SRQ Magazine | December 2022

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35 under 35 honorees


We are thrilled to recognize this year’s 35 Under 35 Honorees representing the young professional cadre in our region. The 2022 honorees include business professionals, innovators, creatives, en trepreneurs, philanthropists and community leaders who have dis tinguished themselves in their fields. These individuals are thriving in our region and leading the way for the next generation. Produced by SRQ Magazine | Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.

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Four adjoining walls may make a space inhabitable, but after evolving through the design process realized buildings become activated with purpose and narrative. Celebrating the year’s most impressive mul tiunit and multistory projects, the 4WALLS Visionary Design Com petition recognizes the region’s built portfolio with the 4WALLS Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards. Produced by SRQ Magazine

Resilient Retreat held its grand opening luncheon this past November, featuring their keynote speaker, actress Ashley Judd. With an acting career has spanned three decades, Judd is an outspoken advocate for gender equality, mental health, and women’s rights and has been in creasingly active in humanitarian work around the world. Since 2004, Judd has traveled to 22 countries, sharing with others her experiences and mental health journey. Interview by Dylan Campbell

new views on aging


People are living longer and better than ever, thanks in part to the latest and greatest senior living communities and social gathering spots pop ping up across the country and right here in our own little paradise. We go behind-the-scenes to the experiences in our region for local senior residences and community centers helping to keep our seniors living their best lives. Written by Barbie Heit | Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.

Contents december 2022
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Two local brothers are making waves to clean our local waters with their nonprofit organization, Oyster Boys Conservation. Tracking trends in sustainable home building has been a decades-long passion of Michael Halflants, FAIA, an award-winning design principal with the Tampa/Sarasota firm Halflants + Pichette.

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Realize Bradenton partners with hundreds of dedicated volunteers and sponsors to put on Bradenton Blues Festival, the city’s flagship event.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year and our Holiday Gift Guide is orna-meant to be the best one yet, bringing out your holiday spirit from head to mistletoe. This year, SRQ editors have sourced some of the most unique and special picks from local boutiques.

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Deep Lagoon along with Phelan Family Brands has become a force in the local dining scene. The search for authentic Mexican cooking—and culture—runs through La Primavera.

What happens when a group of Children First philanthropists present a community challenge to better the lives of children and families? The community steps up. In a big way.

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We get personal with Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO of The Hermitage Artist Retreat. So sit back and relax with a big bowl of ice cream and a can of Pepsi Zero to learn about what makes this creative leader tick.

Cover: The Oyster Boys share their mission for cultivating a healthy bayfront ecosystem, photography by Wyatt Kostygan. Previous page: Meet this year’s 35 Under 35 Award Honorees starting on page 25, photography by Wyatt Kostygan. This page clockwise: The Oyster Boys, photography by Wyatt Kostygan; Michael Halflants on the density as a solution to sustainability, photography by Wyatt Kostygan; and, Deep Lagoon’s tripletail rubbed with sweet chili and spices, image courtesy of Deep Lagoon.

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EDITORIAL ASSOCIATE Dylan Campbell Ariana Kolesar

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS + ARTISTS Kevin Allen, Andrew Fabian, Phil Lederer, Chris Leverett, Jacob Ogles, Kate Wight






SUBSCRIBE@SRQME.COM 941-365-7702 x2


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/SRQDAILY


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.


331 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 | Phone 941-365-7702 SRQMAG.COM / @SRQMAG

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT AND DIGITAL EDITION Join our readers in the pleasurable experience of receiving SRQ magazine in your mailbox every month during season and bimonthly during the summer. To reserve your subscription, provide your information and payment online. You can set up multiple addresses, renewals and special instructions directly through your online account. When you subscribe online, your first print issue will arrive in your mailbox in 6-10 weeks. Subscribe online at SRQMAG.COM/SUBSCRIBE. Contact us via email at Vol. 25, Issue 250 Copyright © 2022 SRQ MEDIA. SRQ: Live Local | Love Locall. Sarasota and Bradenton Area is published 10 times a year. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The entire contents of SRQ are copyrighted by Trafalger Communications, Inc. Column and department names are property of Trafalger Communications, Inc. and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION: Subscriptions to SRQ are $36 for 20 issues. Single copies are $4 at area newsstands.




Two local brothers are making waves to clean our local waters with their nonprofit organization, Oyster Boys Conservation. Barbie Heit

WHEN SUNCOAST NATIVES Dom and Vince Marino learned about the high rate of manatee death in Florida waters, they decided to take action. Early this year, the brothers began Oyster Boys Conservation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cleaning local waters with a little help from some oysters. Vertical oyster gardens (VOGs), the Marinos discovered, were one of the fastest and most effective ways to have a positive impact on their environment and so their ultimate goal is to have every dock in Sarasota bay equipped with some sort of living dock mechanism like vertical oyster gardens.

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“Vertical oyster gardening is like building affordable housing for those in need,” according to co-founder and president, Dom Marino. “Baby oyster larvae float through the water column looking for somewhere to land and call home. Residential seawalls and inshore dredging have reduced the amount of possible housing opportunities for these oyster spats to land and grow. Most of the 1,101 manatees that died in 2021 died of starvation. Seagrass growth is impaired because of harmful nutrient density and sediments in the water column, oftentimes reducing the amount of sunlight able to reach the seagrass causing it to die. Oysters are continually filtering both sediments and runoff nutrients like nitrogen out of the water column. Adult oysters can filter 50 gallons of polluted saltwater each day. VOGs create micro habitats for smaller shrimps, fishes and crustaceans positively impacting the food web.”

The first project for the Oyster Boys included placing 100 VOGs on their home dock on Blackburn Bay south of Spanish Point. Since Midnight Pass closed in the 80's, that region of the bay does not receive the necessary tidal exchange from the Gulf Waters. This lack of flow means the storm runoff stays within this part of the bay system, limiting the quality of life for marine species. The VOGs house the filter feeders that can combat that nutrient and sediment pollution, making the bay a healthier place. And since the VOGs don’t touch the seafloor, there is no need for a permit. “As long as the owner of the dock gives permission, we are in good shape,” says Dom.

The main goal of Oyster Boys Conservation is to restore the oyster population within Florida waterways. The more oysters put in the water, the healthier the waterways will become. Their means of accomplishing that is through awareness, education and volunteer recruitment. The most valuable volunteers recruited to date, according to Dom, are the assisted living residents at Heritage Oaks of Englewood. They spend their time stringing up the shells for the vertical oyster gardens, bringing them a sense of purpose as they're able to serve their greater community while helping to save the lives of manatees.

Participants and supporters of the mission are able to gain access to Club Manny, the web3 digital community. “Club Manny can be compared to a digital country club,” says Dom. “Only country club members gain access to the club house restaurant and the greens. Only Club Manny Members gain access to our digital community of like-minded individuals who give a dang about protecting Florida.” This digital community serves as home to applicable education and certifications, exclusive raffles, and private events. The organization uses non-fungible tokens (NFT) digital

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collectibles as membership passes, earning members opportunities to free raffles and invitations to private events and education. NFT collectors have sent $37B to marketplaces in 2022 so far. Utilizing blockchain technology and social currency with NFTs has allowed the group to fundraise and educate at a global scale.

The second piece of the Oyster Boys authentic approach to protecting Florida will be to bring to life their concept of restoration stations. They currently have sights set on two preserved waterfront properties that they plan to practice both regenerative oyster gardening on shorelines as well as sustainable farming techniques like permaculture on land while remaining open to the public for agritourism advancements. “Imagine an old Florida approach to a scientific and educational Disney World,” says Dom. “The Florida Department of Agriculture's ‘Fresh From Florida’ program has been instrumental in guiding and helping us develop this plan to emphasize the importance of responsibly caring for our homeland.”

The Marino brothers were born in East Bradenton. They moved to Siesta Key in grade school, then to Osprey three years later, where they reside today. There are two other co-founders on the team, Kristopher Harris and Skyler Windmiller. Kristopher serves as external strategy consultant for the team. Skyler is the marketing director and secretary for the organization.

He resides in Kansas City, KS. Newcomer Matt Demasi in Venice fulfills the group’s treasurer duties as CFO. The group is made up of very determined young men, with young being the key word. Each team member is 27 or 28 years old with the exception of field operations manager, Vince Marino who is only 21.

According to Dom and Vince, Hurricane Ian has further emphasized the urgency for more oysters in our waterways. It's been suggested by the aquaculture scientific community that much of the flooding that was seen in Fort Myers could have been severely reduced if the natural boundaries still were in place and not developed for urban use. Mangroves and oyster beds have proven to mitigate shoreline erosion through wave attenuation. The contaminants washed into the flood waters from Hurricane Ian not only inflamed flesheating bacteria but also sparked a red tide bloom. “The fact of the matter is that oysters naturally filter both of these threats with each breath they take, hour after hour, day after day, and they are happy to do it,” says Dom.

“We will constantly be seeking people willing to volunteer their dock for VOG installation as well as drillers ready to drill some oyster shells,” says Dom. “Monetary donations are encouraged so that we can prepare this defense system as more and more people move to Florida each day.” SRQ

This page: The Oyster Boys encourage everyone to visit their website and sign up for their newsletter at

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This page: Michael Halflants at his studio, Halflants + Pichette: 1350 Fifth St., Sarasota, 941-365-1820, halflantspichette. com.




FAIA—a principal with the Tampa/Sarasota firm, Halflants + Pichette. This past September, he shared his insights at the Interior Design Society (IDS) Environmental Design Conference: Green Building, Healthy Lives! on the New College of Florida campus. The event brought together local and national green building experts, and inspired participants to build better structures and achieve more eco-conscious lifestyles. Halflants served on a panel called “Design for Sustainability and Environment,” sponsored by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and focused on the topic of “Sustainable Density.” He joined two other speakers: landscape architect David Young, who discussed “Environmental Landscape Design”; and interior designer Sarit Marcus, who talked about “How to Create an Eco-friendly, Healthy Home.” Halflants sat down with us for a Q&A after the conference.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN. Championing Sustainable Structures. Abby Weingarten MICHAEL HALFLANTS,


MICHAEL HALFLANTS: I’ve been teaching a course on tropical architecture at the University of South Florida for about 20 years. I started teaching and learning about this topic to figure out how to best build in accordance with the wonderful environment that we typically have here in Florida. But one thing that has been of interest to me more lately is designing housing projects (like condos and apartments) as opposed to designing single-family houses; it is far more sustainable. A singlefamily house (even with solar panels and all of the best technologies available) in the end can’t compete with a condo that is downtown and within walking distance of all of the services. When you’re building condos, you end up spending a lot fewer resources than you would on a single-family house, both during construction and during the life of the project. A lot of my discussion at the Green Building conference was about that, and it was timely because the city was just deciding whether to raise the density limits for Sarasota, which I was in favor of. Many of the building issues we have in the states and worldwide could be improved if we went away from the model of single-family lots.



MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF SUSTAINABLE BUILDING? HALFLANTS: In Sarasota County, 76 percent of households consist of one or two people, yet most of what’s on the market is living spaces with three bedrooms or more. When the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce surveyed young professionals, almost 80 percent of them stated that they wanted to live in an apartment and 62 percent of them said they were hoping to find a one- or two-bedroom apartment. If a municipality restricts the number of residential units per acre to an unreasonably low number, as the city of Sarasota does, it encourages the construction of large condominiums to the exclusion of all others. It’s neither sustainable nor equitable to build an entire city of luxury units. The average unit size should be in the range of 1,200 square feet rather than 4,000. A smaller footprint will use less resources to build and bring more residents in close proximity to restaurants and work. Higher density generates less traffic and a smaller carbon footprint per resident. Many municipalities around the country are subjected to a zoning code that makes it difficult to create smaller units, even though they are more sustainable to build and more inviting to a diverse

population in terms of income, age and background. These codes can be described as exclusionary zoning where one is excluding potential buyers who can’t afford an enormous unit. It’s not really possible to create affordable units unless we allow for higher density.


HALFLANTS: I enjoyed talking about how, in the U.S., land development is growing twice as fast as population growth. In terms of the global population, we’re already spending resources faster than can be sustained, and it’s something that needs to be addressed. I very much like the idea that there are events like the Green Building conference that bring people together to discuss these topics. I was on a panel with a landscape architect who talked about how you can do more with sustainable yards in terms of water harvesting, and also someone who talked about the best sustainable materials to use for construction. I talked about green building in a different light, in terms of how we live and how that has an impact on where we live, but these are all really important points that come together to address the same goal. SRQ

srqist 20 | srq magazine_ DEC22 live local PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.


On what was previously a 100-year-old ranch now stretches a private village with a distinct hometown feel – and an impeccable custom home that embraces the beauty of Southwest Florida heritage.

Star Farms at Lakewood Ranch, the newest development located in the nation’s best-selling multigenerational community, perfectly blends hardwood preserves and serene lakefront with premier resort-style amenities primed for family generations to experience an exhilarating life. And these breathtaking features are what ultimately surround the Solstice Inspiration Home, Lee Wetherington Homes’ forward-thinking take on modern ranch-style architecture, expected to be completed in late 2022.

Located in Star Farms’ Discover neighborhood, the single-story Solstice intertwines exquisite curb appeal with the true elegance of a spacious oor plan and endless entertainment options. A vast outdoor lanai seamlessly transitions into innovative living spaces, separated only by disappearing glass doors. And with versatility at the forefront of the Solstice, this stunning design is capable of transforming its third suite, bathroom, den and bonus room into a oor plan t for multigenerational living – and much more.

A primary suite designed to discover tranquility. An optional wine room catered to homeowners’ discerning tastes for ne styles. A grand room with 12-foot ceilings and intricate details abound. For Lee Wetherington Homes, the Solstice is a shining example of what “consistency” can create. is consistency – a mastery of what makes a custom home last a lifetime – is the canvas for art now coming to life in Star Farms.

941.922.3480 | 7590 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34240 |


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. PRESENTING SPONSOR Left to right: Marissa Rossnagle, Matthew Tympanick, Christian Daum, Hallie Harris, Jessie Bonner, Joseph “JT” Grano, III and Olivia D’amico




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.



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.



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!”


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.



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.



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.


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!”



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!




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.



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.


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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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.


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.


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.



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

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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.


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.



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.



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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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.


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.


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.



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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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.”

—Brian Goodrich

Bentley Goodrich Kison, P.A. 783 S. Orange Ave. Third Floor Sarasota, FL 34236 941-556-9030



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).


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.



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



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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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.

US Eye

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.”
—Marissa Rosnagle

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.


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.


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.



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.



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.



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.



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!



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.


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





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

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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, 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 40 South Pineapple, Suite 100 Sarasota, Florida 34236 Office: 941.544.2765 941.929.3104


WHAT SHOULD PROPERTY OWNERS BE TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN CHOOSING A LISTING AGENT? Results. You want to work with someone who can assist you in achieving your desired result, which is selling or leasing your property. The pillars of a solid broker are a tenacious work ethic,experience,andresponsiveness.Mixinadashofcreativity and you’re on the road to success.

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culture city


Since 2012, the local nonprofit organization Realize Bradenton has been putting its city on the map with the Bradenton Blues Festival. Dylan Campbell

This page: Ana Popovic courtesy of Realize Bradenton, photo by Ruben Toma.

culture city

THROUGHOUT THE 1900s, while the people of this nation were racially segregated, African-American musicians came to a small city on the Manatee River to play the Blues. The venue was a juke joint dubbed the Palms, part of the “Chitlin’ Circuit”, a stretch of performance venues across the United States safe for African-Americans during the era of Jim Crow.

A century or so later, Blues musicians of all ethnicities are still flocking to Bradenton, Florida, every December for the annual Bradenton Blues Festival. “We’re booked for 150 shows a year,” says award-winning festival headliner Ana Popovic, a Serbianborn Blues singer and guitarist of her touring band. “We have to determine if a venue is something interesting to do. We say a lot of nos and this was definitely not a no. We’re excited to come play and bring our cool, groovy sound to an awesome audience.”

The festival, which has been produced by the local nonprofit organization Realize Bradenton since its inception in 2012, has become a calling card for the little city that could. “The history of Blues music in Bradenton is a really important piece in time. We wanted the festival to be able to celebrate a part of our past that is relatively unknown,” says Andrea Knies, Director of Communications and Community Engagement at Realize Bradenton. “To be able to celebrate them with the Blues musicians we have now is pretty neat.”

Thus came the inspiration for the annual Bradenton Blues Festival. “The Blues Festival came out of this idea of trying to find a unique way to not only bring together the local community but also to bring people from outside the area to discover Bradenton,” says Knies. “We wanted a distinct attraction that could generate outside attention to provide an economic stimulant as well.” Over the years, the Festival has become a nexus point for Bradenton to come together. It’s not just an annual event, but something that those who are a part of it need.

In 2020-21, when the Festival wasn’t able to be held at its usual location due to the pandemic, the Bradenton Riverwalk, Realize

Bradenton worked with LECOM Park, the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, to erect a stage inside the ballpark and hold the event. “It was not an easy task, but so many people needed it–those moments of being together that the blues fest provides to the community,” says Knies. “Over the years, it has grown to be such a beloved event, a huge part of community building for us is the support that we receive from our volunteers. We have volunteers who have been a part of it since the inaugural festival. The people of Bradenton are very proud of their town and want to show off how great it is when people come to visit.”

This year, the Blues Festival is back at the Bradenton Riverwalk, and features a diverse

two bands to perform as “Blood Brothers.” The three-piece Blues and Southern Rock group, The Gabe Tillman Band, will kick off the Festival on Friday night and the genre-bending, harmonicainfused Americana from Dustin Arbuckle and the Damnations will bookend the event on Sunday morning.

Organizing the Festival, which attracts around 3,000 audience members, some hailing from as many as 30 different states, is quite the undertaking. “A lot of work goes into it. It’s a paid event and we use an open public space, so in addition to all of the things that go along with a normal festival

lineup of some of the top blues musicians from across the country playing over the first weekend in December. In addition to Popovic, the festival will include the modern roots music of the Australian-born Harper and Midwest Kind, a familial tradition of Zydeco music with Dikki Du & the Zydeco Krewe, the traditional blues of Nora Jean Wallace, and a contemporary take on the genre with Lady A. Individual performances

like ticket sales and promotional materials, we also have to set up gates, fencing, and security,” says Knies. “We need to carve out space for the local food trucks and crafts people as well. Ensuring that the timing of everything is perfect is perhaps the biggest challenge of all.”

All of it, however, wouldn’t be possible without the 140-odd dedicated volunteers who put the Festival into motion. After all,

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from famed Blues Musicians Albert Castiglia and Mike Zito will culminate in the joining of their
“the history of blues music in bradenton is a really important piece in time. We wanted the festival to be able to celebrate a part of our past that is relatively unknown.”
— Andrea Knies

Realize Bradenton is not some massive nonprofit organization but rather a fivewoman team. “They’re working in all facets of the festival from ticket scanning, to selling merchandise and bartending,” says Knies. “If anyone ever saw our run sheets throughout those two days they’d be shocked, because it’s just this huge excel spreadsheet on our phones that we have to work through. It takes a village.” The best part? All of the proceeds go back to that village at the end of the Festival. They help fund various arts and music programs for Bradenton’s youth, such as Blues in the Schools.

“Usually one of the bands or musicians that’s performing at the Festival will visit Manatee High School. They’ll do jam seshes with the students and talk about their career as a musician – last year they did a history of the blues and why it’s important.

Sometimes, certain students will even be brought on stage to play with them during the festival,” says Knies. The program provides a rare opportunity for students in the music program, a chance to interact with a professional musician, such as Ana Popovic, and learn about the realities of their profession, an interaction they typically wouldn’t have.

“I’ve been touring for 20 years and still love it. We love the fact that we’re in a different city every morning–it’s just exciting, you get to visit places you’ve never been before, you find a cool coffee place, you find a cool wine bar, and you get to see how people live in different places,” says Popovic, an awardwinning blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and headliner of the Bradenton Blues Festival. “And when I’m home, I’m a soccer mom, I’m a water polo mom, I’m a tennis mom and we’re sewing, we’re doing makeup, we’re getting

ready for some school performances. So I just love that. I love the switch. You’ll never find me in a bar in the evening here, because it’s just family time all the way.”

It’s an experience that has proven vital to the education of Bradenton’s youth. “What we’ve found after doing this for 11 years is that a lot of those students that have that experience aren’t necessarily going on to become professional musicians, but do find inspiration in hearing these stories of pursuing one’s passion. It becomes so much bigger than just the focus on a single profession.” SRQ The Bradenton Blues Festival takes place at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavillion at Rossi Park from Friday, December 2 to Saturday, December 3, 2022.

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This spread: Photos by Michael Bartley, courtesy of Realize Bradenton

HEARTFELT HOLIDAYS It’s the most wonderful time of the year and our Holiday Gift Guide is orna-meant to be the best one yet, bringing out your holiday spirit from head to mistletoe! This year, SRQ editors have sourced some of the most unique and special picks from local sellers, sure to provide heartfelt gift ideas for the ones you love (or yourself!) and bring a smile to your face, helping you ring in 2023 in SRQ style.


Burnished Leather Cowboy Bootie, Brown, $75, Pineapple Lain, 407 S Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, 941-3308771; Rattan Lattice Glasses, $15, Stainless Steel Cheese Knives, $35, Mercantile Home & Apparel, 468 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota,(941) 3880059; Blue + White

Ceramic Charcuterie Board, $42, Wood Heart Tassel, $14, Soulucean Clutch, $70, Surf Durt Mineral Sunscreen, $25, Marmalade Salon & Boutique, 3617, 1927 S Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-362-0276; Surf Board Wax, $3, Compound Boardshop, 3604 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, 941-552-9805.


OPPOSITE PAGE: BY THE WATER Compound Skate SRQ Deck, $45, Abel Fly Reel, $1,395, Compound Boardshop, 3604 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, 941-552-9805; YETI Sidekick Dry Waterproof Gear Bag, $50, Nomad Lure, $30, Nomad Lure, $20, Skinny Water Culture Premium Pliers, $60, Costa Sunglasses, $273, Economy Tackle/Dolphin Paddlesports 6018 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941- 922-9671. THIS PAGE: DAY AT THE BEACH YETI Camino 35 Carryall Tote Bag, $130, Compound Boardshop, 3604 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, 941-552-9805; Books that top the Gift Giving List—Confidence Man: the Making of Dona, $32, Horse, $28, Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, $33, My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives, $28, Passenger, $30, Song of the Cell, $33, Bookstore 1, 117 S Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, (941) 365-7900; Baobab Max 16 Eden Garden, $165, Pecky Interiors, 100 Central Ave #1026, Sarasota, (941) 957-0300.

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THIS PAGE: GLITTERING NEW YEAR’S EVE Esme Sequin Top Bisque, $99, Ally Ultra High Straight Gray Area, $69, Modern Soul Boutique, 59 S Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, (941) 260-5744; Corkcicle 25oz Canteen, $40, Compound Boardshop, 3604 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, 941-552-9805; Shell Mosaic Shaker, $98, Mercantile Home & Apparel, 468 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, 941-388-0059; WY 802970 Gigi Martini Glasses, $255, Pecky Interiors, 100 Central Ave #1026, Sarasota, 941-957-0300. OPPOSITE PAGE: COASTAL CHIC ACCESSORIES Teak Poured Candle, $40, Graffiti srq, 1818 Main St, Sarasota, 941-928-2757; The Mollymuttbed Dog Duvet, $45, Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Sarasota, 1129 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-203-8334; ALOHA Small Pouch Delos, $32, ALOHA Small Pouch Pa’ina, $32, Compound Boardshop, 3604 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, 941-552-9805; Shell Hoop Earrings, $14, Rattan Coasters, $12, Marmalade Salon & Boutique, 3617, 1927 S Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-362-0276; Emmie Clutch, $58, Matisse East End Woven Mule Ivory, $90, Modern Soul Boutique, 59 S Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, 941-260-5744; Jan Barbogolio 1450 Card Box, $240, Pecky Interiors, 100 Central Ave #1026, Sarasota, 941-957-0300.

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THIS PAGE: SWEETHEART French Connection Nika Half Zip, $148, T.Georgiano’s Boutique, 1409-B 1st St, Sarasota, 941-870-3727; 16 Pieces Noela Signature Boxes, $35, Noela Chocoaltes, 1401 1st St., Sarasota, 941-284-2671; Carved Mango Wood Trinket Tray, $18, Marmalade Salon & Boutique, 3617, 1927 S Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-362-0276; Sahara Gold Link Earrings, $58, Gold Crescent Ring, $28, Gold Opal Ring, $28, Gold With Black Accent Ring, $28, Modern Soul Boutique, 59 S Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, 941-260-5744; Macarons, 6 count box, $15, le Macaron, 362 St. Armands Cir., Sarasota, 941-552-8872.

Four adjoining walls may make a space inhabitable, but a er evolving through the design process realized buildings become activated with purpose and narrative. Celebrating the year’s most impressive multiunit and multistory projects, the 4WALLS Visionary Design Competition recognizes the region’s built portfolio with the 4WALLS Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards. PRODUCED BY SRQ MEDIA | WE RECOGNIZE AND CELEBRATE ALL OF THIS YEAR’S 4WALLS ENTRANTS



DSDG Architects


KAST Construction


MK Equity Corp.

Interior Design

DSDG Architects

Structural Engineer

Snell Engineering Consultants

Mechanical Engineer

Quest Design Group

Landscape Architect David W. Johnston Associates

Civil Engineer

A.M. Engineering


Revered for its urban setting and coveted for its relaxed, yet sophisticated design and feel. From its earliest concept stage, the project has been planned and designed to inspire passion and evoke special emotions. The boutique residences highlight the very essence of Sarasota’s cultural and artistic community. Located in the heart of Sarasota, across the street from the Public Library and Five Points Park, The Collection is situated to focus its attention and prominence into the downtown core. Reflecting the city’s culture onto its resident’s aura like the Opera House reflects on its glass. To preserve an urbanist concept of a walkable city, the main lobby and pedestrian entry is on a primary street frontage. The vehicular building access is opposite on a rear alley to maintain an unobstructed street frontage. There will be no parked cars cluttering the primary street, no valet, nothing to disrupt the walkability from the condominium doors into the city. Simplicity and honesty in materials are paramount in design. Board-formed concrete, aluminum storefront, and a glass canopy are the raw materials tangible at ground level. Custom light fixtures precast into the concrete wall accentuate the texture of the vertical concrete feature. Pure white stucco and an energy efficient bluegreen glass are the key materials on the tower volume. Balcony and recessed areas are featured and warmed with wood elements. The glass façades and overall massing of the tower are skewed to extract an allure toward Sarasota Bay. The angle and wrapping of the glass does not pigeon hole the view in a singular direction, offering an opportunity to relax with a liquid background.

PLATINUM Residential Building


The crown site on Golden Gate Point, the first full elevation visible from the entry promenade represents the Evolution of building design on the peninsula. We see a new mix of modern, and contemporary buildings popping up on the man-made landmass. Starting ten years ago, the small one and two-story buildings started to come down to make way for new, shining towers. Signifying Sarasota’s growth and cultural change, the Evolution Condominium transforms the architectural style of the whole neighborhood. The Evolution features twenty new condominium units spread on 8 levels above a parking plinth. Ultimately a rectangular building and tower, the balconies are the dramatic element as each level alternates proud facets for an active elevation filled with glass, shadow, and abundant light. Each balcony cantilevers to a point at the outmost corner of the building when the next floor above or below is the opposite with the cantilevered point in the center spine of the building. The spine is also the spring point for each floor slab, the only vertical element in the façade as each slab to slab is filled with glass to open residents to light, nature, and inversely a glowing volume at night. Materiality is important too, how the building sits and its acceptance into nature. In a city setting it is hard to get a natural setting. To achieve this, we left a large green area on the front setback as a buffer from the road and traffic. The area will be filled with tall grasses, lush tropical flowers in planter beds, meandering walking paths, and creeping vine wall features. The vine is a critical element as the nature is intended to absorb and grow into the building. The pool has an acrylic wall to activate the sidewalk area with blue hues to break from traditional ideals of white wall tower bases. Evolution’s motto is “Luxury close to nature” meaning splendor at home, and delight in the open air.

DSDG Architects
WB Golden Point, LLC Interior Design DSDG Architects Structural Engineer
Engineering Group
Engineer Quest Design Group
Architect David W. Johnston Associates
Engineering Residential Building 66 | srq magazine_ DEC22 live local GOLD



This two-story building houses the new corporate office for the award-winning, 40-year-old home building firm, Lee Wetherington Homes. With a portfolio of over 4,000 traditionally styled homes, LWH wanted something more modern for their offices. The firm will occupy 8,500 SF on the second floor. The first floor is flexible tenant space.

Mixed Use Building




Nestled in Bradenton, FL, IMG Academy was founded in 1978 as the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Originally a campus of 35 acres, the Academy found great success and has thus expanded to include 9 sports and span over 600 acres. Now known as the East Campus, the original footprint of the school has traditionally been marked by buildings of smaller scale than that of the West Campus. With many of the initial structures from the 70’s and 80’s still in place, an East Campus rejuvenation has long been awaited. The design and construction of the East Campus Gym, completed in Feb. 2022, not only serves as a departure from the existing character but a catalyst for the school’s future growth. At just over 113,000 sf, the scale of the new building exceeds that of many popular big box stores. The sheer expansiveness has redefined the East Campus entrance from that of a hidden, quiet gate to an empowering experience that mirrors the arrival sequence of the West Campus.

Commercial Building
Architect Hoyt Architects; Developer, Contractor, Interior Design Lee Wetherington Homes; Structural Engineer Wilson Structural; Mechanical Engineer TAGS; Landscape Architect Kimley-Horn Associates; Landscape Architect Jonathan Scott
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Architect/Interior Design Fawley Bryant Architecture; Contractor Tandem Construction; Structural Engineer Hees & Associates; Mechanical Engineer ME3 Consulting Engineers; Photographer Ryan Gamma

Mixed Use Building


Mixed Use Building


The spirit of Waterside Place is a celebration of people, in a communal streetscape environment. The design took years and a talented team of experts from a multitude of industries: urban planning, civil engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering trades, retail and development. With a collective vision of placemaking, the design objective was to create an idyllic, picturesque main street that would serve the growing Lakewood Ranch community. As the concept evolved, creating a close relationship with the water’s edge and waterfront restaurants was a natural development. Design components incorporated to achieve this include rough stone at the water’s edge to protect children and animals, and stainless-steel cable rail that provides visual access from a seated position while dining. Street side, interest is created by moving visitors through Waterside Place with visual targets that lead guests to points of interest in the forms of water views, towers, and the pavilion. The beautifully illuminated sidewalks, offering plenty of shade, accommodates outdoor seating for restaurants, and space for seasonal activities and events.



When completed in 2009, the original Citrus Square was the first multi-family development in downtown Sarasota’s Rosemary District to be completed in decades. Its residences, restaurants and shops were a catalyst for redevelopment of the entire district. The Residences at Citrus Square, built in two phases, completed the outdoor square initially conceived when the first building was completed. Upper-level flats and a two-story townhouse (with a rooftop pool) are neatly situated over ground floor restaurants, shop, office and rental apartments. With each phase of the project the developed has sold the upper floors as private condominium residences and retained the ground level as investment property. Inspired by buildings the developer had enjoyed in his travels to France, New York and Boston, the Residences at Citrus Square are simple block and plank structures with careful attention paid to the exterior facades. A next phase, Citrus East, will begin construction this fall on the opposite side of the street.

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Architect Hoyt Architects; Developer MBFZ, LLC; Contractor Piere Contracting; Interior Design Del Vescolo Design Group; Structural Engineer Wilson Structural; Mechanical Engineer Global Sanchez; Landscape Architect: DWJA Landscape Architect; Photographer Jonathan Scott Architect/Interior Design Fawley Bryant Architecture; Developer Schroeder Manatee Ranch; Contractor Willis A. Smith Construction; Structural Engineer Structural Concepts & Design; Mechanical Engineer MiGre Engineers, LLC; Photographer Ryan Gamma



Situated in downtown Sarasota, MainView of Sarasota will be a 4-star contemporary sustainable hotel that inspires and connects. The challenge of this design is to create a landmark hotel in an overlooked area of downtown Sarasota to bring new life and connectivity to this urban center. Currently, the “upper Main Street” area is stagnant, with few activities for the community to enjoy and interact in. In this area, people have work and a home, but are missing a “third place” – one that brings people together and sets the scene for further development. Responding to an urban sprawl growing north and east of Tamiami Trail, the architect and team envisioned a destination that pulls this vibrancy in and activates the entire area. MainView will accomplish exactly this, bringing the neighborhood, streetscape, and cityscape together with an emphasis on sustainability and wellness. With its motto “unwind in nature”, MainView will focus on experiencing modern architecture and sustainability efforts, displaying innovative features far ahead of its time. In order to achieve these goals, the architect prioritized the building’s context within the city, considered the user experience, emphasized design and functionality, and focused on implementing craft and quality of construction in sustainable ways.

MainView of Sarasota was designed to take advantage of its downtown Sarasota location in terms of connectivity, walkability, and sustainability. By taking an active and thoughtful planning procedure in designing the hotel to its highest efficiency, the ownership and development team currently stand at a silver LEED rating with expectancy to earn gold status after the hotel’s completion. This not only makes MainView one of the few gold LEED-certified hotels in the state of Florida, but also the only LEED-certified hotel on the West Coast of Florida. Rainwater management is provided through multiple cisterns and a central stormwater vault. A high efficiency irrigation system allows water use reduction by 50%, including using rainwater runoff from the upper pool deck to irrigate the “green walls”. These vegetated areas are featured within 25% of all open space areas. WaterSense fixtures will be used indoors, also contributing to water-use reduction. The sawtooth design across the building brings natural daylighting into rooms, hallways, and the main lobby. Drop-offs supply shading for users and an array structure of photovoltaic solar panels provides shaded pool access. In anticipation of further electrification, electric car parking spots are available accompanied by the fully-electric Tesla valet service. Surrounding traffic circulation and light impact are also improved. Nearby transportation is easily accessible, granting visitors access to the Legacy Trail, bike parking in and outside of the garage, local trollies, and a Lyft/Uber drop-off area. The hotel will provide city wide 24-hour electric car services for access to beaches, airports, and more. The result is a true reflection of the Sarasota experience, embracing wellness and sustainability in an experience-driven hotel that showcases what modern architecture has to offer for generations to come.

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Architect Jonathan Parks AIA, SOLSTICE Planning and Architecture; Contractor EWI Construction; Developer Development & Growth, LLC; Interior Design SOLSTICE Planning and Architecture; Structural Engineer/ Mechanical Engineer TLC Engineering Solutions; Landscape Architect David Young, DWY Landscape Architects/ SOLSTICE Planning and Architecture.


Art is not only found in a museum. Inspired by coastal modern architecture, this gateway to Golden Gate Point will be an iconic and timeless addition to the Sarasota skyline. Perfectly poised at one of the most dynamic intersections in town. The architecture emphasizes a luxurious lifestyle connection to the water between the downtown city core of Sarasota and the John Ringling Causeway, the city’s arterial connection to beaches. With a coveted Golden Gate Point address, SIX88 Residences is a boutique luxury condominium that has all that you may need, and want to indulge in, right at its doorstep. The unique site actively shaped the building to a large wedge shape that slices into the adjacent marina like the bow of a yacht. The tower has a modern, fluid, and dynamic exterior accentuated by its triangular balcony and curved column which is inspired by the curve of a sail. The building’s glass façade creates an ever-changing landscape of reflections and movement. With a variety of nearby modern amenities and established infrastructure, such as shops and restaurants, outdoor attractions, and galleries and theatres, complemented by state-of-the-art amenities within the building itself, SIX88 redefines opulent living. Designed for both active and relaxed living, residents can come home to a boutique resort lifestyle. The wallto-wall waterfall installation in the lobby will appeal to your senses and sets the stage for a tranquil experience throughout all the laid back, modern amenity spaces. The sun-filled wellness centre with acoustic ceiling will invoke a sense of calm and motivation for your daily fitness routine. An extension to the pool deck is the social club to gather with family and friends and soak up golden sunsets as they paint the sky and buildings of Golden Gate Point.

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Future Buildings
Architect/Interior Design DSDG Architects; Contractor PCL Construction; Developer Vandyk Properties; Structural Engineer Snell Engineering Consultants; Mechanical Engineer Quest Design Group; Landscape Architect: David W. Johnston Associates; Renderer Adhoc Studio; Civil Engineer A.M. Engineering. GOLD



Home to a growing community of both religious and secular users, Temple Beth Israel is located in Longboat Key and is currently fundraising for its existing building’s expansion and redesign. The challenge of this design is to modernize the Reform temple and incorporate a new education center, transforming a 1970’s ranch-style building into a timeless center for members, students, visitors, and staff. The Longboat Key Education Center previously stood as its own entity but struggled through the recent severe economic conditions. Instead of permanently closing down, they were invited to merge with the Temple, extending the life of an important, local 35-year institution. To achieve these goals, the architect balanced rationalism and romanticism to create a contemporary design that brings communities of all kinds together. As Temple Beth Israel caters to both religious and secular users, the client/ architect envisioned adaptive spaces to cater to a host of community needs. Currently, the social hall holds 130 people with not much room to grow. With this redesign, the social hall will hold up to 200 people, perfect for high holidays and other social events. Moveable walls will also be installed, creating flexible spaces that encourage integration rather than separation and making events more manageable. Smart building technology will also be explored to create a central system for lighting, security, doors, sound system, and A/C, keeping the building efficient and easy to manage. Bringing Longboat Key’s lifelong education center into the Temple, the architect redesigned the west side of the Temple to make room for a wide variety of learning opportunities. The new education center will build on the existing one, revamping the current exclusive entrance to attract new users. Inside, the lobby is composed of a large open space with high ceilings and more moveable walls. Further into the space, users have access to new classrooms, multipurpose spaces, a choir room, and a library. These spaces will offer a diverse and stimulating array of courses, lectures, concerts, and workshops. The bathrooms are also upgraded to meet current ADA standards across the entire building. Through this updated design and interinstitutional collaboration, Temple Beth Israel and the Longboat Key Education Center will both become an even greater island landmark –bringing together community members for worship, education, social connection, and culture. The result is a modernized and unified atmosphere where light, form, and ambiance merge to provide an exceptional, uplifting experience.

Future Buildings
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Architect SOLSTICE Architecture and Planning

Future Buildings


SOTA is a 16-story mixed-use building located at the middle of downtown Sarasota’s Main Street, an area that has missed recent spurts of large-scale residential and retail development activity. The project takes advantage of two unique elements of the Downtown Sarasota Zoning code. Downtown core zoning allows for 50 units per acre. SOTA is located on a very small parcel of land (0.43 acres), so just 21 units are allowed. The downtown code allows for the purchase of density rights from adjacent properties. Fourteen units will be purchased from the adjacent office building site for a total of 35 units. The code also has a provision that allows for two 180-foot buildings in the in the downtown core. For all other buildings, the height limit is 10 stories. The provision requires that more that 50% of the building must be nonresidential. And the Director of Planning must approve the design. Though this provision had been in the code for almost 20 years it had never been utilized. A 120-room hotel and a first-floor restaurant provided the requisite amount of non-residential space. The Director of Planning weighed in on, and eventually approved of the building design. A 5,000 SF first floor, street front restaurant, coupled with activity of a fullservice hotel will breathe new life into this midMain Street neighborhood. Residents and hotel guests will share a fifth-story amenity level with a hotel restaurant, bar, and swimming pool and fitness center. Valet drop-off will be located on a side street; valet pick up on the second floor. Refuse and recycling will be stored and picked up on the adjacent office building site.

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Architect Hoyt Architects; Contractor Kast Construction; Developer Trepp Development; Interior Design Andre Kokoski Architect; Structural Engineer Bliss & Nyitray, Inc.; Mechanical Engineer MC Engineering; Landscape Architect: David W. Johnston Associates. SILVER


The Adelaide Model’s architectural craftsmanship and attention to detail are synonymous with the John Cannon name. Nestled within the Founders Club, Sarasota’s premier gated golf course community, this home lives like a resort and features a plethora of fine finishes, new product offerings and the latest technology. The homes tile roof, brackets and garage doors in rich walnut tones complement the brilliance of the homes’ pure white finish, enhancing its Transitional architectural style. Intricate, but edgy, modern stone veneer adds to the home’s beauty and beckon you inside to see what the interior holds. Elegance and form with bold fluid patterns provide balance and creative symmetry while adding a vintage modern feel. Simple shapes are influenced by the curves and rich fabrics of the Art Deco period in a contemporary way. While, in the background, a stylish collection of outdoor living spaces use marble and turf to transform simple areas into the extraordinary. The Adelaide’s kitchen and dining rooms offer partyperfect entertaining spaces and look out over the home’s outdoor areas. While the Bonus Room is ready for a perfect game of cards or chess, just steps away you’ll be able to perfect your swing in The Adelaide’s golf simulator room with expansive lake views. Wire brushed European Oak wood flooring runs throughout the model anchoring the clean lines, neutral colors and impeccable finishes.

New Community Model Home

Contractor John Cannon / John Cannon Homes; Interior Design Barbara Benigni (JCH) & Robb & Stucky Design; Structural Engineer McCall & Young; Landscape Architect ArtisTree Landscaping; Carpets and Flooring: Brewer Carpet; Cabinetry Albrecht Cabinets; Photographer Gene Pollux - Pollux Photography.




An architect with global experience, Matthew has fo cused much of his career on designing and delivering education and science facilities, providing world-class buildings that meet the vision and needs of the facul ty, the students and the overall institution. He enjoys working closely with clients and stakeholder groups on a variety of projects, partnering to find solutions to complex problems and positively impacting the investments they’re making in the built environment. Matthew is responsible for leading the education and science sector in British Columbia and Alberta. He brings strong practice lead ership skills along with vast project delivery and management experience in research, trades, student and academic buildings, and takes pride in creating an exceptional stakeholder experience and building lasting relationships.




Stephen Charles Smith Architects is a full-service, be spoke architecture and interior design studio focusing on Residential, Commercial, and Mixed-Use projects. The studio strives to create thoughtful, elegant, contem porary architecture and design with careful consideration of construction and craft. Prior to starting his own prac tice, Stephen was a Designer, Architect, and Project Man ager at several leading architecture firms for over 10 years, including Rafael Vinoly Architects in New York, NY and Silver/Petrucelli + Associates in Hamden, CT. He has extensive experience across a broad range of building types and scales: pri vate residential, multi-family housing, restaurant design, tall building design, retail, mixed-use, historic preservation, commercial interiors, cultural facilities, govern ment offices, banks, libraries, schools and educational buildings, fire/emergency response, corporate headquarters, hotels, and furniture design.

Below: Fresh tripletail rubbed with sweet chili and spices and grilled to perfection. Topped with avocado salsa and served over yellow rice and asparagus



How Deep Lagoon has become a force in the local dining scene. Kevin Allen

IF YOU ENJOY YOUR EXPERIENCE AT DEEP LAGOON SEAFOOD & OYSTER HOUSE, one of the newest additions to the South Sarasota County dining scene, know that it is the reflection of the family that built it. Naples-based Phelan Family Brands opened its fourth Deep Lagoon location just east of the Blackburn Point swing bridge that takes you from Osprey to Casey Key. It joins predecessors in Naples, Fort Myers and Marco Island. Locals will be familiar with another Phelan Family Brands spot, Pincher’s, which has locations in Venice and Lakewood Ranch. Those who love the laid-back Pincher’s approach to perfectly prepared, Gulf-caught seafood will find a fancier, elevated experience at Deep Lagoon. “We’ve always wanted to open an upscale casual restaurant,” says Phelan Family Brands CEO Grant Phelan.

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This page: Deep Lagoon Seafood and Oyster House, 482 Blackburn Point Rd, Osprey, deeplagoon. com, 941- 770-3337

Wait. Did he say upscale and casual? “Yep,” Phelan says. “And Deep Lagoon is our invention of that. It’s still casual enough that you can come in wearing shorts and flip flops, but it’s a little bit higher. You’ll find a nicer wine list, nicer plate presentations, better buildout, more signature cocktails, and it can be an upscale casual experience in Southwest Florida.”

You get the sense of upscale immediately when you walk in. It’s nautical but modern with shiplap throughout and art on the walls from renowned Florida photographer Alan S. Maltz. It’s hitting that Florida sweet spot somewhere between stilettos and Salt Life.



If you’re a fan of a seafood tower, buckle up, friend. The Big Chill Seafood Tower is a thing of beauty. So epic, so glorious, so mountainous is this concoction that it looks like it was pulled straight from the Ghost of Christmas Present’s props list. A whole Maine lobster sits on the tower’s top tier like a sentinel. Joining it are eight cocktail shrimp, eight peel-and-eat shrimp, two large stone crab claws, a 4 oz. serving of tuna tataki, a dozen oysters — adorned with a side of horseradish cream & caviar), six each of pickled clams and mussels that have been chilled to perfection. The only problem with it is that it isn’t served with a John Williams score. It should be noted that this item is on the appetizer list, and sure, it could absolutely serve as an appetizer . . . for the Buccaneers’

team meal. The Big Chill Seafood Tower has a younger sibling, the Little Chill Seafood Tower, which basically halves the portions.

While you can find Floridian seafood standards like a grouper sandwich, fish and chips (using local tripletail or hogfish here), fish tacos, and coconut fried shrimp, it’s in the chef selections where you’ll find the real gems.

The hogfish “lagoon style” comes in a white wine sauce with garlic, pine nuts, tomato and basil. Like grouper, hogfish feed on crustaceans, which makes for a sweeter meat, almost reminiscent of lobster itself. Combined with the white wine sauce, it’s one of those simple dishes that becomes more complex as the flavors unfold and complement one another.



Phelan Family Brands (which employs 1,400 Floridians from Tampa to Marco Island) prides itself on the freshness of its seafood. When you order the chili rub tripletail, for example, there’s a strong likelihood that it was caught within the last 24 hours, thanks largely to another family brand, Island Crab Company. Located on Pine Island 80 miles south of Sarasota, this wholesale fish house serves as the main supplier of locally caught seafood. “We have our own boats that go out and fish for stone crabs, blue crabs, grouper, shrimp — different items that the Gulf has to offer on an everyday basis,” Phelan says. “And we try to bring in the best, freshest seafood possible, and then we distribute it out to all of our restaurants from there.”

Phelan knows exactly how long the seafood he’s selling in his family’s restaurants has been out of the water, which you don’t always get when working with commercial distributors. He and his chefs know how each fish was caught and handled from the boat to the wholesaler, and from the wholesaler to the restaurant.

There are already plans to open another waterfront Deep Lagoon at Lakewood Ranch’s new Waterside village. That location is expected to serve its first diner some time in late 2023 or early 2024, according to Phelan. “We’ve had some phenomenal luck in the Sarasota-Manatee area,” Phelan says, “and our goal is to stay right here in Southwest Florida. We find the customers to be the best.” Judging by the happy crowds, the feeling’s mutual. SRQ

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The search for authentic Mexican cooking and culture runs through La Primavera. Kevin Allen

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NEIDA ESQUIVEL UNDERSTANDS WHAT MAKES GREAT MEXICAN FOOD. At 28, she’s made a career out of serving it and providing the essential ingredients for others to to make it at home. Since 2013, La Primavera has served as a Hispanic-focused grocery store and fast-casual purveyor of authentic Mexican cuisine. Perhaps most importantly, however, it has served as a hub for the area’s Latino community. But what is authentic Mexican cuisine? Just because a restaurant claims it serves Mexican food doesn’t mean it’s authentic.

Amalia Flores owns Sarasota-based Chef Amalia Private Chef & Catering Services and appeared on the first “Master Chef Latino” that aired in the United States. She made it through the initial 2,000-person auditions in Miami to become one of 30 competitors who made it to the show, which aired in 2018 on Telemundo. While Flores’ torres de nopal con chimichurri (more on nopal later) didn’t bring her the win, she calls her appearance “the best experience of my life.”

Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Flores has some strong opinions about the difference between authentic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex. With her extensive culinary training, Flores creates globallyinspired dishes that delight her clients, but the food she grew up with—the meals that made her want to become a chef—were decidedly Mexican. “Traditional, authentic Mexican cuisine is super simple,” Flores says. “It’s tortillas, peppers, salsas, beans and a protein — beef, pork, fish. It’s fresh ingredients, fresh produce. Big flavors and incredible colors.” Cilantro, tomato, and lime are staples, too.

Flores says most of the Mexican restaurants in this area — including some of the most popular — lean more Tex-Mex than authentic Mexican. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Those recipes are good, too. But, Flores says, “We don’t eat Monterey jack cheese. We don’t use cumin. We don’t use ground beef. These things were made standard because of the need to appeal to a broad population.”

Margaritas? Nachos? Burritos as big as your head? They’re for the Cancun tourists. Finding an authentic experience means you may have to go beyond a simple Google search. It’s the food trucks, grocery stores, and off-the-beaten-path spots. But some of these places are centrally located — places like La Primavera, where Esquivel and her bustling staff welcome a steady stream of satisfied customers.

“We try to be a spot where you can literally do everything,” Esquivel says. “You can send money to Mexico, you can recharge your phones to make calls to Mexico. It’s all kind of connected to not just Mexico, but to our culture.” La Primavera is the type of place where patrons constantly bump into friends in the grocery aisles, where diners converse with strangers at the next table.

“We have a little bit of everything that you can ever need in a Hispanic household — or in any household — to kind of bring that Hispanic Latino vibe,” Esquivel says. “People can come here and grab lunch or do their weekly grocery shopping, or for some late-night cravings.” Ah, yes. The late-night cravings. If you’ve ever wondered where local chefs, bartenders, servers, and back-of-

house staff go for a bite to eat after a long shift, it’s La Primavera. Every weekend, around the time the bars are closing, a line forms in the courtyard on the side of La Primavera. They’re there for the tacos: al pastor, lengua, tripa, chorizo, carne asada. In the grocery section, you’ll find nearly every ingredient one might need to create an authentic Mexican feast, including nopal, a cactus native to Mexico and a key ingredient in its cuisine.

“We eat it almost every day,” Flores says. “We bake it, fry it, broil it. I recently made my nopales salad live on ABC7 for Hispanic Heritage Month.” The nopal that La Primavera sells is locally sourced, very local. Esquival’s father and the founder of La Primavera, Juan, grows nopal cactus on a farm in Bradenton. “He’s obsessed with his little farm,” Esquivel says.

The nopal that comes in nearly every dish La Primavera serves, and the stuff you can buy in the grocery store all comes from Esquivel’s father’s farm. La Primavera also serves as a hub for the area’s Latino community. Following Hurricane Ian, it was a meeting place for friends and neighbors to reconnect and commiserate over comfort food. This sense of community — this coming together — there’s a word for it.

“In Spanish, we call it convivir,” Esquivel says. “It’s a nice word. When it gets full of people, I think you definitely feel that word. You believe it. We’re existing with each other. We’re enjoying each other’s company and obviously food brings people together — families and all types of people.”

La Primavera on Washington Blvd. in Sarasota is actually the third grocery store/restaurant the Esquivel family opened. The family owns Los Laureles in Bradenton and another La Primavera across the state in Fort Pierce. The Esquivels invite ideas from employees on menu items and ways to expand offerings. “Everyone here is family,” Esquivel says. “So if anyone has an idea, I love to take them to the office. We talk about it, we brainstorm. There’s quite a few recipes where I could say, ‘Oh, this one was designed by this person, this one was designed by this person.’ It really is a group effort.”

For those unfamiliar with authentic Mexican cuisine, some of those crowdsourced recipes — like the beef tongue or tripe — could be intimidating.

“You have to be open-minded when it comes to those types of foods because it is an acquired taste,” Esquivel says. “But I think that if you really want the authentic experience, you have to be able to try anything. We always get that question, ‘What do you guys like? So, we show them when we like.” And they show them exactly what it means to be authentic.

Opposite page: Chef Amalia Flores works with the freshest ingredients to create the biggest flavors.
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What happens when a group of local philanthropists present a community challenge to better the lives of children and families?

The community steps up. In a big way. Barbie Heit

82 | srq magazin e_ DEC22 live local PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

This spread, left to right: Brock and Julie Leach, Joan and Bart Levenson, Keith Monda and Veronica Brady, Lin and Bob Williams, Mitchell and Dawn Epstein and Karen Solem.

THE STORY BEGAN BACK IN 1961 WHEN THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF SARASOTA founded the Sarasota Day Nursery with a mission to prepare children from lowincome families for kindergarten. In 1994, the agency became Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start services. With Early Head Start services added in 1998 and a name change to Children First in 2000, the organization grew rapidly, driven by the high demand for quality early childhood education and family strengthening programs within economically vulnerable communities.

Today, with fifteen locations across Sarasota County serving 900 children and their families annually, Children First holds the distinction of being a 4-time designated Head Start “Program of Excellence” and is ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide. Offering high-quality early childhood education from qualified teachers in a nurturing environment that supports their healthy development

and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families, Children First helps children receive the social and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. Children First has expanded to serve hundreds of children and their families annually at 15 locations across North Port, Sarasota, and Venice.

Last year, as part of Children First’s 60th anniversary celebration, a group of dedicated, extraordinary supporters came forth with the idea to present a matching gift challenge to the community. This group of supporters, known as the Diamond Circle, collectively agreed to donate $1,060,000 if the community could match it. The community accepted that challenge and in total, raised $2,120,000 in “The Challenge to Change Lives” in support and recognition of the thousands of children and families whose life stories have been changed over the past 60 years as part of the Children First Family.

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The Diamond Circle is made up of key philanthropists who are passionate about the Children First mission and includes two anonymous donors providing gifts totaling just over $300,000; individuals, couples and foundations providing gifts of $60,000 each including: Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Dawn and Mitchell Epstein, Julie and Brock Leach, Joan and Dr. Bart Levenson, Katherine and Frank Martucci, Elenor Maxheim in loving memory of John Maxheim, Keith Monda and Veronica Brady, Leslie and Dick Rivera, Gaye and Jack Schwarz, and Karen Solem in loving memory of Charles Forman; couples joining together to form Diamond Circles with combined gifts from $20,000 to $30,000 including: John Bean and Alexandra Jupin, Lisa and John Giglio, Carol and Richard Kalikow, and Bob and Lin Williams; and couples and individuals comprising a Diamond Circle with gifts from $10,000 including: Alison and Howie Madsen in loving memory of Gerri Aaron, Jo and Stan Rutstein, Mike Rutstein, and CEO Philip Tavill. A few of these generous donors took time to talk with us, sharing their inspiration and commitment to the organization.

The Barancik Foundation and Children First have been partners almost since the foundation’s inception. Through its granting, Barancik has invested nearly $1.8 million in the organization. “Children First was a favorite of our founder Margery Barancik,” shares Teri A Hansen, Barancik Foundation’s president and CEO. “Margie was a teacher herself and she firmly believed in the critical nature of a child’s first six years. Margie and Chuck Barancik’s passion for children’s welfare is why education is the red thread that runs through almost all of our work.”

Katherine Martucci thinks of Children First as a community of love and outreach perpetuating a “can do” spirit to the children and their families. As a former elementary school teacher, and having raised three children of her own, she has always felt the energy behind working with children. “I first became involved with Children First as a volunteer in the classroom and saw firsthand the educational and emotional progress the children made throughout the year. It was quite extraordinary,” she shares. Martucci knew right away that the program was something special, made up of devoted teachers and staff. “Once you become acquainted with Children First and their programs, supporting this organization is just a very natural thing to do,” she says.

Mitchell Epstein echoes the sentiments of his Diamond Circle partners. “I absolutely believe that our children represent the future,” he says. “Sarasota is fortunate to have many amazing organizations that focus on kids and without a doubt Philip and his team are doing amazing work. When you visit the kids on campus or hear their parents tell the story about how Children First changed their lives you just know that you want to be involved and help in any way you can.”

As for the Children First team players, they could not be more pleased with the outcome of the challenge. “The shared commitment from our Diamond Circle members and all who joined The Challenge is an investment, not just in the futures of our children and families, but the future of our community and the world we live in. We are deeply grateful for this heartfelt support,” says CEO Philip Tavill.

“It has been amazing to see this trailblazing philanthropy from some of our most passionate supporters inspire a community-wide challenge that was not just met but exceeded,” adds Vice President of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers. “This is a beautiful representation not just of this historic milestone for our agency, but of the greater Sarasota community’s vision.”

SRQ The Children First Diamond Circle was honored as one of SRQ Magazine’s Good Heroes this past December.

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WE NEED ART NOW MORE THAN EVER. Through visual arts we learn more about ourselves and the people around us. The arts act as a creative outlet for self expression, mental health wellness, and social engagement. ACS Youth Programs provide unique opportunities for kids to express themselves while building confidence and self esteem. Whether it is Summer Art Camp, Free Youth Saturdays, Slice of Art field trips or special activities like The Mural Project, teen mentoring or volunteering, we are committed to providing a safe place for children to explore their creativity, interact with others and experience acceptance from teachers and peers alike. ACS Adult Programs provide continued learning and enrichment. Our classes and exhibitions awaken the imagination, relieve stress, and provide meaningful connection with art enthusiasts. Become a patron of the visual arts and support our community. To learn more, visit or call 941.365.2032 for more information.



Provide Scholarships for youth and adult art education. Advocate for young people by underwriting Youth Art Saturday programs.

Sponsor Artist Talks and Panel Discussions for deeper understandings of art and social issues.

Become a Member and be part of the ACS community.

Contribute to our Endowment and make a lasting impact on the future of art and art education.



FROM POWERFUL STORIES, captivating performances, and awe-inspiring sets and costumes on Asolo Repertory Theatre’s stages to our robust, deeply integrated education and community engagement programming, support from individuals, foundations, and our corporate partners makes it all possible. At Asolo Rep, you can match your gift to your passion, be it helping to fund Education & Engagement, co-producing one of our fabulous productions, building state-of-the-art new facilities at the Robert & Beverly Koski Center, or bringing the magic of live theatre to your corporate clients. Asolo Rep has a role for you.

Building on 63 years of artistic excellence, Asolo Rep’s 2022-2023 season will feature both classic and contemporary plays and musicals created by the highest caliber of theatre artists as we continue to move towards a full recovery from the impact of the pandemic. As they say in Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, “In here, life is beautiful!” and we are thrilled to demonstrate that sentiment by beginning the season with our interpretation of this iconic musical. Our repertory season, set to begin in January, will consist of four plays: Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers, Silent Sky, Chicken & Biscuits, and Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We close our season with a piece that is considered by many to be one of the best musicals of all time: Man of La Mancha

And remember: theatre is for everyone! No matter your experience level, whether an aspiring artist or someone who wants to light a spark of creativity in the world, Asolo Rep creates pathways for all people to experience, create, and connect through theatre. Take a look at our Wish List for ways you can support Asolo Rep now and all year long. Come play your part at Asolo Repertory Theatre—this is your cue!


Capital and Endowment Campaign: Help expand the Koski Center’s facilities and invest in new spaces to serve our community for future generations, furthering our national reputation as a leading producer of American theatre.


Put your company center stage—link your business with Asolo Rep and become an essential partner in the fulfillment of our mission.


Dedicated sponsors who support productions, while gaining access to exclusive events, opportunities, and activities.


Enjoy special savings on tickets and events, complimentary admission to the Inside Asolo Rep series, and exciting backstage experiences.

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We are always seeking donations so we can continue to provide financial assistance to families.

We pay their personal bills and expenses so that they can spend more time with their sick child and less time worrying about their bills.

We are desperately in need of a building or space for Blaze Of Hope as we have outgrown our living rooms. It’s time for an official Blaze Of Hope headquarters... because, with your help, we plan to continue to grow.

We are also seeking an army of volunteers. Our volunteers donate their time by raising awareness and building community through our numerous events, partnerships, and fundraisers. Be blessed!

MY SWEET SON BLAZE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH LIVER CANCER at seven months old. This was the hardest time of my life by far. I had to take a leave from my job because he was so sick, and we spent most of our time in the hospital. Blaze endured aggressive chemotherapy and multiple surgeries. During that time, I was able to stay with my baby boy and be his mom, and I was able to sleep in the hospital bed with him nightly, not missing a precious moment of time with him. My community banded together to ensure provisions for my son and I were met. Donations were made, fundraisers were held, and even jars collecting funds were placed on the counters of convenience stores. The compassion, love, support, and prayers gave me hope in my greatest time of need. Sadly, Blaze passed away at 13 months old.

While at the hospital, I saw other families desperately needing HOPE of their own. Not only were they struggling with the unexplainable sadness and pain involved, but they were also struggling to meet their personal financial responsibilities. These people chose their child instead of their mortgage payment, a choice no parent should have to make. This experience has driven my whole life from that point forward. What motivates me is my dedication to honor my son by showing the same love, compassion, and grace for others I once received. I created "Blaze of Hope" a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of hospitalized children with life-threatening conditions. Every day I am thankful for another opportunity to “spread HOPE like wildfire.”



WITH A MISSION TO ENRICH LIVES, captivate emotions, and strengthen community through the art of dance, The Sarasota Ballet has become one of the nation’s most exciting ballet companies. The Sarasota Ballet presents over 30 performances each Season with an exciting range of repertoire from World Premieres to beloved classics. As one of the areas only touring organizations, The Sarasota Ballet recently completed a week-long residency at the Joyce Theater in New York City in August 2022. Education Programs, including The Sarasota Ballet School, The Margaret Barbieri Conservatory, and the Summer Intensive, offer ballet training to over 250 students each year. New this Season, The Sarasota Ballet launches Dance for All, a Community Engagement Platform with six core programs: Dance – The Next Generation, Joyful Movement through Parkinson’s, Silver Swans, Public School Programs, Community Performances, and Free Lectures, Tickets & Tours. Dance for All (DFA) partners with over 30 organizations and offers 80+ free and low-cost activities, providing access to dance and the arts to individuals of all ages and abilities. Through this range of programming, The Sarasota Ballet brings World-Class performances and accessible arts education to the Sarasota-Manatee communities and beyond. As our community and our nation faces an ever-changing economic climate, The Sarasota Ballet seeks funding that will create a strong foundation for our future. This includes Legacy or planned gifts and gifts to our Endowment Fund. In addition, The Sarasota Ballet seeks annual unrestricted gifts to support our End of Year Campaign (running through the end of December) and gifts to support our new Community Engagement Platform, Dance for All. There are a multitude of ways and opportunities to support The Sarasota Ballet. For more information, please contact our Development Department at 941.359-0099 ext. 110.





GIVING BACK, educating the community and fostering a safe, welcoming, healthy environment for animals have long served as the core of our work here at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. We are honored to have been a staple in Sarasota since our founding in 1939, and we continue to set our sights on remaining at the forefront of inspiring appreciation for nature through conservation. Recently, we have launched our new non-profit, Sarasota Jungle Conservation & Education, Inc., whose mission is to educate generations of learners while investing in conservation efforts for the crocodilian and migratory bird populations both locally and worldwide. Our team is also constantly updating our educational programs and sharing our passion for many Florida native and exotic animals, bringing joy, wonder and appreciation to our community. Children love our summer zoo camp program, which teaches and inspires students to appreciate the natural world around them with hands-on experiences. We make conservation come to life through both onsite and community animal interactions and presentations. We also provide permanent homes to animals that are not suited to be released to live out their natural lives comfortably and with care. Giving back will always be an important part of what we do. Annually, we donate hundreds of admission tickets and hours of presentations to local elementary schools, and we proudly host several families from the charitable organizations of "Make A Wish" and Autism Speaks. We also donate to organizations who support foster families throughout our local community.


Replace our iconic "Turn Here" sign and the many lost plant and tree specimens destroyed by Hurricanes Ian and Irma.

Continue to introduce new variety to our animal collection for increased educational purposes. Invest in state-of-the-art technologies to improve customer experience both in person and online Introduce more flamingos to our aging flock for breeding and conservation. SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS 3701 BAY SHORE ROAD, SARASOTA, FL 34234 | 941.355.5305 SARASOTAJUNGLEGARDENS.COM @SARASOTAJG (ON FACEBOOK)



THE BISHOP MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND NATURE IS PROFOUNDLY COMMITTED to creating a spectrum of experiences that inspires the joy of discovery and wonder for all ages! The Bishop contributes to a world where people are connected to science and nature and inspired to learn by incorporating fun, interactive, and memorable experiences that lead to an appreciation of natural history, science, and exploration. The Museum is designed for kids and grown-ups of all ages who are interested in exploring and learning. The Bishop’s special learning programs are a driving influence of the local learning ecosystem, leveraging The Bishop’s thought-provoking exhibits and interactive environments like The Mosaic Backyard Universe—Southwest Florida’s coolest backyard— where students have hands-on opportunities to learn about science, engineering, and experimentation. Through outreach programs, the Learning team brings Museum collections and compelling local science stories to people throughout the region.

The Planetarium is a remarkable astronomy education resource, allowing visitors to explore the universe through immersive, virtual journeys to the far reaches of the cosmos. The Planetarium uses a state-of-the-art projection system and software to lift off from Earth and fly beyond our solar system, out of our galaxy, towards the very edge of the universe. The Bishop also plays a much-needed role in the rehabilitation of Florida manatees. The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat is a Stage 2 rehabilitation facility—a temporary home where manatees come after their initial criticalcare needs have been met in manatee hospitals. This second-stage facility offers manatees the opportunity to gain exposure to natural foods and feeding strategies while gaining weight for their return to the wild. Your support is critical to helping The Bishop maintain its role as an educational resource for engaging programs and exhibitions for inquisitive visitors and students, as well as sustaining a successful rehabilitation program for Florida manatees.


$5000 will secure tracking equipment for one released manatee.

$2000 feeds a rehabilitating manatee for one month.

$1300 allows for funds to purchase models for use in outreach programs.

$1200 pays for six dive physicals for Animal Care team members to learn best dive practices and safety.

$1000 supports an after-school science program focused on education for students of TITLE 1 schools.

$400 pays for supplies to build bottom feeders that teach manatees how to forage in the wild.

$300 per camper provides science camp scholarships, making learning accessible to more students.




Expand unique services for veterans through the Tidewell Honors Veterans program.

Provide free grief services to anyone in need, regardless of whether they had a hospice experience, with Tidewell’s Blue Butterfly program, Adult Grief Services, and Tidewell Family Grief Centers.

Ensure the region has highly trained, dedicated hospice nurses through Tidewell’s Nurse Residency Program for new nursing graduates.

Support patients and their families through Wishes (a program that fulfills a last wish for patients and their families) and the Humanitarian Fund.

Guarantee hospice charity care for all those in our region who cannot afford it.

THE TIDEWELL FOUNDATION brightens the lives of patients, families, and communities served by Tidewell Hospice and the not-for-profit affiliates of Empath Health by increasing funds, engagement, and advocacy to sustain and expand the exceptional programs and services offered. Hospice care honors human dignity and personal choice of those with advanced illness in recognition that death is a human experience that deserves to be surrounded with love, attention, and care. Many in our community, however, cannot pay for hospice care. Some services aren’t covered through Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance. People may lose their insurance when they can no longer work. Generous donors to Tidewell Foundation help ensure all who need the world-class care of Tidewell Hospice can receive it, regardless of their ability to pay. Together, Tidewell Foundation and Tidewell Hospice provided nearly $2 million in charity hospice care last year for patients and families in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. Further, the Tidewell Foundation’s Humanitarian Fund provides critical one-time support such as a wheelchair ramp, rent payment, and even warm clothing at critical junctions in patient and family lives. Each year, more patients need our help, and the cost to serve them grows. Donations ensure we can help our community’s most vulnerable when they need it most.



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Help Our Neighbors Rebuild and Recover

By supporting YMCA’s Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts, you are providing the resources needed for families to rebuild their lives following the aftermath of the storm.

Join the Fight Against Hunger

By supporting the Y's Fight Against Hunger, you are helping make accessible and available healthy food and meals to people through our outreach and mobile services into the most vulnerable communities.

Create Healthy Families and Communities

By supporting YMCA Health Innovations programs, you are providing individuals access to life-changing programming that supports health and well-being, fights chronic disease and empowers people to lead healthier lives.

Nurture the Potential of Every Child

By supporting YMCA Youth Development programs, you are providing children the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment that allows them to thrive.

Help Prevent Childhood Drowning

By supporting swim lesson programs, you are providing children access to water safety programming that helps develop life-saving skills that reduce the potential for drowning.

FOR 55 YEARS, YMCA OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA has been a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other. YMCA of Southwest Florida operates eight YMCA facilities, two charter middle schools, four early learning academies and various camps and after school programs across Southwest Florida from Manatee County to Bonita Springs. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, we ensure that everyone has access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive. YMCA programs and services are focused on our primary areas of impact that help people achieve their goals and strengthen communities. As an inclusive, cause-driven organization, YMCA of Southwest Florida is committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Giving back and providing support to our neighbors is the heartbeat of the Y. And meeting the emerging needs of our communities is where the Y is often needed the most. The Y’s mission is to ensure life-changing programs, services and resources are available to all. In our communities, the Y has the presence and partnerships to not just promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. In partnering with the Y, you can feel confident your gift is making a positive impact.


At this time, All Faiths Food Bank is gratefully accepting donations for the ThankFULL campaign, in an effort to provide 3.6 million delicious meals to families in need during the holidays, and the BackPack Program, which will provide food for students and siblings during winter break.



CHALLENGING ECONOMIC CONDITIONS, surging costs of living throughout the state and, now, the impacts of Hurricane Ian are hitting the most at-risk in our community hard, especially children, families, and seniors on fixed incomes. With the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian, many of our neighbors are facing a tough road; restoration and recovery efforts will continue for years to come. All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Together with our partners, we provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. In 2021, we distributed 17 million meals through mobile pantries and farm markets, school and family pantries, backpacks for students, summer hunger programs, holiday turkey distributions, and our partner agencies. All Faiths Food Bank is committed to addressing the everyday disaster of hunger. You can help us put food back in the bag this holiday season!



Scholarship Support for a child to obtain a one-year Boys & Girls Clubs membership

Support for programs in Character and Leadership Development, Education and Career Development, Health and Life Skills, the Arts, and Sports, Fitness and Recreation.

Funds for curriculum supplies for teens in leadership, service entrepreneurial, vocational, and college and career prep programs.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA AND DESOTO COUNTIES has been one of the leading youth-serving organizations in the area for over 50 years. Thousands of kids and teens, ages 6 to 18, across Sarasota and DeSoto counties depend on the Boys & Girls Clubs to access critical resources that empower them to achieve their full potential. The organization is dedicated to helping every individual Club member succeed after high school graduation through its slate of award-winning programs that inspire them to excel in school, become leaders, practice healthy habits and explore career paths. We invite you to See Yourself Here and recognize the significant impact your support can have on a child’s life. The leaders of tomorrow are at Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties today. You can give them the gift of a great future this holiday season, and help our community’s future leaders discover their true potential.


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Community Food Bank Wet & Dry Cat Food (all types)

Shelter Medical Funding to benefit the health and well-being of the cats entrusted to our care.

Veterinary Assistance Fund

Funding to assist pet parents with medical care for their feline family members in the Cat Care Clinic.


CAT DEPOT, a non-profit, free-roaming adoption center and rescue, is recognized for its progressive design and commitment to helping homeless, abandoned and injured animals. Cat Depot’s mission is to save lives, find loving homes, and provide the resources and education needed to improve the destiny of homeless cats. Cat Depot supports more than 130 cats and kittens on any given day.



THE POWER OF CONNECTION. In Sarasota County, more than 40,000 seniors, or about 23% of the population, live alone. The mission of Senior Friendship Centers is to build vibrant communities by advancing wellness, connection, and enrichment throughout the journey of aging. We provide services such as home delivered meals, dining centers, caregiving resources, adult day services, exercise classes, lifelong learning, economic assistance, and socialization. Our vision for Southwest Florida is for people to feel supported and included at any age. Each of our communities will have a well-known hub and network of resources to help older adults not just survive but thrive! Seniors will be seen as vital contributors to community life and have connections that ensure they never need to “go it alone.”


One-time or monthly gi s

Legacy gi s

Event sponsors and corporate giving

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Scholarships for girls to enroll and participate in daily researchedbased Girls Inc. programming.

Funds for STEM programs to develop girls' enthusiasm in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Donations for our new Project Accelerate program to advance gender equality and speed up the entry of young women in to positions of leadership.



THE MISSION OF GIRLS INC. is to inspire all girls to be STRONG, SMART, and BOLD. We achieve this through delivering research-based programming focused on academic enrichment, healthy living, and life skills. We provide after school and summer programming for girls ages 5-18 in a pro-girl environment. Other Girls Inc. programs include our High School Initiative and the Eureka! STEM Program to promote enrollment in post-secondary education. These programs occur both on-site and off-site and offer girls a variety of opportunities in career exploration and personal development. Additionally, Girls Inc. offers therapeutic support to every girl and family enrolled through the Family Strengthening Program (FSP). The FSP eliminates barriers and offers a continuum of services to address the social-emotional health of girls while strengthening a family’s communication.

IMPACT100 SRQ ENTERS ITS 5TH GIVING YEAR. The 2023 membership drive is open until February 28, 2023. The mission of Impact100 SRQ is to empower women to collectively fund transformational grants to nonprofits in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The model is simple. At least 100 women come together, each makes an annual $1,000 tax-deductible donation, and collectively their donations become part of a grant of at least $100,000 awarded to a nonprofit in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The women of Impact100 SRQ share a passion for problem solving in our community and are united to change the face of philanthropy through funding impactful grants. The more women who join the organization, the more grants Impact100 SRQ can fund. Joining is simple and women of all backgrounds, ages, and stages of life are invited become a member. Join through the website at and also consider giving the gift of membership to another woman you know.

Back Row Left to Right: Erin McLeod, Senior Friendship Center; Lee Amos, Conservation Foundation; Mary Ellen Mancini and Christian Hind, SPARCC. Front Row, Left to Right: Dr. Rachel Shelley and Michael Shelton, Booker Promise; Alyson Rozier, Sarasota Orchestra; Dr. Cathy Rodriguez and Geri Chaffee, Dreamers Academy

JFCS IS THERE WHEN OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS US MOST. From major societal upheavals like COVID to international refugee crises, and local families like the Mendoza children who suffered an unimaginable tragedy with the loss of both parents in an accident, JFCS hears the call. We don’t just listen–we act, bringing together our expert resources, your philanthropic support, and the compassion of community partners. Together, we make a difference. Today our community came together yet again to help those most severely affected by Hurricane Ian. JFCS again will use our resources in any way we can. Our counseling professionals help by providing traumainformed care, our outreach team will coordinate resources to provide meals, and our agingservices team will help seniors regain a sense of normalcy by offering group sessions and socialization – chance for people to feel better by sharing their stories. JFCS never stops looking for ways to help, and your support makes this possible.


2688 FRUITVILLE ROAD SARASOTA, FL 34237 941.366-2224 FAX 941.366.2982 INFO@JFCS-CARES.ORG

A donation of any size will help Resilient Retreat continue its mission to empower survivors of trauma to thrive. Consider a naming opportunity at the Retreat Center in support of the Road to Resilience Capital Campaign. Funds for curriculum supplies for participant workshops and support groups.

WITH 70% OF AMERICANS HAVING EXPERIENCED SOME KIND OF TRAUMA in their lives, new Sarasota non-profit Resilient Retreat was born out of a strong need to provide a sense of community and resources for healing. Set on 84 acres of conservation land on Fruitville Road, the center provides free and fully confidential holistic day-long programs, virtual programs and multi-day, overnight intensive retreats to survivors of abuse, first responders and helping professionals such as doctors, nurses and teachers. The research-based, interdisciplinary programming includes support groups, neurofeedback, animal and equine therapy, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, time in nature, art and music therapies and much more. Additionally, the organization provides trainings on a wide variety of trauma related topics for corporations, businesses, non-profits and non-governmental agencies on a sliding fee scale and operates a Kind Line at 941.343.0039.

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Scholarship Support

Scholarships empower students to pursue their dreams, motivate them to aim high, encourage them to pay it forward, and prepare for a lifetime of achievement.

Nine of ten students rely on scholarships to attend Ringling College.

You can help make these dreams a reality by making a gift at


FOR OVER 90 YEARS, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students on both a national and international scale. We believe in creating an inspiring and engaging environment for our students and community, but we know we cannot do it alone. Ringling College relies on the support and generosity of our friends, partners, alumni, and community to continue to advance our industry-leading art and design education. The value of the investment is undeniable–our students emerge as creative leaders who can effectively contribute their talents to the most recognized creative brands around the globe. Help us make a difference in the lives of talented, emerging creatives by providing quality academic programs, professional level resources, and state of the art facilities.



BE THE ONE. For more than 40 years, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has been the key to unlocking possibilities for all who call our area home. Creating lasting impact across generations starts with each of us and grows donor by donor, cause by cause. The Community Foundation supports the vital work of more than 600 nonprofits in our region, addressing challenges and creating opportunities for all. Each of us, together, can make a lasting difference. How will you Be The One?

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Support a Cause

Donate to trusted organizations to support causes you care about. Begin your search at

Volunteer for a Nonprofit Reach out to help address critical needs. Search for volunteer opportunities on

Build a Community Embracing All Voices and People

Foster a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion so everyone can achieve their full potential.






STRONG FOUNDATIONS NEED SUPPORT. That’s why The Florida Center for Early Childhood gives children and families the building blocks they need to provide a strong family foundation through developmental therapies, mental health counseling, parental support, and early childhood education. With 1 in 6 children suffering from a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder, The Florida Center provides prevention and early intervention services to more than 3,500 children and families, many who are at risk for academic, social and economic failure. Through the agency’s therapeutic services, children reach developmental milestones and parents receive the tools needed to nurture their child’s development. The Florida Center’s eight programs are nationally recognized with an overall success rate of 98%, demolishing generational cycles related to abuse and neglect, academic delay and mental health disorders that create added costs to society. You can help build up children and families in our community by donating today!

Provide a child with wrap-around services & early education at Starfish Academy. Connect an expectant mother to resources through our Healthy Families program.

Heal a child in the welfare system from trauma through our Childhood Court Program.

Support a child with behavioral challenges through free school-based mental health therapy. THE FLORIDA CENTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD 4620 17TH STREET, SARASOTA 34235 | 6929 OUTREACH WAY, NORTH PORT 34287 941.371.8820 | THEFLORIDACENTER.ORG


THE VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION'S MISSION IS EXPANDING as we lead the creation and operation of a new performing arts center at the heart of The Bay Park. The new center will nurture excellence in artists, inspire wonder in audiences, and spark curiosity in learners. It will be an iconic symbol for the pride of Sarasota—with every inch committed to accessibility for everyone—and will include: a 2,200-seat main stage with center aisle(s), a 300-seat flexible performance space, education and lifelong learning spaces, multiple outdoor public performance spaces, and technology that will allow performances to be simulcast into the park. Plus, the center will create 5,000+ jobs over five to seven years, and drive yearround tourism and commerce to local businesses.





O WishList Underwrite Schooltime Performances Sponsor a Teaching Artist Support a Bilingual Family Engagement Night Support the planning and design for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center
O WishList


At this time, Sunshine From Darkness is seeking support for and attendance at its January 13 Inspiring Hope Dinner, featuring Grammy and Tony Award-winning actress/ singer Jennifer Holliday, as well as an underwriter for the online Mental Health Directory the organization is seeking to build as a resource for the community.


NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION SUNSHINE FROM DARKNESS , a subsidiary of the Lee and Bob Peterson Foundation, is building on the legacy and vision of Lee and Bob Peterson and their dedication to providing mental health wellness education and raising funds for local charities that provide mental health and addiction services. Mental health services in the State of Florida are seriously underfunded: Florida ranks 49th among states for mental health programs and access to mental health care. The behavioral health system in Sarasota County has been unable to meet the steadily increasing demand for services, with unmet needs rapidly increasing. Mental health services save lives, while improving the outlook for people who feel hopeless and lost. Untreated mental health problems can be devastating for individuals and their families. Sunshine From Darkness is committed to stopping the adverse outcomes and the economic cost of untreated mental illness and funding mental health and addiction services in our community.



Resilient Retreat’s grand opening luncheon featured Ashley Judd, who shared her own journey to mental health. INTERVIEW BY DYLAN CAMPBELL.


FOR THOSE RECOVERING FROM TRAUMA, HEALING DOESN’T ALWAYS COME EASILY. The journey to recovery isn’t a linear process, there’s no cast to put on internal pain, no wound to stitch up, no antibiotic to ward off infection. Instead there’s just honesty, surrender, and the taking of the first of many steps towards a long road to recovery. Resilient Retreat, the non-profit organization built on 84 acres of conservation land in Sarasota, is dedicated to helping those impacted by trauma and abuse take the first steps in their healing journeys. The organization, which broke ground on its retreat center in 2020, uses evidenced based programs to take a data-driven approach to help those around the community, from everyday civilians to first responders. Resilient Retreat held its grand opening luncheon this past November, featuring their keynote speaker, actress Ashley Judd. With an acting career has spanned three decades, Judd is an outspoken advocate for gender equality, mental health, and women’s rights and has been increasingly active in humanitarian work around the world. Since 2004, Judd has traveled to 22 countries, sharing with others her experiences and mental health journey.


JUDD: When I was told about what they hoped to do in terms of helping folks heal their trauma and lowering the financial barrier to getting help resolving trauma, that was certainly something that was important to me. I’m someone who has personally experienced trauma from a young age and then had multiple iterations of trauma and exposure to it throughout my life. And so, sharing about my experiences is an integrated part of my healing journey. And whenever I have the opportunity to deepen my own resilience as

well as share a message of hope and recovery with others, that’s important to me. What I intend to do is share my experience, of the strength and hope I’ve found in my journey recovering from unresolved grief and cause of trauma to share what that’s looked like for me. How with a lot of support from people who have walked a path before me, I’ve gone from hurting to healing to helping. I went to treatment myself in 2006 for unresolved childhood grief and trauma, and I attended an extraordinary treatment center called Shades of Hope in Texas. They are trauma-informed, meaning they have evidencebased care that acknowledges some things help for trauma and

some things do not. And not all treatment centers in the country are trauma-informed. Resilient Retreat is following that same model that understands that evidence and data inform proven ways of resolving trauma.

be able to heal in a community. Trauma that we don’t transform becomes trauma that we will transfer – it lives in the cells of our bodies and will manifest itself in all of our relationships.




JUDD: Yes, because trauma isolates us. It isolates us, first of all, from the self, from the core of the self, but also from the community. We can’t heal alone, it has to be done in fellowship, which is part of what Resilient Retreat offers, to

It seeps into our emotional being. It affects how we sleep, but it’s how we play or don’t play back certain events in our heads years later. When trauma or memories are not stored properly in our brain, they manifest themselves into any number or type of interactions that we have. And there are ways to take those memories and events and have resolution and to desensitize

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This page, clockwise: Special guest Ashley Judd, and a rendering of the Resilient Retreat campus, courtesy of Resilient Retreat. Ashley Judd (center) with sister Wynona Judd and mother Naomi Judd at the premiere of her new movie Kiss The Girls at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, photo by Featureflash Photo Agency,

them. A traumatized brain also functions very differently from a fully operating brain. The language center, the Broca center, goes completely offline when the traumatized brain is invoked. And we become nonverbal, we secrete stress hormones in massive amounts. We go into fight, flight, or freeze. We can’t access the fullness of our human skills and become much more limited in our capacities. What’s important is that there are ways to take those memories and events and find resolution to and desensitize them.


JUDD: Well, the approach is threefold. First of all, we do have to get our story straight. There has to be some talking involved. There needs to be understanding of what happened. So then we have a sort of purgative experience of where the trauma lives somatically– as some people say, the issues are in the tissues–where it lives in the cells and the musculature of the body. It needs to come out. And the way in which the act was unresolved within us, we need to be able to resolve it. So that might be through a variety of healing arts. It might be through running or drumming or movement or dance or yoga. The body keeps score and everyone can find their own way, either through a professional modality or intuitively because our bodies want to heal. They want homeostasis. There are certain medications in the hands of a responsible doctor that can be supportive for a period of time.


JUDD: So at times I’ve had a really beautiful yoga practice and that

has included restorative postures where just lying on the ground with some pillows or bolsters has allowed my body to be in a supported nurturing posture where sensation has moved through my body and allowed me to feel release. Massage has been very important to me, and they get their anonymity, so I won’t say who it is, but one of my family members has had a couple of massages recently and they’ve released a lot of grief toward the end of their massages as well.

Every time that I do EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), I have body work afterwards because I want to continue to move the grief and the trauma out of my system after I’ve desensitized really intense memories. And then also there’s something called experiential work, which allows people to, if they were assaulted, which one in three women experience male sexual violence, to fight back and complete their act of defending their body.

In addition to a program of recovery that I follow – which includes EDMR, periodic intensive trauma work, and other evidence-based, data-informed practices – I have a daily practice as well. The first thing that I do is start my day with reading some grounding texts that, to me, are spiritual and express my highest values and ideals. This really helps settle and soothe my parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part that regulates the break so I don’t wake up agitated and flighty, and can easily get activated by looking at my phone or thinking about the day, which can result in me descending into spin mode. So I read something that’s really calming, and grounding, and centered. I also journal so that I can just get everything out that’s going on inside and put it on paper. I write with my

non-dominant hand, which is a really well known evidence based practice. And then I have a meditation practice that really works for me. I’ve memorized some beautiful prayers from the world’s great spiritual traditions. I slowly go through the words of those prayers, which slows down my thinking. It slows down the heart rate, it slows down the breathing and really, we become that on which we concentrate. I have different ways in which I pray, seeking only knowledge of my higher powers and opening my heart to their will.


JUDD: Yes. I’m very consistent with my morning practice. It is non-negotiable. Self care isn’t selfish. It is self-esteem.

HOW CAN THE GENERAL PUBLIC WORK TO ERADICATE ANY PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OR STIGMAS THAT ARE ATTACHED TO MENTAL ILLNESSES AND DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRAUMA? JUDD: The number one thing, of course, is simply to normalize talking about mental health and to make it normative. Because for example, depression is the number one public health morbidity in this country. It is the number one cause of public disability in the world. And so, it is a tremendous contradiction if depression is kept a secret–that simply hobbles us in treating it.


WHAT’S OFTEN THE HARDEST PART ABOUT STARTING THIS JOURNEY? JUDD: I would say to go ahead and do it now and think about it after. The only thing you have to lose is your pain. I think that surrendering is the hardest part of the process. Having the vulnerability to surrender and to trust those of us who have stepped through that portal. To know it’s really safe to surrender.

CAN YOU SHARE THE HUMANITARIAN WORK THAT YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH? JUDD: I have been partnered with grassroots organizations since 2004 and I’ve been to 22 countries around the world, visiting predominantly girls and women and their children in places like refugee camps and brothels, orphanages and hospices. The root causes of their trauma and suffering have been gender inequality and male sexual violence. We’ve been in community together, they’ve been interested in my stories of trauma and grief. And together we have found refuge and compassion and empathy and a lot of identification even though some of the details of our situations differed.

AND WHAT HAS THAT MEANT FOR YOU IN YOUR LIFE? JUDD: It’s difficult to overstate how ravishing it has been for me, both in the sense of the devastation and how generative it has been. It has bonded me to my fellows. It has impassioned me to give, it has taught me the hill on which I’m willing to die. It’s shown me what I won’t put up with. It’s given me a sense of profound purpose. SRQ

108 | srq magazine_ DEC22 live local ASHLEY JUDD | RESILIENT RETREAT SPECIAL GUEST

PEOPLE ARE LIVING LONGER AND BETTER THAN EVER, thanks in part to the latest and greatest senior living communities and social gathering spots popping up across the country and right here in our own little paradise. We go behind-the-scenes to the experiences in our region for local senior residences, community centers and technology—helping to keep our seniors engaged, joyful and living their best lives.



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This page, clockwise: Town Square in Sarasota; Grand Living in Wellen Park and Friendship Centers.


A new senior daycare center in Sarasota, Town Square helps folks to age gracefully in familiar surroundings.

IMAGINE GOING BACK IN TIME. Back to the cars, restaurants and music of your youth. Back to a time when life was simpler and everyone had your back. Well that’s exactly what it’s like for seniors who spend their days at Town Square in Sarasota, a 12,000 squarefoot senior daycare center owned by Michael Finn and his wife, Sherri, “Town Square looks like a 1950s Main Street on the inside. With eleven different storefronts, each focused on a specific type of activity, members always have a varied, interesting day with something new on the agenda.

The Glenner Park section of the center, named for George G. Glenner, the dementia research pioneer whose work helped form the basis for Town Square’s concept, is at the center of the facility and features benches for relaxation and conversation. It is also used for performances and large group gatherings such as exercise. Chumley’s Garage brings back the golden era of the American automobile by displaying a rare restored 1950s muscle car, the kind some of the members may have taken for many a ride in their youth. There is an art studio for creative expression, innovative thinking, and improved manual dexterity, a diner where members enjoy healthy, delicious meals and snacks throughout the day and sway along to the tunes from the jukebox, a city hall to pay tribute to veterans, a health club for seniorfriendly exercise, a library and newstand. There is even a little blue house in which members can make themselves at home. Designed to mimic a typical family living room, this storefront is used for relaxing appreciation of classic music or television. The recreation center houses all of the vintage amusements that made game night fun in the ‘50s, like board games, card games, and puzzles, as well as a pool table and a theater showing classic films, TV shows, and musicals. This area is also used as a performance space for members’ drama groups, talent shows, and visiting artists from the community.

“When people think about taking care of their parents,” says Finn, “they think about bringing private duty nursing into the home, or moving them into an assisted living or memory care community. I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this. When folks walk in, they gasp because not only does it look fantastic, but we have dementia-trained staff and really caring people that greet members at the door with hugs and kisses every day. It’s a special thing and it probably keeps loved ones at home for a few more years before they might need to ultimately go to a community. And since Hurricane Ian hit the area in late September, we have had lots of families reach out to become members. It’s clear that the isolation that can come from a storm can be very impactful on folks in need.”

Town Square offers a welcomed option for people with dementia and their caregivers and their programming helps the staff to accomplish their most important goal: Bringing happiness, fulfillment, and relief to senior citizens, whether or not they have memory or cognitive impairment.

“Right now, the top 15% or so of our members have no cognitive deficit at all,” shares Finn. “Some of them were just unengaged with way too much time at home during COVID, no socialization, and just wanted something to do. The bottom 15% are probably very cognitively challenged and it’s a real struggle to keep them at home. But we can get them redirected to our environment which is secure with nurses and really caring people and we can keep them busy all day long. The middle 70% of the membership likely suffers from early stage Alzheimer’s or some mild cognitive deficit, and while they might not remember that they visited the center yesterday, their days are filled with activities and enjoyment amongst peers.”

The best way to experience the services of Town Square is with a complimentary visit. All potential members get a free guest day to make sure they like it and the family loves what’s happening. During that visit, an assessment is done that screens for cognitive deficit. When the member does come for a day-long experience, he or she will be greeted at the door, get a name tag, and then they will go to their group. Typically, all members meet up in the diner which holds about 50 people. It’s where the day starts and where they can sit back and read their papers until the activities get going. The groups are made up of six to eight people, paired cognitively so that high functioning folks are not paired with low-functioning ones. Throughout the day, groups are moved through all the storefronts by an experienced guide. There is unique programming all day long every day so that there is always something new, yet familiar, to enjoy.

Hours of operation at Town Square Sarasota are Monday through Friday 8:304:30; however, members are free to arrive whenever they’d like. Services are offered on a private-pay basis, but some of the cost may be covered by a variety of benefits, including veteran services. Town Square goes beyond what most social adult day cares provide, by having a full-time registered nurse onstaff, giving medication reminders when necessary, and allowing for coordination of care with outside medical providers. “It’s a no-brainer for families to bring their loved ones here,” says Finn. “With us, they are having a blast and they love where they’re going and what they’re doing all day long.”

Town Square is located in the Kohl’s Shopping Plaza, 3882 Central Sarasota Parkway, Sarasota. 941-336-5061.

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Luxury senior living is coming to Downtown Wellen.

GRAND LIVING, A COMMUNITY known for its upscale lifestyle residences and exceptional hospitality approach to senior living in Lakewood Ranch, Jacksonville and Hernando County, is set to open in Wellen Park late summer of 2023 and is now taking reservations to hold specific apartments.

According to Nick McLaughlin, Regional Director of Sales, Grand Living distinguishes themselves amongst other senior living communities by delivering what they call first- class happiness. While their communities look like lovely home developments, they really resemble more of a grand hotel feel and are built on a culture McLaughlin refers to as the sterling touch. “It is something that is tangible and taught and learned and educated to our staff every single day. We all start our day with what we call Start Sterling, which is our sacred time to align as a unit, talk about our principles, talk about how they apply to our residents, and certainly talk about how they apply to each other.” he says.

Grand Living at Wellen Park will be an active environment with a tremendous emphasis on food and fitness. There will be three restaurants, all offering scratch cooking, with made-to-order meals personalized to the residents’ preferences. Full-time fitness directors are staffed at all of Grand Living communities with access to personal one-on-one training, and about 30 group fitness classes that are offered every week. “These classes are not just your typical senior living exercise classes,” says McLaughlin. “They’re highly innovative classes. They all focus on a specific part of the body, but at the end of the day, they’re really just designed to elevate the resident’s mood and allow them to have fun with it.”

The downtown location of Grand Living will provide access and walkability for residents who can have the benefits of living in the community while also participating in the greater offerings of Wellen Park.

One of the unique offerings delivered by Grand Living is an age-in-place concept. This means a person can come in as an

independent resident but if they start to need healthcare services or assisted living, they don’t have to move to another part of the building, they can stay in their same residence, maintain all their routines, keep their friends, keep their lifestyle and they can be as active as they want regardless of what level of healthcare they may need.

“We provide all of our care privately to each residence,” states McLaughlin. “We come to them. They never have to come to a centralized care location. It’s all done tastefully, privately, and personalized.”

When complete, there will be 192 residences and 12 villas and at full capacity, the community will be home to around 230 residents of different lifestyles and different ages. “We have the 12 villas, unique to Grand Living at Wellen Park,” says McLaughlin. “That typically attracts a younger demographic that still wants some flexibility. They want access to that Wellen Park marketplace and they want a hassle-free, maintenance-free, and a healthy lifestyle. And best of all, they can age with the community and all that it offers.” To learn more about Grand Living, visit


At Sunnyside Village in Sarasota, staff members and residents are learning how to use the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® program to create new memories.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE IS A BRAIN DISORDER that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. While a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is often frightening to patients and their families, a new and unique approach to activities programming that combines rehabilitation principles and educational techniques using physical and cognitive abilities is being used nationally and locally at Sunnyside Village in Sarasota. The goal of the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® program is to inspire independence and provide fun, purposeful opportunities for collaboration by bringing people together through their talents. After experiencing the positive outcomes of the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® at the Bronze Level, the team at Sunnyside Village was devoted to earning the highest possible

NEW VIEWS ON AGING 112 | srq magazine_ DEC22 live local

Left: 81 Oaks is over 90,000 square feet and is part of a multigenerational campus including 100 oak trees, a charter school, an all-inclusive non-denominational church, auditorium, trails and a gazebo.

training provided by the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® program, Howard is now leading others in a small choir, a mix of staff and residents singing in the dining rooms every other Wednesday. The Montessori-Based Dementia Programming® has prepared the Sunnyside staff for their new campus addition, Shepherd’s Landing Memory Care which celebrated a grand opening in this past November.


A new way of living is on

Gold Level credential. It’s one of the first in the nation to do so and it is paying off.

The focus of the programming is to create an environment that provides respect and dignity to all persons, and to foster development of a true community for residents with dementia, their families, and the staff members who provide care for them. Created by the Center for Applied Research in Dementia, Dr. Cameron J. Camp, PhD, who has earned international renown for his work to improve the quality of life for persons with dementia and memory disorders, and his associates have personally trained the Sunnyside staff team on the Montessori techniques and applications. This group accomplishment has been a three-year initiative that has brought staff from all departments together as one team.

Sunnyside physical therapist Howard Jackson has been singing all his life and that has been a big plus for the residents in the Health and Rehabilitation Center at the Manor. When Sunnyside Speech and Language Pathologist Karen Hudak learned this, she saw it as an opportunity to match his abilities with the desires and needs of the residents. With the

WHILE THERE APPEARS TO BE NO SHORTAGE of retirement communities in our area, plans are underway for a new resort style retirement community to open in Sarasota County in early 2023 that promises to be a state-of-art facility. Developed by N21 Group, LLC., 81 Oaks will be managed by Solvere Living, a highly acclaimed national operator of senior living communities based in St. Petersburg. Why Sarasota? “First of all, the cost of living is reasonable, which means seniors on a budget can consider relocating to Sarasota,” says Marketing Specialist Rob Sorak. “According to the website, there are 37.2% of seniors ages 65+ living in Sarasota, which shows a demand for more senior living communities like 81 Oaks.”

The new community is over 90,000 square feet and is part of a multigenerational campus including 100 oak trees, a charter school, an all-inclusive non-denominational church, auditorium, trails and a gazebo. Phase one which is leasing now, will focus on assisted living and memory care. Phase two will focus on independent living cottages and villas.

Some of the technology making 81 Oaks a state-of-the-art facility include a 120-inch screen TV with surround sound audio in the theater, a fitness room with a Blue Goji recumbent cyber cycle and Sci-Fit recumbent stepper, recumbent bike and upper body ergometer. Security will be monitored with Accushield, a system that allows the staff to monitor every individual entering and exiting the community and distinguishes visitors from team members. ALIS, the community’s customized electronic health record and medication administration record, allows the staff to meet the individualized

needs of each resident by developing a comprehensive plan of care specific to each person. It incorporates a holistic approach inclusive of all dimensions that impact a person’s overall well-being. Historical, Medical, emotional, functional, lifestyle and cognitive needs, wishes and abilities are reviewed and incorporated into a personalized wellness plan. Caremerge, a communication system allowing for frequent communication between residents and team members and families and the community at any time is another modern feature of the community. Communication via email, text, and an app are all utilized to send updates, calendars, photos, videos and “engagement wishes” of residents. Families are able to survey the community in real time and provide feedback on their loved one’s experience living at the community.

In addition to assisted living homes, there will be 41 independent living apartments, 57 villas and cottages, all with similar features and amenities. While the assisted living and memory care apartments are on the same campus, the memory care neighborhood is secured with courtyards and a walking trail.

Some of the many amenities include the Bayfront Salon and Spa where residents can schedule some pampering time, Heron’s Nest movie theater, Oak Branch library, Flamingo art studio, and the Mangrove Dining Room which offers anytime dining with an ever-changing menu of delectable options prepared by experienced chefs. Weekly housekeeping and personal laundry service is provided, along with scheduled transportation, social events, and educational and spiritual programs, coordination of ancillary and medical services by a wellness director, daily wellness checks, personalized fitness plans and wellness programs.

Dr. Larry Baucom of Suncoast Community Church is the owner of the future community. Baucom, a native of Nashville Tennessee and current Sarasotan has been a pastor for over 40 years. “81 Oaks is a resort style intergenerational community. It is a privately owned Senior Living at its best”, says Dr. Baucom. “Adjacent to a charter school and a community church 81 Oaks is the perfect place to live within a community...not in isolation.” 81 Oaks, 7850 Hawkins Rd, Sarasota, 941-278-8801,

the way with 81 Oaks
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The dance floor is hopping at Senior Friendship Center


according to nationally regarded geriatrician and former Senior Friendship Centers board member, Kevin O’Neill. “The number one thing you can do for good brain health is to go dance,” he says. Local seniors have taken Dr. O’Neill’s message to heart. Five days a week, one of the largest dance floors in Sarasota is filled with senior dancers and musicians, all hoping to stay active, keep their brains healthy and most importantly, make friends.

Shirley Goodman, age 99, is one of the ‘regulars’ on the dance floor. She’s got the rhythm and the moves to go along with it. In fact, a video of Goodman dancing went viral a few years ago, earning her an appearance on Good Morning America Affectionately known as “The Dancing Nana,” Goodman has survived two open heart surgeries, a pacemaker and a stint, and macular degeneration. “My ears and eyes aren’t too good,” she says, “but my legs are working fine!” When asked what her secret for a healthy life is, she emphatically replies “Music! It’s my medicine!”

Larry Cappetto, the ‘Fred Astaire’ of the Center agrees. “I was married for 61 years to the most beautiful woman in the world. I took care of her for three years until she passed away with dementia. After she was gone I became like a hermit,” he says. “My daughter drove me to Senior Friendship Centers in Venice. Now I love to dance and sing here. They call me ‘Fred Astaire’ and ‘The Italian Stallion’. I do my own dance moves, I don’t dance the way you’re supposed to dance. I do my own style and they all love it. This place saved my life.”

Senior Friendship Centers will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year. The organization started after Brother William Geenen, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, was traveling in Sarasota and discovered that isolation and loneliness were the malnutrition of aging. He had a couple of chance encounters with people that told him the golden years were not what they had anticipated because they felt far from family and friends. They didn’t

have a strong social network and they became very isolated and alone. So Brother Greenen took a one year sabbatical to see if he could start some sort of socialization program for seniors in Sarasota. He came with just $79 in his checking account, a folding card table, his black lab, a suitcase and a station wagon. He put out flyers everywhere he thought seniors would gather–coffee shops, doctor’s offices, pharmacies and mobile home parks. He advertised an open house for anybody that wanted to meet other people and find friendship. He went out and bought coffee and cookies for fifty people because they thought they might have a pretty good turnout. When over 450 showed up at his first open house, Geenen realized that people really do need other people and he continued his work. Every day, seniors would show up and ask him, “What can I do to help?” And Brother Geenen would say, “Can you make coffee?” Pretty soon the seniors had purpose and meaning, and they were showing up every day to make coffee, put the folding chairs out, take the folding chairs up, and clean up.

The organization grew rapidly and within just a few years, multiple campuses became necessary. Today, Senior Friendship Centers is a multifaceted organization covering four counties with different services in each county based on the needs in that community. The bigger centers are in Sarasota and Venice, where there is live music daily from 1:00 to 3:00. Different types of classes, including language, art and dance are offered. A typical day there might include ballroom dancing, yoga, Tai chi, a hot lunch and a cup of coffee at the bistro. These locations, as well as some of the satellite locations, are primarily for seniors who are still independent. They may drive themselves there, get rides or take public transportation.

In addition to various dance opportunities, balance movement, a falls prevention class is one of the center’s most popular classes. “We are all on the journey of aging together and the earlier we can start to build our social capital, the earlier we can start to focus on wellness and our balance and our strength, the better and the more solid we’ll be as we go a little further down the road,” says Crystal Rothhaar, Chief Communications Officer.

A huge focus of the Center is on its volunteers. “We focus so much on our finances as we look towards retirement,” says Erin McLeod, President and CEO of Senior Friendship Centers, “But just as importantly

is the investment that we’ve made in our social capital. I cannot emphasize enough how important volunteering is for people to feel like they have a reason to get up and get dressed and put on lipstick and shave and go out the door every day. ‘Somebody’s waiting for me, they need me,’ that kind of thing. But it’s also a connection to other people. After a while, they find that they’ve created their own tribe.”

“Our motto is, people helping people, and the idea behind that is that our volunteers are giving back to the community, but by volunteering, it’s also providing them with a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives,” adds Rothhaar. While most attend for the fun and friendship provided, there are also programs that are vital to the health and wellbeing of seniors. For example, there is a program called Friendship at Home providing friendly visitors and reassurance, and a program called EHEAP and Season of Sharing funds. EHEAP allows the Center to provide one time financial support for somebody who can’t pay an electric bill or some type of utility bill. For seniors who are no longer independent, The Caregiving Place provides adult day care for people with cognitive challenges. It allows them to come and have a healthy lunch, spend the day in a comfortable, warm and compassionate place where they receive care from a one to six ratio staff and a registered nurse who helps take care of them during the day. The program offers respite and resources for their caregiver who is often missing out on their own self-care when caring for someone else. There are online and in-person support groups, as well. While a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is often devastating, the seniors who are part of the program are having fun while keeping active and entertained. They are often treated to visits from therapy ponies, guest speakers and singing clowns. The Key Chorale has even visited with their “I Lost My Keys” program.

“It’s really invaluable for a caregiver who is very stressed and overwhelmed, to take their loved ones somewhere where they actually get to thrive, not just be dropped off,” says Rothhaar. Our organization is here for their families, for their loved ones, for their neighbors, and it’s for all of us because we’re all aging, we’re all going to be old, we’re all getting older. So this organization is here to support all of us as we age, not just the old people out there.” To learn more about Senior Friendship Centers, visit their website: SRQ

114 | srq magazine_ DEC22 live local NEW VIEWS ON AGING

LET’S START BY SHARING A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELVES AND WHAT YOU DO. JEFF WEATHERHEAD, PLYMOUTH HARBOR: I am the CEO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay and I’ve been there since the end of June of this year. I’ve been in the field for about 28 years, started in the retirement community world which they now call life plan communities. I started in the sales and marketing world and moved into nursing home administration in Ohio, moved from there to Florida to become an executive director in a retirement community in

In Conversation

St. Petersburg, which ultimately took me to Jacksonville. Then I became the chief operating o cer for a retirement community in Charlotte, North Carolina for eight years. And earlier in the year when my daughter had her first child, we had an opportunity to explore the possibility of coming back to Florida. Coincidentally, I replaced a man who had been in his role, Harry Hobson, for 18 years, and a very well-respected man. When I first got into this field 28 years ago, I had to take a course in order to become a nursing home administrator. Harry and his wife

Nancy, who were in Ohio at the time, taught the course. So we kind of book ended one another in terms of our careers. It’s been thrilling and I’m really glad to be back here in the Sarasota area.



ON THE ISLE: My dream growing up was to be a hospital administrator. And I think it’s because there would never be a time in the healthcare industry where that wasn’t something that was needed. I ended up with an internship at Plymouth Harbor which turned into a full-time position there. I then went to Alabama as a director

of environmental services and was ready for something a little di erent, so I earned my nursing home administrator license and became their administrator on record for about five years. And then this opportunity in Florida came up, so my wife and I and our three kids, who were two-years-old at the time, packed up and moved down to Florida. I’m now with Village on the Isle. I’ve been here for close to seven years. I was promoted to COO when I arrived and then promoted to CEO about two-and-a half years ago.




Doug Feller, Chief Executive Officer


On The Isle

Doug Feller is a graduate of the University of Alabama and is a diehard Alabama Fan. He began his career working for medical devices conglomerate Medtronic in Ft. Myers, FL. A racted to the healthcare industry, Doug transitioned to senior living at Plymouth Harbor in Sarasota, FL as project manager in 2007. He relocated to Alabama in 2009 where he became the VP of Health Services at Westminster Village, a life plan community, in Spanish Fort, AL for six years. Doug has held various roles at Village On The Isle, including Resident Services Director, Director of Operations and Chief Operating Officer before becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2020. Doug and his wife currently reside in Venice, FL and are parents of 9-year-old triplets. He and his family enjoy everything southwest Florida has to offer.


BAINBRIDGE: In college I had an advisor that told me that you could do about 80% of fi nance jobs with an accounting degree, but you could only do about 20% of accounting jobs with a fi nance degree. So I picked the one that just broadened my horizons the most.

up the firm’s estate planning and tax practice group. I’ve been a lawyer for 36 years and have done nothing but estate planning during that time. I met my wife, who is a sixth generation Floridian, in the graduate tax program at the University of Florida, which is how I decided to stay in Florida. I’ve been at this firm, at this job, pretty much in this o ce since 1994.


WEATHERHEAD: Aging gracefully is allowing people to age in the way that they want, first and foremost and that requires some planning and some thought but it also means that the environments around them and the people around them are also supportive of helping that person in accomplishing what they want in this season of their lives.


I am the Vice President Family Wealth Advisor at JL Bainbridge Company. We’re a wealth management firm that’s been around for about 40 years. And in Sarasota for 30 of those 40. I’ve been in financial services for a little over a decade now.

I started my career as a CPA doing taxes for individuals, companies, partnerships as estate, trust, etc, and about seven years ago decided that I wanted to branch out into the wealth management world. Financial services is something that always made a lot of sense to me. Maybe it was my father who was always whipping financial discipline into me that made me realize how few people have an expertise in this area. I saw a need, I have a passion for it, and I’ve been loving my time here in Sarasota. RICHARD GANS, FERGESON SKIPPER, PA: I’m a shareholder at the Fergeson Skipper Law Firm, where I head

THOMPSON: I think having options to do what you want is a really great way to say it. To me the way that you do that as Je was saying is by planning. That can mean a lot. That can be very, very detailed. That can be very, very broad. But that at least, especially from a financial perspective is the linchpin of everything. The future’s inherently uncertain, so you do the best you can. You’re not setting these things in stone, but planning for a certain lifestyle that you strive for and achieving that would be aging gracefully to me. FELLER: I’d say it’s living your best life. You’ve worked your tail o all your life to get to this point. Now you can sit back, retire and live your true best life. GANS: I think it’s to have your priorities straight in life, to be strong in what you believe in, to have good health, to do things that continue to be meaningful to you and that give meaning to your life.

WEATHERHEAD: I think one of the lessons I’m learning coming out of the pandemic is that it’s the people that make all the di erence. During Covid, we did everything early on to keep people safe. And it was the right thing to do. We didn’t know what to expect, but we went into severe lockdown mode. The impact of that social isolation has been profound. People who were otherwise healthy, active people, aged dramatically throughout the pandemic. I ran into a resident when we first started allowing people to return to eating in the dining room together. And he looked at me with huge tears in his eyes, and he said, “This is my first meal with another human being in eight months.” Up to that point he

was this very, very intellectual, very dynamic, physically fit,engaging guy. He passed away six months later. The toll of that isolation was so powerful. I’m 55 years old—it’s kind of a lesson to me about continuing to plan, but don’t keep waiting for that perfect time to do something or it could pass you by. FELLER: Je , you hit it right on the head. I think the first case in Florida was at Doctor’s Hospital. It was a Thursday afternoon or a Friday afternoon,

“ People who were otherwise healthy, active people, aged dramatically throughout the pandemic.”
— Jeff Weatherhead
“The future’s inherently uncertain, so you do the best you can. You’re not setting these things in stone, but planning for a certain lifestyle that you strive for and achieving that would be aging gracefully to me, I suppose.”
— Ryan Thompson

Richard Gans, President, Fergeson Skipper, PA

Richard Gans. is a shareholder at the Fergeson Skipper Law Firm, where he heads up the firm’s estate planning and tax practice group. He’s been a lawyer for 36 years and he has done nothing but estate planning during that time. He has wri en and contributed to several published works including IRA and Qualified Plan Benefits in Asset Protection in Florida, Protection of Inherited IRA’s and Pet Trusts: The Next New Thing on Your Estate Planning Questionnaire. He is the past board chair of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Women’s Exchange board of directors among other community leadership roles.

Ryan Thompson, Vice President, J.L Bainbridge Ryan Thompson, CPA, is the newest vice president at J.L. Bainbridge and is responsible for prospective client identification and portfolio management. As a member of the investment team, he participates in the identification and review of companies and instruments considered for investment. A Certified Public Accountant, he also provides expert advice to clients on a variety of tax issues pertaining to personal, corporate and estate and trust taxation. Ryan holds degrees in accounting and economics from the University of Central Florida. A Sarasota native, Ryan enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.

and we came into work on the following Saturday and we said, “All right, how do we lock this campus down?” And within 24 hours, we literally had everything shut down. Our dining room closed, our multiple entrances on campus, they were barricaded. And this was at the beginning when nobody really knew what was going on. We had to immediately make changes because we still needed to occupy the apartments and everything went virtual. Even our fitness classes went virtual. As we grew a little bit and learned a little more, we opened up a little bit. I remember having conversations about how this was out of our control, but what was worse? Taking your chances and getting Covid or dying of isolation, because both of them have their adverse e ects on us as humans. We’re just socially driven. GANS: There’s nothing like a pandemic to get people motivated to do estate planning. The biggest manifestation of it is that my clients and prospects and people that I deal with are much, much more demanding than they were before. People are impatient. Covid sort of put the possibility of dying pretty much front of mind for everybody. I lost six clients to Covid in 2020 in about three months. I think just fear and a sense that my world is important to me and I need it to be as important to you as it is to me. You’d like to say that you can always deliver that, but maybe that’s not practical.



THOMPSON: I think the thing that may have changed more than anything is not necessarily the advice that we would give to people about how to allocate or how to manage, or what they need to be thinking about. You know, realistically those things—even though these sort of large events that we went through over

in goals. But really everything from our perspective, it starts with the plan and it really ends with the plan as well. And like I said earlier, because those future events are uncertain, you have to tweak it. You always have to tweak it, because things always change, whether you intend for them to or not.


THOMPSON: That is a very personal topic of conversation. Some people want their kids to never work or never have to worry about anything. Some people may have kids and don’t want to give their kids anything. So how you accomplish it, again, just goal setting.

the last couple years are di erent than anything in the past. The answer is almost always to stay the course on the plan. Because, going back to the financial crisis was di erent. The tragedy of 9/11 was di erent. The Asian currency crisis of the early 90s was di erent. Black Monday in 1987— that was di erent. The right perspective, at least from an investing standpoint, is to stay invested and stay the course. What has changed is the way that people want to live. Some people have been much more attuned to saving for the long term, focusing on retirement by working a fiveor 10-year plan. Other people may have just said, “I don’t care about any of that anymore, life is too short.” And then it’s on us to try to tweak the plan at least slightly to accomplish those that change

GANS: For married people with children, it’s very important to them to make sure that their spouse is taken care of and it’s very important to make sure that their children are taken care of. People are increasingly concerned about protecting their legacy as it passes down to the spouse who may live a long time and become susceptible to outside influence or perhaps not be as sharp as they used to be. That’s very concerning to people as they live longer. Another thing that’s concerning to people is to protect assets that go down to children from the bad things that happen to good people sometimes. So you get divorced, or there’s a behavioral or substance problem, just some sort of dysfunction there, they want to set it up so that the money having been passed down to their children doesn’t go to waste.

“People are increasingly concerned about protecting their legacy as it passes down to the spouse who may live a long time and become susceptible to outside influence or perhaps, not be as sharp as they used to be. ”
— Richard Gans

Jeff Weatherhead, President & Chief Executive Officer, Plymouth Harbor

Jeff Weatherhead has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Plymouth Harbor since June, 2022. Jeff joined Plymouth Harbor a er serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Aldersgate Life Plan Services in Charlo e, NC for 8 years.

Mr. Weatherhead has over twenty-eight years of experience in the senior living industry working in Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. His career in senior living has been exclusively with not-for-profit and faith-based organizations.

Mr. Weatherhead obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal and Public Communications from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Health Services Administration from Xavier University.

Mr. Weatherhead is a 2016 alumnus of the LeadingAge Larry Minnix Leadership Academy, a 2018 graduate of the LeadingAge Leadership Educator Program, and a member of the Annual Conference Education Commi ee 20182020, Jeff has also served on the Public Policy Commi ee with LeadingAge North Carolina.

IS THERE A LEVEL OF ASSETS AT WHICH IT BECOMES A LOT MORE COMPLICATED TO PROTECT THEM? GANS: Whatever the level of the estate is, you have to deal with it. The less money you have, the more it hurts to lose it, I think. So in my world I get clients that will come in and say, “Well, I don’t have enough money for a trust.” And that’s not the case. I think the opposite is true. In this case, they talk about a revocable trust, which is a probate avoidance mechanism. And I think people think, “Well, you’ve gotta have a lot of money to have a revocable trust.” And I think the opposite is true. The less money you have, maybe the more important it is to avoid probate because there are fees involved with something like that. And the less money you have, the less you can a ord to have something bad happen to it. And so it’s not an asset-driven thing. It’s a facts-of-lifedriven thing.

WHEN PLANNING FOR THE POTENTIALITY OF MOVING INTO A LIFE-PLANNED COMMUNITY, WHEN DO YOU START TALKING TO YOUR CLIENTS ABOUT THAT? THOMPSON: It’s definitely a sliding scale. One major factor is age. Another seems obvious, but I say it anyway, is just the number of resources. If you have limited resources, it’s much more important to plan for what your options are going to be. WEATHERHEAD: My father-in-law called me a couple years ago. He was 81, and after his 80th birthday when we had all gone to visit him and he realized, my family can’t stay in this small house, he said he wanted to buy another house so we would have another bedroom and people could come visit. And he called me and he said, “Is this crazy? I’m 81 and I’m thinking about buying a larger home?”

And I said, “So everything you say yes to, you’re saying no to something else. So if you say yes to buying a bigger house, what do you have to either give up or what are you gonna say no to, potentially? And if it’s not going to impact your financial life dramatically

to do it, but brings you joy on the other side? Yep, go for it. But if the converse is true that by doing this, you can’t live the daily life the way you want to, then maybe rethink that plan.”


OFF? WEATHERHEAD: When someone comes to our community and expresses interest, my first question is “What is it that you want to do with the rest of your life? And how can Plymouth Harbor be a part of your world? Is it that you want this dwelling with a great location on the water so that you feel peace and serenity when you wake up? Is it the amenities programs, fitness, dining? Is it not needing to clean your place or is it that you want to travel for half the year? Or you want to be able to lock up your apartment, then leave and know it’s going to be secure? So it always starts with what do you want. Then let’s talk about how we might fit into that scenario for you. And then if that’s a match, then what’s it going to cost to do that, and if all those things marry up, you know, then often that question

ends with “what would keep you from saying yes?” And usually it’s, “I probably should be doing this.” FELLER: I’m going to play o of what Je said. We had a resident move in about a year ago when the housing market was booming. She was able to sell her home within about three days. She knew she wanted to be there and wondered if it was the right time for her to move. She was probably was a little younger than what she anticipated but knew shewanted to retire on the island of Venice and this was her condo on the island. She could travel, she could do whatever she wanted to do. She could live her normal life. It really depends on what you’re looking for. For the healthcare side of things, I think it is just nice to have, but what really people are looking for is figuring out how they can do everything that they’re doing now and maybe opening up more opportunities for them to enjoy life a little more. So there’s this kind of the misperception that I think we have as an industry. But that’s what our goal is to find out what can we do to enhance the way they live.








“When someone comes to our community and expresses interest, my first question is “What is it that you want to do with the rest of your life? ”
— Jeff Weatherhead

THOMPSON: Well, to me, it’s a little esoteric, but wealth is really time. You know, while you’re working, you’re always trading your time for something else, whether it’s ability to move up or money or you’re trading your time spent with loved ones and the emotion of feeling that goes along with that. But as you get older it seems to me at this point that the number one hold on your time would be health. So I would say health first. WEATHERHEAD: I’m gonna go with wisdom because I come from this vantage point of working with people who have always been older than me. I think the oldest resident that I’ve ever had the pleasure to serve was 105 and the youngest was, I think 62. So several generations all at the same time. I think with wisdom, you can be wealthy if it were gifted to you, but if you weren’t wise, you could squander it. I might not be healthy anymore, but if I’m wise, I can be passing that on to somebody. So I’m going to firmly anchor myself in wisdom. FELLER: I would have to say health. I can also totally appreciate everything Je said about wisdom. It’s just kind of parallel— wisdom and health— but I’d say if you don’t have good health, everything else is kind of secondary to it. So I definitely would pick health all day long.

GANS: I would say from what I’ve seen, health is probably the number one thing. I’ve observed my clients over the years lose their health and it a ects their ability to enjoy the wealth that they’ve accumulated. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have that much. It’s hard for me to see people who were once dynamic and then there’s a health reversal and their life just gets smaller and smaller to where it’s reduced to just health. And that eliminates the ability to be wise and wealthy. When health concerns take over

your life, it makes you worry about spending all the money. There’s a lot of anxiety that goes with that health.

WEATHERHEAD: I recently went to Denver for the leading age conference. I am in my midfifties this year and have a new granddaughter—it’s changed a lot of perspectives. I heard this phrase that I took back to our programming people, and the phrase was that we age into an ever-increasing ever-shrinking box—we lose a spouse and the box becomes smaller, we move into a di erent home and the box comes smaller. So my challenge to my team was to figure out how to


kind of blow up that box, whether it’s skydiving at 93 or having somebody go back to school to finish a degree they couldn’t because they were in World War II. How do we help expand what the possibilities could be, and again, it all goes back to have you planned well enough to be able to do it.


WEATHERHEAD: For me it is kind of focused on living a joyful life and plan. Start early. You cannot start planning early enough. I grew up in a house that my parents didn’t plan well and my mom’s options at this point are severely hindered by what she can a ord to do. Having a family that says, we’ll support you later in life, it’s gives you the warm fuzzies to hear, but the first time that your parent has to call and ask, “Can you buy this for me because I don’t have the money to do it,” is such a humbling experience for them. So the lesson that I’m learning from my parents, is try to be smarter about how we plan, but don’t limit ourselves so that we also can’t do the things we want to do. As a grandfather, how do I modify that plan so that my children and grandchildren will be able to experience some of the really cool things that my wife and I have? So it’s always rebalancing the plan with the priorities and not getting so fixated on the line that you can’t vary. Occasionally just test the waters a little bit. FELLER: I tell my kids even where they are now, find something that you love to do and go be the best at it. Everything else will fall into place. A lot of people choose careers because that’s where the money is but I tell them that’s secondary. Your happiness comes first. Go find a job that you never have to take a vacation from because you love what you do every single day. I truly think that from the financial standpoint, from the planning, we as parents just need to do a good job of instilling the importance of planning. I had wonderful parents that taught

me how to plan. My parents’ problem is they don’t get out and enjoy anything they plan so well. They don’t enjoy life. You’ve gotta enjoy your life at the same time, not just prepare for the worst. That may or may not happen.

GANS: I would say to get your house in order. And, what that means is to take care of the things that you know you should do, like estate planning, and maybe longterm care insurance and things of that nature. That’s sort of the homework of doing this. People are living longer. I think that there’s more of a chance for sort of a coda to life. And, if you’re purposeful about what that coda to life is, you can have a lot of

“A lot of people choose careers because that’s where the money is but I tell them that’s secondary. Your happiness comes first. Go find a job that you never have to take a vacation from because you love what you do every single day. ”
— Doug Feller

new and great experiences when you’re retired, and make all that hard work that you put in worth the e ort. Retirement gracefully isn’t, “Now I’m done. Hopefully, there’s an element of anticipation of some new opportunities and some new things to do and some refreshing things and changes positively in your life. A discussion of things like health care proxies and powers of attorney does need to happen. Essentially, what they all do is they allow the client to appoint somebody whom they trust to make healthcare decisions, which could include selecting a long term care facility, making arrangements for inhome care, whatever seems to be

appropriate at the time. The state of Florida will write your will for you if you don’t have one. But they don’t write a healthcare proxy for you. And so if you haven’t made this prearrangement, you’ll get a guardian appointed for you. And there’s a place for guardianships. But they’re relatively easily avoided by having a healthcare proxy in place. And the financial counterpart of that’s called a durable power of attorney. And that’s what allows people to appoint somebody in advance to say, “Hey, if I can’t manage my financial a airs, I need you to do that for me.” So with a combination of all that stu , if somebody does have to go into a long-term care facility,

you’ve got a team in place who can help make financial and healthcare decisions if the person just can’t or doesn’t want to do that. In terms of how you pay for it, there’s a federal program administered by the states, Medicaid, and there’s a long term nursing home benefit for Medicaid. But it’s a means tested benefit, and you cannot have a whole heck of a lot of money or income in order to qualify for Medicaid. And if you make transfers to your children to sort of gift all your assets so that when the time comes to apply for Medicaid, you don’t have any, there’s a lot of complicated rules about that.


GANS: For the past 15 or so years, under Florida law and the law of many other states, we are allowed to set up a trust for a pet. The reason that I’m not enamored of that is that there’s a lot of care and maintenance to something like that. And somebody’s gonna get that asset after the pet dies. That person is not going to have the same attitude toward that pet as the person whose pet it was.





STILL VALID? GANS: If someone moves here from another state, it’s not necessary to drop everything, get a driver’s license, go see the lawyer, but the first thing to do is to take care of those health proxies and powers of attorney.


THOMPSON: The biggest realization in being a new father was that almost everything my parents told me was right, but I never wanted to believe them, which is kind of hilarious. But the thing that I would say to someone who might walk into my o ce is that it’s okay to ask for help. There are all kinds of statistics out there that say that people that work with an advisor end up better just because of some of the things we talked about from the very onset, they’re just not aware of some of the risks and pitfalls that are out there to encounter. And rather than learning the hard way, why not have someone that can raise a flag and say, hey, you should be thinking about this. Everything starts with the plan and failing to plan is planning to fail, so to speak.


srq magazine_ DEC22 live local | 123 IN CONVERSATION

last flight


the day. A “typical” day in Florida might include back-to-back meet ings, a Hermitage program and reception, and then sitting down at my desk late at night to tackle my ‘to do’ list after it’s quieted down. A “typical day” in New York (prepandemic) might include a full day of rehearsal, a dinner meeting, a show, then either work or social drinks after the show.

Your favorite virtue is. . . Kindness, passion, humor and high standards for excellence.

When you were a kid you dreamed of . . . never answering this question, because I don’t think anyone should give up on their dreams. I am still pursuing mine and plan to keep doing so indefinitely.

Your guilty pleasure . . . Ice Cream and Pepsi Zero –separately, not together!

Thought you had driving to work this morning . . . On Manasota Key, I prefer paddle boarding to work.

In our hometown, we do too much y celebrating in an echo chamber and too little letting the world know what’s special about Sarasota.

Your favorite villains in real life . . . Anyone who prioritizes ‘rules’ over creative thinking. I believe in advancing good and making meaningful change. I do not believe in “the way it’s always been done” or “because it says so.”

Your favorite music artists . . . Pass – this is a dangerous one! If not yourself, who would you be? Hal Prince. RIP, legend!

If you could undo one invention in the world, what would it be? Social media —all of it.

What was the funniest thing you remember doing as a kid? My sixth-grade teacher told me a story about a moment when I was in the Middle School Shakespeare production of As You Like It. I was dressed in a strange fur-coat costume (can’t remem ber why!), and chaos was ensuing because the cast had just been given prop swords for the first time, along with costumes/tights that let every one slide around the gym where we were rehearsing. My teacher said he vividly remembers observing me watching quietly and taking a lot of mental notes on how disorganized everything was in that moment. He said he was pretty sure that was the moment I decided to be a direc tor. Of course, I can’t remember anything past last week unless I’m reminded of it, too much else going on right now! So I guess the shorter version of this answer: I’m told I was hilarious as a kid. Period. Stop. Next question?!

Would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button in your life? Pause button. No regrets. Just always need more time.

IN THIS INQUISITIVE Q&A SERIES, we gets a little personal with Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO of The Hermitage Artist Retreat. So sit back and relax with a big bowl of ice cream and a can of Pepsi Zero to learn about what makes this creative leader tick.

a recent day in the life? No two days are alike. My colleagues are now confused if they find me in one place for too long. I try to find some time on the water each day –whether it be in the morning, on

my dinner break, or late at night after dark. I tend to fill every minute of my calendar, though I am definite ly not a morning person. If you get an email from me at 4am, it means I am still awake and energized from

My last supper would in clude . . . BBQ ribs from Michael’s On East, coconut shrimp from Lock and Key in Englewood and margaritas (my personal recipe!)

Words you use too often . . . “puzzled.”

With two more hours in the day, I would . . . try to figure out how to stretch it into 20 extra hours – and then dedicate some of those hours for some of my theater projects. There is never enough time in the day for everything I want to do!

What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done? I’m not easily scared. I suppose Bungee Jumping? But even then – super fun!

Your favorite food of the moment is . . . Anything from Kojo—so good!

What song best describes your life right now? Can’t Stop Til You Get Enough, Shut Up and Dance and Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.

You have to wear a t-shirt with one word on it, what would it be? Hustle. SRQ

artist retreat.
128 | srq magazine_ DEC22 live local ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS LEVERETT.