Monthly Archives: January 2016

Women in Business Brings the Sparkle at Diamond Vault

Members of the SRQ Women in Business Leadership Circle visited Diamond Vault this week.

Members of the SRQ Women in Business Leadership Circle visited Diamond Vault this week.

This week, the dynamic women of the SRQ Women in Business Leadership Circle were treated to a rare experience, a behind the scenes tour at The Diamond Vault. After a champagne reception with appropriately themed diamond cookies from Sift Bakehouse, Leadership Circle members had their personal jewelry cleaned and were able to try on some of the Diamond Vault’s most stunning, sparkling rings, necklaces and bracelets that illuminate the shop’s jewelry cases.

Leadership Circle members learn about the jewelry making process from Diamond Vault owner Michael Chokr, pictured center.

Leadership Circle members learn about the jewelry making process from Diamond Vault owner Michael Chokr, pictured center.

As true lovers of behind the scenes experiences, the women were delighted to learn about the very detailed process of making and repairing delicate jewelry from Diamond Vault owner Michael Chokr and his jewelers. Demonstrating the science behind the sparkle, Leadership Circle members took turns using the laser welding machine to fuse screws, a process that requires precision but doesn’t use heat, making it the perfect technique when working with more delicate stones.

Gabriele Vest tries on a seven strand diamond tennis bracelet at Diamond Vault.

Gabriele Vest tries on a seven strand diamond tennis bracelet at Diamond Vault.

The partnership between Diamond Vault and the SRQ Women in Business is a special one. In the coming days, the Diamond Vault will work with SRQ Media to commission a very special project for the upcoming 2016 winners of the Women in Business competition.

Clockwise from top left: wax molds of necklace links being recreated; Lee-En Chung uses an engineer's precision to weld screws in the laser welder; Cynthia Holiday shows off her fused screws.

Clockwise from top left: wax molds of necklace links being recreated; Lee-En Chung uses an engineer’s precision to weld screws in the laser welder; Cynthia Holiday shows off her fused stainless steel screws.

For more information on the Women in Business program, visit, or to nominate a deserving local woman for her leadership and positive influence in the community, click here. Nominations are open through February 5, 2016. The 2nd Annual SRQ Hear Me Roar Awards and Luncheon will honor the 2016 winners and finalists on April 21st.

Special thanks to our very good friends at Diamond Vault, who are as genuine as they come. We look forward to sharing their amazing work with you soon!



BIG NEWS: SRQ SkillSHARE is Coming Soon!

SRQ Media is thrilled to announce SRQ SkillSHARE on February 18, 2015.

SRQ Media and its Women in Business Initiative are thrilled to announce a brand new networking program,  SRQ SkillSHARE, on February 18, 2016.


One of the most fun parts about serving the local community is witnessing connection. Since we introduced our Women in Business Initiative several years ago, it has been incredible to watch it grow into a platform that connects people to each other and to our locally-focused brand. Each month, members of the Women in Business Leadership Circle gather for the Seaside Salon Series, held at The Resort at Longboat Key Club. In the conversations that have blossomed about leadership and developing and serving young women in the business, education and philanthropic organizations in our community, this group of dynamic women is ready to share their skills and smarts with the future leaders of the Gulf Coast.

On February 18 at 5 PM, we’ll introduce SRQ SkillSHARE, a speed mentorship program powered by the Women in Business initiative. Under the leadership of Women in Business Leadership Circle Delegates Angela Massaro-Fain (Grapevine Communications) and Sandra Rios (The Resort at Longboat Key Club), this event will cultivate the connection that SRQ Media thrives on.

What is SRQ SkillSHARE?

One of the major challenges that makes conventional mentorship so cumbersome is the commitment of time for the mentor and the mentee. Seasoned professionals in a particular field may have a lot to share with an eager protégé, but finding the time for a traditional mentor relationship isn’t always easy. For those looking for sage advice and guidance, finding the right person to rely on is easier said than done. And there’s so many other variables – what if a mentor relationship isn’t the right fit? What if you can’t commit to being available long-term but want to help out a young go-getter in a real way? Well, we thought about that. And we thought about the way we would want to be mentored in the speed of the digital age. That’s how SRQ SkillSHARE was born. And now, we’re so excited to watch it take on a life of its own.

How Does it Work?

Members of the Women in Business Leadership Circle have agreed to share their ideas, opinion, advice and ‘atta-girls’ with young female professionals at our studios on February 18th. Focusing on Professional Development, Management, Philanthropic Engagement and Entrepreneurship / Business Growth, they’ll be on standby to listen and to guide area professionals in all-things leadership.

How Can You Sign Up?

Participation will be limited, so signing up in advance is highly encouraged! SRQ Media will accept applications for participation through February 10 at We’re asking each applicant to supply a few questions that will help us make an ideal match for the mini-sessions of mentorship with our very talented Leadership Circle members. Questions will be presented in advance to be sure that our mentors are sharp and quick with their responses, ensuring that everyone is able to make the most of each mini-session. To register, visit Applications must be received by February 10th to qualify for participation.

What Should I Expect?

In addition to the application, expect to receive a packet of information when you arrive to SRQ Studios. Within the pages, you’ll learn the mentors you’re paired with for the evening. After a networking period, the whole group will jump right in and for mini-sessions that last up to 10 minutes. When signaled, the participants will switch to their next mentor, learning as much as possible from as many talented women as possible.

What If I Make a Great Connection?

Of course, we would love that. If a particular mentor-participant match is made in heaven and you’d like to connect beyond the speed session, the ball is in your court! Our role is to take make a targeted introduction and encourage a meeting of the minds between mentor and participant.

Get Ready!

Information about our incredible panel of mentors is available on the SRQ Women in Business website, Applications are accepted through February 10th. Be sure to invite your friends to come and learn from the very best!

See you in February!
The SRQ Women in Business Team

PS: Nominations are OPEN for the 2016 Women in Business competition! If you know of a worthy candidate to be recognized by this influential program, nominate them by clicking here. 


The new edition of SRQ ACCESS is available for purchase now!

The new edition of SRQ ACCESS is available for purchase now!

When our the editors of SRQ | The Magazine introduced a newcomer and visitors guide in 2007, there simply wasn’t a doubt of what to call it. Ever since, SRQ ACCESS has been a mainstay in local hotels and visitor centers across the region as the official guide to the region. Much more than the title of the publication, SRQ ACCESS is just that – a point of entry, rite of passage, unprecedented access live local and a guidebook to the most magical things to see, do, taste and enjoy while in Sarasota and Bradenton.

This year, we’re happy for you to meet this annual publication and know that it will grant you access to the countless treasures along the Gulf Coast. Opening with how to navigate the region, SRQ ACCESS accounts for those that plan to drop anchor here and venture out to the nearby keys and beautiful areas just outside of our community.

If you’re looking to learn (or brush up) on Sarasota history, SRQ ACCESS has you covered. If you’re hoping to plan out your social calendar with major cultural events for the full year, SRQ ACCESS has a calendar of major functions. But if the way to your heart is through your stomach, come hungry. SRQ ACCESS has the most comprehensive list of places to dine and enjoy the flavors of the region.

The convenient go anywhere size of SRQ ACCESS makes it the perfect totable tour guide for visitors and locals alike.

The convenient go anywhere size of SRQ ACCESS makes it the perfect totable tour guide for visitors and locals alike.

While we are proud to provide SRQ ACCESS for newcomers and visitors, we know that there are those of you (like us) that love to live local, and that there’s nothing more special that knowing where you live like an old friend. With SRQ ACCESS, we’re sharing all of our secrets with you – shopping tips, where to eat, what to order, what you should do over the weekend and the long story of where we come from. The go anywhere size is perfect for stashing in your tote or beach bag to plan your adventures in Sarasota, Bradenton and beyond, whether you’re a tourist or a tourist in your own town. As you go through this year’s copy and dog-ear the pages and make a master list of everything you want to try this year, we hope that you get to know feel closer to this great region and that gain access to Sarasota and Bradenton like never before.

SRQ ACCESS can be purchased on newsstands throughout 2016.

Why You Should Be at SB2: Investing in the Arts

Sarasota has long revered its identity as a beacon of culture along Florida’s southwestern coast. As the home of countless causes to bring all forms of art, dance, music, theater, culinary arts and culture to the region, it only makes sense that SRQ | The Magazine should host an SB2 symposium dedicated to keeping these institutions alive. While we’re not specifically delving into the kinds of cultural organizations that Sarasota and Bradenton are home to, we are interested in hearing from local panelists and our keynote speaker on how to maximize the potential of these institutions along the Gulf Coast.

Here’s why we think you should be at SB2: Investing in the Arts on January 28, 2016

  1. We tend to agree with Woody Dumas, former mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana when he said, “The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself.” While the arts provide us with a sense of beauty, wonder, imagination and release from the mundane, they also provide our region with very concrete, real reasons that people should be invested in Sarasota and Bradenton. We are home to countless cultural treasures that can’t be found in equally beautiful destinations and cities both near and far. Our arts set us apart. They give us staying power and a regional flavor that it is all our own. They attract jobs and tourists and have a fringe effect on the rest of our economy. We think the arts are just as important as a healthy business climate and a state-of-the-art healthcare system. When we invest in our arts, we invest in our region.

2. We’ll learn about one of the nation’s most prestigious arts festivals, Spoleto USA. Held every year in Charleston, South Carolina since being founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, this event is a captivating affair for the entire city for 17 days and nights each spring. Heading the development for this major institution of theater and music is Julia Forster, our keynote speaker for SB2: Investing in the Arts. We look forward to hearing from Julia on how to develop a strong, relevant donor base and how lean on the whole community in support of the arts.

3. When it comes to local notables, our panel is covered. Representing a host of arts and culture organizations through support, board service and development of an effective mission, we are eagerly anticipating the great things that we will learn from Brian Mariash, Tom Luzier, Anna von Gehr and Jedediah Shoemaker. Through their service of major cultural institutions (like the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota Film Festival and Selby Gardens), we know that their expertise goes far beyond acting as a board member or employee. They have witnessed some of the finest initiatives our community has ever offered in support of the arts. Their perspective will enlighten our community to ways that we can better serve, support and preserve arts in our region.

4. Of course, we can’t round out the reasons why you should be at SB2 without mentioning the delicious breakfast that awaits you. The friendly faces at The Francis outdo themselves at each SB2. We’ve been known to get a little overzealous about the bacon, but it isn’t the only item on the menu that keeps us coming back every month. The home fries are some of the most flavorful that we’ve ever tasted, full of tender onion and peppers and laced with fresh thyme. It may be an early gathering, but we promise that the coffee is hot and the food is as satisfying as the conversation.

We can’t think of a better way to kick-off the new year than a symposium dedicated to strengthening and supporting local artists, storied programs and cultural icons that continually put us on the map. Don’t miss out on a morning full of conversation on how we can further develop and grow our status as the culture capitol of Florida. For more information on our keynote speaker and talented panelists, visit our website. Tickets are available for purchase at SRQSB2.COM.

Special thanks to CS&L CPAs, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Mariash Lowther Wealth Management for their support of Investing in the Arts.