SRQ MEDIA’s GOOD | GALA- The Independent​ Spirit Awards, Coming October 8


SRQ MEDIA is officially kicking off season with our annual philanthropy awards evening GOOD | GALA – The Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, October 8, 2016 from 8pm to midnight recognizing non-profit achievements and innovation. Join us at the Historic Sarasota Opera House in downtown Sarasota for an evening of giving good stories highlighted by performances of live music, contemporary dance, circus arts and visual art installations featuring Main Stage performances by the Artist Series, Moving Ethos, The Players, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sarasota Orchestra, Swingtide Combo and the Circus Arts Conservatory.

Before the curtain opens, a tempting spread of inspired bites provided by Boca Kitchen will fill the Opera House with sustainable, fresh, local flavors for the discerning palate.

The Independent Spirit Awards
Juried by notable figures in Florida’s engaged philanthropic network, The Independent Spirit Awards recognize innovation, sustainability and integrity in our region’s non-profit sector. Organizations are nominated by readers who share their good story with us. These stories capture the ways in which each non-profit positively impacted a life, a family or a friend through hope, inspiration and caring. Finalists and winners in each of the following categories will be announced and recognized on stage: animal welfare, children and families, arts and culture, education, medicine and health and human services.

We would like to give special recognition to Mariash Lowther Wealth Management as the presenting sponsor for the Children and Families
 category of the Independent Spirit Awards.  As a company, our mission is to educate, connect and contribute. This event is a great opportunity for us to do all three as we connect with many of the great nonprofits in town all in one room, contribute to the gift of recognition as well as educate the community on all the good that is being done here every day,said  Senior Vice President of Wealth Management Brian Mariash.

Share your good story and help us honor our non-profits by going clicking here.

Supporting Giving Back Locally
The soul of the SRQ GOOD | GALA is a one-of-a-kind celebration, but at its heart is the Sarasota and Bradenton community. A portion of ticket proceeds from the GOOD | GALA will be set aside through the SRQ Media Gives Back Foundation to benefit each of the winners of the SRQ Independent Spirit Awards (SRQISA). Aside from monetary support, Independent Spirit Award winners will receive considerable promotion to connect with readers and future patrons through SRQ MEDIA’s powerful engagement platforms.

We hope you will join us at GOOD | GALA to recognize and celebrate this year’s Independent Spirit Award (SRQISA) award winners. Tickets are on sale now at SRQGALA.COM—purchase online.

Reserve your VIP Harlequin Package online and join us at the private GOOD | GALA VIP Party at Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue on Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 5:30-7:30pm.

Kick off the season with stellar performances and a night of giving good!

—The SRQ Team

SB2 July 28 Symposium on Transformational Change is a Big Success


From L to R: Keynote speaker Lilly Weinberg, moderator Wes Roberts, panelists Dr. Michael Crosby, Johnette Isham, Dean Eisner and Mireya Eavey, and opening presenter Jaime DiDomenico.
Photo credit: Wyatt Kostygan

It is no secret that the Sarasota and Bradenton communities pride themselves in supporting nonprofits and their missions. The high occurrence of philanthropically planned discussions and forums throughout the year are an indicator that our community and nonprofits are hungry for innovations in maximizing giving potential and managing the inevitable change that can further grow their outreach.


CoolToday President & CEO Jaime DiDomenico stressed the importance of community giving. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

Last Thursday, SRQ magazine hosted a packed-out SB2: Inspiring Transformational Change breakfast symposium at The Francis in downtown Sarasota. As guests filled their plates with a delicious spread of morning favorites, event sponsor Jaime DiDomenico of Cool Today/Plumbing Today/Energy Today welcomed those in attendance and spoke to the importance of company-wide giving. Cool Today is known for giving to a variety of organizations including Goodwill Manasota that foster a strong sense of community and develop our region through the economic and business sector.


Lilly Weinberg of the Knight Foundation delivered the keynote presentation. Photo credit: Wyatt Kostygan

Keynote speaker Lilly Weinberg, Director of Community Foundations for the Knight Foundation gave a presentation focused on transformational change within our communities. Part of the Knight Foundation’s mission is to invest in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement.

Lilly emphasized that talent actually seeks place first and then find their job, therefore place can really determine upward mobility. “We live in America – the American Dream, but that’s dependent on your zip code,” she said.

Weinberg shared her five tips for innovation within our community and the non-profit world.

  1. 1. Take Risks: start with small incremental change
  2. 2. Think big: clearly define your goals, outcomes and then measure
  3. 3. Fail fast or iterate, see what works and then scale
  4. 4. Develop and lean on a diverse cohort and network
  5. 5. Embed learning and communications within your organization


Panelists answer questions at Inspiring Transformational Change. From L to R: Dr. Michael Crosby, Johnette Isham, Wes Roberts (center, moderator), Dean Eisner and Mireya Eavey. Photo credit: Wyatt Kostygan

Between bites guests heard from the minds behind some of the region’s most inspiring organizations. Panelists hailed from every sector: Johnette Isham of Realize Bradenton, Dean Eisner of Ringling College of Art and Design’s Board of Trustees, Mireya Eavey of United Way Suncoast and Dr. Michael Crosby of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Panelists were passionate about the importance of evoking change in the community.


Dr. Michael Crosby of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium dspeaks to accepting change. Photo credit: Wyatt Kostygan

“Changing is not always easy but change is the law of life,” a said Dr. Michael Crosby, President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. “If one looks only at the past or even at just at the present, you will miss the future.” This was a consistent theme among panelists when discussing the future of our community and the organizations within it. 

Dean Eisner, Chairman of Ringling College of Art and Design’s Board of Trustees referenced the disconnect between young talent in the area and local businesses seeking that young talent. “Our community has assets we are not deploying as effectively as we could,”  he said. 

To that point, Johnette Isham, Founding Director of Realize Bradenton agreed that success is achieved through community involvement. “I don’t like the word change; I like the word evolution,” she said, it should be an organic process with input from multiple people with a singular purpose. 

When faced with the tough question as to whether nonprofits should hold themselves to the same demanding market-based accountability and professional operations as for-profit businesses, Mireya Eavey, President of United Way Suncoast couldn’t wait to jump in. “I don’t know . . . maybe we all need to be in a little tent and not have office space, but at the end of the day we are a business, and I think we are a very important business, and the work that we do is so important to the companies that live in the communities that we work in, because we are taking care of and the people and we are taking care of the workers.”


Representatives from SB2 Series Sponsor The Resort at Longboat Key Club at Inspiring Transformational Change. Photo credit: Wyatt Kostygan

We couldn’t have learned the incredible things from this motivational discussion without our series sponsors: CS&L CPAs, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and of course our event sponsor Cool TodayThank you for your support of the SB2 series, but most importantly, thank you for the ways you give back and help people in our community each and every day. Your example inspires us.


Representatives from SB2 Series Sponsor CS&L CPAs at Inspiring Transformational Change.
Photo credit: Wyatt Kostygan

A gallery of images from SB2: Inspiring Transformational Change is available online. The 2016-2017 SB2 season will be launching on Thursday, September 22 with SB2 Good Growth: Economic Indicators. For 2016-2017 SB2 season passes and more information, visit

August is Heating Up!


Yeehaw, August is galloping into your mailbox now! This issue is all about land, specifically Floridian land that is being both endangered and staunchly protected. In Ranch Life, we take an in-depth look at modern ranching in Sarasota and Bradenton as Senior Editor Jacob Ogles goes on a ride-along at three working ranches—Hi Hat Ranch, the Longino Ranch and Schroeder-Manatee Ranch—to get a taste of the farming world, from cattle to citrus. Take a drive to the point of the state in Headed South, where Contributing Editor Michael Adno unpacks the tenuous relationship between the Big Sugar industry and the fate of the Everglades, begging the question of who is responsible for the quick-approaching toxic algal blooms currently making headlines.

Foodies won’t be disappointed with August either—flip through our four gastronomically inspired sections and remember why you love the Sarasota culinary landscape. In The Cool Kids, you’ll find an arctic roundup of incredible artisanal ice cream creations: chill out with buttermilk basil custard at Indigenous, wild ice cream sandwiches at The Table Creekside, sweet corn-infused scoops at Beach Bistro and an out-of-this-world ice cream salad from Michael’s on East. Garden of Eden enters the lush wonderland of the garden at Shoogie Boogies while Notorious Egg Cream packs a Brooklyn punch with an NYC-style egg cream from Sol’s NYC Deli. Round out the sweets with a clean, healthy acai bowl from Island Organics or the Green Zebra Cafe, showcased in All I See is Acai.

Our culture stories are explosive this month, following along with Kevin Kohler, better known as the Backyard Scientist in Do It Yourself as he spices up the educational science game, and shining the spotlight on Italian artist/sculptor Massimo Meda’s new gallery space in Maximum Meda. And who could forget the ever-radiant Katherine Harris, who in To the Races invites us into her home to talk about her passion for plant life, her role in bringing the Modern Pentathlon to Sarasota and her beloved Bouvier des Flandres pup.

Pick up the August issue and feel the heat! We can’t wait for you to be blown away by the incredible stories within.
The SRQ team

Click here to access the pages of the August digital edition.

Madeline Crotts Joins the SRQ Team

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Meet Madeline Crotts, Associate Producer-Marketing, Events and Programs. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

It’s always exciting welcoming a new member to our SRQ MEDIA team. We recently welcomed Maddie Crotts aboard as the new Associate Producer of Marketing, Events and Programs. She will be in charge of scheduling, coordinating and executing all of SRQ MEDIA’s marketing, event, public relations and community engagement programs.

Maddie graduated from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality with a degree in Event Management. Upon receiving her diploma, Maddie backpacked through Europe to experience the culture and most importantly the food of various countries. She is an active member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority Alumni Chapter and regularly participates in various local events.

 She is passionate about her work, and is no stranger to meeting tight deadlines all while keeping a positive attitude. Maddie joins us with a background in the non-profit world and media industries. “I love the creativity that comes from events. I strive to gain as much knowledge and experience in this industry as it is constantly evolving,” she says.

 One of the few natives from Sarasota, Maddie is happy to be back in her hometown and excited to become more involved in the community. “This town is so eclectic and unique. SRQ MEDIA embodies the essence of Sarasota, which ultimately drew me in.”

Next time you attend one of our signature events, you will see Maddie working her magic to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Please join us in welcoming Maddie to the SRQ team. We are thrilled to have you!


SRQ MEDIA Welcomes Nicole Carbon and Michael Adno; Editorial Contributors

SRQ MEDIA takes pride in delivering vibrant local content to our readers, which wouldn’t be possible without the help of our hardworking and talented writers. That is why we are so excited to welcome our two newest editorial contributors to the team: Nicole Carbon and Michael Adno. Their attention-grabbing articles will be gracing the pages of SRQ magazine for your reading pleasure in the coming months.


Meet Nicole Carbon, Contributing Writer.

Meet Nicole: After residing in Pennsylvania, South Florida, California and North Carolina, Nicole Carbon finally made her way back to Florida, and is happy to call beautiful Sarasota home. For over a decade she has been writing for both print and online media outlets about fabulous food, wine, cocktails, hotels, and other lifestyle-related finds. You may recognize Nicole from a few of her TV appearances on local NBC and Fox news affiliates as well as Cooking Channel’s Eat Street. As a self-proclaimed food connoisseur, Nicole admits to constantly getting star struck by local and celebrity chefs. She keeps a healthy balance in her life with regular Bikram yoga, meditation practices and by lacing up her running shoes. In her off time, you can find Nicole eating and drinking her way throughout the Gulf Coast and sharing her food finds.


Meet Michael Adno, Contributing Writer.

Meet Michael: Michael Adno is an avid artist and writer currently based in New York City. He is a first-generation American and a native to the Sarasota area. Michael ventured from Florida to the Big Apple to study at New York University and serves as a contributing editor for At Large magazineHis work has appeared in a number of publications including Oxford American and Autre and Huck magazines. His project Cracker Politics: The Limits of Colonial Knowledge has garnered numerous fellowships and awards for its unique historical undercurrents. Michael is continuously expanding his portfolio and is looking forward to a fellowship at Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, FL later this year.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Nicole and Michael. We are happy to have you on the SRQ Team!

Don’t Forget to Buy Your SB2 Ticket- Inspiring Non-Profit Transformation; Next Thursday,7/28 at 7:30am​


There is still time to purchase tickets to our can’t miss SB2: Inspiring Non-Profit Transformation symposium next Thursday, July 28th, 2016 at 7:30 AM at The Francis! SRQ Media is an organization that prides itself in facilitating relevant conversation and events that challenge us to think and “do” differently, and let’s be honest, who can resist a well-prepared breakfast?

You will meet the minds behind some of the region’s most inspiring organizations that have challenged conventional thought to bring about progressive change to the region and local community. Keynote speaker, Lilly Weinberg, Director of Community Foundations of the Knight Foundation will give a special presentation on the strategies and cultural shift non-profit organizations can facilitate to manage internal change and transformation. Joining her on stage for discussion is our group of esteemed panelists; Dr. Michael Crosby, President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and AquariumJohnette Isham, Founding Director of Realize BradentonMireya Eavey, President of United Way Suncoast, and Dr. Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art and DesignJaime DiDomenico, President of Cool Today will begin the morning with a few remarks as the event sponsor, and SRQ Magazine’s Executive Publisher Wes Roberts will moderate the panel discussion to capture the “rethink” that must occur to navigate change.

If you’re on the fence on whether or not you should join us, here are 3 reasons why we think you should set the alarm early for bacon, coffee, and great discussion!

  1. Inspiring Non-Profit Transformation is going to SELL OUT! While we can’t see the future, we’re pretty sure based on the amount of interest and early ticket sales that this event is going to meet capacity. If you are planning to go, learn, enjoy breakfast and network, don’t wait! Make your purchase now.
  1. We Have a Powerhouse Keynote Speaker In support of numerous transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts, The Knight Foundation is a major mover and shaker in the non-profit community. As the Director of Community Foundations, keynote Lilly Weinberg manages the Knight Foundation’s $140 million investment in 18 non-resident communities.
  1. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Regardless if you’re more fruit and yogurt or bacon and eggs, we’ll have all major food groups covered on July 28th. The conversation is early, but the breakfast is delicious, and the coffee is hot. Trade in that granola bar for a well-balanced breakfast, courtesy of the dynamic team at The Francis. Did we mention there is bacon?

Don’t wait–buy your tickets today at SRQSB2.COM. We promise you’ll walk away with more insightful knowledge than you know what to do with.

The 2015-2016 SB2 series is loyally supported by CS&L CPAsThe Resort at Longboat Key Club and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

 This event is sponsored by Cool Today/Plumbing Today/Energy Today.

Thank you and see you next week!


Abby Joins the Casto Family

SRQ Media Art Director: Anthony Casto with wife Shayne and kids Payton and Dallas. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

When SRQ’s Art Director Anthony Casto returned home from work last Friday after a typical day of design duties for the magazine, there was a surprise waiting for him at the front door. The Casto family adopted a spunky eight-week-old lab mix named Abby from Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, a non-profit that provides rescued dogs and cats with a safe, no-kill sheltered environment. “I am really happy to have Abby in our lives; she is so sweet and has such a warm disposition.” Admittedly, Anthony was a bit lukewarm about getting a dog, but his father in law, wife and kids essentially went on a hunt, and found this sweet little puppy. Casto’s wife Shayne says once she was holding the little black and white spotted puppy, she just couldn’t let her go. The SRQ studio was filled with puppy love when Shayne brought Abby, daughter Payton and son Dallas to introduce the newest member of their family to the SRQ team this Friday.

Get Your SB2 Ticket— Inspiring Non-Profit Transformation; July 28, 7:30am



Calling board directors, donors, non-profit staff and executive leadership! If you are engaged in work with our local non-profits, SB2: Inspiring Non-Profit Transformation on Thursday, July 28th, 2016 at 7:30 AM at The Francis is a must-attend! SRQ Media is an organization that prides itself in facilitating relevant conversation and events that challenge us to think and “do” differently. Get your ticket while you still can—we sold out last year!

We’ll welcome Lilly Weinberg, Director of Community Foundations of the Knight Foundation to the stage for a special keynote presentation on the strategies and cultural shift non-profits organizations can facilitate to manage internal change and transformation. She will be joined by Dr. Michael Crosby of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Johnette Isham of Realize Bradenton, Mireya Eavey of United Way Suncoast, Sarasota and CareerEdge and Dr. Larry Thompson of Ringling College of Art and Design. Jaime DiDomenico of Cool Today will join us for opening remarks as the event sponsor and SRQ magazine’s Executive Publisher Wes Roberts will moderate the panel discussion to capture the “rethink” that needs to happen to navigate change. If you’re on the fence on whether or not you should join us, we have three reasons why we think you should wake up a few minutes earlier and join us for bacon, coffee and great discussion!

1. The Knight Foundation is a big mover and shaker — don’t miss the chance to hear from one of the key leaders in transformational change!

As the Director of Community Foundations, keynote Lilly Weinberg manages the Knight Foundation’s $140 million investment in 18 non-resident communities. That’s a significant push in moving the needle!

2. Be inspired by cutting-edge thinkers wrangling BHAGs.

The Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG is the feisty beast each of our panelists is wrangling at their organizations. Pushing the envelope is engrained in their leadership DNA. So how do they share that passion with others and align all the fish to swim the same direction? This and more over breakfast!

3. There’s no shortage of bacon and caffeine.

Regardless if you’re more fruit and yogurt or bacon and eggs, we’ll have all major food groups covered on July 28th. The conversation is early, but the breakfast is delicious. And the coffee is hot. You don’t have to wake up and wonder if you’ll have time to scarf down a breakfast bar on the way to work. We’ll take care of a well-balanced breakfast for you, care of the dynamic team at The Francis. We promise you’ll walk away with more a-ha moments than you know what to do with.

Don’t wait–buy your tickets today, visit SRQSB2.COM.

The 2015-2016 SB2 series is loyally supported by CS&L CPAs, The Resort at Longboat Key Club and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.  This event is sponsored by Cool Today/Plumbing Today/Energy Today.

Thank you and see you next month!

Meet the Newest Members of SRQ’s Class of 2016 Interns


In May, SRQ welcomed four college interns, hailing from Florida State University, Columbia University and Loyola University in Chicago. This month, SRQ became the part-time home to four new faces, students at the University of South Carolina and three local schools: Pine View High School, Riverview High School and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School. Our summer intern class above, from left to right: Emily Tobias, Ksenia Chikankova, Elizabeth Steiner, Diana Morales, Heidi Stone, Emily Caldwell, Sammi Fisher and Francesca Ispaso.

Meet the newest interns working with the SRQ team this summer:

Heidi Stone, Photo and Art Associate: Heidi is a rising senior at the University of South Carolina, majoring in Visual Communication and minoring in Islamic World Studies. Although she was born in Pittsburgh, her parents were Sarasota snow birds until moving here full-time in 2014. Heidi is working with Photo Editor Wyatt Kostygan, and hopes to gain a better understanding of how photography works from a publication standpoint. She never fails to eat ice cream daily, and her favorite flavor is cookies and cream. Heidi seeks to pursue a career in photojournalism.

Emily Tobias, Design Associate: Emily is a rising high school junior at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School in Bradenton, Florida. She works with Art Director Anthony Casto and her favorite project so far has been working to design new logos and revising sketches digitally. Emily would love to pursue a career in fashion and can see herself arranging window displays in clothing stores or putting her skills to use in advertising.

Francesca Ispaso, Marketing Associate: Born and raised in Sarasota, Francesca is a rising high school senior at Pine View School. She is first and foremost a musician who spends most of her free time practicing or teaching one of many instruments. Francesca loves organizing performances for her quartet and fellow musicians throughout Sarasota County. She will be working alongside Associate Publisher Ashley Ryan by implementing different marketing packages for the magazine.

Sammi Fisher, Design Associate: Sammi is a rising senior at Riverview High School and moved here from Chicago in the 5th grade. Her goal at SRQ is to experience the magazine behind the scenes and is working with Art Director Anthony Casto to learn about design in publishing. Sammi’s favorite food is chocolate chip cookies and hopes to one day move to New York City to work at a magazine.

Internship opportunities are now posted for Fall 2016. Click here to review the positions and for more information.

Thank you Francesca for helping us craft this Inside the Brand post!

The SRQ Team

Check Your Mailbox! July’s Modern World Has Arrived


Our secret. Though we love every month equally, July may just be the favorite child. Truly, how could you not adore a double issue headlined by the exquisite Pamela Fiori, former editor in chief of Town&County and Travel+Leisure, and architecture innovator Carl Abbott? On one side, you’ll find your trusted SRQ in full swing with authoritative commentary, interviews and local beats. Flip to the other side and a sleek modern home designed by Del Vescovo Design Group signifies entry into a world dominated by clean lines, big personalities and interiors that meld with the natural habitat—welcome to Modern Home magazine.

This July, SRQ curates an enticing medley of people, food and art, beginning with the headlining story Pamela Fiori: Women in Business 2016 Trailblazer. Here, magazine mogul and master connector Pamela Fiori shares her insights with women in the business world with our Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Ashley Grant, lending her expertise to go-getters on Florida’s West Coast.

July’s food roundup won’t disappoint, either–from the Japanese secret ingredient koji (Making the Mold) to delectable home-made quiche baked just steps away from the SRQ office—lucky us!—in Our Daily Quiche to a hearty trifecta of Sarasota’s best chops (Meat Market), you might have to reconsider your summer body diet. And don’t forget Phil Lederer’s take on arts and culture, where he unpacks the legacy of the late Banyan Theater Director Jerry Finn (Shadow of the Banyan) and gets the scoop on the new season of HD at the Opera House (More to See).

This year’s Modern Home issue takes stock of a life well-lived and well-built, with the seminal profile of architectural maverick Carl Abbott. In Defending a Vulnerable Art, Senior Editor Jacob Ogles brings you into Abbott’s career, illuminating the inside story of the greatest living voice of the Sarasota School of Architecture. In Spirit of Modern, Associate Editor Aviel Kanter straps you into a time machine, chronicling the Center for Architecture Sarasota’s inaugural Modern Show, sending readers back to 1950s America (when the Modernist movement came to a head) with tours of rarely seen homes by the likes of Paul Rudolph and Victor Lundy, a vintage fashion show and a Mid-century furniture exhibit and pop up boutique.

Whether you’re an architecture junkie like us, or just want to salivate over good food, walk—no, run— to them mailbox to pick up your July issue. See you on the flip side!

The SRQ Team

Click here to access the pages of the July SRQ digital edition.

Click here to access Modern Home’s digital edition.