Women In Business Leadership and Awards Luncheon Celebrates Trailblazers and Entrepreneurs

Todays News


With a roar that shook the rafters, SRQ Media’s fifth annual Women In Business Leadership and Awards Luncheon came to the Hyatt Regency Sarasota yesterday, uniting professionals from all across the region to celebrate those women making great strides in everything from education and entrepreneurship to healthcare and the arts.

Over a light lunch (and after an impromptu shopping spree in the lobby with pop-ups from vendors like Molly’s, Apricot Lane, Philosophy and Vines, Saks Fifth Avenue, Diamond Vault and more), the hundreds gathered enjoyed a presentation from Keynote Speaker Geralyn Lucas, the announcement of the 2019 Trailblazer Award Recipient and the induction of the 2019 Women In Business Leadership Circle.

A journalist and author turned advocate for breast cancer awareness and survivor acceptance, Lucas took the stage to tell her own very personal account of being diagnosed at age 27 and facing a mastectomy with little available guidance or support. Equal parts humorous and heartfelt, she shared her story with a rapt audience hanging on to every twist and turn, as she recounted the little victories and the big ones—and lessons learned. “Always take that risk,” she said, and be open about who you are and what you’re going through—reactions may be surprising. “Courage is just so contagious,” she says. “The best thing I’ve ever done is share my story and hold out my hand to someone else.”

A trailblazer who literally wrote the book (her memoir is titled Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America), acclaimed journalist Dorothy Butler Gilliam was also in attendance to receive the 2019 Trailblazer Award. The first black woman journalist at The Washington Post, Gilliam’s storied career documents a battle waged tirelessly on two fronts, facing both racism and sexism both in the office and out, yet never backing down. Accepting the award on behalf of black women journalists everywhere, she reflected on her journey. “Women of our generation didn’t really hear our roar,” she said. “So I found a little bit of my roar today. I am not going to be apologetic anymore—I am a trailblazer.”

Closing out the luncheon, the crowd recognized the finalists and inductees into the 2019 Women in Business Leadership Circle, as selected by a judges panel of professional women. Winners this year include: Luz Corcuera, executive director of UnidosNow; Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton; Terri Najmolhoda, vice president and general manager with Saks Fifth Avenue; Christine Robinson, executive director of The Argus Foundation; and Sally Schule, director of community engagement with Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation.

Pictured: Finalists and inductees into the 2019 Women In Business Leadership Circle. Photo by Evan Sigmund.

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