive for COVID-19.

IN THE WEEKS LEADING UP TO HER DIAGNOSIS, Pawley had been busy. As the area manager for young workforce development at Eckerd Connects in New York City, she worked tirelessly as a passionate champion and advocate for teens and young adults in her region and shared her insights through speaking engagements in other parts of the country. She was scheduled to travel to Sarasota as the keynote speaker for the SRQ SMARTgirl Leadership and Mentorship Summit, after which, she was headed on that much-needed and well-deserved vacation. Now with business and travel disrupted in the face of a global pandemic, she changed focus to rally her team and set a remote operations plan in place. But when the symptoms started, Pawley recognized she had another challenge on her hands. If she wanted to fulfill her lifelong mission to serve others, she had to stay alive. No stranger to adversity, Pawley had spent most of her childhood fighting to survive. She faced seemingly insurmountable challenges as a young girl and had to overcome them to thrive and make a difference in the world. A self-described “concrete jungle native New Yorker,” her mother left her at Mount Sinai Hospital the day she was born and she was put into foster care. She had over 80 placements in the foster system as a young girl and notes, “I ran from most of my foster homes. I recollect that most of them cared more about receiving that check every month than the young kids that they had in their homes.” And when she ran away, she lived wherever she

could—couch surfing in friends’ homes, on the street, or under the subway because it was warm. Despite the challenges, Pawley had an innate curiosity and a fighting spirit that refused to give up, which proved invaluable. She said, “I was always asking a lot of questions: Why do we have to do this? Why are you doing this? What is the purpose? Because we need to ask questions and I wanted to advocate and stand up for myself.” That stubborn self-advocacy enabled her to graduate from high school early. Pawley found school easy and was frequently bored. Moving from foster home to foster home, she did not think it was necessary for her to go to classes. But when she was held back a grade due to skipping class, it was a wake-up call. “So I said, ‘you know what? I’m not going to ever be held back again. I’m going to show up. I’m going to study. I’m going to do what I need to do so they will put me back in my grade and maybe I can even skip some grades,’” she recalled. She moved ahead two grades to graduate at the age of 16. Now, she was out of school and had no idea what to do with her life. And then came a turning point. She was on the subway and in a dark mood. She thought about the mistreatment she and her siblings had received at the hands of foster parents and other adults and silently wished she were an attorney so she could prosecute the whole lot of them, bring them to justice and find some peace for herself. She recalled, “At that time I was homeless, a little bit out of

FROM HOPELESS TO HOMELESS, A YOUNG SEBRENA PAWLEY WOULD EVENTUALLY COME TO LEARN THAT FALLING ILL TO A LIFE-THREATENING VIRUS IS JUST ANOTHER SURVIVAL OBSTACLE TO OVERCOME.

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it, a little bit high, not feeling well and had a chip on my that’s when I really found my gift for serving and I’ve been shoulder. I didn’t want anybody to talk to me.” But that’s giving that gift away ever since I was 16.” exactly what happened and it made her furious. “A woman Pawley worked her way up through numerous jobs in sat next to me and she said, ‘Everything is going to be OK.’ the human services industry looking for a place where And in that moment I’m looking at her like, ‘I don’t want she could apply her skills to change lives, and she found everything to be OK right now. I just want to be addicted it at Eckerd Connects. She applauds the organization’s to my pain right now and I don’t want to hear anything work-readiness training program, which teaches young positive.’ So I purposely got up and got off the subway, adults the necessary skills to get a job and keep it. But for only to turn around and she was no longer her, the job training is not the most imthere,” she said. To this day, Pawley isn’t portant part of what she does. What’s “I was able to see sure whether the woman was a figment crucial, she believes, is developing infirsthand that they of her imagination or, as her brother sugdependent living skills, mental health had the some story, gests, a guardian angel sent to guide her and self-worth. on the right path. What she does know for “We reinforce that hard work and if not worse, as mine. sure is that when she turned around on persistence are going to pay off, but It wasn’t just me the platform, there, right in front of her young adults have to take responsibilgoing that was going face on the subway wall, was a sign for the ity for doing what they need to do and through whatever John Jay School for Law. be realistic about their challenges. It’s it was I was going She got the message and marched ‘Did you eat last night? Do you have right over to the school, determined to clothing? Do you have a roof over your through.” enroll. Instead, she met the man who head?’” she said. would be her mentor for the next 30 She’s passionate about supporting years. “He happened to be standing at the front desk. He her clients’ mental health because she remembers what wasn’t supposed to be there. Later I found out he was the she was like at their age. “I know how I was when I was 16. recruiter for the school,” she said. He started a conver- No one asked me whether or not I was OK at all. They just sation with her but soon recognized a problem. She was assumed that I was a bad kid. So the very first question high on drugs. “It was a coping mechanism for me at that that any of my staff asks the young adults when they’re point,” she said. But the man at the front desk was not coming in, even if they’re coming in late, is not ‘Why are pleased. She remembers, “He looked at me and yelled, you late?’ but ‘Are you OK? And if you’re not, let’s figure ‘Are you high?’ And I said, ‘A little bit.’” Pawley said he out what’s really going on with you.’ For me, that’s the softened when she told him she had been in foster care most important work that I do. Because the résumé writand was now homeless and that he “saw something in me ing and the cover letter and knowing how to get a job can that I didn’t see in myself.” He told her that she had a gift wait. You need to understand exactly what’s going on inand she just had to search for it. And when she found it, side of you,” she said. she needed to give it away to others. Pawley and her team challenge their clients to become But he was not going to talk to her about school in the the best versions of themselves by turning their pain state she was in. And with that, he sent her to a downtown into purpose, and self-esteem is key to doing that. “They shelter run by Job Corps that had wraparound services for are resilient, but we have to ensure that they know that young adults in her age group. “You could live there and they’re worthy first. They need to understand that they they would give you a weekly stipend, but you had to be can fulfill their dreams. A lot of them don’t think that their doing something—going to school or have a job,” she said. goals are reachable, so I think just encouraging them to The shelter put her to work at the front reception desk, visualize what they want to achieve is huge. Also, we celand it was there she met hundreds of kids just like her. ebrate their efforts, not just their achievements, because “I was able to see firsthand that they had the same sto- some of them put forth the effort and they may not reach ry, if not worse, as mine. It wasn’t just me that was going their goal immediately, but we recognize that effort in the through whatever it was I was going through. They, too, meantime. And finally we ask them for the ‘Why’ behind were in foster care, or were abused or had parents who their dreams. ‘What is your purpose behind the goal? Why kicked them out for being gay. I saw that they were perse- are you motivated to do this?’” Without a reason, it’s hard vering and not letting their challenges hold them back. In to accomplish anything,” she said. a way, they saved my life, because from the moment I got Pawley was happily absorbed in the thick of programthere I never did drugs again,” she said. matic work, motivating her team and tending to her She found purpose and direction through her job and clients’ needs across New York’s five boroughs when recalls, “As the young adults came in, I would give them the first case of COVID-19 in New York was reported in positive words of affirmation, and when I realized I was Westchester County, where she lived. Neither she nor helping them, something inside of me said, ‘This is it, this her colleagues had been wearing masks or gloves or social is what you’re supposed to do for the rest of your life.’ So distancing as they went about their daily activities. At that srq magazine_ SHEROARS20 live local | 17

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point, no one knew such precautions were necessary, but changes came soon. On March 16, Bronx Community College, one of Eckerd Connects’ locations, shut down and Pawley equipped all managers and staff with laptops to get Google remote classrooms up and running. Then on March 20, the governor issued a workforce stay-at-home order. “We weren’t sure what was going on. All we knew was people were dying,” she said. The day after lockdown, Pawley started feeling sick. She called her doctor, got tested in a town 45 minutes away, received her diagnosis, and started having severe symptoms two days later. She watched the news as the daily death toll rose into the hundreds and stayed in constant contact with her doctor, who told her what to expect. She noted that everything he said would happen did. “That’s when it really took a turn and I thought ‘Here we go,’” she said. Her body was racked with a nonstop violent cough, drenching night sweats and a raging dangerously high fever. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where the medical team administered IV treatment. “After they got the treatment into me, my fever came down a bit and I was sent home because they had run out of beds,” she said. Days later the fever spiked and she wound up back in the hospital. After receiving a second round of IV treatment, they sent her home again, where the cough and fever continued to hang on day after day for weeks until finally resolving themselves. “My main concern was did I infect anyone? None of my staff was directly affected, but their family members were and we lost five people in my apartment complex. It was so surreal. You never think it can happen to you,” she said. After recovering, she has tested negative twice for the virus and is feeling healthy, but she cautions everyone to take precautions and fight complacency. “Don’t think it can’t happen to you. You don’t want to get

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this. Social distance and wear your mask and gloves. Do it for yourself, your family, friends, parents and grandparents,” she urged. Pawley is now focused on the business of moving forward. She says, while working with clients remotely will never be the same as connecting face-toface, in some ways it has made her team more productive and resilient. She is looking at what the future holds when Eckerd Connects reopens, which she acknowledges probably won’t happen for months. But she is prepared as much as can be with social distancing practices, gloves and masks for her staff, and plans to install plexiglass dividers at both locations. She is committed to conducting a survey for the young adults she serves to see how they feel about coming back and how they were affected by COVID-19, knowing many of them have lost family members during the pandemic. Having the virus made her more resolved than ever to serve. “I feel that we have to take responsibility for transforming the world that we live in every day by our actions. And we have to be taking one life-transforming step at a time, understanding that this stuff is a process and service is everything. And until we get that, our young adults will continue to suffer,” she said. Where once she dreamed of retaliating against the injustice of her circumstances, now Pawley is all about finding solutions and she’s not giving up. She wants to open a shelter for young adults, providing services from the hours of 3 to 10pm—perilous times for kids inundated by an atmosphere of drugs, violence and isolation. In the meantime, she is doing everything she can to make sure they know they are worthy and valued. When asked to sum up her journey thus far and the key to overcoming the challenges she has faced, Pawley gave just two words: I persisted. SRQ

5/26/20 8:10 PM


RECOGNIZING WOMEN LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS ON THE GULF COAST

RECOGNIZING WOMEN LEADERS IN THE SARASOTA, BRADENTON AND LAKEWOOD RANCH REGIONWHO HAVE MADE MEANINGFUL AND SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE AREAS OF BUSINESS, HEALTH, EDUCATION, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SCIENCE, SPORTS, PHILANTHROPY AND THE ARTS.

PROGRAM PRODUCED BY SRQ MEDIA | LISL LIANG, ASHLEY GRANT PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN

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5/27/20 12:32 AM


NOMINEE | 2020

JESSICA ROGERS

VICE PRESIDENT OF PHILANTHROPY, CHILDREN FIRST JESSICA ROGERS BELIEVES ACCESS to opportunity for all is the base for building a strong community. This belief has transformed her passion for helping women, children, and families into a dynamic professional career focused on the well-being of humankind. As a mother, she raises her daughter the way that her own mother taught her, to strive to make a difference in the lives of others in her community. With over 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising, Jessica serves as Vice President of Philanthropy at Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive Head Start Program, ranking in the top 1% of Head Starts nationwide. She represents the agency in advocating for the support of early childhood education and breaking barriers of poverty. During her tenure, she has transformed fundraising and outreach efforts allowing the agency to serve the greatest number of children and families in its 59-year history and being named WEDU PBS’s Nonprofit of the Year. Rogers’ volunteer and philanthropic engagement is broad across our community. She has served on the board of directors for the Junior League of Sarasota and most recently received the 2020 Sustainer Community Service Award. Rogers has brought awareness to the mission of the National Council of Jewish Women and the programs of their local chapter in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Rogers is a proud graduate of Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership program and serves on the Leadership Alumni Committee, and has served as a Troop Co-Leader for the Girl Scouts of Southwest Florida. 1723 North Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL | 941-953-3877 childrenfirst.net PERSONAL “What

you

do

makes

a

difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want

to make"—Jane Goodall. DAILY LIFE “Never underestimate yourself. Who is going to

stop you?” PROFESSIONAL “Looking ahead

is important. It helps you determine your steps now to get there."

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"Be purposeful. Be mindful. Be humble.

Positivity and enthusiasm are infectiousbe a vector for spread!”

NOMINEE | 2020

JUDY S. WANG, M.D.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DRUG DEVELOPMENT, FLORIDA CANCER SPECIALISTS AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE SARAH CANNON RESEARCH INSTITUTE HELICOPTER PILOT FOR THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE. Physician Education Teacher for Sarasota County Schools. Correctional Officer for the Desoto Annex. One unfortunate characteristic they all have in common… each person has Stage 4 incurable cancer. But what also ties them together… each person has important roles in their community, and they each work to support their young growing family. Cancer does not discriminate, and in an alarming trend, it is being diagnosed more and more in young patients. Judy knew early on in her undergraduate education and medical training that she wanted to be an Oncologist. It was a healthcare specialty that afforded development of longitudinal, profound relationships with her patients. And with multiple members of her own family having succumb to terminal cancer, becoming an Oncologist equated to a lifelong professional endeavor that would contribute to the collective knowledge, in the race to find a cure. While considering career opportunities at multiple renowned institutions, including Johns Hopkins and University of Pennsylvania, her interest was piqued by a novel opportunity at Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute. Through a strategic partnership with Sarah Cannon Research Institute, the Drug Development Unit at FCS wanted to expand their clinical trial unit in Sarasota, Fl. Here was a rare opportunity not only to conduct groundbreaking cancer research with multiple pharmaceutical leaders, but also to bring these clinical trial opportunities “home” to Sarasota. This meant her young patients could still work full time serving their Sarasota community, spend precious time with their families, all while receiving innovative clinical trial treatment right in their own neighborhood. Judy made the move in 2015 from the Northeast to Sarasota and hasn’t looked back since. Seeing her patients thrive while fighting cancer puts a smile on her face and inspires her every day.

600 North Cattlemen Road, Suite 200, Sarasota, FL 941-377-9993 | FLcancer.com

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5/23/20 11:12 AM


SMARTGIRL PARTNER | 2020

BLAIR BLOOMSTON, DR. AJ LEE, PHD ERIN WATSON & ELISE RODRIGUEZ GAME ON NATION

FOUNDED IN 1997, Game On Nation has pioneered the art of helping organizations, teams and individuals improve communication, leadership, well-being and culture. Through a groundbreaking, game-based training technique, called MILE™, Game On’s curriculum harnesses the positive power of Mystery, Incentive, Laughter, and Empowerment to create immediate improvement people can see, feel, and measure. Combining interactive, exercise-based learning (think: improvisation and gamification) with traditional training techniques (picture: guided dialogue and peer-to-peer feedback), Game On’s programs result in innovative strategies to amplify both personal and professional development, while enhancing connection. From #1 NFL, NBA, and NHL Draft Picks, to College Athletes, Pro Teams, and Leagues, to Government and Military leadership, and C-Suite Executives, Game On delivers results that last. Some of Game On’s recent and long-term clients include Hilton, NASCAR, Deloitte, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2015 USWNT World Cup Champions, US Olympic Committee, FSU Football & FSU Women’s Soccer, Joint Special Operations Command, Kentucky Basketball, Honda, the SEC, USO and Wounded Warrior Project.

3110 MANATEE AVENUE WEST, BRADENTON, FL 34205 @gameonnation | gameonnation.com

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BLAIR BLOOMSTON, PARTNER AND VP OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (PICTURED ABOVE) Blair has spent the last 16 years working with the world’s most recognizable athletes, teams, executives, corporations, and brands. She is considered a leading expert on the use of Game Dynamics and Game Theory to improve communication, leadership, team building, and culture. AJ LEE, PHD, VP OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS (TOP RIGHT) A former NCAA Division I gymnast, AJ earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Auburn University, specializing in research related to student-athlete engagement. As a member of the Game On executive staff, AJ cultivates business strategy and a sound brand voice to amplify the Game On mission for sustainable, long-term impact. ERIN WATSON, PROJECT COORDINATOR (TOP LEFT) As a member of the Game On staff, Erin works to further the mission of the company by providing program and executive support to the Game On team. She utilizes her skills and experience in event planning and management to ensure the programs and events of Game On are delivered with excellence. ELISE RODRIGUEZ, ESQ, COMMUNICATION CONSULTANT (CENTER) Elise is a Cuban-American performer, teaching artist, coach, and creative professional who launched her improvisational theatre career in Miami, Florida. She is a skilled and joyous improvisor who speaks fluent Spanish and teaches, coaches, and performs improv nationally and internationally. As a coach and trainer, Elise works with professionals in various industries on creative thinking, applied improv, and public speaking and communication.

5/23/20 11:08 AM


LEADERSHIP CIRCLE | CLASS OF 2015

MARY DOUGHERTY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GULF COAST BUILDERS EXCHANGE EVERYDAY I'M INSPIRED BY GCBX MEMBERS! They build the projects that create jobs and opportunities for our community to grow and prosper. They are the business people that started at the bottom rung of the career ladder and now own the business. They are entrepreneurs investing in the community, raising their families here and employers providing opportunities for countless families in the community. Their ingenuity has helped them survive countless economic cycles, including the “Great Recession” and not only sustain their businesses, but grow their businesses. When you look at any philanthropic endeavor in the community, you will see members of the Commercial Contracting Industry among the lead donors. I always say, all you have to do is ask GCBX Members for help and they will be there to assist. GCBX gets involved in numerous community service projects. Their love and commitment to this community has been evident since 1952 and I have no doubt it will continue far into the future. I am proud to serve this organization and its members and everyday I’m inspired by the leaders of the organization past and present. Additionally, I’m inspired by members of my family. I was raised by a strong mother and a father I lost way to young. I’m inspired by my children that I’m proud to have raised with a great work ethic and resilience that I know will take them far in life. I’m inspired by my brother who handled his illness with strength and dignity and taught me so many lessons in life. 8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 120, Lakewood Ranch, FL 941-907-7745 | gcbx.org “As a teenager, I purchased a glass paper weight at the gift shop of the World Trade Center that has etched on it, “What you dare to dream, dare to do”.

I still have that

paper weight and look at it often. While I’ve internalized

the saying inscribed on the paper weight, the weight itself has become a cherished possession and reminder that we

all need to live life to the fullest in honor of those who lost their lives on that terrible day.”

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5/23/20 11:06 AM


"Just like we see an accountant for our taxes and an attorney for law matters,

patients deserve the care and counsel of

a professional to help them make important health decisions – not the indifferent medical advice from Dr. Google.”

NOMINEE | 2020

DR. AMY ROTH LERNERCOHEN HEALTHCARE DR. AMY ROTH GREW UP ON A FARM and apple orchard in Pennsylvania. When she was young, her father suffered an injury that required immediate medical attention. Instead of going to the emergency room, her father was treated by their family physician in his office. They were greeted by name, attended to quickly, and sent home with a prescription after receiving sutures and some old-fashioned personal attention. This experience helped shape Dr. Roth’s vision of practicing medicine. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, Dr. Roth received her medical degree at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and then completed the Internal Medicine Residency training program at the University of Connecticut. From there, she sought a way to practice medicine with an enduring commitment to provide the same level of care and personal attention that her father received, something not easily found today. Now with LernerCohen Healthcare, one of Sarasota’s earliest concierge practices, Dr. Roth does just that. LernerCohen doctors accept a limited number of patients and spend more time with each of them, allowing her to develop meaningful, lasting relationships, and devote the necessary time to take great care of those she treats. This personal connection combined with being readily available in the office and by phone ultimately works to benefit the ongoing health of her patients while focusing on prevention.

THE DOCTOR IS IN. ALWAYS. 1921 Waldemere Street, Suite 814, Sarasota, FL 941-953-9080 | LernerCohen.com

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5/23/20 11:08 AM


NOMINEE | 2020

AIMEE COGAN WEALTH ADVISOR

"Our client’s goals are our priorities.

When they are successful they contribute to making this world a better place.”

AIMEE COGAN IS PASSIONATE ABOUT helping her clients to reach their goals and find the ‘Yes’ in any situation. Combining a lifelong love of math, penchant for planning and a passion for helping people, she founded The Bellwether Group, a multidisciplinary wealth management team dedicated to the needs of her clients and community. Cogan is inspired by her local Sarasota-based Bellwether team who have over 25 years of experience each with different professional designations and areas of focus in wealth management1. All worked for private banks before coming to Morgan Stanley for the culture, platform and capabilities of the firm. Cogan is honored to be ranked by Forbes as the #3 female advisor in the state of Florida, and 81 in the U.S. and ranked by Barron’s as one of top advisors in the U.S. over the past 9 years2. In response to COVID 19, the team has been working via Zoom and Skype meetings and Cogan notes that clients and individuals just reaching out for the first time are thrilled to be able to connect with them remotely, that’s important because for Cogan and her team it’s all about relationships. She says, “I love this field as we get a chance to meet and work with some terrific individuals and families that have built amazing businesses and done so much for the country and our community. We love helping them map out a financial plan, design a portfolio they are comfortable with and collaborating with their attorneys and accountants on longer term estate and legacy planning strategy. It is very fulfilling for us to work with our clients and their next generations to help them become successful financial stewards.” The Bellweather Group at Morgan Stanley | 2 North Tamiami Trail, Ste. 1100 Sarasota, FL 34236 | 941-363-8515 | Aimee.cogan@morganstanley.com Aimee Cogan, Financial Advisor, Managing Director Wealth Management, Family Wealth Director, Over 25 Years of experience. Richard T. Williams, CFA, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management, Financial Advisor, Portfolio Management Director, Over 25 Years of experience. Scott Rockwell, Vice President, Financial Advisor, Portfolio Manager, Over 30 years of experience. Kathy Francoletti, CTFA, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management, Financial Advisor, Over 40 years of experience 2 Aimee Cogan: Ranked nationally in Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors 2011-2014, 2016-2018. Ranked nationally in Barron’s Top 1,200 State by State Advisors 2012–2020. Ranked nationally in Financial Times Top 400 Advisors 2013, 2016. Ranked nationally with Working Mother Magazine Shook. Research Top Wealth Advisor Moms 2018, 2019. Ranked nationally in Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors 2019, 2020. Ranked nationally in Forbes Top Women Advisors 2019, 2020

1

The Bellwether Group are Financial Advisors at Morgan Stanley in Sarasota and they have engaged SRQ Magazine to feature this profile. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC. [www.sipc.org]. The Bellwether Group may only transact business in states where they are registered or excluded or exempted from registration [https://advisor. morganstanley.com/the-bellwether-group]. Transacting business, follow-up and individualized responses involving either effecting or attempting to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made to persons in states where The Bellwether Group financial advisors are not registered or excluded or exempt from registration. Morgan Stanley and its Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax or legal advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. The ratings may not be representative of any one client’s experience nor are they indicative of the Financial Advisor’s future performance. Neither Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC nor its Financial Advisors paid a fee to Barron’s, Forbes, Financial Times, Working Mother magazines, or SHOOK Research in exchange for the ratings. For more information on the ranking methodology for the awards listed above, go to http://www.morganstanley.com/disclosures/awards-disclosure.html Any companies mentioned within are shown for informational purposes only and we are not implying an affiliation, sponsorship, or endorsement of the companies mentioned . CRC 3090232 5/20

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5/23/20 11:15 AM


“Our deepest fear is not that we

are weak. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask

ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?” — Nelson Mandela

NOMINEE | 2020

DIANNA MANOOGIAN

SALT MAVEN, SALT OF THE EARTH SARASOTA DIANNA IS TRULY MOTIVATED TO PROVIDE alternative wellness treatments to the community. She is principled in her belief that there are natural ways to heal the body. This motivation ranges from her own holistic self care to her client interactions. Dianna genuinely cares how her clients are doing, always asking how they are feeling while providing other alternative wellness options that they may benefit from outside of Salt Therapy. Seeing the transformation of her clients is one of her biggest drivers. Just knowing that she is helping them to heal is the greatest gift. While just in its third year of operation, Salt of the Earth is borne out of years of Dianna seeking all natural ways to help herself and her family. “Salt therapy chose me,“ she often says! She was quick to see that it is better to uncover and treat the source of what ails her, rather than merely address a symptom. She encourages others to do the same. It may take a little more time than the usual quick fix, but the benefit for one's own health is well worth the effort. Sarasota has become a place where non-traditional healing has taken hold. Dianna fosters that with donations to local charities and schools, as well as being a founding Board member of Impact100 SRQ and educating wellness groups in our area. Her message is authentic, and her spirit is infectious. Any visit to Salt of the Earth will clearly show how Dianna is truly committed to helping people heal through all natural means. 4037 Clark Road, Sarasota, FL 34233 941-702-8300 | sotesarasota.com

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5/23/20 11:09 AM


"I live life with the wisdom of Maya Angelou’s words:

“I've learned that people will

forget what you said, people

will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

NOMINEE | 2020

LINDA DOMENICO OWNER, TIGER LILY FLORIST

MY PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY has everything to do with my love of travel. I am so grateful to have had the chance to exist and work in many different cultures in so many different roles. As a personal chef in Italy, florist in Hawaii, entrepreneur in Sarasota, and even starting my first business at 19 in California, the passion that has driven my life is that of finding creative ways to connect with other people. Working in floral design allows me to be a part of some of the most poignant moments in the lives of others. I get to bring their visions to life for weddings and share in their everyday joy when they gift flowers to a loved one. 1619 Desoto Road, Sarasota, FL 34234 941-355-5661 | linda@tigerlilyflower.net | tigerlilyflowers.com

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5/23/20 11:10 AM


NOMINEE | 2020

LORI AUGUSTYNIAK

OWNER, HORIZON INSURANCE “Everything you need is already

inside you. You were wired to Survive and Succeed” — Darren Hardy

LORI AUGUSTYNIAK ATTRIBUTES HER SUCCESS with Horizon Insurance to building a great team that believes in her agency’s philosophy of doing the right thing for clients. “Our growth comes from referrals because our clients and centers of influence know and trust that we will take of them,” she says. “We will be an advocate and help our clients manage their insurance portfolio.” Giving back to the community has become a mantra for Horizon; in 2018, the agency partnered with Safeco Insurance to donate $10,000 to the Homeless Coalition and again in 2020 to donate $5,000 to Meals on Wheels of Sarasota. Horizon Insurance donates up to 10% of its profits to local charities. Quarterly, the Horizon Team does a volunteer activity. ACHIEVEMENTS Five Star Professional 2011-2017 Reader Choice Award 2016-2020 Insurance Business of America Top Producer 2016 and 2020 American Integrity Insurance Diamond Performer 2017-2019 Nationwide Insurance President’s Conference and Champion Award Nationwide Financial Platinum Club

7347 52nd Place East, Bradenton, FL 941-755-9500 | HorizonIns.net

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5/23/20 11:18 AM


HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY? We've heard it over and over . . . these are unprecedented times. COVID-19 has created a level of risk and uncertainty within the financial markets that hasn't been felt in decades, if not longer. We immediately saw a variety of drastic changes implemented by banks, national lenders and the Federal Government in an effort to stabilize the housing market amid the rise of unemployment. These beneficial measures have resulted in a huge unprecedented drop in interest rates. Current market fixed interest rates are lower than we've ever seen, which has provided opportunities for people looking to save huge amounts of cash with their current mortgage or move into their dream home at a lower cost.

LENDIRECT SALVATORE MORABITO, CEO/PRESIDENT

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE OF HOME OWNERSHIP LOOK LIKE IN OUR REGION? In a post COVID-19 world, home ownership is being redefined. I anticipate that we’ll see changes in how technology will be used to offer virtual home tours. I also believe that remotebased mortgage services that cater to the conveniences of clients are more important than ever. One thing is certain-- there's something very special about Sarasota. Sarasota's sunny beaches and bayside beauty, rich cultural history and its vibrant art and theater scene brings so much appeal to our city and surrounding communities. There's something for everyone here. New home construction will surely continue to rise as our special city attracts more visibility and I believe we’ll see an increase in relocation by those who are looking to enjoy our unique Sarasota lifestyle.

WHAT SETS LENDIRECT APART FROM TRADITIONAL MORTGAGE OPTIONS? Having started in the mortgage industry in the mid 90's, I was able to see many different ways mortgages were offered to consumers. I listened to what consumers wanted and saw gaps in the industry. In 2007, I began LENDirect to create something better for the consumer. Consumers usually had to choose between the wholesale rates a mortgage broker could offer and the speed or underwriting capacity of a traditional lender. LENDirect is not exclusively a traditional broker, nor are we a traditional lender. We are a hybrid between both. We have the diversity to choose from different lenders across the country to get the lowest rates and specific programs that meet our client’s needs and have a full underwriting staff in house which expedites the closing process. When COVID-19 hit our industry, we saw varying lenders change their policies overnight to protect their portfolios. This caused major disruptions across the country, but our clients were not impacted because we were able to identify which wholesale lenders had the stability to remain unaffected. Using the latest digital platforms and technology we're still able to provide lightning fast closings. On average we close both purchases and refinances in less than 30 days...even in today's market.

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LENDIRECT OFFERS RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGES WITH AN EMPHASIS ON LOW RATES, REMOTE TECHNOLOGY AND SPEED. SALVATORE MORABITO, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF LENDIRECT SHARES INSIGHT INTO HOMEOWNERSHIP DURING THE TIME OF COVID-19.

400 Madison Drive Suite 220 Sarasota, FL 34236 | LENDIRECT.COM Office number: 941-404-4663 or 866-990-LEND

5/27/20 11:11 AM


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5/23/20 10:46 AM


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5/26/20 1:23 PM

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SRQ Magazine | Love Local "She Roars" Special Edition 2020  

Leading women share their stories in our annual "She Roars" magazine featuring the Women Who Roar special section—from moms balancing their...

SRQ Magazine | Love Local "She Roars" Special Edition 2020  

Leading women share their stories in our annual "She Roars" magazine featuring the Women Who Roar special section—from moms balancing their...

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