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2019 Is the THE YEAR OF





Anna Johnson-Reidel



What You Need to Know

Celebrate Friendship With

Galentine’s DAY

Relationship RX Why Counseling


tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 1 



I N T R O D U C I N G T H E R E G I O N ’ S O N LY ACC R E D I T E D •


and home to the area's only newborn intensive care unit Tallahassee Memorial is now the region’s only accredited Baby-Friendly Hospital and is still home to the area's only Newborn Intensive Care Unit. This means you and your baby receive the highest level of individualized care within an environment specifically designed for bonding, encouraging a calm transition from hospital to home. All with the support and education moms need from an experienced nursing team who assists you to care for your baby.

Learn more about Baby-Friendly | Take a Tour | Sign up for Sweet Peas Baby & Toddler Club


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tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 3 

contents tallahassee woman magazine

february / march 2019

On the Cover


Anna Johnson-Reidel: Rising Above and Beyond By Heather Thomas About the Cover: Photography by Kira Derryberry Makeup by Jamee Wright Makeup & Style Clothing and accessories provided by Narcissus


Our Thoughts




Learning Through Love


Style: Everything’s Coming Up Roses | Galentine’s Day: Ladies Celebrating Ladies Knowledge: Heart Health Tech | Book Nook— Books written by women, for women


Living Local












WE Inspire

WE Elevate: Gina Giacomo Around Town: Junior League’s Sunshine State Ball | Cover Woman Party Haute Happenings: Highlights of Local Events

Work Life: 5 Ways to Empower Your Female Colleagues Money Talks: How to Avoid Bank Fees Women to Watch: Celebrations of working women

Fashion: Lady in Red Home: Rooted Together, Health and Aesthetic Benefits of Reconnecting With Nature

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Healthy Living: Women’s Heart Health—Tips for A Heart Happy Life Bodies in Motion: Connecting Parents and Children Through Fitness Real Life: Recharge Yourself for a Better Tomorrow

Fighting the Fear Factor: Couples Counseling Can Work

The Dish: Olive You! Olive History, Recipes, and Heart Benefits

#YearofWE—Women Empowered: Spend Your Life Living


Enhance Your Natural


T a l l a h a s s e e

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T a l l a h a s s e e

The latest laser treatment to improve the appearance of brown spots and skin blemishes while making your skin appear lighter and brighter

Plastic Surgery Clinic & Physicians’ Skin Care Clinic (850) 877-2126 •



February / March 2019 • Volume 14 • Issue 1 PUBLISHER Dr. Michelle Mitcham EXECUTIVE EDITOR Heather Thomas ASSISTANT EDITOR Jennifer Santana EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATOR Hannah Miller DIRECTOR OF SALES Jennifer Stinson ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF SALES Michelle Hart PUBLISHING CONSULTANT Kim Rosier

TALLAHASSEE WOMAN is a publication of Mitcham Media Group LLC


INTERNS Stephanie Jimenez Emily Monnier

Post Office Box 16616 Tallahassee, FL 32317-3401 Phone (850) 893-9624 Fax (850) 254­-7038 Tallahassee Woman is published six times

ADVERTISING For more information on advertising, call (850) 893-9624 or e-mail

per year and is distributed ona complimentary basis throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding communities.

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.

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Since 1988, the Florida Lottery has put education in the spotlight by contributing $34 billion and counting to our public education system, and sending more than 800,000 students to college and beyond on Bright Futures Scholarships. Every time you play, you grant Florida’s brightest the opportunity to achieve their dreams and ultimately boost the state’s economy, all while funding the next generation of students. Follow @floridalottery on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to see how we help students shine shine. | Must be 18 or older to play. Play responsibly. ©2018 Florida Lottery®

tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 7 

PACK ‘N’ MOVE contributors OUR


Jenny Cherry is a native Floridian, full-time professional and single mom. She is a writer and public speaker, and holds a bachelor's degree in English literature with a minor in communications.

Meredith Bowen Hunter is a communications consultant specializing in strategy, messaging and branding. She’s a wife, mother, and a Gen Xer admittedly enamored with the efficiency of texting and intrigued by the power of social media.


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Michelle R. 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.

Dr. Gwendolyn Singleton is Chairperson and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida A&M University. She received her Ph.D. in neuropsychology from Howard University. She is a nationally certified mental health first aid instructor and serves as Regional Institutional Representative Coordinator for the ACE Women’s Network of Florida.


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Latoya Montgomery is a Tallahassee native, a mother of two, and holds an Ed.S. in educational leadership, M.B.A and a B.S. in economics. Her blog, Be More Glamorous, serves as a virtual place for women to come visit and be inspired.

Tallahassee 8  tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019

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




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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L “ ove recognizes no barriers.

It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls, to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou


ove is the answer. Love has the power to heal, inspire, elevate, and transform the world or even touch the hardest heart. Demonstrating love in one’s life has the power to build bridges, mend relationships, serve all of humanity and connect the community. In this issue’s theme of “celebrating women who stand out and stand up for their community and each other,” we look at the heart of a woman. We share our stories to let others know that they are not alone on this journey of life. Women supporting and empowering each other make us all “stand up and stand out.” This is the year of WE—Women Empowered. In the month of February, we are inspired by love, community and history. We celebrate Valentine’s Day with our family and loved ones, including spouses, girlfriends, partners and those closest to our hearts. February is also a special time to appreciate and recognize Black History Month and the courageous contributions of strong Black and African-American women who demonstrated and continue to demonstrate strength, courage, and heart. Further, we celebrate National School Counseling Week, recognized by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), for the phenomenal school counselors that care about our children and help them navigate their way through school’s academic, career and personal/social challenges. Women’s History Month is celebrated in March, honoring outstanding empowered women who have exemplified love and passion by their contributions to society in every discipline reaching all walks of

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life, transforming our world. What a great time to be a woman. Women are making history in so many ways, in all disciplines to include business, medicine, entertainment, law, politics, art, media, science, technology, mathematics, non-profit organizations and education. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to CHANGE THE WORLD.” – Mandela In our TWM cover story, Tallahassee’s beloved Anna Johnson shares her story of empowerment and love. I was honored to meet Anna last year and visit with her at lunch, introduced by our mutual friend, Virginia Glass. What a lovely time the three of us had that December afternoon connecting, talking and laughing together. I knew I had met a very special person and could see that she had a heart of gold. I know her story will inspire you to rise above and beyond and never give up on hope. I am honored to call her my friend. I encourage you to take time out of your busy schedule to reach out and have coffee or lunch with a girlfriend and share with them the gift of time and love. Until next time,

Dr. Michelle Mitcham WE—Women Empowered, Empower Women

The strength of a team with a single focus – you. In today’s busy world, your financial needs can be complex and ever-changing. It takes more than an individual to meet those needs. It takes a team. At Synovus, we have a team of professionals with the expertise and resources you need. We work together with a single focus – helping you reach toward your financial goals. 1-888-SYNOVUS | Pictured: Anna Johnson – Synovus Advisory Board Member, Tallahassee Patricia Griffin – Retail Market Manager

Synovus Bank, Member FDIC.

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s t yle • k nowle d ge • b o ok s



Everything’s Coming Up

By Jennifer Santana


ith Valentine’s Day coming up, it seems that roses are popping up just about everywhere you go. But despite their popularity as a way to express love and devotion during the month of February, flower arrangements are not the only thing taking inspiration from the classic flower. From the recent popularity of rose gold accessories, rose-toned eye shadows and blushes and even delicately rose-scented perfumes, it seems that the rose has been 12  tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019

inspiring artists everywhere with its delicate beauty. Not just a way to express love and passion, the rose is also considered to be a symbol of promise, hope and new beginnings —a perfect accessory or piece of décor for ringing in the New Year. So whether it’s buying a bottle of rosé wine, a rose-shaped handbag or a fresh bouquet for your dining room table, there are dozens of ways to incorporate the timeless beauty of the rose into your daily routine.

style ||


Galentine’s Day: Ladies Celebrating Ladies By Jennifer Santana


s the excitement of New Year’s resolutions and the holidays begins to wind down, it seems that every storefront is decked out with roses, hearts and enormous stuffed animals in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Although most people automatically think of February as a time to celebrate romantic love—or as a time to get discounted chocolates after the Valentine’s Day festivities are over—there is another tradition on February 13 with the simple goal of celebrating friendship: Galentine’s Day. What started as a fictional celebration on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation— used within the show by the female characters as a day to leave their romantic partners behind for a while and uplift each other instead—has quickly become an unofficial holiday and a beloved tradition celebrated among groups of women everywhere. Instead of allowing Valentine’s Day to solely symbolize the celebration of romantic relationships, Galentine’s Day offers women a day to come together and celebrate their love and admiration for each other. With the message of inspiring all of the ladies in our lives and ensuring that women no longer feel the pressure to be in a romantic relationship during February, groups of female friends can come together to show their love for each other, celebrating the cherished bonds of sisterhood.

Single or not, women of all ages can gather their girlfriends and celebrate female friendship on February 13. Whether it’s planning a casual lunch date with the girls, settling in for a movie night at home with face masks and nail polish, or going all out and planning an extravagant evening out, there is no

wrong way to celebrate the women in your life. So instead of spending February stressing out about the expectations of Valentine’s Day or fretting about your relationship status, take the time to gather all of the ladies that you love and remind them how much they mean to you.

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TRENDS || knowledge


he average human heart beats around 115,200 times per day, which adds up to billions of heartbeats in a lifetime. Because our heart works so hard to support the rest of our body, keeping it healthy and strong is incredibly important. Unfortunately, various studies have shown that heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the world. Various factors, such as an unhealthy diet, smoking, a lack of exercise or even things that are out of our control, like bad genes, can all contribute to heart disease. However, with today’s advancing technology, it’s becoming easier to keep track of our heart health and diagnose heart conditions early on. With these

advancements in technology, companies have developed different apps, programs and devices that allow us to monitor our diets and exercise in order to ensure that we are taking optimal care of our bodies. Inventions such as the Fitbit, the Apple watch and health apps that come predownloaded on our smartphones make tracking our health easier than ever before. Recent breakthroughs in technology have also led us to discover unconventional methods of painlessly and efficiently determining the state of our heart’s health. Most recently, scientists have found that they can detect if someone is at risk for

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cardiovascular disease by looking at the backs of their eyes. Through the use of retinal imaging techniques, scientists are able to observe the blood vessels behind the eyes of a patient and use the data to predict that individual’s cardiovascular health—with over 70 percent accuracy. If this method is perfected, it could provide yet another way of checking our heart health and allow us to diagnose heart disease early on. These new innovations in technology have made monitoring our heart’s health easy and straight-forward, allowing us to live a healthier lifestyle.

BOOK NOOK Books Written By Women, For Women By Jennifer Santana

Bossypants by Tina Fey In her humorous memoir, Tina Fey chronicles her journey from a smart-mouthed, awkward girl to a thriving actress. Diving into the misadventures of her youth and her life in the entertainment industry, Fey works to unpack the impossible double standards held against women in the twenty-first century, arguing that you haven’t really made it until someone calls you bossy. Becoming by Michelle Obama A powerful and inspiring memoir from the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama recounts the experiences of her life that have helped to shape her into the woman she is today. From tales of her childhood in the South Side of Chicago to her years attempting to find a balance between work and motherhood, Obama offers an honest look into the pressures of being a working woman. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi Spanning multiple generations of one family, Homegoing tells the story of two African half-sisters that meet very different fates: one

marries a British governor and stays in Africa, while the other is sold into American slavery. Although the sisters never meet, the novel follows their stories and those of their descendants— contextualizing their stories over hundreds of years of history. Yes Please by Amy Poehler Delivered with a touch of humor and heart, Amy Poehler’s debut novel recounts her personal trials and triumphs throughout her life, sharing all of the things she’s learned along the way. From dealing with divorce to chasing her dreams, Poehler proves that everything in life changes when you embrace new opportunities with open arms and greet them with a “yes please!” The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion In the year following her husband’s passing, Joan Didion delves into her newfound widowhood, working through her grief while still tending to the severe illness that plagues her daughter. Reliving her husband’s sudden death in an attempt to make sense of the experience, Didion explores her identity as she tries to work through her grief and start anew.

fab’rik is a women’s fashion retailer offering on-trend style through effortless pieces and accessible prices. We pride ourselves on a unique, personalized shopping experience, and love curating great looks for our local Tallahassee women.

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tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 15 


LOCAL WE Elevate Why Walk When You Can Fly


Empowering Others to SOAR! by Michelle R. Nickens

“Once you have tasted the taste of sky, you will forever look up.” —Leonardo Da Vinci


ina Giacomo was the only female in her college skydiving club and has literally soared through life. With her heart as her guide, she has used her keen listening skills, objectivity and genuine love of people to change the lives of everyone she touches. “People say that I walk around with rose colored glasses on because I always see the best in everyone.” A quality that has made Gina a great mentor, friend, and confidant. "I support everyone,” she said, “men, women, and children—it takes all of us.” The passion for helping others started when Gina was in high school. She marched in Washington DC for the ERA, had the opportunity to meet suffragettes and volunteered at a local domestic violence shelter. Her mother and grandmother instilled in her to be fiercely independent, have courage, be passionate and confident. “It was the norm, not the exception,” Gina said. Currently, Gina is the Director of Administration at the Commission on Offender Review and is the chair of the Tallahassee/Leon County Commission for the Status of Women and Girls. She has volunteered and served in leadership roles at Zonta Club of Tallahassee, the Big Bend Coalition for the Homeless’ Hope Community, PACE Center for Girls, Refuge House, Oasis Center for Women & Girls and many others. “Generations of women have made it easier,” Gina explained, “and have passed the torch to me. It is my job to do the same. What that person does with the torch is up to them. I support a person’s goal. I don’t tell them what to do. What we want for people isn’t necessarily what they need. I provide thoughts on the good things and the challenges. People must choose to change their lives. You can’t change it for them. I was blessed early in my career to see that people can change, and I’ve carried that with me.”

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Gina shared a story of one woman she worked with who had three children, no high school education and needed help. Gina offered recommendations on jobs, supported her and listened. Years later, Gina learned that two of the woman’s children graduated college, one was in college and she had moved into management. “People say if you throw one starfish in the ocean, it doesn’t matter. It does! Empowerment isn’t about giving a pep talk. It is about listening and respecting someone’s journey.” Gina has gone the extra mile to support others, often not realizing it would lead to someone making a positive change in their life. “Most of the time,” she explained, “you don’t know you’re empowering someone.” In college, Gina waited tables. Another waitress always asked her why she studied all the time. “She said I should just be happy and content but I wanted more. We talked about this all the time.” Years later, the waitress called, asking permission to use Gina in an inspirational book she was writing. “I asked why she was writing about me. She said—I went to school, got a degree and now I’m an inspirational speaker. You are the one who told me I was smart and should go to college and how you jumped out of airplanes with no fear. I started thinking, I should be more fearless.” Gina was shocked. Words and actions are powerful and have a longlasting impact. “You also don’t know that when you support others, you will be the one that walks away with the prize. You get this huge thing in your life that you didn’t know was going to happen.” Gina was a member of a local tap group and one of her fellow dancers wanted to audition for a musical. “My friend didn’t want to go alone. I

went with her, to support her. I got cast. It was an experience of a lifetime. It put me in a new fishbowl full of new fish. I saw firsthand the hard work of producing a show. I engaged with people that had different views and values. I got so much out of something I did to support someone else. If I would have known what it would have been like, it would have been on my bucket list.” Jumping out of airplanes takes courage, strength and confidence, all the qualities that Gina exemplifies. She is thoughtful, positive, engaging and grounded. “I take a deep breath, focus on the moment and keep things in perspective. It is important to collaborate, be inclusive and choose a win-win result. We empower by listening, being kind, respectful and compassionate. Accept that it’s okay to be vulnerable. Know that you can make a difference.” Be fearless. Fly instead of walk. Smile at a stranger. Reach out your hand. Listen. Change a life.

The woman that shops at Walter Green Boutique likes to dress up occasionally. loves trying new colors and styles, and if she’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans it’s probably accompanied with some interesting jewelry or a colorful bag. The woman that shops at Walter Green Boutique likes to dress up occasionally. loves trying new colors and styles, and if she’s wearing a t-shirt and

gifts jewelry a colorful bag. The woman that clothing shops at Walter Green Boutique swimwear jeans it’s probably accompanied

with some interesting jewelry or

likes to dress up occasionally. loves trying new colors and styles, and

1817wearing Thomasville Road if she’s a t-shirt and jeans (In the Whole Foods Shopping Center)

it’s probably accompanied with


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

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Nominate An Amazing Woman In Business Tallahassee Woman is accepting nominations for the WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS awards through March 15, 2019

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

• • • • • •

Entrepreneur Award Innovator Award Legacy Award Rockstar Award Service Award Torchbearer Award

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Who would you like to see recognized for her achievements? NOMINATION FORMS AND AWARD CRITERIA can be accessed and completed by going to or by calling (850) 893-9624 or e-mail to request a form to be e-mailed to you.

ALL ACCEPTED NOMINEES will be shared in a feature section of Tallahassee Woman. Nominees and guests will be honored at a luncheon and awards program in April, when the winners will be announced. Winners will be recognized in a special feature in the June/July 2019 issue of Tallahassee Woman.


11:30 AM – FSU Alumni Center Sponsorship and ticket information located at For further information or questions call (850) 893-9624 or e-mail


tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 19 


LOCAL AROUNDTOWN The Junior League's Sunshine State Ball The Junior League of Tallahassee hosted its inaugural Sunshine State Ball on January 11, celebrating everything that makes Florida the best place to live, work and raise a family, along with the volunteer work that strengthens communities. Hundreds attended, with Mayor John Dailey welcoming guests to Tallahassee. All proceeds will support the Junior League’s mission of improving the lives of children and families.


2. 3.


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Bridges Insurance Agency

“Helping clients make smarter insurance decisions” Richard K. Bridges

Bridges Insurance Agency | Farmers Insurance 2811 Capital Circle NE Suite 1 | Tallahassee, FL 32308-3723 850-354-8900 (Office) | 850-354-8142 (Fax) | 850-556-9988 (Cell)

2030-1 Thomasville Road 850.514.3148




1. Marsha Doll Faulkenberry and Jane Awkard Marks take a break from their Live in Tallahassee interviews. 2. Country Music artist Rodney Atkins gets the crowd up on their feet. 3. Lex Phillips, President of the Junior League of Tallahassee, welcomes guests to the Sunshine State Ball. 4. Sylvia Smith and Mary Dekle of Junior League partner organizations HOPE Community/Big Bend Homeless Coalition and Second Harvest of the Big Bend respectively. 5. Ball Co-Chairs Samantha Ferrin and Erin Choy celebrate at the close of the Sunshine State Ball. 6. Sunshine State Ball Committee member Mackenzie Crane and Junior League of Tallahassee VP of Development Samantha Sexton smile in front of the JLT “step and repeat.” 7. Citrus and rustic details adorn the Ball’s decor.


2030-1 Thomasville Road 850-514-3148

tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 21 

LIVING LOCAL || around town TWM Cover Woman Party

Friends and supporters came together for the magazine cover party of TWM's October/November 2018 cover woman Quia Morris. The event celebrated her life and her accomplishments and was held at QZ Design Gallery.



3. 1. Heather Thomas, Quia Z. Morris, Dr. Michelle Mitcham, Terrance Barber 2. Quia Z Morris and Shacafrica Simmons, a.k.a., Chef Shac 3. Natalia Burey, Quia Z. Morris, Lindsay Thompson, Annie Trieu, Amanda Heslekrants 4. Heather Thomas, Kira Derryberry, Michelle Hart, Quia Z. Morris, Jennifer Stinson, Erica Goff, Dr. Michelle Mitcham


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Over 28 years design experience

References available

Nicki Bowden, Allied Member ASID


Research • Conservation • Education

Tall Timbers’ mission is to foster exemplary land stewardship through research, conservation and education 13093 Henry Beadel Drive | Tallahassee, FL 32312 (850) 893-4153 | tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 23 

LIVING haute LOCAL happenings 2nd Annual World Culture Festival

February 9, 2019 | Good Samaritan United Methodist Church Come together with the community through food, art, performance, music and stories at this educational celebration of culture and relationship. This event will be fun for the entire family as everyone gathers to celebrate the diversity of our local area and discover our similarities. Go to for an up-to-date list of this year’s performers, vendors, food trucks and more.

Groove Merchants

28th Annual North Florida Home Show

Since the mid ’90s, this Tallahassee cover band has been playing the party scene. The Groove Merchants will make any show a night to remember as they perform songs from genres such as rock, hip-hop, country, and more. You won’t want to miss out on this fun, high-energy performance! More information can be found at

If you love interior design, landscaping and everything home architecture, then the annual North Florida Home Show is the perfect place for you. Get inspired by perusing the various home displays—including everything from remodeling, flooring and tiles to home furnishings, appliances and additions. For more information regarding times, visit

Cashore Marionettes

Director’s Tour: African-American History

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind evening for both adults and young adults by attending the Cashore Marionettes show. Characters of depth, integrity and humanity perform a series of scenes from everyday life as beautiful music by composers such as Beethoven, Vivaldi and Strauss play in the background. Internationally acclaimed Joseph Cashore presents his collection of marionette masterworks with grace and refined movement in order to give the show of a lifetime. For more information on admission prices and show times, visit

Led by the executive director, this program series at the Grove Museum consists of in-depth guided tours of the museum and conversation about topics in American history and historic preservation. To mark the beginning of Black History month, the program focuses on African-American history from Florida’s colonial period to the modern era. To learn more about tour times, visit

February 1, 2019 | Fifth and Thomas

February 1–2, 2019 | Fred Turner Auditorium

Power Forward With Kevin O’Leary February 6, 2019 | Ruby Diamond Concert Hall

Celebrate entrepreneurial spirit with the sixth year of the Power Forward Speaker Series. The praised investor and entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary will visit to share insights and tips for achieving a successful business. This event will be an excellent learning opportunity as this billion-dollar business owner talks about what it takes to be successful in both business and life. For more details, visit 24  tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019

February 8–10, 2019 | Donald L. Tucker Civic Center

February 9, 2019 | The Grove Museum

Hairspray: The Broadway Musical February 15–24, 2019 | The Fallon Theatre

It’s the ’60s and Tracy Turnblad is a loveable, plus-sized teen who has always dreamt of dancing on “The Corny Collins Show.” When Corny Collins notices her bold dance moves, she transforms from a nobody to a celebrity overnight. Along with her new friends, Tracy begins to break the mold, challenging society’s beauty ideals and the stereotypes and stigmas of race as she works to unify the show, the city of Baltimore and even the world. This charming, musical comedy is one you won’t want to miss. For more details regarding show times and admission, call (850) 644-6500 or go to

2019 Sisterhood of the Costume Closet

February 23, 2019 | Oldfield’s Plantation The beautifully intricate costumes that we see on the dancers of the Tallahassee Ballet are all custom-made by resident costume designer Ann Todd. This annual girls’ night out raises money for the costume fund used to create each one of those unique, beautifully detailed pieces. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., enjoy a night of cocktails, live music, a delicious dinner and of course—dancing! For more details, visit

2019 Father-Daughter Dance February 23, 2019 FAMU Grand Ballroom

Located in the Grand Ballroom of Florida’s A&M University, African-inspired attire and accessories are encouraged, but not required to attend. For more information and ticket information, call (850) 583-6418.

Monthly Skies Over Tallahassee

March 2, 2019 Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee The Tallahassee Astronomical Society presents a live show that reviews the monthly skies over Tallahassee. This event will be fascinating and fun for all ages, as it offers a look at prominent constellations, stars and planet positions. For more information, call (850) 645-7797 or go to

The Chi Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s annual Father Daughter Dance is happening on February 23 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


TALLAHASSEE’S FIRST CHOICE IN SENIOR LIVING Enjoy active senior living with a variety of affordable apartments and single-family homes, plus the security of additional support like assisted living and nursing care, all on one campus.

For more information call (850) 878-1136. 4449 Meandering Way Tallahassee, FL

Join Us For Our Spring Productions

By Anne Washburn Score by Michael Friedman Lyrics by Anne Washburn “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

April 5 14 Lab Theatre • 850.644.6500

Book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan | Music by Marc Shaiman Lyrics by Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters “HAIRSPRAY” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 423 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019 Tel.: (212) 541-4684 Fax: (212) 397-4684 • 850.644.6500 tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 25 

LIVING LOCAL || haute happenings Tallahassee Jewish Food & Cultural Festival March 3, 2019 | Temple Israel




From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy all your favorite Jewish foods, terrific music and more at the 10th Annual Jewish Food & Cultural Festival. The entire community is welcome to come take pleasure in the various activities this festival offers, such as the outside stage that includes Israeli dance and contemporary and traditional Jewish music. There’s even a special area full of fun activities for kids. For more details, call (850) 877-3517 or visit

Red Hills International Horse Trials

March 7–10, 2019 | Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park


Watch equestrian tri athletes master the elegance and precision of dressage, crosscountry and show jumping as the best competitors from around the world are brought together to showcase their skills. Gather your friends and family and spend the day visiting the shopping village, the children’s activity area and the delicious food court featuring local vendors. Call (850) 580-4020 or go to for more information.


A Women’s Pregnancy Center Walk for Life

CALL 850 - 201 - 3005

A Women’s Pregnancy Center’s 24th Annual WALK for LIFE will be Saturday, March 9 at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Free and



March 9, 2019 Tallahassee Automobile Museum

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confidential pregnancy services are vital to women and their partners who are facing the possibility of unplanned pregnancy. In addition, they offer free sexual health education and low-cost STD testing. For more information, call A Women’s Pregnancy Center at (850) 297-1174 or e-mail

Springtime Tallahassee

March 29–30, 2019 | 209 East Park Avenue Celebrate the arrival of spring at one of the largest and most celebrated festivals in the Southeast. This two-day event kicks off with a music festival featuring national entertainment acts, a grand parade with over 100 entries and the famous Jubilee in the Park, which includes handcrafted items, a children’s park and local entertainment stages. Visit to learn more about this can’t-miss event.



Join The Oasis Center for Women & Girls in honoring women of international heritage for their trailblazing contributions to Tallahassee-Leon County at the

WOMEN'S HISTORY LUNCHEON featuring the Trailblazer Awards International Women's Day

FRIDAY, MARCH 8TH 11:30AM - 1:00PM LIVELY CAFE St. John's Episcopal Church at Calhoun and Call Streets



Rising Above and Beyond

ANNA JOHNSON-RIEDEL By Heather Thomas | Photography by Kira Derryberry

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Anna Johnson-Riedel—former WCTV television host and an advocate for foster children and the overall wellbeing of the Tallahassee community—has risen to a historic stature in the field of media and communication, but most importantly as a humanitarian. Her influence on countless individuals has uplifted and inspired, and she continues to be a force of positivity as her story and life experiences illustrate to others how to rise above and beyond what is possible.

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“Every child deserves a loving family and helping to make that happen is what makes my heart sing. That’s the only applause I could ever want.”

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ON THE COVER “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” —Vivian Greene


t was 1966, and a 27 year-old Anna Johnson-Riedel walked into the Thomasville, Georgia, WCTV office to inquire about the advertised receptionist job. With four children under the age of 6, Anna’s husband had abandoned the family with no way to contact him, and desperation was closing in. With her twinkling eyes, engaging smile and the personable nature she is known for, Anna charmed the station employees, and two days later she was offered the position. “Looking back, the one thing I had going for me was that I didn’t know how bad I had it or how bad it could have been if I wasn’t able to get a job. Ignorance was bliss!” Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, with supportive parents and a younger sister, Anna had planned on going to college after graduating from high school, but she left that dream behind when she got married, had four children and then moved to Thomasville for her husband’s job. Nothing had prepared her for single motherhood. “I didn’t want to rely on my parents for help. I knew that if I was going to succeed in providing for my children, I would have to do it myself.” This determination, grit and resiliency would be the backbone of a 35-year media career, proving that she had a lot more going for her than she realized when she first began her extraordinary journey. Her early years at WCTV proved to be part life-school and part professional school. One of the lessons she learned was to appreciate the priceless value of quality child care. Anna was fortunate to find a woman named Callie, whom she employed to help take care of her children while she was at work. “Like any working mother (although at that time there were so few of us), I felt guilty about not being able to be there for my children. Callie was incredible! She was such a gift, and she was with our family for over 20 years.”

Anna Johnson-Riedel with Jerry Lewis and Gene Deckerhoff at the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy Another lesson she took to heart was to treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Because the station was right next to a hotel, she would frequently intercept visitors who confused the entrances. On one fateful day, a gentleman entered who didn’t seem like he belonged at the station—he wore mud-splattered jeans and boots and had a disheveled look. Anna says, “He walked right past me, and I said, ‘Whoa there, fella!’ He stopped and looked at me and asked, ‘You don’t know who I am?’ I answered, ‘No, but you can tell me on the way out.’ It ended up being Mr. John Phipps, the owner of WCTV and a large, beautiful plantation in North Florida. I had not met him before, so I had no idea who he was. I apologized, and even though he was very gracious about it, I agonized for days later that I would lose my job. I didn’t, but from that day forward, I treated everyone who walked through that door like they were Mr. Phipps.”

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Because she couldn’t attend college while supporting four children, Anna asked everyone at the station to teach her about their jobs. She learned how to write and run commercials, direct shows, operate the cameras, sell advertising and numerous other roles. Everything was live, even the commercials, since the local affiliate technology was not at the point to record a show or commercial and then broadcast it later. After less than two years working at the station, she was asked by the host of Midday Report to deliver the weather report for the live television show. “I was petrified to be on camera! However, I was more afraid that I’d lose my job if I didn’t do it, so self-preservation won out. I just looked down at the piece of paper and read aloud the weather report without looking up. It was awful.” The station must not have agreed since they kept asking her

to fill in. Little by little, she gained more confidence in herself, and her television communication abilities improved. Like stepping stones, all of her experiences led her to the day when she would fill in for the Good Morning Show host, who was going on vacation. On the agenda was an interview with the Governor of Georgia at the time, Jimmy Carter, who would later become the 39th President of the United States. Anna remembers saying to him before the interview, “Mr. Carter, I’m brand-new at this. I hope it turns out all right.” After the interview was over, Mr. Carter told her, “It was great. Everything turned out really well.” Everything did seem to be turning out well—she was able to get a divorce from her absent husband, and after hosting the noon day show at the Thomasville location with growing skill, she took over for the WCTV morning show host position in Tallahassee. She later permanently moved here, while also getting married to Dick Johnson. She was finding professional success with her morning show and was rising in the media and public limelight, becoming locally and regionally well-known. Before the Digital Age, television ruled, and the men and women who were in the camera’s eye were a part of its royal court. It’s hard to adequately describe an era to those who have only lived in a world where news and live video storytelling are as accessible and consumable as a finger swipe and just as easily deleted before moving on to the next online headline. Quite by accident when it comes to the time period, Anna became a star in her field, but it was her tenacity for excellence and dogged resiliency that kept her there. For women in particular, it was a male-dominated environment that came with its own prejudices and inequality, not to mention the demanding schedule and long hours. During the decades of the 1960s to the1990s, before the rise of the Internet, people counted on television station

“I’ve interviewed people from all walks of life, but I’m most proud of the interviews of those individuals who were changing the lives of those in our community..." anchors and show hosts to not only report the news but to provide the reassurance, peace and positivity that everyone longed for. They were larger than life, and people were star-struck by just being in their presence. However, it was a mantle that could often be a heavy one to bear when personal challenges were happening behind the royal curtain. After seven years of marriage, her second husband passed away from a heart attack, leaving Anna a widow. “The kids were all teens at the time, and it made for a stressful household. I think at that point I realized I had gone through so much.” Meanwhile, Anna had to put on the brave face of normalcy and joviality when her personal life was anything but. “That’s just what you do in the television world. You can’t let anything show because your viewers and television station managers—everyone, really—are counting on you. I wasn’t going to let anyone down. You just have to put a smile on your face and deliver.” Even though her life in many ways got harder, her perspective on life had evolved and became more focused—she wanted to use her media position and experiences to benefit others and help them rise above their circumstances or state of mind. She interviewed countless Hollywood actors, musicians, politicians and other national and internationally renowned men and women over her 30-plus-year career—Jerry Lewis, Ted Turner, Tom Selleck, Tammy Wynette, Burt Reynolds, Billy Dean, BB King, Bob Dole, Dan Quayle, Governor Lawton Chiles, Governor Jeb Bush, Colin Powell, Bobby Bowden, Charlie Ward and even Mickey Mouse. Her

interviews highlighted the life lessons that each person could convey to viewers and thereby inspire personal reflection and change. Even with all the interactions with those in famous circles and possessing her share of local and regional fame, her life story arc clearly took that turn towards making a difference in the lives of others. “I’ve interviewed people from all walks of life, but I’m most proud of the interviews of those individuals who were changing the lives of those in our community. I knew how much those interviews helped their organizations— to me, that’s what it’s all about.” Over the years, she became more personally involved in numerous nonprofit and community organizations—from hosting the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon to interviewing different leaders of local nonprofits in order to better help them raise awareness for their groups and causes and volunteering and hosting at nonprofit fundraising events. Among her many community roles, she was Chair of the United Way and was Grand Marshall for a number of parades in neighboring counties, as well as twice for the Springtime Tallahassee parade. One cause in particular became her banner humanitarian passion project— helping foster children in Florida find forever families. That mission advanced into a featured, televised campaign called Forever Family, in which children in the foster care system were highlighted and their stories were shared. Over the threeyear timespan of the annual campaign, 70 percent of the children highlighted were adopted. One of her proudest moments

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ON THE COVER was receiving an award from Governor Lawton Chiles and the Florida Department of Children and Families for her advocacy of foster children. For Anna, it again proved the power of television and the power of sharing your story and how it can be used as a force for good. She says, “Every child deserves a loving family, and helping to make that happen is what makes my heart sing. That’s the only applause I could ever want.” The evolving meaning of family continued to be a foundational cornerstone of her life. Just a few years after the passing of her second husband, Anna started dating Bob Reidel. She’ll never forget the day he picked her up from the station and parked in front of a house in Waverly Hills. “Bob asked me, ‘Do you like that house?’ I answered him with, ‘Yes! I love it.’ He says, ‘Well good, since I bought it. We are going to get married and raise our kids in that house and have a wonderful life together.’ He was right. We became a family and were married for 37 wonderful years.” Eventually, Anna would take her bow from the television stage and retire from WCTV in 2001. She then focused all of her efforts on communication and marketing

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“My religion and my family are the most important aspects of my life. I don’t think I could keep going without my faith and the love of family.” roles, along with community stewardship endeavors. Throughout the 2000s, she continued to face personal challenges with her specific gifts of grit and grace. She was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and is now a survivor. When Bob was diagnosed with dementia three years ago, Anna became his caregiver, but sadly, she found herself a widow again when Bob passed away two years ago. It was a tremendously hard time, but she says, “I’ve had my share of difficulties, but I really believe I’ve been so blessed. We had so many wonderful years together.” Now she is a grandmother and great-grandmother, and Anna’s family cup is overflowing. Currently, Anna is a board member of Synovus Bank, consults with two clients— Capital Health Plan and the Earl Bacon Agency—and is a partner in a new venture

involving the Villas at Killearn Lakes. She plans on traveling and helping good causes as much as she can. She enjoys going to church and spending time with her children, grand-children and greatgrandchildren most of all. “My religion and my family are the most important aspects of my life. I don’t think I could keep going without my faith and the love of family.” Even with a storied career such as Anna’s, she hasn’t taken the time one would think to gaze upon her many historical accomplishments, particularly for a woman who lived during the times that were some of the toughest on American women. When Anna does look back at her life, she believes that the moral of the story is this: “What I thought were the worst days of my life—divorced with four children and being on my own—ended

up being the best thing to happen to me. My life really started to soar after that.” Rising above and soaring through the changing winds of an incredible journey, Anna has also helped to uplift countless others and shown how to go forward and make dreams take flight. “After each time I made mistakes, suffered a loss, or when times were tough, I found the strength to brave a new day and maybe be able to help someone else. I’ve never been happier in my life, and I believe that this comes from going through challenges. If I can start my day laughing and, despite what happens that day, end it laughing, well then that is a good thing—just like one of my favorite quotes, I’ve learned to enjoy the dance in the rain.”

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5 Ways to


Your Female Colleagues By Meredith Hunter


he challenges women face in the workforce are decidedly different from those faced by their male counterparts… even in the most healthy, supportive work environments. And who better to relate to such challenges than other women. As women, we have tremendous potential to transform our communities, families and businesses. However, we can’t do it alone: we need our tribe.


As a popular social media share wisely proclaims, “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” With the truth of that statement ringing in our ears, how do we best support each other? Consider the following five tips to elevate and empower our female colleagues in this pivotal age of heightened interest in gender equality—one of Google’s top searches over the past year.

We have many women trailblazers for which to be thankful. There is an abundance of wisdom to be shared and much to be learned. Be open to the role of mentoring or seeking a mentor. For a successful mentoring relationship, many of which last long beyond the mentoring period, a mentor should generously share knowledge, experiences and encouragement, while a mentee should be open, dedicated and respectful.

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It’s said that we are our own worst enemies. This is particularly true of women. Strive to keep your feedback and interactions honest yet positive. When providing constructive criticism, make the objective to lift up and improve, not tear down and destroy.


When women support each other, magical things happen.

“I have been fortunate to work with some amazing women in my career, and most supported and encouraged me. Unfortunately, there were a few women that did not. It happened when I continued to climb the ladder of success. It baffled me because celebrating other women’s success never took away from my own. These experiences molded me into the professional I am today. I made it my mission to be a mentor to as many women as I can to help encourage them as they navigate their career path. This is the reason I am so passionate about building a network of strong, supportive women,” shared Cindy Sullivan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Coton Colors.


It’s extremely encouraging to know someone is rooting for you. Be generous with your compliments, publicly promote, and commend the successes and accomplishments of other women. Take time to applaud each other. When you lift up, compliment and encourage others—it positively affects them and reflects well on you.


Since a large portion of our time is spent at work, it makes for a more pleasant, satisfying work experience to have positive relationships with your coworkers. Learn a bit about them, offer encouragement during times of trouble and congratulate them on personal and professional successes. Of course, the priority is to get the job done well, yet there’s no reason that can’t happen while knowing and appreciating those around us. “Loving and raising my two incredible girls is, undeniably, the most rewarding role of my life. Part of being a good role model has been teaching my daughters that in addition to the gift of motherhood, they will reap incredible rewards as valuable employees, creative thinkers and doers, kickass bosses, volunteers and mentors—all while lifting up the women beside them,” explained Elizabeth E. Hirst, Interim Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Florida State University. “Women are better when

together—they safeguard their livelihoods and satisfy their souls.”


As you move forward in your career, be mindful of creating opportunities by opening doors for other women. You can also hold doors open by being an exemplary role model, working hard and exceeding expectations. As former First Lady Michelle Obama reflected, “When you’ve worked hard and done well and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” In the not-so-distant past, women felt fiercely competitive with each other in the workplace due in large part to the fact that opportunities for women were limited. Now that most businesses recognize and value women in the workforce, it’s up to women to continue to work hard and embrace their responsibility to mentor, support and lead the next generation of female professionals.

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How to Avoid Bank Fees By Stephanie Jimenez


ts easy to find yourself being charged for things that you didn’t even realize you would be charged for when it comes to banks. These charges are easily missed but easy to get around. Here are some common bank fees to be aware of and tips for avoiding them.

Maintenance Fees

Most banks require a maintenance, or service, fee on checking or savings accounts. This fee is about $10 to $12 per month. Some banks will waive the fee if you have the minimum amount of money in your account or if you make a certain amount of continuous deposits. Others offer a regulated amount of transactions from the account each month. Every bank is different, so it is best to check with your bank to be better informed about its specific fees and waivers.

ATM Fees

Sometimes you need quick cash and you go to the nearest ATM to withdraw money even if it isn’t your bank’s ATM. This requires you to pay a fee—not only to your bank but also to the ATM operator—which totals to approximately $4.75. This can be avoided by simply limiting yourself to withdrawing cash only from your own bank’s ATM. You may want to select a bank that has ATMs that are easily accessible to you and convenient to find. There are also apps to find banks with ATMs that won’t charge you a fee. Additionally, most retail stores offer cash back on debit card transactions, eliminating the need to find an ATM at all.

Overdraft Fees

You may be charged an overdraft fee of about $35 if you spend 36  tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019

or withdraw more than is available in your checking account. Also, if you don’t correct the negative balance in your account in a certain amount of time, you could be charged an additional extended overdraft fee. The only way to avoid this is by watching your balance and making sure to not overspend. There are e-mail or text alerts that you can sign up for that alert you when your account goes below a certain balance. Or you could have your bank decline the card altogether once it has dropped below the minimum amount.

Alternative Options

Online banks or credit unions are recommended if you don’t want to worry about fees. Online banks generally don’t have high costs and offer free checking accounts, no maintenance fees and higher interest rates. They also tend to be part of a network that offers ATMs that don’t charge fees and are widely accessible. Credit unions are great options for people who make continuous deposits and prefer to be part of a not-for-profit organization. They typically have lower fees and higher interest rates than banks as well. However, some memberships in credit unions may be restricted to people who live in certain areas or are employed by a qualified organization. You may be able to join if you offer a $5 to $10 donation, which ends up being a beneficial investment, considering the amount of fees that banks end up charging you in the long run.


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JoAnne Adams is a nonprofit management professional with entrepreneurial passion, drive and vision. She has more than 20 years’ experience generating revenue and increasing support bases for expanding nonprofit organizations. JoAnne became part of the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare family in 2013, as the Communications and Programs Director for Premier Health and Fitness Center and a member of the steering committee for the TMH for Life Challenge. She has recently joined the TMH Foundation team as Director of Development.

Hannah Miller has recently joined Tallahassee Woman Magazine as the new Executive Administrator. She has supported various management teams and has a strong business background founded in valuecreation and entrepreneurship. She will be graduating from Florida State University this May with a degree in commercial entrepreneurship and as a part of the first graduating class of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship.

Donna Conyers is the founder of OfficeWise Consulting, specializing in customer service training assisting organizations with branding, strategic planning, social media management and business process development. Donna’s “servant leadership” style enables her to connect, teach and train organizations how to increase employee productivity, improve skill sets, empowering them to address tasks independently, uncovering their potential.

Jennifer Santana is a recent graduate of Florida State University, where she majored in editing, writing, and media and minored in Spanish. She is an emerging writer in the Tallahassee area and is passionate about fine arts and the publishing industry, joining Tallahassee Woman Magazine as the new Assistant Editor. Jennifer previously worked as a reporting intern for the Gadsden County Times during her undergraduate studies and is excited to be joining the TWM team as a part of the editorial staff.

Amber Hall, Esquire graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Tech University, receiving her bachelor’s in business management. Amber earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida WLevin College of Law. After graduating from law school, Amber had the opportunity to work in a nationally recognized law firm that specialized in wrongful death and personal injury. Very passionate about her work, Amber successfully resolved numerous cases, resulting in large recoveries for clients. Dr. Paige W. Johnson received a Doctor of Education degree in adult education and human resource development from Florida International University in December 2018.

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Shannon Sherrell is a hairstylist who has been styling hair in the Tallahassee area since 2009 and now owns her own businesses—SSBeauty Bar and SSBeauty Spa. While she was a student at FSU, she founded her nonprofit organization called LADIES that mentors high school girls within Tallahassee and Gainesville through the FSU and UF chapters. Shannon graduated from Florida State and whatever she does in life, she uplifts other women to be brave and pursue their dreams.

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


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Lady in Red By Jennifer Santana Photos by Kira Derryberry


aring, bold and confident, Women Empowered rock red year round. Whether it’s



maroon attire, a striking

crimson handbag or just a pop of cherry red on the lips, you’ll be sure to stand out in any shade of red, giving you the confidence to stand tall and walk into any room with poise. Regardless of the season, there’s a red ensemble for every occasion and every woman’s individual taste. You can dare yourself to go bolder and wilder with your style or opt for a more subtle, timeless look. Whether you choose to go deep and sultry or bright and playful—red makes a statement.

Model: Briana Smith Makeup: Mikaya Warren Gown: Narcissus Earrings: Robert’s Jewelry

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Dress: Narcissus Scarf: Divine Consign Purse and earrings: Narcissus Ring: Robert’s Jewelry

tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 41 

STYLE fashion


“There is a shade of for every woman.” —Audrey Hepburn

Jumpsuit and earrings: Narcissus Ring: Robert’s Jewelry

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Rooted Together

Health and Aesthetic Benefits of Reconnecting With Nature By Jennifer Santana


s we continue to move forward as a society and make strides in developing new technology, it seems that the world has become more connected than ever before. With so much information available at our fingertips—as any question that pops into our mind can be resolved shortly with a quick Google search—sometimes it can be easy to forget to unplug every once in a while and connect with the physical world around us too. Getting outside and reconnecting with nature is a great way to cleanse and recharge, but finding time in our busy schedules to get outside isn’t always easy. From the bustle of working and commuting, not to mention all of the distractions of the modern day, enjoying time outside isn’t always as easy as it seems. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to bring the great outdoors to you.

tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 45 

STYLE home

Houseplants offer a great way to reconnect with nature inside your own home—and you don’t have to have a green thumb to bring some foliage to your décor. From an array of small, trendy succulents to larger, leafier houseplants, there are lots of options to consider when you’re thinking of bringing some greenery inside. Plants such as aloe and air plants are easy to manage and forgiving, on the off chance that you might forget to water them. Aesthetically, bringing bits of the great outdoors into your home or workplace can improve the overall atmosphere of the room they’re in, adding to the décor that you already have and offering an accent to your house. In fact, bringing some greenery into your home can do more than just improve the aesthetics of your home—it can also help reduce stress and improve your overall mood. Plants are even said to be healing, helping to improve productivity and sharpen your focus. Having plants inside actually helps to improve the air quality of whatever room they’re in by removing harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. In addition, plants increase the humidity of the room that they are in, which can be beneficial in combating dry skin and decreasing the likelihood of respiratory diseases and common colds. Offering you a personal sanctuary in the convenience of your workspace or home, bringing some greenery into your environment not only gives you a chance to reconnect with nature on your own time, it can also provide mental and physical health benefits as well. Getting a low maintenance houseplant might seem like a frivolous purchase to some, but if you choose the right one that will suit your skills and your space, it can be just what you need to remind you to unplug and refresh. Photos courtesy of Tallahassee Nurseries 46  tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019

The choice is clear

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wellness healthy living WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH

Tips for a Heart Happy-Life By Emily Monnier

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oronary heart disease is the most common cardiac condition and the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. This disease involves plaque build-up in the coronary arteries which results in a reduction in the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Women are actually more likely than men to die after a heart attack due to factors that affect only women, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome. Though heart disease is a large threat in our country, there are actions we can take to prevent and lessen the risk of getting these deadly diseases. Here are five heart-healthy tips that are easy to work into your everyday lifestyle, allowing you to feel better both physically and mentally.


Though creating a set workout routine is ideal, we can’t always fit going to the gym into our busy work schedules. Regular exercise has been shown to boost cardiovascular health by improving factors that result in lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels, and better blood sugar regulation. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day is recommended, but even finding time during the day to take a quick 10-minute exercise break will lead you to a healthier heart.


If you haven’t heard it already, smoking is one of the largest contributing factors to heart disease. Smoking can cause damage to the cells that line your blood vessels, increase the build-up of plaque in the arteries and make your blood more likely to clot.


Sticking to a healthy diet is one the most important components of a healthy lifestyle because it allows us to feel our best on the outside and on the inside. What we eat gives our body the energy it needs to perform its functions properly, so it’s very important to consume nutrient-rich foods in order to make sure our bodies are working as efficiently as possible.


By contributing to factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stress can significantly increase the risk of heart disease. Reducing stress can seem like one of the hardest tasks to achieve—since it seems that we are constantly surrounded by stressful things, people and situations—but it is possible to do with the right tricks and stress management techniques. Everybody feels and reacts to stress in different ways, so it’s important to try to find stress-reducing activities that work for you, whether it’s taking deep breaths, stepping back from a stressful situation, meditating, going for a walk or even giving yourself some positive self-talk to lift your mood.


A lack of sleep can severely impact your health. Skipping out on sleep can lead to numerous cardiovascular risks, including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease. For adults, the recommended amount of sleep per night is 7 hours. Staying off your phone for at least 30 minutes before going to bed or winding down at the end of the day with an enjoyable book are simple things to do to ensure a good night’s sleep.

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wellness bodies in motion

Connecting Parents and Children Through Fitness By Jenny Cherry


re you looking for a new and exciting way to connect with your family? Do you struggle to find constructive ways to “play” with your kids? Does a healthy balance of screen time and fitness simplified sound like a win-win in your home? My First Workout™ offers a fun and creative solution! “Early one Sunday morning, my son and I were cuddling in bed before starting our day, and I was overwhelmed with

appreciation for the special bond we have. I attribute this connection to our many exercise adventures together, and I am so grateful that he is a healthy and happy child. My mind began to wander, thinking of other children, and I wished that every parent had something they could enjoy with their child to connect with them on a much deeper level—like exercise— which has brought so much joy to our family. My focus in creating My First Workout™ is to assist parents in building essential lifestyle habits from the earliest moments in their child’s life, which will improve the health of all our children,” said Michelle Miller—certified personal trainer, as well as the founder and CEO of My First Workout™. My First Workout™ is a complete kit that takes all of the guesswork out of getting started. Each kit is customized for specific age ranges to meet the needs of growing children. In the kit, you receive two sets of free weights, an easy-grip sand ball, an adjustable jump rope, a nonslip exercise mat and an aerobic step that doubles as a storage case for all of the equipment. In addition, you receive an instructional video and a step-by-step poster, where each exercise is demonstrated by children under the guidance of Michelle, who has over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. Children spend over 7 hours in front of a screen on an average day. Of the 55 million children who are enrolled in public school, only 30 percent are participating in daily physical education classes (Peak Fitness, Dr. Joseph Mercola). According to the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, the lack of physical activity in childhood negatively affects cognitive function and academic performance. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that regular physical activity for children with disabilities has been shown to help in controlling or slowing the progression of chronic disease, improving overall health and function and mediating the psychosocial impact of their condition on these children and their families. Additionally, mildly strenuous exercise has been shown to reduce stereotypic movements, maladaptive behaviors and fatigue in children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

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We also know that children who develop healthy lifestyle habits are likely to live healthy lives into adulthood. Children who exercise regularly perform better at school intellectually, socially and emotionally. “We all want the best for our kids. Creating good fitness habits at home is not something you have to be good at, and you may not feel like doing it—but your child’s health and wellness depends on it, so it’s essential that you start building a habit of exercise when they are young,” Michelle explains. “Improving our family's quality of life by teaching healthy exercise habits is something I am very passionate about.” Every family can benefit from a completely organized and thoughtfully created fitness kit for optimal healthy habits. My First Workout™ is a solution for parents who are looking for a way to connect with their children, and exercise is one of the best ways to do that. Through this connection, the hope is to instill a love for fitness that will last a lifetime. For more information, visit online at

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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 • februar y / march 2019 51 

wellness real life Recharge Yourself for a Better Tomorrow By Latoya Montgomery


o often we give so much of ourselves to others that we forget an age-old mantra: you can’t pour anything in someone else’s glass if yours is empty. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you dismiss a friend or loved one in their time of need. It simply means that in the midst of your own chaos, you can’t always be someone else’s peace. However, you can teach them how to cope on their own. Is it just me or does it seems that as soon as you have a moment to stop and reflect on the last hurdle you jumped, someone deems it necessary to pass you the baton to win the race of fielding their problems? You may be the person who is everything to everyone and dismisses your subscription to your own issues yet completes the interest form for someone else’s. When you receive the text message or phone call from someone in despair, it’s natural to immediately go into “fix it” mode, when you are equipped with the tools to repair it. You may be the person who feels guilty because you have found peace or somewhat of a resolution to

the things that you have been battling, yet your friend or family member is still struggling to work through theirs. Instead of trying to “handle it” for them, serve as a guide and show them what you do to work the moments you take out of your highlight reel. As crazy as your life may be within the confinements of your own home, it may appear to be seemingly perfect to those peeping through the window from the outside looking in. When this occurs, others feel that you can help them get through their struggles and even aid in correcting their imperfections. They may even make you feel guilty if you don’t! These same people have no idea that it is how you are dealing with the imperfections that make you “perfect.” There’s no magic wand. No one came to save you. You simply chose to overcome “it” instead of allowing “it” to overcome you. I am able to do this by restarting my turbo button. This is the button I press when I feel that I have given all that I

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have to give, yet I still need more. I listen to inspirational podcasts, bury myself in a book, spend money from my emergency fund to treat myself or shut out the world and focus on only the people I wake up to each day. Doing one or all of these things totally changes my perspective. This temporary shield gives me the opportunity I need to clear my mind and reflect on the things, people and situations that matter most in my life. The pep talk you give yourself to push through is the same one you have to begin giving to others. What do you do to restart your turbo button? Are you reading books, starting a hobby, volunteering, exercising, taking a hiatus from social media, spending time with family or shopping online? Whatever it is, make sure that you are making it a part of your daily routine. More importantly, make sure that you fill your own glass before pouring your drink of choice into someone else’s.

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family life Fighting the Fear Factor Couples Counseling Can Work By Dr. Michelle Mitcham, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, CFM

“Couples oftentimes seek counseling when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of making a change.”

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re you unhappy in your marriage? Is your relationship on the rocks or in need of rescue? Are the problems, concerns, or negative feelings affecting your family or quality of life? You and your partner may be amongst the many that that have considered counseling but never initiated the first consultation. Making the first step is the most difficult. If you have ever considered couples counseling but were overwhelmed by the fear factor—the stigma of therapy, then this article may be worth your while. For some, succumbing to counseling is an acknowledgment of failure. The truth is that reaching out for help is a sign of strength and commitment to the relationship. It is commendable to seek solutions and ask for assistance. We cannot be experts at everything. Why do we take our computers to the store to be fixed? Why do we hire personal trainers to coach us to success? In most aspects of our lives, we typically seek out professionals to arrive at solutions to our concerns. This same philosophy may be applied to relationships and discussing challenges. Once counseling is agreed upon, what’s next? Finding the right couples counselor, one that specializes and has experience in treating couples, is a critical component and requires research. Initially, couples may feel like they are in the twilight zone with so many therapists to research online and choose from, but once more is learned about their areas of expertise, experience, education, theoretical orientation, or techniques of counseling, it is easier to make a decision and move forward. This decision may be one of the most important factors for experiencing success in counseling. If you are facing challenges in your relationship and considering couples counseling, I highly recommend a therapist that has been trained in the Gottman method. To learn more about Dr. Gottman’s method,

consider reading his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. The principles presented for making marriage successful are outlined in the book, with examples, questionnaires, exercises and tools for success. A therapist that is trained in the Gottman method will conduct a thorough intake and relationship history, as well as utilize many tools. Oftentimes, the 480-question Relationship Checklist is administered to the couple after the first session, completed individually online and the results are presented and reviewed with the couple at a subsequent session(s) individually, with subsequent joint counseling sessions. The checklist may be very helpful at illuminating some of the relationship patterns, unspoken emotions, counterproductive relationship dynamics and communication styles. For each relationship issue identified, the therapist engages in discussions, exercises, and strategies for success. Sometimes couples are in need of making only small changes that may have a significant positive influence in the relationship dynamics.

feels like an attack. No one wants to feel that way. Counselors may help with improving communication by teaching new strategies and ways of expressing hurt or negative feelings.

The first thing I have couples share in counseling is the story of how they met. I listen for what qualities attracted them, the journey of their love and connection, as well as shared values and dreams. It is important to identify the strengths of the relationship and the areas for improvement. Many couples choose to invest their time and effort in utilizing the fresh approaches to making the marriage work. However, there are four destructive and negative feelings that, when all present in a relationship, predict divorce, according to Dr. Gottman. These destructive behaviors are called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

STONEWALLING – This is definitely a serious problem if one individual leaves the conversation physically, mentally or emotionally and tunes their significant other out or flees. Oftentimes, it is due to emotional overload and the person feels they need to escape. Counselors trained in helping couples have tools to help. They may assist couples in identifying triggers that are precursors to the stonewalling and offer alternative methods of communication.

CRITICISM – Complaining about your partner instead of the problem may lead to hurt feelings and resentment. Focus on the problem and not the person. Criticism comes from anger. Criticism

DEFENSIVENESS – Instead of engaging in the vicious cycle of defensiveness and counter criticism, it is beneficial to be accountable and exercise a high level of emotional intelligence. Defensive behavior can be complex and may have roots in the past. Oftentimes, individuals are not cognizant of the origins of their defensiveness. CONTEMPT – This is a severe issue if present in a relationship. Contempt is characterized by belittling your partner in verbal and non-verbal ways. This destructive behavior may include rolling eyes, name-calling, yelling and other non-productive and unhealthy ways of communicating. Counselors have tools and techniques to help couples learn to appreciate one another and replace these behaviors with more productive ones.

Counselors are experts that can create a safe space to have a courageous conversation and assist couples in moving forward with effective tools for solutionfocused problem solving and improved communication. It is never too late to try a new intervention that could assist in improving the quality of your life and relationship. What’s the alternative?

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food the dish

Olive You!

Olive History, Recipes, and Heart Benefits By Stephanie Jimenez

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lives are enjoyed worldwide for their bitter yet tangy taste that you just can’t get enough of. Olive trees have a significant history. They have been treasured since before biblical times and were considered to be a symbol of peace, sacredness and unity. They are often referred to as “the tree of eternity,” appreciated for its humble elegance. You may be familiar with the standard green or black olives, but there is much more variety to them. From Kalamata olives to Picholine olives, there are several different kinds to choose from. The color of the olive depends on its ripeness; however, all olives have unique tastes and textures. In addition to the multiple variations of olives, there are also many selections of olive oils to choose from. Extra virgin olive oil is widely

considered to be the best because it is made from freshly harvested olives, does not use chemicals or excessive heat to be extracted and has a perfect aroma and taste. Virgin olive oil has lower quality and an inferior taste compared to extra virgin olive oil. Refined olive oil is the lowest quality oil. Acids and heat are used to extract as much oil from the olives as possible, resulting in a thicker oil that lacks aroma and taste. Along with their unique flavor, olives are also beneficial for your health. Research proves that those who consume olive oil daily have a lowered risk of heart problems, due to the fact that olives are rich with vitamin E and other nutrients that alter cholesterol. Here are some olive-related recipes that are nutritious and delicious!

Chicken Tray Bake Serves: 6, Time: 1 hour 15 min Ingredients • 1 red onion, cut into wedges • 12 whole chicken thighs • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges • 200 ml of white wine or chicken stock • 300 g orzo • A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped • 24 nocellara olives, pitted and quartered

Directions: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the red onion in the bottom of a roasting tin. Season, then set the chicken thighs on top. Squeeze over the lemon wedges and then tuck them in around the chicken. Pour around the wine or stock. Season the chicken skin and then put in the oven and roast for 45–55 minutes, until really crisp and deep golden. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water until tender, then drain. Take the tin out of the oven, remove the chicken and keep warm under foil. Tip the orzo into the tin and stir into the onions and juices. Add in the parsley and olives, and stir again. Serve the chicken tray baked with the orzo.

Classic Italian Dipping Oil Ingredients: • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced or pressed • 3 Tbsp fresh oregano, minced • 3 Tbsp fresh basil, minced • Sea salt and black pepper

Directions: Mix ingredients and enjoy with slices of a baguette. tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019 57 

WE 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.

Spend Your Life Living By Dr. Gwendolyn Singleton


n instant can be life-changing. At the age of 17, I was involved in an automobile accident with an 18-wheeler tractor trailer truck. I was trapped in my car with the steering wheel blocking my airway, as it crushed my trachea and chest. As I faded out of consciousness, I was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of peaceful calm and the sensation of floating, surrounded by bright light. I later learned that this type of positive and serene experience is not uncommon for individuals who have near-death experiences. Neuroscientists often describe the varied near-death experiences as the results of the brain undergoing reduced oxygenation impairing brain functions. I was a high-schooler at the time, and now as a neuropsychologist, I describe my experience as divine

intervention. I felt no fear, no pain, just peace— it was extraordinary. Meanwhile, the “Jaws of Life” (hydraulic rescue tools created to pry apart crashed vehicles and extricate people trapped inside) were working to free me from my car. I recall faintly hearing the repetitive buzz of machines along with the grinding and creaking of metal, then remember waking up in a hospital. I was informed that a young trauma surgeon had performed

a tracheotomy, a surgical procedure to open a direct airway through the trachea, to open my airway. My family and I received an outpouring of love and support. However, I was left wondering, “Why was my life spared?” Yet, with the ever-present memory of my vivid, transcendent, life-changing recent experience, I accepted not having an answer to this question and decided that the fact that I am alive is enough. So, I committed to spend my life living. I was determined to devote my energy to ensuring that my living and giving reflected gratitude. Suddenly, my parents’ teaching “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (the Golden Rule) took on a new meaning in my life. I began peer mentoring and engaged in intentional efforts to treat others with respect, kindness, patience and forgiveness and to encourage, uplift, inspire and empower others. Living in this intentional way felt effortless and natural. It brought additional joy and fulfillment to my already blessed life. As I grew in maturity and following intensive soul-searching, I discovered something that, in my view, is equally (if not more) important as the Golden Rule. I call it Gwendolyn’s Rule: “Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you.” This is critically important because the way we treat ourselves serves as the example for others in their treatment of us. Also, the way we allow others to treat us serves as the example for the way they will continue to treat us in the future. Accordingly, I revised my commitment to include an unconditional, positive self-regard, self-love and selfrespect—adding to my joy, fulfillment and freedom on life’s journey. Sometimes broken roads lead to the best destinations!

“Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you” —Gwendolyn’s Rule 58  tallahassee woman • februar y / march 2019

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Tallahassee’s trusted source for a southern classic


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Profile for Tallahassee Woman Magazine

TWM February/March 2019  

The February/March 2019 issue of Tallahassee Woman features Anna Johnson-Riedel.

TWM February/March 2019  

The February/March 2019 issue of Tallahassee Woman features Anna Johnson-Riedel.