RECOGNIZING 35 YOUNG PROFESSIONALS UNDER 35 ON THE GULF COAST
We are thrilled to recognize this year’s 35 Under 35 Honorees representing the young professional cadre in our region. The 2022 honorees include young professionals, who are innovators, creatives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and community leaders who have distinguished themselves in their ﬁelds. These individuals are thriving in our region and leading the way for the next generation.
PRODUCED BY SRQ MEDIA | PHOTOS BY WYATT KOSTYGAN
Left to right: Candice Henry, Kayla Murphy, Jerty “Evan” Samson, Amanda Parrish, Danielle Visone, Carlos Portillo and Ashley Waite.
Left to right: Marissa Rossnagle, Matthew Tympanick, Christian Daum, Hallie Harris, Jessie Bonner, Joseph “JT” Grano, III and Olivia D’amico
TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN OF MANATEE
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. Speaker in the recent inaugu ral TedXBradenton event. I spoke on the pow er of mentoring across cultures to create a stronger community.
What mistake in your career taught you the biggest lesson? Not allowing others to help when offered. It is okay for people to help you achieve your goals. Hyperindependence can be a curse if you let it!
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? Using mentoring to improve the community and af fordable housing.
What is your favorite podcast or Youtube channel? My favorite podcast would have to be Hidden Brain, hosted by journalist Shankar Vedantam. The social science podcast gives an in-depth look into what our known and un known motivations are, why we interact with one another in the ways we do, and how we can become better people if we allow room for empathy and understanding.
Do you have any ridiculous goals in life? It is a dream of mine to open a state of the art com munity center which offers the technology, equipment, and dedicated staff to explore any and all interests of those it would serve. I envi sion music classes with available instruments; a sports facility with updated gear and amen ities; a technology lab that includes access to computers, 3d printers, and camera/podcast ing equipment; parenting classes and a func tioning daycare; and a job placement center.
MEDICAL DIRECTOR & MASTER INJECTOR, GLOW DERMSPA, ARSENAULT
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. Within the last 12 months I have been named Director of Glow Dermspa, a standalone, full-service aesthetic practice in Lake wood Ranch. Glow is a division of Arsenault Der matology and being named as the Director is an honor I do not take lightly. In my first year, I have grown this division of the practice into a team of three Master Injectors and two Licensed Aes theticians. Assembling such an amazing team has led to tremendous growth in our patient population and allowed us to expand services and procedure offerings. We were also honored to be named Bradenton’s Best Med Spa 2022.
How did you make your start in your profession and what aspect of your work do you find the most mean ingful? I graduated from P.A. school and immedi ately began working exclusively in Dermatology. As a young medical professional I found myself loving my role seeing patients, diagnosing, and prescribing treatments. But, I also found myself drawn to the business side of the dermatology practice–the branding, marketing, workflow and practice results. Before long, the practice opened a second location and I was placed there as the primary medical provider, which also meant being the team leader.
What mistake in your career taught you the big gest lesson? The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the importance of having the right people on my team at all levels and at all times. Learning that lesson is so valuable and I am so thankful for the team I’ve assembled.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? When I turned 30, travel to Cuba opened up for US travelers for a brief period of time. We spontaneously booked a quick trip to Cuba for my birthday without having finalized plans. We landed in Havana without a place to stay and figured it out as we went. It ended up being an amazing trip and we met and stayed with amaz ing people that we still keep in touch with.
SARABAY REAL ESTATE
How did you make your start in your profession and what aspect of your work do you find the most meaningful? SaraBay Real Estate is my family’s brokerage established by my god parents in 1979. I grew up in the business and always knew I wanted to follow in my family’s footsteps. Right out of college I launched my own business and became quite successful. I was always very busy, working 24/7 running two brick and mortar clothing boutiques. Af ter launching a website and transitioning into e-commerce I was able to take the time to at tend real estate school and earn my license. I jumped in full-time this January with hope of growing my real estate career while balancing the boutique business.
Share something you did this past year to bal ance your work and personal life. Staying or ganized is key. I enjoy planning events out of the office where my clients and colleges can meet and socialize. I believe it’s important to estab lish a personal relationship with clients as well. My fiancé and I are recently engaged and I make sure I find time everyday for us to spend quality time together whether thats at the dinner table or walking the dog around the neighborhood.
Real estate is a 24/7 job and having a supportive spouse is wonderful, but it’s also imperative to respect our relationship as well.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? Being 29 years old, I have a handful of friends who are at the age of being first time home buyers. With interest rates recently all over the map, buyers are struggling to decide when is the best time to buy. I do my best to guide my clients and keep them updated with daily news and rates. I always say “Marry the House, Date the Rate!”
DEPUTY DISTRICT DIRECTOR, CONGRESSMAN VERN BUCHANAN (FL-16)
How did you make your start in your profes sion and what aspect of your work do you find the most meaningful? Unlike most families, politics was always a topic of discussion at the dinner table with my father. He started work ing for an elected official when he was 26, so I guess a career in politics & government is in my blood. I caught the political bug while working at ABC7 WWSB in Sarasota when I worked with TV Anchor Alan Cohn (who is now running for Congress) and assisted him in covering the 2016 elections—that’s where I met Congressman Bu chanan and his team. The most meaningful part of my job is helping constituents resolve their problems when dealing with the federal gov ernment bureaucracy. Not many people get to say they have their “dream job” but working for a member of Congress like Vern and serving the residents in my hometown is definitely mine.
Share something you did this past year to balance your work and personal life. This year after the primary election in August I traveled to Norway, Sweden & Denmark. I definitely struggle with being able to “un-plug” so by traveling overseas and not having service definitely forces me to stay off my phone and be present. I’ve travelled to over 30 countries and I’m already thinking about which country I want to go to next.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? The opioid crisis is something that definitely weighs on my heart and is still very prevalent in our com munity. This crisis destroys families and puts an enormous burden on our medical and law enforcement personnel. Manatee County was once the epicenter of the opioid epidemic, and we don’t want to have that title again. That’s why it’s so important we continue to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic to keep our local neighborhoods healthy and safe.
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How do you spend your time outside of work? I spend most of my time outside of work taking classes at Pure Barre, spending time with family & friends, drinking way too much iced coﬀee, religiously listening to any Taylor Swift song, (I’m a huge Swiftie) and constantly checking out new books at the Manatee County Public Library.
What is your guilty pleasure? Sleeping in until noon on the weekends. I always wish I was a morning person, but I’m 100% a night owl.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Disclaimer: This was completely out of character for me and it was a very long time ago. When driving to the mall with a friend, we decided to make a stop at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport and go skydiving.
PROJECT COORDINATION SUPERVISOR, SARASOTA COUNTY GOVERNMENT
How did you make your start in your profession and what aspect of your work do you ﬁnd the most meaningful? I began my career as a reporter for the Bradenton Herald, covering local government events and I quickly fell in love with local government and the impact these organizations make within a community. During Hurricane Irma, the COVID-19 pandemic, and throughout Hurricane Ian I have implemented communicative strategies to keep our community informed. Hurricane Ian proved that we are truly making a diﬀerence in our community and serving as a lifeline to ensure the welfare of Sarasota County residents.
How do you spend time outside of work? I love family time. Whether that be swimming in our pool or exploring some of our county’s beautiful parks and preserves. While it has been more than a year since we last kayaked due to pregnancy and the birth of my daughter, I enjoy getting out on the water with my husband and our three-legged puggle, Tripp, exploring new waterways. Now that the weather is getting cooler and my daughter is older and can sit up by herself, I am excited to share these experiences with her.
What is your guilty pleasure? I am a huge Taylor Swift fan, or Swiftie. I remember the ﬁrst time I saw her perform was at an outdoor festival where she was the opening act – how things have changed! Taylor Swift’s music is a form of therapy for me, and it is my go-to listen when I am in a good mood or have had a rough day and need a mood boost. In the six and a half years I’ve been with my husband, I managed to convert him to be a fan and we may have been considering the name Taylor for our daughter’s name.
What’s the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic? I operate and perform my best when I am under pressure – I like to think it is my journalism background and the adrenaline rush a looming deadline gives. During the pandemic, it allowed me to really understand the importance of the work-life balance and self care. While working remote often means work blending into the evening hours, I am fortunate to have learned this lesson as now with my daughter, who was born in April, I value the hours I have with her after work and really focus and put a conscious eﬀort into the work-life balance.
FOUNDER, FRIENDLY CITY FOUNDATION + KINSPOKE
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I love what we have built and continue to build with the Friendly City Foundation. I love what we do when we have a ﬂea gathering makers, musicians, and creatives together in our community to share their work. I love the amazing business owners who have said yes to giving students in underestimated communities the opportunity to learn and explore new trades and crafts. I love the inclusive service or community so generously gives. I love working with other juvenile justice organizations to help change narratives. I’m honored to be a part of it.
What mistake in your career taught you the biggest lesson? Not being honest with what I want for myself. For so long I didn’t know how to trust myself. I was always looking for validation from other people. It held me back and made me nervous to boldly say what I felt was important to say. It held me back from leaving places when I knew it was time causing me to stay longer than I should have. I made those mistakes for a long time. I am now learning to trust my voice as I travel through my work with more grace.
What is your formula for success? It’s funny but I’m not too interested in success. If there is a formula it looks like: Peace + contribution + letting go = success. I spent my 20’s trying to be successful in the eyes of ideologies of institutions.
How has the pandemic changed your work life? The pandemic gave me the space and time to question and change everything. I quit my career job of working full-time at a mega church where I had been climbing the ranks to focus on the work I really wanted to do. Work that made me feel alive and aligned with my realized values. I wanted a slower and more embodied pace of life. So I made the change. I resigned and ﬂipped my life upside down.
CHRISTIAN DAUM CO-OWNER, XCELLERATION DETAILING
What aspect of your work do you ﬁnd the most meaningful? Maybe my client has had someone who was sick in their aircraft, and they need a COVID clean to ensure the safety of their next set of passengers. Or, I often have clients who want a sales-prep detail; when we’re done, they didn’t realize their vehicle could look that great. They love the ﬁnished results so much, they decided to keep it. For many people, their vehicles and aircraft are very important to them, and if I can give them excellent customer service and a wonderful experience by exceeding their expectations, that’s what I ﬁnd most meaningful.
What mistake in your career taught you the biggest lesson? Like many business owners, I was trying to do too much myself. What I’ve learned is that by training and trusting my team, and delegating more to them, we can do far more together than individually. By pushing down responsibility, it helps to raise up leaders. It allows them to grow personally and professionally and allows me to do the same. I make certain that I take the time to teach, train, and explain everything in detail so that they gain a level of conﬁdence in doing the job on their own. We also work to mentor our employees not just about the job, but about life. When you give them more responsibility and empower them, and they know you trust them, it makes them more skilled and conﬁdent which carries over into other areas of their lives as well.
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? My sister and I decided to take a two-week trip to Japan with less than three months of planning prior to our departure. This has been a bucket list goal and dream of ours for twelve years. We just decided that we’re both at a point in our lives and our businesses that the optimal time to do the trip is running short. With the borders opening back up from Covid, we made a quick decision, “Let’s go to Japan!”
KATE DE MICHIELI
PR AND SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER, ONE EIGHT OH PR
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I am proud of having one of the Instagram accounts I manage for a One Eight Oh client reach 18K followers. This particular account was started by me in 2018, and as a social media manager, it’s a very rewarding feeling to reach this milestone and to have been a part of it since the beginning.
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Left to right: Thomas Gayer IV, Jackie O’Shaughnessy, Julia Groom, Brandon Thrift Melissa Beachy, Stephanie Lomazov and Danae DeShazer.
Left to right: Connor Wolfe, Sarah Lyons, Brian Goodrich, Sydney Johnson, Claire Craigmile, Matthew Kern and Chloe Conboy.
What’s your favorite podcast or YouTube channel?
The New Mamas Podcast! I recently became a mom, so during my pregnancy, I was addicted to this series because I wanted to learn as much as possible. It’s a great podcast for first time moms because the conversations between the host and guests always shine a light on the hon est and raw topics that come with motherhood.
How do you spend your time outside of work? Outside of work, I enjoy creating content for my lifestyle blog, Life With Kate Rose. On the week ends, you can find me traveling, attending res taurant openings or discovering the best fash ion finds and sharing it with my followers
What are your favorite ways to unwind over the weekend? Making a charcuterie board at home with my husband and pairing it with a glass of wine or an Aperol Spritz!
DIRECTOR OF BRAND STRATEGY,
SHYLYNN GAMBLE PUCKETT
FINANCIAL CENTER MANAGER, OFFICER, FIFTH THIRD BANK
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. Opening a brand new Fifth Third Bank location in Palmer Ranch gave me the opportunity to volunteer at local organiza tions, host financial wellness seminars, and at tend local Chamber events. By being so active and building strong community relationships it led me to becoming one of the top perform ing DeNovo financial centers within Fifth Third Bank. This is by far one of my greatest recent accomplishments.
SHAREHOLDER, BENTLEY GOODRICH KISON, P.A.
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. In addition to my job as Direc tor of Brand Strategy at Sokos Solutions, I have lived my life as a professional theater artist, actor, and director. I recently completed a pro gram called The Start-Up Circle sponsored by Realize Bradenton and Manatee Chamber of Commerce - where I learned how to start a busi ness and identified myself as a budding entre preneur. My goal is to one day start producing theater through my own company here on the Suncoast. I created the framework and business plan for the new Theatre Collective and look for ward to creating transformational productions in Spring 2023. I was incredibly scared to take this step in my life - but I pushed myself to take the necessary steps toward success.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Take myself on a solo-vacation to the mountains so I could refresh, renew, and re charge! I was reaching intense creative burn-out and so I just picked a spot on the map and said “I’m going there!” It was the perfect getaway to find peace and find myself again.
If you could compete in an Olympic sport, which one would it have been? It would be awesome to be an Olympic Curler! To be fair, I have no skills in curl ing nor have I ever played—maybe I should start.
What are the top three items on your bucket list?
Visit all U.S. National Parks. Be a contestant on CBS’ “Survivor.” Fly to space.
“When things get tough, I just remember . . . this probably won’t kill me.”
What mistake in your career taught you the big gest lesson? I do not believe that people make mistakes, but that each situation is a learning opportunity. One of the biggest lessons I have learned was from one of my mentors, “Don’t be sorry, be successful.” That has stayed with me during my career which has helped me de velop people to be better than I ever was.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? I am very pas sionate about is financial literacy in our school systems and local communities. I strongly believe that it is our responsibility as financial advocates to teach our current and next generations how important it is to understanding banking.
THOMAS GAYER IV
FINANCIAL ADVISOR, JANNEY-SARASOTA
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I was recently named as one of the Top 100 Financial Advisors in the Coun try to Watch ranking by Advisor Hub! I’m very proud that my hard work and dedication to my clients is recognized. In 2021, I welcomed my daughter, Penelope, into the world which was one of my proudest moments.
What is your formula for success? Not making the same mistake twice.
What are the top three items on your bucket list? Live on a house boat for a year, spend a year in Asia, own a house in South America.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? Behavioral finance is probably the most important topic in my industry, and I believe it needs to be ad dressed and taught at the high school level.
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I am extremely proud of my recent appointment as Vice Chair of the Safe Children Coalition. The SCC is a community-based care organization with a ~$50 million budget and al most 300 employees. While many people have never heard of the SCC, it serves an essential role in our community by providing child wel fare services in Sarasota, Manatee, and Desoto Counties, ranging from adoption, foster care, home instructions for preschool parents, tem porary youth shelter, and independent living which helps young adults transition to inde pendent adulthood. The SCC strengthens fami lies by providing much needed help and ensures that children are cared for, safe, and healthy.
How did you make your start in your profession? My father is an attorney, and I have always re spected and admired his work ethic and passion for his practice. I knew from the time I started my undergraduate studies at the University of Florida that I wanted to follow in his footsteps, but I never intended on practicing in Sarasota. In my last year of law school, my wife (whose family is from Sarasota), gave me a heck of a recruiting pitch and the rest is history.
What mistake in your career taught you the big gest lesson? Talking too much and listening too little. Young attorneys feel compelled to prove to clients that they are competent and knowledgeable. But if you prioritize talking over listening, you tend to miss important de tails. And it’s all about the details.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? I am deeply concerned about how hyper-partisan local pol itics have become. This has affected everything from school board races to normally quiet hos pital board races. It has created divisions in our community and even discord within political parties. The trend of politicizing local non-par tisan offices may serve special interests, but it does not serve our community
What are your favorite ways to unwind over the weekend? On the weekends, I love to unwind with my beautiful wife, Sasha, and our twoand-a-half-year-old son son, Noah. He’s my guy. You can catch us exploring the Farmers Market downtown, enjoying the view and a quick bite at Marina Jack or roaming the tree house at Selby Gardens (all before nap time, of course). And soon, we’ll have our new baby girl, due in November, joining our family.
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JOSEPH (JT) GRANO III
VICE PRESIDENT, DIGITAL MARKETING, NEXT-MARK
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. We recently launched a new digital marketing/salesforce division at Next-Mark that I spearheaded from the very beginning. This sector of the business has a great impact from a revenue perspective and ultimately was started from the ground ﬂoor.
What is your formula for success? Always work harder than your competition. There is always going to be someone smarter in the room, but having a strong work ethic is something that will always win no matter your career choice.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? The ﬁrst one being the inﬂux of new residents to Florida/Sarasota and the money they are bringing to this community. While this is a great thing for the local community, it does bring concern about infrastructure, climate change, and overall management of resources. The second topic that I have a great concern for is the local housing market. While I do have a full time career, I am also an investor in real estate. Our community has really been a go-to when looking at rising interest rates while demand and supply falls, and I’m very interested in how today’s economy will impact this.
How do you spend your time outside of work? You will normally ﬁnd me on the golf course after work or on the weekends. I just picked up the game a couple of years ago, and I love to spend time outside to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather and to get a break from looking at screens all day! Golf is a game of skill, patience, strategy, and companionship, all of which mirror my experiences in the workforce.
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. We hosted RADD for Ukraine, a fundraiser, block party, and supply drive to support the people of Ukraine. Together with our partners, we raised nearly $40,000 and over 400 boxes of much-needed supplies.
What is your formula for success? I learn from everyone I meet. There’s a world of complex, creative and talented people out there, and I want to soak up their experiences and listen to their stories. It doesn’t matter who it is—if you work to authentically listen and connect with someone you’ll walk away just a little bit smarter than you were before.
What mistake in your career taught you the biggest lesson? If you attended the PINC Experience in 2019, you may remember the guy that sat on the corner of the stage and drew the City of Sarasota skyline from memory. Well, that almost didn’t happen. His name is Stephen Wilshire, and he’s a globally recognized artist from the UK. We spent painstaking hours tracking him down and convincing him and his team to come to Sarasota to speak at PINC. In the chaos of planning, I didn’t respond to an email, which caused their team to feel unheard, which caused them to nearly pull out of PINC. Annette, Stephen’s sister, is very protective of him, and that missed email caused them to lose trust in us. There are two lessons I learned from this: Recognize your mistakes. Pick up the phone. That’s how this problem was solved: by picking up the phone, calling, being authentic about what happened, and ﬁghting like heck to get them back on our side. And now, I have his original drawing hanging on my wall (and they had a wonderful time!)
What’s your favorite podcast or YouTube channel?
It’s a tie between The New York Times Daily or Stuﬀ You Should Know. I’m a ruthless learner and love in exploring new ideas.
When things get tough, I just remember . . . do it anyways. Seriously. Things are often tough—but being worried about it doesn’t change anything. So do it anyways and if you fail, forgive yourself.
DIRECTOR OF BRAND PARTNERSHIPS, AG CREATIVE
How did you make your start in your profession? The world of social media and inﬂuencer marketing has always been fascinating to me. As a once practicing content creator in the early 2010s, I worked with brands including Home Depot, Best Buy, and American Eagle. This was long before inﬂuencer marketing became what it is today. After becoming a mom, being a content creator fell to the wayside as I focused on balancing motherhood and my career at the time. When I was approached with the opportunity to help design and initiate the inﬂuencer marketing program for AGC, it was an absolute dream opportunity. I was able to take my hobby that I once loved so deeply and turn it into a professionsomething I couldn’t turn down.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? While we have made great progress on the topic, there is still a large amount of work to be done when it comes to our Florida waters. The water quality and the way we are working to preserve our local ecosystems is something my family and I are very passionate about. The reason I moved to Florida was for the stunning beaches
and the amazing creatures that reside in them. That is something I want to help preserve for not only my children and grandchildren but for multiple generations to follow.
What is your guilty pleasure? I watch way too much Bravo TV.
When things get tough, I just remember . . . “Leave What’s Heavy Behind” It’s a song by Birdtalker that I love. The lyrics speak to facing your fears and moving forward to bigger and better things. It’s often a song I listen to when I am having a bad day or just need the reminder.
CANDICE HENRY CO-FOUNDER, ARETIOS
How did you make your start in your profession? My sister and I started our own company, Aretios, where we work as success and inﬂuence strategists teaching young professionals and entrepreneurs how to lead well and live the life they were designed for. The most meaningful aspect of what I get to do is being able to empower leaders with conﬁdence and equip them with the success strategies they need to live out their purpose and become the best version of themselves. Seeing the transformation in people’s lives is so exciting and rewarding.
Do you have any ridiculous goals in life? Personally, I think that the most exciting goals are the big ones! Some of my goals are to create a global movement of young leaders who are equipped and empowered to make a positive diﬀerence in their spheres of inﬂuence. Two causes that are very important to me are providing access to clean water and education in developing nations, and I plan to connect our business success to these causes as a way to fund projects such as building schools and wells. Another goal of mine is to write several books.
What are the top three items on your bucket list? Visit the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. Attend a ball in Vienna. Dive with whales in French Polynesia.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, CRESCENT HOTELS AND RESORTS/THE SARASOTA MODERN
Share a recent achievement for which you are most proud. I am responsible for creating and executing marketing initiatives and activation programs for the hotel. I presented an idea to my corporate executive team and general manager to implement a Sunday Funday event that would, if successful, become an event that the community could
32 | srq magazine_ DEC22 live local 35 UNDER 35 HONOREES | 2022
Left to right: Jordan Sebastiano, Arianne Kopacz, Javar Baity, Ross Johnston, Brittany Lamont, Kate De Michieli and Shylynn GamblePuckett.
look forward to each month. They gave me the go-ahead, so I started by creating fun branded content for the event to share with our community and hotel guests. From there, I strategically selected event sponsors who aligned with our brand and community values, event entertainment, and coordinated menu oﬀerings for our guests. I’m very proud of the fact that the event earned rave reviews and made the property record-breaking miscellaneous event revenue.
What’s the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic? That it is possible for one person to spend over $500 on Uber Eats within one week—I’m joking. During the pandemic, I learned how much I thrive in moments of change. Instead of focusing on the negatives or potential disappointments, I pivoted and became refreshed by the prospect of opportunity and the creativity that comes with it. I’ve always been a resilient, adaptive, and a service-oriented person, but I was surprised by my immediate shift and focus on applying my creativity, my love for community, and positive disposition to my work, my personal and professional development, and to the relationships with my friends and family.
When things get tough, I Just remember . . . that to appreciate comfort and ease, I must navigate and conquer discomfort and challenge. Just breathe, re-focus, and be ready to make pivots.
MANAGER OF VISITOR ENGAGEMENT, MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS
How and when did you know you wanted to be a leader in your ﬁeld? Realizing I could be a leader in education was a happy accident. I knew I wanted to be a leader in the education ﬁeld when I recognized I had a unique perspective on engaging audiences, sparking curiosity, and facilitating learning by combining education and entertainment. Developing this “edu-tainment” teaching style positioned me to think outside the box of traditional formal methods and resulted in expanding and bolstering my professional and community networks.
What are your favorite ways to unwind over the weekend? As the Education Manager at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, I have expanded the lifelong learning opportunities. Thanks in part to my community connections, I have made many talented friends who I have onboarded to share their amazing skills. These new classes are so interesting and the instructors are so cool that I often ﬁnd myself back at work on the weekends. And, after class, there’s always time for brunch.
What mistake in your career taught you the biggest lesson? One mistake that turned into an opportunity for growth was leaving the time to understand the dynamic of a new workplace’s environment and institutional culture. Even if you are revved up with passion for the new role, it’s important to learn how to pump the brakes and observe your surroundings before implementing change.
When things get tough, I just remember… to try to be like a sea cucumber. This anecdote highlights that, although your hard work might go unnoticed, it doesn’t mean that your job is any less important. Consider the signiﬁcant role sea cucumbers have in the marine ecosystem: they eat the detritus on the ocean ﬂoor and poop out clean sand. This analogy demonstrates to me that everyone can do something to help create a healthier environment and that we should always strive towards leaving our surroundings better than they were.
FINANCIAL CENTER LEADER, HANCOCK WHITNEY
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. A personal recent achievement is coming up on my 20 year anniversary from beating a rare bone cancer called osteosarcoma as a teenager. I found out I had cancer while playing football my freshman year of high school back in Cincinnati, Ohio. I moved to Houston, Texas, where I went through almost 2 years of chemotherapy and many surgeries. The experience has taught me countless life lessons ranging from never taking a day for granted, seeing how family and friends step up through the toughest times, and to never ever give up. A professional achievement that I am really proud of was being selected to the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2023.
What is your formula for success? I have always aligned myself with people that already are successful or people that share my desire to grow in their career ﬁeld. I often remind myself of the adage “Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.”
What is the ﬁrst job you ever held? Working for a famous restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio known for their ribs, Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Moving to Florida in my early 20s. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and would vacation to Siesta Key often as a kid. I never imagined actually living and contributing to the area that I used to vacation to, but to this day moving to Sarasota, Florida is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
What’s your favorite podcast or YouTube channel? I am one of those guys who probably takes fantasy sports a little too seriously. This time of year I’m often listening to podcasts around topics regarding fantasy football.
What movie, show or cartoon character would you like to play in real life and why? Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He seems to have the most fun of the group and besides, what’s there not to like about beating up the bad guys with nunchucks and eating pizza all day?!
What are the top three items on your bucket list? Hike the Appalachian Trail with my mom. My grandfather has stated that he wants us to do this for him since he never got the chance so we decided to start training and will be hiking it in diﬀerent increments with a Go Pro on so he can watch! I’d like to go to a Super Bowl. This would be even better if the Bengals were in it and won. I’d like to watch the USA Basketball team live in the Olympics.
When things get tough, I just remember . . . I have been through some of the toughest times and I always make it to the other side.
MENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST, CHILDREN FIRST
What is your top professional goal? To contribute long-term to the sustainable and accessible mental health program at Children First that serves the needs of our community. When I was onboarded in 2018, I was struck by the number of employees who have a tenure of 20+ years with the agency, and how the agency embraces progress and change. This was my ﬁrst job out of graduate school and I am incredibly grateful for landing at an agency that is dynamic, while also placing value on retaining their employees. I value stability without stagnancy, and I feel that Children First mirrors this. Because of this, I have been involved in the development of a mental health program that is comprehensive such that prevention, promotion, intervention, and education are the cornerstones of all initiatives. I foresee many opportunities in my time with Children First to continue to build this sustainable mental health program for vulnerable members of our community.
What is the ﬁrst job you ever held? I started my ﬁrst job just before my 15th birthday at Publix, here in Sarasota. My career at Publix spanned from 2007-2018 and took me to four diﬀerent stores between Sarasota and Orlando. During my time with Publix, I learned how to commu-
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GLOW DERMSPA BY ARSENAULT DERMATOLOGY
MELISSA BEACHY, PA-C, IS A MASTER INJECTOR AND THE DIRECTOR AT GLOW DERMSPA
BY ARSENAULT DERMATOLOGY.
Since the start of her career, Melissa has worked exclusively in aesthetic and medical dermatology. Over the last 12 years, she has established a stellar reputation for delivering beautiful results with a gentle hand and having unrivaled attention to detail. Melissa has trained under some of the most respected aesthetic injectors in the ﬁeld, and she continues to strive for excellence by staying up to date on the latest, most innovative techniques, procedures and products. Her entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen was given an opportunity to shine through when she became the Director at Glow. In her role as Director, she realized her unique skillset to understand technical medical dermatology, have a gifted hand and eye for cosmetic dermatology and understand how to grow and run a successful business. Melissa truly believes there is an art and science to beauty. She is thankful for the opportunity to lead an amazing team who seeks to help patients see, enhance and become more conﬁdent in their natural beauty.
Glow DermSpa by Arsenault Dermatology
9023 Town Center Pkwy Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 941.264.1161
“In my role as Director of Glow, I realized I was gifted in a unique way, to understand technical medical dermatology, have a gifted hand and eye for cosmetic dermatology, and understand how to grow and run a successful business.” —Melissa Beachy
nicate with others eﬀectively and respectfully, quickly problem solve, and I picked up many other organization and managerial skills.
What is your favorite dish to order for delivery? Every weekend you will ﬁnd me with either sushi or Indian food! Paciﬁc Rim and Tandoor are my favorite restaurants to order from.
CEO/PRESIDENT, LAKEWOOD RANCH BUSINESS ALLIANCE
How did you make your start in your profession? I started in the Chamber industry out of college. Throughout the past 12 years I have moved up through the ranks. The most meaningful part of my work has been working with businesses to make our community a better place. Some of the initiatives I have worked on have made positive impacts to the business community.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? Aﬀordable Housing. It continues to be the largest issue aﬀecting hiring for businesses.
Share something you did this past year to balance your work and personal life. This year, I had my 3rd baby. I continue to focus on creating a family friendly work environment for myself and my team. I work my schedule around school performances and meet the teachers. I prioritize putting my kids ﬁrst and make sure my team knows they can do the same.
LEAD SPEECH PATHOLOGIST, NEURO SPEECH THERAPY
How did you make your start in your profession? At the age of 12, I started working with children with special needs at my local martial arts studio. As a young teenager, I began working closely with my cousin with special needs to help him communicate. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be in a career of helping others and their loved ones communicate and recover from whatever it is they are going through. While attending Northwestern University, I had the privilege of training under the world-leading clinician and scientist in the ﬁeld, Dr. Bonnie Martin-Harris, and this is where my passion for medical speech pathology came to full fruition. I then began working in the south side of Chicago at a trauma 1 hospital treating some of the sickest and most injured patients in the city prior to moving to Sarasota and working at several hospitals in the area along with starting my private practice.
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I am very honored to have recently been selected to receive a grant through the Parkinson Voice Project for Speech-Language Pathology Businesses. The grant is intended to provide the resources for therapists to make specialized treatment available for those with Parkinson’s Disease. Receiving this grant has allowed me to bring a higher level of evidence-based treatment to my Parkinson’s patients in Sarasota and see life-changing improvements. One of my patients, George, came to me barely able to speak above a whisper and it was unfortunately hard for his sons and loved ones to understand him when talking. After working with him for 6 weeks doing intensive SPEAK OUT! Therapy because of this grant, he is now able to speak up clearly for the ﬁrst time in two years. George started focusing on the TV again and reading and recalling stories and books he hasn’t touched in years. And most importantly, his loved ones ﬁnd that he sounds like his old self again and George has regained his conﬁdence in his communication.
What is the ﬁrst job you ever held? My very ﬁrst job was a Martial Arts Instructor at my local Tae Kwon Do studio in Chicago, IL. From early childhood into my young adult years, I studied martial arts and rose to a Second-Degree Black Belt. My Grand Master soon had me teaching the next generation of students where I worked with a variety of students ranging from toddlers, children with special needs, to raining national champions. It was humbling to work in the place I grew up in and exciting to share my knowledge of the sport I loved.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? I am most concerned about the limited number of medical practitioners in our local healthcare system in relation to the increasing population. The inﬂux of people moving to Sarasota and Manatee Counties has resulted in a larger elderly population needing medical attention and therapy. Due to the disproportionate number of providers to patients, waitlists are growing, and more and more people are going without services and resources that are paramount to their health and recovery.
If you could compete in an Olympic sport which one would it have been? I was fortunate enough to get very close to competing in the Olympics due to my role as a dance choreographer for the USA Rhythmic Gymnastics team at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. As a professional Ballroom and Latin dancer, my background in Latin style and choreography aided in the USA team making history as the ﬁrst ever USA
rhythmic gymnastics team to ever qualify for the Olympics. If I would’ve competed myself, I would aim to compete as a ballroom dancer. Since that category has yet to be added, you would probably ﬁnd me either on the mats as a rhythmic gymnast or on the ice performing an elegant dance in pairs as an ice dancer.
Share something you did this past year to balance your work and personal life. My husband and I established a set date night each week. We picked a set evening that we could both dedicate to spending time with one another and exploring new places or restaurants since we love trying new types of cuisine. This has helped us ensure we took time away from our busy schedules to be with one another and recalibrate for the rest of our week.
SARASOTA STUDIO DIRECTOR, WANNEMACHER JENSEN ARCHITECTS
How did you make your start in your profession? I was lucky to be able to travel when I was younger and after seeing the historic buildings in Europe and the skyscrapers in big cities, I was fascinated by architecture. Studying architecture in school was thrilling and the profession is far more fulﬁlling when I see how projects can beneﬁt the community when completed. Seeing people using and enjoying spaces I’ve designed is the most meaningful aspect of my work.
What is your formula for success? What deﬁnes success? I strive to continue to learn, keep a positive and forward mindset, and to support my team, my family, and my community. In accomplishing those, success will come.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? I’ve been hearing about “quiet quitting” which I wish would lead more often to discussions about how we can ﬁnd meaning and purpose in our work. Work life balance is crucial, but I am concerned many young professionals will consider “quiet quitting” andthat cutting back from leaning in at work, won’t bring them fulﬁlment they are looking for.
What is your favorite dish to order for delivery? Anything from Spice Station – close to the ofﬁce to fuel late night brainstorming sessions!
When things get tough, I just remember . . . depending on which way you’re facing, failing can be a leap forward.
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BRIAN D. GOODRICH
PARTNER, BENTLEY GOODRICH KISON, P.A.
BRIAN GOODRICH IS A
LITIGATION LAW FIRM
ESTATE LITIGATION, AND APPEALS. He is an experienced, AV-rated commercial litigator, which is the highest peer ranking issued by Martindale-Hubbell given exclusively to attorneys who possess high ethical standards, communication skills and legal expertise. Brian has been recognized as a Florida Super Lawyer, Florida Trend Legal Elite “Up and Comer”, an “Elite Top Attorney” by SRQ Magazine and by Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. Brian’s general business litigation caseload includes representation of both plaintiffs and defendants in lawsuits involving allegations of contract breaches, disputes among shareholders or partners, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, breaches of ﬁduciary duty, fraud and various other business torts. As part of his real estate litigation practice, Brian represents plaintiffs and defendants in disputes involving real estate contracts, easements, construction litigation, lien litigation and HOA issues. He also practices in general civil and trust litigation. Bentley Goodrich Kison (BGK) regularly handles cases in state and federal court, arbitrations, and administrative hearings. BGK is frequently at the forefront of important local issues. BGK’s attorneys have extensive litigation and dispute resolution experience and have earned a reputation for being trusted, effective advocates for their clients. Recently, U.S. News – Best Lawyers® named BGK to its 2023 “Best Law Firms” list for its work in commercial and real estate litigation.
“As a litigator, I help people solve some of the most challenging problems they face in their lives. When clients come to me, they are usually at a low point and don’t know where else to turn. The fact that I can be a source of guidance and comfort to those in need is the most meaningful part of my job.”
Bentley Goodrich Kison, P.A. 783 S. Orange Ave. Third Floor Sarasota, FL 34236 941-556-9030 bgk.law
PARTNER AT BENTLEY GOODRICH KISON, AN ESTEEMED COMMERCIAL
THAT GUIDES CLIENTS THROUGH HIGH-STAKES BUSINESS AND REAL
CLINIC MANAGER, ANIMAL RESCUE COALITION
How did you make your start in your profession?
Working with professional athletes, I discovered I was ﬁnding my Graduate Assistantship at the Student Rec Center far more enjoyable than my classes. I loved problem solving daily operational concerns, mentoring the employees who reported to me, and simply learning the ins and outs of how to run a business. I ﬁnally made the tough decision to leave the PhD program in search of a professional path that would allow me to further learn and develop as a business leader. I’ve recently switched industries (from ﬁtness and wellness to non-proﬁt animal welfare), but the common thread of my professional career has remained around people and organizational development.
What is your formula for success? My formula for success starts with having a really clear idea of the ultimate goal or big picture of what I’m trying to accomplish. Having this end result in mind helps direct actions and decision making with intentionality, as well as keeping priorities at top of mind. One of my most favorite quotes is “Don’t let someone else’s urgent need automatically become your emergency”. While being a servant leader is also a huge portion of my formula for success, it’s critical as a leader to know what to focus on for the success of the team, not just for one individual. It’s also been a part of my formula to be able to maintain a calm, level head especially when team members are feeling anxious.
How do you spend your time outside of work? One of my favorite ways to spend time outside of work is being involved in the community of Sarasota - whether that’s attending an event, trying a new restaurant or participating in a service project. I love being able to support our local small businesses and I love to be active, and in particular when it’s outside: walking the Ringling Bridge or the Celery Fields, paddle boarding or kayaking in the bay.
What are the top three items on your bucket list? I’m about to cross one of my top three items oﬀ my bucket list here in the next couple of weeks by having my ﬁrst baby! I am so excited to be starting this new adventure of parenthood with my amazing husband, and am looking forward to adding a son to our little family! I am one of those rare people who love public speaking. While I’ve certainly had many experiences presenting in front of all kinds of audiences, one of my top bucket list items is to be the keynote speaker at an event. Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies—I’d like to visit every continent (so far have only made it to 3 of the 7).
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HARBORCHASE
How did you make your start in your profession?
I started in the long-term care setting at a very young age of nine. My uncle was a nursing home administrator, and he would often take me to work as an intergenerational activity’s volunteer. During this time I would craft and sing songs with his residents, I became found of the time spent with the seniors, I felt I was making valuable connections and making their days better. I also was learning lessons and hearing stories of their lives. I still ﬁnd it meaningful that I can be a part of helping create a person’s best days.
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. During the pandemic, my community has been able to obtain high occupancy census levels while other communities failed to shift to the changing playing ﬁeld. Our team was innovative, creative, and adaptive to the needs of Sarasota, and our current residents’ needs. This was a great learning opportunity, I was tested in many ways as a leader.
What is your formula for success? One of my favorite authors Rachel Hollis said, “In the absence of experience and knowledge, determination makes the diﬀerence between where you are and where you want to be.” The formula is simple, 1) Start with a positive, can do attitude. 2) Always take an opportunity to learn something new. 3) Become comfortable being uncomfortable 4) Embrace the journey and ask questions along the way.
How do you spend your time outside of work? Outside of work I enjoy quality time with my husband, John and two children, Reagan and Theodore. I enjoy attending concerts and festivals, long distance running, and traveling. A few of my hobbies have turned into part time businesses that allow for a creative outlet and my entrepreneurial spirit to ﬂourish. The ﬁrst business I own is OshBoutique, where I create custom luxury stationery for events such as weddings and the second business is Styled By Osh, custom-designed home decor.
When things get tough, I just remember . . . things happen for a reason and there is always something to be thankful for. I ﬁnd inspirational quotes and positive perspective are helpful when things get tough. It’s important to challenge yourself and control the way you respond to situations, especially when you can’t control what is happening around you. When change is necessary, it’s important to remember that if you want something you never had, you have to do something you have never done.
PARTNER COO, FAWLEY BRYANT ARCHITECTURE
How and when did you know you wanted to be a leader in your ﬁeld? I think leadership falls upon everyone at some point in their professional journey. It can happen in big moments, small moments, or when you least expect it. Whenever it happens, though, you can choose to embrace and cultivate the opportunity or walk away from it. I’ve never had that “ah-ha” moment where I decided to be a leader. I simply reacted with passion, positivity, and authentic communication when situations were thrown at me. I don’t turn down a challenge, and I stand behind my word. I work hard, strive to elevate those around me, and truly believe in the power of people. I don’t see myself as a leader in any ﬁeld but as an advocate for bringing humanity back into the workplace.
What mistake in your career taught you the biggest lesson? As a peacekeeper, I struggle with my natural impulse to avoid conﬂict. Most of the time, as I reﬂect on a mistake I’ve made or an outcome I am unhappy with, it’s because I’ve let a louder voice or more conﬁdent person trump my stance and/or eﬀorts on a project. I seem to second-guess my abilities and, more often than not, forgo my gut instant for “group think.” With the help of excellent mentors, I’m learning to believe in myself and acknowledge the value my perspective brings. No one is always right, but sometimes (I’m learning), I may have the best solution/idea/direction.
What is your favorite dish to order for delivery? Taco Bell! (Seriously so happy they brought back the Mexican Pizza.)
What is your formula for success? ((clear vision + the right people) – ego)) * ruthless positivity = success
JUVENILE JUSTICE DIRECTOR, YOUTH FOR CHRIST
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I have made a partnership with the School District of Manatee County to initiate mentor groups at four local high schools. We currently send 14 mentors to our schools to mentor over 60 students who are at risk of dropout, expulsion, and falling into the school to prison pipeline. After receiving over 75 referrals from the Department of Juvenile Justice for mentoring and probation assistance, we just created a new life coaching group for system-involved youth in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Our program will teach students how to make goals, understand ﬁnancial literacy, identify mental health cues, and learn basic life skills.
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VICE PRESIDENT OF PHYSICIAN RELATIONS AND MARKETING, US EYE
IN HER ROLE AS VICE PRESIDENT OF PHYSICIAN RELATIONS AND MARKETING
AT US EYE, Marissa is responsible for conceptualizing and leading the marketing initiatives for over 60 medical practice locations across the Southeastern United States. Having started her career seven years ago as Marketing Director at Center For Sight in Sarasota, FL, the ﬂ agship practice of US Eye, she uses her skillset and industry knowledge to amplify the marketing strategy for US Eye practices and its providers.
US Eye is patient-centric, physician-led network of premium care practices. The company experienced exponential growth over the past three years, building its reputation on an unwavering commitment to providing unsurpassed patient care and achieving premium surgical outcomes.
Marissa oversees multi-channel marketing initiatives including traditional and digital strategy development, referral marketing, collateral development, online reputation, SEO/web development, PPC advertising, public relations, copywriting and media buying for each practice location. She works closely with providers and practice administrators to help new US Eye partners achieve success, ensuring the process is results-driven, data-rich, and agile. Her enthusiasm for building the US Eye brand and enhancing its partner practices stems from an alignment with US Eye’s values: prioritizing the patient to achieve life-changing results.
Outside of work, Marissa volunteers with a variety of local organizations to positively impact Sarasota She is passionate about supporting the communities in which we live and work through encouraging individual volunteerism and corporate philanthropy.
2601 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34239
“There is no better feeling than being aligned with your company’s mission. In my role, the opportunity to support remarkable, lifechanging work is continually inspiring and invigorating.”
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? I’m concerned about high drop-out rates of students. Working with many principals, I have noticed that many youth in our area are either failing school or not showing up to school. Many feel so far behind that they don’t believe they are capable of graduating. Statistics show that students who don’t get a high school diploma or the equivalent face a higher risk of being funneled into the school to prison pipeline. High levels of recidivism are also very concerning to me. I am currently on the Advisory Board of the local Juvenile Detention Center. I work directly with students there once a week. After volunteering at the center for six months I noticed many youth repeat oﬀenders, some returning after only a couple weeks. After speaking to them, the recidivism trends are glaring: children lacking a supporting home, not having trusted adults, and gang aﬃliation (often due to the lack of healthy family bonds).
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Four years ago, my friend and I were talking about wanting to go to New Zealand. We went to check out how expensive plane tickets were and found some tickets that were extremely cheap. Without hesitation, or research we purchased them immediately. We planned for the trip to be a road trip/backpacking trip through the mountains. What we didn’t realize was the month we booked it for was the heart of their winter (opposite side of the equator and most southern city). Needless to say, it created some fun stories and intense encounters, like being stuck in a blizzard, high up on the side of a mountain or being stranded on the side of the road in a snowbank.
What is your guilty pleasure? I will always make an excuse to eat ice cream. Currently my guilty pleasure is ice cream in a churro bowl at Tide Tables or the classic vanilla scoop over a warm brownie.
VICE PRESIDENT OF PHYSICIAN RELATIONS AND MARKETING, US EYE
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. We recently rolled out a new physician relations program in a market far from Sarasota –meaning I truly had to train, lead and develop materials and processes for this practice from across the nation. Working with a newly hired staﬀ member remotely added to the challenges – I wanted to make her feel welcome, engaged and build her passion for the project, which can be diﬃcult when you are only working together on a screen and
communicating via email/phone the majority of the time. We collaborated, pivoted and found Plan A, B and even sometimes Plan C when we hit a roadblock. Scaling a business is hard work. Scaling a business or building processes from almost 1,000 miles away makes it even more complex. I’m thrilled with our progress and have learned much along the way so we can better prepare for the next time we have a similar task. Often, we go into unfamiliar projects feeling apprehensive, and when we come out on the other side we think, “Now that wasn’t too bad!” I just love that feeling!
What is your formula for success? Being true to myself and upholding my values. I believe in working hard and I stand behind my ideas and decisions. Sometimes that means having hard conversations, but those situations often result in greater respect and understanding. If I gave into the demands or expectations of others, I would not be where I am today.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Disclaimer – I am in no way a spontaneous person. However, I will say the biggest risk I ever took, which was somewhat spontaneous (for me), was moving to Florida from Connecticut. I had been talking about it with my husband (then ﬁancé) for a while and then one day, a switch just ﬂipped in my mind, and I put in my notice at my job and started packing! It was a very quick process once I made the decision. Moving here was a completely new adventure and I still remember all the feelings that came with that decision – the excitement, worry, homesickness, joy – you name it, I felt all the emotions. It was the best “hard” decision I’ve ever made.
If you could compete in an Olympic sport, which one would it have been? Gymnastics! I started doing gymnastics when I was a child and was actually pretty good. My skill on the mat led me to become a collegiate cheerleader, speciﬁcally as a tumbler, and I was part of a national championship-winning team in 2007. Very cool! But it would have been even cooler if my skill led me to the USA Women’s National Gymnastics Team!
When things get tough, I just remember . . . diamonds are made under pressure.
JERTY EVAN SAMSON
INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, DMSI DIVERSIFIED MATERIAL SPECIALISTS INC
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. Promoted as an Integrated Marketing Communications Oﬃcer for DMSI International after a month of getting hired is
one of my recent achievements that I’m proud of. They gave me the creative freedom that made me do what I love to do and more. I was able to redesign the company’s logo, branding, and all marketing documents; I took over web design and development from an outsourcing company; I was able to promote the company’s culture, products, and services through diﬀerent platforms in a more modern and relatable approach. In addition, I took the initiative of creating small side projects internally such as helping our young employees build their conﬁdence through networking; I also promoted workplace adult literacy by providing free access to books for our staﬀ.
What is your formula for success? I wouldn’t be where I am now if I remained complacent and did not persevere. My perseverance allowed me to improve personally and professionally by not letting adversities deﬁne me and by turning my wounds into wisdom.
If you could ask someone any question in the world (living or from the past), who would the person be and what would your question be? As an Asian-American, I would ask Anna May Wong what made her resilient and persevering in being able to do what she loves to do and break all the boundaries despite facing constant stereotyping and discrimination in Hollywood during her time.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? There is a lot of growth and development going on in Sarasota right now and I’m most concerned about how we can build the economy without leaving the community behind. The growing numbers of homeless people are concerning, and I think we must address that as well. Similarly, we should also focus on the preservation of our natural resources at the same time as developing new establishments. I’m always hopeful that Sarasota can be accessible for all. We can continue to build while we protect our environment and resources; we can thrive in developing aﬄuent homes while serving our community by creating aﬀordable housing.
REALTOR, SARABAY REAL ESTATE
How did you make your start in your profession?
During my time in college, I took time oﬀ to decide what route I wanted to go in terms of a degree. I went overseas and lived with my brother in Bali and interned with a homeopathic doctor. During my time there and through the internship I found out this route was not for me. My brother at the time was working on his
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first development in Bali developing a small 10 house community using local materials to build the structures such as bamboo and teak. After my internship I ended up working with him on the development and fell in love with the process of developing and selling homes. When I came back to the states I became a bro ker in Colorado and during COVID I decided to move back home and do what I love here.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? I am concerned about the cost of living in our area. It is a shame that the people that are from here are being pushed out of the area due to rising cost of rent and home ownership.
Share something you did this past year to balance your work and personal life. In my spare time I play in different sports leagues around the area, I also travel around the state taking photographs as that is my other passion.
ARTIST, SPREAD LOVE - SARASOTA
How did you make your start in your profession? Starting this profession in art was the product of pursuing an intuitive decision, and doing the work day in day out. The most rewarding as pects of what I do are the stories of how it has affected certain peoples lives in a positive way.
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I’ve recently recorded my band, Fiends, second full length album, which was about 4 years in the making.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? I’m con cerned about the growth and development of greater Sarasota transforming into something that’s too big for its britches. However, it’s fan tastic to see the blossoming of my home town. I just hope that we can keep up with the demand from the influx of traffic/population growth.
If you could dedicate your life to solving one problem, what problem would you choose? Dis solve hate with love.
FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL, TYMPANICK LAW, P.A.
How did you make your start in your profession? I started as a prosecutor in Manatee County. I tried 39 jury and non-jury trials in over 3 years working as a prosecutor including countless felonies. I found working with domestic vio lence victims incredibly rewarding.
Share a recent achievement for which you are the most proud. I tried a high profile complex dog shooting trial with only two months prep which was aired around the world.
Share with us a current topic or trend that you are concerned about at the local level? How we deal with mental illness in our criminal justice system. We do not do enough to try to fix it.
What is the first job you ever held? Fry Cook at a local seafood restaurant.
What’s your favorite podcast or YouTube channel? Conduct Detrimental. I am a bit biased because I write for them as well as often appear as a guest discussing sports criminal law issues.
What is your guilty pleasure? Hallmark Christ mas Movies. I know how each of them are go ing to end but they still bring a smile to my wife and my face every time we watch.
If you could ask someone any question in the world (living or the past), who would the person be and what would your question be? Teddy Roo sevelt. I am a huge national park buff. I would ask him what his favorite national park is.
What movie, show or cartoon character would you like to play in real life and why? Lt. Dan iel Kaffee (Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men). I must have watched that movie five hundred times in my life. I based by own trial moves on his from the final confrontation with Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson). A little secret is I often slip quotes from the movies in my real openings and closings.
DIRECTOR, TIDEWELL HOSPICE BLUE BUTTERFLY FAMILY GRIEF CENTER
How did you make your start in your profession? Before graduating from Florida Gulf Coast Uni versity with my Masters Degree in Social Work, I was a very active volunteer. I volunteered with Hope Hospice at their bereavement camp for children. I fostered relationships that shaped me for many years and still to this day, during these weekends at camp. I connected with a woman who wanted to start a children’s grief center in Fort Myers in honor of her mother who died. Before graduating with my Master’s degree she offered me a full time job to run the new program. I was the organization’s first and only employee, and it was completely paid for by a community grant from a foundation who believed in our mission of serving grieving children. I worked harder than I ever thought possible. I also learned what to do and what not
to do from the leaders around me, which ulti mately made me into the fierce young profes sional leader I am today. The most meaningful part of work back then, and still remains true today is the small impact I have the opportu nity to make on every client, child, teen, adult, and family I get invited to work with. I meet people at their worst, on the worst day of their lives, and yet, I am so overjoyed that I get to be a part of it. I get to help that child or adult find joy again, find peace again, and it is so meaning ful to me. I may only be one piece of their grief journey, but I have never forgotten any of my clients, they are all so important to me.
What mistake in your career taught you the biggest lesson? I have found that my biggest strength is also my biggest weakness—my pas sion and my dedication. At times I find myself in a situation that due to my big passion for a sub ject, the topic of a situation that I have a tough time letting go, accepting change or direction. I had to learn this hard lesson about 4 years ago, when I left my job in Fort Myers to move to Sarasota for my current job. I didn’t know it at the time but it was the most influential move of my life. It helped me find my self-worth, find my future husband and my dream job!
DIRECTOR OF MUSEUM EXPERIENCE, THE BISHOP MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND NATURE
How and when did you know you wanted to be a leader in your field? I’ve always found myself assuming leadership roles, something I attrib ute to 13 years of basketball. But knowing that I wanted to be a leader in the museum field only cemented itself a few years ago. I joined an in ternal team that was creating exhibitions, and I fell in love with that process. Turning an idea into an experience that people enjoy is incred ibly fulfilling. It also comes with immense re sponsibility. Museums are trusted institutions. The stories we choose to tell, and how we tell them, carry a lot of weight. I feel so fortunate to share my love of science with our community in fun and engaging ways. I am also honored to be in a position where I can elevate other women in STEM—there still aren’t enough of us. I current ly have a team of four, myself, and three brilliant, passionate women whom I feel so lucky to work with. Honestly, the best part of my job is work ing with folks who are just as weird and nerdy as I am. I feel like I finally found my people.
What’s the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic? The most unex pected lesson I learned is the power of turning fear into action. When the world shut down
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in March 2020, the museum closed too. We were bombarded with stories of massive layoﬀs and museums closing around the world; I was fearful that I would lose my job too. Amid that fear, I took a risk and started a business for the ﬁrst time in my life. Not only did I start a business, but I started a business in a ﬁeld I knew nothing about–machine embroidery. All I knew was that I loved embroidery and saw a need for subtly nerdy adult clothing. So, I researched, bought a machine, created designs, and in July 2020, opened Lit Cactus Embroidery on Etsy. And something amazing happened—it took oﬀ. It has been incredible to watch this seed of an idea grow into something I am so proud of over the past two years. And without that initial jolt of fear, I don’t know I would ever have started it.
Do you have any ridiculous goals in life? Yes! I want, more than anything, to ride in a research submersible. I’ve always been fascinated by deep sea animals; getting the chance to dive down and see them in person is at the top of my list. Most people want to go to space; I want to go to the bottom of the ocean.
DR. CONNOR WOLFE CHIROPRACTOR, THE WELLNESS WAY - SARASOTA
How did you make your start in your profession? Through most of my three-and-a-half years at chiropractic school, I was certain that I wanted to work with athletes to some degree. It started as a fantasy of wanting to work for a professional sports team, to wanting to work with college athletes, and then transformed into the desire to help high school athletes and everyday people move and function better to set them up for success in all aspects of their lives. After graduating chiropractic school, I moved to Panama City Beach where I worked for another chiropractor in a pain management and personal injury clinic. I found out very quickly that this was not the way that I wanted to practice. I began spending every free moment of my day studying material from The Wellness Way on normal anatomy, physiology, and how the body was designed to function and how we could help people restore that normal function through chiropractic, lifestyle modiﬁcation, and nutritional supplementation I have spent the last two years of my career learning as much as I can about lab testing, nutritional supplementation, and how
to help people with things like thyroid conditions, auto immunity, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and much more. I am incredibly fulﬁlled knowing that I am able to help people regain their health and get their lives back in a way that nobody else has been able to in the past!
Share something you did this past year to balance your work and personal life. I found that over the summer I was so busy with the buildout of the new oﬃce and seeing patients, that I was neglecting my own health and ﬁtness goals and I started to feel the eﬀects of that both physically and emotionally. I had always known that physical ﬁtness and exercise was up at the top of my priority list but I wasn’t actually prioritizing it in my life and it was taking a toll on me.I made the decision about three months ago to get my workouts in ﬁrst thing in the morning and have been going to the gym at 7am on a regular basis. Not only do I feel better starting my day and have more energy, but I also have time after work to spend more time with my ﬁancée, take care of work, and relax. This was a very simple change but has made a big impact in my life and it is not something that I will ever go without doing in the future! SRQ
EARLY CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST, CHILDREN FIRST
COUNSELOR ARIANNE KOPACZ serves as an Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist for Children First, the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services in Sarasota County. In her role, Ms. Kopacz supports a program-wide culture promoting the mental health and social and emotional well-being of children and families. Previously she worked as a Family Advocate for the agency, supporting parents and caregivers in setting and meeting ﬁnancial, educational, and occupational goals to strengthen overall family well-being. Ms. Kopacz holds multiple licenses and certiﬁcations such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trust-Based Relational Intervention Caregiver, and Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator. She is also rostered in child parent psychotherapy. She is a member of several community organizations including Zero to Three, the Florida Association of Infant Mental Health, and the Florida Mental Health Counselor Association. Ms. Kopacz holds an MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida.
1723 N Orange Avenue Sarasota, FL 34234 941-953-3877 childrenﬁrst.net
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PRESIDENT/CEO, LAKEWOOD RANCH BUSINESS
BRITTANY LAMONT IS THE PRESIDENT/CEO OF THE LAKEWOOD RANCH BUSINESS ALLIANCE, a 600+ business organization focused on supporting businesses in the Manatee and Sarasota region. Before her current role, she spent over a decade at the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Starting as an intern, she worked through various positions leading to the Vice President role focused on membership retention, engagement, events and communications. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Marketing and Management. Brittany is active member of the community serving as a Board Member for the Early Learning Coalition, Take Stock in Children Sarasota County, and the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation. She is a past Board Member of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals, the Florida Public Relations Association, and American Advertising Federation. Brittany’s most rewarding role is being a mother to her three children – Payton, Harper and David. Her weekends are spent enjoying time with family and friends.
JOSEPH “JT” S. GRANO, III
VICE PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL MARKETING,
JOSEPH “JT” S. GRANO, III, IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL MARKETING AT NEXT-MARK, LOCATED IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA. JT collaborates with businesses locally and nationally in bridging the gap between marketing communications and CRM software. His ability to customize and manage end-to-end Salesforce implementations has helped Next-Mark increase its revenue and build new levels of engagement with clients. JT graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN where he double majored in marketing and ﬁnance. Before joining Next-Mark, he gained corporate experience in IT project management, marketing communications and also worked in professional sports with the Indiana Pacers. JT grew up in Sarasota, attending the Out of Door Academy. When he’s not helping clients maximize their reach and proﬁts, you can ﬁnd JT on the golf course, at home with his wife, Nicole, or leading the Next-Mark team at downtown Sarasota’s Fresh Fridays events.
8430 Enterprise Circle #140 Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 941-757-1664 lwrba.org 40 South Pineapple, Suite 100 Sarasota, Florida 34236 Oﬃce: 941.544.2765 941.929.3104