From its inception as a reader-generated editorial competition to its current multi-platform initiative celebrating leadership and mentorship among women of all ages, the program has grown to include the inspirational and moving 2017 Hear Me Roar Luncheon, Seaside Leadership Circle Salons, SkillSHARE Sessions, Power Up Mixers and SMARTgirl Luncheon and partnerships with local and national organizations.  It has been an exhilarating ride of connection, collaboration and many AHA moments.  Before we roar into 2018’s newest adventures, let’s take a look back on all the highlights of the Women in Business Initiative over the past exciting years.

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Hear Me Roar 

Women in Business Leadership and Awards Luncheon

The “roar” from the “Hear Me Roar” Women in Business Leadership and Awards Luncheon produced by SRQ Media thunders all the way from North Port to Palmetto, as each year’s winners and finalists are announced at a sold-out lunch at The Francis in Downtown Sarasota. As the event kicks off, attendees sip champagne, shop and connect during the Pop Up Boutique showcasing local merchants.  Featuring such stellar keynote speakers over the years as Silicon Valley darling Anna Zornosa, CEO of Ruby Ribbon; Pamela van der Lee, former VP Viacom; and Ria Persad, CEO StatWeather, and honoring notable Trailblazer recipients, Adrienne Vittadini, Fashion and Interior designer; Pamela Fiori, former Editor in Chief Travel & Leisure and Town & Country magazines; and Nancy Bernardini, President, Zotos International the luncheon culminates with moving stories of challenge, success and triumph and the announcement of the Women in Business Competition winners.  

Click here for photos from the 2018 luncheon.

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Mentorship At The Speed of Life

SRQ Media hosts evenings of connection, engagement and empowerment at the SkillSHARE Mentorship Summits hosted at SRQ Studios.  The evenings come alive with positive energy, enthusiasm and laughter as participants arrive to meet the Women In Business Leadership Circle and special guest mentors. Guests gather in a circle to share their insights to questions designed to forge communication and connection with each other. From riding motorcycles, to spending time with children, running a new business, to yoga and crossword puzzles, mentors and mentees from incredibly diverse backgrounds shared highlights of their passions, what keeps them balanced and what adds meaning to their lives. SkillSHARE features the basics of mentorship concentrated into mini-sessions that encourage honest interactions and allow for spontaneous connection. Participants meet like-minded professionals, make valuable connections and get straight to the heart of their most burning questions about career and personal development.

“I have been in the business world and interacting with people for over 25 years.  As a newcomer to Sarasota, I was excited to have the opportunity to engage with these ‘roaring women.’ This event was by the far the best resource to develop relationships with amazing female leaders in our area. I was touched by each of their honesty, dedication, and true concern for their businesses and each of our futures.  What a fabulous event and group of down-to-earth, beautiful inside and out, powerful ladies.   I am truly humbled!”  SkillSHARE participant, Anna Duchene

“Meeting these women, with all different careers and successes, inspires me to be like them one day and gives me hope for the future of women working together,”  SkillSHARE participant, Dylan Howell

Click here for photos from the February 2018 SkillSHARE.


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Body Rolling with Dianne Glass

SRQ Women in Business is all about empowering women and providing tools and resources to help them be their best.  As part of the WIB personal development protocol, SRQ arranged for Leadership Circle members to participate in an invigorating morning of bodywork, stress reduction and empowering self-care at the Yamuna® Body Rolling retreat hosted by Dianne Glass. The retreat was part of the Women in Business Initiative’s new year focus to ensure members prioritize self-care in their busy schedules and develop strategies that help them to be the healthiest, strongest and most effective leaders they can be. 

“All too often, we ignore the signs in our body that deserve attention. Dianne’s class is a safe and effective way to reconnect with your body, your posture and your mind. After one class, much of my tension from my sedentary job and soreness from a prior workout was released. I highly recommend the experience! You will float your way through the remainder of the day.”   Dr. Kameron P. Hodgens (below left), CEO and Executive Director, Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Leadership Circle Class of 2017

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Leadership and Mentorship Summit at The Hyatt Regency, Sarasota

Every Spring, SRQ MEDIA hosts the SMARTgirl Leadership and Mentorship Summit at the Hyatt Regency.  Powered by the Women in Business Initiative, SMARTgirl engages 60-80 girls in 6th, 7th and 8th grades from both Sarasota and Manatee Counties with mentors from the Leadership Circle and guest mentors representing our region’s many diverse industries from graphic design, programming and virtual reality to theatre, marine biology and medicine. The luncheon consists of a curated mentoring program aimed to engage the young women in soft skills training, mentorship and career imaginings.

We live in a society that puts pressure on girls at a very young age. 12-year-olds are already going on diets and many believe that they’re valued more for their appearance than abilities. As mentors, community leaders and, most importantly, fellow women, we need to break this cycle and help these young women realize that they are more than their looks, more than what society tells them to be. We need to create the standard and guide them along so that they surpass all expectations. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to mentor at SMARTgirl. It wholly reinforced the idea that, instead of competing with one another, we need to educate and empower each other. Female empowerment is a force to be reckoned with.”   SMARTgirl Mentor Kristen Hogentogler.

“This event is about helping girls achieve their dreams. Each of us determines our own happiness, and if we are able to help one girl believe in herself and understand she can conquer any challenge ahead to make her dreams reality, then we have helped her on the journey to true happiness,”   Women in Business Leadership Circle Member and SMARTgirl Mentor, Joy Randels.

“On behalf of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, we give the 2017 SMARTgirl Summit two thumbs up! The impact of this program goes well beyond just a day and aligns with our mission perfectly – building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” —Girl Scout of Gulfcoast Florida’s Director of Corporate Communications, Patricia Ramthun

Click here for photos from the 2018 SMARTgirl.


Private Networking

Every month from October through April, the Leadership Circle meets for a private leadership connectivity breakfast at Hyatt Sarasota to share insights, novel solutions to challenges and best practices for managing business and life. At each of the monthly gatherings, a member of the Leadership Circle shares their story of challenges they have met along the road to success. From better ways to provide mentorship and stewardship in the community, to new tools and technologies, to valuable feedback on personal and professional issues, the group engages in deep-dive dialogue and supportive counsel designed to strengthen each member on their individual goals and purpose within the region.  

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Sophie's at Saks Fifth Avenue

The SRQ Leadership Circle and invited guests meet twice a year for a private cocktail reception at Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue. The Mixers provide our leadership to decompress from their hectic schedules, celebrate recent successes and initiate new collaborations while connecting with each other and with new community leaders in an intimate setting filled with fun and inspirational moments.

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Hosted by SRQ Women in Business at New College of Florida, An Evening With Audrey featured a presentation by Pamela Fiori, former editor in chief of Town & Country and Travel & Leisure magazines, six-time published author and SRQ Trailblazer Recipient.  Gracing the stage in an Audrey-esque ensemble, Fiori painted an intimate portrait of Audrey’s public persona and private world peppering her talk with humorous and touching anecdotes and memories set to a backdrop of gorgeous magazine spreads filled with fashion images, snapshots and posters from beloved films. The visual collage of Audrey’s fashion and film legacy was followed by a poignant video highlighting her work with UNICEF and the sense of meaning and fulfillment it gave to her. After her presentation, guests joined Fiori in the foyer for cocktails and light bites where the conversation bubbled with Audrey antidotes and cheerful banter. 

“There is no-one more perfect to shed light on Audrey than Pamela Fiori.  A legend in publishing and barometer of style and grace in her own right, Fiori also shares the same sensibilities we all love about Audrey—warmth, kindness, compassion and deep commitment to giving back to others. It was such a special experience to hear from one incredible woman as she celebrated another one.”   Ashley Grant, SRQ MEDIA Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships

Click here for photos from An Evening with Audrey.