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Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson

13th Anniversary Issue

tallahassee woman | 1 | april • may 2019

tallahassee woman | 2 | april • may 2019

tallahassee woman | 3 | april • may 2019

CONTENTS Celebrating 13 Years of Tallahassee Woman Magazine

10. Our Thoughts

Letter from the Publisher | Letter from the Executive Editor

14. Trends

She Says Social: What Sparks Joy Style: Upcycling Knowledge: Split the Bill | Top Ten Songs for Women Empowered | Book Nook: Books on Joy | Shopping: Faves & Raves

20. Living Local

WE Elevate: Casie Giddens Sweet Home Tallahassee: Opening Doors for Brighter Futures: FSU’s School of Entrepreneurship | Celebrating Victories of Tallahassee Women in Sports Community: Tiny Homes, Big Hearts Around Town: Big Bend Habitat for Humanity Women Build 2019 Haute Happenings: Highlights of Local Events

64. Wellness

Healthy Living: Detox and Refresh Bodies in Motion: Strength Training: A Journey to Sobriety Through Fitness Mental Health & Mindfulness Matters: Stress and Anxiety: Challenges and Tools for Success | TallahasSHE: Sharing, Healing Empowering.

70. Family

Life: An Emotional Journey: Life and Love With an Autistic Child

72. Food

The Dish: Cinco de Mayo Chicken Taquitos With Avocado Salsa

74. WE Inspire

#YearofWE—Women Empowered: Vision Board from the TWM Team

60. Style

Fashion: Spring Fashion Report Home: Tidying Tips That Spark Joy


39. SPECIAL SECTION 40. Trends

Business and Entrepreneurism: Workspace Organization

42. In the Know Ask for It!

44. Feature

Madison McDaniel Setliff: Sparkle From the Inside

46. Working Women to Watch

Highlights of Tallahassee’s Business and Professional Women WWMB Profile: Cynthia S. Barber

48. MoneyTalks

32. about the cover woman: Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson: Lessons from a

Renewed Life By Heather Thomas photography: Kira Derryberry | styling: Briana Smith | hair: Styles by Angela | makeup: Jamee Wright Makeup & Style clothing and accessories: Narcissus (cover); Divine Consign (pg. 32) tallahassee woman | 4 | april • may 2019

Handling Your Financial Insecurities in Relationships

50. Men Who Mean Business (MWMB)



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April / May 2019 • Volume 14 • Issue 2

PUBLISHER Dr. Michelle Mitcham








TALLAHASSEE WOMAN is a publication of Mitcham Media Group LLC Post Office Box 16616 Tallahassee, FL 32317-3401 Phone (850) 893-9624 Fax (850) 254­-7038 Tallahassee Woman is published six times per year and is distributed on a complimentary basis throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding communities.

INTERNS Priscilla Feroli Stephanie Jimenez Emily Monnier ADVERTISING For more information on advertising, visit, call (850) 893-9624, or e-mail

TALWOMAN.COM The information in this publication is presented in good faith. The publisher does not guarantee accuracy or assume responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright © 2019 Mitcham Media Group LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, without expressed written consent of the Publisher is prohibited.

tallahassee woman | 6 | april • may 2019




Best Rate. First Time.

(Left to right) Laura Jo Hewitt (NMLS # 775253); Adrienne Granger (NMLS # 451760); Christie Powis (NMLS # 658187); April Brueckheimer Dean (NMLS# 1303118); Sheila B. Rogers (NMLS # 499896)

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C O N T R I BU T O R S DEBORAH deSILETS WRITER Deborah deSilets is an artist, an architect and the author of the book Florida’s Dixie Highway, featuring the State Historic Marker made for the Gilbert S. Chandler Sr. Tourist Camp in Tallahassee. Contact information:

DANA CROSBY WRITER Dana Crosby is a trainer for the University of Florida and works in Tallahassee and with local government agencies throughout the state. She has a background in adult education and holds a master’s degree in education.

DR. VANESSA PITTS BANNISTER WRITER Dr. Vanessa Pitts Bannister is the proud mother of a 10year old daughter with autism, a doting wife of 14 years and a pampered daughter. She has taught mathematics and mathematics education courses at the secondary and collegiate levels for over 25 years. She currently is a chairperson and the Coordinator of Mathematics Education in the College of Education at Florida A&M University.

ALICIA HASKEW PHOTOGR APHER Alicia Haskew is the owner of Alicia Haskew Photography. She is the premier senior portrait photographer in Tallahassee, being named one of the top 100 Senior Photographers by Senior Style Guide Magazine, and a winner of Seniorologie’s People’s Choice Award. Contact information:

MICHELLE R. NICKENS WRITER Michelle Nickens is a vice president at the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee and Leadership Florida and a local actor, blogger and author of the novel, Precious Little Secrets. KATRINA TUGGERSON WRITER Katrina Tuggerson serves as Director of Financial Empowerment and Community Development for Tallahassee Leon Federal Credit Union. She holds a masters of arts in management and leadership and certification in Financial Counseling from CUNA, Community Development Certified Financial Counselor (CDFI) and VITA certification. KIRA DERRYBERRY PHOTOGR APHER Kira Derryberry is a Tallahassee-based portrait photographer specializing in families, headshots and boudoir and commercial photography. She books locally in Tallahassee and is available for travel worldwide. View Kira’s portfolio online at JENNIFER POWELL PHOTOGR APHER Jennifer Powell is a professional photographer of over 12 years. As a Tallahassee native, she loves the opportunity to watch her clients grow, all through the eye of her lens. She is motivated by her clients: Each baby, couple, and family is unique, and she wants her images to reflect the beauty of each of these client’s individuality. SHELLY WILLIAMS PHOTOGR APHER Shelly Williams is a photographer located in North Florida. She specializes in high school seniors, weddings and equine portraiture. At the end of each session, Shelly makes sure her clients get to take home quality heirlooms, such as wall art and albums; this way, she can ensure that each client has memories to last a lifetime.

tallahassee woman | 8 | april • may 2019

tallahassee woman | 9 | april • may 2019


Letter from the Publisher DR. MICHELLE MITCHAM



ith excitement, we inhale and embrace all that is spring—from the clean air, the fresh scent of flowers blossoming, and the warm spring sunshine caressing our cheeks to the vibrant greenery and seasonal colors. Close your eyes for just a moment and cherish the newness of springtime and imagine all that is possible. Spring marks the time of renewal and a rebirth of nature. This refreshing season is also the perfect opportunity to reflect on new beginnings, initiate DIY projects and transform ourselves, our relationships, and careers or any other pursuits in which we might be engaged; it is a time for new perspectives and ideas.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”


The mind is very powerful and attracts that which it dwells upon. Embracing the essence of renewal and the possibilities that await us all, if we choose to engage in a paradigm shift in attitude, thinking and actions, leads to reinvention. In this anniversary issue, TWM highlights another phenomenal cover woman, the Honorable Judge Nina Ashenafi

Richardson, who shares her story of renewal, faith and new beginnings. I know that you will be inspired by her story of struggle, service, and singular purpose just like I have been. Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mothers, grandmothers and those in our lives that show up like mother figures. I would like to thank all of our readers for your continued support and encouragement. I have heard from many of you and want you to know that your wishes have been gratefully received. My sincere appreciation to all of the businesses, new and old, that advertise in the Tallahassee Woman Magazine, a publication of Mitcham Media Group, LLC. A very special thank you goes out to the outstanding Tallahassee gentlemen that are highlighted in our new feature, TWM’s Men Who Mean Business (MWMB) Profiles, which illustrate how they and/or their businesses, support the mission of women in the community. I am honored to be a part of this outstanding community of women that connect and care so much. I look forward to seeing you at the next event or around town as WE evolve! Until next time,

Dr. Michelle Mitcham

tallahassee woman | 10 | april • may 2019

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Letter from the Executive Editor HEATHER THOMAS

THE LIGHT BRINGERS “There are two ways of spreading light—to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” —EDITH WHARTON


hirteen years ago I nervously sat on the edge of a chair in a one-room office as my toddler daughter crawled around on the floor picking up spilled Cheerios. I was interviewing for a Jill-of-all-trades position that Kim Rosier, TWM’s former Publisher, didn’t even know she would have until we connected that day. A few weeks beforehand, I had picked up the very first issue of TWM and was captivated by its potential. For a new mom and an out-of-work high school teacher that had just moved back to her hometown who had no clue what she was doing, I followed the pull on my heart to email Kim about my desire to be a part of the mission of the magazine, in whatever form that took. And, looking back, I still feel bad about those spilled Cheerios (and I’m sure quite a few were eaten off the floor), but I will never regret answering the call to be a part of something greater than myself. As TWM celebrates 13 years, I’ve been reflecting on our legacy as a magazine. Through hundreds of issues, events, and personal relationships, TWM has connected, uplifted and empowered countless people, and it is a mirror that helps to reflect the deeper heart of our community’s women. And, each issue has shared lessons for living your best life, such as the story of this issue's inspiring cover woman, Nina Ashenafi Richardson. If I could summarize the best advice from all the women I have had the privilege to write about over the years it is this—do

what speaks to your heart. Follow what you love. Don’t let fear hold you back from who you are meant to be. Listen, and be present in every moment, even the moments that hurt beyond comprehension—perhaps especially those moments as they tend to be the ones that teach us the most about ourselves and what really matters in life. Every day is a gift, so live it like it was your last. Stay open, and walk more than a mile in another person’s shoes. Forgive, starting with forgiving yourself. And, most importantly, keep searching for and shining the beams of love, encouragement and hope, thereby awakening to your deeper, divine purpose as a bringer of light. No matter if you are the candle or the mirror; we can all take part in the mission of connecting with one another, sharing the lessons to be found in our stories, and leading the way to making a positive difference with our lives. Share the light and change a life, including your own. That’s the best legacy any magazine, business, or person could ever hope to leave. Keep shining,

Heather Thomas

tallahassee woman | 12 | april • may 2019

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tallahassee woman | 13 | april • may 2019

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| style • knowledge • books


e reached out to our Tallahassee Woman Magazine Facebook followers and asked them two questions that have been on our minds this season of renewal: what sparks joy in your life and what do you want? We as women are spread so thin most days, trying our best to balance all of the things in our lives seamlessly, that oftentimes these desires go overlooked. During this upcoming spring season, it’s more crucial than ever to look into ourselves and reflect on our core desires. Whether it was their professional aspirations or personal needs, this is what our readers shared with us about their desires and the little things in their lives that spark joy.

what do you want?

Sharon Maylene Spratt “I’d like the find that ‘sweet spot’ where both my professional and personal life get the best of me without any associated guilt.” Gail Stewart “I’d like to recover from compassion fatigue after several family tragedies and personally put myself first. Professionally, I’d like to move toward retiring and learn how to now enjoy life. Live without regrets and make positive memories.”

What sparks joy in your life? Ann Vincent Howard “There’s been a lot more joy in my life since learning it’s ok to say ‘no’ and being a little bit selfish. More specifically, I was constantly asked to help with this effort, join this endeavor, and attend this event. And while I loved most of it, there were definitely a lot of days where the schedule was weighing on me. Slowing down has had a huge benefit on my personal life too and I’ve gotten back to some things I really loved but ‘didn’t have time’ for, like reading and taking my time running errands with my son. It’s been a really great change for me.” Alix Kalfin “Going out in nature with my family. After sitting in front of a screen, I like to get outside with my boys and explore the beautiful parks and trails in Tallahassee.” Stephanie Shumate “Joy is dancing! Moving your body to music any way you know how creates only more joy in the world. Car dancing, dancing while cooking, or taking a cardio dance class... move your body and feel the joy start to fill you up. I also think joy is a simple random act of kindness for others. Holding a door open, smiling, or getting that cup of coffee for the car/ person behind you...the randomness of thinking and actually DOING something for someone else sparks a joy and kindness ripple effect.” Carly J Sinnadurai “Joy is in simple things like bright colors, kid giggles, bubbles, dancing, and being wrapped up in a moment. It is also in extravagant things like falling in love, seeing your child for the first time and conquering that thing that you’ve been dreaming about. Joy is enthusiasm and I implore everyone, young and old, to seek it constantly... life is beautiful chaos!” Juliet Brice Yaques “Joy is seeing kids of all abilities, those on the autism spectrum and their neurotypical peers, perform together successfully, make friends, and have fun!”

“... life is beautiful chaos!” tallahassee woman | 14 | april • may 2019

style |


Be prepared. Before going out to thrift, come up with some ideas of what kind of items you want and set a goal to find specific pieces. This includes colors, styles, material, etc. This will narrow down your search, as well as make the process faster. Go local. A lot of times people idealize the type of perfect thrift store they want to shop at, but in reality, all the best ones are right around you. Tallahassee has many great options: Community Thrift Market, The Other Side Vintage, City Walk Urban Mission and many more with a variety of clothing and accessories. Set a budget. It’s easy to get carried away shopping and end up spending way more than you should have. One solution is to take only cash with you. This limits how much you can spend and prevents you from going over your budget.

UPCYCLING by stephanie jimenez


ne of the most reviving feelings is clearing out your wardrobe and starting fresh with a new variety of clothes that you can style and wear. What’s even better is having clothes that nobody else does, giving you a stunning and unique fashion. Thrifting clothes can allow you to experience this sensation while also benefiting the environment and saving you lots of money. Thrifting is when you purchase clothes that have already been used but are still in a good condition, also commonly referred to as upcycling. It can seem overwhelming with the immense number of items that have to be sorted through; however, there some methods for thrifting to help you find those hidden gems.

Look with your heart and your eyes. Don’t waste money buying things simply because they’re cheap; buy things that you are certain you will wear and feel good in. Trying on clothing is also important to make sure that things fit the way you want. Befriend employees. No one knows the store better than the people that work there, so don’t hesitate to ask them for help in finding what you want. This will save you time that you would have otherwise spent searching around. Have perspective. Remember that each item has a story behind it, rather than fixating on the fact that it is used. Ask yourself: Would I buy this if it were in a retail store? If the answer is yes, there is no shame in buying it. If not, then move on and keep looking. Buying thrifted clothing gives your wardrobe more meaning and flair.

tallahassee woman | 15 | april • may 2019


| knowledge

Split the Bill by priscilla feroli


voiding the awkward stress of asking a friend to pay you back has never been easier with help from all of the bill-splitting apps available nowadays. From Splitwise to Venmo, there are dozens of options that make paying your friends back as simple as just a few clicks. Splitwise in particular allows users to get paid back from the palm of their hand and comfort of their home. Rather than keeping track of old receipts, this tool also enables its users to add expenses immediately after they occur. Debuting cost-free in the app store, Splitwise is easy to use and accessible to both iPhones and Android phones. This unique platform is designed to assist users in the choice of sending an “IOU”or email reminder so every member of the group gets paid back or handles an outstanding balance without any hassle. Users have the ability to set and receive reminders before certain dates that assist in paying people

back or paying bills on time. The easy-tonavigate homepage has three tabs: you owe, you are owed and total balance. Users can even see previous payments, add friends, track their own activity and create groups. Splitwise’s goal in keeping costs fair and organized remains a vital reason the app is a necessity for any individual keeping track of finances. The group feature allows users to add a bill and specifically split it with a certain group of individuals; this works extremely well for keeping track of rent and roommates,

vacation expenses, joint party costs and other endless possibilities. With help from this up-and-coming application, as well as many others like it, the hassle of splitting checks with friends and family has never been easier. From dividing bills with your partner to vacationing with loved ones and friends, these applications can help you stay organized by keeping a running total over time. Put away the calculator when the bill comes out at dinner because these tools do all of the hard work for you.

Top 10 Songs for Women Empowered by stephanie jimenez


t is easy to become overwhelmed with self-doubt as we go through our busy day-to-day lives. However, music is one of the best remedies for shedding our worries and getting into a more positive mood. The following are some empowering songs made for women by women, to remind you of your beauty and self-worth on those days when you’re not feeling your best.

“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys: Calls out the inner light burning bright in all of us. Despite all the trials and hardships in life, “she” (any woman) continues to push forward with her head held high.

“Who Says” by Selena Gomez: This song is a perfect revival song for when you’re feeling like you’re not good enough. It challenges the common idea that people should care what others think of them and offers an uplifting message to keep trying and trust in yourself.

“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar: This song is for women who have the utmost amount of confidence— when you want to feel like you can take on anything.

“You Don’t Own Me” by Grace (Feat. G-Easy): With a more modern take on Lesley Gore’s original song released in 1963, this is a song about standing up for yourself and being in control of your life and your relationships.

“Single Ladies” by Beyoncé: This classic song by one of the most iconic artists of our time is the mantra for all single women. A perfect song to sing and dance to with all your friends. Expresses that you are worth more than any person who doesn’t appreciate you.

“Born This Way” by Lady Gaga: A song about embracing who you are and all the unique things about you. It emphasizes staying true to yourself and resisting change for the pleasure of others.

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten: For when you’re feeling that change, of any kind, is needed. An anthem about recognizing the need to take charge of your life when you’re not happy.

“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera: A slower song, but it’s amazing to sing along to because it highlights the struggle that all women go through—insecurity. It brings women together saying, “we are beautiful in every single way, words can’t bring us down.”

“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child: An encouraging song about overcoming any and all trials. A reminder that you are brave and that the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

tallahassee woman | 16 | april • may 2019

by priscila feroli


his spring, dive into a book that makes you feel joyful and renewed. If you need some suggestions, TWM has got you covered—here are some books to read for a sense of peace and happiness this season.

Lightly: How to Live a Simple, Serene and Stress-Free Life by Francine Jay Francine Jay’s Lightly focuses on turning our minds toward the positive elements affecting our everyday lives, which benefit our mental state and journey in finding happiness. By gaining control of not only ourselves but our mentality, readers can accomplish living a stress-free life despite minuscule problems. Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World by Isabel Gillies Isabel Gillies brings forth a new meaning for the word “cozy” in this coming-of-age book. By examining that being comfortable can occur when we are happy with ourselves, Gillies leaves her readers feeling appreciative of who they are. The Secret Joy of Hygge: A Practical Guide to Cultivating Happiness in the Everyday by Alexandra Amarotico This short and sweet book guides its readers through gaining happiness in simple ways. Through the study of hygee, Amarotico focuses on finding a balance and happiness within oneself. The Gift of a Happy Mother: Letting Go of Perfection and Embracing Everyday Joy by Rebecca Eanes It’s easy to put ourselves down when stressed by thoughts of things we could be doing better. With help from her son, Rebecca Eanes discovers that finding happiness in ourselves can be accomplished through doing our best and ultimately giving ourselves credit for the hard work we do every day. This is the perfect read for any hardworking parent seeking a boost of joy. 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do: Own Your Power, Channel Your Confidence, and Find Your Authentic Voice for a Life of Meaning and Joy by Amy Morin Amy Morin, a best-selling author, brings forth a strong mindset for all women while discussing female empowerment and feminism. Through examining the tough issues in society commonly faced by women, Morin’s book will ultimately result in a stronger mentality, leaving her readers to be more joyful than they were before.




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| shopping

Faves and Raves Get ready for spring and summer with these beautiful items available at locally-owned businesses. Shop local! Pocket Rocket Monogramed Tote $50 Available at M&M Monogramming 2030-1 Thomasville Road (850) 514-3148 (850) 999-6105

Blue & White Skye Mini Dress $92 Available at Walter Green Boutique 1817 Thomasville Road #530 (850) 999-6105

Spring Wreath $50 Available at Tallahassee Nurseries 2911 Thomasville Road (850) 385-2162

Mignanne Gavigan Beaded Broaches $150 Available at Kanvas 823 Thomasville Road (850) 224-7467 tallahassee woman | 18 | april • may 2019

Trina Turk Black Bathing Suit Top $80; Bottom $62 Cover-up Kimono $148 Tori Burch Bold Disc Flip Flop $248 Available at Narcissus 1408 Timberlane Road (850) 668-4807

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WE elevate

Blazing New Trails and Breaking the Rules

CASIE GIDDENS by michelle r. nickens

“Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.”

Photo by: Shelly Williams



iding a motorcycle moves the soul, celebrates freedom, symbolizes strength and builds confidence. Being part of a motorcycle group can foster camaraderie, pride and friendships. The moment you sit on a bike, the way you see the world transforms. Some may not immediately see bikers as a group that gives back to the community and supports each other, but the Red Hills Angels is exactly that and more.

After taking the helm of the Red Hills Angels, a local motorcycle group, Casie Giddens has continued to help build a coalition of strong and diverse women. Casie’s compassion, creative approaches and infectious spirit have advanced the Angels over the years. The group serves as a resource, organizes group rides, empowers women, provides support and gives back to our community. Casie was born and raised in Tallahassee and is the marketing director at Red Hills Powersports. “When I started at Red Hills,” Casie explained, “I wanted to do more than design ads and post on social media. I saw the opportunity to build a community.” Casie has helped spearhead free pancake breakfasts on the third Saturday of every month and coordinates group rides. “Riders are inherently connected,” Casie said, “and I want all powersports enthusiasts to feel welcome.” Historically, powersports has been a male-dominated industry. “I believe as a woman,” Casie said, “I came with a different perspective. I looked for ways to build a community.” In the past year, the Red Hills Angels have fed American Red Cross volunteers, been a distribution center for care kits for the homeless and collected donations for hurricane relief. Instead

of Black Friday, they did RAK Friday— promoting and demonstrating Random Acts of Kindness.In December, they organized a toy drive with more than 100 bikers bringing hundreds of gifts. “Bikers are one of the most philanthropic groups, and I am proud to be part of that.” Red Hills Angels meet regularly for rides and other events. “Some women ride, some are passengers and some just want to learn. In addition, we have coordinated a painting party, a Crafts and Drafts night and a photo shoot with women and their bikes. The Angels,” Casie said, “have been my greatest asset to help me in my job. They encourage me and refuse to allow me to sell myself short.” Casie’s admiration for the Angels runs deep, but her influence on them and other women has been empowering and inspirational. Often your impact on others happens when it’s least expected. Casie participated in a slow ride during a previous winter festival parade. “I saw a group of girls jumping up and down and pointing at me. My hair was hanging past my helmet. They were cheering—It’s a girl! It’s a girl! Further down the parade route, ladies showed their excitement with their thumbs up as I passed. It might be small, but it was exciting knowing that I might help other women and girls step out of the box.” tallahassee woman | 20 | april • may 2019

Casie credits her mother for her passion to never sit still, to care about others and to go above and beyond, even when it might not be the norm. “My mother has always been my role model. She packed more into one life than most do in three. She instilled the mantra ‘do good, prevent evil’ in me at an early age. If you can do something for somebody and have the ability—do it. She led by example and worked hard. She never played by the rules. She said that you make your own life. She is the reason I am who I am and why I don’t let anyone else define me.” Casie is a professional, a wife, a mother, an advocate, a volunteer, a community coordinator and a friend. When asked how she keeps up with her endeavors, she said, “You need to know your limits and be okay when things aren’t perfect. My husband reminds me that just because something didn’t turn out as I envisioned doesn’t mean it wasn’t perfect for someone else.” “So often,” she said, “people think that the only things that can be done are things that have been done. Not true. Don’t doubt yourself or your intuition. Open your mind. Questioning what has been done enables you to blaze your own trail. You never know what you might learn.” Or what might move your soul.

The woman that shops at Walter Green Boutique likes to dress up occasionally. loves trying new colors and styles, and if she’s wearing

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some interesting jewelry or a colorfand if she’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans it’s probably accompanied with some interesting jewelry or a colorful bag

tallahassee woman | 21 | april • may 2019


| sweet home tallahassee

Photo by: Colin Hackley

Opening Doors for Brighter Futures: FSU’s School of Entrepreneurship by priscilla feroli and hannah miller


“The program opened doors to so many different perspectives and skill sets, and allowed each of us to define very unique career paths...” —Hannah Miller

lorida State University has exceeded our expectations once again in scholastics and accomplishments. The new Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship, which began accepting students in fall of 2017, will be congratulating its very first graduating class in May. Leading the charge is Dr. Susan Fiorito, the program director for the new school. She has worked at Florida State University since 1990 and says of the program, “Entrepreneurship is a state of mind. It’s a passion for wanting to be your own boss, for finding a new way to solve a problem or meet a need. I spent years leading my own business with a focused devotion to meeting customers’ needs, so I can completely relate to students who feel that same drive and desire to create.” As an empowered woman paving the way for this program, Dr. Fiorito continues to be noted while she inspires students to grow, seize opportunities and learn.

What’s Next? The school currently offers three majors: commercial entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and retail entrepreneurship.

But they are not stopping there; the School of Entrepreneurship is also on track to offer two additional majors and multiple graduate programs. Within five years of the school’s inception, the school plans to offer five majors. These programs include the three majors already integrated into the school, as well as a STEM-focused track and an arts and music-focused track. As for the graduate programs, master’s of textiles and apparel will begin this fall semester, and the following year, fall 2020, master’s programs in hospitality entrepreneurship and product development will be available. The Jim Moran School is on the road to success, and the new graduates look forward to showing the world what the first class has to offer. Florida State University, together with its new School of Entrepreneurship, continues to expand opportunities for students here in Tallahassee and for prospective students around the world.

Photo by Kaitlin Simpson

Jim Moran School Breakdown The Jim Moran School is the nation’s very first stand-alone School of Entrepreneurship at a public university and is creating a path for student innovators at Florida State. The new School of Entrepreneurship works hard to promote and encourage experience-based learning by incorporating numerous hands-on opportunities for its students. The growing program hosts innovative competitions, as well as provides grants to develop student businesses and encourages students to step up as leaders through various opportunities to influence

the program’s growth. The school also brings in entrepreneur-in-residence staff to teach their students, which has allowed real-world experience to be a part of every classroom discussion. Hannah Miller, a senior in the program, stated, “The program opened doors to so many different perspectives and skill sets and allowed each of us to define very unique career paths. As a group, we found our interests and strengths spread across a wide spectrum, and these differences placed a large emphasis on collaboration and team-oriented growth. My professors and the curriculum also constantly encouraged us to think in ways that others did not. After countless innovation exercises and multiple courses dedicated to creating and growing unique microbusinesses, the idea of thinking differently now comes naturally.”

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Celebrating Victories of Tallahassee Women in Sports (2), Stanford (2), Florida (1), Penn State (1) and UCLA (1)—including each winner since 2006. The Seminoles earned their six ACC Championship with a 3-2 win over North Carolina, and all six titles have come in the last eight seasons. Florida State ended with

the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country as it posted 11 wins over teams that finished in the Top 25 of the RPI—more than double the amount of RPI Top 25 wins of any other school—and finished with an overall record of 11-1-3 against those teams.

Photo provided by: Florida State University

Florida State’s women’s soccer team won the 2018 NCAA National Championship, its second in program history, after defeating seven teams that accounted for 31 of the 35 all-time NCAA Women’s Soccer Championships— North Carolina (21), Notre Dame (3), USC

FSU Women’s Soccer Team players: Front Row (left to right): Yujie Zhao, Gloriana Villalobos, Deyna Castellanos, Malia Berkely, Kristina Lynch, Olivia Bergau, Kaycie Tillman, Macayla Edwards. Middle Row: Natalia Kuikka, Dallas Dorosy, Kristen McFarland, Bella Dorosy, Megan Connolly, Kirsten Pavlisko, Makala Thomas, Jaelin Howell. Back Row: Clara Robbins, Anna Patten, Taylor Hallmon, Caroline Jeffers, Brooke Bollinger, Gabby Carle, Alexa Orrante, Emily Madril.

________________________________________________________ As of March 1, Florida State’s softball team started the 2019 season with a perfect 17-0 record, which is the third-longest winning streak to start a season in program history. Adding in the final six games of the 2018 season that saw the Seminoles win their first NCAA National Championship, FSU has

not lost in its last 23 games, including nine wins over Top 10 teams. The Noles currently leads the nation with 33 home runs and rank second in scoring (9.06 runs per game) and slugging percentage (.736) and are third in batting average (.406) and on-base percentage (.491). Florida State has won the

ACC regular season title in each of the last six seasons and has won the ACC Tournament Championship in five straight years. The Seminoles are 128-13 in their last 138 ACC regular season games and last lost a conference series at Maryland on May 5–6, 2012.

FSU Women’s Softball Team players: Standing (left to right): Morgan Noah, Kiersten Landers, Bianca Cruz, Cassidy Davis, Kathryn Sandercock, Kara Bilodeau, Sydney Sherrill, Mackenzie Puckett, Maegan Tomlinson, Savannah Parker, Deja Bush. Front Row: Dani Morgan, Makinzy Herzog, Elizabeth Mason, Zoe Casas, Meghan King, Carsyn Gordon, Cali Harrod, Leslie Farris, Rock Benavides, Anna Shelnutt, Madison Kennedy tallahassee woman | 23 | april • may 2019


| community

TINY HOMES, BIG HEARTS by deborah desilets photos courtesy of bowstern

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he ultimate aspiration of design is to enrich people’s lives. Accordingly, architecture is not just about bricks, stone and wood but about the human spirit— giving people a lift. While homelessness has always existed, how societies provide for those in need is a measure of caring. Tallahassee shows it cares this spring as a fabulous village of tiny homes at The Dwellings opens its community center, which is the hub of the “tiny homes village” project. In a “communal living room,” residents can relax, work and thrive together. Emanating from the same care shown in the 130 wonderfully outfitted “tiny home” living spaces, there are several additional buildings comprising 15,000 square feet of interior space that provide wonderful amenities for the dwellers—a large dining hall, a multipurpose workshop, a fully equipped woodworking shop, a general store, a laundromat and necessary administrative offices. These new buildings face a central courtyard featuring cherry blossom trees, a shade pergola and a small fire pit for gatherings.

Located on the old Blountstown Highway, this experimental 30-acre tiny homes community expresses in the architectural form an invitation to people of limited means—come on in, lift your feet; you are home now. Within astonishing normalcy, The Dwellings has programmed in a simple life: a cottage under the pines along the long and winding road that puts a song in your heart. Apparent to all, this colorful community is a wonderful expression of home, where residents celebrate their independence. Behind the tiny homes project is Rick Kearney, a Tallahassee philanthropist who dreamed of a human-centric format for affordable living. He recruited the husband and wife team of Huffman Architects Studio for Architecture (HASFA), who have done a masterful job of creating a habitat that redresses loneliness, provides basic human needs and offers a place for people to contribute to their community. All tiny home villagers are invited to be a part of the ongoing work, whether in the organic gardens or by building a chair for the fire pit. The Dwellings has opened more than 80 of 130 planned tiny homes that are neither shotgun homes nor cabins. Homes range in size from 216 square feet to 288 square feet to 410 square feet for loft units, each with a vaulted ceiling, full kitchen with colorful tile backsplash, bedroom or sleeping loft and full bathroom. All come fully furnished, complete with kitchen wares, linens and accessories that help make a house a home. Hanging

swings adorn generous front porches, inviting conversation and friendship among residents. Betsy Scott of Horizon Home Furniture and Kolekted Home furnishes the homes and community buildings as soon as they are completed. Every detail has been considered in an effort to maximize efficiency and show off the well-constructed spaces, with carefully selected items arriving by the truckload and, in some cases, by shipping container direct to the site. Ever mindful of budgets, she recruited her son to help with projects made from discarded wood pallets; she, her daughter, future daughter-in-law and friend paint the abstract art placed on each tiny home wall—a nod that confusion ends here. Sarah Bennett, who handles most of the installations, has also been integral in helping everyone’s vision become reality. “The finished product far exceeds any of our earlier expectations,” shares Betsy.   Linda Huffman, of Huffman Architects, especially appreciates how this dynamic project unfolded, as the team discovered new opportunities to incorporate into multipurpose spaces. She sums it up best: “Architecture is not only about buildings, but it is also about people. The most basic requirement for an architect is to design a safe shelter. The highest aspiration of architecture is to design for the whole person—for physical needs and for existential needs such as beauty, order and the symbolism of home tallahassee woman | 25 | april • may 2019

and security. When architecture achieves both, it can lift the human spirit.” The Dwellings is a community designed to challenge homelessness in an alternative fashion, providing hope, social engagement and, most importantly, a home to be proud of. The degree to which The Dwellings will become a sustainable alternative community will take time to prove out. But for now, a promising curb to homelessness is in full effect in Tallahassee.   More information on program requirements can be found on the website:

Linda Huffman and Betsy Scott




Team TWM and women from the Tallahassee community worked together during the Big Bend Habitat for Humanity’s “She Nailed It!” 2019 Women Build. Women Build is an initiative to recruit, educate, and empower women to build stronger, safer communities. Tallahassee Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Antoine Wright led the project . photography by jennifer powell

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850-425-1300 Hours: Open M-Th: 8am – 4:30pm, phones closed (12-12:30 pm), Friday: Closed

tallahassee woman | 27 | april • may 2019


haute happenings

RAINBOW CONCERT OF WORLD MUSIC April 6, 2019 | Ruby Diamond Concert Hall

The FSU College of Music is proud to present this year’s 23rd annual Rainbow Concert of World Music. The world music ensembles will play beautiful melodies from around the globe, such as Chinese, Rock, Balinese Gamelan, Irish, Blues, Old Time, Middle Eastern, Andean and Omnimusica. More details on this event can be found at


April 4, 2019 | Richard G. Fallon Theatre Opening Nights Performing Arts is excited to have highly acclaimed musician and awardwinning songwriter Molly Tuttle perform her beautiful and original songs. Her melodic, soothing voice will be guaranteed to light up the room as she sings songs from her 2017 debut EP, Rise, and more. To purchase tickets, visit


April 5–14, 2019 | The Lab Theatre Survivors of a post-apocalyptic world share a campfire and struggle to find a way to connect with each other. However, this ragtag group soon discovers a shared experience of TV. Over the course of 82 years, a new vision of society emerges through The Simpsons and other snippets of jingles, commercials, sitcoms and pop songs. Come explore this fragile society striving to hold onto its past while stumbling into a new future. For additional details, go to

FSU SPRING GAME April 6, 2019 Doak Campbell Stadium

Start digging out your favorite FSU gear and head over to Doak Campbell Stadium on April 6th to get the first look at the 2019 Seminole football team. Gather your family and friends and take in all of the fun, games and tasty food that the football season brings. There will even be a free concert put on after the game for anyone who purchased a general admission ticket. For more information on ticket pricing, visit


April 6, 2019 | Doak Campbell Stadium After an exciting game, keep the good times rolling with a free concert immediately after. With performances from popular artists MC Hammer, Tone LOC and Color Me Badd, this will surely be a night filled with dancing and unforgettable memories. For more details, visit online at

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2019 WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS "WOMEN ON FIRE!" AWARDS April 25, 2019 | FSU Alumni Center

Come join Tallahassee Woman Magazine as it presents the 2019 Women Who Mean Business “Women on Fire!” awards, recognizing some of Tallahassee’s top business and professional women. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $50. Business sponsorships are available and can be obtained by calling (850) 893-9624 or emailing wwmb@ For tickets and additional information, visit online at


April 27, 2019 | Tom Brown Park Courage Through Cancer Ministries is a local nonprofit Christian cancer support ministry that offers practical and spiritual support to those in the Tallahassee community and beyond affected by cancer. Check-in for the walk begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the first mile walk starts at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit

CHAIN OF PARKS ART FESTIVAL April 27–28, 2019 | 125 N. Gadsden St.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., take your family to a fun-filled outdoor cultural experience at the 2019 Chain of Parks Art Festival. Enjoy the warm spring air while you view amazing, one-of-a-kind art works. A variety of local food trucks and vendors will be offering all of your favorite foods, and live entertainment will bring a lively atmosphere to this annual event. Find more details at


May 4, 2019 | Cascades Park From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., spend some quality time with your children at this year’s Kidsfest 2019. This annual event organized by Kids Incorporated of the Big Bend works to bring awareness to the comprehensive services that are provided for low to moderate income children and families. Fun activities, giveaways, entertainment, food, and more will all be provided for everyone to take pleasure in. Find more information at


May 4, 2019 | University Center Club Put on your biggest hats and bow ties and watch the Run for the Roses while sipping on mint juleps from the University Center Club Terrace and Grille overlooking Doak Campbell Stadium. Come enjoy traditional Southern Derby fare and Kentucky Blue Grass while you await the most exciting two minutes in sports. The party runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with special pricing for University Center Club and Seminole Booster members. To make a required reservation, visit


May 6, 2019 | 1523 Harbor Club Drive Sponsored by the Courage Through Cancer Ministries, “Fear Not Fellowship” is a monthly fellowship held on the first Monday of every month, offering those in our community who have been touched by cancer a system of support—with a complimentary meal included for those that attend. For more information, visit the Courage Through Cancer Facebook page or call 1-855-6-COURAGE.


May 9–12, 2019 | Cascades Park Lovers of theatre rejoice! This Shakespeare in the Park event is the perfect opportunity to experience all of the beauty that theatre has to offer. Bring your coziest blankets, lawn chairs and delicious snacks and enjoy the Southern Shakespeare Company’s presentation of Macbeth. Playing the title role of Macbeth will be Marc Singer, best known for Beastmaster, V, and If You Can See What I Hear. For additional information on times, go to

l a u n n A h t 10


May 16, 2019 | Tallahassee Nurseries Tallahassee’s Spring Fling, benefiting Big Bend Hospice, has been the leading social event and fundraiser in the area for 12 years. Spring Fling: Under a Symphonic Moon makes an enjoyable occasion for all ages by providing the best foods, wines, and seasonal music performed by the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. The beautiful garden also offers a scenic path for taking relaxing strolls. For more information, visit


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FOR MORE INFO CALL: (850) - 201 -3005

Admission is FREE

2019 Women Who Mean Business Awards

TWM will be recognizing the most inspiring and influential businesswomen in our community for the following award categories:

• • • • • •

Entrepreneur Award Innovator Award Legacy Award Rockstar Award Service Award Torchbearer Award tallahassee woman | 30 | april • may 2019


APRIL 25, 2019 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Florida State University Alumni Center Grand Ballroom (1030 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, Florida)

as we recognize and honor dynamic businesswomen who are “on fire” with their passion, leadership and dedication to the business community. TICKETS ARE $50 To purchase tickets or become a sponsor visit TALWOMAN.COM For further information or questions call (850) 893-9624 or e-mail

tallahassee woman | 31 | april • may 2019


tallahassee woman | 32 | april • may 2019


Renewed Life from a

by heather thomas photography by kira derryberry

Along with being a Leon County judge, Nina Ashenafi Richardson is a wife to City Commissioner






mother of two daughters. As discussed in the theme of renewal, the lessons of love, courage, forgiveness and openness were learned from the foundational people and events in her life. These are teachings that she has applied in numerous ways over her lifetime, and it is her hope that that they will inspire others on their paths of renewal. As Nina says, “Every day is a gift to renew the mind, body and spirit.”

“Our wounds are our sources of growth.” —Rachel Naomi Remen

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t was the 1960s, and Nina Ashenafi’s family of four moved to a small college community in Connecticut. They had come to the United States from Ethiopia for her father to pursue his doctorate in ethnomusicology and to also provide a better future for Nina, who was 4, and her younger sister, Senait, who was 2. There were very few African Americans who lived in the community at the time, and her family’s accents were foreign-sounding— everything about them screamed, “other.” It didn’t take too long for the racial prejudice of the time to take hold and eventually tear their family apart. Looking back, Nina remembers the sadness and fear her 21-year-old mother exuded in the first months in this country. Those feelings never left, but after only 6 months of living in America, her mother did. “Although my father stayed positive, my mother could not handle the prejudice and discriminatory treatment…it was dehumanizing for her. She moved back to Ethiopia to be with her extended family.” Everyone assumed her mother would come back when her father was done with his degree, but she chose to stay in Ethiopia, even when her father’s teaching position moved them to Queens, New York, which was a more diverse and accepting city. “My father had to make a tough decision—go back to Ethiopia or stay in the United States, where there were more opportunities for his children. Even though it meant my parents would later divorce and I would never hear from my mother again, I’m glad we didn’t go back. My story is like that of thousands of immigrant families who leave behind most of their family and make great sacrifices in order to pursue the American Dream.” This dream was fueled by her father, who held steadfast to the belief that we are all “one,” which led to one of the primary lessons that Nina says is the foundation of her life. “No one is ‘other.’ We are all part of one source— God. When you believe that, then you look at everything and everyone as if they are a part of you. On the surface we may look different and have diverse beliefs, passions and

purposes, but when it comes down to it, we are all the same, and we are all deserving of dignity, compassion and love.” Eventually, they moved to Massachusetts and her father remarried a Caucasian woman, Suzie, which would later become another source of racial adversity for their family. In the beginning, Nina’s stepmother was “everything a mother should be—she made our house a home.” However, after the birth of their brother, Suzie started to withdraw. She was facing being disowned by her family, who were not comfortable with an interracial marriage—they forced her to choose between them or her husband. Suzie chose to file for divorce and to go back with her family, taking Nina’s brother with her. “My father searched for his son/my brother for years, but his last name had been changed, and they had moved across the country. When he was found, he was 18 years old. This affected how I view adoption proceedings as a judge, and it makes me more careful about the rights of the birth parents and making sure that everything is legal and ethical.” When Nina was 11, her father married for a third time to a Jewish woman who was a Holocaust survivor and whose family was killed at Auschwitz. She introduced Nina to other survivors who still had numbers tattooed on their wrists from their time in concentration camps during WWII. “My second stepmother, Roberta, taught me of the dangers of indifference and intolerance and to never forget what happened to the Jewish people.” The family celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas, which was more reinforcement that “we are all one—people should not be hated or feared because of their beliefs.” When Roberta passed away from cancer, this also taught Nina much about life and cherishing each moment. “Roberta died when she was in her 40s, and it showed me to never assume that your tomorrows are guaranteed and to make sure you take the time to tell family and friends how you feel about them. Cancer taught us to appreciate every day—to be present in the now.”

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"... My story is like that of thousands of immigrant families who leave behind most of their family and make great sacrifices, in order to pursue the American Dream.”

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O N T H E C OV E R Each mother taught Nina lessons, many of which were not easy ones to learn as a youth, but over the years of synthesizing the past, there is much from the wounded well of knowledge to draw from. “These women were in my life for a reason, and each relationship was a renewal for me because I learned something—renewal doesn’t always come through a pretty package. The experiences confirmed my commitment to be kind and loving, even though it came through adversity. Often, challenging situations draw out the best lessons. I can choose to be hard and closed or to honor the mothers in my life and remain open, not repeating harmful cycles.” After graduating from high school, Nina pursued a bachelor of science degree at Florida State University and then continued on to FSU Law School. “I felt both a renewal and a sense of accomplishment in my working my way through college and law school, then paying off all my student loans within seven years. It was not easy, but I feel I kept my promise to my dad, who sacrificed everything to bring me from Ethiopia to the United States so I could have the best education in the world. I wanted to make my dad proud.” Soon after going into private practice, Nina started dating Curtis, but it took her five years to agree to marry him. “I had a lot of fear about marriage because I didn’t want what happened to my dad to happen to me. We’ve been married for over 22 years, thanks to Curtis’s loving support.” The second fear Nina had to overcome was the decision to have children, and she again credits Curtis’s compassionate understanding. She became a mother to Carina when she was 36 and then to Aida at 41. “I take pieces of the moms in my life in order to be the mother I never had.” Carina is now 18 and received a congressional appointment from Congressman Lawson to the U.S. Naval Academy and is completing her first year. Aida is 13 and an 8th grader at Florida State University School. “I was renewed once again when I became a mom. I couldn’t have imagined how much my heart would open with pure love and joy. My children are gifts from God. My love for my daughters inspires me to be the best mother I can be and to be present with them in all the ways that matter. I remind them that they are children of God and to love and believe in themselves and that with hard work, education and discipline, they can achieve their dreams in the greatest country in the world.”

Continuing to take courageous steps despite her fears, Nina was approached by close friends who are leaders in the legal community about running for Leon County judge. “My husband was very supportive, but I had to really work through my personal uncertainties and putting myself and my family out there. What made me go for it was that I did not want to look back on my life with regret for not trying to make a personal dream come true. I would live with whatever the outcome.” She was elected to serve as a Leon County judge in November 2008, and then reelected without opposition in May 2014. She presides over many types of cases including county criminal and civil cases uncontested divorces and adoptions and domestic violence injunction hearings. She currently runs Felony Drug Treatment Court and has a passion for “helping those who seek [drug addiction] treatment and self-empowerment. Practicing law and being a judge allows me to help and empower others.” This has certainly proven true through the numerous awards and distinctions that she has received over the past 25 years. In particular, prior to her election to the bench, she was devoted to organizations and efforts to help provide legal services to those who could not afford a private attorney. Among her many accolades, she is a Founder of Justice member of North Florida Legal Services, providing hundreds of hours of pro bono legal representation to indigent clients and helping educate the bench, bar and community about the importance of access to justice for all. As a result of her efforts, she was awarded The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, the Tallahassee Legal Aid Foundation’s Exemplary Service Award, and the Tallahassee Chamber’s prestigious PaceSetter Award. Most recently, she was presented by Chief Justice Canady with the Florida Supreme Court Distinguished Judicial Service Award. Nina is the first Ethiopian American elected to the bench in the United States and also the first elected African-American president of three Tallahassee bar associations—the Tallahassee Bar Association, the Tallahassee Women Lawyers, and the Stafford Inns of Court. There are also numerous civic organizations that Nina has given her time and talents to— she was a board member for the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Whole Child Leon, Foundation for Leon County Schools, Goodwood Museum and Kids Voting. She is a volunteer service award recipient of the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism, a tallahassee woman | 36 | april • may 2019

recipient of TCC’s Women Change America, and the Tallahassee Chamber’s Distinguished Leadership Award recipient. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to process why I like to do things to help families in our community and why I love to encourage young people— this focus came from the hard lessons I learned from my upbringing and putting them into practice.” When a breast cancer diagnosis came into her life in 2016, she would need all of her life experiences in order to help in the fight for her body, mind and spirit. After a double mastectomy, she endured numerous rounds of chemotherapy. She says,“There is nothing like a serious health crisis to force you to slow down, face your mortality and renew your life and priorities. Cancer is a horrible disease, but it is a great teacher too—it teaches you to be grateful for things you once took for granted. I took my health for granted. I took time for granted—you may not have the time you thought you would on this earth, so live in the now and don’t waste it living a life that is not truly what you want it to be. Cancer also taught me to be more open and supportive of others going through the battle.” Even though the cancer is gone, she has yet to meet the 5-year marker to declare that her health is in the clear. However, she has experienced a renewal and clarity of purpose that allows her to spend more time on the inward disposition of mind than on external circumstances, trusting that “God’s plan is greater than my own. My walk with God has always been strong, but it is even stronger now. During the challenging times and now, I start my day in gratitude and love. I am so grateful to my family, friends, church, doctors, nurses, coworkers and the Tallahassee community who grounded my will to live. I am so blessed I can continue loving, serving on the bench and giving back to a community that has given so much to me and my family.” The thing about lessons is that we aren’t meant to just learn from them, but to share them, something that Nina’s journey exhibits so beautifully. This can inspire a renewal in others like a spark igniting a flame, it harnesses a power that has always been within us, waiting to catch fire. “There’s no greater joy than for me to love and serve others and, perhaps, no greater life lesson— we must take the time to love and lift each other up and be more present. My greatest desire is to live out my life this way and for God to continue to use me in order to make a positive difference with it.”

"These women were in my life for a reason and each relationship was a renewal for me because I learned something— renewal doesn’t always come through a pretty package. The experiences confirmed my commitment to be kind and loving, even though it came through adversity...”

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Madison McDaniel Setliff An Entrepreneur That Sparkles

Business and Professional Women Highlights

Workspace Organization

Photo by Jennifer Powell

TWM Men Who Mean Business Profiles

special section WWMB Journal | April/May 2019 | 39 


business and entepreneurism

Workspace Organization By Emily Monnier


eeping things tidy can become increasingly difficult as our schedules start to fill up. Though organizing our workspaces and offices may seem like the least of our worries, it is very important and can actually have a significant impact on our well-being and the way we work. Here are four reasons to motivate you to finally declutter your workspace and achieve your highest level of efficiency.

1. A clean workspace increases productivity. A messy work environment can lead to unorganized thoughts, which slow down your productivity level. Messy desks—and even cluttered computers—add unnecessary stress to your life by causing you to feel overwhelmed. Devoting at least 10 minutes of your day to organizing your work area can incite feelings of motivation, allowing you to work more efficiently and productively.

3. It can have an effect on mentality. Various studies have shown that when our surrounding environment is in a state of disorganization, our moods tend to drop. This is because our moods and attitudes result from what’s around us. Therefore, a messy desk can often bring feelings of sadness or laziness, which lead to unproductivity. An organized workspace essentially acts as a mood booster by inciting feelings of happiness, inspiration and positivity.

2. It increases focus. Cleaning your desk not only organizes your workspace but also organizes your thought process. With a clean desk, the unorganized thoughts that came with the mess disappear. Instead, they are replaced by more organized and flowing thoughts that make it easier for you to stay concentrated and tackle your workload.

4. In a professional setting, presentation matters. Though some may work from home, many of us find ourselves seated at a desk during the week. Whatever the case may be, presentation is crucial. An organized desk will not only make you feel better about yourself, but it will also give you a professional, responsible and orderly image. A good presentation can speak a thousand words—and an organized desk says that you get your work done efficiently!

40   | WWMB Journal | April/May 2019 special section

Bright Ideas & Inspired Results

Women Leading Innovation We create websites, print graphics, advertisements, logo & identity branding, and much more.


Syntech is Engineering Our Software Engineers Develop the Next Generation Technologies in Fuel Management


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ASK FOR By Dana Crosby


ne of my first real jobs out of college was in sales. I assumed this would be easy—it wasn’t. With no actual experience in sales and wanting to be successful, I went on a mission to learn all I could about sales techniques. I took advantage of every sales training class offered by my company, read volumes of books and watched hours of videos, all about successful selling. All this knowledge was tested in the field, reinforcing what worked for me and what didn’t. Often, I was surprised to find that most sales techniques actually worked. I’ve been out of sales for many years now, but I often think back on this training and realize how valuable it was to every career I’ve had since then and to my life in general. So many of the things I learned are applicable in any situation. One of the best lessons I learned is the necessity of “closing” a sale—directly asking for the business. This translated into a valuable life lesson: if you want something, you better ask for it! Most things you want and need in life don’t just tumble into your lap. Sure, sometimes they do, and we all know someone who seems to always fall into things—from pay raises and career advancements to special deals on their cell phone bill. Yes, perhaps they’ve worked hard and paid their dues, or maybe they know the right people or are just lucky. But the truth is that most people, even those who work hard and pay their dues, need to ask for what they want. From getting a promotion, a discount on my roof repair to a late checkout at the hotel and a better deal on my cable bill, people ask me, “How did you get that?” The answer is simple: I asked. No, I don’t try to take advantage of folks or constantly ask for special favors, but when I feel I’m being overcharged or have been a loyal customer or worked hard for something, well, I ask. Think about it, aren’t we all open and maybe even happy to grant others what they ask for too? For example, my lawn person asked for a small per cut

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increase. It would have never occurred to me to offer this increase, although after he asked, and I agreed, I realized that he was underpaid for the going rate of that job. A wonderful tenant I had for many years in a rental house I once owned asked me if they could stay an extra week after their lease was up, to make their move a bit easier. So we worked something out—I was happy to help. Again, this was not something I thought about offering them. Most people totally underestimate the power and effectiveness of asking for something. Of course, asking for what you want can be nerve-wracking. It requires you to get over your fear of rejection and feelings of awkwardness. It means trading the possibility of a “yes” with the risk that the answer may indeed be “no.”



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For some, it’s easier to live with the status quo. I actually heard a young woman rationalize why she was being paid less than a brand-new, less qualified employee, by saying, “Well if the bosses wanted to pay me more, they would.” Really? She had excellent reviews, had been at the company for almost two years and was being paid below market rate, but refused to approach management. Why? One of the hardest parts of asking for what you want is that it requires you to believe in yourself, to have faith in your own abilities and trust that you’re worth more. To add insult to injury, the new employee making more money was a man. Sadly, the gender gap is still alive and well. No matter how you look at the statistics, it is undeniable that men still make more than women, and yes, even for the exact same job. Whether you are asking for someone’s business, looking for a promotion or simply requesting a better table at your favorite restaurant, give asking for what you want a try. Remember to be polite and , most important, retain your humility. No one likes dealing with someone who is indignant and acts entitled. Just try it— you might be surprised at the results. /sowphotos

THE FLORIDA LOTTERY TAKES EDUCATION FURTHER Since the Florida Lottery’s establishment in 1988, we have given players the opportunity to transform their lives,

and we have been steadfast in pursuit of enhancing education statewide, year after year.

Over the past 30 years, the Florida Lottery has remained committed to furthering public education in Florida. Throughout that time, we have contributed more than $34 billion to public schools, universities and colleges,

and directly to students through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

The Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which is primarily funded by the Florida Lottery, was created in 1997 by the Florida Legislature to assist students in pursuing educational career goals. Since the program’s

inception, we have contributed more than $5 billion to send over 800,000 students to college.

The Florida Lottery is proud to be a dedicated and dependable funding source for public education by contributing over $1 billion annually for the past 16 consecutive years, while remaining one of the most

efficient lotteries in the country.

We thank you for helping us reach these incredible milestones, as a portion of every ticket purchased goes

towards education. We hope that the benefits of our contributions continue to be felt in communities across the entire state.

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e l k r Spa

FROM THE INSIDE By Jennifer Santana Photography by Jennifer Powell


ust a girl with a dream and a love for all things pink, Madison McDaniel Setliff had no idea that her high school graphic design project would spark a fire that would one day lead to her becoming her own boss and opening a storefront of her very own. At the young age of 15, Madison was tasked with creating a logo for her graphic design class. Inspired by her passion for sparkly and girly things, Madison created the logo for Sparkle by Madison—a logo that would go on to represent her budding business for years to come and still graces her storefront and products. Influenced from a young age by her mother, a buyer for a local hospital gift shop, Madison remembers accompanying her mother to find things for the gift shop. “From a young age, I always loved fashion and clothing. When I was just 12 years old, I would go to America’s Mart in Atlanta with my mom. My love for the retail business began there.” Not only did her mother’s job spark inspiration in Madison, but she also considers her mother to be her biggest mentor throughout her journey with Sparkle. “My mom was and still is my mentor. She helps me with every aspect of the business, and she plays such a huge role in the business.” Inspired and determined to pave her own path as a teenager, Madison began her business journey by buying clothes and accessories and selling them out of her house. “When I first started, I would sell to my friends and family on Facebook, and I had a small room in my house to store all of my inventory. People would come to my house to ‘shop’ my inventory and that’s when I faced a new challenge: I needed a bigger space to store all of my inventory.” After operating out of her house for a few months, Madison steadily saw her business grow— surprised at how quickly it progressed. With her friends and family eagerly buying up her products, what started as a passion project for Madison quickly turned into a blooming business, as she sought out her very first storefront location.

Although Madison’s business has changed tremendously over the years—moving from a room in her home to four different locations around Tallahassee—her mission with Sparkle has always remained the same: to uplift women and make them feel beautiful. After being bullied for many years throughout her adolescence, it was important for Madison to make her store a place where women felt accepted and uplifted. “I have always thought of Sparkle as way more than just a business. In many ways, it is a ministry to women in our community. I have a strong mission to make every customer feel good about themselves no matter what. This mission comes from many years of being bullied myself as a teen. That experience has been one of the driving factors in my mission. Bullying is such a problem with girls, and I can use Sparkle as a small way to help this ever-increasing issue.” As for her advice to any younger entrepreneurs out there, or even just women that want to take charge and pave their own path in the business world, Madison urged the importance of taking chances, as well as not being afraid of making mistakes throughout the journey. “Without a business degree, I had to learn all about finances, marketing, laws, taxes, human resources, management and much more. I have made mistakes, but I have had to push through those and grow from it. I’ve learned to not be complacent. I have had to change with the times, yet still try to provide a great experience for my customers. ” With a love for beautiful things, a fascination with the retail industry and a passion for making women feel empowered, Madison was determined from a young age to make her dream of Sparkle by Madison a reality. Fueled by this passion and driven by her own experiences with bullying, Madison strives to use Sparkle and its mission as a platform to make women in the Tallahassee community feel beautiful in their own skin, proving that the most gorgeous diamonds are truly created under tremendous amounts of pressure.

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WOMEN TO WATCH N E W S | A W A R D S | M I L E S T O N E S Beth Dees Beth Dees is active in promoting recovery for individuals with mental illnesses and/ or substance abuse disorders. At Apalachee Center Inc, she works as a coordinator for peer specialists, who in turn reach out to form a trusting bond with those affected by a serious mental illness or substance abuse disorder. She recently was bestowed with the “Iris Award” by National Alliance on Mental Illness—Tallahassee Chapter for delivering exceptional service to those with mental illness. She also loves writing and has written two nonfiction books and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, The Birmingham News and U.S. Airways, among others, primarily featuring places and people and their passions. Michelle Dennard CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard has been selected to receive a prestigious 40 Under 40 Award in economic development, the only award of its kind recognizing young talent among economic development professionals. Michelle was one of 40 leaders chosen internationally from among more than 170 qualified nominees. As a champion of economic development in Florida, she consistently works to positively improve the workforce of our great state.

being offered. She wants you to always feel like the level of service you received has exceeded your expectations. Shelley Kaiser Having worked with SRI Management for nearly a decade, most recently as a senior vice president of operations, coupled with her past tenure as senior living community executive director and divisional director, Shelley Kaiser brings a unique value set of experience as the company continues exponential growth in the year ahead. In her new position, Shelley will monitor communities for potential opportunities and problems, strategize with division teams to offset deficiencies and maximize revenues and queue the direction of the corporate sales force to provide tactical support to communities. Tamara Roberts Tamara Roberts was recently promoted to Technical Product Training Manager at Syntech. Tamara graduated from Spelman College with a B.S. in chemistry. Tamara’s career at Syntech began over 15 years ago in the Customer Satisfaction Center, where she became an expert in her position. This knowledge led her to become a trainer, and she was quickly recognized for her innovative efforts and leadership abilities. In her new role, Tamara will lead a team of training specialists who will train customers about Syntech’s products and technology. 

Kirsten Dunton Kirsten (Kiki) Dunton recently joined the Gray Law firm. Kiki earned her J.D. from Wake Forest University and holds a B.A. degree from the College of William & Mary. She most recently worked as an Attorney ad Litem for children in the dependency system and worked with Children’s Legal Services for several years. Kiki brings extensive trial experience to her new role.             Allison K. Eades Allison joined Bridges Insurance Agency in January. Bridges Insurance Agency is centrally located in Tallahassee and is the only Farmers Agency in North Florida. Allison is part of a team that is that is dedicated to the people of the communities they serve. When calling the agency she wants to assure you that you will speak to a live person, that person will recommend the correct coverage with minimum expense, always looking out for the benefit of the client. Through client education and working hand in hand with clients, there will always be clear understanding of the insurance policies 46   | WWMB Journal | April/May 2019 special section

Dr. Regina Veal-Wright Dr. Regina Wright recently earned a Ph.D. in educational technology, specializing in world languages. She taught French in the classroom for 15 years, and she currently teaches middle and high school students for Florida Virtual Schools through various computer-assisted communication. She spends time teaching both students and their parents about learning through online classes. She believes that students and parents alike should understand and recognize the importance of preparing future citizens for a global and digital society.

Women to Watch includes announcements of promotions, awards, business openings and milestones of business and professional women in the Tallahassee community. Submit your announcements for Women to Watch to


CYNTHIA S. BARBER Cynthia S. Barber is an accomplished public administrator whose career in public service spans more than 31 years. Her heart for service started much earlier though. Growing up in Tallahassee as the daughter of a registered nurse and a Tallahassee Police Department officer, Cynthia learned from a young age that to effect positive change, one had to put their whole heart into the work, be open to collaboration and stay engaged. Cynthia still uses these lessons every day in her role as Deputy City Manager for the City of Tallahassee. She oversees numerous departments, including Police; Fire; Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs; Community Beautification and Waste Management; Community Housing and Human Services; Sustainability and Community Preservation; Emergency Preparedness and Facilities Security; Consolidated Dispatch Agency; and the highly successful TEMPO program. As an African-American female serving in a leadership role, she enjoys spending time as a mentor to many and strives to build a legacy that reflects her mantra: Great leaders develop leaders, not followers. Being a leader has been a hallmark of her career as she has steadily advanced professionally in the city organization. Her passion for positive impact has led to improvements in public safety, neighborhood engagement, sustainability, regulatory compliance and more. Cynthia directed the environmental clean-up activities of the Gaines Street corridor and Cascades Park, which enabled the redevelopment of those areas and led to the city’s Brownfields program becoming one of the top programs in the Southeast and the country. Cynthia has been instrumental in the establishment of several important city initiatives, including the Public Safety Collective and the Neighborhood Public Safety Initiative. Under her direction, the city was recognized internationally, nationally, statewide and at local levels as a leader in sustainability, including its designation as Florida’s first Gold Certified Green City by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC). President Barack Obama recognized her as a White House Champion of Change for the Greening of America’s Cities and Towns. Several other programs that she initiated and championed have gone on to become model programs replicated by other municipalities around the nation. SPONSORED CONTENT

While her career has allowed her to effect change in the community, her service has extended beyond the workplace. She has organized countless food and clothing drives to support nonprofit agencies in the Tallahassee area, been a leading fundraiser for United Way and the American Heart Association and served in leadership roles in both professional and civic organizations. She and her husband Tony are the parents of two adult children and the grandparents of one grandson. Cynthia is truly a woman who means business, one who is dedicated to the Tallahassee community, passionate about public service and a fierce advocate for the citizens she serves, thus never resting on her laurels. special section WWMB Journal | April/May 2019 | 47 


Handling Your Financial Insecurities in Relationships

By Katrina Tuggerson, MA, CDCFC


e have all faced insecurity and uncertainty from time to time with regard to financial matters. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Following are three pieces of advice that will guide you as you work on eliminating your financial insecurities and focus on your financial success.

the fact that 70 percent of wives outlive husbands (it would be 50 percent in a same-sex couple), we can estimate that around 80 percent of those reading this who aren’t financially alone will be at some point. You need to “own your own,” by making solid financial decisions that will optimize your long-term wealth.

1. Ownership

2. Save and Invest as Much as Possible

Take heart that your own personal finances, apart from your partner’s, should be regarded as precious. I will be blunt in saying that it's possible that someday you could face being alone, and the wealth you create between now and then could be yours and yours alone. I’m not saying this is true for everyone, but with a divorce rate of 50 percent and

The only way that anyone ever saves up money is by actively choosing not to spend it. Save up as much money as possible. Invest that money primarily in the stock market and never, ever sell it, particularly when the stock market goes into decline. This is the most important point I can make on this.

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3. Improve Your Interpersonal Strengths

It is important to not let your interpersonal insecurities cause financial insecurities. Your long-term financial strength depends on your finding the interpersonal strength today, including working on how you communicate verbally and nonverbally, your assertiveness, how you listen and how you negotiate, as well as how you approach problems and decision making. Katrina Tuggerson, MA, CDCFC, is the Director of Financial Empowerment and Community Development at Tallahassee-Leon Federal Credit Union.

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WHO ARE THE TWM MEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS? TWM is excited and proud to feature the first

annual issue of Men Who Mean Business (MWMB) profiles. These men serve in business and the community supporting the mission of women in Tallahassee. Research reveals that when men are dedicated to including women in leadership and business and advocating for gender equity and equality in the workplace, organizations experience statistically significant progress. The TWM “Men Who Mean Business” exemplify outstanding support of women through their medical and law practices, community services, non-profit agencies, philanthropic contributions, leadership, volunteerism, advocacy, employment practices and commitment. TWM Men Who Mean Business demonstrate core values that support the best interest, mission and vision of Tallahassee women. TALLAHASSEE WOMAN MAGAZINE MWMB!

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MEN Who Mean BUSINESS DR. WILLIAM T. BALDOCK “It is a privilege for me to salute “Women Who Mean Business” in our community. We have so many successful women in Tallahassee representing all professions. Promoting the acceptance and success of women in business is paramount to the success of any organization or corporation. At Capital Periodontal Associates, we empower women both personally and professionally to create healthy lifestyles that are conducive to finding that important balance between work and family. Whether it is supporting and inspiring our periodontal team members or enhancing the overall health and healthy lifestyles of our patients, we are committed to strengthening women’s voices in the workplace.” –Dr. William T. Baldock It has been an honor to care for patients in Tallahassee and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Throughout my career, my primary mission has always been to provide patients with the best possible periodontal outcomes through the use of cutting-edge technology, clinical expertise and compassionate care. At Capital Periodontal Associates, we offer periodontal and dental implant treatment dedicated to restoring and promoting excellent oral health using the highest standard of care. We provide dental implant surgery, laser surgery, scaling and root planning, gingivitis and periodontitis treatment, gingival flap surgery, oral cancer screenings, cosmetic contouring procedures and more.

Our Capital Periodontal staff includes a registered surgical nurse, dental assistants, dental hygienists, patient care coordinators and administrative professionals. Every member of our team, made up primarily of women, plays a crucial role in our patients’ success as well as our practice’s successful and efficient operation. In my experience, women in the dental field bring an unparalleled level of compassion and dedication to our patients. At Capital Periodontal, we continually inspire each other to provide the highest level of periodontal care to our patients.

At Capital Periodontal, our staff is dedicated to making our patients feel welcomed, valued and comfortable in a trusted and calm environment. Patient comfort is of the utmost importance to us. Treatment for our patients also includes conscious sedation, anxiety management techniques, spa amenities and relaxation therapies.


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MEN Who Mean BUSINESS TERRANCE L. BARBER Working Class Wednesday Terrance L. Barber is a Tallahassee native and a graduate of TCC, and is currently enrolled at FAMU. As the founder of Working Class Wednesday “Tallahassee’s Ultimate Networking Experience,” and cofounder of the Entrepreneur Resource Center, Terrance has helped empower local businesses and assisted countless women entrepreneurs in expanding their business reach. The Working Class Wednesday events have highlighted female business leaders, and many received awards at the recent two-year anniversary event. Terrance’s community service includes the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality: Minority & Women Small Business Enterprise. “It is my desire to see women and minority-owned businesses flourish in my community and beyond. The woman entrepreneur is one of the fastest-growing demographics in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Women business owners have proven themselves to be just as good as and even better than their male counterparts. Minority- and women-owned businesses often do not get the recognition they deserve; therefore, I have focused my intention on ensuring they are not only represented, but represented well. Women entrepreneurs are a catalyst for small business and have proven to do a common thing uncommonly well! Without the support of women entrepreneurs in my community, I certainly would not have the success I have enjoyed. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank a few of my amazing female business owners and sponsors: Lindsay Thompson of “Luxury with Lindsay,” a division of Keller Williams Homes; Danya Wilson, owner of Superior Realty Group; Amber Hall of Amber Hall Law; Walissa Cobb and Kiera Herring of Cobb Realty; and last but not least, the amazing Nicole Everett of “Conversations With Nicole,” who has been with me every step of the way. To all of the women entrepreneurs reading this—thank you for your courage and stepping out on faith, building your businesses and making this world a better place.”

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RODNEY J. "ROCKY" BEVIS For three generations, Bevis Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been helping families in Tallahassee, Crawfordville and Bristol create meaningful tributes to their loved ones. When Rodney J. “Rocky” Bevis was growing up in the business, female funeral directors were a rarity. But in the past 40 years, the number of female funeral directors in the United States has jumped from just 5 percent to about 40 percent and Rocky has been in the forefront of that increase. “Funeral directors used to perform a finite function, and most funerals were pretty much done one way. Now we are facilitators. We take a clientcentered approach to discover a family’s needs and to understand the story of the person who died. We bring the community together for a one-time event,” Rocky says. He adds, “Preparing for a service is like being a project manager or an event planner. It’s a job that requires communication skills


and the ability to multitask—two areas where we know women excel.” Bevis’ Managing Partner is Susie Mozolic, who had more than 40 years of experience as a funeral director before joining Bevis Funeral Home in 2014. Five of the eight funeral directors at Bevis are women, and another 12 women work in support positions. All Bevis employees, regardless of gender, are encouraged and supported in being involved in the community. You can find them in your church, as members of your civic organization or in your school volunteering.

“We celebrate life at every stage, at every opportunity, and we’ll be there for you when you need us most.”

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Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long with Maggie Theriot, Director of the Office of Resource Stewardship

VINCENT S. LONG For Vincent S. Long, gender equity in Leon County government is not a quota, it’s part of the county’s people-focused, performance-driven organizational culture. Since becoming Leon County Administrator in 2011, Vince has received national, state and local recognition for leadership, transparency in government and fiscal stewardship. Through his leadership and the vision of the Leon County Board of County Commissioners, Vince has implemented personnel policies regarded as national best practices for gender equality: paid parental leave, required sexual harassment and domestic violence training, and a recent gender pay equity study, which found women employed by Leon County make slightly more than men. With good policies and a focus on investing in people, Vince has formed a meritocracy where women lead and drive the county’s biggest successes. You need only look around at a meeting of Vince’s Executive Team members to see the results of his leadership. Of the 14 executives, half are women, and that balance happened naturally as part of a high-performing organization that encourages diverse views and ideas. In Leon County government, women also hold leadership roles in positions normally occupied by men, such as facilities and information technology, bringing new perspectives to important functions. And the county also supports community partners and initiatives that promote equality for all women, such as the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Refuge House, and many others. “Through my policy development and training work with Leon County, I’ve seen Vince be an advocate for women in the Leon County workforce and throughout the community, particularly in the areas of domestic and sexual violence and its impact

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on the workplace,” said Robin Hassler Thompson, Executive Director of the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center. “Vince has been a strong advocate for gender equity in the workplace and understands that an effective workforce must value and protect its employees from all forms of gender discrimination, violence and harassment.” For Vince, gender equity and diversity are not a one-and-done program but rather are a foundational part of the county’s continuous commitment to exceeding expectations. As a result, he exemplifies what it means to be one of Tallahassee Woman Magazine’s “Men Who Mean Business.”




First and foremost, Dr. Kerry McCord is proud to be married to the love of his life, Dr. Michelle Mitcham, the new owner of Tallahassee Woman Magazine! They have raised five wonderful children, three girls and two boys. Dr. McCord is a chiropractic physician practicing “the best of natural medicine” since 1973, and serving patients in Tallahassee since 2013. He is a renowned clinician, author and educator, internationally known for his contributions to the practice of applied kinesiology, a system of analysis and therapeutics that uses “manual muscle testing” as a window on nervous system function. Dr. McCord uniquely serves those whose life has been disrupted by persistent and seemingly unresolvable health challenges: from persistent pain and chronic fatigue to digestive distress and migraine headaches and from stress-induced illness and hormonal disorders to sources of persistent inflammation (often food sensitivities) and recurrent infections.

WHAT WOMEN ARE SAYING: “I suffered a crushed left leg, three titanium rods, a drop foot and severe difficulty walking without stumbling for the past 14 years. After one treatment, I was able to walk without complication!” “Dr. Kerry McCord found food allergies that had been bothering me for years... I am now on my way to a full recovery.” “Months after being released from the hospital with right-sided weakness from a stroke… I wasn’t improving enough to be confident in daily situations. Under Dr. McCord’s care, I am now riding a bicycle and jogging. The walker and cane once used are a distant memory.” “I have seen Dr. McCord for a variety of complicated conditions, and he has always been able to help me regain my health and mobility. I give him my highest recommendation!”

Whatever your health challenge—there is hope! “Haven Spa” Capital Circle Northeast


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NEIL ST. JOHN RAMBANA Attorney Neil St. John Rambana is an immigration attorney practicing deportation defense since 2000. He has handled hundreds of immigration trials and represents stateless individuals, wrongly detained U.S. citizens and aliens discriminated against by the federal government on the basis of their religion or nationality. New Yorker magazine described him as “an experienced immigration attorney.” He is married to his law partner Elizabeth Ricci, with whom he has two daughters, Paloma, age 13, and Belén, age 10. Active in the community, Neil recently helped raise over $100,000 as a dancer in Legal Services of North Florida’s 2018 Dancing With the Stars. He is the Treasurer of the Tallahassee St. Maarten Sister City Foundation and is the Junior Warden in the J. Edwin Larson Masonic Lodge. Last year, he was honored for being a Man Who Supports Women and was recently named a “Seminole 100.” He is a former board member of the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle and Refuge House. 

WHAT WOMEN ARE SAYING: “Neil Rambana is an amazing lawyer who instantly knew what to do about my case. His team is very professional and friendly and made me feel confident that I was getting the best service possible.” – Ana “Mr. Neil has been my lawyer for a long time, starting with my court case then Green Card. When I am eligible, I want him to file my citizenship papers too. Eventually, I want to file for my family with his help.” – Yessi “I hired Mr. Rambana several years ago for my mother's visa, and he has done a spectacular job. My mother and I were taken care of as soon as we walked into the office.” – Rachel

NEIL ST. JOHN RAMBANA, ESQ., | RAMBANA & RICCI, PLLC IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS (850) 224-4529 | WWW.RAMBANA.COM 56   | WWMB Journal | April/May 2019 special section


MEN Who Mean BUSINESS CURTIS RICHARDSON Since birth, Curtis Richardson has benefitted from the influence of strong, positive female role models, beginning with his late mother, Naomi Richardson. The importance of service to others was instilled in him at an early age by his family, who dedicated over 100 years of military service to this great country.  Thanks to the strong female influences in his life, Curtis has supported and championed women’s causes throughout his life. Whether serving as Deputy Director of Cabinet Affairs in the Office of the Governor, as Chair of the Leon County School Board, in the Florida House of Representatives or as Tallahassee’s Mayor Pro Tem, he has strived to be a continuous advocate for issues important to women, such as a strong economy, employment opportunities, pay equity, support for the arts and culture and keeping our neighborhoods safe. Additionally, he is employed at Lively Technical Center, part of the Leon County School District, helping to empower women to start a new educational chapter through vocational and technical training. He has long been recognized for his service to and support of numerous women’s organizations and initiatives, such as serving as President of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Tallahassee Chapter.  He also champions children’s causes and women’s health issues as demonstrated by his service on the National March of Dimes and Children’s Home Society boards. He  raises awareness and funds through efforts such as the American Cancer Society’s  Real Men Wear Pink Campaign, and the American Heart Association’s  Women Wear Red Campaign.  He is a loving and supportive husband to his wife Nina, and inspired by their daughters, Aida and Carina, to leave this world a better place where all women can thrive and excel in any endeavor they choose. As a result of his dedicated life’s work in our community, Commissioner Curtis Richardson is one of Tallahassee Woman Magazine’s “Men Who Mean Business.”


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MEN Who Mean BUSINESS ANTOINE WRIGHT As a native of Detroit, Antoine Wright was raised by a family of inspiring, powerful, and intelligent women who instilled a foundation of community servanthood and economic empowerment. Antoine built a career in real estate development and construction and has been an active member in the Tallahassee community for over two decades. Having developed a passion for environmental sustainability in urban settings throughout college, Antoine now gives wholeheartedly to the cause as Executive Director of Big Bend Habitat for Humanity. In this role, Antoine constantly encourages hardworking women in the program; through homeowner education, by empowering women to build their forever home with their own two hands, and by raising awareness of the need for affordable housing for both women and men in our community. In his 22 years of service Antoine has built over 100 homes with more than 90 of those being headed by women. He has helped bring women of all walks of life by leading Habitat’s annual “Women Build,” an initiative for women to fund and build a new home for a hardworking and deserving family in need of affordable housing. You need only take a look at Antoine’s staff and board members to see the results of his leadership; the majority are women who serve top roles in the community and devote their skills to working and volunteering their time towards Antoine’s and Habitat’s mission to eliminate substandard housing and homelessness in Leon and Gadsden counties. Since 1982, Big Bend Habitat has built over 196 homes. Those homeowners, who are mostly women, have contributed nearly $20 million dollars in economic impact from new home construction, and invest nearly $100,000 in property taxes every year to make our community better. “As a father, I envision a world where my daughter can take over my construction company and BUILD, and no one bats an eye or even thinks about it twice” says Antoine. As a self-proclaimed “organizer of chaos,” leader to many, and loving father of two teens, Antoine exemplifies what it means to be named one of Tallahassee Woman Magazine’s “Men Who Mean Business.”

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by briana smith

Want the inside scoop on the top trends this spring? Take it from me, a girl who knows the ins and outs of the fashion world. Being both a goer and model of New York Fashion Week, I’m one step ahead on the newest trends and hottest releases. From the runway to the streets of SoHo, here’s my take on what to implement this spring season.

tallahassee woman | 60 | april • may 2019


Neon colors have been popping up left and right over the past year. But lucky for you the trend is still on fire—if you didn’t get to show off your highlighter yellows and greens last season, you still have the chance! Make a statement with your throwback neon staple and pair it with a simple fit.


That’s right, animal print is back and it’s coming in wild! Animal print has always been a difficult trend to tackle but this season it’s as easy as ever! From shoes to swimsuits I’ve been seeing it everywhere. Snakeskin especially made huge waves amongst showgoers this recent fashion week. Our local thrift stores are a fantastic place to start to get your safari on.


Don’t worry, we’re still keeping it PG! Transparent pieces were major in the Spring/Summer 2019 Fashion Week collections. Brands like Louis Vuitton and Acne Studios showcased incredible translucent accessories and garbs that turned heads. Nothing to hide! Throwing on a pair of clear sneakers or a transparent raincoat give you a chance to still rock your whole outfit with a futuristic feel!

Laser Hair Removal now available at Healthy Solutions. Leave Waxing to the Museum.

Bert Morales, M.D. Phone: 850.309.0356 Text: 850.629.0345 2003 Miccosukee Rd. tallahassee woman | 61 | april • may 2019 tallahassee

woman • februar y / march 2019 61 


| home



hether it’s from a busy work life, messy children or lost motivation, many of us struggle with a cluttered home environment. Untidy surroundings can have a significant impact on how we feel, often leading to stress and sadness. However, as we welcome spring, we are feeling more inspired than ever to declutter our homes and start this new season with, literally, a clean slate. One of the biggest inspirations we find ourselves turning to is the latest Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. In this series, decluttering expert Marie Kondo visits the homes of people struggling with keeping their living spaces tidy, and she helps them get their house in order. With her guidance, participants have been able to successfully declutter their homes—and their lives. Feeling inspired and ready to clean, we were eager to test out Kondo’s expert advice ourselves. We’ve gathered Kondo’s three most popular and effective tips for decluttering and organizing and tried them out on the closet of TWM staff



by emily monnier

member, Michelle Hart. Organizing specialist, Monica Collins, from Snapshot Staging, worked her magic with this renewal project. “Does this item spark joy?” Since the release of Tidying Up, this piece of advice has gained an immense amount of popularity. The method involves grabbing any item in your house and asking yourself one simple question—does this item bring me joy? By asking ourselves this easy but effective question, we are making ourselves throw out any clutter that doesn’t have meaning, and instead surround ourselves with only those things that make us happy. Getting rid of small, insignificant objects can greatly open up a room and allow you to feel better in your surroundings—all while still holding on to those objects that do bring you joy. Make sure every item has a home. Though this one may seem obvious, a lot of us tend to buy things impulsively, and things end up lying forgotten in a corner. In her book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo says, that, “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t spark joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” Tying in with tip number one, getting rid of things without a home or items that don’t spark joy can take away a large chunk of mess. For those special items that you decide to keep, make sure to find a box or container that you already own to store them in; that way you can avoid spending money on more potential clutter. Organize objects in an effective manner. One of the main components of a mess-free home is to organize, organize, organize! Kondo recommends folding your clothing the KonMari way, which is a tidying method that involves folding your clothes so that they stand upright instead of lying flat. This allows for more space in your drawers and prevents wrinkles. She also recommends decanting. Our homes are clogged with various labels, which can become a lot for the eye to take in. By doing something as simple as moving our liquid soap from the brand’s bottle to a clean, glass dispenser we are clearing our space of any unnecessary distractions, resulting in a more ordered and clean-looking home.

tallahassee woman | 62 | april • may 2019








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tallahassee woman | 63 | april • may 2019


healthy living

Detox and Refresh by priscilla feroli

tallahassee woman | 64 | april • may 2019

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his year, make spring all about rejuvenation and reinvention by trying out the widespread trend of cleansing and detoxing. The choice to begin this season revived and restored will lead you to rid yourself of any toxic substances in your body, starting the season of revival feeling refreshed. Consider this the perfect time to start eating right, exercising and allowing your body to fully cleanse—inside and out. Any adult looking for clearer skin and an overall cleaner body can benefit from detoxing and cleansing. By purging yourself of unnecessary toxins, the body is able to breathe and make space to restore a healthier well-being. Detoxing focuses on cleansing and purifying blood and organs and has proven to be beneficial factors to an individual’s face, skin and overall appearance. Signs of depleted energy, breakouts or unmanageable skin and excessive bloating, along with many other symptoms, may indicate you need to detox. The easiest and most common way to detox can be beginning your day with a glass of green tea or water. Adding lemons to the water and consuming it throughout the day will significantly help your digestion, weight, energy, skin and so forth; add in strawberries or cucumbers for tastier, more beneficial water. Detoxing also takes place during a workout, which promotes sweating. Whipping up a smoothie afterward that contains veggies like carrots and spinach is the extra mile needed to thoroughly cleanse your body. Doing your best to cut out sugar and focusing on a healthier diet are additional ways to detox and work best when sticking to delicious foods like almonds, avocados, bananas, oats, salmon, sweet potatoes and many other superfoods. The important thing when considering a detox is to create a plan that works best for your lifestyle—especially preplanning if you know you won’t have the time during the week. Detoxing must take place with the right mindset but will help leave you feeling refreshed and cleansed and could be something to consider as a way to start the spring off feeling renewed and revitalized.





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Call Now To Schedule An Appointment For Your Initial Exam And X-Rays. Beachton Denture Clinic 2515 US-319 Thomasville, GA 31792 229-233-0249 • tallahassee woman | 65 | april • may 2019


| bodies in motion


A Journey to Sobriety Through Fitness by jennifer santana

Photo by: Shelly Williams


or most, finding the motivation to be more active can be difficult. No matter how many resolutions and promises we make to ourselves, it can be tough getting into the habit of exercising regularly—even though we might long for the end results of a more active lifestyle. For Regina Faura, however, leading a healthier lifestyle was more than a mere resolution to be more active and eat better; it was a decision that would help her climb out of the darkest days of her life and ultimately help to pave the path towards sobriety. Before her decision to tackle her addiction in July of 2010, Regina was regularly abusing alcohol and prescription medication. “At that time, I was about 60 pounds overweight and not in a great place physically and mentally. I decided I had to change my life in so many ways.” With the resolve to change her life for the better, Regina knew that it was time to take action. “First, I started with my nutrition. I started to lose weight. Then a few months later, I added in exercise, running my first 5K race a few months after that. Little did I know that I would fall in love with running. It really saved my life in the early years of sobriety. It was the only thing I could do when I felt uneasy. The feet to the pavement and the sounds of nature were my therapy and still are.”

After she saw her life improve for the better through her personal journey with fitness and nutrition, Regina decided that she would use her story to help other women struggling with their own personal hurdles. For the past seven years of her life, Regina has been in the fitness industry, helping women fight their own battle and ultimately lead healthier lives. “About two years later, after losing all the weight and running many 5Ks, 10Ks and a couple half marathons, I decided I wanted to help other women with their healthy living journey. I became a certified personal trainer and running coach. That is where I fell in love with fitness and wellness. It became my passion to stay healthy and help other women do the same.” Not only has her fitness journey and decision to move towards sobriety influenced her to forge bonds with the women in her community, but it has also helped Regina’s relationship with her family. “My two sons have been aware of my journey from the very beginning. They have been present with me every year that I celebrate sobriety. And as they have gotten older, now 16 and 21, I have shared more about my addictions with them. They told me this has made them better. They know how bad tallahassee woman | 66 | april • may 2019

addiction can be but also have seen the hard work I’ve done to stay sober.” Regina hopes that in sharing her experiences with addiction with others, she can help to give hope to those struggling with their own demons, serving as a beacon of light to those still stuck in the darkness. “If I can help just one person by showing them there is hope for recovery, I can live another day happy and sober.” As for those merely struggling to find the motivation to slap on running shoes and get active, Regina offers these words of advice: “Your fitness journeys can be tough, but be consistent, get an accountability partner, don’t give yourself a hard time if you miss a day at the gym or eat a doughnut for breakfast one morning. Tomorrow is a new day, a new start. Get back on track because your life depends on it. Your family wants you around for a long time. And if you are struggling with addiction or have loved ones with addiction, there is hope for recovery. If I can do it, one day at a time for the last nine years, you can too. There is help out there for you or your loved ones.”

The only magazine in Tallahassee for women by women about women. tallahassee woman | 67 | april • may 2019


| mental health & mindfulness matters

TWM is dedicated to empowering women. In the year of WE—Women Empowered—and beyond, a special department on mental health/mindfulness will be included in every issue. TWM is dedicated to breaking down stigmas of mental health and cultivating a community of caring.

Stress and Anxiety: Challenges and Tools for Success by dr. michelle a. mitcham, lmhc, ncc, ccmhc, cfm


veryone has experienced some stress or even anxiety in their lifetime. Feeling stress, in some situations, is very normal. Have you ever experienced a moderate level of stress before an exam or when preparing to pack for a major vacation? This may be a normal level of anxiety, which may be interpreted as beneficial, called eustress. Eustress is considered positive stress, which motivates one to improve performance or complete a task. On the other hand, one may experience a negative type of stress—distress, characterized by unpleasant feelings that oftentimes leads to anxiety and beyond the level of one’s coping skills. It is important to have a self-care plan that includes some type of meditation, exercise, breathing techniques, massage, yoga, faith-based activities, wellness or other techniques. Let’s differentiate positive versus negative stress with some examples. Positive stressors may include a new relationship, a job opportunity or preparing for a vacation, for example. In contrast, negative stressors may include a toxic work environment, ending a relationship, divorce, financial debt, court/legal battles or the loss of a loved one. So what does an unhealthy level of stress look like? If your level of stress emotionally paralyzes you and seriously interferes with your daily functioning, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder. This is the most common type of

mental disorder and very common with many women. There are several types of anxiety difficulties and disorders, from panic attacks (racing heart, chest pain, feelings of losing control, sweating, panic, etc.) to anticipatory anxiety. There is help for any type of anxiety disorder. Reach out for assistance if you are experiencing stress and challenges with coping. You are not alone. A trained professional in the field will have these credentials or titles: Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC); Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW); Licensed Psychologist (Ph.D. or Psy.D.); and, for medication, a psychiatrist (M.D.). One resource to research specialty areas and credentials is


(Sharing. Healing. Empowering.)

With the goal of breaking down stigmas of mental health and cultivating a community of caring, TWM will also be planning TallahasSHE meetings. We envision these initial meetings as small gatherings that may grow over time, with the purpose of challenging women to share their self-care/mental health/ mindfulness stories so that there may be some healing and empowerment within themselves and others. If you are interested in participating, please email us your ideas or contact information to as we make plans for our TWM Women Empowered SHE community of support.

tallahassee woman | 68 | april • may 2019

TWM Gets Results For Your Business!

“Vascular Surgery Associates has been a proud partner with Tallahassee Woman Magazine for almost a decade! A sizable portion of our patient demographic is comprised of women seeking to optimize their vascular health or the health of a loved one. With every changing season Tallahassee Woman Magazine makes sure that our advertising remains timely and effective. VSA plans to continue our relationship with Tallahassee Woman Magazine because we recognize it as a leader in local women’s issues.” - Juan Fuentes, Practice Administrator for Vascular Surgery Associates, advertiser since 2010

Vascular Surgery Associates is just one of the many businesses that is part of the economic fiber of the community. At Tallahassee Woman, our goal is to help other businesses reach the community with information on their goods and services. We value our advertisers in supporting the women of Tallahassee. Call today to see how we can help you grow your business through effective advertising. tallahassee woman | 69 | april • may 2019


| life


Life and Love With an Autistic Child by dr. vanessa pitts bannister


n my younger years, I enjoyed riding roller coasters. I remember the heart-racing excitement of waiting on the platform for a ride. I feared the unknown—the magnitude of speed, inversions and rotations of the car. On rides, I remember closing my eyes and experiencing a range of emotions from happiness to anxiety as I endured sudden turns, drops and speed levels. As shared by many, this range of emotions (or ups and downs) is akin to the emotional journey of raising an autistic child. In 2008, I began my journey. Before age 2, my precious daughter reacted to vaccinations in such a harsh way that she was hospitalized twice. For each occurrence that resulted in a 48hour hospitalization, the doctor minimized the reactions to that of an upper respiratory infection. I was unaware of how to make sense of my daughter’s reactions to the vaccinations —especially since doctors from different locations provided the same diagnosis. A second emotional ride entailed walking into my daughter’s room to discover an aggressive child with delayed language when the previous day the development of language was promising. Through these and other experiences, I constantly contemplated whether such experiences indicated a different journey or different beginning. I soon realized I was to undertake an unknown, unforeseen and unpredictable collective journey with my

daughter, my child’s father, my spouse, family members, therapists, teachers, friends, various medical practitioners, the autism roller coaster and myself. Unlike a typical roller coaster experience, nothing equips you for the autism roller coaster! One’s navigation of the ride or journey is critical. In fact, research indicates that a mother of a child with a disability is generally faced with the challenge of balancing the constraints of her insignificant role as a mother (as seen by the world) and her notion of a “good mother.” While I don’t embrace a marginalized position as a mother, I do believe the necessity of a self-defined narrative to undertake this balancing act. The development of a self-defined narrative requires one to operationalize autism and notions of a “good mother” and “it takes a village to raise a child.” • Operationalizing autism starts with acceptance of the diagnosis and little to no self-blame or feelings of despair. Researchers refer to these facets as dimensions of adjustment. Such dimensions allow one to embrace autism, but not to allow the diagnosis to define the child’s growth or potential or to limit one’s campaign for the child or one’s inner strength to embrace one’s life and one’s love for the child. • Although notions of a “good mother” of a child with a disability have changed, the conceptions remain unchanged. For this tallahassee woman | 70 | april • may 2019

reason, operationalizing the notion of a “good mother” requires one to construct her own perspective. One’s perspective should align with the needs of the child and not with societal directives. Specifically, define who you are and who your child needs you to be. That which you define is the true essence of a “good mother.” • “It takes a village to raise a child” is a popular proverb with a clear meaning. As a mother of an autistic child, I wholeheartedly agree with the “village” notion. Operationalizing the notion of “it takes a village to raise a child” is critical. Particularly, what are the defining aspects of your child’s village? Who will regulate the village? Who are the participants in the village? A well-defined, regulated village provides a fertile community for both the child and mother (or parents). As you experience the autism roller coaster, mothers of autistic children should continue to operationalize facets of the emotional ride or journey. In doing so, conceptualizations such as autism with its various components, the notion of a “good mother” and construction of a meaningful village will go far towards optimizing the lives and loves of both mothers (or parents) and children.

Work. Life. Balance. Summer Brooke Gomez, PhD


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tallahassee woman | 71 | april • may 2019


the dish

by stephanie jimenez Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, celebrates the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, during the Franco-Mexican war. Although this holiday is not as significant in Mexico, it is widely celebrated in America as a representation of Mexican culture and history. Here is a delicious traditional Mexican dish that can be easily made and enjoyed with the family on Cinco de Mayo or any other day as well!

Chicken Taquitos With Avocado Salsa prep time: 10 min | cooking time: 15 min

Ingredients for taquitos: 16 corn tortillas 1 ¼ lb. boneless chicken breast 2 cups cooking oil ¼ cup Mexican crema (or sour cream) 3 ounces shredded cheese 16 toothpicks Ingredients for salsa: 2 ripe avocados 3 small tomatillos 6 sprigs of cilantro ¼ white onion 1 clove garlic Juice of 2 limes 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS Taquitos: Put the chicken breasts in a pan. Add just enough water to cover the chicken. Add salt to the water. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is just cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool to the touch. Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and then shred with your fingers. Lay out your corn tortillas and add 1 tablespoon of shredded chicken on top of each tortilla. Roll the tortilla and insert a toothpick to keep it from unrolling. Add tallahassee woman | 72 | april • may 2019

the cooking oil to a large frying pan and let it heat up. Once the oil is hot, add 4 to 6 taquitos, but don’t overcrowd the pan. Turn the taquitos; when they are done they should be crispy and brown. Remove the taquitos and place them on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain the grease. Repeat until all taquitos have been cooked. Once done, spread crema on taquitos and add salsa and shredded cheese on top. Salsa: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. If the salsa is too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it has reached desired consistency. Add salt.

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tallahassee woman | 73 | april • may 2019



W E Inspire

TWM is celebrating the #YearofWE—Women Empowered. In every issue we feature inspiring stories, quotes, poems, reflections or wisdom from women who inspire us all to live empowered. TWM is on a mission to empower and inspire every woman to live their best life. We believe change starts within each of us, and it starts with a goal. Check out our teams' personal vision boards, and consider making one of your own this spring as you embark on your own journey of renewal.

Take time to cleanse, to heal, to renew, to grow, to become.

BE FEARLESS in the pursuit of what

sets your soul on fire. A

dream written down

with a date becomes a goal, A goal broken down into steps becomes a A plan backed by


action becomes reality

MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE! tallahassee woman | 74 | april • may 2019




Grace H. Dansby Helipad When critically ill or injured patients arrive at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH), seconds count. Grace’s generosity provided a new helipad that greatly reduces the time it takes to transport patients from a helicopter into the hospital for treatment. She served as Vice Chair of the TMH Board of Directors and later on the Foundation Board of Trustees for more than a decade. She is the co-founder of the Golden Gala.

What makes this gift meaningful to you? Shortly after Hurricane Michael, I read in the newspaper that people from all over the region who were sick or had injuries related to the storm were brought to TMH. It was touching to know that the helipad was being used to help these people in a time of crisis.

Why do you support the TMH Foundation? The hospital is something we all use and can be thankful for. We don’t have to leave town; we’ve got excellent healthcare right here at home. I always support the (Tallahassee Memorial Bixler Trauma & Emergency Center). I was delighted because the helipad is related to that.

What motivates you to give? I’m a child of the Depression. Sharing was part of survival. We were taught to think about others and how we could help. I give and share because I love to do it. Maya Angelou said, “Make a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

At age 92, you’re still making an impact in your community. What keeps you going? I feel good. God’s been good to me, and I am very fortunate that I’ve been able to give back. My Alpha Gamma Delta sorority’s motto is, “Live with purpose.”

How does it feel to know that the Golden Gala continues as the Foundation’s major fundraiser? It’s special. It’s not just a fundraiser. The thing that I look back on over the years is the camaraderie that we have at the Gala, the fellowship we share, visiting with old friends. It’s a great feeling. Everybody wants to be there.

“ If giving comes from the heart, nothing is impossible.“ TA L L A H A S S E E M E M O R I A L H E A LT H C A R E F O U N DAT I O N

tallahassee woman | 75 | april • may 2019

Lynn Jr., Tallahassee, FL

Care that’s a world apart, but just down the road. When your child needs expert medical care, you’re looking for more than a specialist. Luckily, you don’t have to look far to find some of the country’s best pediatric doctors and nurses. Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville gives kids nationally ranked care in a caring environment. Learn more at tallahassee woman | 76 | april • may 2019

Profile for Tallahassee Woman Magazine

April/May 2019 Tallahassee Woman Magazine  

The April/May 2019 issue of Tallahassee Woman Magazine features the incredible Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson on the cover. Be sure to read...

April/May 2019 Tallahassee Woman Magazine  

The April/May 2019 issue of Tallahassee Woman Magazine features the incredible Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson on the cover. Be sure to read...