Tallahassee Woman Magazine April - May 2024

Page 1

APRIL / MAY 2024



Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Navigating Female Friendships

WE Inspire


All the Boxes

At Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive care that gives parents the birth experience they want, no matter how unique. We encourage parents to bring their birth plan to our Women’s Pavilion where families have access to our expert care team, high-risk labor and delivery unit, and Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). At Tallahassee Memorial, we’re here to help you have your birth, your way. Plan your unique birth experience at TMH.ORG/BIRTH

Private wealth solutions for what’s next. And for what happens after that. When you’re ready to focus on the future, Synovus is the partner to help you get more out of life. Partner with a team of experienced wealth advisors to help you build a brighter future for decades and generations to come.

Start your journey at synovus.com/wealth. Investment products and services provided by Synovus are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc. (“SSI”), Synovus Trust Company, N.A. (“STC”) and Creative Financial Group, a division of SSI. Trust services for Synovus are provided by Synovus Trust Company, N.A. The registered brokerdealer offering brokerage products for Synovus is Synovus Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank and Synovus Trust. Synovus Trust Company, N.A. is a subsidiary of Synovus Bank.



















tallahassee woman | 4 | april • may 2024

Our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons provide the latest techniques and procedures with confidential, personal care, providing the highest quality plastic surgery of North Florida and South Georgia since 1978. Our elegant Tallahassee Plastic Surgery Clinic is designed to make you feel welcome and pampered. LASER | FACIAL REJUVENATION | COSMETIC FACIAL SURGERY SKIN CARE COSMETIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE BREAST SURGERY BODY CONTOURING | SKINCEUTICALS ADVANCED CLINICAL SPA



tallahassee woman | 5 | april • may 2024



April - May 2024 • Volume 19 • Issue 3

CRISTINA CARTER Relationship Manager

BRIANA SMITH Creative Consultant

PAULA DEBOLES-JOHNSON Director of Leadership Initiatives

Publisher | Editor-in-Chief Dr. Michelle Mitcham



OLIVIA HEYWARD Creative Director

TALLAHASSEE WOMAN MAGAZINE is a publication of Mitcham Media Group LLC Post Office Box 16616 Tallahassee, FL 32317-3401 Phone (850) 739-1720 publisher@TalWoman.com Tallahassee Woman is published six times per year and is distributed on a complimentary basis throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding communities. ADVERTISING For advertising, visit talwoman.com, call (850) 893-9624, or e-mail ads@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 © 2024 Mitcham Media Group LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, without expressed written consent of the Publisher is prohibited.




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


Thais Gonzalez is a retired Tallahassee Spanish teacher. She taught over 5,000 students in the community throughout her career. Leading students to first place at the annual regional Modern Language Expo competition on multiple occasions she is well known in her field.


Born in Mexico City, Ana Lorena graduated with honors from the Universidad Motolinia del Pedregal as an Interior Designer. Hired by the Interior Design firm Alejandro Mendez Armit & Associates, she developed a children's furniture line, among other projects. She resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Ruben, who founded a technology company. Her pride and joy are her 3 children: Analorena, Leonor and Eddie.



tallahassee woman | 6 | april • may 2024

HEATHER TOUBY Florida State University

KAITLYN WALSH Florida State University

tallahassee woman | 7 | april • may 2024


Dear Empowered Queens!


am thrilled to pen this empowering letter as we celebrate 18 incredible years of Tallahassee Woman Magazine! As the CEO and publisher of this powerhouse publication for the past six years, it has been a true honor! I am grateful for the endless opportunities it provides for the accomplished, talented, and diverse women of Tallahassee. A huge thank you to my friend Kim Rosier, for having the vision of creating a platform to celebrate Tallahassee women in 2006. It is a privilege to lead TWM on a journey to even greater heights. The 2023 Minority Business of the Year Award from is a shining example of the magazine’s dedication to inclusive excellence. Because of this recognition, TWM received three proclamations from Mayor John Dailey - City of Tallahassee, Leon County Commissioners, and the Leon County School Board. Gratitude to this incredible community for acknowledging the value of our specialized publication devoted to women. Tallahassee Woman Magazine is excited to collaborate with other women-owned businesses and women-focused institutions. The unity of community is our strength. Photo by Kira Derryberry Photography

This issue features the remarkable Analorena Melendez, a fierce entrepreneur and trailblazer whose story of motherhood, resilience and determination will ignite your own aspirations. Special thanks to our guest editor, the fabulous Vicki Bradley, for capturing Analorena's inspiring journey. I hope her story and articles within these pages will spark something extraordinary within you. Our recent event, the 2024 Women Who Mean Business - Women On Fire Awards & Expo, was a tremendous success thanks to all who attended and participated. Spe-

cial thanks to all of our sponsors, speakers, expert moderators, panelists, judges and attendees! Congratulations to all the winners and finalists! As we look ahead, I am excited for the limitless possibilities that await us in the coming year.

reach any height you desire. Don't wait for permission - once you set your sights on a goal, trust in your ability to make it happen. Stay focused, stay determined, and watch as you soar to new heights! With endless gratitude and empowerment,

A heartfelt appreciation goes out to our incredible TWM team members, interns, contributors, readers, volunteers, collaborators, and advertisers. Your unwavering support has been the driving force behind our success. Remember Queens - you are limitless. This column is aptly titled to remind you that you hold the power to

tallahassee woman | 8 | april • may 2024

Dr. Michelle Mitcham CEO & Publisher Tallahassee Woman Magazine

tallahassee woman | 9 | april • may 2024

EXECUTIVE EDITOR LETTER “This magazine's beauty lies in the fact that the women we feature create an impactful ripple effect within the community” -Laci Swann

Recalling this issue leaves me nearly speechless. I am now embarking on my second year of the Literature, Media, and Culture doctoral program at FSU. The cover that once captivated me now serves as a powerful reminder to push beyond my comfort zone and pursue what may seem impossible yet is entirely achievable. This magazine's beauty lies in the fact that the women we feature create an impactful ripple effect within the community, and I feel privileged to be swept up in their waves. God willing, may the next 18 years be as fruitful, inspirational, and fierce as the journey thus far. Laci Swann, Executive Editor


t TWM, we are steadfast in our commitment to diversifying the pages of this remarkable publication. As I commemorate 18 years of our award-winning magazine, I find inspiration in the women we’ve featured, the stories we’ve shared, and the magazine’s continual growth. Being part of a platform that promotes, highlights, and empowers women from all backgrounds is one of our core missions. Tallahassee Woman Magazine embodies the sentiment "You can sit with us," as our metaphorical table always has an open chair for others. Selecting a favorite TMW issue is an impossible task, but I often reflect on the February/March 2022 issue. This edition featured five remarkable women making a distinct difference in our community: Gloria Allison, Gina Giacomo, Ashley Mitchell, Dr. Chanta Haywood, and Dr. Maxine Montgomery, both professors at Florida State University.

Laci is the Principal of Sharp Editorial, an award-winning editorial + small business consulting + branding design firm. Since 2016, Sharp Editorial has served thousands of clients, including professional athletes, television stars, Fortune 500 companies, and a range of other professionals. Laci is passionate about ensuring that her table always has room for others, encouraging women to pull up a seat and stay awhile.

tallahassee woman | 10 | april • may 2024

Inspired by television shows, Lt. Maria Mercurio knew she wanted to be a police officer since she was a little girl. Now, with over 24 years of service to the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), she has created an enduring legacy through her genuine affinity for helping people. Lt. Mercurio currently serves as a Dayshift Watch Commander. Her dedication, however, transcends job title as she empowers and educates women and children each day. Described as a service-oriented individual, she approaches each day with a smile.


Lt. Mercurio has served in various capacities within TPD, ranging from investigations to community relations, which has given her the expertise to teach prevention strategies and instill confidence in those with whom she interacts. She was a driving force behind the inception of the RAD program 16 years ago – a defining milestone in her career. The program provides women with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves during moments of vulnerability. She also plays a crucial role in the RAD Kids program, which educates children on identifying signs of domestic violence, self-protection measures and nurturing the self-esteem needed to speak up when experiencing abuse.

Beyond her daily duties of overseeing officers and managing crime scenes, Lt. Mercurio generously volunteers her time to various initiatives, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, recently celebrating four years with her mentee. She holds a board position with the Lincoln Center Foundation where she contributes to a youth boxing program that aims to redirect aggression, build self-esteem, prioritize academics and facilitate discussions on bullying and gang-related issues. Moreover, she serves on the Mayor’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Council as a liaison for TPD and actively supports TPD’s Habitat for Humanity projects and Relay for Life initiatives. Lt. Mercurio has fulfilled her childhood dream of serving in law enforcement and takes pride in her decades of service with TPD.

With an impressive 17-year tenure helping to shape the City of Tallahassee’s communications landscape, Lizzy Kelley brings steadfast dedication to her current role as Marketing and Public Information Manager. Fueled by a passion for innovation, Kelley manages a team of skilled professionals in ensuring the City's communications efforts are strategic and multi-faceted. At the heart of her and her team’s approach is a love for community coupled with effective storytelling. Even routine communications efforts require transforming the complex technical aspects of municipal services to engaging narratives that resonate with residents and inspire an appreciation for Tallahassee’s high-quality of life. She takes pride in informing the community about a multitude of projects that impact their daily lives from major road projects to emergency preparedness. Additionally, she enjoys opportunities to humanize government by highlighting the 4,000 City employees whose work keeps our City moving forward. Beyond her impactful leadership role in the Communications department, Kelley actively champions industry best practices and serves as a resource for others seeking to achieve and replicate the City’s success. She serves as Vice President of the Florida Municipal Communicators Association and actively engages with the Florida Public Relations Association and City-County Communications & Marketing Association. Additionally, she holds the esteemed Accreditation in Public Relations and Certified Public Manager credentials. Kelley’s influence and expertise in municipal communications is evident by the City receiving the prestigious Certificate of Excellence in Government Communications.


When asked about her enduring commitment, Kelley attributes it to the exceptional team that surrounds her and the satisfaction of serving her community. Through curiosity, gratitude and pluck, she has successfully helped create an environment that inspires creativity and growth, allowing her team and Florida’s Capital City to shine brightly.


“Our stories are precious pieces of who we are and no matter how good or bad – we shouldn’t keep them buried.” -Vicki Bradley

Vicki Bradley


veryone has a story to tell. They often don’t speak up because they believe no one wants to hear it. Other times we’re afraid to peel back the layers and get a little vulnerable. My story has many layers. I just hit my five-year mark in Tallahassee. It feels like I’ve lived here my entire life. In no other city that I’ve lived (Tallahassee makes seven) have I experienced the level of community and sisterhood that has been shown to me personally and through the pages of Tallahassee Woman Magazine. So, it comes as no surprise that we are celebrating 18 years of a magazine that’s been a source of uplifting women. Making sure our voices are heard. If you’ve been reading long enough – you have seen the evolution of this publication. From the first time I met Michelle – her passion for highlighting women and everything that makes us so uniquely different has been on full display. As I flip through the pages of past issues – I see ALL women represented. It’s a beautiful reflection of the diversity within our city. It’s something that is reflected with this month’s cover and throughout the stories being shared on each page. Including this editor’s note you’re reading right

now. Most people know me from leading the WTXL ABC 27 team and my community involvement. What you don’t know is when I was 17, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis. The autoimmune disease made me so sick that I missed a lot of school. I almost did not graduate. After barely making it through that year, going to college didn’t feel achievable - but I did it twice. Not many people know that story. But it’s part of who I am and what has made me incredibly driven. Our stories are precious pieces of who we are and no matter how good or bad – we shouldn’t keep them buried. You never know how your experiences will touch or inspire someone else. I hope you are inspired by the stories within the pages of this magazine. Just as much as I’ve been inspired by the women who make this community so GREAT!

Vicki Bradley is a news leader with nearly two decades of news production, producing and leadership experience. She currently serves as Station Manager and Sr. Director of News for WTXL ABC 27. In addition to leading the ABC 27 team, Vicki teaches personal branding as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Florida. Vicki is a 2007 graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. In 2020, she earned a Master of Science in Communications from Syracuse University. Locally Vicki serves as Executive Vice President of the Junior League of Tallahassee. She is a board member for The Oasis Center for Women & Girls and serves on the Access Tallahassee council. Along with being a member of Leadership Tallahassee Class 39.

tallahassee woman | 12 | april • may 2024

“TW Magazine for those of us that live here is a cherished treasure that has reached 18 years. It is for most of us that special edition that enriches our lives, deepens our connections and reminds us that there so much beauty and warmth in our community. Each magazine reminds us of strength, resilience and the possibilities that lie with the myriad of women who not only bless the covers but are featured inside its pages. In a world where so many stories go untold, Tallahassee Woman magazine stands out as a place for shared experiences, shared dreams, shared successes, and shared hopes for our community. So let’s give a huge Thank you to Dr. Michelle Mitcham and her fabulous team for being a source of inspiration ,joy, community pride and celebrating the remarkable women who shape our world with grace and strength.” -Jane Marks, LMHC, LMFT

“TWM stands alone as the substantive resource for women in all phases of their personal and professional development. Michelle brings us a publication that celebrates women while challenging us to keep climbing. TWM tackles the thorny issues we all face and links us to the support we need. We are blessed that Michelle brought her inspiring vision to Tallahassee!” -Dana Brooks

“I LOVE being the official glam squad for Tallahassee Woman Magazine. Most busy boss babes don't have a lot of extra time to pamper themselves. Being featured in the magazine is an honor in itself, and the glam process is the icing on top. I love chatting with our inspiring contributors and cover women, as we prep them for their photo shoots.” -Lisa Davis



“Tallahassee Woman Magazine is so much more than just a magazine. It has become a vehicle of opportunities for women to gather, uplift, and empower each other. This is evident not only inside the magazine where every woman can find herself in the pages but also in the events it provides and sponsors in the community. Something that I love about the magazine is that it truly honors the many dimensions and differences of women’s lives. In the magazine, women are portrayed and spoken to as whole people, extraordinarily diverse, just like we are in real life. You are as likely to read an article about women making money as you are to read an article about mentoring or fashion. Happy anniversary TWM! Thank you, not just for what you’ve done for Tallahassee women, but for Tallahassee itself.” - Kelly Otte

“I recall feeling such a sense of exhilaration when learning of the forthcoming publication of a magazine for women in Tallahassee 18 years ago. There are so many AMAZING women in this community, and TWM has shared their stories in a most inspirational way. Kudos to TWM on 18 years of bringing the community closer through celebration, recognition of achievements, and acknowledgement of obstacles which have been overcome as a means of nurturing the valuable skills that women bring as leaders and involved community assets.” -Anita Favors

“Tallahassee is truly fortunate to have a major publication dedicated to the advancement of today’s modern woman. Tallahassee Woman Magazine not only celebrates the female spirit, but spotlights the challenges, insights, and triumphs of women right here in Tallahassee. These are women you see in the parent pick up line, the grocery store, and the boardroom. Tallahassee Woman Magazine serves as a fantastic tool showing younger women that you can navigate today’s world without compromising yourself, all done through the voices of other women in the community. Cheers to 18 years of literary sisterhood!” -Brandi Thomas

tallahassee woman | 13 | april • may 2024


Packing Tips for

WOMEN ON THE GO By Elizabeth Massey

For a busy working woman on the move, packing can be a stressful task, especially when planning to explore the city during your trip. These tips will help lighten your load and simplify your packing process.

Consider Jumpsuits: Jumpsuits are a stylish and space-saving option, offering a professional look without taking up too much room in your bag.

Choose WrinkleResistant Fabrics: Opt for clothes made of polyester or nylon to keep your outfits looking fresh and wrinkle-free throughout your trip.

Pack Versatile Pieces: Pack flowy buttonup tops that can easily transition from work attire to casual wear, perfect for a post-conference beach trip.

Bring Confidence: Don't forget to pack confidence! With the right attitude, you can conquer any work trip with ease.

tallahassee woman | 14 | april • may 2024

Pack Light: Keep your load light by packing only essentials and versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits.

Prioritize Comfort: Pack flexible flats that are comfortable enough for all-day wear, yet still appropriate for business meetings and nights out.

Maximize Space: Use packing cubes or compression bags to maximize space in your luggage and keep your items organized.

tallahassee woman | 15 | april • may 2024


Spanish Egg Custard By Thais Gonzalez


atilla is an amazing dessert that comes from Spain. Natilla is similar to flan and the French dessert crème brûlée but without the caramel crust on top. Instead, powdered cinnamon is added. Natilla brings me back to memories of my childhood. When my grandmother had some extra time on her hands, she would always make Natilla for us. I used to beg her to allow me to enjoy the custard, often using a little spoon to scrape the sides of the pot. We children had to take turns until we scraped every single last drop of the dessert. Try to make Natilla at home. You won’t be disappointed, and you will probably make it again and again!

Here's what you'll need: • 1 1/2 cups of milk • 2 tbsps corn meal • 1/2 cup of sugar • 1/2 tsp salt • 2 egg yolks • 1 tsp vanilla • Cinnamon powder to sprinkle on top

Instructions: Bring 1 cup of milk to a boil. Mix the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a bowl. Add this mixture to the boiled milk. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of cornmeal to 1/2 cup of milk. Mix well and add to the mixture of egg yolks. Cook over medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Serve in a glass bowl and sprinkle cinnamon on top. You can refrigerate it or enjoy it warm. I like it both ways.

tallahassee woman | 16 | april • may 2024


Here's what you'll need: • 2 chicken leg quarters • 1/2 onion • 2 garlic cloves • 10 fingerling potatoes or any small potatoes • 2/3 cup tomato sauce • 5 tablespoons peanut butter • 2 chipotle peppers from a can • 5 tablespoons or the necessary amount of the chicken broth to make the sauce • 1 corn tortilla packet

Instructions: Place the raw chicken, onion, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and the potatoes in a pan with enough water to cover the ingredients or as necessary for the chicken to cook (about 1 hour at medium heat, 2 hours at low heat). When cooked, take out the chicken, onion, garlic, and potatoes from the pan and set them aside. Take a medium-sized pan, place it on the stove-top over medium heat, and add the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Place the pan aside and add the peanut butter, mixing well. Return the pan to the stove-top over moderate heat, and mix well. Take the chipotle peppers, smash them with a fork, and add them to the sauce. Mix well. Add the chicken and potatoes. Let this cook for 5 minutes and serve with warm tortillas. This recipe can be enlarged by doubling or tripling the ingredients' amounts.

tallahassee woman | 17 | april • may 2024

Revitalize Your Space:

Spring Cleaning and Organization Tips for Your Home


s the flowers bloom and the days grow longer, spring offers the perfect opportunity to refresh your living space. Spring cleaning isn't just about tidying up; it's about creating a harmonious and organized environment that revitalizes both your home and your mind. Here are some tips to help you tackle spring cleaning and organization with ease: Declutter Room by Room: Start by decluttering one room at a time. Begin with areas that tend to accumulate the most clutter, such as closets, drawers, and countertops. Sort items into categories: keep, donate, or discard. Be ruthless in your decision-making to create a more streamlined living space. Deep Clean Surfaces: Once you've decluttered, it's time to deep clean surfaces. Dust and wipe down countertops, shelves, and furniture. Don't forget to clean hard-toreach areas like ceiling fans, light fixtures, and baseboards. For a natural cleaning solution, mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Refresh Fabrics and Upholstery: Spring is the perfect time to freshen up fabrics and upholstery. Vacuum upholstered furniture and cushions to remove dust and debris. Consider steam cleaning carpets and rugs to lift dirt and stains. For curtains and linens, launder or dry clean according to care instructions.

By TWM Staff

from winter to spring clothing, take the opportunity to declutter your wardrobe. Donate or sell items you no longer wear and organize your clothes by category or color for a visually appealing closet. Create a Cleaning Schedule: To maintain a clean and organized home, establish a regular cleaning schedule. Break down tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly chores to ensure all areas of your home receive attention. Bring in Greenery: Incorporating plants into your home not only adds a touch of nature but also improves air quality. Choose lowmaintenance plants such as succulents or peace lilies to brighten up your space. Personalize Your Space: Finally, don't forget to add personal touches to make your home feel inviting and comfortable. Display family photos, art, or sentimental items that bring you joy. Spring cleaning and organization are more than just chores; they're an opportunity to create a space that reflects your personality and promotes a sense of well-being. By following these tips, you can transform your home into a rejuvenating sanctuary that welcomes the new season with open arms.

Organize Storage Spaces: Maximize storage space by using organizers such as bins, baskets, and drawer dividers. Labeling containers can help you easily find items when needed. Utilize vertical space by installing shelves or hanging organizers in closets and cabinets. Streamline Your Wardrobe: As you transition tallahassee woman | 18 | april • may 2024

tallahassee woman | 19 | april • may 2024

a S y ' e s h S


Reflecting on Motherhood Advice from Seasoned Moms


n a world where motherhood is both a joyous journey and a challenging adventure, we often find ourselves wondering: If we could go back and start our motherhood journey again, what advice would we give our younger selves? We reached out to some of our social media followers to hear their thoughts on this question. Here's what they had to say:

“I promise you these babies are going to be just fine because you’re their mom.” -Jeanne Freeman

Happy Mother's Day From Tallahassee Woman Magazine

“Embrace the journey of raising them; give yourself grace, and trust that it will unfold even more beautifully than you can imagine.” -Aimee Seay

“Take care of yourself the way you take care of your children because when you have successfully raised them, and they leave home, you will need your health and energy to continue living.” -Monnarae Bauer

“Don't stress yourself out by following what the books say. Trust your instincts. Be present in the moment more! Messy is okay. And as the song says, "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back…" so cherish the calm and chaos. It's going to be okay. The tween years will be rough, but don't worry because you'll be her best friend when she hits her mid-twenties.” -@sweetmagicbakeryfl

“You’re not missing out on anything!!! Being with your babies is WAY better than anything else that might be going on.” -Amanda May tallahassee woman | 20 | april • may 2024

Finding & treating cancer early is important. It can be the difference between life & death. The Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program can help. It provides cancer screenings to eligible women.

SERVICES PROVIDED: Breast and cervical cancer screenings (mammograms, Pap tests and clinical breast exams) Diagnostic exams (as needed) Outreach and public education

WHO IS ELIGIBLE? To be eligible, a woman must meet these requirements:

Early detection is the key to successful treatment. Please call us right away if you have new breast pain, breast lumps, nipple discharge or other changes.

Be a Florida resident. Be 50–64 years of age OR Be 40–49 years of age with a family history of breast cancer (in a first-degree relative: parent, brother, sister or child) or Symptomatic women who are underage may be eligible if no other resources are available in their area. Have no health insurance to cover the cost of clinical breast exams, mammograms or Pap smears. Have a household income less than or equal to 200 percent of the poverty level.



Contact us to get an application form. We will review your application and let you know if you qualify. If so, we will make your appointments for breast and cervical cancer screenings and other needed tests.

We will pay for most services you receive if you are eligible; however, there may be some shared costs. Treatment may be paid by Medicaid.

CONTACT US 850-404-6404

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION American Cancer Society 1-800-227-2345 Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) 1-800-CDC-INFO

This publication (journal article, etc.) was supported by the Grant or Cooperative Agreement Number, 1NU58DP006350, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.

10/6/17 - Florida Health, Office of Communications

By Rebecca Weaver



eady for some great new reads? Our Midtown Reader garden is full of new releases. And with spring right around the corner, lots of bestsellers are blooming. Here’s a selection of the very best! And don’t forget to join us at the Word of South Festival of Literature and Music, April 26-28, Cascades Park where you can meet Southern authors and pick up some signed first editions!

Children of Anguish and Anarchy By Tomi Adayemi

Nigerian American Adayemi, named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People, broke onto the literary scene with Children of Blood and Bone, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Children of Anguish and Anarchy is the third book in Adayemi’s Orïsha trilogy, currently in development as a feature film. In this final installment, Zélie seizes the royal palace, thinking her battles are over. However, locked in a cage on a ship, she faces doubt once more. Only a meeting with King Baldyr, her captor, can change her fate.

The Ladies Rewrite the Rules By Suzanne Allain

We’re smitten with Tallahassee author Suzanne Allain, whose novel Mr. Malcolm’s List drew international acclaim (and a movie!) several years ago. Allain returns with another delightful romance set in England, featuring Diana Boyle, a wealthy young widow determined not to remarry. When Diana discovers she’s listed in a directory of eligible rich women, she decides to confront the publisher of the list and rally all the wealthy women listed to “rewrite the rules”.

The Heiress

By Rachel Hawkins Best-selling author Hawkins is back with a tale that Publisher’s Weekly calls “a true thrill ride”. Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore is North Carolina’s richest and most famous widow, having survived a kidnap attempt as a child. She lives in her family’s Blue Ridge mountain mansion. Upon her death, her entire estate is left to her adopted son Camden. He and his wife Jules become haunted by the rumors that swirl around Kenmore’s small town of Tavistock. What really happened during Kenmore’s kidnapping, and what’s the truth behind the deaths of her four husbands?

Funny Story By Emily Henry

Who doesn’t love a good Emily Henry novel? Daphne and Peter have the perfect love story, or so it seems. Dumped just before her wedding when Peter starts a relationship with his lifelong best friend, Daphne has only her job as a librarian to fall back on in the small Michigan town where she followed her fiancé. She knows no one, except the also-dumped ex of her ex-fiancé's new love. If you can follow that, you know what happens next…

Real Americans By Rachel Khong

One of the “most anticipated books” for 2024, Khong’s novel explores American identity over three generations of one family, asking the age-old questions of nature, nurture, and destiny. Lily Chen, an intern for a media company in NYC, is the daughter of two scientists who escaped Mao’s China. She falls in love with her total opposite. Twenty years later, 15-year-old Nick Chen lives with his mother Lily and is determined to find his biological father. Can his genetic past be reversed? Khong’s novel is not to be missed.

Come and Get It By Kiley Reid

Author of Such a Fun Age, Reid is back with a terrific read about a college resident assistant (RA) and her involvement with a visiting University of Arkansas professor who offers her an unusual opportunity. Tension, money, and bad student behavior keep this tale moving. People magazine says Reid’s story is “a thrilling delectable look at wealth, privilege, and desire”.

Table for Two By Amor Towles

Towles's previous three novels, including A Gentleman from Moscow, have collectively sold over 5 million copies. His newest features six short stories based in the Big Apple and one novella set in Hollywood, reintroducing Evelyn Ross from his bestseller Rules of Civility. Stylish and witty, his latest offering is a treat!

tallahassee woman | 22 | april • may 2024

tallahassee woman | 23 | april • may 2024


W.E. ELEVATE Women Empowered Elevate

A Beacon of Empowerment and Community Impact in Tallahassee An Interview with Nicole Everett By: Kaitlyn Walsh


ne of the biggest influences on the Tallahassee community is none other than Nicole Everett. Through her ongoing work in the community and well-received talk show Conversations with Nicole, it’s evident that Everett wants to help people uplift and empower themselves. Created in 2016 by Everett and her friend, Gerald Tookes, Conversations with Nicole is a talk show that hosts various guests who bring their expertise to the conversation. “The initial focus of the show, and still is to some extent, is on the individuals and their passion, projects, or initiatives they have going on," Everett shared. By hosting this informational show, people within the community and beyond gain an understanding of topics that Everett and her guests discuss. "There are a lot of people out here doing some great things, and I seek to highlight that," Everett said.

Photo by Michael A. Cork of MACORK Solutions

She is a passionate adovocate about driving mental health awareness and works closely with the Mental Health Council of the Big Bend. “There is no health without mental health, and we’ve got to have that! So, highlighting that on the show, especially the live shows, has been a game changer for the viewers," Everett explained. I asked Everett what motivates her endeavors, from her incredible effort into the community to being the Advancing Black Homeownership Manager at Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, working with non-profits, and giving back to others. "To love and serve. The service drives me. I am a giver. I want people to be their best selves, successful, thriving, and happy, so to help someone with that motivates me." Everett is a person in the Tallahassee community who people should get to know, whether by watching Conversations With Nicole on her Facebook live streams or tuning into her radio talk shows.

tallahassee woman | 24 | april • may 2024

Nicole Everett

tallahassee woman | 25 | april • may 2024


WOMEN’S HISTORY Clockwise from top: Amanda Leighty, Danette McBride, Ashlee Fontes, Dr. Michelle Mitcham, Avery Miller, Aida Richardson, Carina Richardson, Dr. Cecile Reynaud, and Adela Ghadimi

Oasis Trailblazer Celebration

On March 1, 2024, The Oasis Center for Women & Girls celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting the 16th annual Trailblazer Luncheon. The luncheon is the largest community-wide celebration recognizing the contributions made by women and girls to our quality of life in Tallahassee/Leon County. The Oasis Center is committed to celebrating the accomplishments of all local women in our community, including this year’s honorees, pictured above. Thanks to trailblazers the world over, our daughters and granddaughters have a chance to be anything they want to be. The Oasis Center believes in the limitless potential of future generations of women. Our children deserve

to inherit a world where gender equality is not just an aspiration, but a lived reality. By spotlighting the accomplishments of our local trailblazers, we illuminate a path of possibilities, inspiring generations of young girls to dare to dream, aspire, and achieve. As we pay tribute to the remarkable women and girls who have helped pave the way, we embark on a journey of collective empowerment; one that transcends boundaries and catalyzes positive change. Through our collective efforts, we endeavor to create a world where every individual, regardless of gender, is empowered to realize their fullest potential and contribute meaningfully to society. Happy Women’s History Month!

Y MONTH www.TheOasisCenter.net

Thank you to our sponsors

Analorena COVER


tallahassee woman | 28 | april • may 2024


s I look at her helping that brilliant son of hers, it’s hard to imagine how much different things could have been. Had that day nine years ago turned out differently. After a difficult time getting pregnant, the day had come for Ana and her husband Michael to meet the son she dreamed of most of her life. A life that seemed like it was going to be taken far too soon. Ana experienced complications from her pregnancy due to placenta accreta. During delivery she lost half of her blood volume and needed three emergency transfusions – that presented its own set of challenges. The hospital she was in did not have her blood type. That led to a frantic search at other hospitals to get it quickly enough. Further delaying the surgery needed to save her life. But just like she’s always fought for what she wants, that day she fought to stay alive. That was 2015, here we are on this Tuesday night inside her Northeast Tallahassee home sitting around the kitchen table watching her now 8-year-old play. Ana is living what some might call her best life. She’s a businesswoman, community servant, loving daughter, wife and most importantly a mother. If you spend any time with her, you know just how much she loves that title. If you spend as much time with her as I do, you feel the love she has for her sweet Addison and her husband Michael. A love that extends far beyond the Melendez-Anders family and deep into Tallahassee. Ana’s ability to connect with nearly anyone is impressive. Her husband Michael has many stories about relationships she’s made as they’ve lived all over the world. “Ana is extremely gregarious and has never met a stranger in her life. While living in San Francisco, I would travel to Portland each week for work and stayed in the same hotel 3-4 nights a week. Ana, several months pregnant, visited for one week and by the end of her trip knew everyone from the parking attendant to a friendly local billionaire.”

To appreciate Ana’s desire to make everyone feel seen and loved, we must look back at how she got here.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING Picture it, the year is 1985 and a six-year-old arrives in the United States for the first time. If you’re a Golden Girls fan like Ana this is not the start of a Sophia Petrillo story - it’s so much better. When the plane touched down in Columbus, Ohio it was unlike anything Ana had ever seen. The ground was covered with snow, that was a first. Her father’s job with an engineering company brought the family to the United States. What was supposed to be a short stay turned into home for the Melendez family. As with all new beginnings the move to the U.S. even at six, was not without its challenges. There was the language barrier that forced Ana to repeat kindergarten. Never being one to be defeated, Ana spent those early days watching television and studying daily in her English- Spanish dictionary. It quickly paid off – within three months she had mastered the English language. At least as well as anyone could have at that age. Despite overcoming that barrier, she faced other challenges. “Kids were pretty mean to me; they wouldn’t play with me because I was from another country. I remember one girl with red hair, Shannon. She was always nice to me.” Ana tells that part of the story with a smile – one that takes you away from that childhood sadness and warms your heart to know that she wasn’t alone.

while dad worked, she would at times find herself on the job with him at his software company. Those lessons of how to treat people and run a business are ones that she’s held onto since she was 15.

FAMILY BUSINESS Fresh out of Ohio State Ana made the move back to Mexico City. She moved there to open an office for her father’s company. With the biggest smile, she tells me about living in her mother’s childhood home with her grandparents during that time. That smile soon fades and her voice changes as she tells me about being robbed at gunpoint. She also talks about the things she missed during that time. Things that we take for granted like a walk or run before the sun comes up or goes down because it just was not safe. After a year there, Ana felt that she’d learned all she could and was ready to return to the place she called home most of her life. “When I arrived back in the U.S. and the customs officer said welcome home I just started crying. I was so happy to be back.”



Back home Ana started her MBA at Ohio State, of course. Landing an internship that would later have her move to Chicago. A job that would tap into her passion for travel taking her places like Hong Kong making business deals for her company as a brand strategist. “The day I got my first check from a Fortune 500 company I was sitting in my office cubicle, and I started crying. It was just seeing all my sweat and tears pay off. The feeling was great to know that you can take care of yourself and other people.”

While we know Ana as the businesswoman, owner of A&E wholesale, her passion for music almost took her down a different path. She played saxophone in high school so when it was time to decide about life afterwards. “I told my dad I wanted to be a saxophonist and he said you are like me; you should do business.” After-all she was the only middle schooler in 1993 with a laptop at the science fair. The project, how does AI help human efficiency. While Ana spent a lot of time with her mom and younger siblings

She would meet her husband Michael, spend a year living in Abu Dhabi – among other places. Before making a move to the West Coast where she began a start up in San Francisco. All while fulfilling her biggest dream, becoming a mom. While for some that might have seemed like a big task all on its own, not for Ana. Becoming a mom only further fueled her desire to chase her dream of owning her own business. A dream that brought her here to Tallahassee

tallahassee woman | 29 | april • may 2024

COVER THE WHY Ana’s desire to care for others shines so brightly and so many people in our community have been blessed by it, I know I have. In addition to running a successful distribution company, she sits on several professional and nonprofit boards. Along with mentoring other entrepreneurs. She’s also loving life being a cool mom! Yep, she’s the mom on the floor with her son playing video games. The mom who loves toys just as much as her 8-year-old – her collection is serious business. When it comes to why she does what she does she’s paying it forward. From the little girl with the red hair to the teacher who helped feed her love for music. Ana understands the value of pouring into other people’s lives.

LEAVING A LEGACY As the years fly by and Ana looks back at how she spent her time, these are some of the things that will mean the most. When it comes to being a mom, “I want to give my son tools to navigate life. I want to give him experiences and things that I didn’t have.” When it comes to how she leads her company “some of my favorite times are when we are working together to solve problems. I love to see my team grow.” For those of us who are lucky to have her in our lives or those of you who she’ll meet, “I want to be remembered as a person who made people happy and brought them so much joy.”


tallahassee woman | 30 | april • may 2024

I want to be remembered as a person who made people happy and brought them so much joy.”

tallahassee woman | 31 | april • may 2024

Tallahassee Woman’s Magazine (TWM) is an amazing resource which allows all women to see themselves within its pages. There is truth, empowerment, affirmation, and collective wisdom from incredible women from Tallahassee and beyond. Having this safe space to highlight the stories of how women have overcome adversity, broken barriers, struggled and succeeded gives us all the courage to be the SHEROES of our own stories! Thank you TWM for being that bridge that connects all women. -Paula DeBoles-Johnson

“TWM is a cornerstone of inspiration, providing a platform to elevate women’s voices, stories, and achievements, and connect the diverse and dynamic women in our community.” “TWM gives women in Tallahassee a space to consistently see themselves represented, -Katrina Rolle their issues addressed, their accomplishments celebrated, and their spirits uplifted.” -Dr. Chanta Haywood

“Tallahassee Woman Magazine and Dr. Michelle Mitcham, Publisher provide great value to the women in our community. I appreciate the diverse culture of women recognized by Tallahassee Woman Magazine and the diverse offerings that are provided. In addition, Dr. Mitcham and team are fully engaged in our community in a meaningful way!” -Berneice Cox


“The Tallahassee Woman Magazine has told the unknown stories of many fascinating people that call Tallahassee their home. It is so enlightening to learn about these leaders and contributors to our ever growing community! Beyond that, the magazine opens the doors for our locals to meet and many beautiful things come from these connections.” -Analorena Melendez

“Tallahassee Woman is more than just a magazine—it is a mirror reflecting the strength, resilience, and success of the community's women. As the magazine's founder, I cherished the privilege of providing a platform where women's voices were heard, stories were shared, and connections were made. I am thrilled to see Tallahassee Woman continuing to thrive to celebrate and honor the remarkable women in and around Tallahassee.” -Kim Rosier

“TWM is precisely the captivating vision our community needs. The vibrancy, creativity and noteworthy content inspire men and women alike across various walks of life. Impactful as it is also dynamic, I look forward to immersing myself in every issue and admiring the style and originality of the magazine.” -Anita Bushnykova


“Congratulations to Tallahassee Woman Magazine on 18 years of success! Dr. Mitcham has truly taken the magazine to new heights. It allows women to connect on many levels and reminds us of our strength, courage, and resilience. I especially enjoy reading the articles about the cover women and their inspirational stories. The magazine also connects us to so many resources available for personal and professional growth in our wonderful city. I enjoy the exercise, mental health, and healthy eating articles so we can aim for peak performance in all we do. TWM and Dr. Mitcham gave me a safe space to share my story, which included how I overcame cancer. After the article was published, many women reached out to me who were in the midst of treatment, and I had the blessing of encouraging and supporting them through their journey. I also had the opportunity to mentor many other women who wanted to become attorneys and judges. The friendships, fellowship, and sister connections made through the TWM are truly gifts that keep on giving! Thank you to Dr. Mitcham and her amazing team!” -Nina Ashenafi-Richardson

tallahassee woman | 32 | april • may 2024

Women Who Mean





“Negotiation” Is Not A Dirty Word


tallahassee woman | 33 | april • may 2024





Dana Brooks

Girl, let’s talk about the stay-at-home-mother (SAHM)…

Managing Partner/Shareholder Fasig | Brooks Law Offices dana@fasigbrooks.com

If you have questions about this or any other legal topic, Dana can be reached at Fasig Brooks Law Offices, 850-777-7777. I’d be glad to help.

At the beginning of a marriage, when the relationship is fresh and you are both committed to your family’s success, it’s common to discuss how you’re going to earn an income and parent your children. You both agree it’s important your children be raised by their own parents and you’re willing to sacrifice to make that happen. When financially feasible, many couples choose to have the higher income earner, usually the man, participate in the workplace and the lower income earner, typically the woman, stay home to raise the children and maintain the home. That may be by design, or it could be an arrangement that evolved over time after the birth of more children made the caregiver’s returning to work infeasible. Years go by and young lovers eventually become primary shareholders in the corporation that is now their family. You become adept at juggling children’s schedules, professional calendars, and social expectations. Over time, that level of efficiency can cause people to drift apart or resent how much the other doesn’t appreciate their contributions to the enterprise. When that discord can’t be resolved, many couples find themselves experiencing the pain of dissolving their corporation through divorce. But unlike a corporation where the shares have a determined value, at divorce, the higher income earner typically feels their shares are of higher value than those belonging to the SAHM. Instead of being viewed as the partner who sacrificed career and personal enrichment for the good of the family, the SAHM is suddenly viewed as a lazy, opportunistic, gold-digger who needs to finally get out and earn a living! And yes, the higher-earning partner will even argue that he tried to get the SAHM to return to work for years and when she refused, he paid the price through long

34 | WWMB Journal | April/May 2024 special section

hours, additional burdens, and unrelenting stress. The SAHM should not, he argues, be rewarded for her manipulation! It’s not very romantic to think that someone you love so much, someone you’ve chosen to be your child(ren’s) other parent, could ever turn on you like that, but they can, and they will if it’s you against them. And that does not necessarily mean they’re lying - their truth is different than yours or else you would probably still be together.

So how do you protect yourself? Insist on an agreement before or after the marriage in which both parties agree to a determined amount of compensation in exchange for one party staying outside of the workplace. While a non-income earner can and often does re-enter the workplace after divorce, s/he is at a tremendous disadvantage when competing with younger candidates with more relevant skills. The earnings and opportunity gap between the spouses can never be made up. Persons who return to work after a significant lapse in time earn 60% of their cohorts and have none of the acquired benefits associated with long-term, continued employment and advancement. A SAHM hoping to make up time by starting a business faces an uphill battle because she may not even have a credit score, much less demonstrated earnings over time and a network of contacts to leverage. It is irresponsible to forego participation in the job market for no more consideration than your partner’s assurances and your faith in the court system. Insist on a contract specifying compensation for the non-income earning party both during the marriage and in the event the marriage ultimately dissolves or the income earner dies or becomes disabled. Sometimes that is in the form of a specific amount of compensation placed into separate banking

*sponsored content

and retirement accounts, ownership of shares in a business or property, independent ownership of other assets, etc. The parties have wide range to negotiate the terms of their agreement so there is no chance of differing memories should the relationship later turn sour. Pre- and post-nuptial agreements require a full and frank disclosure of each party’s finances in order to be enforced by a court. That ensures both parties know what rights are available to them, what rights they are giving up, what they are obligating themselves to, and what the courts will enforce. Without an agreement between the spouses, the parties are subject to the court’s determination of what is fair, invariably leading one or both parties to feel as if none of it was. Being a SAHM can be immensely rewarding but it comes with significant financial and legal disadvantages affecting income, career progression, financial independence, and retirement security. Fighting legal challenges during divorce or widowhood only increases a woman’s vulnerability. But through smart financial planning, continuing your social and personal development, and obtaining solid marital agreements, SAHMs can mitigate some of these disadvantages and secure a more stable financial future for themselves and their children.

“The impact of TWM stretches far beyond the pages of the magazine. I’ve enjoyed seeing Michelle take a publication designed to highlight and inspire women and make it a full experience. She is truly living the brand, from the awards designed to uplift women in our community to the business expo, which brings us together to fill our cups and learn from one another.” -Vicki Bradley



“Tallahassee Woman Magazine is a force to be reckoned with. The network of women in this community is unmatched. It gives you a connection of purpose with some of the most courageous, caring, and powerful women in our community. Being part of the Tallahassee Woman Magazine is definitely an experience. I’m so honored to be a part of this amazing group of women that are changing this community and the world.” -Tanya Evans

special section | April/May 2024 | WWMB Journal | 35

Anita Bushnyakova

Rising to the Top: A Journey in Finance and Leadership

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in finance and how did your journey lead you to become the Chief Financial Officer at Kids Incorporated in Tallahassee? A: From a young age, I realized that finance and accounting have a vast effect on every industry and line of business. It's a global skill set that can offer stability but also growth for someone who likes to be intellectually challenged. I wanted to combine my passion for helping children and the community with my qualifications, which ultimately led me to the nonprofit world and Kids Incorporated. Serving our community is a personal passion that leads and inspires my professional career. Q: As a young woman in a leadership role, what challenges have you faced in the finance industry and how have you overcome them? A: As a young professional growing in my career, I faced challenges due to my age and gender. I saw those as an opportunity to excel and prove that a young woman can lead in this industry and be successful. In addition to my technical knowledge and education, it was self-awareness, soft skills, and emotional maturity at an early age that helped me overcome roadblocks. I wholeheartedly believe that being young or a woman is not an inherent impediment in any career field or walk of life. Q: How does your cultural background influence your leader36 | WWMB Journal | April/May 2024 special section

ship style and approach to financial decision-making at Kids Incorporated? A: Growing up in the difficult post-communist years in Bulgaria, I learned to plan for the worst-case scenarios. This cultural influence has molded me into someone who deliberately anticipates obstacles, plans ahead, and always keeps the big picture in mind. Q: What advice do you have for other young women aspiring to climb the corporate ladder and reach executive positions in the finance sector? A: Investing in one's education is the most important piece of advice I can give. Being well-informed on past and current events in your chosen field, as well as well-rounded in other areas; continuous professional development and growth; and taking advantage of mentorships, volunteer opportunities, and internships early on. Q: In your opinion, how can companies promote gender diversity and empower more women to take on leadership roles in the financial industry? A: Expansion of affordable and quality childcare to include employer-sponsored childcare benefits, a supportive and encouraging environment including comradeship and positive office culture, workplace parental leave policies, competitive wages, and flexibility.





he Southern Shakespeare Company will present The Winter's Tale free to the public at Cascades Park for Mother’s Day weekend, May 9-12, 2024. Not only does this lesser-known Shakespearean play offer an array of fabulous roles for women (not only ingenues but as royalty, mothers, and friends), but the production’s director Shanara Gabrielle will make history as the company's first female director for its spring mainstage. Gabrielle’s gutsy and inventive approach to creating diverse, transformative storytelling has made her a celebrated and in-demand theatremaker. After work with esteemed companies both in America and abroad (Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Guthrie, the Kennedy Center, Theater Alliance, and more), Gabreille’s directorial vision for The Winter's Tale promises to enchant and delight Tallahassee.

*sponsored content

Gabrielle says, “The Winter's Tale offers everything we hope for in theatre — comedy, tragedy, love, jealousy, joy, fear… even time travel, music, and dance! The play reminds us of the beauty of forgiveness and the power of grace. I can't wait to share this story of justice and joy.” Gabrielle's production of The Winter's Tale starring television’s Nathan Darrow as King Leontes (House of Cards, Gotham) is sure to be a spellbinding celebration of resilience and sisterhood. Attend the free performances of The Winter's Tale as well as enjoy food trucks and vendors nightly at Cascades Park, Thursday through Sunday, May 9-12, at 7:30 PM. For a full schedule of events and more, visit SouthernShakes.org.

Top Note-Taking Apps for Busy Professionals: Stay Organized On the Go! By Katelyn Walsh

Here are some convenient note-taking apps you can download to your phone, laptop, or tablet. • Good Notes: This free app is excellent for students and professionals. The app has AI technology that helps the notetaking go even faster. Good Notes also has easy access to PDFs and can work with large files. • Obsidian: This app is the ultimate note-taker. You can

create and store notes in separate folders and subfolders, which the app allows you to link, essentially connecting all your notes. This app is free for personal use. • Evernote: This app allows for handwritten notes with a stylus, or you can take standard notes. Evernote can hold large files, PDFs, and PowerPoint presentations. This app costs $7.99 per month.

38 | WWMB Journal | April/May 2024 special section

WOMEN ON THE MOVE Stephanie Shumate


he Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CSWG) and The Oasis Center for Women & Girls are pleased to announce Stephanie Shumate as the new Director of the CSWG. Shumate previously served as Vice President of Client Relations and Unit Production Manager at CATECOMM, where she specialized in social media management, advocacy, production management, and communication strategies for various associations, businesses, non-profits, and political campaigns. With 18 years of experience in leadership training, personal development, and group facilitation, Shumate is honored to lead the CSWG, focusing on expanded research, policy recommendations, education, outreach, collaboration, advocacy, and partnerships. The CSWG comprises 21 commissioners appointed and approved by the City and County Commissions, including Chair Dr. Cicely Brantley, Vice Chair Dr. Jeanne O’Kon, and others. Established over 11 years ago, the CSWG has identified inequities affecting women and girls, producing research and recommendations on issues such as

*sponsored content

maternal health, sexual violence, workplace violence, and crime. In 2022, the City and County Commissions supported the CSWG's next phase, CSWG 2.0, which aims to assess gender equity, measure wellbeing, update recommendations, and develop strategies through research, policy, program development, education, outreach, advocacy, and partnerships. CSWG 2.0's priorities include updating and prioritizing recommendations, making policy suggestions, developing a digital dashboard, hosting meetings with organizations serving women and girls, researching the Anatomy of a Homicide Report, and organizing an annual empowerment summit. Dr. Brantley looks forward to Shumate's leadership enhancing the CSWG's impact, supported by Program Coordinator Mary Deschler and Intern Maryn Douglass, with staffing provided by The Oasis Center for Women & Girls.


Carrie Boyd

“Negotiation” Is Not A Dirty Word


t is not often we see such industry-changing history being made before our eyes, yet that is the view before us now with the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) seismic settlement of a class action lawsuit on March 15th with groups of nationwide home sellers. The 418M antitrust settlement could change the home buying and selling process as we know it for residential consumers. The purpose behind the lawsuit was to bust up what some consumers feel are hardball negotiation tactics designed to artificially inflate real estate agents’ commissions—and home prices. The industry norm for agent commissions has long been 5-6% of the final selling price with the seller paying both her agent and the buyer’s agent as part of the transaction. Consumers abroad pay far less in commissions with 1% in the UK and 2% in Germany as the norms, for example. Along with closing costs and other fees, the percentage of additional expenses (not including the down payment) can easily reach 10% of the final selling price for each transaction, which makes homeownership a pipe dream for many Americans when factoring in the high cost of both borrowing money and market entry due to limited supply. Our investment companies have bought, sold, designed, built, and managed almost

2B of residential and commercial real estate over the years. As the lead negotiator and legal representative, I feel qualified to speak on the issue underlying this NAR settlement: the freedom to negotiate. The reality is consumers have always been free to negotiate agent commissions. But, many of them were unaware of that fact, and the lawsuit filings detail some buyer and seller experiences where agents reportedly used tactics such as stonewalling or steering to avoid showing or selling properties that did not offer the typical commission rates. The new rules take effect on July 1st, and the practical impacts are still unknown. Will sellers reduce their asking prices now that they don’t have to pay the commission for the buyer’s agent? If buyers cannot afford or refuse to pay out of pocket for an agent, will they be at a disadvantage during negotiations? Will housing prices dip and make ownership more affordable? I have my doubts about any decline in home prices, yet anyone buying or selling residential property after July 1st should remember the cardinal rule of any negotiation: the importance of preparation.

home sales in their market and neighborhoods of interest. The average price per square foot is the foundation for any home sale negotiation, yet consumers may have other needs to consider. When preparing to negotiate, knowledge is power—both marketplace and one’s own interests. If the timeline for closing or replacement of an old roof are important to a buyer, then I suggest those be anchors for the negotiation. As consumers, you must know and preserve your goals, do your market research, and learn the other side’s goals, too, beyond merely buying or selling a property. All these steps are important for you to identify your Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) and what your options are if the negotiations fall through, such as walking away from the deal, staying put, making an offer on another property, etc. The most productive and modern negotiations strategy is to create win/win outcomes by considering the other party’s needs and wants in addition to your own. Once you are empowered with that information and your BATNA, you can welcome thoughtful negotiations that have the greatest likelihood of success.

Information is no longer asymmetrical. An internet search can quickly empower consumers with the data for recent, comparable

kcarrie@networkreiwomen.com 40 | WWMB Journal | April/May 2024 special section

*sponsored content

The Eight Five Zero

Salon Difference Our carefully chosen and highly trained staff is here to exceed your expectations. The same goes for our elegant salon space - dedicated to guest comfort - and our devotion to innovation and artistry. We're focused on making your day and continually raising the bar. We are also proud to align with Aveda's mission of ethical and sustainable business practices and its high-fashion aesthetic. We share Aveda's exceptional standards of quality products, treatments, and guest care, and everything we do reflects the standards of an Aveda Salon. MENTION TALLAHASSEE WOMAN MAGAZINE FOR $20 OFF YOUR SERVICE

Call Us Now



1122 T homasville Rd, Ste 6, Tallahassee, Fl 32303 eight1ivezerosalon.com

BRANDING 101 By Laci Swann

Know Your Audience: While your family and friends may be your initial supporters, your target market might be different. Your product or service

Keys to Success in Entrepreneurship and Online Influence


ith the increasing popularity of entrepreneurship, online influencing, and virtual side hustles, understanding the fundamentals of branding is crucial for attracting leads, standing out, and driving profit. While the world of branding can seem overwhelming, grasping some basics can make stepping into this new arena less daunting. As an award-winning business owner who has navigated the ever-changing creative industry for nearly eight years, I have a few keys to unlock the initial doors of your branding journey. Understand Your "Why": While income is often a driving factor, relying solely on it can lead to burnout. Products and services may change, but your mission and alignment with it will keep you motivated for long-term success. Being Smart Isn’t Enough: Having brilliant ideas is crucial, but consistency is the key to success. Whether you prefer a notebook planner or a digital checklist, outline your daily goals and stay organized. Success comes from daily, consistent effort. 42 | WWMB Journal | April/May 2024 special section

should resonate with those who align with what you offer, even if it means excluding your close circle. This focus ensures you're reaching the right audience. Invest in Professional Photography: High-quality images are essential. They reflect the professionalism and quality of your products or services. Ask yourself if you would buy something online with pixelated or unclear images. Your potential customers likely wouldn't either. By understanding these branding basics, you can create a strong foundation for your business or side hustle. Success in branding requires a combination of strategy, consistency, and understanding your audience, ultimately leading to increased visibility, engagement, and profitability.

Empowering Minority Women-Owned Businesses The Impact of MWSBE Certification in Tallahassee By Kaitlyn Walsh


hat do you think of when you hear “minority womenowned business”? To the Tallahassee community, it should mean the world! Minority women-owned businesses are an essential part of the economy and the county in which they reside. Florida's Office of Economic Vitality champions a program called Minority, Women, and Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE). The MWSBE program is a beacon of empowerment, providing development support and funding to these businesses, propelling these important ventures off the ground and into action! The program provides certification, allowing businesses to collaborate with the City of Tallahassee, Leon County Government, and Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency, further amplifying their reach and impact. The Office of Economic Vitality Development's website states, “In today's competitive business landscape, a Minority, Women & Small Business Enterprise certification sets your business apart from the rest. The OEV MWSBE program is committed to elevating businesses through certifications and ensuring vendors are trained and ready to do business,” OEV said on their website. Whether you're embarking on a new business venture or seeking to expand your existing network, the OEV is a welcoming gateway. The MWSBE program is not just for startups but for all businesses. Even if you're already established, you can apply for the program and start collaborating with various agencies in our community.

Once certified, your business will be listed in the OEV's online MWSBE directory. The OEV states that a company is eligible for the program if: -At least 51% owned and controlled by minorities or by women. -Located in Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, or Gadsden counties. -For-profit. -Business must have been established for a period of one (1) calendar year prior to submitting its application for MWSBE certification. The OEV is deeply committed to the success of minority womenowned businesses. They have paved the way for these businesses to thrive with the MWSBE certification. The OEV is also dedicated to fostering professional relationships that mutually benefit companies and agencies throughout the county, a testament to its commitment to the community's prosperity. If your business isn't in Tallahassee but in another part of Florida, you can also apply for women, veteran, and minority-owned business status through the Florida Department of Management Services. This specialty status means these businesses will first be referred to state agencies. To find more information about how to apply for the MWSBE program, head to the Office of Economic Vitality's website here: https://oevforbusiness.org/diversity-economic-inclusion/ certification/ special section | April/May 2024 | WWMB Journal | 43

Ladies, let’s talk about spring cleaning Spring Clean Your Finances:

Refresh, Reorganize, and Rejuvenate Your Financial House


3. RECONSIDER AUTOPILOT EXPENSES: Cancel or consolidate subscriptions through your phone settings. Identify and eliminate any apps you're paying for but no longer use. Monthly fees can add up without us realizing.

Just as we tidy up our homes, we can also declutter our finances. Here are some tips for giving your financial house a spring clean:

4. BOOST YOUR CREDIT SCORE: Request your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com, which provides one free report per year. This can offer peace of mind and clarity on your credit score and debt.

s the weather warms and flowers bloom, it's time to dive into the annual tradition of spring cleaning. For me, this means organizing my kids' clothes, donating outgrown toys, and freeing up space in the house. This ritual leaves me feeling refreshed and reset.

1. REFRESH YOUR SAVINGS: Aim to have 3 to 6 months' worth of expenses saved up. Consider transferring extra money from checking to savings or setting up automatic deposits from your paycheck to your savings account. 2. TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR ACCOUNTS: Know where all your accounts are located and how they are owned (individual, joint, in an LLC). Ensure beneficiaries are listed where applicable.

5. READJUST YOUR BUDGET: Use apps like You Need A Budget (YNAB) or Mint to help manage your finances more effectively. Remember, just as with cleaning your home, don't try to tackle all your financial tasks in one day or you may burn out. Pace yourself and enjoy the process of tidying up your finances for a fresh start.

Robin Vernon is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. CA Insurance License #4192787 OSJ: 4830 W. Kennedy Blvd, Suite 800, Tampa, FL 33609, 813-637-6340 CRN202608-4916550 44 | WWMB Journal | April/May 2024 special section

*sponsored content



ave you ever experienced self-doubt or imposter syndrome? You are not alone. Many women, regardless of their backgrounds or career levels, struggle with these thoughts or feelings. As someone who has listened to women for years as a mother, teacher, mentor and psychotherapist, I decided to launch the RED initiative. Tallahassee Woman Magazine actually launched several RED initiatives, since 2019. The acronym RED stands for resilient, empowered, and determined. As a woman, I aim to empower myself and others to be more powerful. Here are eight invaluable lessons I have learned along my journey but I would like to share: Embrace the Uncomfortable: I have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is through pushing past our comfort zones that we truly grow and discover our inner strength. Maintain Equanimity: In the face of adversity, it is crucial to maintain equanimity. By staying calm and composed, we can approach challenges with clarity and make well-informed decisions. Nurture Emotional Intelligence: Increasing our emotional intelligence is key to personal growth. By understanding and managing our emotions, we can build meaningful relationships, navigate conflicts, and lead with empathy. Embrace Mindfulness and Unlock Superpowers: Practicing mindfulness allows us to access our inner superpowers. By being fully present in the moment, we can tap into our intuition, creativity, and resilience. Embody Resilience: Life is full of twists and turns, but it's our resilience that helps us bounce back no matter what. By embracing challenges as opportunities for growth, we can overcome obstacles and emerge stronger than ever. Cultivate Optimism and Embrace Faith: I have learned to be optimistic and lean into my faith. By focusing on the positive, maintaining a hopeful mindset, and trusting in myself, I can overcome any adversity that comes my way.

Resilient and Limitless:

Say NO to Imposter Syndrome! By Michelle Mitcham, Ph.D, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, CFM

Embrace Challenges with Wisdom and Confidence: Challenges are stepping stones to success. I have learned to lean into challenges with a combination of wisdom, confidence, and self-assurance. They provide valuable lessons and pave the way for personal growth. Practice Confidence and Speak Up: It is essential to practice confidence and speak up when needed. As women, we have a unique perspective and valuable contributions to make. By listening attentively and voicing our opinions unapologetically, we can create positive change and inspire others. Remember, RED women, you have the power to rise above any circumstance. Embrace your strength, show empathy towards others, and stay motivated on your path to empowerment. You are resilient, empowered, and determined. You are a RED woman!

tallahassee woman | 46 | april • may 2024 tallahassee woman | 46 | april • may 2024

tallahassee woman | 47 | april • may 2024


“I ’m Just a Girl ”

Navigating Female Friendships By Heather Touby

Spring has sprung and while the abundance of coquette bows and floral dresses may have been considered “unprofessional” in the past, today’s women are combating this mindset by reasserting their confidence in their feminine identity with the simple justification, “I’m just a girl.” This short, but powerful phrase validates women pursuing what they enjoy and operates almost in direct contrast to “boys will be boys” which for years has validated male behavior simply on the basis of gender. This new era of confident feminism means that female friendships and femininity itself has taken a new form and we’re trading some outdated ideas about female friendships for some positive, empowering new ones. TRADE SELF-JUDGMENT FOR SELF LOVE: Excessive apologizing is out! While there often is a subconscious societal pressure to appear perfect while socializing with female friends, there is no need to apologize to a friend for not going full-glam for a coffee catch up. Oftentimes, selfconscious worries about our appearance can distract us from the wonderful parts of ourselves we have to share with our friends. Releasing these notions of self-doubt, makes it much easier to see the beauty in others and yourself. TRADE JEALOUSY FOR COMPASSION: Even on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” a reality tv show revolving around women dating the same man, the women this season often encourage each other to put their best foot forward and offer a shoulder to cry on when times are tough. By putting jealousy aside and understanding that success and happiness are infinite resources, these women formed genuine connections and friendships that have extended beyond the show. Even in an environment intended to pin women against each other, female friendship prevails. Femininity is powerful! So the next time ur getting a mani/pedi or walking into a business meeting in a powerful, pink pantsuit remind yourself “I’m just a girl” and isn’t that fabulous.

tallahassee woman | 48 | april • may 2024

tallahassee woman | 49 | april • may 2024

W.E. INSPIRE By Briana Michelle

I Sit Here Again In First Class King Richard playing in my peripheral Overwhelmed with gratitude Overwhelmed with strength The strength of my ancestors My mother My grand mother Birdie And all the powerful women before her I am so proud to carry this torch I am so proud to shine this light To bust down more doors Muddy more paths with my resilience Clearing the way Ahead, we move ahead I am swept with the vision of my grandmother bathing my mother, Pouring water over her head Her jet black curls The most beautiful locks of hair I feel the water pour over me in the same way Both as children and adults simultaneously, I am cleansed and fed Nourished and empowered We wipe off the sweat from yesterday We rinse our hearts for tomorrow Strength Undeniable legacy Love Womanhood And love again. tallahassee woman | 51 | april • may 2024

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