SRQ Magazine | Love Local "She Roars" Special Edition 2019

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contents She Roars 2019

20 NATURAL BEAUTIES For this Mother’s Day season, SRQ handpicked select local female florists, challenging them to put their artistry to the test for an extraordinary arrangement. Some artfully abstract, others winsome and even surreal—these are the ultimate blossomed designs for that celebrated matriarch we call Mom. Written by Brittany Mattie | Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.

24 THE ROAR OF DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY A profile on the celebrated pioneer Dorothy Butler Gilliam, an award-winning journalist, editor, columnist and educator fighting a lifelong battle against racism and sexism, and this year’s recipient of the SRQ Women in Business Trailblazer Award. Written by Ashley Grant

27 LIPSTICK MANIFESTO Author and activist Geralyn Lucas shares how her breast cancer diagnosis led to a lifelong mission dedicated to empowering women to “ Live Up To Their Lipstick” by becoming the best they can be. Written by Ashley Grant

interview with 9


Heather Kasten returns to the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce as the organization’s new president and CEO.


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From mom on the go to mom’s night in, here’s to finding balance this Mother’s Day with gift finds for the modern matriarch. How Interior Designer Carrie Riley laid out the welcome mat for her adopted son with the perfect, custom-crafted nursery in shades of grey.



After four Grammys and as many decades in the business, Rosanne Cash still has plenty to say.

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Hear Me Roar Women in Business Leadership Competition

Women’s Health Provisionist Nosh

This page: Cargo goods for

the modern mom on the go, page 13, photography by Wyatt Kostygan. Carrie Riley designs nurseries to capture personal stories, page 16, photography by Ryan Gamma. Cover: Heather Kasten of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

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Phil Lederer


Wyatt Kostygan


Jacob Ogles



Jena Robustelli Tricia Robustelli





Ashley Ryan Cannon


Suzanne Munroe Julie Mayer Magnifico



Ashley Jimenez Erin Motherway Aidee Rodriguez


GET SRQ DAILY The magazine in your hands offers enormous insight into our community, but the most informed in our community follow our constant coverage of Sarasota and the Bradenton Area in SRQ Daily. The electronic newsletter is a must-read in thousands of inboxes. Check our special editions: the Monday Business Edition, the Wednesday Philanthropy Edition, the Friday Weekend Edition and the much-discussed Saturday Perspectives Edition, featuring a diverse range of opinions from the region’s top pundits and newsmakers. SIGN UP ONLINE AT SRQMAG.COM

ORIGINS OF “SRQ” The “SRQ” in SRQ magazine originates from the designated call letters for the local Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. “SR” was the original abbreviation for the airport before the growth in total number of airports required the use of a three-letter code. Letters like “X” and “Q” were used as filler, thus the original “SR” was revised to “SRQ,” much as the Los Angeles airport became “LAX.” As a regional publication committed to the residents of and visitors to both Sarasota and Manatee counties, SRQ captures the place that we call home.


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heather kasten

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interview with


Heather Kasten returns to the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce with a member-centric philosophy and open mind. Phil Lederer FOLLOWING THE SURPRISE DEPARTURE of Kevin Cooper as president and CEO, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce could have flailed without the strong hand of a chief executive. Instead, it got to work looking for a leader and found a familiar face in Heather Kasten—the Chamber’s own vice president of member experience until 2014. Leaving her position at the head of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, where she has served that community for the past five years, Kasten returns to the Sarasota Chamber with a member-centric philosophy and fresh perspective. What do you see as the role of the Chamber of Commerce in this community?

that we currently have, like the Young Professionals Group and our leadership programs.

The primary role of a Chamber of Commerce is to connect businesses. We’re a business organization, and our role is to provide a platform for businesses in the community. There’s another part of it—economic development and governmental issues—and those affect businesses as well. The Chamber plays a tremendous role in being able to unite a message and stand behind it, making sure that we have a seat at the table—at a local, city, county and state level—and that our legislators are hearing the voice of business.

What relationship does the Chamber have to the everyday person who is not a business-owner? The Chamber has typically been viewed as kind of a go-to resource. When people move here, they’re looking for quality companies. You need a plumber, you need someone to cut your hair, you need someone to put on a new roof in your house. Those are all things that the Chamber can help provide the consumer with.

What are your goals as the new ceo? As we go into the future, defining even more clearly what the Chamber can do, and continuing to build on the benefits that we have, to make sure we’re able to articulate the value of being part of an organization like the Chamber. What did you learn in your time at the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance that you know you’ll be bringing back here to this community? I am very member-focused. This is the members’ organization, and so being able to adapt and provide services that our members need is the key. We’ve listened to businesses and employers, and we’ve been able to address one of their biggest concerns and needs through Career Edge, which is our workforce initiative. If you talk to any employer in the region, the number one thing they are struggling with is being able to attract and retain quality employees. What else would you like to see the Chamber focus on? Things have changed a lot. I’m very much still in the process of meeting with what I consider to be the key individuals—the staff, the board, our members—to hear what they want out of the organization. But education is a huge component, and rounding out programs



In terms of defining leadership, who have been your role models? My mom has played a huge role in my character—making sure that you promise only what you can deliver, and then deliver more than you promise. As far as local business leaders, I’ve got what I call my own personal Board of Directors—people I’ve gotten to know and trust. They have no problem speaking truth over me. Anybody can surround themselves with yes-men or yes-women. I want to be around people who will call me out. Iron sharpens iron. Being around people who are able to not only encourage you, but to also make you better, refines you as a person. Criticism is important. It’s never fun or easy to eat some humble pie. But when you get over the initial sting of it, you really do appreciate it. In today’s world, truth is such a hard thing to identify and pin down. When someone does speak truth, to me it just validates the relationship. It’s someone that does genuinely care about you, if they’re willing to stick their neck out to tell you the truth. What are your thoughts on the business rent tax? It is a tax that is completely unfair. I don’t know of any other state that is taxing businesses in that manner. I recognize it’s a large sum of money for the state to have to give up. It’s my hope, and we will keep pushing as a Chamber, to

see if we can’t continue to reduce that amount. Will it go away completely? My hope is that yes it will, but it will not be an immediate thing. It’s going to be gradual, over time, for the state to be able to replace that chunk of money. From a Chamber point of view, what are Sarasota’s areas of improvement? Two big issues that, as a city, we have beat to death are affordable housing and the homelessness issue. And affordable housing, to me, means we have to find a way to be able to provide more density in living for people. The idea of building all these tremendous, large condos, which only a select few can live in? They’re going to be waiting on themselves, because we’re not going to have the manpower to accommodate those needs. We have to be creative, and I think it is an opportunity for Sarasota. Are there ways the Chamber can lead the way on that? We have a Governmental Issues Committee providing a platform for people to start the discussion, and half of it is just getting the right people around the table. As a Chamber, we have a really strong relationship with our county officials and our city officials. The Chamber’s role is to assemble people to start the discussion, and then leverage those relationships to move the needle on some of these things. You magically get a day to yourself, who do you read? I have lately been reading some of Gary Keller’s books. He’s got a book called The One Thing, which basically speaks to the fact that we’ve all got our to-do lists of 89 things. The main premise of his book is that you should focus on one thing—the one thing that you are going to be the best at. Steven Covey’s classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I love that one. As far as non-fiction, Francine Rivers is one of my favorites. Of course, cheesy Nicholas Sparks. Can’t go wrong with it. A day at the beach warrants a Nicholas Sparks book . SRQ

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Moms keep their cool, hip, youthful identity. Brittany Mattie

MOM ON THE GO—THIS PAGE: ‘Red Tower’ screen-printed shoes sport a photo of Siesta Key Beach, designed and made in Sarasota by Landmarks Shoes, $56, Apricot Lane, 64 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, 941-960-1435. Scout water-resistant ‘Nooner’ lunch box cooler for out-and-about snacks or picnic lunch with the kids, $25, Garden Argosy, 361 St Armands Cir., Sarasota, 941-388-6402. Lido Key GPS coordinates wristlet keychain, made in Hanover by Rustic Marlin, can link onto bags, leashes and keys, $12, Garden Argosy. Wear a chew bead necklace and bracelet (mommy chic/baby safe) for when arms and hands are full with a teething toddler by Bella Tunno, $13-$42, Garden Argosy. Boho Bandeau by Natural Life is clutch when in a crunch; can be used/worn over seven different ways around head, hair, neck and chest, $12.5, Garden Argosy.



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MOM’S NIGHT IN—THIS PAGE: Uncork the pinot with a Florida engraved fish corkscrew/bottle opener by Sterling Brooke, $39.5, Just/Because, 7 South Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, 941-388-1939. ‘Garden Party Mix’ set of laser-cut graphic hardwood coasters, designed and made in Seattle, $36, Just/Because. Destress in a pinch with Pinch Me Dough, placating therapy putty with calming aromatherapy scents, $15, Garden Argosy. Set the chill mood with Taper candlesticks by Kapula, hand-painted and crafted in South Africa, $14, Just/Because. A super cozy map of Sarasota County, this throw blanket is made of 100% polyester fleece by Mapisart, $80, Garden Argosy. Nestle in for an interesting and educational read of Spirit of the North: Cocktails, Recipes & Stories from Scandinavia, $29, A. Parkers Books, 1488 Main St., Sarasota, 941-366-2898.

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Images provided by Ryan Gamma.

ADOPTING A NEW AESTHETIC Interior Designer Carrie Riley strays off the beaten path and onto a newly paved, achromatic road. Brittany Mattie INTERIOR DESIGNER MAY BE CARRIE RILEY’S OFFICIAL JOB TITLE, but

a more cherished job title recently came with the adoption of her son Cadyn. “Adoption is a rollercoaster ride of an emotional journey,” Riley says. “You cannot anticipate winning; you cannot control anything.” For a self-described control freak, the situation was more than a little stressful. “I’ve controlled things my whole life,” she says, “and this was the one thing that was completely out of my hands, which was very hard for me to swallow.” Not knowing which direction things were going to go for her and husband Jason, the nursery was literally the only thing that Riley had control over in the unpredictable process—a life-size blank canvas in the upstairs of her house, where she could find solace and regain control. “Designing is what I love and what I do for a living, so the design really derived from a passionate point of perfection,” she says. “Jason thinks I’m OCD crazy, but he let me have this passion project.” Four white dressers later (they weren’t the right white), four mattresses shipped and returned (they weren’t good enough), all new upholstery re-covered a footstool to perfectly match the armchair glider, custom black-out window treatments and multiple coats of soft gray wall paint. Later, Riley was finally ready to become a mom, on her own accord. Embracing an arbitrary theme and neutral color scheme—not yet knowing whether they’d be adopting a boy or a girl—she blended her unorthodox introduction to motherhood with an unorthodox, modern nursery nook. With a cool, calming sea of pearly greys, Riley shied away from traditional colored affairs of gender-dominated hues. “I don’t need it to scream super blue for me to know what or who it is, dominated by a color,” she says. “I wanted the absence of it.” The powdery shades of soothing gray tones are accentuated even more as Riley layered the monochromatic color scheme with a darker, grounding pewter for the flooring, different patterned pillows and the undulating 3D texture of the back wall, imbedded with cantilevered shelves to hold the floating lanterns. And there’s a story behind those Pottery Barn lanterns. “It was a very long and dark and deep process to go through.” Riley says of the adoption process. “But the soft lights created an ambiance that gave us that glimmer of hope.” Inside each lantern is a candle on a timer—a timer set to the moment Riley got the call and Cadyn was matched—igniting every day, like hope, as she waited. “They would kick on when I got home from work,” she says, “and symbolized a light at the end of a tunnel.” While a toddler now, Cadyn’s tranquil alcove captures a timeless and mature aesthetic to last a handful of birthdays. When the day comes to exchange sleepful naps in his crib for a big boy bed, Riley’s prepared to evolve with the times and relinquish control (sort of). “I want him to have a little bit of design directive, you know, guided by Mommy of course,” she quips. “He could be five and into action heroes and want to put those on the shelves instead. And when he gets even older, maybe he’ll have sports trophies or academic awards he wants to highlight on the wall—that’ll be for him to decide.” But for now, she’s enjoying bedtime stories of Dr. Seuss on the plush polar rug. Even when Cadyn’s waking at 1:30am crying because his teeth hurt and Carrie drags her feet to the room. “Even though you’re like, ‘for the love of God’,” she says, “You go in and he just wants to hold you. I look at him, and the lanterns, and just melt. You think, ‘This is where I asked to be, and I’m finally here’. So I take it all in.” SRQ 16 | srq magazine’s she roars special edition_ JUNE19 live local


Riley Interior Design Inc, 1929 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-955-5522,

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ON THE MONEY Country music star Rosanne Cash speaks her mind on music, #MeToo and the power of female agency. Phil Lederer

Rosanne Cash may have been born into American music royalty, but she’s never rested on her laurels, instead forging her own Grammy-winning path through the decades—and speaking her mind as she did. Taking the stage at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall this past April to promote her latest album She Remembers Everything—the acclaimed follow-up to her triple Grammy-winning masterpiece, The River and the Thread—the artist took a moment with SRQ to talk the draw of the studio, writing her first stage musical and what she’s learned from taking the long view.


What’s the story behind this latest album, She Remembers Everything? Cash: The last three albums I did were very much constructed around a theme—The River and the Thread being about the south, The List being the list of songs that my dad gave me (they were all covers), then Black Cadillac, which was really a map of mourning and about death and loss. Everybody was saying, “These are great. River and Thread was so successful. You should do another themed record.” But you weren’t sure that’s what you wanted to do? I felt myself resisting that with all my might. I really wanted to return to personal songwriting and just write what my next 12 songs were, you know? I felt this sense of urgency about it, in fact. Women my age still have a lot to say and a lot less time to say it. I felt that if I were going to have any regrets about it, it would be about not

saying these things. Sales and reviews be damned. It’s been gratifying that it has done well and that the themes aren’t off-putting. What is that urgency? After The River and the Thread and three Grammys, you could have walked away. What keeps you coming back for another album? That’s funny. I thought of that myself. It’s an engine that drives me. It’s like there’s not much choice involved here. It’s more who I am than what I do. If sometimes an outer voice comes in and says it’s ‘gracious’ to now move off the stage, then I remind myself of Leonard Cohen, who made one of the greatest albums of his life at the age of 80. As the #MeToo Movement continues, what do you think is the next step? I’m really encouraged by heightened awareness and by

steps that certain parts of the industry are taking. There’s a campaign called Women in the Mix, which is devoted to getting more women producers and engineers work and notice, which I think is fantastic. But awareness is key. What advice would you have for women starting out on their careers today? To believe in their own agency and their own sense of authority. To not let what the men think is “the right way” co-opt their own intuition or instincts or power. We consciously and subconsciously defer to men, and women have very particular gifts at diplomacy, at organization, at creative thought. As long as we believe in our own sense of authority and agency, we can go a lot farther. It’s really a matter of owning your own power, your own sense of agency and taking the risk to speak up when it seems scary. SRQ

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THERE’S A REASON WE PERSONIFY BEAUTIFUL BLOSSOMED FLORA as a powerful female force, as Mother Nature, embodying

the life-giving and nurturing aspects of the natural world. Perhaps it’s no coincidence we shower the leading ladies in our lives with blooming bouquets to show our undying love and appreciation. For this Mother’s Day season, SRQ handpicked select local female florists and designers, challenging them to put their creative groundwork to the test for an extraordinary arrangement. Some artfully abstract, others winsome and even surreal—these are the ultimate ethereal designs for the celebrated matriarch we call Mom.

natural beauties


sculptural tillandsia PANSY BAYOU


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wild fireworks


“MY ARRANGEMENTS FEATURE NATIVE WILDFLOWERS THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED WEEDS BY PEOPLE THAT HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO KNOW THEM, BUT THESE ‘WEEDS’ ARE VERY IMPORTANT FOR OUR POLLINATORS, BUTTERFLIES AND BIRDS. I HIGHLIGHT THEM SO THEY ARE LIFTED TO A LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION AND BEAUTY THAT PEOPLE CAN RECOGNIZE AND CONNECT WITH IN A VASE, BUT MIGHT OTHERWISE OVERLOOK WHEN THEY DRIVE BY THEM ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.” — ANNIE SCHILLER THIS SPREAD, LEFT PAGE: The inspiration for this unconventional and charming grouping comes from its strikingly simple porcelain vessel, harnessed with a natural-tanned leather strap from Brooklyn, NY. Two different types of perennial tillandsia strike a pose with the lustrous petals of orange ranunculus bulbs in the wall-mounted planter designed by owner Ellen Hanson. Pansy is offering this arrangement for a Mother’s Day special of $225. Orders will need to be placed by May 5. Limited quantity available. Pansy Bayou Design Studio, 1533 Dolphin St., Sarasota, 941-413-5115,, @pansy_bayou_design_studio. ‘Azulejo’ textile by Charlotte Osterman and hanging planter are both sold exclusively at Pansy Bayou. THIS PAGE: This self-sustaining and bohemian-forward bouquet engulfs with dwarf saltbush, goldenrod, fiddlewood, coral honeysuckle, pluchea, bidens, saw palmetto berries, Darrow’s blueberry, African blue basil and a “Blue Rose” succulent. Influenced by a local and seasonal plant palette, Annie Schiller, founder and designer of William’s Wildflowers, grafts Floridaindigenous herbs, edible and medicinal plants, native vines, fronds and swaths of wildflowers—grown and foraged from her 10 acres of fields in Old Myakka. Schiller’s arrangements are organic and highly fragrant, made only with freshly cut garden material. Proceeds help support the Florida Native Plants Nursery to create more pollinator-friendly landscaped projects. William’s Wildflowers, 730 Myakka Rd., Sarasota, 941-322-1915,, @williamswildflowersfl. Bouquets start at $240 and include delivery. Hand-thrown, glazed ceramic vase by Anja Palombo of Sarasota Green Pottery, 2429 Burlington Ln., Sarasota, 941-266-9979, Fabric sourced from Boca Bargoons.


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cargo lilies & cherries FLOWERS BY FUDGIE


garden party



THIS SPREAD, LEFT IMAGE: Bold and stunning, this arrangement commands the room with colorful peonies, garden roses, hydrangeas, ranunculus and phalaenopsis orchid stems. For an added female touch, the arrangement is potted in a moss-covered coin purse, with added jewels and placed in a wood floral garden box. Sue Ellen’s Floral Boutique, 3522 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, 941-952-0404, Priced at $400 with delivery; smaller versions available for purchase. Reversible lux fabric sourced from Boca Bargoons. CENTER IMAGE: Springing with oriental blush-colored Sorbonne lilies and seasonal cherry blossom branches, Becki Creighton, owner of Flowers by Fudgie, created a lush arrangement using fresh-cut tree fern, shaped into a hedge. The stone planter then receives a dash of whimsy, once Creighton encircled it with curly willow shrubs and adorned them with faux butterflies for a garden feel. The grandeur of the four-tiered design catches the eye of artists and green thumbs alike, while the wired ribbon French bow adds a giftwrapped statement. Flowers By Fudgie, 6627 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, 941-349-4651, Call for pricing of smaller version. Decorative textile sourced from Boca Bargoons, 130 North Orange Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-1331, RIGHT IMAGE: A conceptual design turns heads with fuchsia phalaenopsis, peach free spirit garden roses, calla lilies, antique hydrangea, purple bear grass and overgrown vines. The design manifested from a chic brimmed hat by florist Linda Domenico, now at the helm of the exotic floral destination. Tiger Lily, 1619 Desoto Rd., Sarasota, 941-355-5661,, @tigerlilyflorist. Call for pricing. Mannequin and straw hat courtesy of Tiger Lily. Fabric sourced from Boca Bargoons. 22 | srq magazine’s she roars special edition_ JUNE19 live local


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hats off to mom TIGER LILY FLORIST



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DOROTHY BUTLER GILLIAM STOOD IN FRONT OF THE ELEVATOR in the newspaper building lobby. It was her first day at the job and her excitement was tempered by the words of her journalism professor roaring in her head. “You’ve got so many handicaps, you’ll probably make it,” he had said. It was 1961. The country was awash in a maelstrom of civil rights turbulence with racism rearing its ugly head as the establishment fought to keep the status quo and new voices called for change. And Gilliam was walking right into the storm as the first AfricanAmerican female reporter to be hired by the predominantly white male-run Washington Post.

dorothy butler gilliam

trailblazer the roar of diversity and equality

written by ashley grant


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trailblazer recipient Dorothy Butler Gilliam and the life of an American Trailblazer. AS SHE RECOUNTS IN HER MEMOIR, Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America, this was only the beginning of an esteemed and prolific career as an award-winning journalist, editor, columnist and educator fighting a lifelong battle against racism and sexism. And as the recent recipient of the SRQ Women in Business Trailblazer Award, Gilliam reflected on the path she forged, and what it took to pursue her dreams. Born in 1936 in Memphis, TN, the eighth child of Adee Conklin Butler and Jessie Mae Norment Butler, Gilliam’s father was a well-respected minister who passed away when she was 14, after which the family struggled financially, eventually living a sharecropper-style life in a Kentucky cabin with no indoor plumbing. At the age of 16, Gilliam was one of eight women who integrated Ursuline, a white catholic college. It was a supportive environment, without the protest and turbulence occurring at the public schools, but she and the other black students kept to themselves outside of classes and the significance of her experience there was not lost on her. She recalls that she went to the restroom to wash her hands and a white girl stepped up to wash her hands right next to her. Gilliam stared at their contrasting reflections in the mirror. Having up to that point been relegated to segregated restaurants, train cars, pretty much everything, this experience was surreal. “Standing right next to a white person in my classes, a girl my age in the flesh, felt more like a dream than a reality,” she says. As a freshman, Gilliam got a job after school as a secretary at a black-owned weekly newspaper, The Louisville Defender, to bring in money to help her family. But when the society reporter called in sick, Gilliam was tasked with filling in—and fell in love with journalism, believing it a passport to new experiences. “Louisville had a small, black middle class and I was sent out to cover their stories—people who lived very differently than we lived,” she says. “That’s how the feeling that journalism would and could continue to open new worlds and

Outside of the office, colleagues she worked with on a daily basis would pass Gilliam on the street and pretend not to know her. Black reporters could not go to white restaurants, so instead of eating with her colleagues she was relegated to black establishments, sometimes joined by a staffer who had been assigned by her boss to have lunch with her. White cabbies would not stop for her and black cabbies were scarce around her office, so Gilliam would compose her stories in shorthand on location, then stand on the street as her deadline grew nearer, sometimes with tears streaming down her face, until someone finally picked her up. And even if she was lucky enough to find a ride to her office, the prospect of getting the story in the first place was a battle. Gilliam was sent to cover the birthday party of a 100-year-old white society matron in a tony part of town only to be met by a butler who, incredulous that “standing right next to a white she was a reporter, refused her person in my classes, a girl my entrance through the front door. “The doorman told me age in the flesh, felt more like that the maid’s entrance was a dream than a reality.” in the back,” she says. “Not _Dorothy Butler Gilliam that anything is wrong with maids—my mother worked as responded to the changing times and the call a domestic worker—but I wasn’t one.” of Dr. Martin Luther King to make in-roads in Offensive assumptions and dangerous sitwhite dominated organizations and so set her uations were a constant. When Gilliam was sights on The Washington Post determined to sent to cover the integration of the University of Mississippi, she knew it was a dangerous bring a fresh perspective to the paper. As a City Desk reporter at The Post, Gilliam assignment and she could very well be risking quickly realized the cost of breaking into the her life. But she also knew The Post had faith in system. The specter of racism, gender bias and her ability to earn the trust of locals and get the prejudice was ever-constant and the atmos- real story of what was happening, so she and a phere at work could be as insidious as what colleague headed to Oxford. While driving on faced her on assignment. “I couldn’t walk into a country road they were pulled over by a truck that sea of white men without being aware it full of angry locals in a gun rack-topped truck. was like I had two invisible weights that they After a harrowing encounter during which didn’t have—the weight on the left was race and they were advised to “stay away from Oxford,” the weight on the right was gender,” she says. “I they made it to town only to find that there was very conscious of what I was doing. I didn’t were no black hotels and no white hotel would think of myself as a trailblazer at that point, but admit them. Gilliam spent the night in a blackI was very aware that I was breaking barriers.” owned funeral home, grateful for the refuge.

indeed, it has.” Gilliam graduated cum laude from Lincoln University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and then applied to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. On first try, she was not accepted, the administration explaining that she did not have enough liberal arts credits from Lincoln to qualify. She later learned that the person who processed her application had marked in the notes that her “skin was very dark.” She worked to get the credits, reapplied and was accepted—the only black woman in her class—and earned her master’s degree. In addition to the Louisville Defender, Gilliam also worked for another black weekly paper, the Tri-State Defender, as well as Jet Magazine, but she wanted to expand her experience at a mainstream daily paper. There was only one black daily in the country at that time, and a well-respected one, but Gilliam

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trailblazer recipient Despite the humiliation and danger, Gilliam did not discuss the challenges she faced with her superiors. She was too concerned that any sort of complaint would provide an excuse for them to refuse to hire black journalists. She was not going to give them the opportunity to say black reporters “ just can’t get the job done,” and knew that if she didn’t stick it out through the tough times, it would be much harder for those who came after her.

an exception for her, the next thing they knew, the male reporters would want “time off to write the great American novel.” So Gilliam took a break to stay at home with her family and kept her hand in the reporting world writing freelance articles and appearing on local television. In 1972, she went back to The Post to edit the Style section, which was so well received it became the model for similar sections at newspapers around the country. In 1979, she started a new opinion column sharing her views on education, politics and race. She was there for 19 years “there are just so many lies when the mood changed, she told about black people . . . i says, and there were rumbles knew what i was doing. we had that her column had started to sound “too black.” to break through.” After she retired from The _Dorothy Butler Gilliam Post, Gilliam focused her attention and efforts on paving the So she persisted. She found her voice cov- way for other black journalists and providing ering civil rights, poverty, welfare, juvenile opportunities for future generations. She becourts and youth crimes, writing from the came president of the National Association perspective of the people living through the of Black Journalists and of Unity: Journalists challenges. “There are just so many lies told of Color, working tirelessly to increase the about black people and so much negative diversity of voices in the press. She co-foundthat has been a part of this whole system,” ed the Maynard Institute for Journalism Edshe says. “I knew what I was doing. We had to ucation to educate and promote minority journalists. “This marked the beginning of break through.” Gilliam credits her faith based-upbringing my lifelong work to actively participate in diand a nurturing community of family, church, versifying mainstream news media,” she says. To bring more young people into journalneighbors and teachers for her resilience and courage—and a resistance to feeling hatred ism, Gilliam created the Young Journalists Defor the perpetrators in the face of humiliating velopment Program, for The Washington Post and disheartening experiences. “I came from in 1997. The initiative was designed to educate, a very rich heritage,” she says. “A strong, lov- support and provide journalistic opportuniing father and mother, a strong church family. ties for minority high school students. The Post It was an all-black working-class community, sent journalists to work with the students and and the children were considered precious even printed some of their newspapers. “Some and developed in a very special way. When of the best reporters would go out with me on we used to have to walk to junior high school, their lunch hour and help the students edit we’d pass this white neighborhood and these their newspapers,” she says, “This was a way kids would throw rocks at us.” Gilliam’s to share with young people who had no notion teachers would counsel her. “Don’t throw that they had a voice—and that voice needed rocks back at them, don’t fight them back,” to be developed and it deserved to be develthey would say. “No matter how badly peo- oped—and that voice echoed in their media. It ple treat you, you don’t have to fight back be- was a very strong program and it was one that cause you know that you are more than what really made a difference.” they say you are or what they think you are. In 2004, a Shapiro Fellow at fellow at The Hate hurts the hater more than the hated.” George Washington University School of MeIn the middle of her time on the City Desk, dia and Public Affairs, Gilliam expanded her Gilliam asked for a reduced part-time work outreach in founding Prime Movers Media, the schedule to spend more time with her children. nation’s first journalism mentorship program But she was told that if the paper agreed to her for underserved students at urban schools, request it would be bad for morale. If they made which sends veteran journalists and university

interns to mentor high school student journalists in Washington D.C and Philadelphia. While encouraged by the strides made to nurture budding young journalists, Gilliam is worried that they are missing a crucial element that was the key to her resilience and fortitude—the spiritual tools she found to be so helpful. “I am concerned with the growing lack of belief in God in younger generations,” she says. “Belief in self only can lead to narcissism and defeat.” When asked what advice she would give to the new generation of leaders she says, “Don’t take the humiliation of racism and white supremacy personally. Remember what you can control, work hard at what you can control and leave the rest up to God.” Throughout her rich and successful legacy as a defender of journalists of color and promoter of diversity in newsrooms, she has continued to advocate for civil rights and social change. And she has made a difference. But knows there’s much more to be done. Concerned about the rapidly rising dissonance and polarization in the country, she encourages dialogue as a way to change the tide. “I do believe in the power of voice, in the power of conversation, in the power of dialogue,” she says. “We are definitely in a season of change and there’s a lot being revealed and those are the things that we need to have conversations about. Those conversations can help those who are unaware, become more aware and those who are asleep, wake up.” At 82 with a more than six-decade-long career advocating for civil rights and social change, she is taking a breather after publishing a well-received memoir to focus on a more personal transformation. “I spent the last couple years chained to my computer to write the book,” she says. “Being free from that has been exhilarating and just having the book out, meeting people, talking to people, that has been fun because I love people and I love to hear them. That’s part of why I love being a journalist. I love to hear their stories. But I’m also concerned about the country now, so I’m looking forward to having more conversations about the issues that need to be addressed. It’s not fun, but it will be satisfying if I’m able to do that.” SRQ Dorothy Butler Gilliam is being honored at SRQ Magazine’s Annual Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon at The Hyatt Regency Sarasota.

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geralyn lucas’ courageous roar

lipstick manifesto

IT WAS AN ACT OF DEFIANCE AND HOPE. Geralyn Lucas took the tube of crimson pigment and beeswax out of her bag and applied it to her lips. Moments earlier, shivering in the fluorescent light of a hospital room, she pulled on a surgical smock and her eyes locked on the garment’s lettering: Property of Mt Sinai Hospital. It struck a nerve. “Oh no. I’m property of the hospital,” she thought. written by ashley grant AFTER MONTHS OF FEELING INVISIBLE,

that the cancer had taken over and she, aside from the malignancy, didn’t exist anymore, something inside her railed against the darkness. She wanted to be seen, wanted to live and she was not going to give in without a fight. She remembered the stories of prisoners marching to their deaths, displaying a defiant gesture to mock their situation. She chose lipstick. A bright red symbol of her determination to regain what had been lost and her lone weapon against a helpless situation. It gave her a brief sense of control. Maybe if her lipstick made it through this nightmare, she would too. “I want my lipstick to tell everyone in this room that I think I have a future and I know I will wear lipstick again but next time on my terms,” she remembers thinking. “But for now I have my war paint. I am ready.“ And when she woke up in the recovery room, her joy at the prospect of living to see another day was magnified by the triumph that the color was still there. Her lipstick had lasted and so would she. Prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 27, Lucas was riding a high wave of happiness and success. She developed a love for journalism as managing editor of her high school paper and pursued her passion through education at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After graduation, she landed her dream job as an editorial producer at 20/20 developing original ideas for show segments. She would go on to work at Lifetime Networks, overseeing the critically acclaimed


and award-winning biographies of stars including Beyoncé, Dame Elizabeth Taylor and former first lady Laura Bush, and then to the Public Affairs and Corporate Communications division, handling media and talent relations for award-winning campaigns including Stop Breast Cancer for Life, End Violence Against Women and Every Woman Counts. But none of that would have happened if she had not gotten the mammogram. Newly married, Lucas had gone to her doctor to talk about getting pregnant. She pointed out a lump in her breast. When the doctor ordered a scan, she was so busy at work she almost didn’t go. And when she did, the unthinkable happened. Diagnosed with a serious form of breast cancer, the terror of the disease and the indignities involved in testing left her with little sense of personal agency. She was poked, prodded and examined by multiple doctors as she explored her options. But aside from the clinical information available, there was little for her to lean on. As she puts it, no one would talk to her about “what it meant to have one boob in a boob-obsessed universe.” So Lucas sought out unorthodox routes to help her decide whether to have a mastectomy, researching available clinical options while exploring the psychosocial aspects of what it means to lose a breast. She went to a strip club—a “mammary Mecca” as she calls it—to try to understand why breasts seemed to matter so much to people, and reviewed post-mastectomy reconstruc-

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q&a with geralyn How do we manage transformation? I love this quote, “Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly.” Transformation often seems impossible, but there are huge perks—like wings! How is your industry contributing to empowerment for women? #MeToo initiatives requiring a certain percentage of representation on every project. Do you know certain countries actually legally require that women be represented on corporate boards? What advice would you give to women of all ages in pursuing their dreams? Inch by inch. Tell us something most people don’t know and would be surprised to know about you. I am super messy. You don’t want to see my desk. Marie Kondo would be disappointed. What are the traits that you believe empower women the most to be leaders? Compassion and seeing all sides. I’m not a huge fan of the “Bossy” movement for girls. As a child, did you have a favorite book? The Giving Tree. So sad. Remember not to give too much, no matter how much you love. Save something for yourself.

tion nipple tattoo options with her mother—noting their surprise at the artistry. “It was a museum-quality nipple,” Lucas says. “It was pointillist. It was like a Monet. It had many different colors and dots and it danced and I’m just sitting here thinking, ‘I’m so glad I took an art history class.’” She made it her mission to learn as much as she could, and vowed to help others in her situation. She culled all of her experiences into her hilarious, and poignant memoir called Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, which was made into an Emmy-nominated Lifetime Original movie, translated and broadcast world-wide. The book was a Humanitas Prize finalist and won the Gracie Allen Outstanding Drama Award, and Lucas’ story was featured in Nora and Delia Ephron’s off-Broadway smash hit, Love, Loss and What I Wore. Dress designer and breast cancer survivor Betsey Johnson designed a T-shirt to promote the book, and the cosmetic company Stila created a lipstick called ‘Geralyn’ in her honor. The response to the book only further bolstered Lucas’ motivation to share her knowledge and support to others through her writing and activism. “My motivation was the women who got me through my diagnosis and women I didn’t even know who called me and held out their hand and said, ‘I’m here,’” she says. “It’s the most meaningful thing in my career when a woman says, ‘Your book got me through this,’ or, ‘It made me laugh at a time when I thought there was nothing to laugh at.’” She created a YouTube video titled “Ouch,” which encouraged women to get mammograms instead of bikini waxes and Botox. The video went viral and became a “Webby” honoree. She took the video to ABC and showed it to her former bosses on-air. “Ouch” formed the basis for the ABC News Goes Pink campaign, which encouraged women across America to learn the facts about breast cancer and get screened. This program resulted in the diagnosis of correspondent Amy Robach after an on-air mammogram, which made headlines around the world. “It seemed crazy,” Lucas says, “but it saved a life.” Lucas realized that other women going through the process were probably also feeling the sense of invisibility she did, looking at dehumanizing headless reconstructive breast implant photos in the surgeon’s office. “They would show me these books of what I called ‘breast mugshots,’ because there were no faces,” she says. “It was just scary, poorly lit reconstruction photos and I wanted to put a face with the body.“ So she did a full length photoshoot with Self Magazine. When the photos were done, Lucas was worried that all she would see was the scar but the photographer encouraged her to look a little deeper, to look at her eyes, to really see herself. “It was, in the strangest way, the most beautiful picture I’d ever seen of myself,” she says, “because I saw my courage, I saw my journey, I saw something I didn’t recognize in myself.” Almost two decades after her diagnosis, Lucas published Then Came Life: Living with Courage, Spirit, and Gratitude After Breast Cancer in which she explores liv-

ing everyday life after a life-changing experience. From grumpy husbands to eye-rolling teens and the frustrations that aging brings, Lucas writes from a perspective informed by the knowledge that no matter how tiresome daily humdrum annoyances can be, they are part of a life that almost didn’t happen and she understands the precious nature of normalcy. “I’m straddling those two sides of life,” she says, a realization run home when she found herself simultaneously dealing with the minutia of getting her son into nursery school and being present for a friend suffering from cancer. “It’s a tightrope and most times I have to really convince myself to jump over to the side of life,” she says. “Maybe knowing the other side makes it a bit sweeter and puts things in perspective.” Lucas’ experience provides her with an appreciation for everything women face on the daily and she actively encourages them to move towards growth and transformation at every stage of the journey. The latter message is something she is completely passionate about these days, encouraging women to give themselves a break as they try to balance all the demands of their lives. “It is all a sh*t show; no one ever has it nailed,” she says. “This whole idea of balance is so hard on women. I often feel imbalanced and I often feel that whole cliché of guilty when I’m home and I’m not at work; guilty when I’m at work and I’m not at home. Can we forgive ourselves more?” She doesn’t have the solution, she’ll admit, and in her view techonology has only made things more difficult. Her best tactic is to improvise and do the best you can as you move along. “My mom had this trick she used,” Lucas says.” She would come home from work and just put a pot of boiling water on the stove. I’d say, ‘What are you making?’ She would say, ‘I don’t know but Dad thinks that dinner is being made.’” Lucas doesn’t let her readers off the hook, but rather encourages them to “live up to their lipstick,” in spite of their challenges. “A lot of people say going through a serious illness makes you look deeply at who you are, and that can be true, but you don’t have to have breast cancer to do that,” she says. “Whatever that version of yourself you never thought was a possibility, just go for it and become her. Keep that in your mind’s eye to inspire yourself.” Currently back in the journalism world, consulting for the Pulitzer Prizes, as well as a project celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Lucas is continuing her activism, informing women about breast cancer and early detection, and working on several movie scripts. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children, passionate as ever about supporting women as they face life’s challenges—and still wearing her lipstick. “It was hard to imagine I could ever wear lipstick again,” she says. “I was scared that the other lipstick moments could not live up to my defining lipstick moment. But maybe that is what is so special now—I have gotten my life back and each moment feels lipstick-worthy.” SRQ

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Meet Our 2019 Competition Judges Cricket Burns | Cricket Burns of is known for her renowned personal style and for having her finger on the pulse of collective fashion trends. She became an esteemed fashion editor and stylist in New York City where for three decades, she held masthead positions at numerous publications including posts as fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar and Seventeen magazines. Now she focuses her laser-chic styling on the world of home decor. While focusing her laser-chic styling and design expertise on the world of home decor, Burns also finds time to create and sell her collection of affordable diamond jewelry called, of course, Crickets Crush Diamonds on the Home Shopping Network, EVINE. She was recently featured on NBC’s Open House with Sara Gore as a top NYC-based decorator filmed in her own home.

Jo Watson Hackl | Attorney, Wyche, P.A. Jo Watson Hackl is an attorney with Wyche, P.A., in Greenville, SC, where she concentrates her practice in corporate and securities law and has helped register over $1 billion in securities. Hackl is past President of the Greenville County Bar Association and was selected by the Best Lawyers in America listing as the 2015 Greenville Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) Lawyer of the Year. She is a Liberty Fellow and Riley Fellow and has been recognized as a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA. She was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Greenville Area Development Corporation. She also serves on the Boards of the United Way of Greenville County, EMRYS and Camperdown Academy. She holds a BA from Millsaps College and a JD from Yale Law School. Hackl is also a writer and outdoors enthusiast. She is the founder of, a website devoted to providing inspiration and information about the outdoors.

Kellee M. Johnson | Principal, The Ballast Group In 2005, Kellee Johnson founded the Ballast Group, an integrated communications strategy firm, after serving as director of corporate marketing for Abbott Laboratories, where she managed 25 global teams. She then spent five years managing corporate communications for Tropicana, a multi-billion dollar division of PepsiCo, based in Bradenton at the time. Johnson has built and refined domestic brands of global companies and provided lead generation and growth for startup companies. She and her team build better relationships with stakeholders through storytelling that leverages qualified third parties in multiple integrated LISA App, communication channels. Johnson serves as a partner and advisor to the first open marketplace for on-demand beauty that connects artists and clients, based in Chicago. Focusing on all aspects of consumer products, healthcare and high-tech, Johnson has helped companies such as Hyatt, Kaiser Permanente, Stericycle, Safeway, Target, Cisco and Ultimate Software think differently about their relationships.

Ria Persad | StatWeather Ria Persad was born on June 18, 1974, in Trinidad and Tobago, is of East Indian descent, and moved to the United States of America as a small child. She is both a mathematician and a classical musician and was a child prodigy. She currently mentors technology companies and is signed as a fashion model. Persad is the author of the book All Things are Possible: Unleashing the Superhuman Within, available on Amazon. She was the founding CEO of StatWeather, recognized as the 2015 Top Data Provider Globally through Energy Risk Awards, Top U.S. Weather Company in Energy Risk Software Rankings 2013, Best Newcomer of the Year 2013, a 2014 Platts Global Energy Awards "Rising Star", and in the Top 5 Most Innovative Companies in America in 2015 through MeetAdvisor.

Pam Van Der Lee | Former Chief Marketing Officer, iMatchative Pam Van Der Lee has 25+ years of marketing, strategic planning, partnership marketing and branding experience She was most recently CMO of AltX, a hedge fund intelligence platform, based in San Francisco, where she was responsible for the branding, marketing and design of the AltX product and a member of the company's 5 person executive team. At Nickelodeon, Pam ran the ad sales promotion area at Nickelodeon, supporting ad sales efforts while also establishing and leveraging strategic alliances with numerous Fortune 500 companies to promote the network, its ancillary business and the brand. She also developed and managed Nickelodeon's cross-business branding initiative created to ensure the integrity of the Nickelodeon brand as it expanded into multiple businesses. At Nickelodeon's corporate parent company Viacom, Pam worked for the company’s deputy vice chairman/COO, overseeing corporate marketing and managing the Viacom marketing, licensing, and research councils.


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wned by the Chokr family since 1978, Diamond Vault has been a fixture in the Sarasota community, offering unmatched accessibility to the highest quality and largest selection of Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and American Gem Society (AGS) certified diamonds in Southwest Florida. It is also recognized for housing the area’s largest selection of pre-owned Swiss timepieces, including Rolex and Patek Philippe. For over 40 years, Diamond Vault has shared with customers generations of extensive knowledge, unparalleled expertise and a sincere passion for jewelry. Complete with an in-house, custom workshop and two third-generation master jewelers, Diamond Vault possesses the unique ability to craft cherished stories into lasting memories. Diamond Vault’s services range from jewelry and watch repairs to private consultations, custom design, appraisals and buying/reselling of precious metals, gemstones and fine jewelry.

1978 Ali Chokr began selling silver, gold jewelry and colored gemstones at a local flea market. Eventually, he expanded into selling and buying diamond jewelry and started a diamond wholesale business in the 1980s.



Diamond Vault’s founder, Ali Chokr, at a diamond mine in Brazil. For years, he hand selected the diamonds he would offer to the wholesale and retail markets.

Diamond Vault moves into a new 7,000-squarefoot storefront on Tamiami Trail. The modern design reflects the evolution of the company’s brand identity, expanded services and enhanced shopping experience

2018 Forty years later Diamond Vault is thriving under the leadership of Ali & LaRue Chokr and their three sons, and the family’s pason for the jewelry business remains as strong as ever.

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Meet the 2019 Inductees Into the Women in Business Leadership Circle Winners


Luz Corcuera

Lynn Hobeck Bates

Executive Director, UnidosNow

Kay Rosaire Founder, Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Johnette Isham

Vice President of External Relations, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Executive Director, Realize Bradenton

Mireya Eavey

President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity Sarasota

Terri Najmolhoda Vice President, General Manager, Saks Fifth Avenue

Christine Robinson

Chief Workforce Officer, CareerEdge Funders Collective, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

Executive Director, The Argus Foundation

Ashley McCollum, M.S. Founder and CEO, Rediscovered Moments Concierge

Sally Schule

Lisa Moore

Director of Community Engagement, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc.

Renee Snyder

Rachel West Co-Founder and CEO, InfoAlliance LLC

CEO and Founder, Blaze of Hope Owner/Stylist, Artisan Hair Studio

COMPETITION OVERVIEW Each year, SRQ Magazine invites the community to nominate women they feel exemplify the personal integrity, expertise and community engagement qualities recognized by the Women in Business platform in our regional change makers. Nominees were asked to share their insights with our judges in nine key areas via a written application: how they define success, what personal experiences have motivated and inspired their professional success, their most meaningful accomplishment, how they took a leap of faith to embrace a risk, their "secret sauce" and outlook on life in six words, the TV or movie character they would play in real life, who they would bring back from history to spend a morning with, their favorite child bedtime story and the wisdom they would share in a letter to their younger selves. Judges from outside-the-market score each nominee based on their application to render the selection of the five winners and seven finalists who are then inducted into the WIB Leadership Circle at the Annual Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon held each May.

Programs powered by the Women in Business Initiative SkillSHARE Made for speed, SkillSHARE represents the basics of mentorship concentrated into mini-sessions that encourage honest interactions and allow for spontaneous connection. This event is a way to meet like-minded professionals, make valuable connections and get straight to your most burning questions about career and personal development. Each participant gets paired with several mentors for mini-sessions. Lasting from 10–12 minutes, each mini-session is unstructured, allowing for conversation, guidance and direction from each mentor. The next summit will take place on June 13, 2019. Register online at

SMARTgirl SRQ Media believes girls can do anything. SMARTGirl fosters “curated networking” and engages local middle school young women in a program designed to educate them on career possibilities and the tools they need to succeed through mentorship, soft skills training and hands-on workshops. The most recent SMARTgirl Leadership and Mentorship Summit was held on Friday, March 16, 2019 at The Hyatt Regency, Sarasota. Thank you to our sponsors for making this program possible. Let’s help our future leaders ROAR by giving them with the opportunity to engage with female leaders in the region. Call for applications from 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls open each year in October.


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2019 Leadership Circle Inductees On How They Define Success Lynn Hobeck Bates VP OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS, MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS Success if beyond fame and fortune or anything material. It is having a sense of contentment and pride in knowing that my actions, whether for the good of all or for myself, were of benefit. I always aim to enjoy the process, or the journey, not necessarily focusing on the end result. This is success to me.

Luz Corcuera EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNIDOSNOW Success for me is the ability to create possibilities through empowerment, education, and collaboration in pursuit of common good.

Mireya Eavey CHIEF WORKFORCE OFFICER, CAREEREDGE FUNDERS COLLABORATIVE/ GREATER SARASOTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Success is defined by accomplishments beyond ourselves with a focus for the greater good of others. True success is leaving behind a legacy that has helped someone improve their lives. It's collaboration that brings together people to accomplish a shared vision. To be successful one has to not give up and not give into our fears; one must push through. Vulnerability is also important you have be able to put yourself in situation that may be difficult.

Johnette Isham EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REALIZE BRADENTON Success for me is investing in others so they achieve their personal and professional best.

Ashley McCollum, M.S. FOUNDER AND CEO, REDISCOVERED MOMENTS CONCIERGE I define success as being able to make a meaningful and lasting impact on those around me. Being a small business owner, I love the fact that I can teach my clients skills which allows them to run their businesses and personal lives more efficiently. My goal is to enable them to eventually be successful both with and without our company. In this way, we provide them with the tools so that they can make an impact on those in their own circles.

Lisa Moore CEO/FOUNDER, BLAZE OF HOPE OWNER/STYLIST, ARTISAN HAIR STUDIO A work, life, and charity balance defines my success. I’m a mother of a teenage daughter, an owner of a hair salon, and theFounder/CEO of a not for profit organization in Sarasota. Each component of my life exemplifies my passion and keeping all of theplates spinning comfortably brings me peace, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

Terri Najmolhoda VP AND GENERAL MANAGER, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE Success is the sense of personal fulfillment that comes from me stretching myself further than I thought possible. Often, success for me is knowing that something that began as my hope or vision quickly became a journey of milestones and accomplish-


ments. In my professional career, success is often a collaboration of a team relentlessly pursuing a goal with tenacity, spirit and focus.

Christine Robinson EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE ARGUS FOUNDATION Personally, success is defined by the positive impact you have on your family and community through the way you live your life in time, talent, and treasure. It is the personal satisfaction of leaving things better than you found it. Professional success is similarly defined by personal satisfaction that you get through growing a business or organization that serves the community with a service, product, or mission.

Kay Rosaire FOUNDER, BIG CAT HABITAT & GULF COAST SANCTUARY Success is a well-lived life, filled with love and warmth of lots of family, friends, and animals. Success is being there for others, when people or animals are in need, saying "Yes, I'm here for you!" When complete strangers come up to thank me for what we have done here, I'm very moved and very motivated to continue our mission.

Sally Schule DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, SARASOTA MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION, INC. For me, success is the ability to develop relationships based on trust, loyalty and respect. The quality of the relationships I have built, be they professional or personal define me, and have enabled me to succeed in both business and life.

Renee Snyder PRESIDENT AND CEO, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SARASOTA I define success as a leader in how one faces challenges and adversity and responds to change on a day to day basis. To keep myself motivated, I look for small wins each day. I think it’s important to pause and celebrate the small wins. It’s these daily victories that can often lead us to bigger opportunities and longterm success if we take the time to evaluate them.

Rachel Wei West CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, INFOALLIANCE LLC For me, success comes from knowing that I’ve contributed in a significant way and help transform the business landscape that is turning Florida from sunshine state to a birthplace of innovative ideas and technologies in healthcare, education, advance manufacturing, travel and hospitality and more. Personally it is knowing that not only my work is adding value to early stage companies that require significant financial capital as well as intellectual capital, but also to make a difference in the lives of other people. If I know that at the end of the day my advice has helped astartup to get their business off the ground and turning profit or to hire a few more local college graduates, I wake up every morning eager to start all over again.

4/23/19 3:08 PM

Congratulations to the 2019 Women in Business Nominees Michelle Accardi Claudia Baeza Ginger Bailey Lynn Bates Terri Behling Julie Bender-Sibbio Melanie Bevan Susie Bowie Gigi Cannon Bailey Christy Cardillo Erin Christy Luz Corcuera Stacey Crawford Terri Derr Kim Dalglish Melissa DeAngelo Donna DeFant Wendy Deming Francine DiFilippo Rae Dowling Danielle Duchene Darcie Duncan Mireya Eavey Doreen Eberle Lillian Elliott Jennifer Evans Joanne Fabec Tiffany Farrell Kathleen Feeney Jina Foltz Karen Fordham Margi Furey Alyssa Gay Margie Genter


Samantha Gholar Hermione Gilpin Kristi Giuliano April Glasco Stephanie Glosser Margaret Goreshnik Charlotte Griffin Linda Gross Ashley Gruters Jessica Hays Penny Hill Sharon Hillstrom Grace Howl Erin Hurter Allison Imre Shelby Isaacson Johnette Isham Kelli Jaco KC Jones Nicole Kaney Christine Kasten Heather Kasten Umbreen Khalidi Majeed Mischa Kirby Donna Koffman Gianna Kramer Melissa Lane Miranda Lansdale Camilyn Leavitt Kim Livengood Sarah Lodge Jaime Marco Teresa Mast Jennifer Masters

Jennifer Matteo Melissa Mazaeda Pat McKanic Ashley McCollum Lindsey McDaniel Donna McKee Trudy Moon Lisa Moore Ansley Mora Susan Morin Dr. Jill Morris Jane Motosko Terri Najmolhoda Lucy Nicandri Alahna Nicolas Rochelle Nigri Leslie O'Connor Ellen O'Day Dari Oglesby Vicki Oldham Monaca Onstad Janna Overstreet Noemi Pareja Kathryn Parks Denice Peoples Jennifer Price Jennifer Putnam Elise Ramer Carrie Riley Christine Robinson Kay Rosaire Renee Ryckman Sally Schule Nikki Sedacca

Natasha Selvaraj Meghan Serrano Dr. Casey Siljestrom Brena Slater Renee Snyder Olga Strelkov Sandra Terry Elizabeth Topp Melissa Vanderbilt-Bestor Lee Volpe Samantha Von Achen Daisy Vulovich Summer Wallace Heather Weisenborn Rachel Wei West Leymis Wilmott Michelle Young Bridget Ziegler Diane Zorn THANK YOU TO THIS YEAR'S HEAR ME ROAR LUNCHEON SPONSORS

Seaside Bank Hyatt Regency Sarasota Community Foundation of Sarasota County New Balance Sarasota Waterworks Members Club Diamond Vault Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota PSAV A special recognition to the Diamond Vault team for the crafting and production of the coveted Hear Me Roar Commemorative Pin.

4/23/19 3:10 PM

"Feel the fear and do it anyway."

NOMINEE | 2019



AS PRESIDENT AND CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER OF STAR2STAR COMMUNICATIONS, Michelle's mission is to inspire and maintain growth for the company and its partners, ensuring that customers get significant value from Star2Star's products and services. She is a tireless advocate for Star2Star’s Partners and works to define long-term vision and operational strategy to assure that growth and market potential are achieved. She leads with a team player mentality to help Star2Star continue growing as one of the top five UCaaS providers worldwide, which offers the market's first and only Full Spectrum Communications solutions including cloud communications, SD-WAN, and Desktop as a Service offerings. In pursuit of this goal, Michelle sees engaging and listening to employees, partners, and customers as a primary function of her role in order to keep Star2Star on the optimal strategic path. In this way, customer success is assured as employees and partners are inspired to deliver an excellent product and experience with every interaction. Michelle believes that the most important success secret is to put people before technology or process. She is most proud of the growth she has observed in employees, peers, and mentees over her career, as well as Star2Star’s growth into one of the top five global UCaaS providers. In her private life, Michelle is a dedicated wife and mother to her husband, three stepdaughters, and adopted twin boys. She is grateful for her amazing Star2Star work family and the incredible strength and support of her loving blended family at home.

600 Tallevast Rd., Suite 202, Sarasota, FL 34243 | 941-234-0001


4/22/19 7:52 PM

“Living my dream.”


MY GREAT GRANDFATHER GREW CARNATIONS and my parents were florists in Indiana. My first memories were making bows, then I graduated to dried arrangements and plants in my teens. Designing came easy to me after watching my talented dad. Being a floral shop owner was my first dream. I was thrilled to move to Florida with my family to live our dream of being near the water and enjoying Florida’s beauty. I was the managing designer for a florist here in Sarasota for 18 years, but it became apparent I needed to make changes in my career. I enjoyed spending time with my husband of 28 years and grandchildren; then life changed, and I became a widow. The opportunity of owning my own flower shop presented itself and I gathered my courage and started living my dream—Sue Ellen’s Floral Boutique opened in February 2018. I am grateful to my family and friends for helping me and thrilled that word has spread, and my shop is “blooming.” My goal is to remain a boutique florist where we can share our customers' life celebrations and help them find comfort in times of sorrow. Flowers express what words cannot many times. I am blessed to share my love of flowers with customers who are my friends. I now know flowers are what I need to bring myself happiness. How can you not be happy when surrounded by such beauty? After all these years, I still have my favorite blooms. 3522 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34237 | 941-952-0404


4/22/19 8:03 PM

“Merely aiming for goals can result in

settling for less. Realizing your dreams – that requires an entirely different mindset, whether in work or in life.”

NOMINEE | 2019


CEO | VENICE REGIONAL BAYFRONT HEALTH KAREN FORDHAM DOESN’T JUST AIM FOR GOALS. She seeks to realize dreams. After working in various leadership roles in healthcare for more than 20 years in the Midwest, Fordham arrived in Venice last fall to take the reins as CEO of Venice Regional Bayfront Health. Her role encompasses the 312-bed acute care hospital, the Venice HealthPark outpatient services facility and Gulf Coast Medical Group practices throughout South Sarasota County. Fordham believes that excellence in patient care begins with the organization’s culture and how the medical staff, employees and volunteers think about their work and their value to the team. Her dream is to exceed the expectations of the patients, physicians and community by inspiring the team of healthcare providers at Venice Regional to provide exceptional healthcare with integrity, empathy and trust. Fordham enjoys kayaking and playing golf with her two school-aged children.

540 The Rialto, Venice, FL 34285 | 941-485-7711 |


4/22/19 7:54 PM

“Being behind the chair at a

salon is much more than cutting

and coloring hair. It is creating a

great experience and making people feel their best." —Kristi Giuliano NOMINEE | 2019


CO-OWNERS | SAGE HAIR STUDIO BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM, Molly Michaud and Kristi Giuliano have over 30 years of experience behind the chair. The pair have a shared vision and passion for the hair industry. While being salon owners for a little over a year, they have succeeded in offering a creative space for other stylists to be motivated in a high energy, positive and professional environment while also maintaining their own clientele. Sage Hair Studio is a place for independent stylists running businesses of their own to come together as a team and create a fantastic level of customer service. For the two, the best thing about having a business is having clients come in and say that they feel such a great energy walking in the door.

9122 Town Center Pkwy., Suite 106 Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 | 941-839-5755 Instagram Kristi: @styledby_kristigiuliano Instagram Sage Hair Studio: @sagehairstudiolwr Full service hair salon accepting new clients.

“I am so grateful to have

chosen a career that is also my passion. I love being able to be creative and make others feel good about themselves.” —Molly Michaud


4/22/19 7:54 PM


OWNER | BODY ROLLING DIANNE GLASS Over 25 Years ago, I was amazed by the incredible and unique benefits of the Yamuna® Body Rolling Method (YBR) and am thrilled to share it with Sarasota’s health conscious community. YBR teaches you lifelong solutions to strengthen, align and relieve pain in every part of your body, from your feet to your face. 

It empowers you to self-treat your own stress, inflexibility, and discomfort while toning and stimulating your muscles and bones. After a rolling session, many visibly stand taller with effortlessly better posture. Our proprietary method and kit of custom-made balls offer the tools to safely work on yourself anytime, anywhere. You can problem-solve and self-heal to feel better in your body at any fitness level.

Dive in and experience it yourself. Join one of my local classes or workshops to learn the technique, then, practice onthe-go with my online video subscription YBR Anytime. Take the experience even deeper into life-changing magic of a YBR Retreat. You’ll find optimal health and wellness at one of this year’s retreat destinations: Jamaica, Italy, Round Top, Texas and Costa Rica. Stay connected for more offerings in our local community. I hope to see you on the ball. And remember, “You have to feel it to heal it!”

941-587-7327 |

“Feel better in your body and move with ease with

YBR. You have to feel it to heal it.”


4/22/19 8:03 PM

"Life is short. Spend it with those who make you laugh and feel loved.”

NOMINEE | 2019

STEPHANIE GLOSSER OWNER | PLANT PARENTS Many years ago, a customer requested extensive plantings of flower beds in a house she was renting while her home was being built. When asked why she would spend money for in-ground plantings for a home that she didn’t own, the customer said, “Life is not a dress rehearsal and while I am living in this house, I want it to be beautiful.” That idea really resonated with Stephanie, particularly as a recent cancer survivor. Stephanie strives to live for today: use the good china for family, travel, read for pleasure and most importantly surround yourself with people that you want to be with. She extends that same philosophy to the community at large, where she works to provide green solutions to enhance an ever-growing clientele of local businesses, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and public spaces. Among her most visible works is the “Downtown in Bloom” flower basket program. Stephanie administrates this eye-catching, large-scale Plant Parents program on close to 200 light poles, one which continues to delight locals and visitors alike. Behind the scenes, Stephanie is also active in charitable giving, including regularly working with local organizations to provide live plants for fundraising events.

6742 Richardson Rd., Sarasota, FL 34240 941-377-3070 |, @plantparentsfl


4/22/19 7:57 PM

NOMINEE | 2019


DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS | BOGART LABS, LLC./ SECOND & SEED At a young age Shelby Isaacson was taught the power of paving her own way as well as the risks involved. She has vivid memories of painting pictures and selling them for a whopping 10 cents with her friend, Annie, to the neighbors. “We had a whole sales pitch,” says Isaacson. “Funny enough my goals in business haven’t really changed, I still strive to improve the quality of life of others.” Around that same time, her dad took the training wheels off her bike, and after an entire of day of learning to ride on the grass, he let her ride on the cement driveway where she fell almost instantly. Several stitches later, she went to see her grandmother. “She took one look at me, squeezed me and said something like, “But you learned to ride…,” recalls Isaacson. Isaacson now owns several businesses in the dynamic industry of plant-based medicine. Her most recent start-up, Second and Seed, an apothecary located in downtown Sarasota, specializes in CBD-rich hemp products. “We’re proud to be the industry leader in Sarasota,” says Isaacson “I want to empower others with resources that can transform their lives. I’ve been in that place where you lose hope due to a chronic illness. I’m proof that hemp does help.” Prior to Second and Seed, Isaacson was the public relations manager at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. She is an active member of Florida Public Relations Association and the Sisterhood for Good giving circle. 1231 2nd St., Sarasota, FL 34236 | 941-260-9971 @secondandseed

"Authenticity and passion are magnets

for others, so when we focus on those aspects

of ourselves we raise the universal vibration for a better today and tomorrow."


4/22/19 7:57 PM


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND STAFF TOGETHER WE REALIZE POSSIBILITIES! We celebrate the women who help make Realize Bradenton a beacon for emerging talent, economic investments, new opportunities, and fun. WORKING TOGETHER WORKS! Realize Bradenton shapes Bradenton as a city where people want to contribute and live, work, and play. Our events, projects, and initiatives bring people together from all walks of life to create friendships, deep-


en their attachment to place, and boost civic pride. Weaving together the three strategies of placemaking, place branding, and civic engagement, we promote the arts, culture, heritage, and food here in our riverfront community. Realize Bradenton and the City of Bradenton work together to embrace the involvement and ideas of multi-generations, and particularly the perspectives of Gen Z and Millennial generations. The Riverwalk which opened in 2012

4/19/19 5:13 PM

Left to right: Holly Eisemann, Sue Revell, Carrie Price, Kim Dalglish, Patricia Kelleher Annie Breitinger, Johnette Isham, Kay Wight, Joanna Bailey, Peg Haynes, Catherine Ferrer, Melodie Rich and Jodi Carroll. WINNER

NOMINEE | 2019 and our current work with the City to double the length of the Riverwalk eastward exemplifies this approach to make downtown Bradenton an attractive and welcoming destination for all. MORE THAN BRICKS AND MORTAR! Public spaces like sidewalks, streets, and parks are vital to our city's success. These outdoor places come alive with over 125,000 people who attend our events each year– Farmers’ Market, Mainly Art, ArtSlam, Music in the Park, Bradenton Blues Festival, Blues Appetizer, Long Table, and Walk Bradenton. | | 941-621-6471

“I am guided by the belief that a

vibrant, prosperous community thrives

when engaged citizens have a part in

its advancement. Our programs–Creating Together Bradenton, Pop-Ups for a

Purpose, Inside Access, Healthy Together, and Cook Together are examples of how

diverse individuals can learn and contribute, while making a positive difference.” —Johnette Isham, Executive Director

“Looking at a crowd

of thousands from around

the world enjoying the

Bradenton Blues Festival on the Riverwalk is awesome. However, my work with

Realize Bradenton is inspired by unexpected accolades. When I overhear a group of people walking on Old

Main Street discussing how downtown has become a

destination, I feel pride in

knowing that our organization has played an important role in downtown’s momentum.” —Annie Breitinger, Board Chair


4/23/19 5:40 PM

“We utilize a wealth management planning

process by getting to know each client and

developing a meticulous strategy in three key areas: asset, risk and legacy planning.”

NOMINEE | 2019



SARAH LODGE AND HER TEAM STRIVE to provide exceptional service to each client and build long-term generational relationships. Their personalized financial plans come with attention to detail in understanding, design and implementation. Sarah is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and knows that planning is what makes a difference. She has a passion for helping others make the right financial choices so they can be financially independent. As time goes by, their clients’ needs change and evolve just as the financial markets do, so ongoing and timely service is imperative. Whether they are helping a client gear up towards retirement, dealing with the loss of a spouse through death or divorce, helping business leaders with their corporate retirement plans and exit strategies, each situation is unique and takes the time and expertise that Sarah and her team have. They manage the financial affairs for successful medical professionals, entrepreneurs, business leaders and affluent retirees across the United States. Sarah’s passion to help others doesn’t stop at her office. She currently serves as the President of the Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, a founding board member of Impact 100 SRQ, an active member in Rotary Club of Sarasota and the Junior League of Sarasota. She has served as Past President of the Junior League of Sarasota as well as volunteered for Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast, St. Jude Foodlosophy, Education Foundation and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation Golf Tournament, and supports many other wonderful organizations. Sarah and her husband Ryan are proud parents to three young kids and love to spend weekends outside enjoying the beauty of Sarasota! Sarah B. Lodge, Certified Financial Planner® First Vice President-Financial Advisor NMLS # 1575248 through City National Bank RBC Wealth Management | 1819 Main St., Suite 1100, Sarasota, FL 34236 Toll Free 844-316-4811 | Direct 941-316-4811 | Fax 941-316-4848 |


4/22/19 8:00 PM

"Bless and be NOMINEE | 2019



CEO/FOUNDER | BLAZE OF HOPE OWNER/STYLIST | ARTISAN HAIR STUDIO LIKE MOST WOMEN, Lisa has faced challenges through her life and career but losing her young son to cancer could have been her knockout punch. Instead, she turned her devastating grief into unbridled passion, honoring her son by creating an organization in his name. She works tirelessly to support other mothers and families whose children suffer with chronic or terminal illness by helping ease their financial struggles so they can focus on what is most i\mportant . . . their child. Lisa is an incredible hair stylist in Sarasota and a successful salon owner for 17 years. She never envisioned herself as an advocate for families, a spokesperson for children’s needs, and a fund raiser. Yet, Lisa Moore has developed Blaze of Hope into a sustainable and growing 501c3 agency that truly makes a difference in countless lives. Blaze would be so proud of his Mom. The Blaze of Hope mission is to provide financial assistance to families of children with a life-threatening medical condition while hospitalized, to enrich lives with hope, to build community and raise awareness. Blaze of Hope 5922 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34232 | 941-232-4568 Artisan Hair Studio 5918 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34232 | 941-341-0688


4/22/19 8:00 PM

“'I didn’t raise a pointer!' Words of wisdom from my late father when I told him at a young age that I was going to be an

Interior Designer. This was his not-so-subtle way of saying, 'Get out there and get it done yourself! Don’t just point at

things and expect other people to get it done for you! Learn

every craft. Learn every trade you can on the job-site so you know what you’re talking about and what it takes. And look the part.' If you can’t put yourself together, how are clients going to trust you with putting their spaces together!”

NOMINEE | 2019


GROWING UP IN A HOME OF ENTREPRENEURIAL PARENTS and knowing from childhood that Interior Design was her calling, Carrie hit the ground running to chase her design destiny. Carrie started working for the largest Interior Design firm in Omaha at age 16, starting at the bottom and working her way through internships, design assistant positions, Junior designer, Senior Interior Designer to a now 20+ year career in the industry and 15 years of Ownership as the Principal and Certified licensed Interior Design of Riley Interior Design. Having a degree from the University of Nebraska in Architectural Interior Design and hiring Interior Designers with Architectural backgrounds, enables the firm to work seamlessly with the most renowned and award-winning Architects and General contractors. Riley ID has earned numerous awards and accomplishments throughout the years, including multiple Home of the Year and Building of the Year titles. The Design firm has also been featured in luxury design publications throughout the country such as The Luxury of Home Magazine, Home & Design Magazine, REAL magazine, The Scout Guide, SRQ magazine, Sarasota Magazine, Biz 941 magazine, The Observer, Scene Magazine, Sarasota Herald Tribune and featured on Houzz. Riley has also been a part of the NFL organization The Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the past 19 years, a former Super Bowl-winning cheerleader, turned choreographer/game day assistant and now part of the judging panel who selects the team. Riley also supports the US Military as part of the ProTour Productions staff and travels the world with NFL players, cheerleaders and mascots, performing and supporting our troops. Locally, Riley Interior Design is committed to showing support for charities and foundations such as Sarasota Humane Society, supporter of the Designing Daughters events, Forty Carrots, Breast Cancer Awareness as well as dancing in Dancing with the Stars supporting CAN, WISH and was a member of the Women of Influence.

1929 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, FL 34239 | 941-955-5522 License # IB26000942


4/22/19 8:05 PM


EILEEN ROSENZWEIG HAS OWNED AND OPERATED Sir Speedy Sarasota for 30 years. She transformed and grew the company from a small quick-print shop into the third largest Sir Speedy franchise in the world—consistently ranked in the top 100 of all quick-printing companies nationally. She has expertise and proven success leading and managing all aspects of operations, customer service, and business development. Rosenzweig is a motivational leader who leads by example and cultivates an environment dedicated to consistently exceeding customer expectations. Her business is run with empowerment and teamwork. She never blames, but tries to look at every mistake as an opportunity for her staff and herself to change and grow. In 2003 and 2017, she was awarded “Franchisee of the Year” for the Sir Speedy Network. Eileen is a founding member and on the Board of Directors of Impact 100 SRQ, serves on the board of RADical Healing Inc., and is a member of Sunrise Rotary and Congregation Kol HaNeshama. She is a regular platelet donor and encourages everyone to give the gift of life. Her proudest moments are as a mom. She has twin daughters, Evelyn and Fay, who are wonderful, caring people.

3939 South Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, FL 34231 | 941-922-1563

"I try to live my life by the Jewish concept “Tikkun Olam” - repair the world. I believe we should treat our employees, clients and those we meet daily the same

way we want to be treated. Each day make sure you have improved someone else’s day."


4/22/19 8:05 PM

NOMINEE | 2019


PRESIDENT AND CEO | HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SARASOTA RENEE JOINED HABITAT SARASOTA IN 2010, after more than 25 years in the banking industry, specializing in affordable housing and community development. Her dedication to affordable housing in the community and to the families she serves is tireless. Renee digs deep in creative ways to advocate for families and to leverage partnerships, always finding a solution. Simply put, she is a leader who does not give up and she doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s her leadership that makes Habitat Sarasota the real deal. Habitat Sarasota has achieved steady growth during Renee’s tenure, resulting in doubling the impact in the community, serving more families each year. Renee is motivated by the personal stories of the housing conditions that some of our families live in and their daily struggle from making life choices between buying groceries, medications or paying their rent. The determination of families to elevate themselves out of these difficult situations motivates her every single day to reach deeper and do more. Seeing their hard work and determination yield lifechanging results for their families is her reward and inspiration.

1757 North East Ave., Sarasota, FL 34235 | 941-365-0700 @habitatsrq

“To keep myself motivated, I look for small

wins each day. I think it’s important to pause and celebrate the small wins. It’s these daily victories that can often lead us to bigger

opportunities and long-term success, if we take the time to evaluate them.”


4/22/19 8:06 PM

PERSONAL MANTRA: “Be the bee . . .

not the buzz."

DAILY: “You live but once; you

might as well be amusing."

—Coco Chanel PERSONAL: “Alone we can do so little;

together we can do so much." —Helen Keller

BUSINESS: “The key to success is to

start before you are ready." —Marie Forleo



PRESIDENT AND CEO | TAYLOR & COMPANY, LLC. GIVING BACK IS PART OF NIKKI TAYLOR’S DNA. Her first memory of a philanthropic endeavor was working at an event (chaired by her mother) when she was just four years old. She remembers the feeling of exhilaration in helping others and immediately inquired about when she could next volunteer. From there, Nikki sought out every cause she could find, from Girl Scouts to school fundraisers to sorority-sponsored breast cancer awareness benefits. In Sarasota, she recognized a community that valued giving back as much as she did, and has, among other things, chaired over 24 events in the Sarasota area. Nikki isn’t just about events. After experiencing the loss of a parent, improving the health of others became a passion. She says, “It hit me hard. I wanted to make sure other folks had the resources they need to stay well and be more proactive about their health.” In addition to her many healthcare volunteer efforts, Nikki is also is the owner of Taylor & Company, a boutique healthcare marketing firm. Past and current clients include Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation, The Roskamp Institute, and several other healthcare-specific organizations. The depths of her philanthropic energy echo the exhilaration of that first volunteer experience. Although focused on her career and family, she remains an active and engaged member of The Greater Sarasota Community. Her list of current volunteer commitments includes Designing Daughters, Leadership Sarasota Alumni, AFP, Women’s Leadership Council, SkillSHARE Mentoring, SMARTgirl Mentoring, PTO Fundraising Chair, Pediatric Cancer Awareness Chair-Southside Elementary School. 1226 North Tamiami Trl., Ste 201, Sarasota, FL 34236 | 941-587-9060


4/22/19 8:07 PM

NOMINEE | 2019


AUTHOR. HUMORIST. INFLUENCER. A “CHATTY CATHY” AND NATURAL BORN ENTERTAINER, Lee Volpe has never been at a loss for words. Since 2011, she has been making a name for herself professionally as an honest, ‘laugh out loud’ humorist, dealing with daily life and relatable situations. Applauded for saying what most are thinking, Lee has a gift of finding funny in the simplest of moments. Building her brand identity around the message of self-acceptance, speaker and author Volpe is busy entertaining fans of her popular book, Black Sheep Tries Bleach. With her YouTube channel, The World According To Lee, she is reaching new audiences and sharing the benefits of laughter globally. Recognizing the importance of inspiring a younger audience, Lee established a kid-friendly zone by introducing her miniature house pig, Officer, to the brand. Bed hog and banana enthusiast, Officer The Mini Pig, can now add children’s author to the list. Officer’s Pig Tales is an encouraging series of fundamental lessons taught through the tales of a misfit pig. His first book in the series, This Is Me, is a valuable lesson of self-acceptance and the meaning of happiness. A champion and voice for the voiceless, Lee’s philanthropic interests include children and animals. She has actively supported local nonprofits like the Manatee Police Athletic League, Manatee Children’s Services, Save Our Seabirds, and the Humane Society of Sarasota County. When Lee is not traveling, doing live appearances (often alongside Officer), you may see them around town. Like the drive-thru line at Starbucks, where Officer’s “regular” is a banana.

LEEVOLPE.COM @theworldaccordingtolee

“When life happens, laughter begins”


4/22/19 8:09 PM

NOMINEE | 2019


COMMUNITY OUTREACH SPECIALIST AND GRANTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR | SARASOTA COUNTY GOVERNMENT, NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES PLEASANTLY DEAFENING. Miranda says that’s how loud the “roar” of the women she works with is. As coordinator of "Civics 101", she collaborates with Sarasota County’s directors—a number of them female—to engage residents in conversations about governmental roles. She’s witnessed their overwhelming combination of intelligence, passion, and drive for improvement. She also coordinates the "Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program", visiting neighborhoods with staff experts. Their boots-on-the-ground approach to educating and inspiring residents reminds her daily that change begins with each one of us. She considers her manager, who helped start those programs, a master at nurturing creativity. As an outreach specialist, Miranda has met countless women in the organization and in the community with the hunger to learn about and serve Sarasota County. 1660 Ringling Blvd., 1st Floor, Sarasota, FL 34236 | 941-861-5000 Keyword: Neighborhood Services “Nothing beats the

feeling of asking myself at the end of the day, ‘Was I the best I can

be?’ and knowing with conviction that the answer is yes.”

NOMINEE | 2019


JULIE BENDER-SIBBIO IS A NUTRITION TRAILBLAZER who helps her patients get to the root of chronic illness and digestive challenges. Passionate about restoring hope and health from within, she combines her conventional dietetic education, functional and integrative nutrition training, wellness coaching and 20+ years of experience to help her patients recover and thrive so they can live their best lives. Julie’s nutrition practice is grounded in her values, compassion, and gifts. Each day, you’ll find her listening closely to patients; seeking to understand how each person’s biochemistry, food, environment, lifestyle, history and genetics influence their health; and using evidenced-based nutrition and lifestyle interventions to restore harmony to body, mind, and spirit. A recipient of the BEST of SRQ-Nutritionist 2016 & 2017, Julie is a member of the Sarasota’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce and volunteers her time with various organizations. 1217 South East Ave., Suite 209, Sarasota, FL 34239 214-986-1024 | “Life and health are a journey—

not a destination.

When your ongoing journey to balance

physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health is

working in harmony, the results are energy, vitality

and PEACE from within.”


4/22/19 8:10 PM

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4/20/19 12:30 PM

nosh 15 SOUTH RISTORANTE 15 S Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, 941-388-1555. ITALIAN RESTAURANT Right in the hustle and bustle of St. Armands Circle, 15 South Ristorante is an authentic Italian restaurant serving primarily Northern Italian fare with additional options to satisfy every craving. Whether you order a homemade pizza baked to perfection in their authentic wood-burning oven or prefer an authentic and fresh pasta dish – options are endless. Full Dinner 4:30pm-10pm. Pizza, Light Dinner 4:30pm-Closing. CROW’S NEST MARINA RESTAURANT 1968 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice, 941-484-9551. CASUAL FINE DINING The Crow’s Nest is a casual fine dining restaurant, serving fresh seafood, steaks and other traditional Florida favorites. Located on the Island of Venice and nestled between the Gulf of Mexico on the west and the Intracoastal Waterway on the north and east, Crow’s Nest has become a waterfront fixture for surf ‘n’ turf. M–W 11:30am-10pm. Th 11:30am– 11pm. F-Sa 11:30am–12:30am. Su 12–10pm.

DUVAL’S FRESH. LOCAL. SEAFOOD. 1435 Main St., Sarasota, 941-312-4001. SEAFOOD Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood. is excited to announce: Duval’s Free. Local. Shuttle! Your experience at Duval’s should be what you’re expecting. For dinner, try the Chef Selected Fresh Catch, an offering of the freshest fish in the market, and fillet your fresh catch in-house. Featuring a 3-5-7 Happy Hour and late night. M–Th 11am–9pm. F–Sa 11am–10pm. Su 10am– 9pm. ELEMENT 1413 Main St., Sarasota, 941-724-8585. MODERN MEDITERRANEAN In the heart of downtown Sarasota, you don’t want to miss the upscale Mediterranean grill, Element. Try their Sambuca shrimp with bacon crème, crisp prosciutto, tomato fennel compote and pine nuts. For dinner, their 12 oz. bone-in center cut porcini-encrusted veal chop is delectable. For a large party, order the table an entire roast suckling pig; which serves four to six guests and is cooked with apples, figs and shallots. Equipped with an extensive wine list and an enticing array of craft cocktails. M-Th 4:30pm-10pm. F-Sa 4:30pm11pm. Su 10:30am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm. F-Sa.

GECKO’S GRILL & PUB 4870 South Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-923-8896. GRILL AND SPORTS BAR The Original Gecko’s—established in 1992—is known for hosting great parties and entertaining such sports celebrities as Michael Jordan and the White Sox, along with Sarasota’s locals and visitors alike. Gecko’s has continued its good fortune and expanded to the following locations: Twelve Oaks Plaza (Interstate–75 and S.R. 70) in 1998, Braden River Plaza (on S.R. 64) in 2002, Palmer Crossing (Clark Road and Honore Avenue) in 2006, Southside Village (Hillview


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Street) in 2010, S’macks Burgers and Shakes (Bee Ridge Road and Shade Avenue) in 2013 and Fruitville Road (Fruitville and North Cattlemen Avenue) in 2014.

GROVE 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941-893-4321. CONTEMPORARY GOURMET DINING GROVE Restaurant, Patio and Ballroom is the newest offshoot of PIER 22, the award-winning waterfront destination headed by restaurateurs Hugh Miller and Greg Campbell. A full-service restaurant and events venue offering contemporary gourmet dining. The menu is elevated yet approachable and locally inspired. Housemade dishes emphasize fresh seasonal ingredients as well as innovative cooking methods, M-Th 11:30am-10pm, F-Sa 11:30am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm MARINA JACK 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, 941-3654232. SEAFOOD, STEAKS AND PASTA The Sarasota landmark offers its customers exceptional food and great atmosphere while dining on the water. Come to the dining room on the second floor and try some new items on the dinner menu. Start with braised mussels in a chorizo broth or short rib tostadas, which feature Gouda cheese and pulled slow-braised short rib. Open daily for lunch and dinner. M–Su 11:15am–11pm.

MATTISON’S 1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota/ 7275 S. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota/ 101 Riverfront Blvd., Bradenton, 941-330-0440. MODERN AMERICAN Chef Paul Mattison, executive chef and proprietor of Mattison’s, operates a successful culinary group on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Located in Sarasota, each Mattison’s restaurant location is unique to its neighborhood, offering Chef Paul Mattison’s signature menu items, outstanding service, and quality ingredients, while supporting the community, regional farmers, and culinary suppliers. Mattison’s Catering is a chef-owned and operated company procuring fresh, natural, and local ingredients. Catering In-house and off-site, Mattison’s Catering Company offers certified wedding and event planners. Hours vary by location.

MORTON’S GOURMET MARKET 1924 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-955-9856. GOURMET GROCER It’s the place where you can spend a lazy Sunday morning sipping coffee and breaking off pieces of a scone, a frenetic Friday evening collecting rare cheeses, meat and wine for Saturday’s soiree or a quick lunchtime bite to go. For the latter, Morton’s fresh-made sushi, salad bar or ready-to-go tea sandwiches are longstanding local faves. M–Sa 7am–8pm. Su 9am–6pm.

OPHELIAS ON THE BAY 9105 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, 941-349-2212. FINE DINING With indoor and outdoor dining options boasting incredible waterfront views of Little Sarasota Bay, Ophelia’s On The Bay is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a delectable meal.

From their PEI mussels presented in a saffron-anisette broth to incredible cocktails such as the Pink Lady, you can’t go wrong. Happy Hour M–Su 5pm–6pm. Dinner M–Su 5pm–10pm. Sunday Brunch 11am–2pm.


1409 Main St., Sarasota, 941-9149955. AMERICAN PBnT is serving up delicious pizzas, burgers, tacos. There are options for everyone, including gluten-free pizza crust and lettuce-wrapped burgers. PBnT caters to every craving for America’s favorite foods. Try their When Pigs Fly pizza, which is a BBQ base, topped with cheese, roasted pork, chopped bacon, onion and a BBQ drizzle or their Momo burger which is a double patty, sautéed mushrooms and onions, mozzarella cheese and mayo. Fast, fun and friendly – PBnT is the perfect choice. M-Su 11am-10pm.

PIER 22 1200 1st Ave W, Bradenton, 941-7488087. CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN Pier 22 takes waterfront dining to a new level. On the mouth of the Manatee River, the picturesque setting is relaxing and the perfect backdrop for any outing. With over 26,000 square feet of space, Pier 22 also offers catering and space for events. They focus on fresh, homemade fare and unique twists on everyday dishes. For lunch, try their soft-shell crab sandwich with jalapeno tartar sauce, with a side of poutine. While watching the sunset on the patio, dine on their fresh game of the day, sourced from around the world. M-Th 11:30am – 10pm. F-Sa 11:30am-10:30pm. Su 11am-10pm. Happy hour daily 3pm-7pm and Sunday Brunch 11am-3pm. SHARKY’S ON THE PIER 1600 Harbour Dr. S, Venice, 941-488-1456. SEAFOOD After just one visit to Sharky’s On the Pier, Fins at Sharky’s or Snook Haven, you’ll understand why all three restaurants have become Venice-area landmarks, smack-dab on the water. Boasting unparalleled views of the 720-foot long Venice Fishing Pier and Gulf of Mexico for over 30 years, Sharky’s has made a name for itself as Florida’s No. 1 Beach Bar with complimentary live music and entertainment, family friendly fun and a whole lot of ocean. M–Th 11:30am– 10pm. F–Sa 11:30am–12am. Sun 11:30am–10pm. TSUNAMI SUSHI & HIBACHI GRILL 100 Central Ave, Suite 1022, Sarasota, 941-366-1033. ASIAN FUSION In the heart of downtown Sarasota Florida, Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill prepares creative sushi, fresh sashimi and a new spin on asian fusion--all at remarkable prices. The Tsunami team focuses on ensuring every meal exceeds your expectations. Fresh Sushi: Made fresh before your eyes by their talented chefs. Full Bar: They feature a full bar, with specialty cocktails like the Hibiscus Rose, Japanese Julep and Shinsu Sour. Asian Entrees: Fresh and flavorful with the unique taste of Japan. M-F 11am-Close; Sat/Sun 12pmClose; Closed Daily 2:30-4:30pm.

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4/20/19 12:14 PM

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4/20/19 12:14 PM

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4/20/19 12:15 PM

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4/23/19 3:17 PM