Yesterday, SRQ | The Magazine hosted our first ever Women in Business Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards luncheon to a sold-out audience at The Francis in downtown Sarasota. Originally planned as the awards ceremony for the 2015 Women in Business competition, the Hear Me Roar event boasted an inspiring keynote address from Pam van der Lee, Chief Marketing Officer for iMatchative in San Francisco and honored local fashion icon Adrienne Vittadini with the inaugural Women in Business Trailblazer Award.
SRQ was incredibly proud and honored to introduce new inductees to the 2015 Leadership Circle, comprised of the finalists and winners of this year’s Women in Business Competition. As each recipient was recognized, a quote or snippet of self-delivered advice (in the form of a letter written to their former selves) was projected, allowing each finalist and winner to be celebrated in a very personal way.
Meet the 2015 SRQ Women in Business Leadership Circle
- Mary Dougherty-Slapp, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange; winner
- Kameron Hodgens, The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center; winner
- Christine Johnson, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast; winner
- Jo Ann Koontz, Koontz & Associates; winner
- Denise Kowal, Avendia de Colores; winner
- Elizabeth Melendez Fisher, Selah Freedom; finalist
- Mary Forristall, Forristall Enterprises; finalist
- Kim Hopper, Regions Bank; finalist
- Tammy Kovar, Biological Tree Services; finalist
- Stefanie Overturf, Overturf’s Floor & Fabric Care; finalist
- Sandra Rios, The Resort at Longboat Key Club; finalist
- Gabriele Vest, Grapevine Communications; finalist
Upon arrival, luncheon guests sipped champagne and shopped wares from some of our favorite local retailers, including Diamond Vault, Philosophy & Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Pecky, Paint Nail Bar and Saks Fifth Avenue. The program began on a high note with Pam van der Lee’s address. Ashley Grant, SRQ Vice President of Strategic Partnerships introduced Pam through her “road less traveled” path to success. Early in her career, Pam rejected the allure of Wall Street and took a job with a then-smaller company, Nickelodeon Studios, and as the company grew, became the head of marketing for Viacom. She made a segue into non-profit work and followed her passion into the unknown, “I believe that passion is the very best driver and the most reliable predictor of success,” said Pam. Throughout her address, luncheon guests were moved by her thoughtful honesty and a summation of her life that is familiar to many many women navigating their own road to success:
“My career path can resemble the freeways in LA. Confusing, circuitous, busy, sometimes terrifying and not terribly well marked. Moving from entertainment marketing to the world of non-profit, to a start up that straddles both finance and technology, I think most would agree that my path doesn’t follow the “a straight line is the shortest distance between two points” rule. But the one thing that has been clear in all of my choices is that passion has been my driver.” — Pam van der Lee
As her speech concluded, Pam charged all in attendance with a few challenges:
- Feel passionate about something that you do. Identify and engage in the activities, situations and/or environments that thrill you, that make you giddy or even a little scared.
- Surround yourself with people whom you admire and connect.
- Be fair and decent.
- Lead by example. Be the driver of your success and help others along the way through setting a good example, brining others to the table to participate in decision making and by valuing others.
Moved by Pam’s words, the luncheon warmly congratulated Adrienne Vittadini as the very first recipient of the SRQ Women in Business Trailblazer award. SRQ Media CEO and Editor in Chief Lisl Liang reflected on Adrienne’s longstanding and impressive career – turning a lifelong hobby into an impressive and celebrated international corporation. Accepting her award, Adrienne attributed a great deal of her success to reinventing herself. Taking risks, being adventurous and not being afraid are all actions she encouraged us take – and to take often.
We look forward to getting to know each of the winners and finalists and learning about their incredible and unique success stories in the coming year. SRQ Magazine would like to thank our incredible sponsors for their support of the Women in Business initiative and the incredible nominees, finalists and winners: The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Saks Fifth Avenue and Sophie’s, and The Resort at Longboat Key Club.
To view a gallery of photos from the Hear Me Roar Luncheon, click here.
Check out the Women in Business Special Awards Section in the May 2015 edition of SRQ, on newsstands and online next week. Stay tuned for announcements from the Women in Business mentorship initiative in the coming months.