Tallahassee Woman Magazine December 2020 | January 2021

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o y a m a T Josie




You Need to


Mental Health First Aid Connecting During COVID

Hormonal Imbalance

Posing for your Profession 25 Women You Need to Know


Your community needs you to wear a mask. Your heart needs you to do more. Don’t let the fear of COVID-19 keep you from seeing your doctor. Postponing your healthcare can lead to more serious issues. At Tallahassee Memorial, our comprehensive safety program utilizes the latest technology and advanced clinical protocols to keep you safe in all of our facilities. Visit us with confidence knowing you are protected.

Learn more at TMH.ORG/Safe.

tallahassee woman | 2 | december 2020 • januar y 2021




Title Sponsor

Inspiration Sponsor

Empowerment Sponsor

KWB Pathology Associates MasTec Tallahassee Ford Dr. Dean and Nicole Watson

Compassion Sponsor Dr. Armand Cognetta, Jr., and Suzanne Cognetta FASTSIGNS of Tallahassee Lisa Graganella Myron and Judy Hayden Southeastern Plastic Surgery, P.A. The Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Inc., Links in Pink The Tallahassee Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Dr. Jana Bures-Forsthoefel, MD, Owner Dr. Dorothy D. White, MD

Pink Ribbon Sponsor AMWAT Moving Warehousing Storage Florida Surplus Lines Service Office Lori DeSherlia Steve and Linda Evans North Florida Animal Hospital Quarter Moon Imports Ted Smith Brandi Thomas Blair and Nancy Williams

Special Thanks to Leon Fights Cancer Every year, Leon High School students, families and alumni, along with the community, rally to support patients at the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center. This student-led fundraising initiative has generated over $350,000 over the years to directly benefit patients fighting cancer. How amazing are these students and our community! Thank you, Leon!

1O 12




Autumn Alchemy Wedding Preview



Fashion: Love to Layer? Stylish Strategies for the Perfect Look Bridal: Autumn Alchemy Wedding Preview



WE Elevate: Kristie Teal Sweet Home Tallahassee: Amber Tynan Around Town: 100+ Women Who Care Alliance Event

26 On the Cover Josie Tamayo High Spirited, High Energy & High Heeled



Madame eXhales at Biltmore Estate Asheville North Carolina



Women to Watch Women on the Move



Healthy Living Mental Health Matters




FOOD The Dish: Pumpkin Cheesecake w/Bourbon Spiced Apple Pecan Topping

26. about the cover woman: Josie Tamayo | photography: Kira DerryBerry | makeup: Lisa Davis | clothing and accessories: Josie's Private Collection tallahassee woman | 4 | december 2020 • januar y 2021




December 2020/January 2021 • Volume 15 • Issue 6



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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 © 2021 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 | december 2020 • januar y 2021


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BARBARA WESTCOTT WRITER Barbara Wescott is founder and CEO of Shop Tally with Swellcoin.com and WomenWednesdays.co, a program to increase the numbers, influence and collaborative impact of women in places of opportunity. Reach her at barbara@swellcoin.com

CORTNIE S. BAITY, PH.D. WRITER Dr. Cortnie Baity, marriage and family therapist is a graduate of FSU. Dr. Baity is a counselor at the Department of Veteran Affairs: Vet Center specializing in providing couple and family counseling services.

DR. DAWN ERICSSON WRITER Dr. Dawn Ericsson is a graduate of Yale University and State University of New York’s medical school. Dr. Ericsson is the Medical Director at Age Rejuvenation. Married with three children, she holds membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Jack and Jill of America.

DR. GWENDOLYN SINGLETON WRITER Dr. Gwendolyn Singleton, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at Florida A&M University. She earned a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology, Howard University; a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid instructor; regional Institutional Representative Coordinator, ACE Women’s Network of FL.

OLIVIA HEYWARD WRITER PAULA DEBOLESOlivia Heyward, serves JOHNSON as Creative Director for WRITER TWM. Olivia is a brand Paula DeBoles-Johnson is a speaker, trainer, writer, designer and brand advocate who believes in strategist she creates authentic brands for leading by example; an women entrepreneurs. Employee Engagement She also develops and Performance Manager, Leon County strategies to launch or Government; Executive expand their business. Director, Capital City ohcreativeboutique.com Youth Development Corporation. She and her husband have two phenomenal daughters.

DR. ADRIENE WRIGHT WRITER Dr. Adriene Wright is LISA DAVIS a Consultant, Thought WRITER Leader, Certified Life Lisa Davis is a wife, Coach, Author, and mommy of four, beauty Speaker; Founder and blogger, freelance President of Abelita, makeup artist, and LLC a consulting firm Owner of Image by engaged in the practice Lisa. God made her of Transforming People, girly, and she loves Organizations, & sharing her tips and Communities. She serves tricks with other women the local Tallahassee so that they can look community on various and feel their absolute boards. best. imagebylisa.com

tallahassee woman | 8 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

REBECCAH LUTZ WRITER Rebeccah Lutz is a fundraising and communications professional and former journalist. She serves at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation as a development officer with a focus on donor communications. She is a community advocate at heart and has served on several local nonprofit boards.

KIRA DERRYBERRY PHOTOGRAPHER Kira Derryberry is a Tallahassee-based portrait photographer specializing in families, headshots and boudoir and commercial photography. She books locally in Tallahassee and is available for travel worldwide. View Kira’s portfolio online at kiraderryberry.com.

Meet Melissa. With more than two decades of banking experience, Melissa Wright, Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorÂŽ, is a private banker who strives to educate, empower and guide women in their personal financial management. Call Melissa today: 850.402.7731

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From the


It is my hope that the light in each and every one of us honors the light in others.



wife and mother. I recall meeting her a few years ago and was immediately drawn to her outgoing, vibrant personality that lit up the room. Rosanna Catalano, a real go-getter herself, and our guest editor, shares Josie’s inspiring story! We hope you enjoy her story and all of the uplifting stories of local women on the move doing extraordinary things in this holiday issue.

Photo by Jennifer Powell Photography


ecently, 1 billion of our brothers and sisters around the world celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, one of the most important festivals in India. This festival celebrates new beginnings, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. This celebration of light symbolizes a time of good luck and purity. With this said, it is a special time of being thankful for celebrating health, happiness and good fortune. With so much going on in the world today, from the Covid pandemic to tense elections, it is important to have a positive attitude and try to see the light in all people, despite our differences. Many have just finished celebrating Thanksgiving, a time for family and giving thanks. These important holidays and our own family rituals keep us focused on being kind to each other and our neighbors as we embark on a new year and a fresh new start. It is my hope that the light in each and every one of us honors the light in others. In this issue, we celebrate leading ladies who shine their light every day to make a difference in the world, in the community or in the life of an individual. On the cover, TWM features a true trail blazer, Josie Tamayo, an influencer and advocate for women, children, families and agencies. She shines her light in so many roles, which include mentor, lawyer and leader, not to mention

Please remember to shop local and support our advertisers and small businesses in this lovely community we call home. Thank you for your continued support and readership of Tallahassee Woman Magazine, a woman and minority owned business. TWM is the magazine that women read from cover to cover. TWM – for women, by women, about women. Thanks for spreading the word of women supporting women and sharing this resource with your circle of family, friends and influence. On a personal note, I am forever thankful for our phenomenal guest editors, contributors and amazing team at TWM, as well as our Creative Director, Olivia Heyward, who is helping to take TWM to the next level with her incessant creativity and graphic design artistry. Teamwork makes the dream work! On behalf of the entire TWM team, we wish you Happy Holidays filled with joy, peace, love, beauty and light! Best wishes for a happy and blessed new year! Wishing you love and light,

Michelle A. Mitcham, Ph.D.


tallahassee woman | 11 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

guest EDITOR


My friend Josie Tamayo is an invaluable part of my village. I can always go to her for an encouraging word and great advice”

as an attorney- to let them know Michael was in the hospital, I received a call from Josie. She said, “tell me what you need so you can get through this.” It took me aback because she was the first person to check on me. It was a kindness that I have never forgotten. I am grateful that Michael recovered and has been in good health since the incident. Photo by Jennifer Powell Photography


LEAN ON each other! While we all love the idea of LEANING IN, stepping on the gas, and going down the highway of life at full speed, it is ok to pump the brakes and LEAN ON your village. Those friends and family, who are your biggest cheerleaders and supporters, will help us get through difficult and good times. My friend Josie Tamayo is an invaluable part of my village. I can always go to her for an encouraging word and great advice, so I am honored to write her cover story this month. Josie recognizes that her family, friends, and professional mentors have assisted her in reaching her goals. She does the same for others. In fact, she introduced me to Dr. Michelle Mitcham, who is an incredible champion of women. I am so proud to be in the company of these women who push us all to shatter glass ceilings and show up when we need respite. I met Josie under the worst of circumstances. I had my first baby a few months before and had just returned to work full-time when my husband had a massive heart attack. Hours after I contacted the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation-where he worked

I was able to LEAN ON Josie during that terrible day when my life came to a screeching halt. I have since sought her wisdom on happier days when I am moving at the speed of light. We should all support and encourage each other when we are moving forward and when life stops us in our tracks.

Rosanna Catalano is the president and founder of Rocket Ship Consultants LLC . Her varied background as a lobbyist, trial attorney, television news producer, professor, university dean, career coach, and chief agency administrator allows her to provide her clients with a unique perspective and skill set for solving problems, storytelling, and creating successful strategies. Rosanna is a wife and mother of two fierce daughters. She serves as Chair of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Alumni Advisory Board Development Committee, Coach to Coca-Cola Scholars, and ViceChair of The Florida Bar Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee. She is a proud “Double Gator” as both her law degree and undergraduate degree are from the University of Florida.




tallahassee woman | 13 | december 2020 • januar y 2021



t’s that time of year to sport your cute sweaters, scarves, coats and hats. Well, the layered look is timeless and you probably have all you need to pull off this look. If not, think about adding a few classic pieces to enhance any look. For the first layer, wear a close fitting cotton or blended long sleeve tee or shirt that is very breathable. Next, for the middle layer, add a thin v-neck, vest, or sweater for a pop of color. A light wool or blended cardigan works just fine to add texture as well.


Stylish Strategies for the Perfect Look

Lastly, make a statement with an oversized coat, sweater coat or shawl and scarf. To add the final touches, accessorize with a cool fedora or other favorite hat and of course, your go to boots. My favorite boots happen to be made by Splendid, Aquatalia, or Sam Edleman, so shopping online is always an option to find something unique. Most importantly, sport your authentic style and don’t be afraid to be eclectic and mix and match to suit your personality!

tallahassee woman | 14 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Upcoming Events FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4




Jennifer Powell

Jennifer Powell, owner of Jennifer Powell Photography, is a professional photographer with more than 12 years in the industry. The former Miss Florida (and Miss Tallahassee?), Jennifer has personal ne conversation is all it took for Tallahassee trailblazexperience on both sides of the ers Lisa Davis and Jennifer Powell to instantly bond. camera. She is a wife, mom of As Lisa did Jennifer’s makeup for the Miss Florida two, and multiple business owner. Jennifer specializes in professional pageant, their paralleling traits, values and aspirations were headshots, custom branding, fam- unveiled. ily pictures and boudoir photogBoth tenacious women are moms, wives, entrepreneurraphy. ial-spirited business owners and natural-born community leaders. Jennifer, professional photographer and Lisa, proLisa Davis Lisa Davis, owner of Image By Lisa, fessional makeup artist share an aesthetically driven eye and is a professional makeup artist with heartfelt passion for helping others look and feel radiant in their own skin. more than 16 years in the beauty


industry and high-profile clients such as the First Lady of Florida and Secretary of State. An expert on all things image, she is also a licensed aesthetician, Arbonne Regional VP, fitness and nutrition enthusiast, wife and mom of four. Lisa offers bridal and event makeup, private consultations and classes, spray tanning, foundation matching and more.

Lisa and Jennifer’s friendship naturally evolved into collaborations between their self-made businesses, Image By Lisa and Jennifer Powell Photography, through headshot, branding and boudoir makeup and photography packages, as well as charitable events like the Total Mommy Makeover. Despite 2020’s unprecedented challenges, the dynamic duo brought a shared dream to fruition. Last November, Lisa and Jennifer opened a boutique studio in the heart of Market

Square, cutting the ribbon to Tallahassee’s first and only onestop-shop for all beauty and photography needs. In the downstairs portion of the studio, Image By Lisa offers bridal, event and photoshoot makeup; spray tanning; private makeup lessons and group classes; makeup and skincare retail products; and events such as foundation matching and open houses. Upstairs, Jennifer Powell Photography offers professional headshots, custom branding photography, family pictures, boudoir portraits and high school senior pictures, all in an airy room full of natural light and modern backdrops. Lisa and Jennifer’s spacious studio boasts a changing room, waiting area and large patio space for events and photoshoots. The neighboring hair salon offers convenient on-site hairstyling at their studio. For more information about studio’s services and events, visit imagebylisa.com and jenniferpowellphotography.com.

tallahassee woman | 15 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Trends |


Autumn Alchemy WEDDING

tallahassee woman | 16 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

+ a i v Ta a u h s o J


avia and Josh’s ‘Autumn Alchemy’ themed wedding came to life at a breathtaking venue, Old Willis Dairy. The event was decorated by John Gandy Events and Missy Gunnels Flowers; impeccably adorned with warm fall colors, copper and gold accents, velvet table clothes and vivid cascading florals. The bride wore a classic style ivory gown from Vocelles Bridal Shoppe. The bridal party procession was complemented with live music by Royce Lovett and Briana Smith.

Delightful multicultural dishes were prepared by Catering Capers. RedEye coffee elegantly decorated special, "Love is Brewing" coffee cups. Scrumptious cupcakes sweetened the night thanks to Lucy & Leo's Cupcakery. Everything flowed together wonderfully into a seemingly magical transformation. Thank you to everyone who made this vision and dream come true, it was truly enchanting. Look for the entire wedding story in the upcoming February TWM issue.

tallahassee woman | 17 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Whigham Images

Trends |


tallahassee woman | 18 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Special Thanks

TO OUR CREATIVE PARTNERS John Gandy Events | Old Willis Dairy | Missy Gunnels Flowers | Vocelles · The Bridal Shoppe | Whigham Images | Wildflower Event Design | Royce Lovett | Smile in Style Events | Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery | Catering Capers | Red Eye Coffee | Olivia Heyward Creative Boutique and other creative partners

Whigham Images tallahassee woman | 19 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

WE Elevate

By: Paula DeBoles-Johnson




ave you ever met a person who just lights up a room? You stand next to them and immediately feel the positivity and warm vibes begin to rub off on you. I liken it to receiving the best hug from your favorite person or slipping into your favorite cozy sweater. Now more than ever, we need these special people to

help us remember to remain positive and maintain a posture of gratitude. I am honored to have the opportunity to share space with one of these incredible women, Kristie Teal. She is the first to greet you with a kind word, an enormous smile, and offer a helping hand. She is a genuine angel on earth, and I am incredibly proud to serve alongside her, provid-

ing critical support to local nonprofits in Tallahassee. In a recent interview, she shares with TWM readers her inspirational story. I’m aware of your personal story of beating cancer. I believe the readers would be inspired by your journey. In January 2016, cancer saved my life. I say that it saved my life because it gave me an entirely new perspective and new passion for life. At the age of 43, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma. Most people know that melanoma is a form of skin cancer, but what most people do not understand is how deadly melanoma can be for so many. My mother lost her best friend to melanoma and I have a friend now in the fight of her life. Just three short months after my initial diagnosis, it was confirmed that the melanoma had metastasized to my breast, liver and lungs and suddenly I was facing a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis. It did not seem real, this could not possibly be happening to me. I endured many surgeries, radiation, immunotherapy and more and it was a very scary time, although I tried never to show my fear. I am thrilled to report that I am over 3 years NED (no evidence of disease – my favorite abbreviation)! I still go every six months for PET scans and follow up and I get a little anxious each time until I get the “all clear.” My cancer journey challenged my strength, but I never considered not surviving it. My children were my inspiration to do whatever it took to get well. One of my greatest passions now is to be a friend, a supporter, an advocate, a listener for anyone going through a cancer journey. I have met so many incredible cancer survivors that have become some

of my closest friends who were there and are still there for me. Cancer also brought Camp Kesem into the lives of me and my children. Camp Kesem is an extraordinary organization that offers a week-long, free summer camp for children who have a parent that has battled cancer. I treasure my role on the Advisory Board for Camp Kesem FSU. I have shared and continue to share my cancer journey on social media because if sharing my story of hope and healing can help even one other person, that matters to me. What matters most to you? What matters to me most is family and being a mother. Family, to me, also includes the friends we choose to have in our lives. Family is important because none of us can get through life alone.   How do you empower women in your organization and/or the community? I try to find opportunities to connect phenomenal women to one another. I used to host “Girls Nights Out” and invited women from all circles of my life. It was a fun way to bring exceptional women I have met from so many different facets of my life together. I hope to have an opportunity to host them again (when we are safe to gather in large groups). In my job at Southern Scholarship Foundation, I have connected extraordinary young women with professionals who work in their chosen career field. I believe that connecting young women with powerful role models and mentors can truly change lives.

tallahassee woman | 20 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Kristie Teal In my current role as chapter President of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) of the Big Bend, I look for opportunities to honor and celebrate women and men who dedicate their lives to philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. These are the people that are building stronger communities for all of us. What is your inner voice or heart telling you? My heart tells me to spread kindness, joy, and light in the world, especially during the current global pandemic and racial divisiveness in our country. I definitely do not have the answers about how to fix systemic problems, but I know that I can control my own behavior. I joined the Peace Corps right after college and had visions of changing the world. But what I learned during my time in Namibia as a Peace Corps volunteer is that we can all change the world one person and one interaction at a time. Who have been or who are the most influential women in your life? My mom is absolutely the most influential woman in my life. My mom was a stay at home mom for most of my childhood. She and my father divorced after 22 years of marriage and she finished raising me on her own. When she started her professional career, she worked as a paralegal. In her mid-forties, she was recruited to be an Administrator for a retirement community and had a long and successful career in the senior living industry. My mom taught me that it is never too late to accomplish anything. My mom also taught me the importance of being a strong and independent woman and she is my mentor, my best friend, and my inspiration.

tallahassee woman | 21 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Living Local | sweet home tallahasee

Sweet Home Tallahassee By TWM STAFF


Amber Tynan

Executive Director for United Partners for Human Services

mber Tynan is a trailblazer, servant, leader, and philanthropist. She is the Executive Director for United Partners for Human Services and has over 15 years of nonprofit management experience. She has spent most of her career consulting with nonprofits and improving their operational efficiency. Amber has been recognized with numerous awards for her outstanding efforts and leadership.

What matters most to you?

the path for other women, particularly

as success. At the very heart of all things,

For me, there is nothing that matters more

women of color to have the same platform

success for me is being able to be true to who

than being kind and doing the right thing

and opportunities that I have had. I do not

I am. The world we live in is ever-changing

while maintaining my authenticity. It

believe in lip service and live by the credo

and the demands we face, especially women,

seems so simple, but so often in our lives we

that together we are better, because we truly

are tiring. If I can end each day knowing I

must make choices, and many times those

do need one another – especially women.

did everything I could for those I served that

choices may not align with who we are at

day, then I was successful.

our core. Those choices may not be popular,

What is your inner voice or heart telling

and they may not meet the expectations of


Your secrets to success?

others, but doing the right thing and being

My heart is constantly reminding me to show

Kindness and authenticity.

able to show up as my most authentic self

others grace. We are all battling things in

is my benchmark. So much of my internal

our lives that are not necessarily visible

compass is centered around what is in the

to others, and everyone’s walk is unique

From where do you draw your strength? I

best interest of the greater good which drives

with a lesson to be shared. This has also

draw inspiration from several places, but

how I show up and what I get involved in. It

been central to me as a person, and even

my greatest inspiration the last four years

allows me to say no to things much easier

more so rooted through my work at United

has come from my daughter, Finnley-Ann.

and to know what is deeply aligned with the

Partners for Human Services. The work of

Seeing the world through the eyes of a

person I was called to be. It is also critically

the human services sector is life-critical to

child is such a beautiful gift, and knowing

important to me to make sure my young

our community, and so often the issues and

my role in shaping how she views this

daughter learns this now with the hope that

barriers facing our neighbors is so much

world and others is what inspires me to do

this carries with her through her lifetime.

heavier than we can ever imagine. When

more and be more. Does it mean I always

we take the time to know someone else’s

get it right? Absolutely not, but it means

Specific strategies you employ to empower

pain and struggle, only then can we begin to

I am committed to ensuring my daughter

women in your organization and/or the

influence change in our community, which I

knows she has a role and stake in the


believe we are all responsible for.

world that lies ahead for her.

being honest, women are so hard on other

What are your core values?

Who have been or who are the most

women. I was bullied as a young girl and

Authenticity, Integrity, Open-Mindedness,

influential women in your life?

I still have that internal hurt despite how

and Empathy.

Hands down my Grandmother. She sadly

What is your inspiration?

I am very sensitive to this, because if I am

left this world in 2012, and every day since

much I have grown and accomplished. With those experiences, I always try to not only

What does it mean to you to be successful?

has been a little dimmer; however, I am so

give other women an opportunity to shine,

Success is such a relative and personal thing

grateful for the time and treasures my

but to have a voice. It is my inherent duty,

for me. What I define as success is by no

Grandmother (affectionately known as G)

but especially as a white female, to widen

means what someone else should define

shared with me.

tallahassee woman | 22 | december 2020 • januar y 2021



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Living Local |

around town




By Rebeccah Lutz


omen in Tallahassee are joining

when a nonprofit she works with received

events have been canceled and as donors have

forces to make an impact on

over $11,000 in a one-hour meeting,” Glass

experienced financial struggles of their own.

local nonprofits and the people

said. “I thought, wow, we need to do that

they serve through a new chapter of the 100+

in Tallahassee. The concept is simple and

“All local nonprofits have had to think outside

Women Who Care Alliance.

appealing to ladies who lead very busy lives

of the box,” Burns said. “This funding will

and want to contribute to their community in

help us bridge the gap.”

Virginia Glass, a longtime Realtor,

a meaningful way.”

philanthropist and community volunteer,

The 100+ Women Who Care Alliance was

founded the Tallahassee chapter of 100+

About 65 women attended the Tallahassee

founded in 2006 in Jackson, Michigan, when

Women Who Care, which had its first meeting

chapter’s first meeting in person or via

women raised $12,800 in less than one hour

in November. The idea is simple: when women

Zoom. That meeting resulted in $6,500, and

to purchase cribs for new mothers through

pool their resources, they have a powerful and

funds continue to come in, Glass said. The

a local nonprofit. The alliance has grown to

immediate impact.

first recipient for funding is Chelsea House,

include men’s groups, groups with both men

a home for women and mothers who have

and women, kids’ groups and business groups.

“We come from different backgrounds

been displaced, which is part of the Good

There are now more than 650 active chapters

and different walks of life, but we have one

Samaritan Network.

and 250 under development, according to the

common goal – to make a difference in our

alliance website.

community and in the lives of the people who

“When we walked into the meeting, there

live here,” Glass said.

was just a warmth and a welcoming spirit,”

Along with Glass, the Tallahassee chapter

said Beth Burns, director of Chelsea House.

cofounders include Jaime Hoffman, Bethany

Here’s how the organization works: each

“Everyone was receptive, and the funding we

Swonson, Melanie Carr, Danielle McBeth and

member commits to making a $100 donation

received has blessed our organization during

Anita Favors Thompson.

at each quarterly meeting. Three nonprofits

a difficult time.”

attend each meeting and pitch their services

“We have a giving community, and that was

and programs for funding. Members then

Chelsea House and the Good Samaritan

proven by the enthusiastic response we got

vote by secret ballot to choose a nonprofit to

Network, which operate a food pantry and

when we invited ladies to team up with us,”

receive funding for the quarter.

other support programs for people who are

Glass said. “We are welcoming new members,

homeless, have experienced an increase in

and if you want to join, please contact us at

The goal is to raise at least $10,000 each

demand for services due to COVID-19 and the


quarter for a local nonprofit.

pandemic’s related impacts. At the same time,

“I learned of this through my daughter

fundraising has become more difficult as

tallahassee woman | 24 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

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tallahassee woman | 25 | december 2020 • januar y 2021




he first thing you notice about Josie Tamayo is her small stature and big, elegant style. Always dressed to kill, Josie makes a statement with her wardrobe, outgoing personality, and professional accomplishments. Josie has dedicated her entire career to public service, spanning from her first job out of law school as an assistant state attorney in Sarasota, to her current position as Chief of Staff with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Her tireless work ethic, interpersonal skills, and legal acumen have served her well in her leadership positions and as the first Hispanic Circuit Judge to serve for the 2nd Judicial Circuit. My interview gives tremendous insight into this spirited, energetic, and brilliant leader and role model. What are your responsibilities at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice? I am currently the Chief of Staff responsible for the administrative, legislative, and communication divisions in the department along with staff development and training. I serve as a member of the executive leadership team in furthering the department’s mission. As Chief of Staff, I have to be well-versed on all of the department’s programs so I can be a good advocate. Where did you grow up? I was born in Cuba and emigrated to the United States with my family at the age of three. I grew up in Milledgeville, Georgia, a small quiet town that once served as the capital of Georgia. My neighbors in Milledgeville used words like ‘darlin’ and ‘sweetheart’. Growing

up in a small southern town where no one had encountered anyone from Cuba, I learned early on in my life how to interact with people who had little, if any, experience encountering people of Hispanic heritage who speak Spanish. I can still remember the time my father ordered a ‘grit’ for breakfast at the local diner. As you can imagine, everyone looked at us and immediately knew we were not locals. My parents told me and my siblings that it was our responsibility to teach people who we were and treat everyone with respect. My parents said we should not be afraid to share our customs. What were your parents like? My parents, Pedro and Josefina, met when they were teenagers and married in 1957 after they both graduated from the University of Cuba with degrees in medicine and law. A few years later, they emigrated to the United States from Cuba because they witnessed the oppression under the Fidel Castro regime. My parents had to build their entire life again from scratch in the United States. My father was an Orthopedic Surgeon and formed a practice here in the states. My dad was old fashioned. He loved history, hunting, traveling, and baseball. My mother sacrificed her legal career to support my father and our family. My mom was always there for me when I experienced disappointments on my path to becoming a lawyer and served as my first style icon. How did your upbringing affect your perspective in life? I grew up in a family with a very strong work ethic and tremendous faith. We knew we had to work harder to achieve our successes and overcome the obstacles in our path. From an early age, I knew I wanted to be an attorney and judge, and no amount of hard work would deter me from achieving these goals. I was so blessed to have had parents who supported my dreams.

tallahassee woman | 27 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Where did you go to school? I graduated from Emory University for my undergraduate degree and Georgia State University College of Law for my juris doctor. Where did you begin your professional career? I began my legal career in 1985, as an Assistant State Attorney for the 12th Judicial Circuit in Sarasota, Florida. I handled all phases of criminal prosecutions, including capital child abuse cases. I also represented the Florida Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services (now Florida Department of Children and Families) in the filing of dependency petitions for matters involving juveniles. This position opened my eyes to the issues facing young people. From that point on, I knew I wanted to have a career in the public sector and I wanted to focus on helping one of our state’s most vulnerable populations and most promising resources, our children. How did your career unfold after working at the State Attorney’s Office? I left the State Attorney’s Office in Sarasota to work in the 13th Judicial Circuit of Tampa, Florida. I served as Chief to multiple trial divisions, managing all phases of criminal prosecutions from plea negotiations, jury trials, and appellate briefs. In 1991, I began working with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) where I worked for nearly 15 years. I started as a Foster Care Managing Attorney who handled termination of parental rights cases, supervised lawyers and paraprofessionals, and developed specialized training with regards to the everchanging and developing statutory revisions and pertinent laws. From there, my responsibilities continued to grow and expand at DCF in southwest Florida. I became a member of the Statewide Strike



tallahassee woman | 28 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Force on Children, served as the managing attorney for Child Welfare Legal Services, and managed high-profile cases.

For those of us not in the public sector, what would they be surprised to learn about working in government?

In 1999, you left the Tampa area and moved to Tallahassee. What prompted you to make such a move?

So much of my work was focused on building bridges to strengthen relationships, whether that was between the agency and the courts, citizens, or the legislature. You are never ‘off the clock’ when you represent the state. Long hours and sacrifice are part and parcel to the job. When you are an advocate in the public sector, you are always trying to use your skills for the betterment of the agency and the citizens it serves and regulates. There are tremendous opportunities to improve people’s lives as well as your own professional skill set.

The head of DCF at the time, Kathleen Kearney, selected me to handle a high-profile child abuse case that received a lot a press coverage, including the television show 60 Minutes. I handled the case successfully, so Secretary Kearney asked me to take on even larger projects within the agency with increased responsibility. As a result of my efforts, she asked me to join her leadership team in Tallahassee,and I was appointed to serve as the first Hispanic General Counsel for DCF. As General Counsel, I directed all legal services and functions of the agency. Secretary Kearney and Governor Jeb Bush entrusted me to lead a staff of nearly 300 all while implementing change resulting from restructuring, leadership transitions, and a shift to community-based care. This appointment allowed me to be present and have a voice in these conversations. I was honored to be in the middle of these policy changes where we could help improve the life of children throughout our state. I had been married less than three years and my son was not quite two years old when I was asked to serve as General Counsel. It was a difficult decision to uproot my family from Tampa, but I knew I was ready to rise to the challenge given the many issues that come to bear on DCF regarding children, families, elders, those who suffer from mental illness and victims of domestic violence. You have served as General Counsel for five different state agencies. Is that a record? I don’t know if that is a record, but I am honored that I have been able to use my legal background to serve my beloved state in such a unique way. As General Counsel of the Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Department of Health, Department of Management Services, and The Florida Lottery, I experienced tremendous professional growth. I engaged with every branch of government from working with our state judicial system, informing the legislature, and engaging the executive branch. When you are part of an agency’s leadership team, you learn how to balance the needs of internal and external stakeholders. I enjoy challenges, but most of all I love learning and growing.

What changes have you seen for women in the legal profession over the last three decades? There were not many women in the public sector when I started. Although we have more women graduating law school and entering my profession, I would like to continue to see more women in leadership roles, especially in the public sector. I think many women can be successful working in state agencies where they can use their knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to enhance the lives of all Floridians. We need more qualified and diverse individuals -both men and women- to serve in leadership roles like General Counsels and Agency Heads because this can inspire so many people. Seeing someone like yourself succeed motivates you because you know you can make your dreams come true too. You served as the first Hispanic Judge on the bench in the Second Judicial Circuit. Do you realize you are a role model as a result? I do not consider myself a role model. However, I do believe that my career path can serve as a guide to other people. I never took ‘no’ for an answer, and I always kept going despite the setbacks. I set the goal of being a Judge for myself when I was 14 years old. I believe that my passion to serve and tenacity culminated into achieving this life-long dream. Governor Charlie Christ appointed me to the bench, and it was the greatest honor of my life. There is some part of me that will always be a girl whose family left everything behind in Cuba in order to live in a country that encompassed freedom, liberty and the pursuit of opportunities. I pinch myself every day because I know I have been blessed. Life has taught me that you must work hard, plan, and take calculated risks to achieve your goals.

Has there been any missteps in your career? No one’s life is without obstacles, and my life is no exception. I think the most important thing is to not let the setbacks keep you out of the game. Life never goes according to plan, so be open to new opportunities and flexible in your mindset. When I have experienced lows, I always got up and got dressed because I love pretty clothes and it improves my mood. You have to give yourself a pep talk and get back out there. At the end of the day, I will not compromise my integrity and professionalism. What you think of yourself matters. Be confident in your internal moral guideposts and in your abilities. What are your most memorable accomplishments in your legal career? Serving as DCF General Counsel allowed me to be at the forefront of creating statutory changes and implementing social policy involving children. It was a privilege to serve as a circuit judge because I learned so much about the challenges that face our community and worked with very dedicated colleagues who provided guidance. I had many sleepless nights over the decisions I made in that role, but I understood the nature of the job and stood by my rulings because I knew how thoroughly I had read and listened to all the evidence in every case. I brought that same tenacity and care to my short stint in the private sector as a mediator and consultant. During this time, I learned and grew as a person. In my current position as Chief of Staff at DJJ, I get to take all of my experience and work with an outstanding team of professionals who are dedicated to helping our youth. Each position I have held has provided me with amazing opportunities to lead, mentor, and educate young professionals. I hope I have been able to change the perspective that you have to give up happiness to be successful. Everyone close to you knows that your biggest cheerleaders are your husband Walter and son Joseph. Tell us about them. I am fortunate that my husband and son have also provided me with pep talks over the years. They are my biggest supporters and greatest loves. I married Walter at the age of 38, and we immediately had our son, Joseph. Walter and I have mutual respect for one another. He is my confidant and my rock, as I am his. We met on a blind date in Tampa during Gasparilla weekend. Walter had apparently made a long list of characteristics that he wanted in a lifelong partner and told me about them.

ON T H E C OV E R He said he wanted someone that was bright, religious, family-focused, professional, and had a sense of humor. During the date, he gave me a tour of his newly renovated kitchen. I told him if he was waiting for me to whip up a meal, then he had the wrong Cuban woman in his kitchen because I do not cook. Thankfully, Walter did not have cooking on his list of musthave partner qualities. He learned his culinary skills from his Italian grandfather and is the chef in our house. Our son just graduated from the University of North Florida and expects to attend law school next year and eventually enter the Navy Jag Corp. He knew at a very early age that he wanted to serve his country, and we are excited to support his journey. He is smart, loyal, and an all-around great young man who is always willing to help a friend in need or just be there to listen. He is an excellent cook too. He is the light of our lives and truly represents the best of me and Walter.

passionate about fundraising for local organizations and events like Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) for Legal Services of North Florida. Last year, I received the Judge’s Choice Award for Best Dance for participating in DWTS. I am also passionate about shoes and pomegranate martinis! What are the greatest influences in your life and career?

What are your passions outside of your career?

My parents had a tremendous influence on my life. Their sacrifices, faith, moral compass, sense of community, and love for one another provided me with the foundation for my life. Being a godmother to my sister’s children has taught me how to and be a good mother. Professionally, Secretary Simone Marstiller and Judge Nina Ashenafi have been role models to me and others. Both Simone and Nina came to this country as immigrants and each of them has excelled beyond measure in their careers. How would you like to be remembered?

My family is my first passion. I am also

I hope to live up to the way a dear friend and


colleague once described me. ‘Josie is woman we all want to be. She is wicked smart, can go toe-to-toe with the toughest adversary, has a caring and nurturing heart, and is never apologetic about who she is and what she brings to the table. She has a style all her own and celebrates her uniqueness in a world that tries to tear down women who stand out.’ What is next for you? I believe the good Lord is not done with me. Serving my state and working with a great team have been a blessing. I hope to remain in a leadership role working to improve the lives of everyone in Florida.


Ansley Topchik

Alice Sims

Captain Diane Sheffield

Dr. Zemoria A. Johnson

Kristie Teal

Nanette Schimpf

Anya Byrne

Andrea Friall, M.D.

Cecka Rose Green

Elizabeth Emmanuel

Kyndra Light

Samantha Sexton

Eliyah Campbell

Anita Favors

Claudia Sachs

Ginger Barry Boyd

Lashawn Gordon

Sharon Gilmore Berrian

Janae Scott

April Dietz

Courtney Atkins

Jovita Woodrich

Melanie Leitman

Tonya Chavis

Kameryn Davis

Britney Smith

Dr. Michelle Mitcham

Kara Palmer- Smith

Monique Ellsworth

Victoria Rose

tallahassee woman | 30 | december 2020 • januar y 2021





tallahassee woman | 31 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

at Biltmore Estate Asheville, North Carolina

By Regina Lynch-Hudson Photography by Courtland Bivens III

tallahassee woman | 32 | december 2020 • januar y 2021


Nestled in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville’s 250-room Biltmore Estate mesmerizes visitors young and old, with its 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces, plus 8,000 acres of lush botanical gardens (the self-guided house tour spans three floors and the basement). Generations of families choose Biltmore Estate for Christmas jaunts, lured by over a century of exquisite tradition during a merry season when America’s largest home and surrounding grounds are magnificently adorned for the holidays. Whether you choose a daytime or evening itinerary, the “Christmas at Biltmore” experience unfolds a visual stroll through a splendorous bygone era. As an annual “gift to self” I rejoice in the Estate’s dazzling architecture, European-inspired Antler Hill Village, enchanting shops, on-site eateries, the winery, and more! * Reservations Required. Christmas at Biltmore runs through Jan. 10, 2021. Biltmore.com

When the country’s grandest manor opened 125 years ago on Christmas Eve, my great-great-grandfather, George Washington Richard Henry Lee Payne, was among the highly esteemed original blacksmiths at the famed storybook castle. Wealthy industrialist, George Washington Vanderbilt, contracted over 1,000 men to construct the Biltmore Estate over a six-year period beginning in 1889. Our George was hired to tend horses and forge iron to craft horseshoes and metalwork in the opulent antique-and artfilled palace, prior to completion around 1895. Aptly dressed in an equestrian style riding jacket, and metallic gold pants, I carried a ‘good luck’ ornament depicting a rare portrait of my forefather— and allowed his pioneering spirit to lead the way throughout the illustrious wonderland.

tallahassee woman | 33 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Moods are magically uplifted by the sighting of over 100 hand-decorated interior and exterior Christmas trees, opulent garlands and crackling hearths. An awe-inspiring 45,000 lights and 150 candles illuminate Biltmore House. Not even a pandemic can stop the celebratory ritual that draws thousands to the bedazzling destination. Redvelvet-rope-treatment, social distancing, mandatory facemasks and limited-access entries create an atmosphere of safety and solitude.

The essence of cheer continues at the festively festooned Stable Café, the former site where Vanderbilt’s prized horses bunked–and where my great-great-grandfather spent endless working hours. We enjoyed succulent southern comfort food and found amusement in being seated in a whimsical makeshift horse stall. Over a dozen other culinary spots dot the sprawling terrain, to include four-star dining, a global pub, a bistro, bake shops and ice cream shops.

Conveniently situated lodging options—the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate and Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate—ooze with the same heartwarming sentimentality that permeates throughout the main Biltmore mansion. Nestled atop a soaring secluded hilltop, The Inn

on Biltmore Estate affords guests with panoramic eye-candy that rivals flying reindeer-views. Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate is a mere horseshoe- throw from outdoorsy property amenities, which include bike rentals, guided hikes and horseback riding.

Veteran publicist and luxury lifestyle experience-aholic, Regina Lynch-Hudson, pens MadameXhales, slated towards the vintage woman who 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 tallahassee woman | 34 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

for women by women about women.




Chrissy Souders


Join us on our FB page to hear interviews from women in our community and from women featured in TWM magazine.

Hospice Services are Provided by a Team

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BBH services are appropriate for patients that: • Want to remain in their own home with support • Have a terminal diagnosis • Need assistance with pain management

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Trained Volunteers

Hospice Aids/CNAs Social Workers

BBH OFFERS 24 HOUR SUPPORT SEVEN DAYS A WEEK WWW.BIGBENDHOSPICE.ORG tallahassee woman | 35 | december 2020 • januar y 2021



The Power of Collaboration Chrissy Souders Soars!


By Barbara Wescott, Founder of Women Wednesdays. omen are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs and through collaborative efforts, they will continue to thrive. Tallahassee is blessed with a growing entrepreneurial

ecosystem and a plethora of talented women on a mission destined for individual and collaborative impact. Our own Chrissy Souders, an innovative entrepreneur and founder of Kitschy Wearable Art, recently partnered with one of Tallahassee’s fastest growing companies, DivvyUp. DivvyUp is a local Domi Station/FSU-JMI community startup that is blazing a trail in customized products with personalized images, particularly of pets and people, on socks and other products, committed to social good. Collaborating with Chrissy's company that accessorizes custom art and images into jewelry, DivvyUP embarked on a partnership to utilize Kitschy’s technology to expand their own product line into jewelry. The collaboration helps them hit the ground running with their new product, while introducing Kitschy Wearable Art to their expansive base of customers. Paramount to both parties was to maintain the integrity of each company’s mission, while supporting the continued growth of Tallahassee’s

Photo by Jennifer Powell Photography

entrepreneurial ecosystem, jobs and manufacturing sector.

tallahassee woman | 36 | december 2020 • januar y 2021




tallahassee woman | 37 | december 2020 • januar y 2021


Business |

women life

Practicing Civility in Tumultuous Times By Dr. Adriene B. Wright


have no doubt that 2020 will be documented in historical records as a uniquely disruptive year. The COVID-19 pandemic, widespread business closures, massive unemployment, and devastating forest fires and other climate disasters have added unprecedented pressure to community life across our nation. Added to these are disturbing displays of police brutality, demonstrations, and the endless political standoff replayed ad nauseum in the news. And just when we should be celebrating our nation's highest-ever voter turnout, claims of voter fraud disparage the integrity of hard-working electoral officials. At what point will we begin to see the opportunity before us to be so much better than what we display? At what point can we begin to reflect on and embrace the wise counsel of others like Mother Teresa, who said, “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things?” It is in our differences that we accomplish more together than in a homogeneous environment. While we can't expect to agree on everything—and in a free and open society no one believes we should—there are steps we can take to elevate our public discourse and work together for the common good of our nation, our communities, and our families. Increased civility is a key first step. Defined as 'formal politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech' civility may seem naive or outdated in modern America. I assure you this is not so. In a reputable nationwide survey, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) of Americans believe it is possible for people to disagree in a civil way, and 60% of respondents express hope about the future of civility in the U.S. Here's a list of actionable steps we can take to improve civility in America.

1. Leadership: Provide positive reinforcement via letters, calls and posts when elected officials and others exemplify courage, honesty, and inclusiveness for all people regardless of their political views, affiliations, ethnicity, or other qualities. 2. Empathy: Attempt to identify with the lived experience of others even though you may not understand or fully agree. The ability to empathize with others is a sign of true leadership and an indicator of emotional intelligence or EQ. 3. Forgiveness: Holding a grudge can be a serious roadblock to personal growth. Pent up feelings typically turn to bitterness which can be severely detrimental to our own well-being. Forgiveness can take time, but we must work at it to make progress. 4. Generosity: Dr. Martin Luther King said, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns." Contributing to the betterment of others also serves to improve our communities and increase civility.

5. Self-Awareness: Take time to explore and understand the personal biases, belief systems, and stereotypes that can impact our attitudes and treatment of others. Biases can cause us to unfairly judge our neighbor and limit our ability to interact with them. 6. Healing: We all carry old hurts resulting from past wrongs, real or perceived. Take time to explore inner feelings and emotions, even sharing these with another trusted friend or counselor with the intention of healing old wounds. 7. Expand Your Circle: Get to know people outside your usual circle of friends and acquaintances. Look for opportunities to meet people from different racial groups, ethnicities, political persuasions, or age groups. 8. Practice and Promote Civility: When it comes to practicing and promoting civility, we all have different assets to employ. As Americans, we're fortunate to live and work in one of the world's most culturally diverse nations. We also have many inspiring civic and spiritual leaders whose example we can emulate.

When addressing the importance of civility in America perhaps, Ted Koppel said it best, "Admire and emulate ethical behavior wherever you find it. Apply a rigid standard of morality to your lives; and if, periodically, you fail, as you surely will, adjust your lives, not the standards." We are all looking for a better year ahead. By practicing civility, we can make 2021 a year to be captured in historical records for the many positive outcomes. Dr. Adriene Wright of Tallahassee leads a consulting practice providing thought leadership, engagement consulting, coaching, and facilitation. She may be reached at adriene@abelita.co tallahassee woman | 38 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Dr. Kerry McCord has practiced “the best of natural medicine” since 1973. He is a renowned clinician, author and educator, internationally known for his contributions to the practice of applied kinesiology. What Women Are Saying:

Kerry McCord, DC, DIBAK REMEDY SPA/Capital Circle NE


“Although Dr. McCord's approach may be considered unconventional, it is incredibly effective. I initially saw him for chronic issues with my skin, bowels, acid-reflux and pain. After seeing so many doctors for so many years, I was amazed that pain relief was almost immediate! Upon further evaluation, Dr. McCord concluded that food sensitivities were contributing to my chronic bowel, acid-reflux and skin problems. At his direction, I began to change my diet and eliminated the offending foods identified. After more than 20 years of once to twice weekly bowel movements, I now have bowel movements daily, and the acid-reflux that I suffered nightly is gone. Also, much to my delight, I have seen gradual and significant improvement in my skin which has plagued me since I was a teenager. If you are dealing with chronic health issues, go see Dr. McCord, I think you'll be pleased." Mrs. G. Jefferson, Tallahassee, FL

tallahassee woman | 39 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Business |

women at work


PROFESSION By Olivia Heyward | Photography Jennifer Powell Photography

tallahassee woman | 40 | december 2020 • januar y 2021


hat’s in a headshot? Everything! They say you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression, however, a key element of your brand is your headshot, which may be seen before your interview. If you are seeking a new position and want to refresh your headshot, consider the message you want to convey. Power posing may be the way to go if you are a power

broker and want to convey confidence, however, you may want to communicate trust, humor or another quality more valued in your profession. If you are a social influencer with a well- defined niche and have lots of Instagram followers, you may want to be more creative and

demonstrate your social presence. Here are some poses to consider that might communicate the quality you wish to express. Just remember, strike the pose that speaks to your profession! Demonstrate your unique creativity, style and personality in your winning pose.

Business |

women to watch

WOMENto watch N E W S | A W A R D S | M I L E S T O N E S

Deputy Chief Tonja Bryant-Smith of the TPD, became the Deputy Chief over the Internal/ External Branch earlier this year. She oversees the newly created Youth and Adult Citizen Advisory Council, also within the TPD. She is the President of the North Florida Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Tonja is married with one son.

Dr. Cortnie Baity is a recent FSU graduate, PhD, Human Sciences. Dr. Baity has been practicing marriage and family therapy since 2016. She works as a counselor at the Department of Veteran Affairs, Tallahassee Vet

Attorney Elizabeth Ricci was recently awarded the Pinnacle Award for her pro bono work with veterans and her servant leadership during the pandemic. She is an award-winning attorney and managing partner of Rambana & Ricci, PLLC; named the “Go-to lawyer for veterans” by the Philadelphia Enquirer. Elizabeth, mother of two girls, is a volunteer Legal Studies teacher at Maclay High School. an advocate for improving the lives of women and girls in our community.

Center, specializing in couples

Dr. Zemoria

and family counseling to


veterans. Dr. Baity is also

awarded two

a contracted therapist at

United States

Better Living Solutions, LLC.

Presidential Volunteer Service Awards, selected as an Energizer Keep It Going Hall of

Nicole Everett has launched

Fame Finalist,

Greater Works Network (GWN)

Florida D.O.E.

channel on Roku TV to tell authentic,

Volunteer of the

untold stories. Everett, host of

Year. Named

Conversations With Nicole (CWN), along with

the Top A.C.E. by Tallahassee Network of

co-founder Gerald Tookes, recently launched

Young Professionals; selected as a 2020

the new channel! CWN began in early 2016

Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You

as a video blog on social media and then

Need to Kno ! She earned her Doctor

broadcast television on the Tallahassee FOX

of Pharmacy at FAMU. She is a Clinical

affiliate. Everett, whose interview style is a

Pharmacist at TMH; CEO, the DeBoles-

blend of Oprah-empathy and Tamron Hall-

Johnson Foundation; a nonprofit which

cool, featured a lineup of guests, including

provides scholarships to high school seniors.

community activists, influencers, movers and shakers. She is extremely excited about the expansion of her show!

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 | 42 | december 2020 • januar y 2021




veryone knows and admires a

woman who is a pacesetter and a trailblazer with a proven track

record. Have you met an outstanding woman who has a long-standing career, inspired by her vision, purpose and

LORANNE AUSLEY Florida Senate, District 3

passion? These ambitious, seasoned,

I am truly honored that the people of Senate District 3 have placed their confidence in me to continue my service in the Florida Senate. My dad ran for the Senate in 1974 and I have such fond memories of car parades and campaign events that we did together as a family. We had fun recreating some of that as we searched for ways to connect with voters in the midst of Covid. Now that the campaign is behind us I am looking forward to digging into the issues that face the 11 counties that make up this diverse and incredibly beautiful district.

powerhouse women are considered Women on the Move. TWM is honored to feature the first edition of Women on the Move profiles to highlight Tallahassee’s two state level, elected officials, that will represent our community and state; Loranne Ausley and Allison Tant, as a Member of the Florida Senate and State Representative at Florida House of Representatives, respectively. These are women who influence and make a difference. Women on the Move!


*sponsored content

Florida House of Representatives, District 9 Allison Tant, newly elected to the Florida House of Representatives, District 9 which is the heart of Leon County, will serve with ethics, compassion and purpose. She ran for the House using her work on behalf of others throughout our community for over 20 years. She is particularly focused on disability issues and responsible stewardship of dollars meant to serve Floridians, building in economic and environmental resiliency as our state comes back from COVID and natural disasters over the long term, and ensuring adequate health care for those enduring COVID recovery. She will be a strong advocate for Tallahassee's state employees, and will work to address the unemployment compensation system that failed too many Floridians over the last 9 months.

tallahassee woman | 43 | december 2020 • januar y 2021



oes the term “estrogen dominance” conjure up an image of a boardroom of women making money moves? Think again! Estrogen

Estrogen Dominance AND PROGESTERONE DEFICIENCY By Dr. Dawn Ericsson

dominance refers to a state of hormonal imbalance, where estrogen is elevated, progesterone is deficient, or both. Because many organs in the body have receptors for estrogen and progesterone, hormonal imbalance with general well-being.

Symptoms and conditions of estrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency:

Have you used birth control for menstrual cycle

Reproductive years (1st period until menopause)

can cause many unpleasant symptoms and interfere

irregularities, but subsequently experienced mood changes, weight gain or low libido? Are you suppressing your menstrual cycle to avoid difficult periods? Did trial and error lead you to find a hormone therapy for menstrual symptom relief? Sadly, there are several drawbacks of synthetic hormones and birth control. They may not satisfy all the appropriate receptors, further suppress the body’s production of natural hormones, tie up receptors for prolonged lengths of time, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and

• Fibroids • Heavy periods • Irregular periods • Painful periods • Infrequent periods • Endometriosis • Breast tenderness • Water retention • PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) • Infertility

blood clots.

• PMDD (formerly known as PMS)

Women may suffer from perimenopause symptoms,

• Thyroid dysfunction (fatigue, weight gain, hair loss)

• Midsection body fat

beginning as early as the late 30’s, but more commonly symptoms occur in menopause, when the menstrual cycle has stopped for one full year. During these stages, common symptoms experienced are anxiety,

depression, sleep disturbances, night sweats and low libido, sending many women to seek treatment. To placate these symptoms, many doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, sleep medications, and sometimes, all three. Multiple medications can be costly and fraught with side effects. Additionally, they don’t address the root problem. An additional complication with hormone balance is that stress can disrupt it at any stage of life. When we are stressed, our bodies utilize more progesterone, vitamins, minerals and other hormones. Why? Mainly because progesterone is a precursor hormone in the stress hormone production pathway. Have you noticed that when you are stressed anxiety is heightened? It may be more difficult to fall asleep. You may wake up during the night and libido can be absent. This is understandable, because there is less progesterone available to the receptors that regulate these symptoms.

Perimenopause and Menopause • Hot flashes • Night sweats • Brain fogginess or Clouded thinking • Sleep problems (difficulty falling asleep, waking at night) • Anxiety • Low confidence • Depression • Mood swings, Irritability, Short temper • Low Libido So, what is the ideal treatment? Lifestyle changes, including stress relief, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and a balanced diet with proper vitamins all play a role, but typically, suppression of excess estrogen and replacement with bioidentical progesterone work best. Connecting with a doctor trained in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and nutrient supplementation is key. Treatments can be with capsules, creams, gel, drops or sublingual troches and relief can be noticed as early as a few days. Happy Hormone Balancing!

tallahassee woman | 44 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Ways to Give I

t is that time of year when we think of others and take time to purchase the perfect present for the special someone. The holiday season is a time for giving, helping, philanthropy and giving back to the community. What are other ways to give? Why not try something different instead of purchasing pajamas and perfume for relatives or a friend. Why not consider donating to a cause close to your heart or the life of a loved


one. From Second Harvest to the City Walk Urban Mission and many more, choose the cause for which you are most passionate and offer a donation. Designating a gift "in the honor of" your beloved communicates how much you care, no matter the amount of the donation. Help someone in need and make a difference this holiday by alternative ways of giving! Seasons greetings.



America's Second Harvest of the Big Bend


Fight hunger in our neighborhoods.

Elder Care Services, Inc.


Elder Care for home-bound seniors.

Southern Scholarship Foundation


Rent-free housing to students with financial needs.

DeBoles-Johnson Foundation djfoundationinc.org

Provide financial support and educational programs to scholars.

The Kearney Center


Create solutions that provide a path to self-sufficiency to those in poverty.

Good News Outreach, Inc


Reducing recidivism, hunger, homelessness, and isolation.



Custom Homes • Remodels • Additions

3375-C Capital Circle NE, Tallahassee, FL 32308

tallahassee woman | 45 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

FL Lic# CBC 1258003 GA Lic# RBCO 004496


Stronger Together Mental Health First Aid During COVID-19 By Dr. Gwendolyn Singleton


n February 2020 the United States was stunned by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The disruption of daily life, stay-at-home orders and endless media coverage have contributed to increased feelings of uncertainty, isolation, and stress. For the millions of Americans living with mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed, isolation and service provider closures due to COVID-19 increase the risk for serious mental health challenges. According to the CDC and the WHO, COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing mental health concerns and highlighted inequities in access to mental health care. The CDC described a significant increase in anxiety, depression, stress- and traumarelated disorders, suicidal ideations, and substance use between April and June of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

course that provides education about mental health and substance use challenges. This course provides training on how to respond to, assist and support someone who is developing a mental health or substance use problem or who is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. MHFA trainees are provided knowledge and skills to assist in identifying, understanding, and responding to signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use problems. Trainees are taught a five step action plan to provide initial help and to guide the individual to the appropriate professional and/ or other support services. Enrollment in a MHFA course does not require any prior training. The course is open to anyone. Mental Health First Aiders include more than 2.5 million caring citizens across the United States. People experiencing mental illness often feel alone, hopeless and that they must hide their condition. The appropriate tools equip us to empower, uplift, support, and provide them hope for recovery – free of judgment. Appropriate knowledge, language, and skills help to build trust and remove barriers to facilitate supportive guidance in seeking the appropriate help and resources during challenging times.

Responses to mental illness are influenced by knowledge of mental illness, past experiences and media portrayals. Often attitudes and beliefs are based on inadequate education, misinformation and negative portrayals, which then result in prejudice and discrimination against those experiencing mental illness. This is further compounded by stigma and a lack of knowledge about how to respond to mental illness. Fear and stigma also reduce helpseeking behavior in those experiencing mental illness.

Despite the stress and uncertainty of COVID-19, communities have safely united to aid those in need. Mental Health First Aid serves as another tool to assist in making our communities healthier and stronger. To find a MHFA course near you visit:mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is designed to increase mental health literacy and to decrease stigma. MHFA is an eight-hour

Stronger Together!

tallahassee woman | 46 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

Courageous Conversations

Need coaching or counseling? Teletherapy with Dr. Michelle Mitcham, LMHC of Courageous Conversations as seen on www.PsychologyToday.com Online counseling and coaching via audio or video messaging from anywhere. Flexible plans to meet your scheduling needs and lifestyle. Confidential and Secure. Discounted rates available.














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tallahassee woman | 47 | december 2020 • januar y 2021


Connecting Families

During the Covid-19 Global Pandemic Holiday Season

By Cortnie S. Baity, Ph.D.


s we conclude the Spring and Summer seasons, many of us are looking forward to the Fall and Winter Holiday Season, as it is typically a time to relax, celebrate, and create special memories—often times with the ones we love. With the new household term, “social distancing” now guiding much of our daily lives, one may be wondering how we can still make the most of the 2020 holiday

season. I have good news. With greater awareness, a bit of creativity, optimism, and cooperation, we can all take steps to maintain and strengthen our ties to family and friends, while being mindful of our health, during the 2020 holiday season.


Technology is Your Friend

Re-create Family Traditions at Home

Use social media, Face-time, and other video-chat platforms to

Nothing feels like “home” more than having a taste of your favorite

schedule virtual family parties. Use this space to catch up, have

family dish/meal. Try re-creating one of those dishes at home. Call

family karaoke, and play your favorite holiday games—all from

necessary family members to gather recipe details before you prepare

the comfort of your home. This prevents the temptation to host

your dish. You might even want to record your cooking process and

large gatherings, without forgoing some good holiday fun.

take pictures to share in a family group chat. This approach promotes family connectedness, in a creative way, that is also mindful about

Choose Safe Social Activities

reducing health risks.

If meeting others in person (e.g., with a small group of friends or family members), stay at least 6 feet from others who are not from your household.

Keep Distance at Events and Gatherings It is safest to avoid crowded places and gatherings where it may be difficult to stay at least 6 feet away from others who are not from your household. If you are in a crowded space, try to keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others at all times, and wear a mask.

Keep Your Hand Cleans Clean your hands often and thoroughly. If you can wash your hands with soap and water, do so. If not, use hand sanitizer. Encourage loved ones to clean their hands before and after touching common areas, especially in the kitchen.

Be Optimistic However you choose to create special memories this holiday season, be mindful of your thoughts and attitude, as they will determine the degree of enjoyment that you get out of your experience, more so than the circumstances of the holiday season (Covid-19 Global Pandemic). Choose joy as often as you can! Enjoy and be safe! *Tips are guided by CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Guidelines.

For more CDC guided information on staying safe during the 2020 Holiday seasons, please visit .cdc.gov/coronavirus

tallahassee woman | 48 | december 2020 • januar y 2021

WE e r i  s n I


Quotes By Toni Morrison

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

“As you enter


positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think."

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”



he holiday season is upon us! While COVID-19 will have our holidays looking a little differently this year and you may not be traveling to see family and friends, you can still make amazing memories with the food you serve at your holiday table. This pumpkin cheesecake features a triple gingersnap cookie crust with all the flavors you expect in a traditional pumpkin pie. Though, like most of my recipes, there is certainly nothing traditional about this amazing dessert. I like to call it a “flavor explosion for your mouth”! And while this recipe may seem intimidating, do not let it fool you... It is SO worth the effort! Cheesecakes are a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat. The best part about this recipe, your children and teens can also help allowing you to spend fun family time together making a truly decadent dessert that is both luxurious and smooth. With this pumpkin cheesecake, the holiday season never tasted so good. No matter how you celebrate, be safe and well! From my family to yours, happy holidays! For other great recipes, check out fierceinfluence.com/dig-in By Rebecca Weaver

Prep: 35 min. Bake: 60-75min. + chilling Materials: stand or hand mixer, springform pan, roasting pan

INGREDIENTS CRUST 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons) 1/3 cup light brown sugar CHEESECAKE FILLING 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened, divided 1-1/2 cups sugar (divided 1 cup and 1/2 cup) 2 tbsp cornstarch 2 tsp vanilla extract 2 tbsp sour cream 4 large eggs 1 cup canned pumpkin 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice TOPPING 1 20oz can Simply apple pie filling 2 large granny smith apples (cut in slices) 1/2 cup pure maple syrup 1/4 Bourbon (or more to taste ;-) 1/2 pkg (4oz) pecans (toasted) 1 tsp vanilla 2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground ginger

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DIRECTIONS CRUST: Preheat oven to 375. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. In a small bowl, combine crushed cookie crumbs, brown sugar and butter; mix well. Press mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven heat to 350. CHEESECAKE FILLING: In a large bowl, beat 1 package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in remaining cream cheese, one package at a time until smooth. Add remaining sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time; beat on low speed just until combined.




Place 2 cups cheesecake filling in a small bowl; stir in pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin pie spice. Feel free to add additional spices to your taste preferences. Pour pumpkin filling over crust, spreading evenly over crust; top with remaining plain filling. Bakers tip: For a swirled effect, reserve 3/4 cup of pumpkin pie filling to put on top of plain mixture. After pouring plain mixture, cut through with a knife to swirl. Drop reserved pumpkin filling by spoonful over cheesecake; cut through with a knife to swirl. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger roasting pan. Bake 60-75 minutes or until center is just set and top appears to be a light golden brown and springs back when touched. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. After cheesecake is cool, place in refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight. TOPPING: Place apple pie filling into a pan on medium-low heat. Add maple syrup, vanilla, bourbon and spices. Stir until incorporated. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes and add apples slices and toasted pecans. Feel free to add additional spices to your taste preferences. Cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes longer or until apples are tender. Let topping mixture cool. Refrigerator overnight. Pro tip: Toasting pecans releases their natural oils for a delightful flavor. When toasting pecans, be careful not to burn them. Line a baking sheet with parchment and arrange pecans in single layer. Toast pecans in a 350° oven for about 7-8 minutes or until fragrant. Place topping over chilled cheesecake before slicing Garnish with fresh apples slices, caramel sauce, whipped topping and additional crushed gingersnaps, if desired.

tallahassee woman | 51 | december 2020 • januar y 2021



From here. For here. Here is where we’re from. Here made us who we are. We believe relationships are worth more than dollars can measure. It’s a value that grows over time, strengthens under pressure, and thrives when serving others. And, we’re glad to be here. 1-888-SYNOVUS synovus.com

Synovus Bank, Member FDIC.

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