Page 1

JUNE/JULY 2019 COMPLIMENTARY

Regina Lynch Hudson

Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Curator Exhales Women Who Mean Business

AWARD WINNERS

The WE Dream Issue

tallahassee woman | 1 | june • july 2019


YO U R H O S P I TA L FO R

is your

life

HOSPITAL FOR THE FUTURE. FOR OVER 70 YEARS, WE’VE BEEN RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. From humble wooden barracks in 1948 to the modern state-of-the-art expansion of the M.T. Mustian Center, Tallahassee Memorial has evolved during the most extraordinary times in our nation's history. From polio eradication to the first man on the Moon, we've been right there with you, striving towards incredible advancements. TMH was born from a passion to continually build the highest level of healthcare for our community, never forgetting our promise to always be Your Hospital for Life.

TMH.ORG/Future tallahassee woman | 2 | june • july 2019


tallahassee woman | 3 | june • july 2019


CONTENTS 66

10. Our Thoughts

Letter from the Publisher Letter from the Executive Editor

70

41

14. Trends

She Says Social: She Goes Solo Music: Your Summer Playlist Book Nook: Sensational Summer Reads Travel: Luggage and Packing Tips | TimeSaving Travel Tips

24. Living Local

WE Elevate: Kate Clark Sweet Home Tallahassee: She’s Got Sport! Around Town: TMH Gala | WWMB Awards Luncheon Haute Happenings: Highlights of Local Events

38. Feature Travel

Madame Xhales in St. Augustine, Florida

41. Feature WWMB

64. Wellness

Healthy Living: Heal Thyself for a Healthy Self Mental Health & Mindfulness Matters: Finding Center | TallahasSHE: Sharing, Healing Empowering

70. Family

72. Food

The Dish: Island Recipe—Curry Chicken

74. WE Inspire

#YearofWE—Women Empowered An Evening of Inspiration With Former First Lady Michelle Obama

Life: Being Intentional About Family Time…Are You Making or Marking Time

14

WWMB 2019 Award Winners

55. Business

WWMB: Women Who Mean Business Finalists Work Life: Finding Your Dream Job Money Talk: Investing Tips from Mr. Wonderful Women to Watch: Promotions, awards and other notable achievements of local women.

32. about the cover woman: Regina Lynch Hudson Wears New Hat as Tallahassee Woman magazine’s Director of Luxury

Travel & Lifestyle By Tallahassee Woman Magazine Staff | photography: Courtland C. Bivens III. Custom-designed “Clear the Way Chapeau” hat by Lyn Frances of Los Angeles, California. tallahassee woman | 4 | june • july 2019


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June / July 2019 • Volume 14 • Issue 3

PUBLISHER Dr. Michelle Mitcham

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Heather Thomas ASSISTANT EDITOR Jennifer Santana EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Rachel Secundo DIRECTOR OF SALES Jennifer Stinson

CREATIVE CONSULTANT Briana Smith GRAPHIC DESIGN CONSULTANT Taylor Erwin DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Marcia Warfel

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF SALES Michelle Hart

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY INITIATIVES Ericka McKibbin

PUBLISHING CONSULTANT Kim Rosier

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT LIAISON Renée Jean-Charles

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Christy Jennings Ploch

INTERNS Kennedy Guidry Carelys Trujillo

DIRECTOR OF LUXURY TRAVEL Regina Lynch Hudson

ADVERTISING For information on advertising, visit talwoman.com, call (850) 893-9624, or e-mail ads@TalWoman.com.

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 | info@TalWoman.com Tallahassee Woman is published six times per year and is distributed on a 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.

tallahassee woman | 6 | june • july 2019


H O M E

M O R T G A G E

T E A M

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(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 MEREDITH BOWEN HUNTER WRITER 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.

PAULA DEBOLES-JOHNSON WRITER Paula DeBoles-Johnson, MPA, CCM is employed with Leon County Government, where she is responsible for fueling the engagement and professional development of its more than 800 employees. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Capital City Youth Development Corporation, a local nonprofit founded in 2003. She is a contributing author, consultant and trainer who is active in various organizations in Florida.

MARCIA WARFEL WRITER Marcia Warfel is the Director of Public Relations for Tallahassee Woman magazine. Marcia is an active community advocate for women and girls and humanitarian relief. Marcia is a seasoned emergency management professional that has over 20 years of experience in homeland security and emergency management. She recently launched Maxim Strategies and Solutions. Marcia hold a bachelor of arts in International Relations and a graduate certificate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from FSU. Contact: info@maxim-consulting.com.

REGINA LYNCH-HUDSON WRITER Veteran publicist and luxury lifestyle experience-aholic, Regina Lynch-Hudson, pens MadameXhales, slated towards the vintage of woman that according to studies: enjoys more time to travel, indulges in longer trips, and selects more extravagant travel accommodations. The exacting taste of MadameXhales finds her exploring destinations, cruises, resorts, spas, and extracurricular activities—where like-minded Xhalers have experienced inner-exhilaration! Contact MadameXhales: thewritepublicist@earthlink.net ERICKA MCKIBBEN WRITER Ericka McKibbin is part of the TWM team in the role of Director of Community Initiatives. She has over 24 years of experience in community development and non-profit leadership. She recently launched Maxim Strategies and Solutions, a multi-faceted consulting firm focusing on volunteer resource management and professional services. Contact information: info@maxim-consulting.com.

TAVIA RAHKI WRITER Tavia is passionate about cultivating wellness through sustainable and healthful living. Tavia earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from FSU and her M.S. in Neuroscience from USF. She is currently studying chiropractic medicine and works as a yoga and meditation teacher.  

ANDREA JONES PHOTOGR APHER Andrea Jones says she loves portrait photography because of the honest (even if brief ) connection that occurs between the subject and the photographer. She feels fortunate being able to take the time to focus on the strength, beauty and wisdom of each individual photographed. As a relative newcomer to portrait photography she is honored to be mentored by my wonderfully talented nieces and nephews. tallahassee woman | 8 | june • july 2019

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.


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Make our story, your story. www.RedEyeCoffee.org tallahassee woman | 9 | june • july 2019


OU R T HOU G H T S

Letter from the Publisher DR. MICHELLE MITCHAM

W

DARE TO DREAM

hat dream do you have for your life today? The mind dwells upon and acknowledges that which feels comfortable. WE encourage you to be intentional, listen to your heart and not be afraid to veer outside your comfort zone when it comes to your aspirations. This month TWM takes a gander at dreams. How we actualize our dreams is a different process for each individual. What does life look like when you let a dream die, or actually choose to live it? No one needs permission to dream, but this natural phenomenon may be challenging for a myriad of reasons. Some people only focus on the barriers and not the opportunities, while others just need the courage or self-confidence to take the risk in bringing their goals to fruition. What happens to a dream not pursued; a dream deferred? WE fantasize about the life we want to live; the business we want to launch; the partner we desire; the career we aspire; the destinations we long to see, both near-by and far-away. On the cover, the worldly and inspirational jetsetter Regina Lynch Hudson, our new Director of Luxury Travel & Lifestyle, shares how she came to passionately live her vacation dreams—which required stepping outside her comfort zone into a fascinating world of limitless potential. Wearing a new hat, Regina brings TWM the unique culture, lifestyle, history and intrigue of dream destinations near and far. In this issue, it is Madame Xhales™ in the historical and tranquil city of St. Augustine. Dream-Doers are exemplified in the phenomenal Women Who Mean Business 2019 Awards finalists and winners who were recognized for living their dreams on purpose and making a difference in the lives of so many here in Tallahassee. Read about the WWMB Award winners who are highlighted with their equally impressive stories inside. I am reminded of the power of dreams both realized and abandoned every time I read my favorite poem by Langston Hughes. When I reflect on my life, love, career, work, and play, I embrace the dreams

and blessings that I am living every day. As a woman of faith and as the owner of TWM, I realize my purpose in this role is to motivate others to envision positive and productive goals. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of women’s empowerment where we embrace and celebrate one another and encourage each other to speak, follow, and live up to our full potential. We look forward to our TallahasSHE gatherings for Sharing, Healing and Empowering our united sisterhood of all ethnicities, religions, sexual orientation, races, socioeconomic levels, abilities, educational levels, and communities. Our strength is in our combined unity, and powerful alliances and unions are what make our dreams a reality. It is my hope that the stories in the pages that follow will inspire you to seize your destiny. DREAMS DO COME TRUE. A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-—and then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? Thanks for dreaming with us,

Dr. Michelle Mitcham

tallahassee woman | 10 | june • july 2019


tallahassee woman | 11 | june • july 2019


OU R T HOU G H T S

Letter from the Executive Editor HEATHER THOMAS

SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS

O

ur theme for this is issue is WE Dream, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what that word, “dream,” really means. I used to believe it was a cliché to say things like, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” And, to some extent, I still do. But I think if we go too far in that direction, we forget how important the act of dream visioning is. As children, it was as instinctual as breathing to go to that netherworld where dreams are made of—the ephemeral mists would part and we were transported to other times and places. That excitement of adventure and curiosity would propel us with a heartbeat as old as time to serendipitous discoveries and we felt wholly and fully alive. Now our hearts too often beat to different tunes—the clock, the calendar, the race to get from one point to the next to accomplish this feat and that one, never pausing long enough to part those mists that have grown to be an impenetrable wall of fog that we call “real life.” Practicality, logic, reasoning and dream-dulling realism set in and we become shadow selves, wandering aimlessly from one task to the next, propelled by fear, anxiety, competition and scarcity. So how we do we break these dream-stealing chains and become the fully evolved person we are meant to be? First, we need to reclaim our dream, starting with the meaning of the word. According to etymology history, the Old English definition of dream is “joy, mirth and noisy merriment.” And isn’t that what children are so good at, and isn’t that what we are really searching for in our pursuit of something that fills up the void our dreams have vacated? Maybe we have forgotten

the importance of a dream—as it pertains to hoping for and envisioning something grander in soul-scope than our current circumstances—because we have forgotten the importance of joy, of laughter, and of the song and dance that our lives were made for. In our pursuit of control or the fear of losing it, we have given up the freedom that comes from following our bliss and our curiosity. We stay quiet and try to conform to what we think the world wants us to be and believe that pausing in our day to give way to those presence-filled moments of imagination, gratitude and delight is a waste of time because we have more important things to do. But really, what is more important than taking time to dream and to fill your heart with the alchemy found therein? WE Dream because that’s what we are created to do. It may be cliché to say, but we should never stop dreaming. Take time, today, to reflect on the people, places and moments that inspire joy, mirth and noisy merriment—the noisier the better. Mixed in with the stardust that our souls are made of is a calling to spend our lives chasing wonder and self-discovery as we become the person we’ve always dreamed we could be. Dream on! (pun intended :)

Heather Thomas

tallahassee woman | 12 | june • july 2019


LEON COUNTY

Our Value Proposition: What You Get as a Taxpayer and a Stakeholder in our Community Leon County Government leverages partnerships, embraces efficiency and innovation, and demands performance to the benefit of our taxpayers. We actively engage our citizens, not only as taxpayers, but as stakeholders and co-creators of our community – providing meaningful opportunities to capitalize on their talents in making important decisions and shaping our community for future generations.

Stay connected during a disaster with LEON COUNTY CITIZENS CONNECT APP Get your copy Plan now. of the 2019 Disaster Survival When disaster Guide at any Leon County strikes, it’s too library branch or community late to prepare. center

H AV E A H U R R I C A N E P L A N . C O M

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PEOPLE FOCUSED. PERFORMANCE DRIVEN. tallahassee woman | 13 | june • july 2019


TRENDS

| social • music • travel • books

SH E SAYS... SOCIAL Going Solo

W

ith the rising popularity of solo trips (especially among women), we want to know where our readers would go! We took to social media to see where the ladies of Tallahassee would travel to if given the opportunity to go on a solo adventure, and here’s what you had to say.

SHELLEY CARBALLO DIONIS “Even though I

love the idea of Buddhist retreat, I have to say Italy—the history, the art, the people, the landscape, the sea—I would have to imagine it would take years to explore the whole country. I believe its waters runs through my veins, as my grandparents are from Capri, Italy!”

MARIA ORTIZ “I’m from Puerto Rico, yet I haven’t visited my home in about 19 years. I wouldn’t mind going back home as a solo tourist...visiting the beach we used to skip class to go to, searching for my favorite sweet bread in old San Juan, visiting one of my favorite place of bioluminescence

“Anywhere where I could sit and stare at fields of tulips while drinking coffee and simply decompressing.” — LEILANI ARNOLD ALETRAS beauty or eating a feast in the best route of roasted pork ever! I’m ready! Actually, I need this to happen soon!” CHARLENE TRICKEY “I know it may seem silly, but I would love to travel to Washington, D.C. I missed going as a child and it’s always been on my list.”  ALIX KALFIN “If I were to go somewhere by

myself, I wouldn’t really care where it was as long as it was a nice spa that would pamper me all day while I relax!”

ALISSA KATHERINE “Somewhere different and beautiful where most would not think to

tallahassee woman | 14 | june • july 2019

go. Morocco looks amazing with beautiful architecture and desert and rich culture and history. I would want to go with a local as my guide to really experience the country. Maybe ride a camel or two.” MICHELLE HARTNELL HILL “Switzerland—back to one of my first family vacations growing up. I’m British, and we took in students to help pay for family vacations. One of our Swiss students invited us to her wedding and we stayed for three weeks. Switzerland is such a beautiful country!” WANDA MINICK “I would recreate Eat Pray

Love—Italy, India and Indonesia.”


She Goes Solo by jennifer santana

Over the last few years, the trend of taking solo trips has risen tremendously, especially among women. It seems that women all over the world are taking the reins when it comes to exploring the world around them, no longer waiting to find a travel companion to go on adventures and discover new places. However, when it comes to traveling alone, it is important to do your research and keep some tips in mind to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

1. Act Like a Local

When it comes to traveling alone, the best advice to follow is to research your destination thoroughly and do your best to act like you belong. Dressing like the locals and being familiar with their customs seems simple enough, and will ensure that you don’t stick out too much while you’re traveling to a foreign land. Allowing you to explore without the fear of branding yourself as a helpless tourist, something as trivial as the clothes you choose to pack can have a huge impact on your trip.

2. Remember to Check-In

During your travels, make it a part of your routine to check in periodically with someone you know and trust. Whether it’s in the form of calling your family every few days, using your social media as a log of your activities or checking in with the embassy at your hotel, letting the people in your life know that you’re safe during your adventures will bring everyone peace of mind.

3. Know Your Limits

When you’re on vacation, it’s only natural to want to let loose and have fun. However, it's important to know your own limits, especially when you'll be in a foreign place without a companion to look after you. If you decide to go out and have some drinks while you're traveling, remember to stay alert.

4. Have a Back-up Plan

Although pre-planning for solo getaways is a crucial step to ensure a smooth trip, sometimes you have to learn to be flexible. If you arrive at your hotel and it isn’t what you expected, have a back-up plan in place to find new accommodations. The most important thing while traveling alone is that you feel safe wherever you are, even in that means a last minute change of plans.

5. Confidence Is Key

If you happen to get lost during your solo adventures, don’t panic. The last thing you want to do is look like a helpless tourist in a foreign city. Rather than looking frantic (and possibly singling yourself out as a target), just walk with confidence and enjoy the opportunity to explore. Remember: fake it ‘til you make it.

tallahassee woman | 15 | june • july 2019


TRENDS

| music

Your Summer Playlist by stephanie jimenez

There’s nothing better to get you in the summer mood like music. Sometimes, after repeating the same songs over and over again, it good to have new inspirations of music to enjoy. Lucky for you, TWM provided a variety of summer songs that would be great to put on your summer playlist.

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Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves. The name says it all, the music

and lyrics makes you feel like you are literally walking on sunshine. Play this on a cloudy day to easily lighten up your mood!

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Saturday Sun by Vance Joy. This song could be enjoyed by people of all ages, it brings to life the upbeat and exciting sensation of summer.

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Dreams by The Cranberries. It perfectly sums up the carefree, ‘follow your bliss,’ inspirational moments that summer provides. And, it also fits in so well to this issue’s theme!

New Light by John Mayer. This catchy alternative rock song is impossible not to love, it’s great to groove and sing along to any summer day. Summer by Calvin Harris. With a great

beat and rhythm, this throwback is perfect to go along with the relaxed and chill summer vibes.

Smile by Vitamin C. This is the type of song that you would listen to at the beach while taking in the sun, drinking lemonade, and reading a good book or at a party with your friends. Either way, it is a must add. Make Me Like You by Gwen Stefani.

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This song easily relates to any romance that arises during the summer and makes you look forward to waking up every morning and seeing that someone special.

Waves (Robin Schulz Remix Radio Edit) by Mr. Probz. This song was once a

big hit, but after a while got swept under the rug, which is a shame because it’s so catchy and relaxing. Picture yourself floating in the ocean as this song plays in the background.


PROTECT WHAT MATTERS MOST

You bandage her ouchies. You taught her to look both ways. You are her protector, her world. When a hurricane threatens, will she and you know what to do? Hurricane season is June 1 - November 30. Make a plan and build a kit today to protect her tomorrow. Stay connected by downloading the City of Tallahassee’s free DigiTally app and visit Talgov.com/Hurricane for more information.

CITY OF TALLAHASSEE |tallahassee FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL woman june • july 2019 | 17 |

@COTNews


TRENDS

| books

Sensational Summer Reads by emily monnier

R

emember that New Year’s resolution from six months ago promising to read more? It may be halfway through the year, but it’s never too late to start! With the weather heating up and children out of school for summer vacation, now is the perfect time to grab a good read, wind down and get lost in the pages of your favorite story. The following are the Tallahassee Woman staff members' top summer novel recommendations.

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

It’s not a perfect day at the beach until you have an addictive thriller to read that’s impossible to set down. In the Mother-In-Law, Lucy wants nothing more than to please her husband’s mother, Diana. Ten years later, Diana is found dead next to a suicide note. When evidence of murder is quickly uncovered, the story dives into a series of twists and turns that will keep you from putting this book down.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

After the large buzz that surrounded her first novel, Conversations with Friends, it’s no surprise that her second novel is just as accomplished and captivating. Normal People is the story of high school sweethearts Connell, the popular extrovert, and Marianne, the unpopular introvert. Follow along as they try to navigate their complicated relationship, insecurities and life beyond high school.

Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain

Hubert Larnaudie doesn’t know what’s to come when he invites his neighbors over to drink a bottle of 1954 Beaujolais. Imagine their surprise when they wake the next morning and find themselves in the middle of 1950s Paris. Take delight in their journey as they experience everything that this iconic decade in Parisian history has to offer.

The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora

This electrifying story from acclaimed author Lauren Acampora presents a dark and twisted friendship that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Set in contemporary Hollywood, this novel excellently displays the mind and imagination of a determined, goal-oriented woman willing to do almost anything in order to achieve her dreams.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Moshfegh’s second novel follows a nameless woman as she attempts to undergo a year of “rest and relaxation.” Hoping to wake up with a fresh start, she gradually increases her use of sleeping pills in an attempt to spend the year in a deep slumber. This hilariously witty novel chronicles her efforts to relax, recharge, and leave the past behind her. tallahassee woman | 18 | june • july 2019


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tallahassee woman | 19 | june • july 2019


TRENDS

| travel

LUGGAGE AND PACKING TIPS by stephanie jimenez

G

oing on vacation is fun and exciting but is quickly dampened by the idea of packing for it. It’s hard to narrow down exactly what you’ll need, and you either end up bringing way too much or not enough. Following are some helpful tips to make packing easy and not as stressful.

PACK THE ESSENTIALS IN YOUR CARRY-ON. If possible, carry your most needed items and valuables with you because you never know when luggage can get lost or stolen. This will bring you much comfort knowing that the most important things are in reach.

START WITH A LIST. It can be difficult to remember everything you need just by thinking about it. Writing a checklist helps to visualize what is most important, and it can easily be reviewed after packing to ensure that nothing was forgotten.

BRING EXTRA BAGS. Bags like Ziploc bags, plastic bags or totes can come in handy when you least expect it. A few could be used for dirty clothes or anything else that needs to be separated from the rest of your items.

ROLL YOUR CLOTHES. It is surprising that not many people do this already considering how much space it saves in your suitcase. Rolling instead of folding is definitely the way to go, and if you’re willing to invest in packing cubes they also help you to stay organized.

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR LIQUIDS SEPARATED IN BAGS. You never know when a bottle will leak or explode on your trip, so it is best to keep them packed in a bag. For extra precaution, you could wrap the lids in plastic wrap. On that note, make sure to bring travel-sized bottles and not full-sized ones to save space. You can always buy more. BRING DRYER SHEETS. These will aid in keeping your luggage smelling fresh and clean, and they’re really light and easy to pack. PLAN TO LAYER FOR WARMTH. Instead of taking up a huge amount of space with big bulky articles of clothing, pack clothes that you can layer. This will allow you to have more options and make your suitcase lighter. Leave extra space. If you’re being honest, you know you will probably end up buying something while on vacation. Make sure to save room for any items you may want to buy.

PICK OUT WHAT YOU NEED AND CUT IT IN HALF. This may seem crazy but it’s very efficient. How many times have you packed something “just in case” and never actually used it? Most of the stuff you think you need will most likely not be used and will take up a bunch of space that could be better used for something else. Prioritize what you absolutely need and nothing else.

tallahassee woman | 20 | june • july 2019


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tallahassee woman | 21 | june • july 2019


TRENDS

| travel

FEEL GREAT

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Time-Saving TRAVEL TIPS

by emily monnier

S

ummer is one of the busiest times of the year for air travel. With families running amok trying to catch their flights and college students rushing to get home for their summer holiday, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos. These five tips cut down the inconveniences and delays at the airport and allow for efficient, stress-free travel. TSA pre-check. TSA pre-check is a paid program that allows you to skip those long, tiresome security lines. With this program, you can avoid the hassle of removing your shoes, electronics, liquids and any accessories, ensuring that you get through airport security with ease. Signing up for TSA pre-check is ideal for those with close connecting flights that make it difficult to waste time. Go minimal. Experienced travelers will almost always recommend keeping things simple when traveling. This means no excessive jewelry, slip-on shoes, minimal baggage and, of course, comfortable clothing. Staying simple is not only more comfortable, but it makes getting around the airport and through those long lines a breeze.

tallahassee woman | 22 | june • july 2019


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Laser Hair Removal now available at Healthy Solutions. Leave Waxing to the Museum. Minimize loose items. Carrying around loose items such as sunglasses, books or headphones makes trying to navigate a busy airport much more difficult than it needs to be. Finding space in your carry-on for extra items instead of attempting to juggle them in your hands ensures that you’re able to easily get from point A to B without being held back by loose belongings. Keep important items in one spot. Eliminate the time spent digging through your bag for your passport by keeping all necessary travel documents together in an easily accessible place. A small makeup bag is the perfect size for carrying important documents without taking up too much space in your carry-on. This tip also applies to items such as liquids or makeup products that need to be taken out for security. These items should be conveniently located, but remember to double-check that they are safe and secure to avoid stolen or lost valuables. Find your gate beforehand. Though it can be intimidating, the airport is also full of fun amenities like trendy restaurants or high-end shopping. However, before getting distracted by everything being offered, it’s important to know where your gate is so that you don’t find yourself losing track of time and having to sprint across the building to board your flight. Once you find your gate and know where you need to be, then you can relax, explore and enjoy the start of your summer vacation.

Bert Morales, M.D. Phone: 850.309.0356 Text: 850.629.0345 www.hs-med.com 2003 Miccosukee Rd. tallahassee woman | 23 | june • july 2019


LIVING LOCAL |

WE elevate

Live Bolder

KATE CLARK by jennifer santana photography by shelly williams

“Life is a beautiful thing; it’s just better with a little adventure in it.”

D

uring what seemed like the darkest chapter of her life, Kate Clark felt like she had hit a roadblock. After going through the unexpected loss of her father to cancer, having to put her dog of twelve years down, and suffering through several surgeries due to her crippling endometriosis, she felt completely broken— both physically and mentally. Trying to cope with the fact that she might never be able to have children of her own as a result of her extensive surgeries while also attempting to grapple with the recent losses in her life, Kate was once again struck by tragedy when she witnessed the sudden passing of a close friend. Struggling to find a light to lead her out of the darkness, Kate recounted her battle to pull herself out of this funk—one that seemed to only get dimmer and deeper over the years. “That was the final blow, I felt like I was falling into a deep dark hole…feeling hopeless. Slowly but surely and through the help of many wonderful people, including my husband who never left my side, I put my life back in order.” Looking for a way to heal her body and spirit, Kate found the solace she was searching for in the tranquility of nature. “I started hiking again and running through wooded trails. I started taking women with me on some of these adventures. Women with their own stories to tell and miles for us to listen to each other in God’s most beautiful places.” What started as a simple way for Kate to reconnect with her surroundings quickly turned into a burning desire to help other women who were going through struggles of their own. Filled with a newfound determination to help the women in her community come together to enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature, Kate decided to create a group for local women to go adventuring together. That’s when she stumbled upon the Bold Betties.

“I diligently started researching and prospecting the options. Then, as if God was pulling, randomly an advertisement on social media popped up about a women’s outdoor group. I read the manifesto and it resonated deep within my soul. I reached out to the principals of the group and told them I wanted to start a chapter here.” Kate started the Big Bend Chapter of the Bold Betties in January of 2018, and after a year with adventurous local women, she’s witnessed firsthand just how empowering and healing the outdoors can be, especially when paired with the bonds of sisterhood. “Everyone has a story worth telling. The outdoors gives us an opportunity to disconnect and fully immerse ourselves in our surroundings and hopefully find the push we need to discover what bold means to each of us. There is an incredible sisterhood that comes from being with someone who’s experiencing adventure for the first time and accomplishing things with other like-minded women.” Not only has Kate made it her mission to encourage to women in her community to experience new things and explore their surroundings, she also actively works towards encouraging and mentoring women who might be interested in entering her professional field. “I work in a predominantly male environment, so I make it part of my mission to find women who have an interest and provide a solid footing to help them succeed. The financial industry does not do a good tallahassee woman | 24 | june • july 2019

job of encouraging women and pushing them to excel in this business. I plan to change that. I take opportunities to mentor and offer guidance to women of all backgrounds.” Whether it’s in her professional life or through recreation, Kate has become a passionate advocate for the women in her life, offering them a chance to get out of their comfort zones and discover what lies beyond their own fears. Stressing the importance of learning that failure is ultimately the best teacher, Kate argued that road blocks are nothing to fear—since the only place to go from your lowest days is up. “We can’t control what God’s plan is for each of us, but we can control how we respond. I could have given up. The Lord knows I wanted to, so many times, and most people probably would have understood. I chose to look adversity in the face and pick myself back up and continue climbing out. I’m so thankful I did.”


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LIVING LOCAL

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SHE’S GOT SPORT!

Juliunn Redmond graduated with honors from Tallahassee Community College and did so as, arguably, the most decorated women’s basketball player in school history. After her freshman campaign ended with a national championship, Redmond earned All-America honors by both the NJCAA and WBCA as a sophomore in 2019, and was also voted Player of the Year by both the Florida College System Activities Association and Panhandle Conference.

Tallahassee Community College’s first crop of BSN graduates includes Ashley Maxwell. While nursing is Ashley’s career, running is her passion, and she ran on the Eagles’ cross country team in 2017. Maxwell received the Student Nurse of Excellence Award in 2014 upon graduating with her associate of science in nursing degree and was selected as the student speaker for the college’s 2019 Commencement ceremony, at which time she received her bachelor’s.

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tallahassee woman | 26 | june • july 2019


AROUNDTOWN TALLAHASSEE MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE’S GOLDEN GALA

1.

Tallahassee’s premier black-tie event hosted by the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation took place on April 18, 2019, at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. The event featured the three-time Grammy Awardwinning group, Pentatonix. The Golden Gala is in thirty-sixth year maintains its spot as the regions premier charitable event. The program was in partnership with FSU’s College of Music and raised money for the hospitals nationally-ranked music therapy program.

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1. Sean & Audra Pittman (with members of Pentatonix) 2. John and Sam Lester 3. Gentle and Dr. Alma Littles 4. Laurie and Kelley Dozier 5. William and Paula Smith tallahassee woman | 27 | june • july 2019


LIVING LOCAL

| around town

TALLAHASSEE WOMAN MAGAZINE WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS AWARDS LUNCHEON

With numerous nominations of women standouts in Tallahassee businesses, the top nominees as evaluated by our judges came from a group of women in all areas of the professional spectrum. What does it take to be a Tallahassee woman “who means business?” She is a woman who makes strides in her workplace and community. Her creativity, passion, leadership and vision are their own flames of inspiration. We salute and congratulate our top nominees for 2019 and thank them and their nominators for sharing their business endeavors.

tallahassee woman | 28 | june • july 2019


tallahassee woman | 29 | june • july 2019


LIVING LOCAL

haute happenings 12TH ANNUAL FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND CAR SHOW June 15, 2019 Celebration Baptist Church

Give your dad the priceless gift of appreciation and gratitude this Father’s Day by spending quality time with him at the 12th Annual Father’s Day Car Show. Starting at 5 p.m., enjoy live music, BBQ pork sandwiches, and various different show vehicles ranging from classics to exotics. For more information, visit icelebration.org.

PET PHOTO SHOOT FUNDRAISER FOR LEON COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY June 2, 2019 Aloft Tallahassee Downtown

Show your love for your favorite furry friend by booking a pet photo shoot at Aloft Tallahassee Downtown. All proceeds go towards supporting and raising awareness for the Leon County Humane Society. Book your spot in advance at agoldphoto.com.

BACH PARLEY SPRING CONCERT AND ANNUAL RECEPTION June 2, 2019 St. John’s Episcopal Church

From 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., experience a unique performance at the Bach Parley spring concert. With a performance of different musical pieces written between the years 1600 and 1700, this show will have no trouble delighting and enchanting the audience. For more details on this special event, go to bachparley.org.

ANIMATION CAMP FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS June 3–7, 2019 Lasso the Moon Studios

Everyone ages 14–19 is welcome to come and be introduced to the art of animation in this weeklong summer camp. Learn how to create your very own animated stories using professional tools and techniques such as hand-drawn, computer and traditional animation. Experience is not necessary to join – all you need is a passion for animation and learning. For more information, contact (850) 545-2034.

FIRST FRIDAY SIP & STROLL FEATURING GRAINS OF SAND June 7, 2019 The Ritz Amphitheater

Break out your favorite beach attire and colorful leis for this month’s first Friday theme: beach beats. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., take delight in all of the amenities offered, such as shopping, pleasant dining and live music performed by Grains of Sand. This monthly event will certainly bring good tunes, dancing and fun for the entire family. For more information, visit thomasvillega.com.

SECOND SATURDAY FAMILY PROGRAM: EXPLORING FLORIDA’S SPRINGS June 8, 2019 Museum of Florida History

Enjoy another one of Florida’s beautiful summers with your family by exploring its amazing springs. Join in on numerous handson activities, an interactive tour and festive crafts while you learn about our springs and the fascinating animals that live in them. For additional details, go to tallahasseearts.org.

2019 FLORIDA ANIMATION FESTIVAL June 13, 2019 All Saints Cinema

The Florida Animation Festival showcases animated films, a filmmaking workshop, keynote speakers, and a kickoff party that shines a spotlight on FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts' current students. This multiday event celebrates both regional and global animation talent and creates an immersive experience that displays the beauty of the art of animating. Visit floridaanimationfestival. com for additional information. tallahassee woman | 30 | june • july 2019

KIDS’ FREE DAY

June 15, 2019 Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee On the third Saturday of every month, the Challenger Learning Center provides a fun-filled day for children at little to no cost. From 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., bring your kids for an afternoon of educational fun with interactive activities, science demonstrations, and a free IMAX or Planetarium show for kids 12 and under. For more information, visit challengertlh.com.

CELEBRATE AMERICA July 4, 2019 Tom Brown Park

Grab your red, white, and blue party hats and share the festive spirit with friends and family at Tallahassee’s annual Independence Day celebration. Enjoy delicious meals provided by various food vendors, fun children’s activities, business exhibitors, a beer garden and, of course, fireworks! For more details, go to talgov.com.

SANKOFA CONCERT: UNDERGROUND, A MUSICAL July 6, 2019 Cascades Park

The First Annual Sankofa concert presents a breath-stopping musical that features song and dance from Underground, a story of one slave’s faith and determination to gain freedom for his family. Underground performs songs from the highly acclaimed play “Hear the Sound of Freedom” and provides the audience with an unforgettable experience full of dance, song and amazing acting. For more information, call (850) 702-6433 or go to tallahasseearts.org.


tallahassee woman | 31 | june • july 2019


O N T H E C OV E R

Regina Lynch Hudson Wears New Hat

as Tallahassee Woman’s Director of Luxury Travel & Lifestyle twm exclusive interview photography by courtland c. bivens iii

R

egina Lynch-Hudson, Tallahassee Woman magazine’s (TWM) new Director of Luxury Travel & Lifestyle, is a semi-retire, Atlanta-based publicist whose jet-setting career spans three illustrious decades and many countries and continents. Few media mavens can claim a multifaceted resume that includes stints as a model, globe-trotting travel writer, home décor columnist and six-time guest of HGTV—let alone boast high levels of success in each overlapping industry. She’s donned enough occupational brims to tilt a humongous hat rack. In her heyday of publicizing people, places, products and performances, The Write Publicist’s handling of the multimilliondollar 1996 National Black Arts Festival was awarded Best PR Campaign of the Year by the Atlanta Association of Media Women. Regina’s flamboyant ingenuity

in organizing a press conference complete with an opening performance of drummers from varied nations and a panel that included the Mayor of Atlanta, celebrity spokespeople and community leaders lured 51 media sources and 46 corporate sponsors from virtually every pocket of the Southeast and as far-reaching as California. Regina was born in rural Black Mountain, North Carolina, where she was reared in a humble home. She recalls childhood years of climbing apple trees and frolicking in cornfields. As a teenager, she lost her primary caregivers, her “two mommies”—her grandmother Juanita to cancer and her mother Geneva in an untimely tragedy. With all of her worldly possessions crammed in a battered footlocker, Regina eventually found her way to Bennett College, a private liberal arts college for women.

“Never allow others to judge your path, your missteps, or your change of route to get to where you're going. Grant yourself permission to experiment and to explore.”

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tallahassee woman | 33 | june • july 2019


O N T H E C OV E R Turning a sequence of stumbling blocks into stepping stones, Regina kicked life’s adversities to the side. Pulling herself up by her bootstraps, she honed writing skills and strategically chose workshops, internships and continuing coursework that ultimately secured a fairy-tale life beyond the once-shy, small town country girl’s dreams. Over the course of 30 years, her persuasive media pitches and writings garnered the attention of major news outlets, including magazines, newspapers and television. Thrilling sojourns—roaming with cheetahs on safari in South Africa, riding camels in Egypt, and swimming with dolphins in crystal clear waters throughout the Caribbean—produced further articles in early airline in-flight magazines. When Regina wed her “nerd in shining armor,” Colonel Courtland Bivens III, a patent-holding NASA inventor and aerospace engineer, that also segued into a masterful publicity campaign. They married at the 14-acre Renaissance Vinoy Resort overlooking the yacht-dotted marina in St. Petersburg, Florida. After an awe-inspiring seaside ceremony, they zoomed off in a “Speed Yellow” Porsche Boxster S, presented to the bride’s company by Porsche Cars North America, Inc., for promotional use during the week-long wedding festivities. The long-legged, 6-foot tall, soon-to-be 61-year-old, has covered a lot of ground. TWM caught up with Regina by phone during her daily meditative 3-mile power walk, to discuss her latest role—that of creating a narrative that guides women on dreamy adventures in destinations throughout the Southeast and beyond.

TWM: How did you navigate the road from Mayberryish country girl to where you are today?

I knew that my purpose was bigger than the boondocks where I was born. As a child, I was mesmerized by old discarded issues of National Geographic, handed down to my grandmother by her well-heeled employer. Through a series of life jolts and career juggling, I never lost sight of the glitzy light that flickered at the end of the tunnel. And I didn’t allow anyone to dim it.

TWM: In career-juggling, were there defining incidents that rerouted your journey?

One of my side-ventures was modeling. During the winter of 1985, at the age of 27, I crossed paths with Polish designer Liliana Plati backstage at a Dallas TV station. Weeks later, I was on a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles to appear in advertisements for the April 1986 issue of Interview magazine, Andy Warhol’s international publication that still exists today. I arrived, green as grass, overwhelmed by the frenzied traffic, wild industry parties and a head-spinning after-hours scene. Crack-of-dawn morning shoots in skimpy clothing left me cold and bored. Never mind that I was photographed by Firooz Zahedi, who later became a fashion legend and photographer for major magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair, I immediately knew that I didn’t have the temperament for life as a full-time human coat hanger. As a cerebral creative, I was far more interested in generating a portfolio of news clips that publicized clients’ stories.

tallahassee woman | 34 | june • july 2019


TWM: Let’s delve deeper into your journey. What is the greatest obstacle you’ve had to overcome, and what advice would you give other women on navigating their path?

Negativity from unexpected sources was my greatest obstacle. You can overcome financial, educational and environmental setbacks, but voices of negativity will linger in your head long after you’ve ascended to places you never thought you’d land. Never allow others to judge your path, your missteps or your change of route to get to where you’re going. Grant yourself permission to experiment and to explore.

TWM: What made you say “yes” to Tallahassee Woman magazine?

Affiliating with a publication in a charming, historic Southern capitol like Tallahassee intrigued me—especially a market where women are known to routinely spread their

wings to venture to other cities, to relax, to shop, to exhale. Before saying “yes” to TWM, I inspected the past twelve covers and saw a rainbow of faces, reflections of myself that align with my multicultural roots, my lifestyle brand and my social sensibilities that embrace everyone, regardless of whether they’re white or black, gay or straight or wearing Versace or a voguish consignment bargain.

TWM: You’ve always displayed a confident sense of style in your travel escapades. What inspires your fashion aesthetic? My style has never been the flaunting of ostentatiously gaudy logos, but it’s more eclectically organic. I don’t follow the crowd. I don’t need a trophy of a handbag as a security blanket or a badge of honor. Give me a choice between the latest massconsumed fad and a unique item that’s curated by a chic shop in Bal Harbour or designed exclusively for me by an

tallahassee woman | 35 | june • july 2019

artisan on a cobblestone backstreet in Barcelona, and I’ll choose originality every time. My travel features will frequently open doors to emerging designers and indie boutiques.

TWM: In addition to retail therapy, you’re a known connoisseur of spa treatments. Will you lead Tallahassee’s women to fountains of youth?

A bit of little-known trivia is that I held an esthetician’s license in the ancient ’80s in Dallas and contributed to Dermascope, a leading skin care trade magazine. Yet another hat that I wore in a previous life! (She laughs.) The fountain of youth isn’t found in a froufrou crystal jar. It’s lifestyle. It’s internal maintenance. It’s abstinence from alcohol, sugar and junk food. And if you need a little help with Botox, facials and fillers, you identify the best beauty practitioners in the region. Years in spa environments enable me to distinguish between the gold mines and the gimmicks.


O N T H E C OV E R I’ll visit spas in my favorite stomping ground of Florida and throughout markets like Nashville, New Orleans and Phoenix. Group spa vacations are big for women. When Tallahassee’s interior designers attend the international furniture market in High Point, NC, I’ll introduce them to spa side trips in Asheville, or I’ll combine a spa getaway with a feature on the Kentucky Derby.

TWM: As a veteran publicist from the pre-social media era, what’s your opinion of social media as a tool for advertisers and marketers of travel and leisure lifestyle services?

I advise businesses to define their target audience. Know your customer. Approximately 80 percent of all travel decisions are made by women. George Washington University School of Business reported that nearly two-thirds of today’s travelers are women. Women between the ages of 40 and 60-plus comprise a vital segment of the travel market, with typically more leisure time and discretionary income than, say, someone who’s repaying college loans or starting a family. Know the statistics for different social media channels. For example, countless polls and Pew Research Studies show that young adults age 18–29 make up the dominant demographic of Instagram. Other studies estimate that 90 percent of Instagram’s users are under the age of 35. And, frankly, tourism marketers are beginning to understand that twenty-or-thirtysomething-year-olds aren’t the primary patrons at luxury resorts or spas. In fact, a year ago, The Atlantic magazine released an article citing hoteliers’ discouragement with Instagram’s Wannabe-Stars. However, Instagram is a platform where virtual unknowns have built lucrative self-made brands that make viable contributions. Social media, in general, can be more smoke and mirrors than substance, a space where some are more concerned about leaving an up-to-the-minute selfie than leaving a legacy. In marketing travel and leisure services, you must sift through the smoke screens and strategically utilize a combination of media channels, featuring photos, videos and information that will

resonate with the demographic that you wish to reach. More mature audiences desire contentdriven endorsements from authorities that they respect and trust.

TWM: What world experiences or encounters provided pinch-yourself moments?

An epic moment was standing on the balcony of the Hotel Regina in Paris, on a month-long vacation, after having spent a previous extended holiday in Rome at the Baglioni Hotel Regina—part of a whimsical mission to experience every Regina property in the world. Magical pinch-worthy encounters include bonding with a weaver of lace in the quaint village of Şirince in Turkey; playing dress-up with geishas in Kyoto, Japan; and observing the tribal customs of Berber women in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Closer to the home front, I’m moved when I visit Carson House Museum in Marion, North Carolina, and witness the permanent exhibition of my greatgreat-great-great-grandmother Kadella’s over 200-year-old quilt. Or when I return to a crumbled chimney in the woods of Black Mountain, the site where my great-great-grandmother, medicine woman and midwife Mary Elizabeth Louisa Stepp Burnette Hayden, concocted healing remedies.

TWM: What are a few of your most treasured possessions?

My most precious treasures will still fit in a footlocker. I’m most proud of my restored circa 1890 family heirloom Bible, a collection of vintage images dating back to the mid-1800s, and travel photos that capture adventures all over the globe. I also treasure a bracelet that I wear often, depicting five consecutive generations of tallahassee woman | 36 | june • july 2019

foremothers, women of African-American, European and Native American descent. Their faces have accompanied me down the red carpet, up the entrepreneurial ladder and to ports abroad, steps they couldn’t take during their lifetimes.


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F E AT U R E

IN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA by regina lynch-hudson photography by courtland bivens iii

Looking for a getaway where quaint antiquity meets posh fabulosity? Nothing compares to visiting America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, then seamlessly combining it with a jaunt to neighboring Ponte Vedra Beach. Allow a full week (minimum) to thoroughly experience the historic discoveries in the culturally rich St. Augustine, with its delightfully slower-paced environs, ghost-filled dwellings and magnificent forts. With a population of around 14,000, some 7.6 million visitors per year swarm St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach. A mere half-hour north up Highway 1A, Ponte Vedra Beach is lauded for its seaside resorts, picturesque golf courses and luxurious spas. Over seven heavenly days, I enjoyed nature, top-star restaurants, museums and a magnificent multiplicity of resorts, cast in a setting of pristine Atlantic shoreline. And if you think I returned home exhausted, think again. A stop by Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, the legendary spot discovered by Ponce de León, empowered me after an obligatory sip of miracle water! (fountainofyouthflorida.com).

I found myself in a state of tranquility as I lounged in the crème de la crème of the historic coast’s resorts. First stay was at The Collector Inn and Gardens, St. Augustine’s newest luxury boutique hotel (opened March 2017)—deservingly awarded AAA Four-Diamond status. The compact, tucked-away inn is fit for a queen’s hideaway. And treat me like a queen they did! Someone must have texted ahead to inform the staff of my love for old-fashioned romanticism. Centuries-old brick pathways led way to 30 individually-festooned suites, nestled in nine renovated buildings from days gone by (thecollectorinncom.) Final stopover was the sprawling Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach, a breathtaking 300-acre oceanfront resort that’s sister-property to the AAA Five Diamond-awarded

Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, sharing its six restaurants, three lounges, spa, 36-hole golf course, tennis courts and boutiques. After prancing on the white sand beaches daily, I rushed to my ocean-side suite’s beckoning Roman tub and fireplace. Ocean views are as plentiful as air in Ponte Vedra (pontevedra.com).

Ladies, be forewarned, you’ll leave the Florida coast a few pounds heavier. The Reef, a waterfront seafood and fine dining eatery, serves the best Sunday Brunch in St. Augustine (thereefstaugustine. com). On the scenic drive along A1A, be sure to stop at the North Beach Access point to enjoy the incredible view of the Atlantic from 40-foot-high dunes! For fine dining, Costa Brava Restaurant (casamonica.com) earned my vote. Mediterranean coastal cuisine is served in the posh setting of the Casa Monica Resort and Spa. In Ponte Vedra Beach, reward yourself with appetizers and more at Valley Smoke (valleysmoke.com), Ponte Vedra’s Southern-inspired restaurant on the Intracoastal Waterway. Concoctions of modernistic comfort food, such as crispy chicken livers with red pepper jelly and Smoked Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce, tickled my fancy, on a menu that’s predominately slow-smoked barbecue dishes.

A peaceful, breezy excursion with St. Augustine EcoTours (staugustineecotours.com) provided a passage of unparalleled discovery. Departing from St. Augustine Marina, I paddled a tandem kayak with my better-half, trailed by company owner Zach McKenna, one of Florida’s most incredible interpreters of nature on the waterways. Cozying up with wildlife and marine habitat along the mashes was a soul-stirring expedition!

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Bayfront_St. Augustine

For a pampering perk that’s every bit as soothing as the aquamarine waters, book one of over 100 tantalizing services at the uber-opulent 30,000-square-foot Spa at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, the region’s largest and ritziest spa (pvspa.com). Following a lazy morning of unapologetic beach bumming, I refreshed myself with the spa’s signature indulgence, a 50-minute deep-cleansing Ponte Vedra Essential Facial, which is guaranteed to leave you feeling 20 years younger!

Don’t miss St. Augustine’s standout attractions! Top sites include Castillo de San Marcos (nps.gov/casa); Fort Matanzas National Monument (nps.gov/foma); St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum (staugustinelighthouse.com); and Lightner Museum (lightnermuseum.org).

Collector Inn and Gardens

St. Augustine EcoTours tallahassee woman | 39 | june • july 2019


LOCAL MEETS GLOBAL

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tallahassee woman | 40 | june • july 2019


F E AT U R E

WWMB 2019 Award

Winners photography by andrea jones

In this year of WE—Women Empowered it is with great honor that TWM presents the esteemed winners of the 2019 Women Who Mean Business Awards. In the categories of Legacy, Innovator, Torchbearer, Service, Entrepreneur and Rock Star, the winners embody the very best of the business and professional spectrum. We appreciate all of their efforts to uplift, inspire and empower all of us as we continue to celebrate female professionals and advocate for the advancement of all women in the workplace.

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Legacy Dianne McCain

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F E AT U R E

Diane McCain

State University System and Florida Board of Governors

LEGACY AWARD “When something bad happens you have three choices: you can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.” Diane McCain oversees and coordinates activities involving the universities, policy makers and education consumers for the State University System and the Florida Board of Governors. Diane has extensive experience in legislative and public affairs, working in both the private and government sectors for more than 20 years. In addition to holding numerous state and national leadership roles, over the last three decades, she has helped to make history as an advocate for victims’ rights, helping victims of crime get the assistance that was lacking at the time when she faced the challenges of the Chi Omega murders at Florida State University. Her life’s work resulted in a Constitutional Amendment for Victims’ Rights in the state of Florida and crime victim programs. What is your Flame of Inspiration (something you’ve learned along your business journey) that you believe will help spark hope, insight or transformation in another woman? Anger can damage your soul. Bad things happen. That’s a fact of life. A popular adage says, “When something bad happens, you have three choices: you can let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.” These are wise words that should be kept in your heart. Whether it is something that happens in your career or personal life, it is really important how we handle those things and how we react. Equally important, we must not let the difficulty be wasted. God does turn all things to good—I believe this with my whole heart. We have to be sensitive to His guidance in all things. From the “bad” things in life, there is great positive impact and healing to come for yourself and for others, as a result of your choices and your next steps.

Why is it important to give back to the female professional community—in other words, why is it important to keep the flame going? I’m often teased about my mantra, “We only have each other, girls.” But it is so true! Early in my career, I served as a legislative analyst and later as chief of staff for the Legislature. It wasn’t that long ago, and at the time it was a male-dominated environment. Later, I worked for the Department of Justice, and it was very interesting to be young and female. I gravitated to smart women who knew the ropes and helped me develop my skills and share experiences with me. Together, we were the best source of support and encouragement. That is still true. Though I have many male influencers in my life and without question I am grateful for them, it has been women that have encouraged me the most—no matter what! It has been brave female colleagues that have lifted me up and encouraged me. In regards to your particular award, how does it help to illustrate your personal and/or professional philosophy for life? As a committed Christian, I am thankful for a deep and abiding faith. That said, I was tested. When my life (and the lives of other loved ones) was upended by tragedy, I knew in my heart that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Through fear and heartbreak, I prayed that while I could not see what the future would bring, somehow, some way God would use the situation in mighty ways. It was not easy. I clung to the verse “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed…” At times, things seemed impossible, in more ways than one. It became my earnest desire to help bring about changes—changes that would affect the lives of others, so that the lives of my two sorority sisters were respected and their deaths were not in vain. tallahassee woman | 43 | june • july 2019

I got back far more than I gave. Through sharing empathy and in collaboration with so many who suffered huge tragedies and injustices, I was blessed tenfold. God used Lisa and Margaret’s lives to bring about much needed change. And in the process, he healed my heart. Which quote, or motto best reflects where you are right now in your journey as a woman? Typical me, one’s not enough—I’ve got two. “I don’t know exactly what’s next, but I’m stepping forward with grit, anchored in grace.” (Julie Graham) “I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.” (Malala Yousafxai) What changes do you hope to see in the future for women in business? Increased flexibility. Since the 1950s, women in the workplace have drastically increased. Yet we will always have primary responsibilities for home and family matters. I have often said when God took the “rib” from Adam, He also gave us strong backbones. We have brilliant minds, talent and keen awareness. We are natural multitaskers and nurturers. We face challenges that deserve solutions. Employers are recognizing this, and hopefully, more changes and opportunities to adopt flexible and innovative working environments will continue. Ultimately, we as women have to stand up for ourselves and remain committed to driving quality to the workplace and bringing attention to problems and issues—all the while addressing these with productive solutions After all, if there are creative ways of doing things better, women are the ones to conceive them!


Torchbearer Dr. Asha Brewer

tallahassee woman | 44 | june • july 2019


F E AT U R E

Dr. Asha Fields Brewer The Temple Fit Company

Torchbearer Award “You may be super. And you may be a woman. But you don’t always have to be superwoman.” Dr. Asha Fields Brewer is a creator of healthy conversations and is an alumna of Florida State University. After earning a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Parker University (Dallas, TX), Dr. Asha established the Temple Fit Company and its faith-based wellness nonprofit Temple Fit Health, Inc. Her wellness agency matches wellness educators and fitness instructors to workshops, conferences and church events across the nation. When she isn’t writing or speaking at events, Dr. Asha is likely mentoring college students or serving the community as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. What is your Flame of Inspiration (something you’ve learned along your business journey) that you believe will help spark hope, insight, or transformation in another woman? “You may be super. And you may be a woman. But you don’t always have to be superwoman.” As women, we are conditioned to sacrifice and used to juggling multiple tasks, being there for others and throwing on our capes to save the day. However, always operating in this superwoman mentality can be extremely stressful, and it can overshadow what we were purposed to do. That is why I share this phrase with others and myself, giving us permission to stay on course with the work we were created for. Why is it important to give back to the female professional community—in other words, why is it important to keep the flame going? We believe we can fly, because we’ve seen others soar. I think it is important to support the work of the women in our community, because they illuminate the path for others. Support comes in many forms, such as collaboration, mentorship, discussing best practices, patronizing the business, connecting their work with potential clients or consumers and even nominating these women for the WWMB Awards! If we intentionally looked for ways to bring our flames together, imagine how brightly we would shine.

In regards to your particular award, how does it help to illustrate your personal and/or professional philosophy for life? Receiving the Torchbearer Award is such an honor, because I owe who I am and what I do to quality mentoring. Peer and professional mentoring have helped me organize life experiences into life lessons, and I endeavor to provide these same opportunities for others. To be honest, my entire company is built on mentoring concepts. Our clinicians educate as they treat. Our wellness and fitness instructors are more like travel guides for life. We thrive on the creativity and innovation of our college interns. Even our events and conferences all have mentoring components built in. I intentionally look for opportunities to create mentorship engagement in my work and in my community, because I believe in the power of mentoring to change perspectives and change lives.   Which quote or motto best reflects where you are right now in your journey as a woman and explain why? “Community Over Competition” has become my life mantra. A few years ago, I became a full-time entrepreneur. I was trying to do everything on my own, and I was comparing my snail-like progress to the presumed cheetah-paced advancement of others. I quickly burned out. I also experienced high levels of self-doubt, depression and Imposter Syndrome. Through prayer and intentional reflection, I came to realize that I was approaching business all wrong. I needed a “we” mindset, not a “me” mindset. Making this shift created space for professional and personal growth. My one-woman company developed into a wellness agency of more than 25 who all use our gifts to serve others. Additionally, I was finally able to engage in the authentic self-care that we equip and empower others to experience. What changes do you hope to see in the future for women in business? I hope to see women truly enjoy their work. I believe there is an opportunity to be your best self, do your best work and live abundantly—all at the same time!

tallahassee woman | 45 | june • july 2019


Entrepreneur Krista Cayer

tallahassee woman | 46 | june • july 2019


F E AT U R E

Krista Cayer

Cayer Behavioral Group

Entrepreneur Award “Every problem has a solution.”

Krista Cayer graduated from Florida State University in 1996 and found her feet professionally in Atlanta, Georgia. After five years of working one-on-one with children diagnosed with autism, Krista obtained a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from the University of South Florida in 2003. After receiving her Board Certification, Krista found herself living in Tallahassee, happily married, a mom of two beautiful girls and the proud founder and CEO of Cayer Behavioral Group (CBG). What is your Flame of Inspiration (something you’ve learned along your business journey) that you believe will help spark hope, insight or transformation in another woman? My Flame of Inspiration is plural in that it is the “people” I’ve placed around me. I’ve learned that one of my strongest qualities as a leader is identifying key human characteristics necessary to make any venture worthwhile and successful and further placing the exact right person in any particular position—not being the most qualified person in the room, but instead, having the most qualified person by my side on any project supports personal and professional success for both my collaborator and myself. Why is it important to give back to the female professional community—in other words, why is it important to keep the flame going? I was raised in a blue-collar community where I found a handful of girls who would become lifelong friends. Every single one of these girls grew up to become powerhouses in their fields. We’re each other’s biggest fans during the good times and each other’s most important comfort during the tough times. I never thought it uncommon to have lifelong friends, let alone friends who are some of the most influential leaders in their chosen fields. Within the last few years, I realized those friendships are special and unusual. It’s important to give back to our female community and encourage the applauding of greatness amongst your tribe. Also, in equal importance we should encourage young women to gravitate towards colleagues who in the long run will remain fiercely loyal and help build their best selves.

In regards to your particular award, how does it help to illustrate your personal and/or professional philosophy for life? I give it my best to live a “time-rich” life. I started CBG when my oldest daughter, Isabella, was a few months old. I worked my tail off with the ultimate goal being that when she was in middle school, I would be afforded time to spend with her without having to chase down the ticking of the clock during a traditional work day. Over a decade of hard work laced with another baby (Emmi, 10) and a career change for my husband (Chris), Cayer Behavioral Group grew into a hardworking team of incredibly talented (mostly) women. My team at CBG allows me the opportunity of time with my girls—and for that I am forever grateful. Which quote or motto best reflects where you are right now in your journey as a woman and explain why? In the movie Philadelphia, Tom Hanks’s character states, “Every problem has a solution.” I say this line ALL THE TIME—to my husband, to my staff, to my children, to myself. When I was just beginning the CBG journey, I was everything in the company. My job skills started at cleanup crew and ended at CEO all in a single day’s work. There were times I wanted to throw in the towel, but I would remind myself, “Every problem has a solution,” and I would work until I found it. Then, I would put my big girl pants back on and dive into the next challenge. Before I knew it, a socially significant, ethical and growing company was born. What changes do you hope to see in the future for women in business? Strong, women CEOs are far outnumbered by men in our community. It is my hope that we will witness more women-driven start-ups find success. In the future, I hope to see more mentorships available for young women, specifically those of the entrepreneurial variety. It is my hope the overwhelming uncertainties associated with developing a grassroots business will be less for future women business owners. It is my hope that our community will provide an opportunity for increased collaboration between the established business owners and the up-andcoming and together we’ll see the numbers swing a little more our way.

tallahassee woman | 47 | june • july 2019


Service Wallisa Cobb

tallahassee woman | 48 | june • july 2019


F E AT U R E

Wallisa Cobb

Cobb Realty & Investment Company

Service Award “... failure is not an option. No matter what, I must approach each day ready to do, give and be my best and I must be ready to at least try.” Wallisa Cobb is a top-producing real estate broker and owner of Cobb Realty & Investment Company, a boutique real estate brokerage serving the Big Bend area since 2007. An alumni of Florida A&M University, Wallisa earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics and a master’s degree in public administration. Devoted to her community, Wallisa serves as chair of the Leon County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, Leadership Tallahassee volunteer, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Guardian ad Litem, and Flagler College Community Advisory Council member. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. What is your Flame of Inspiration (something you’ve learned along your business journey) that you believe will help spark hope, insight or transformation in another woman? My Flame of Inspiration is truly that failure is not an option. No matter what, I must approach each day ready to do, give and be my best, and I must be ready to at least try. As said by Elbert Hubbard, “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” Even when you are tired—try; even when it looks like your best efforts are not working—try; even when it looks like no one around you understands the sacrifices you are making— continue to try. Why is it important to give back to the female professional community—in other words, why is it important to keep the flame going? For me it’s quite simple: we are not only paving the way for today but for generations to come and must be ready to pass the torch. In turn, the next generation of female professionals must also be ready to receive the torch. By giving back to other female professionals, tallahassee woman | 49 | june • july 2019

we create a community of women who are ready to excel in the workplace because of the guidance and mentorship that they’ve received along the way. In regards to your particular award, how does it help to illustrate your personal and/or professional philosophy for life? As best said by Shirley Chisolm, “Service is the rent that we pay for our time here on earth. “I agree with her 100 percent. When I look back on my journey, there have always been people, mainly women who helped me get from one point to another. Because of this, I feel it is my duty to be a blessing to others, as so many people were for me. Of everything that I’ve accomplished to this point, it would mean nothing if I were not able to pay it forward by helping others along the way and using my life as an inspiration to tell other young girls or women, “You can do it too.” Which quote or motto best reflects where you are right now in your journey as a woman? “Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon, they shine when it’s their time.” What changes do you hope to see in the future for women in business? We are in a unique situation where the playing field is becoming more level for women in the workplace. We are aspiring higher, we are achieving more and we are becoming more prevalent in occupations where women have not traditionally been seen. Because of this, I think there is an opportunity for women to be more supportive of one another professionally by being role models and mentors and by sharing our journeys.


Rockstar Barby Moro

tallahassee woman | 50 | june • july 2019


F E AT U R E

Barby Moro RedEye Coffee

Rock Star Award “It's important to remember you can only do your best with what you've got—comparison steals your joy and diminishes your efforts.” Barbara Maria Moro (Barby) is the Chief Operating Officer for RedEye Coffee. Previously, Barby worked with The Village Square and the Southern Scholarship Foundation and was a part of the Leadership Team for the Oasis Center for Women & Girls (of which she is a lifetime Founding Member). Barby has served on multiple boards , has been a Catalyst for Knight Creative Communities Institute and is an active Big Sister for the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee, Class 28. What is your Flame of Inspiration (something you’ve learned along your business journey) that you believe will help spark hope, insight or transformation in another woman? I work hard every single day as a way of living out my gratitude to those that came before and paying it forward for those that will come after me. It's important to remember you can only do your best with what you've got— comparison steals your joy and diminishes your efforts. Your efforts matter and your best is worthy of celebrating. Allow yourself grace for growth while also making time to celebrate the every-day wins. These little victories allow us to be grateful and remind us how far we've come—which in turn grants us the strength to keep moving forward.  Why is it important to give back to the female professional community—in other words, why is it important to keep the flame going? We're all we've got. Representation matters because it grants you a deposit of hope and immediately connects you with someone else who may have an inkling of what you've been or are going through. It reminds you that you're not alone and you can get through whatever challenge you may be facing. Taking the time to pour into others is another way of expressing gratitude and enriching your community. Every day, women are helping other women redefine success and are living

examples of how to get from surviving to thriving. And the truth is, when women thrive, everyone and everything thrives.   In regards to your particular award, how does it help to illustrate your personal and/or professional philosophy for life? Professionally, I get by with grit and grace. I give my absolute best each and every day and remember there's always tomorrow. Some goals are long-term and can't be met in a day, and that's OK. My grit shows up in my resolve, spirit and endurance. I speak my truth (even if my voice shakes) and get back up after every fall (even if I'm muddy and torn). My grace shows up when I forgive myself for not knowing everything and allow myself room for mistakes. Personally, I believe all that I am, I owe to my family, friends, mentors, educators and community. I am a culmination of my experiences, and I do my best to live out my gratitude. So if the Rockstar Award is about the accomplishments I've made, then to me, it's really about recognizing all those who have invested in me. These efforts and accomplishments are just a return on their investment, and hopefully that makes them proud.    Which quote or motto best reflects where you are right now in your journey as a woman and explain why? "You will be found." I am a new mom. (Technically, he is two now, but it still feels very new to me.) In the past two years, I've experienced a significant amount of challenges, professional disappointments and personal loss, all while figuring out how to be a good mom and loving partner. It's been a roller coaster of highs and lows, successes and failures. And it was hard—there were moments that I would see everything that needed to be done and think, "This is impossible." And I still did it. I did the impossible every single day.  tallahassee woman | 51 | june • july 2019

During these same two years, I've realized just how resilient I really am and how critical it is to be able to ask for help. I went through what felt like a valley and came out on the other side braver, stronger, and smarter. I am confident, competent, and capable. I am the happiest and most professionally fulfilled I have felt in years, while being surrounded by incredibly supportive people.  "You Will Be Found" is a song that I listened to recently that made me reflect on just how blessed I am for all the support I receive from family, friends and loved ones. So even when there were moments that I felt lost or alone, I looked around, I rose, and I was found.   What changes do you hope to see in the future for women in business? Unfortunately, I still see achievements being overshadowed by looks, size or a keen fashion sense for women. I've been in rooms where someone's outfit or makeup is the only thing that gets commented on, even after they say some pretty amazing things; I've reviewed employee manuals that indicate how women should keep their hair (leaving zero room for the natural varieties of women of color); I've had to challenge a coworker who judged someone as lazy because they wore baggy or loose-fitting clothing; I've been told that in order to be taken seriously, I should wear contacts and that my makeup is a direct reflection of how put together I am. While professionalism standards certainly exist (and matter for a variety of reasons), I would love to see us redefine them in more inclusive ways for all women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. We can do this by being honest with ourselves, challenging our inner biases about standards, and then asking if there is room for growth. And I promise you—there is. You can absolutely trust that my curvy self with nerdy glasses, top bun, wearing a baggy blouse is still bringing the professional fire to every single meeting.     


Innovator Elizabeth Ricci

tallahassee woman | 52 | june • july 2019


F E AT U R E

Elizabeth Ricci Rambana & Ricci P.L.L.C.

Innovator Award “The ‘no’ is always out there. Seek the ‘yes’.”

Elizabeth Ricci is an award-winning attorney, advocate and community supporter. Well known for her pro bono work, Elizabeth was named the “Go-to lawyer for veterans” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a Presidential appointment to the Selective Service System Board. Elizabeth has taught immigration and written several scholarly articles, including an entry in the Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court and for the Harvard G&L Review. She currently serves on the Holocaust Education Resource Council, Tallahassee Hispanic Theatre and Capital City Chamber of Commerce boards. She is the Managing Partner of Rambana & Ricci, PLLC Immigration Attorneys and the proud mother of two girls, ages 13 and 10.  What is your Flame of Inspiration (something you’ve learned along your business journey) that you believe will help spark hope, insight or transformation in another woman? My husband Neil and our two daughters spark me to be better and do more.  I work hard at my job to provide for our family in a balanced way.  As my own boss, I can take off work for recitals and class parties.  Why work so hard if I can’t be with those whom I love most?  As for my community work, I want to be an example to my daughters.  I want them to understand that all Americans have a civic duty to be involved in our communities.   Why is it important to give back to the female professional community—in other words, why is it important to keep the flame going? I firmly believe that women should support each other as friends and colleagues. Who better to refer a lead to or lean on than a friend? In regards to your particular award, how does it help to illustrate your personal and/or professional philosophy for life? Receiving the Innovator Award showed me that we each have talents that sometimes we don’t see in ourselves.  The other finalists in the Innovator category were worthy in their own right.  I was happy to attend the event but did not believe I was going to win.  My nominator was so encouraging and taught me about myself.  I am an innovator and didn’t realize it! Which quote or motto best reflects where you are right now in your journey as a woman and explain why? I follow my mother’s advice, “The ‘no’ is always out there. Seek the ‘yes’.” There are always reasons not to go somewhere and not to ask for something, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get it. I have been amazed by what “seeking the yes” can do. What changes do you hope to see in the future for women in business? The future is female! We are seeing more women in business and leadership than ever before, and I am confident that my daughters’ generation will enjoy more equality than has ever been witnessed. But all of us—women and men—have to do our part to encourage women in business. tallahassee woman | 53 | june • july 2019


THANK YOU SPONSORS OF THE

2019 Women Who Mean Business Awards

Tallahassee

Plastic Surgery Clinic

Missy Gunnels Flowers • Andrews • FSU Alumni Center • Andrea Jones • Target Print & Mail tallahassee woman | 54 | june • july 2019


wwmb |

BU SI N E S S

WWMB 2019 FINALISTS With an overwhelming number of nominations of impressive women in business community, the top nominees, as evaluated by our judges, came from a group of women in all areas of professional disciplines. What does it take to be one of TWM's "Women Who Mean Business?” She is a woman who makes strides in her workplace and community. Her creativity, passion, leadership and vision are their own flames of inspiration. We salute and congratulate our top nominees for 2019 and thank them and their nominators for sharing their business endeavors.

Entrepreneur

Innovator

Tonya Burke Coming from an extensive sales and marketing background, Tonya Burke is co-owner of Spray Wash Exterior Cleaning, a Christian based and family-oriented business. After partnering with her husband Ray in 2010, she transformed the company from a residential cleaner into the largest commercial cleaning firm in the North Florida/South Georgia regions. In addition, she also spearheaded the advent of Spray Wash Academy and Spray Wash PRO, providing industry mentoring, scholarships, education, and certification standards across the U.S. Brittani Whittington Brittani Whittington is a proud alumnus of Florida State University with a BA in business. After graduating, she seized the opportunity to travel the world as a professional dancer on cruise ships’. Her discovery of yoga during this time transformed her life and awakened a new purpose. Returning to Tallahassee in 2010, she created Hot Yoga Tallahassee with dreams of expanding the yoga community. With zero experience or finances, a thriving sacred space was built on love and compassion. Community, health and healing is the heartbeat of her business. She has never been more proud of the strength of this Tallahassee community.  

Kristie Kennedy Kristie Kennedy empowers women born to lead with Konfidence Keys to speak their truth boldly and unapologetically. Five years ago Kristie was handed a pink slip and transformed it into Queenfidence Image Consulting, a leadership development company that provides executive training to female professionals. Kristie is a certified executive leadership coach, certified personal trainer and licensed beauty professional. Her life is a testament that you can shift from mediocrity to magnificence one audacious action step at a time. Tangela Lofton Tangela Lofton is the founder of Sweet Face, established in 2016, a business that grew out of a desire to provide healthy skin care options for her children, which resulted in the creation of her own handcrafted, organic products. Tangela earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice with a minor in political science from Florida A&M University, and a masters in public administration at the University of Phoenix. She is currently enrolled in the FAMU Master of Health Administration program and holds a certificate in introductory herbalism from the Herbal Academy in Bedford, MA.

tallahassee woman | 55 | june • july 2019


BU SI N E S S

| wwmb

Legacy

Rockstar

Service

Tillie Hogans Tillie Hogans is an author of five published books that chronicle her life, and how she overcame devestating medical and personal hardships and tragedies. Through her books and one-on-one mentorhsip at her workplace, church, the homeless shelter and prisons, she has been able to give hope and empowerment to others.

Takila Brooks Takila Brooks is the Member Retention and Engagement Coordinator at the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, where she connects businesses to the resources they need. Originally from Pensacola, Takila earned a master’s degree in health administration from Florida A&M University. She previously worked as the Administrative Liaison at a local healthcare facility and started at the Chamber with a variety of community outreach and engagement experience. She has a heart for people, but more importantly, inclusivity of everyone.

Monique Ellsworth Monique Ellsworth is the executive director of CESC, Inc., a non-profit in Tallahassee that oversees the Kearney Center, Westgate, The Dwellings and CESC Health Services. She is also an instructor at Florida State University in the College of Social Work. Monique has worked within the social service community in Tallahassee for the past seven years leading the development of CESC and its ever-expanding menu of services.  In 2017 Monique Joined Leadership Tallahassee Class 35 and in 2018 was presented the Golden A.C.E (Authentic Community Engagement) Award.  Monique’s passions include serving people affected by poverty, health disparities and the home insecure. 

Dr. Yvette Mignon Dr. Mignon is an internist and pediatrician who attended Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, and completed her residency training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Yale University Hospital in Connecticut. Dr. Mignon is passionate about treating the whole person at the Health & Wellness Integrated Healthcare Centers practice, which she founded in 2003. She has designed the practice to ensure essential services meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of her patients. Dr. Mignon strives to serve all people and remove obstacles to care, as she believes that all people have a right to effective health care.

Amy Zubaly Amy Zubaly is the executive director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association, a statewide trade association representing Florida’s 33 public power communities. Prior to assuming the executive director position, Amy served as the association’s deputy executive director of public affairs and strategic communications. She has been with the organization for 19 years. Amy holds a master’s degree in public administration and Bachelor of Science in political science, both from Florida State University. She is also active in the American Public Power Association, and in 2018, Amy was awarded the APPA Harold Kramer, John Preston Personal Service Award.

Sandi Poreda One of only a few thousand nationally accredited public relations professionals, Sandi Poreda ‘s communications firm, Bulldog Strategy Group, specializes in crisis communications and in strategic storytelling. Sandi serves on the Board of Directors for the Leon County Humane Society and the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. She also donates time and resources to the REfire Project, a program to lower Leon County’s recidivism rate. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor.

Women

EMPOWER EACH OTHER tallahassee woman | 56 | june • july 2019


Torchbearer Debra Harris Debra Harris is the founder and director of Making Miracles Group Home, a homeless shelter for pregnant young women in the community. Making Miracles is dedicated to helping these young women experience a stable foundation that empowers women and leads them to a life full of potential. Debra is a mother of 9 children, grandmother of 9 more and a wife of 30 years. She also works in a full-time position at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, having held that position for 20 years. After opening the program in 2010, Debra has helped over 60 women pursue a better life.

Annie Williams Annie Williams graduated from Florida State University with a master’s degree in psychology and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Annie saw a need in the community for an organization that would provide specialized tutoring to any child regardless of their needs, and in 2017 she opened Tutors for Tally. Since then, the company has expanded, providing tutoring, enrichment classes, Spanish classes, independent student projects and camps to help build academic confidence and for each student to reach his or her fullest potential.

COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS

DR. MICHELLE MITCHAM Ph.D., LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, CFM

Counseling Coaching Consulting

850.888.8945

GRACIOUS SPACES

EX T R AORDINARY E V E NTS FSU Alumni Center featuring Andrew's Catering | For booking info, contact: Ashley Chaney 850-645-9255 | achaney@andrewsdowntown.com andrewsdowntown.com tallahassee woman | 57 | june • july 2019


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| work life

FINDING YOUR DREAM JOB by prisicilla feroli

F

or those seeking a new dream job and recent college graduates, career hunting doesn’t have to be stressful. With preparation and the right tips, we can ease the anxiety of getting in the door and nailing the interview. Start by cleaning up social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Keep your online presence professional, especially excluding photos or posts from your account that you wouldn't want your future employer to see. After cleaning your online presence, start searching for resources that can connect you with companies and employers. The Internet is your best friend. Sites such as LinkedIn, Handshake and WayUp connect you to a network of companies, hiring representatives,and business owners looking for job candidates. Anyone can find a full-time, parttime, or internship position on job sites catering to a range of education levels, experience, or background.

tallahassee woman | 58 | june • july 2019


Before submitting a job application, be sure to touch up your resume to suit the job. Every position requires different skills and qualities. For example, if you’re applying for a position in marketing, it may be useful to include your education, internship experience and extracurricular activities related to marketing that demonstrate why you would be a great fit in a marketing department. Knowing and tailoring your elevator speech—the 30 seconds where you can best sell yourself to a person who might hire you—comes across as professional and increases your chances of connecting with a professional who may see something in you. An elevator speech can include your name, alma mater, interest in the company and past professional experiences—all conversation starters that can lead to a great conversation and a future interview. Keep in mind that every job won’t immediately return a call or offer an opportunity to meet for an interview. Persistence is key when job searching. It’s easy to be discouraged, but keep sending out your resume. Make direct calls to offices to demonstrate continued interest, and thank people for even a few seconds of conversation. Don’t let a few rejections determine your work, ethic and perseverance. Even if an interview doesn’t happen immediately, an employer may keep you in mind for the future if they remember your graciousness, tenacity, and professionalism. When the email you’ve been waiting for arrives—the big interview request— research the company beforehand. There’s an incredibly high chance your interview will consist of knowledge regarding your questions of the company and what you understand about the open position. Information such as a company’s mission statement and goals, as well as any fun facts, information or qualities about the company, are great inspiration for thoughtful questions you can ask your interviewer. Once the interview is set in stone, decide on an outfit in advance. Button-downs, dress shirts, closed-toed heels and suits are all appropriate attire. Professional clothes demonstrate you care about the opportunity to interview. With these tips in mind, get out there and snag your dream job.

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BU SI N E S S

| money talk

INVESTING TIPS From Mr. Wonderful by marcia warfel

B

usiness leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs and students packed FSU’s Ruby Diamond Auditorium to listen to Shark Tank's "Mr. Wonderful," Kevin O'Leary, during FSU’s Power Forward series. O’Leary is a regular contributor on ABC, CNBC and CTV and a bestselling author. From modest beginnings to building a billion-dollar business, O’Leary shared insights about life as a Shark and what it takes to be successful in business and in life. Presented by First Commerce Credit Union, the Power Forward speaker series brings successful men and women together to discuss effective business practices that help reshape the business world. “We believe small businesses are the backbone of our community, and Power Forward is just one way we support entrepreneurship by inspiring and motivating local business leaders.” As small businesses across the country continue to power the economy, “Kevin O’Leary’s story of perseverance and hard work speaks to the heart of what every business owner can accomplish when you dare to dream big,” said First Commerce CEO Cecilia Homison. O’Leary offered many insights to the aspiring business leaders in attendance. He began with the focus on the pitch. He shared his approach that all business owners should be able to pitch their idea in 90 seconds or less. The two most important points to include in your pitch should be. (1) Why should an investor decide to invest in you or your company? and (2) What are your numbers? Your numbers could include things such as your sales gross, staff numbers, sales numbers, years in business, years of experience, number of locations, etc. O’Leary also encouraged business leaders to always be aware of what investors look for in regards to investing in their business. He stressed the importance of having a patent on their product or concept and expressed that investors will inquire about their return rate. Having answers to these questions will help investors determine whether to invest their time and money in your company. Interestingly, in regards to successful businesses, it is women who are succeeding in businesses

now more than ever. According to O’Leary, there are five key reasons why women in businesses are succeeding. First, women have great time management skills and are excellent multitaskers. For example, moms have proven to be very capable at juggling their personal and business responsibilities. Second, women are good at setting realistic, achievable goals. For instance, after a business industry study regarding business growth rate, women tend to not worry as much about business growth rate, such as increasing staff and/or having a large office or facility, and focus more on just hitting specific, measurable targets or goals to grow their business. Thirdly, women-owned businesses tend to have less employee turnover. As business studies suggest, women-owned businesses tend to accommodate to working mothers, and that increases employees’ loyalty to the company. Fourth, women-owned businesses tend to be more customer service-oriented, meaning that women businesses listen to customers, employees, investors and public commentary and take action to correct the situation. They place a large amount of value in their customers or clients which in effect changes the market and market trends. Lastly, women tend to focus on branding and building a story into a brand. This confirms what customers or clients are expecting. Gaining public trust and trusting the person behind the company are valuable. On the other side of the business spectrum, O’Leary shared his insights on why companies are failing. He expressed four reasons. The first tallahassee woman | 60 | june • july 2019

is advertising. If your company does not have the means to advertise, then it can’t survive, he stated. He further stated that the public must know who you are, and the more people know, you the better it is for your business. Two, if you have an opportunity to get on TV—get on TV, like QVC. Three, your company should be on all social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. He said that if you’re not on social media, then you’re not up to date and you’re behind the curve, and your competitors will have the advantage. Four, follow up with customers and/or clients. It’s time well spent and costs nothing. Before closing, O’Leary offered five Golden Rules of investing. First, 1 to 10 percent of your investments should be in a stock, specifically, a dividend-paying stock. He stated that almost everything he owns is in a type of stock. Secondly, buy stock in things like Boeing and/ or Apple, companies that offer worldwide public use. Third, don’t live beyond your means; do what you can with what you have, and don’t worry about the Jones’. Also, don’t do high-risk things with your money if you are over 40. If you’re over 40, it’s time to get serious about your investments. The fifth Golden Rule is to always keep some cash around for emergencies. Finally, he stated that you must always give back. He expressed that the best way he has found to do this is through charitable contributions. He stated that giving to those that really are doing good work on the ground level is very impactful and makes a significant difference.


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BU SI N E S S

| women to watch

WOMEN TO WATCH N E W S | A W A R D S | M I L E S T O N E S

Elizabeth Emmanuel Elizabeth Emmanuel was recently named the Chief Executive Officer of the Downtown Improvement Authority, an entity tasked with promoting downtown as a growing destination for development, business, entrepreneurship, ongoing education, resources and entertainment. Previously, Elizabeth was a program coordinator for Leadership Tallahassee, a program of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. Virginia Glass Tallahassee community leaders and residents gathered at the GFWC Woman’s Club of Tallahassee on April 18 for the fourth annual benefit luncheon in support of Second Harvest of the Big Bend food bank, hosted by Tallahassee real estate agent and philanthropist Virginia Glass. With 200 people in attendance, the event raised more than $18,000 to be donated to Second Harvest, bringing the total donations from all four luncheons to about $58,000. If you are interested in making a donation to Second Harvest, please visit www.fightinghunger.org. Debra Harris Debra Harris is the founder and director of Making Miracles Group Home, a homeless shelter for pregnant young women in the community. Making Miracles is dedicated to helping these young women experience a stable foundation that empowers women and leads them to a life full of potential. Debra is a mother of nine children, grandmother of nine more and a wife of 30 years. She also works in a full-time position at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, having held that position for 20 years now. After opening the program in 2010, Debra has helped over 60 women pursue a better life. Nichole R. Jefferson Nichole R. Jefferson has been employed by the Florida A&M University for 20 plus years in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is the founder of My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper, a support group for students with children. Outside of FAMU, she is the owner of Victorious People, LLC, motivational speaking and life coaching establishment that was started to help ensure that everyone knows that “Victory is in sight.” She is the author of More Than Enough: You Were Built for This. Currently,

she is pursuing 501(c)3 status for the nonprofit component of Victorious People that will serve homeless college students. Above all, she is most honored to be a minister, wife and mother of two. Ericka McKibbin Ericka McKibbin is part of the TWM team in the role of Director of Community Initiatives. Ericka has over 24 years of experience in community development and nonprofit leadership. She has been an active member of the Tallahassee community as the founder of Girls on the Run of the Big Bend, a former commissioner with the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Past President of Club 25 Women, a Leadership Tallahassee alumni and Director of the Tallahassee-Leon County Housing Leadership Council. Her most recent endeavor is the launch of Maxim Strategies and Solutions, a multifaceted consulting firm focusing on emergency management and professional services. Ericka's mission is to help individuals and communities unleash their potential to bring about positive change. Marcia Warfel Marcia Warfel is part of the TWM team in the role of Director of Public Relations. She recently served as Deputy Director for the Florida Commission on Community Service-Volunteer Florida. Marcia is an advocate for women and girls and humanitarian relief. She has received many honors; TCC Women’s History program; Community Catalyst, Knight Creative Communities Institute; 25 Women You Need to Know; Woman of Distinction, Girl Scouts of Florida Panhandle; and the Davis Productivity award in 2006–2008. She also serves as a member of Club 25— Women to Know, Capital Women’s Network and Lean-in Tallahassee. Her most recent endeavor is the launch of Maxim Strategies and Solutions, a multi-faceted consulting firm focusing on emergency management and professional services.

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 listings@talwoman.com.

tallahassee woman | 62 | june • july 2019


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WELLNESS |

healthy living

HEAL THYSELF FOR A HEALTHY SELF Overcoming Inflammation by tavia rahki smith, ms

I

nflammation has a bad reputation, and in a major way it is well-deserved, but inflammation is not inherently bad. The word inflammation refers to an amazing cascade of microscopic events taking place on the molecular battle field. Specific immunomodulatory cells maintain health by winning little wars against bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and allergens.

your commitment. Ask yourself: What will my life look like as my healthiest self? Then, envision this life without barriers. Allow focused energy to flow with intention until you become an unobstructed channel for Divine Power to fuel your full potential. “Your destiny is created in the moment of decision.”

However, the body’s natural defense can spiral out of control when overwhelmed with offenders. When this occurs over prolonged periods of time, inflammation can then become the root cause of common chronic ailments, including headaches, joint paint, digestive distress, insomnia and obesity. When the body is constantly exposed to irritants, chronic inflammation ensues and symptoms persist. Fortunately there are surefire strategies for reducing inflammation that you can implement right now.

1. Find your offenders. Not every food is right for every body.

Be mindful of what you are eating and pay close attention to foods that cause distress. Consider trying the elimination diet with the guidance of a local physician who can help identify allergies or hypersensitivities.

2. Shop smart. Peruse the perimeter.

Buy the majority of your food from the fresh food sections of the grocery store. Limit packaged items with long ingredient lists. Try to keep it simple so you know what you are eating.

3. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats.

Trans fats and hydrogenated oils are toxic substances that need to be completely avoided.

4. Limit sugar intake. Break the addiction. 5. Eliminate environmental toxins. Go green!

Choose non-toxic products (detergent, soap, lotion, laundry, etc.) and make sure your home and workspace is free from mold.

6. Reduce alcohol consumption.

Keep in mind that alcohol decreases nutrient absorption with insidious effects.

7. Stop smoking, seriously. Your genes with thank you for generations to come. Consider both alternative and conventional methods for guidance along your health journey. Like all habitual changes, it is easier said than done. One choice at time can lead to an entirely new path.

8. Pray and meditate, arrive at a decision with the

determination to carry it through. Have faith in the fruitfulness of tallahassee woman | 64 | june • july 2019


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tallahassee woman | 65 | june • july 2019


WELLNESS

| 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.

FINDING CENTER

by ericka mckibben photos shyla rose photography

O

ur lives are not our own. Do we surrender them to our family, our work, our friends or volunteer activities? I, like many of my friends, occasionally find myself stuck in a cycle of “busy.” We let life run us instead of us running our lives. But is it really about running life? Perhaps, it is more about finding stillness—a place to quiet our thoughts, calm our hearts and to just be. I found this place at Camp Yoga Florida. As a very active mother, wife, professional, runner and occasional yogi, I jumped on the chance to have a weekend retreat with my dear friend. Having not practiced yoga in a while, I did what I always do. “Let’s get prepared!” Yes, my type-A, supercharged, conquer-all, fitness self said, “I need to probably do some yoga before spending two-and-a-half days in downward dog and get my yoga flow back.” I signed up for a month of unlimited classes at Hot Yoga Tallahassee. Since my regular fitness routine involved very rigorous

activity, I chose Yin and Flow classes. My muscles and mind had to reset for the slower pace, but this was what I craved. With life moving so fast, yoga was and always has been about a place to pause and center myself. I tried diligently keep the calm that came after completing a class. Sometimes this worked, and sometimes it drifted away as soon as I left the studio. As the days and weeks passed, there were more signs that yoga trip was coming at just the right time. Then, the time was here. We packed up the car excited about the weekend and headed to the Florida Elks Youth Camp in Umatilla. We laughed and shared on the car ride about anything and everything. The Florida Elks Youth Camp was a beautiful backdrop to our yoga experience. With over 400 acres of open space, including a crystal-blue lake, pools, rope course and cabins, it was the ultimate outdoor retreat location. The weather was perfect with the ideal Florida spring conditions. A light breeze greeted us as we went to check in and headed to drop off our gear before the camp opening ceremony. The next two-and-a-half days were the beginning of a slow shift in finding my center. From the onset, we were given permission to engage in as many or as little activities that we wanted. This was so refreshing when looking at a very packed scheduled over the next few days. It was more about finding what you needed rather than checking off a list and rushing to the next class or activity. My day was filled with community yoga, camp food, archery, relaxing at the lake, and a campfire. As I reflected in bed the first evening, I was struck by two things—one, the importance of connecting with authentic people and two, that physical stretching leads to mental stretching. I was exhausted, as well as at peace. tallahassee woman | 66 | june • july 2019


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As the sun rose on the second day, my body ached in a good way from the physicality of the yoga practice. I had the honor of participating in an aromatherapy session led by our local Yogi Brittani Whittington from Hot Yoga. This session focused on leading a heart-centric life and reconnecting with our truest nature—love. It was a beautiful session to start the day. Britanni’s message was, “Your love is never too small to change the world.” It was another powerful reminder to not get lost in the noise of life and share your gifts to make a difference. More yoga was sprinkled throughout the day along with a session creating a mala bracelet, a meditation tool to help the mind focus. While I have purchased a mala bracelet in the past, there was something very different when you selected each bead to manifest what you need. Whether it is courage, stamina, balance, or optimism you sought, there was a bead to help ground you in the place you needed.

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Before we knew it, the last day was upon us. The crisp, cool, spring morning air greeted us as we walked to our final class. It was supposed to be a gentle flow class to wrap up our yoga camp experience. As we laid down our mats and settled in, we realized once the instructor started that we were in the wrong class, but my friend and I decided that it was too late to change. We quickly realized that the wrong class was exactly where we needed to be. The final pose of the class was a tree pose. With a slight wobble, everyone found their tree. Then the instructor guided us to reach our arms out and meet hands with the people that were on each side and close our eyes. She left us with these words, “You are an important part of our community. Your community is here to support you. We gain strength in our togetherness." It was most likely the strongest tree pose that I had achieved in my yoga practice. There were so many takeaways from Camp Yoga Florida, but it ultimately left me with a deep sense of calm and recommitment to being mindful about my life choices. We all need to cut through the noise to find our center. I wear my mala bracelet daily as a reminder. Namaste. tallahassee woman | 67 | june • july 2019

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WELLNESS

| mental health & mindfulness matters

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others. If you are interested in ideas or contact information to info@ TalWoman.com as we make plans for our TWM Women Empowered SHE community of support.


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tallahassee woman | 69 | june • july 2019


FA M I LY

| life

Being Intentional About Family Time…Are You Making or Marking Time? by meredith hunter

H

ow families connect has changed dramatically over the past several decades, yet the importance and benefits of connecting and staying connected have not. Your parents or grandparents likely spent family time playing board games, going to the movies/theatre/soda shop and simply sitting around the front porch talking—to each other, not on a smartphone.

If we examine our current habits, we can become more mindful when making adjustments to support meaningful moments. And besides being good for the soul, a myriad of studies have proven that the benefits of consistent, intentional family time are both significant and numerous and include stress relief, long life, positive choices, improved mental health and increased self-esteem.

The digital age has brought with it both opportunities and challenges. Easy, in-home access to endless movie titles has (largely) replaced going to the movies, games are often played on a tablet or smartphone with someone in another location (even another continent) and talking can mean a text message rather than actually speaking face to face.

Insert here a dose of reality—life is busy. The secret is to make the most of the little time you do have while making sure to schedule family time, and mark it as a priority, no matter how many conflicts pop up (and they will) to steal the precious time intended for family.

Digital conditioning has had a negative impact on our attention spans and has certainly contributed to the decline of intentional family time—It’s no wonder given the amount of screen time Americans are logging every day. A recent Nielsen study found that American adults spend over 11 hours a day listening to, watching, reading or generally interacting with media. Yikes! Although that statistic is staggering, all is not lost. Our family moments don’t need to be Pinterest perfect or Instagramworthy. It’s time to step away from the phone and honestly reflect on how often we are intentional about the time spent with our families.

“There are countless benefits from spending time together. In today’s hectic world, it’s even more important to carve out quality family time,” shared Betsy Couch, mother of two young children. ”For our family, it’s the little things like talking about our day each night at bedtime, sitting down to eat dinner together and traveling together.” Undoubtedly, you do a lot for your children, but what do you do with them? Consider creating a “family time” bank of ideas. Remember it’s not about what you do or how much money you spend, it’s about being present in whatever you are doing. There is a difference between being with your family and truly engaging with them. With that in mind, every family member should be focused on their family during family time—meaning all watches and smartphones are silenced. tallahassee woman | 70 | june • july 2019

Here are a few activity ideas to get your wheels turning: play a board game, bake together, camp out in the family room, start a family book club, create a family core values statement, make a pizza together, tell stories about things your children did when they were little, share stories about your childhood, create or celebrate a silly “day of the year” together (the Days Of The Year website lists an abundance of wacky holidays—for instance June 20 is Ice Cream Soda Day), create a scavenger hunt, star gaze with a constellation guide, go on individual “dates” with each child, go for a nature walk, berry picking, canoeing, biking, zip lining… The benefits of solid family relationships apply to every age and stage from infancy to an empty nest. Though it demands more planning and intention, put the effort in to maintain meaningful connections with grown children, parents and grandparents. “My husband and I try to see our kids in person as much a possible. Phone calls are nice and social media keeps us in the know, but they just don’t compare to time spent together,” explained Susie Mckinley, mother of two adult children. It’s time, and it’s summer—a wonderful season ripe with intentional family time opportunities. Pull up your calendar, schedule some family time then put down your phone and enjoy every moment creating special memories with those that matter most.


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tallahassee woman | 71 | june • july 2019


FOOD |

the dish

ISLAND RECIPE by stephanie jimenez

G

oing along with the summer vacation vibes, Tallahassee Woman magazine’s publisher, Dr. Michelle Mitcham, has inspired us with a family recipe that is rooted from her East Indian/ Jamaican background. Even if you’re not planning on going on a vacation this summer, here is a perfect recipe to stimulate the same taste of the Caribbean Islands we all long to escape to.

CURRY CHICKEN Ingredients:

Directions:

• 1 pound of chicken cut up small; use thighs (skinned) and cut in half.

1. Rinse chicken in cold water and squeeze lime juice over all. Rinse and drain.

• Lime juice to wash and rinse chicken first with cold water

2. In a big bowl, season chicken with all ingredients except curry powder and garam masala.

• 1 to 2 large potatoes cubed, half small and half large (depending on how much curry potatoes you care for). The small cubes will melt to make the rich gravy. No flour or cornstarch necessary. • 3 to 4 cloves of crushed minced garlic • ¼ chopped bell pepper • 1 large tomato, cut up any size (stewed tomatoes in a can if you can't find vine-ripe) • Fresh thyme  • Salt and pepper to taste (Goya Adobo for a different flavor) • 1/8 to 1/4 cup curry powder, depending on your taste buds. • 2 tsp. garam masala or less 

3. Mix chicken well with your hands. 4. Cover bowl tightly and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 3 hours or overnight. You can just cook it immediately if you cannot wait. The seasoning is so intense that it will taste as though it had marinated. 5. In a deep pot, heat olive oil and turn on the fan. Drop chicken pieces carefully one at a time in very hot oil with tongs. Make sure to leave the other ingredients in the bowl—reserve balance for later. 6. Stand over the pot with long fork or tongs and keep turning chicken until a beautiful deep golden brown (it will look nearly fully cooked). 7. Add ¼ cup of curry powder and 2 tsp of garam masala to the seasoning, veggie, potato mixture. 

• 2 tsp soy sauce (optional) • 1 packet sazon with cilantro and achiote for a deep-yellow color (optional) • Olive oil and vegetable oil (half and half)—not much, just enough to brown the chicken—enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan with no excess. • Optional: (a) 1 tsp of ginger paste may be added (b) 1 cup of coconut milk instead of water or (c) add fresh-cut cilantro for a different flavor

8. Add 2 cups of water to the mixture and stir well, until curry powder has dissolved. 9. Quickly drain any excess oil off the chicken. 10. Pour mixture over chicken. Stir well. Cover for 30 minutes and cook on medium. (If cooking shrimp, then only 10 minutes to simmer) 11. Enjoy over jasmine rice!

tallahassee woman | 72 | june • july 2019


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tallahassee woman | 73 | june • july 2019

@di


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.

AN EVENING OF INSPIRATION With Former First Lady Michelle Obama

by paula deboles-johnson, mpa, ccm

F

or mother’s day weekend, my daughter and I were part of a sold out crowd in Sunrise, Florida eagerly anticipating the start of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” tour. The mood was festive as fans patiently waited to get a glimpse of our speaker for the evening. The event opened with clips of our favorite former First Lady’s moments including, Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, funny competitions with Ellen, welcoming our service members to the White House and the evolution of Mom Dancing with Jimmy Fallon. With a soundtrack specifically curated to set the homey and casual mood and early family photos depicting the journey of a young, smart and feisty Michelle, the crowd waited with bated breath for the show to begin. It felt like a long-awaited visit from a favorite aunt or your best girlfriend. She was sincere, transparent, humorous, sometimes serious and of course beautifully chic. She was unapologetically and authentically Michelle Obama, and we sat on the edge of our seats soaking up her wisdom. She stood in her truth, no longer restrained by the dictates of her former title and reminded us of her roots, the feisty little girl from the Southside of Chicago, who always knew who she was from a young age—now, all grown up. “Society tries to extinguish your flame... especially young girls,” said the former First Lady. While this comment really resonated with me, and reaffirmed my commitment to the work we do with young people, it was patently obvious that several of the women in our section were echoing those same sentiments with their high-fives and enthusiastic note-taking. She spoke of how her mother nurtured the spirited young woman that she was and more importantly listened to her. Although she was sometimes afraid for her children, her mother

allowed both her and her brother the freedom to make some decisions on their own. Michelle described her unique school experiences as a child growing up in Chicago. It was almost as if she heard our responses to her stories because she responded with, “We’re doing that today in this country….we are other-izing them. Somebody’s whispering, be afraid. We are all Americans. There is no right way to be an American.” This self-proclaimed mom-in-chief, attorney, wife, daughter and friend, smiled broadly, in a full girlfriend moment, and explained how the ‘swag-a-licious’ former President Barack Obama made her reevaluate her plans for her ‘checked-box’ life. She shared her frustrations and fears as Barack ran for various elections, which kept him away from home and how her babysitter quitting hurt her more than Barack ever could. Michelle shared the importance of bringing real friends with you and not navigating this world on your own. We were reminded to connect with one another and be encouragers; especially for children. In true Obama fashion, she recited her mantra of anything being possible for those who understood the importance of hard work and getting a good education. She encouraged us to remain optimistic during these difficult times and left us with, “We do not have the luxury to be cynical and so pessimistic that we don’t keep fighting for the kind of country that we believe in. We owe it to our people.” I am becoming….more aware and understanding of my needs. What are you becoming? #IAMBECOMING

"...We are all Americans. There is no right way to be an American.” -Michelle Obama

tallahassee woman | 74 | june • july 2019


HONORING OUR DONORS

L E S

A K E R S A N D D R . R U T H R U G G L E S A K E R S

Music Therapy Endowment Les and Ruth generously created an endowment to support music therapy at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH). Their gift will help hire an additional music therapist to work in the Tallahassee Memorial Neuro Rehabilitation Clinic. Married for 44 years, they have lived in Tallahassee since 1992. Les is the dealer principal at Legacy Toyota and a longtime TMH Foundation Board member. Ruth is a pianist and music educator.

How have you seen music therapy improve lives? RUTH: My Aunt Ruth was ill the last year of her life and spent part of that time in a hospice. When the music therapist visited her, I could tell that it was very peaceful and soothing for her, and they had such sweet voices. It was calming for me too.

How is this gift meaningful to you? RUTH: It really combines both of our loves with Les being on the TMH Foundation Board and I being a musician and knowing what music therapy can do. Music has such power to heal and to express the emotions we can’t

express for ourselves. It has a way of reaching parts of our spirit that nothing else does. Research shows that even people in catatonic states or people who are in the last stages of Alzheimer’s can be reached through music.

How has TMH cared for your family? LES: I’ve had numerous surgeries over the years, at least seven or eight here at TMH. I know firsthand the quality of care and the excellent doctors and staff. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

What motivates your giving? LES: I drew that from my father. He would give to people who were down and out without any fanfare or expecting anything in return. That made an impression on me. … I also remember a quote from Marguerite Neel Williams of the Maybelline family in Thomasville, Georgia. She said, “Money is like manure. If you horde it and stack it up, it stinks to high heaven, but if you spread it around, it does a lot of good.” I’ve always taken that to heart.

“ Any time you do something

for someone else, you’re the one who receives the blessing. “ 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 | june • july 2019


tallahassee woman | 76 | june • july 2019

Profile for Tallahassee Woman Magazine

Tallahassee Woman Magazine June/July 2019  

Tallahassee Woman Magazine’s June/July 2019 WE DREAM Issue is dreaming big! For the first time in our 13 year history, we’re featuring a jet...

Tallahassee Woman Magazine June/July 2019  

Tallahassee Woman Magazine’s June/July 2019 WE DREAM Issue is dreaming big! For the first time in our 13 year history, we’re featuring a jet...

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