SRQ Magazine | Women Who Roar 2022 Awards Showcase

Page 1





6/13/22 4:29 PM

Meet Our 2022 Competition Judges Samantha Bond Richman | President and Founder of Sam Bond Benefit Group, Inc. As a successful professional in the insurance industry for over 25 years, Samantha brings a wealth of experience to her clients. She provides advice to small business owners, focusing on the unique insurance needs of both the employee group and owner. Licensed as a Life, Health and Annuity Agent with the Florida Department of Financial Services, she has assisted hundreds of businesses, and represented thousands of employees working in a diverse array of industries. Samantha is a member of the National Health Underwriters Association (NAHU) and the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO). She is a registered broker for Small Business Marketplace (SHOP); a former President of Tampa Bay-based Network of Executive Women; and has a B.A. in Mass Communications from University of South Florida. Samantha lives and works in downtown St. Petersburg, where she is a contributing writer to the Northeast Journal.

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

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

Geralyn Lucas | Writer, Speaker, Advocate Geralyn Lucas was only 27 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Shaking the foundations of her world, she was faced with the harrowing decision of whether or not to undergo a mastectomy. She shared her incredible journey in her memoir, Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy. Filled with courage, humor, and inspirational candor, Lucas’ book and message is not just for women who have experienced the effects of cancer. Why I Wore Lipstick: To My Mastectomy was made into an Emmy nominated movie that premiered on Lifetime television starring Sarah Chalke and Patti LaBelle in October, 2006. Prior to her writing career, Geralyn was a network television executive and producer at the ABC News Show 20/20 and Lifetime Television. Her work received high ratings and many awards including an Emmy® and a GLAAD Media Award. She lives in New York City with her husband, Tyler, and their two children.

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


6/13/22 4:31 PM

Meet the 2022 Inductees Into the Women Who Roar Leadership Circle Marianne Chapel

Roxie Jerde

Carol Probstfeld

Founder, SPAACES Foundation

President and CEO, Community Foundation of Sarasota County

President, State College of Florida, Manatee Sarasota

Taylor Collins

Jennifer Johnston

Bridget Ratner, DNP

Senior Community Investment Officer, Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Owner, Bridget Ratner DNP LLC

President, Professional Benefits

Cheri Coryea President, Coryea Consulting, LLC

Victoria Kasdan

Julie Deffense Owner/Cake Artist, Julie Deffense Artistry-Luxury Wedding Cakes

CoFounder/Chair, Making an Impact

Aurilla (Dee Dee) Fusco

CEO, Centerstone of Florida

Principal Gifts, Jackson Laboratory

Melissa Larkin-Skinner Meg Lowman Director, TREE Foundation

Jane Gill Watt

Kristie O'Kon


Director of Client Relations, Grapevine Communications

Casey Siljestrom, DVM Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Southgate Animal Hospital Terri Syros Owner, The Breakfast Company

Judy Wang, MD Associate Director of Drug Development, Florida Cancer Specialists and Sarah Cannon Research Institute

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

Programs powered by the Women Who Roar Community Initiative

SkillSHARE | Mentorship at the Speed of Life Made for speed, SkillSHARE represents the basics of mentorship concentrated into mini-sessions that encourage honest interactions and allow for spontaneous connection. Meet like-minded professionals, make valuable connections and get straight to your most burning questions about career and personal development. Each participant is paired with several mentors for mini-sessions. Lasting from 10–12 minutes, each mini-session is unstructured, allowing for conversation, guidance and direction from each mentor. This program is returning this Fall 2022. Register online at

SMARTgirl | Futures Summit We believe girls can do anything. SMARTGirl fosters “curated networking” and engages local elementary and middle school young women in a program designed to partner with them to explore career possibilities and the tools they need to succeed through mentorship, hands-on workshops and building from their strengths. The most recent SMARTgirl Futures and Mentorship Summit was held on Friday, April 15, 2022 at The Hyatt Regency, Sarasota. Thank you to our sponsors for making this program possible. Let’s help our future leaders ROAR by giving them with the opportunity to spend time with female leaders in the region. Call for applications opens each year in October.


6/14/22 5:50 PM

2022 Leadership Circle Inductees On One of Their Biggest Achievements MARIANNE CHAPEL | SPAACES FOUNDATION


Getting the not-for-profit, the SPAACES Foundation, off the ground and operating on a shoe-string budget, during a world-wide pandemic was extremely challenging. It involved persistence, tenacity and faith that, “if you build it, they will come.” I am extremely happy that SPAACES was able to start building, operating and supporting Sarasota artists with exhibitions and art studios in 2020.

Cofounding a new nonprofit at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is the accomplishment of which I'm most proud. We realized the devastating impact COVID had on the lives and livelihood in our community by exacerbating pre-existing needs and creating many new ones.


Several years ago I was tasked with developing a clinical model that helped children experiencing severe mental health issues, and their families, thrive in their homes and communities.

Purchasing our 40 year old family insurance business this past year has been such an amazing privilege. My father and his business carry such a wonderful reputation in the community and the industry so I'm truly humbled to step into his shoes.

CHERI CORYEA | CORYEA CONSULTING, LLC While I’ve had many career accomplishments that I am proud of the one single accomplishment I am most proud of is becoming a mother. It is the single most exciting feeling I have each day knowing that both my daughters have become successful by their own hard work and determination and that they can independently control their own destiny.

JULIE DEFFENSE | JULIE DEFFENSE ARTISTRY-LUXURY WEDDING CAKES Many people have told me I am the new, today-generation version of Sylvia Weinstock (if you don’t know who she is, she is the "queen" of wedding cakes). She is the best of the best, and I am so honoured and humbled to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Sylvia!

AURILLA (DEE DEE) FUSCO | JACKSON LABORATORY As a mother my first thought is that I have an amazing son who has brought nothing but joy andpride to my life. I was additionally lucky to add a beautiful and talented adult step-daughter to the mix and they with their spouses create ultimate joy.The journey does not however stop there because as a blended family joining a much larger family we took on a significant project a few years ago to build an ice rink in my husband's home town and to own and manage it as a family.

JANE GILL WATT | IMPACT100SRQ The pandemic wrought historic division, physical separation, and palpable vitriol; yet Impact100 SRQ was able to unite, grow, and increase our impact in the community. As the leader of Impact100 SRQ, I was determined that women would stay even more connected to one another and that we would redouble our commitment to serving our community’s growing needs.

ROXIE JERDE | COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY Working with the amazing team at CFSC through the pandemic. Seeing commitment to mission and community, resilience, agility and team work was so inspiring as we partnered with our donors, nonprofit partners, funders, government and community.

JENNIFER JOHNSTON | GULF COAST COMMUNITY FOUNDATION I am most proud of the significant philanthropic investments and community benefit achieved because of my leadership role in reducing homelessness and improving mental health supports in Sarasota County. It is a privilege to provide guidance to donors and the foundation board and then to partner with nonprofits organizations and government leaders to achieve lasting, best-practice solutions for our community.



MEG LOWMAN | TREE FOUNDATION Building the world's first canopy walkway (in Australia) which now provide sustainable income for many indigenous people from ecotourism instead of logging; and then building the first canopy walkway in North America at our very own Myakka River State Park, which is now a global model.

KRISTIE O'KON | GRAPEVINE COMMUNICATIONS Discovering my self-worth. After years of being put down you start to believe all the mean things people say. Your inner voice then begins to mimic those same words. I have hidden behind humor and have always tried to hide the hurt I feel.

CAROL PROBSTFELD | STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA I am very proud that SCF safely returned our students to face to face instruction in June 2020; almost two years ago. To date the infection rate at our campuses is less than half the rate in Manatee or Sarasota and we have no incidences of an infection being contracted at an SCF campus.

BRIDGET RATNER | BRIDGET RATNER HEALTHCARE SERVICES In the past I would have responded with "raising my daughter as a single mother" or perhaps following a dream and earning a doctorate degree at the age of 50. However, at this point in time I'd have to say that being a Primary Care Provider for seniors during this pandemic has been the most difficult task I have undertaken.

CASEY SILJESTROM | SOUTHGATE ANIMAL HOSPITAL My greatest accomplishment in life was earning my degrees in both veterinary medicine and public health while also having my first child, Levi. After cancer I was warned that the treatments I endured may have left me unable to have children – and yet my baby boy was born just before my final year at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.

TERRI SYROS | THE BREAKFAST COMPANY I am incredibly proud that my family and I were able to open and manage a successful restaurant amidst challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. From staffing issues to inflation and pandemic related challenges, we did not give up and rallied together as a family.

JUDY WANG | FLORIDA CANCER SPECIALISTS One of the first patients I treated as an oncologist and clinical trial investigator at FCS/SCRI is still alive and thriving today. When I first met him in October of 2015, he has deteriorating from Stage 4 prostate cancer. After convincing him a clinical trial could be a therapy alternative for him, I began treating him with an innovative combination of immunotherapy. Within a month, his pain and palpable tumors were gone.

6/13/22 4:33 PM

“The magical

combination of the collective giving

model, activated by the purpose-

driven women in our

organization, creates transformational change in our

communities and

illustrates that what we can achieve is both significant and limitless.” —Jane Gill Watt



JANE RECOUNTS BEING INSPIRED BY WOMEN, beginning with her tenacious mother, Irene. She smiles, quickly crediting the many women in her life who have supported and encouraged her along her journey. Today Jane is fueled to inspire other women as the dynamic founder and leader of the women’s collective, Impact100 SRQ. She has discovered her life's purpose and is on a mission to make a difference in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. After Jane's mother joined and lauded Impact100 Pensacola, Jane looked for a chapter in Sarasota. Discovering there was not a local chapter, she knew she had to take action, which set the stage for Impact100 SRQ. Women from

diverse backgrounds, ages, occupations, experiences, concerns, and interests united to award nonprofits in the community with transformational grants of no less than $100,000. By the end of the chapter’s fourth year, the women’s collective will have awarded over $1.6 million in grants. Since Jane embarked on her journey to enact positive change, she has inspired 663 women this year to join her mission. Jane's life has taken many unexpected twists and turns. The strength she has amassed from her life experiences channel her laser-sharp focus on maintaining the connection, the inclusive culture, and the empowerment of the dedicated women embracing local

philanthropy. She wholeheartedly believes success lies in the multi-generational women that form a tapestry of interests and backgrounds woven together and embracing the collective giving model. As a leader, the diverse perspectives of members and potential members ground her. Jane acknowledges that she doesn't have all the answers but remains true to herself, graciously learning while celebrating mutual empowerment. She is a stellar tribute to all the women walking on this journey, leaving footprints of unity, transformation, and accomplishing remarkable change.

Impact100 SRQ | P.O. Box 49887 | Sarasota Florida 34230 |


6/13/22 4:35 PM

“Kindness goes a

long way; patience is a true virtue;

resilience is not for the faint of heart

and empathy is an absolute must.” —Kristie O'Kon




WHEN YOU FIRST MEET KRISTIE O’KON, YOU’RE STRUCK BY HER PERSONALITY. It’s kind yet candid and remains consistent every time you interact with her. She is a person who is as intent on learning your story in order to reach your heart as she is focused on saying the right words to put a smile on your face. It’s a pleasing blend of patience, honesty and humor, resulting in an ease of conversation and knowing you’re with someone who genuinely cares. That’s because she does. This grounded, tell-it-like-it-is approach to building relationships based on straightforward authenticity was developed following a life journey in which things were considerably more unpredictable. In fact, with Kristie’s background full of speedbumps and obstacles, the only

consistency was chaos. To hear her story is to root for the hero who encounters adversaries at every turn. She faced the early-on illnesses and deaths of her parents and became the support system for her siblings, a responsibility which impeded her pursuit of higher education. And from years of enduring mental and physical abuse causing her own personal battles with self-confidence and selfdoubt, there always seemed to be a hurdle to overcome just to get ahead. But for Kristie, those struggles led to strategies. The setbacks encouraged steps up. And myriad challenges became meaningful life lessons which taught her that you never know where someone has been or what they have been through. To have empathy. And kindness always goes

a long way. This deep-seated consideration for the unique experiences and lifetesting luggage each person carries has translated perfectly for her professional role as Director of Client Relations with Grapevine Communications – a position which demands compassion and candor. Kristie is a mother to two teenaged sons, a wife to her husband of almost 12 years, a devoted employee and always a student. She understands that you can be grateful for your success while remaining thankful for the hard times. In her words, “Nobody ordinary ever accomplished something extraordinary.”

Grapevine Communications | 5201 Paylor Lane | Sarasota, FL 34240 | 941.351.0024 |


6/13/22 4:35 PM

"Be the change

you want to see



in the world” — Marianne Chapel


I AM FASCINATED BY BUILDING PRACTICES, CITY PLANNING, HOUSING NEEDS, AND CONTEMPORARY ART. These passions came together with my love for Sarasota and inspired me to create the SPAACES Foundation. At SPAACES, we nurture professional artists by offering affordable art studios, quality exhibitions, and much, much more! Art has a purpose much larger than decoration; Art can be a force for social change. Our nonprofit, SPAACES, highlights talented contemporary artists, preserves the Park East neighborhood where it resides, jumpstarts the Sarasota art scene, and tries, one artist at a time, to make the world a better place. I am enthusiastic about my work, I love being a force for good in my community, and I am committed to nurturing Sarasota’s art scene by promoting and encouraging artists to work and pursue art careers in Sarasota. Everyday, I am grateful to go to work and be surrounded by creative people.

SPAACES Foundation |

Congratulations to the 2020/21/22 Women Who Roar Nominees 2020 Julie Bender-Sibbio Rocio Davila Kristina Eastmond Danielle Mowrey Jen Ahearn-Koch Abigail Altier Alexandra Armstrong Lori P. Augustyniak Claudia Baeza Barbara Barone Dawn Bear Susie Bowie Christina Captain Aimee Cogan Barbara Cogswell


Taylor Collins Stacey Crawford Wendy Deming Tiziana Di Coastanzo Mary Dougherty Erin Duggan Adell Erozer Joanne Fabec Sarah Firstenberger Dee Dee Fusco Alyssa Gay Annette Gueli Sciolino Susan Harrigan Virginia Harshman Tammy Hauser Erin Hurter Shelby Isaacson

Johnette Isham Christine Kasten Joanne Keenan Leonard Kesten Liza Kubik Shoko Kubota Debbie LaPinska Melissa LarkinSkinner Keren Lifrak Kim Livengood Dianna Manoogian Stacey Schroeter Kari Marks Donna McKee Kim Miele Lisa Moore

Nicole Murby Rochelle Nigri Annalise O'Brien Vickie Oldham Beth Owen Cipielewski Denice Peoples Karen Riley-Love Christine Robinson Jessica Rogers Meghan Serrano Casey Siljestrom Kendra Simpkins Shawna Smith Janet Solomon Elizabeth Topp Michele Vandendooren Melissa Voigt

Melissa Walsh Judy S. Wang, MD Kristi Weaver Allison Werner Bridget Ziegler

2022 Jen Ahearn-Koch Chippy Ajithan Abigail Altier Alexandra Armstrong Lori Augustyniak Claudia Baeza Barbara Barone Dawn Bear Robyn Bell

Julie Bender-Sibbio Melanie Bevan Leymis BolanosWilmott Susie Bowie Suzy Brenner Brittany Bryant Christina Captain Marianne Chapel Kathryn Chelsy Tiziana Coastanzo Aimee Cogan Barbara Cogswell Taylor Collins Stacey Crawford Katherine Crawford Milande David

6/13/22 4:36 PM

Congratulations to the 2020/21/22 Women Who Roar Nominees Rocio Davila Donna DeFant Julie Deffense Wendy Deming Holly Dennis Jackie Dezelski Erin Duggan Kristina Eastmond Jessica Edwards Adell Erozer Joanne Fabec Ping Faulhaber Sarah Firstenberger Shoko Frey Dee Dee Fusco Alyssa Gay Tatiana Georgiano Melissa Gissinger Anna Gonce Elizabeth Goodwill Margaret Goreshnik Kathryn Greenberg Annette Gueli Sciolino Virginia Haley Eileen Hampshire Sara Hand Marybeth Hansen Susan Harrigan Virginia Harshman

Tammy Hauser Sharon Hillstrom Erin Hurter Elena Ianakiev Shelby Isaacson Kelli Jaco Dolly Jacobs Linda Jellison Roxie Jerde Jennifer Johnston Kaitlin Johnstone Carol Ann Kalish Victoria Kasdan Christine Kasten Sharon Kenworthy Anya Keogh Liza Kubik Debbie LaPinska Melissa Larkin-Skinner Nancy Lavick Jennifer Lee Anne Lee Natalia Levey Keren Lifrak Kim Livengood Margaret Lowman Jill Luke Dianna Manoogian Stacey Marks

Katie McCurry Donna McKee Karen Medford Elizabeth Mendez Fisher Good Kim Miele Lisa Moore Ansley Mora Danielle Mowrey Nicole Murby Lucy Nicandri Rochelle Nigri Annalise O'Brien Vickie Oldham Christine Olson Beth Owen Cipielewski Jennifer Peeples Michelle Pennie Denice Peoples Jennifer Petrosky Andria Piekarz Carol Probtsfeld Simi Ranajee Bridget Ratner Alix Redmond Rebecca Reynolds Karen Riley-Love Jessica Rogers Kari Schroeter

Adela Sejdic Meghan Serrano Rachel Shelley Casey Siljestrom Kendra Simpkins Kristie Skoglund Shawna Smith Jan Solomon Michele Stephan Wendy Surkis Fern Tavalin Alison Thomas Elizabeth Topp Jenny Townsend Christina Unkel Michele Vandendooren Mey Vidal Melissa Voigt Cheryl Wade Melissa Walsh Judy Wang Ruth Wardein Jane Watt Kristi Weaver Cina Welch Allison Werner Susanne Wise Bridget Ziegler

2022 Tara Allison Chelsea Bakr Leah Brown Catherine Burns Jennifer Bushinger-Ortiz Chloe Cantebury Crystal Clarke Taylor Collins Cheri Coryea Stephanie Fraim Danielle Gallagher Jane Gill-Watt Corinna Gorcynski Karen Harmon Shauntelle Hoffman Kinga Huse Allison Imre Lisa Intagliata Maria Jimenez Sydney Johnson Wendy Katz Karen Koblenz Kari-Jo Koshes Liza Kubik Brittany Lamont Melanie Lehman Stephanie Lirio

Stephanie Magaldi Barbara May Tre Michel Trudy Moon Lisa Moore Danielle Mowrey Kristy O'Kon Christine Olson Stefanie Overturf Jessica Papineau Amanda Parrish Leah Reda Sara Robinson Nikki Roenicke Megan Rose Marissa Rossnagle Daisy Sanders Kathy Schersten Sarah Seay Natasha Selvaraj Aleshia Serianni Alissa Silvers Terri Syros Susan Tambone Tiffany Toale Stephanie Toale Angelica Vaca-Wolff Chelsea Vacca MaryAnne Young














6/13/22 4:37 PM

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.