SRQ Magazine formed the Women in Business Initiative as a year-long program engaging the participants in the annual Women in Business Competition to create highly-dynamic personal networking that catalyzes community leadership through the science and art of mentorship. Every April, we host the Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon recognizing the past years’ Women in Business Leadership Circle Class and announcing the finalists and winners of the current year's Women in Business Competition comprising the new inductees to the Leadership Circle. The winners, finalists and judges of the competition are published in the May edition of SRQ Magazine in a special awards section. Programs powered by the Women in Business Initiative include SkillSHARE: Mentorship at the Speed of Life and SMARTgirl.


SkillSHARE Mentorship Summit

Hosted at SRQ MEDIA Studios
331 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236

Apply for Summits in Feb, June and Oct, 5-7pm
By Online Registration.

Women in Business Salon Series

Hosted at The Resort at Longboat Key Club
220 Sands Point Rd, Longboat Key, FL 34228

Private Monthly Breakfast Salons: 9am-10am
By invitation only.

Annual Hear Me Roar Awards Luncheon

Hosted at The Francis
1289 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, Florida

Thursday, April 27, 2017
10:30am to 1pm


Hear Me Roar Logo

SRQ Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon

Thursday, April 26, 2018 at The Francis; 10:30am-1pm

SRQ | The Magazine will host the third annual Women in Business Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at The Francis in downtown Sarasota. We will recognize this year's nominees, our judges, keynote speaker, past Leadership Circle ambassadors and the "Hear Me Roar" Trailblazer Award recipient and announce the finalists and winners who will be inducted into this year's esteemed 2017 WIB Leadership Circle. 


Previous Hear Me Roar Luncheons

Click here to download the PDF file of the 2017 Women in Business Awards Supplement that includes
a full list of this year's nominees, judges, winners, finalists and special guests.

See photos from the "Hear Me Roar" Luncheon.


Past Trailblazer and Keynote


2017 Keynote Speaker | Ria Persad is the founding CEO of StatWeather, a weather and climate services corporation specializing Ria Persad is the founding CEO of StatWeather, a weather and climate services corporation specializing in state-of-the-art weather prediction systems for the risk management industry. Ria is both a mathematician and a classical musician and was a child prodigy researching under mentor, Eleanor F. Helin at the California Institute of Technology, in asteroid discovery, origin and motion. At the age of 13, she was a research assistant at the High-temperature Superconductivity Lab at Boston University. At the age of 14, Ria developed new methods of numerical integration including the “Method of Polygonal Partitions”, and “Vector Approximation Method” all while taking coursework at Harvard University.  

2017 Trailblazer Recipient | Nancy Bernardini is the General Manager of Gurwitch Products LLC, the global luxury cosmetics and skincare enterprise best known for its Laura Mercier and ReVive brands.  Most recently she led the Laura Mercier brand to deliver the company’s most successful year ever, outpacing industry growth and increasing overall market share.  She is responsible for reengineering the company’s business model to fuel growth internationally.  Under Nancy’s leadership, the brand implemented a digitally-led marketing mix to increase brand awareness and reach a broader consumer base.  In 2016, she successfully managed the divestiture of the business to Shiseido Americas.  

2016 Keynote Speaker | Anna Zornosa's career has included leadership positions at startups, as well as large public companies. She founded Ruby Ribbon in 2011 after being inspired to create a unique, everyday shapewear apparel company, whose products are only available through social commerce. She serves as an Advisor to several other startups including: Motista, Inc, Glam.com, and Chloe & Isabel. Zornosa’s rich experience prior to Ruby Ribbon encompassed both venture-backed start-ups and posts at large companies. 

2016 Trailblazer Recipient | Pamela Fiori is an editor, a writer and an authority on luxury travel and lifestyle. From 1993-2010, she was editor-in-chief of Town & Country, the oldest continuously published general-interest magazine in America (established in 1846). Under her leadership, Town & Country expanded its coverage of fashion and style, beauty and health, wealth management, home design, the arts and philanthropy as well as documenting the changing face of affluence in America. Prior to joining Town & Country, Fiori was at American Express Publishing Corporation where was widely credited with the success of Travel & Leisure, which she edited for fourteen years. In 1989, she was named executive vice president and editorial director of all of the company’s publications (including Departures and Food &Wine). At both Town & Country and Travel & Leisure, Fiori wrote monthly editor’s letters and also feature articles, interviews and profiles of prominent people such as Ralph Lauren, Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Giorgio Armani and Audrey Hepburn. 

2015 Keynote Speaker | Pam van der Lee is the Chief Marketing Officer for San Francisco based, financial technology company iMatchative, and its flagship product, AltX.  In her current position, Pam is responsible for communicating the iMatchative and AltX brands to its partners, customers, and the media. Throughout her 25-year career, Pam has worked at the intersection of marketing, strategic planning, and branding. Prior to iMatchative, Pam was a consultant to nonprofits, primarily within the educational and disability sectors. She served as chair of the National Down Syndrome Society and is currently President of the Board at the Tuxedo Park School, a pre-K to 9th grade independent school in Tuxedo Park, NY.  

2015 Founding Trailblazer Recipient | Adrienne Vittadini reinvented knitwear as an up-to-date, feminine and sensual way to dress. She was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1945. When she was 12, her family fled Budapest during the 1956 Hungarian revolution. She studied at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA and won a scholarship to apprentice with Louis Feraud in Paris, in 1965. After completing her education, she moved to New York. In 1979, she started what would become a multi-million dollar fashion business.

Meet the Leadership Circle

Class of 2017

Erin McLeodPresident, The Friendship Centers

Erin is President & CEO for the Friendship Centers, a regional nonprofit with a $16M+ annual budget that has served seniors, families, caregivers and promoting health, dignity and quality of life throughout the journey of aging since 1973. She started with the organization in 2004 as director of communications, became chief operating officer in 2006, senior VP in 2012, and was appointed as the organization’s second only president and CEO in January 2016.

Erin holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Florida, and has completed nonprofit management and development/fundraising coursework. She has a broad experience career base in consulting, healthcare, hospitality, public speaking and nonprofit.

A Sarasota resident for 34 years, she currently serves as a trustee for the Florida Council on Aging, a board member of the Southwest Florida Planned Giving Council as well as the Community Health Centers of Sarasota County, on the Advisory Boards of Visit Sarasota, and the Junior League of Sarasota Community.

Past leadership roles have been as chair of the Sarasota County Seniors Advisory Council, and member of the Economic Development Council, president of the local chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association and on the state FPRA board, the Habitat for Humanity Sarasota board, Sarasota County COAD, Community Alliance and advisory and leadership roles for a variety of other community organizations.

Erin is married to her college sweetheart, Craig. They have two adult children, Collin and Meggan, and are proud grandparents of Ellie, who is four.

Nikki Taylor President and CEO, Taylor & Company, LLC

As founding President of Designing Daughters in 2009 Nikki Taylor has been fortunate to work alongside stellar leaders who helped bring about the amazing organization that DD has become today. “Hard work, creative energies, caring hearts, amidst a sea of constant change. That’s Us”, says Taylor. Wife to husband Trevor & proud Mom to Madison, Austin, and Ella she jokes that having a family forced her to become very comfortable with constant change and to embrace the mantra that it really does take a village! Hailing from a business background, Taylor feels that serving in various capacities within DD has helped hone some highly advantageous skill sets that have had tremendous professional impact. Membership Chair (2014-2015) was her favorite of all as meeting and helping women connect has always been a passion. Taylor is President/CEO of Taylor & Company, a unique strategic healthcare-focused marketing firm launched last year. that works solely in the healthcare market niche. Nominated Women Business leaders of the year 2017 Nikki has Chaired more than two dozen charity events (alongside amazing community leaders) that have raised more than $5 million dollars to better the Sarasota community. Currently she serves on PTO for Southside School, sits on the Medical Advisory Committee for Neuro Challenge Foundation, co-chairs SYC Cares (Sarasota Yacht Club’s Community Outreach committee), serves on AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) member mentoring program committee and membership council, and is active on the Executive Board/ Advisory Team of Designing Daughters of Sarasota. Monday through Friday she starts her day at 6am with a “buddy walk” on Orange Avenue which helps her stay fit and current with friends and community leaders. 

Graci McGillicuddyChampion for Children

Jennifer VignePresident, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc.

Jennifer Vigne is a demonstrated leader with proven ability to foster strong relationships and raise philanthropic dollars. She assumed the role as President for the Education Foundation of Sarasota County in November 2015 to help shape and strengthen its mission-driven work and is guided by the unshakable belief that education changes lives. Vigne is a prominent non-profit professional from the Sarasota-Manatee community who has served in various leadership capacities with Saint Stephens Episcopal School, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southwest Florida Chapter. With over twenty-five years of combined education, nonprofit and corporate sector work experience, Vigne - who is a multi- generational Florida native -received her M.Ed. from the University of South Florida in educational leadership, her B.S. degree from Florida State University, and is also a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Vigne is a graduate of Leadership Manatee, Leadership Sarasota, and the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute. 

Karen Windon Deputy County Administrator, Manatee County Government

Karen Windon has held the position of Deputy County Administrator for Manatee County, Florida, since December, 2006. Her areas of responsibility include all operational aspects of the County with a focus on public safety, human services, neighborhood services, human resources, information technology, parks and recreation, and facility management as well as strategic planning.

Windon was the Director of the Manatee County Public Safety Department from 1998 – 2006 and was affiliated with public safety for over 25 years. She has received the Certified Emergency Manager and Florida Professional Emergency Manager designations, is past President of the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association, and has been active in many facets of emergency management on a regional, state and national basis. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the international Emergency Management Accreditation Program Commission.

Windon is also the past chair of the Manatee Community Consortium focusing on behavioral health issues and is vice-chair for the Family Safety Alliance of DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota Counties focusing on child welfare.  She is a member of the International City/County Management Association and the Alliance for Innovation. She has served on a number of volunteer boards in the community.

Windon received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Eckerd College.

Anna von GehrSenior Director of Development, The Ringling Museum of Art

Veronica Brandon MillerVice President Foundation, Goodwill Manasota

Veronica Brandon Miller’s passion and dedication to helping others has been a lifelong quest; quite simply, it defines her as a person.  Miller has more than 25 years of creative vision and a level of unparalleled expertise in community engagement, branding and marketing, and leveraging resources to raise necessary funds for numerous charitable organizations.  Her myriad of accomplishments is testament to her determination, hard work and innovation. 

Miller currently serves as the Vice President of the Goodwill Foundation. For more than six years, Miller has dedicated her considerable talent, creativity, intelligence and passion to increasing the Goodwill brand.  She has raised their national profile and secured more than 300 awards for the organization.  She created and implemented multiple strategic development plans and obtained donations and financial contributions to advance the organization’s mission.

Miller leads the organization’s marketing and communications programs - she has garnered more than 4 million dollars in in-kind media during her tenure at Goodwill.  She has also created an award-winning Goodwill Ambassador program with more than 1,500 volunteers.

Prior to this, Miller was recruited to serve as the US executive director for the prestigious international disaster relief organization – ShelterBox. In fewer than 12 months, Miller increased their revenue by more than 1000%.  She created and developed an immense cadre of volunteers across the United States – and raised the nonprofits profile exponentially by promoting their mission on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, as well as, NPR News and various international news networks. 

In addition, Miller has a very impressive track record of helping local and national organizations including, Smithsonian Institution -- and the completion of the capital campaign for the national museum of the American Indian, the Navy League of the United States and the campaign for the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier, opening Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouses nonprofit – the Home Safety Council, and  also creating an entirely new division for the National Safety Council.

Veronica’s significant strengths are collaborations and partnerships. Her nickname in the community is “the Queen of Collaborations” and she used her assets to create, as well as, hosts both a TV SHOW on SNN called “Good News” and a radio show on WSRQ called “Tell Me Something Good.”  Both media programs promote the “good” that is happening in our community – bringing on corporate partners and community partners.

Veronica earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University in marketing and graphic design, and her Master’s in business from the University of Maryland. She has received many awards for marketing and has been published in many publications in relation to fundraising and marketing.  

Liz BrookinsSenior Marketing Coordinator, Willis A. Smith Construction

Renee PreiningerRealtor, Sarasota Trust Realty Company, LLC

Renee Dedio Preininger has been a resident of Florida for the past 12 years. Originally from New Jersey, she has lived in many communities across the country including Virginia, Ohio, and California.  After earning her Bachelor of Science, in Business Administration from The University of Richmond, Renee began her 20+ year Sales career in New York City.  As a National Account Executive for a major gift company, she learned the art of negotiating and acquired a talent for communication.  After 12 years with a large corporation, she decided to start her own company.  During that time she designed, manufactured and sold to the nation’s largest retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Costco Wholesale and Sam’s Club.  This experience afforded her the opportunity to cultivate relationships that would enable her to hone her skills and be results oriented in developing marketing strategies and in closing sales.

Venturing into the real estate market has been a dream come true for Renee.  She has found a career that connects with many of her lifelong passions.  Being a dedicated family person, she relishes the opportunity to help other families and to assist where needed.  Whether they are selling their home to start a new chapter, or searching for a new residence, she is committed to helping them through the transition.  Having frequently moved across the country, with young children and pets in tow, she knows the many challenges a family faces when relocating.  Forming new relationships and helping people has always been one of Renee’s priorities.  She enjoys devoting her time to help others and truly considers it a labor of love.  Having a background in design helps Renee stay attuned and creative as she shares her insight to attract potential buyers.  These attributes, combined with her extensive marketing and finance background, have earned her an excellent reputation for both dedication and substance.  This dynamic combination visualization and cutting edge marketing skills have proven to be successful techniques when selling her listings.

Susan MoseleyPresident, Moseley Investment Management

Susan founded Moseley Investment Management in 1990 and serves as President of the company. She is a graduate of the University of Florida where she earned a BS-BA degree in Finance. Susan then became one of the first women to earn the Certified Investment Management Analyst designation from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

Susan began her career in the investment industry in 1979 as a stock analyst for Raymond James. It soon became her dream to open an independent investment advisory firm specializing in providing conflict-free portfolio management advice to help clients achieve their dreams.

Having been invited to the Barron’s Top Women Financial Advisors* Summit from 2006-2009, Susan is a frequent speaker at national investment management conferences. Portfolio risk management is her primary area of discussion. Susan was listed in the Top 40 Women Winner’s Circle** by Research Magazine in 2005.

Married with three children, Bradenton has been home for Susan since 1982. She is a passionate international traveler, believing that her firsthand experiences in other countries are critical for ongoing investment decisions for clients.

*The rankings are based on qualitative criteria: professionals with a minimum of seven years financial service experience, acceptable compliance records, client retention reports and customer satisfaction reports. Advisors are quantitatively ranked based on varying types of revenues and asset advised by the financial professional, with weightings associated for each. Additional qualitative measures include: in depth interviews and discussions with senior management, peers and customers. Because individual client portfolio performance varies and is typically unedited, this ranking focused on customer satisfaction and quality of advice. Please see www.WCorg.com for more information.

Third-party rankings and recognitions are no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results. These ratings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client nor are they representative of any one client’s evaluation
**“Winner’s Circle” is an organization independent of the firms involved and does not receive compensation from the over 100 participating firms or their affiliates, financial advisors or the media in exchange for ranking purposes. The Winner’s Circle team vetted each nominated advisor through a host of quantitative and qualitative standards including:assets managed, revenues, experience levels, compliance records, discussion with management and more. The Winner’s Circle focuses on customer satisfaction and client retention. Portfolio performance was not criterion.

Shannon Rohrer-PhillipsCo Founder, Visible Men Academy

Shannon has over 21 years of experience as a social worker and advocate for at risk children and families in the non profit sector. Originally from coastal Maine, Shannon received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from Colgate University and went on to earn a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Smith College School for Social Work. Her Master’s Thesis was entitled, “Family Ties, the Influence of Extended Families in Biracial Identity Development.” Shannon’s clinical social work has been in the pediatric and psychiatric realm serving as an Emergency Room, ICU, NICU, and Trauma team social worker at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Hospital and Georgetown University Hospital. Shannon was the Case Management Coordinator for the Greentree Shelter, the largest homeless shelter for families in Montgomery County, Maryland. Shannon’s professional passion is serving low-income children and families using an asset based Two Generation model, cultural and diversity awareness, and media development for social causes. Shannon is the Co-Founder of Visible Men, a success network for young black boys and men that launched in Washington DC in 2009. She served as a Board Chairperson and member of the Pediatric Advisory Board at Georgetown University Hospital for 6 years where she delivered multiple Grand Rounds Presentations on the topic of “Family Centered Care.”  Shannon served on the Board of  Cedar Lane Nursery School in Bethesda Maryland and was responsible for Parent Education initiatives.  Shannon is married to the Visible Men Founder Neil Phillips, has two young sons, and lives in Sarasota Florida.

Debbie SmithCEO, Two Trails, Inc.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Debbie has shaped Two Trails into a company that has become a leader for sustainable services. Early on she recognized the importance for sustainable education with in the building industry. She believes that the key to changing an accepted practice is through education.

  • Board Member Lay Seat for Manatee County Construction Trades Board
  • Past Chairman for Home Builders Association Manatee/Sarasota Green Council
  • NAHB Certified Green Professional
  •  2010 Sustainable Florida Best Practices Award Finalist

Class Of 2016

Class Of 2015

Class Of 2014

SkillSHARE Mentor Program


Made for speed, SkillSHARE is the basics of mentorship concentrated into mini-sessions that encourage honest interactions and allow for spontaneous connection. This event is a way to meet like-minded professionals, make valuable connections and get straight to your most burning questions about career and personal development. Each participant will be paired with several mentors for mini-sessions. Lasting from 10-12 minutes, each mini-session is unstructured, allowing for conversation, guidance and direction from each mentor. Thank you to our mentors and participants for the June 15, 2018, summit! The next summit will take place in February of 2018.

SkillSHARE Summer Mentorship Summit: Thursday, February 15, 2018


Click here to submit your application. Deadline for applications is Friday, January 26, 2018.

Application Fee: There is no fee for submitting your application.

Registration Cost: When selected and accepted: $25/per person — Cash, credit card or check accepted at the event. Non-refundable.


Click here to view photos from the June 2017 SkillSHARE event.

Click here to view photos from the February 2017 SkillSHARE event.

Click here to view photos from the June 2016 SkillSHARE event.

Click here to view photos from the October 2016 SkillSHARE event.

Comments from participants of previous SkillSHARE summits:

"I gained a wealth of knowledge from the mentors I visited. I was very impressed how well it was structured. I met some really impressive women in a various business settings. I was most pleased with the age range of everyone that attended - I was glad to see that you are never too old or too young to learn from others."
"Wonderful and energetic evening.Completely exceeded my expectations. The professionalism and caliber of the mentors and mentees was a great mix."
"All the mentors had suggestions that I will follow up on. Two especially had ideas that I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else. One idea was a very different approach to a problem I have been seeking help for and the other was a personal connection that could take the networking even farther. Thank you for hosting this event and everything you do for the community."
"Excellent job of coordination. The event ran very smoothly and professionally."

"Skill Share was an absolute pleasure. I found it to be positively exhilarating and cannot wait for round two!"

Read More About SRQ SkillSHARE

SMARTGirl Mentorship and Leadership Luncheon


As the SRQ Women in Business Initiative continues to grow, so does our responsibility to give back to the community. SRQ MEDIA believes that girls can do anything. Sometimes girls need an extra boost of encouragement and examples of how to make their dreams come true. Supported through SRQ Women in Business, this initiative is a collaborative effort to set local girls up for success. SMARTGirl fosters “curated networking” and engages local middle school young women in a program designed to educate them on career possibilities and the tools they need to succeed through mentorship, soft skills training and hands-on workshops. Let’s help her ROAR and engage middle school girls through Sarasota and Manatee counties!

SMARTGirl Luncheon — The Hyatt Regency, Sarasota

Part networking, part testimonials from professionals and fully impactful, SMARTgirl is an event held at The Hyatt Regency, Sarasota for select young women who are actively involved in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, Sarasota YMCA, Girls Inc or the Girl Scouts. SRQ Media will host a soft-skills focused luncheon where a leader-mentor will be present at each table to connect with the girls and give them the opportunity to ask their most burning questions about their desired career path. The format of the luncheon is a presentation lineup of inspiring women leaders and the organizations supporting the program. Prior to the luncheon, the girls will participate in a networking meet & greet with mentors and local leaders.The goal is to connect young girls to examples of excellence within in our region and provide encouragement, advice and feedback on how to make it happen.

2017 SMARTGirl SPONSORS — Thank you for your commitment to our future leaders!



Community Foundation

Women in Business Program

Mission: SRQ Magazine formed the Women in Business Initiative as a year-long program engaging the participants in the annual Women in Business Competition to create highly-dynamic personal networking that catalyzes community leadership through the science and art of mentorship.

Leadership Circle and the Business Peer Mentorship Program:  Each year the twelve finalists selected by the national jury of women leaders will join the Women in Business Leadership Circle, which carries with it a commitment to engage in the initiative as the steering committee and lead mentors for the Business Mentorship Program. The program will be launched at the 2015 Hear Me Roar Awards Luncheon. The SRQ Magazine Engagement Team will work with the Leadership Circle from May to March of the coming year to cultivate, guide and implement the Mentorship Partnership Program.

Salon Series:  The Women in Business Leadership Circle is invited to high-level private networking over breakfast very month starting in September at the WIB Salon Series hosted at The Resort at Longboat Key Club. These breakfasts will serve to not only create an intimate personal connectivity between each year’s Leadership Circle Class, with opportunities to network and professional develop, but to also invite twelve other women leaders to engage in the Business Peer Mentorship Program. Each year’s five winners will be invited to make a presentation at one of the breakfast salons on experiences that changed their point of view, either personally, in business, in the community or globally.  

Hear Me Roar Awards and Leadership Luncheon: Every April, we host the Hear Me Roar Awards and Leadership Luncheon recognizing the past years’ Women in Business Leadership Circle Class and announcing the finalists and winners of the current year's Women in Business Competition comprising the new members of the Leadership Circle. Stories from each mentor partnership will be shared and key findings published regarding opportunities for further community growth and empowerment. 

Nominations for the 2017 program are open. Nominations close Friday, January 27, 2017 at midnight. Click here. 

2016-17 Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Champion Sponsor

Leadership Circle Sponsor

Collaborator Sponsors



Participating Sponsor

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Contact Us for a Leadership Mentor

Women in Business Program Sponsorship

We invite you to explore the opportunity for your business to support and incredibly meaningful program – the Women in Business Initiative. You can become an annual sponsor of the program, or sponsor specific targeted event such as the moving Women in Business Leadership and Awards Luncheon, the SkillSHARE program aimed to connect peers for deep-dive mentoring at the speed of life and the newly launched SMARTgirl program which engages middle and high school young women in mentorship and leadership opportunities with the Women in Business Leadership Circle with an emphasis on soft skills and personal development. For sponsorship, contact Ashley Grant at 941-365-7702 x204. For tickets and event inquiries, contact Madeline Crotts at 941-365-7702 x221.

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