Monthly Archives: August 2017

SMARTgirl by the Numbers

SMARTGirl infographic.jpg

On April 14, SRQ Media hosted its inaugural SMARTgirl Leadership and Mentorship Summit at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. 84 grade school girls from the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida and the Sarasota YMCA participated in a curated mentoring program engaging the young women with 23 women leaders representing our region’s many diverse industries in an afternoon of soft skills training, mentorship and career imaginings including workshops, interactive programming and inspirational luncheon.

During the summit, SRQ Media asked our SMARTgirls a variety of questions about their experience and compiled an infographic representing our key findings.

  • 74% of our SMARTgirls feel that school is preparing them for securing a successful career.
  • 43% of our SMARTgirls would like to be able to work in the Sarasota-Bradenton region.
  • 55% of our SMARTgirls are strongly considering pursuing a technical or 2-year associates degree and 74% are strongly considering pursuing a post-secondary college education.
  • 100% of our SMARTgirls would recommend participation in SMARTgirl Initiative to a friend.

Supported through SRQ Women in Business, the SMARTgirl initiative is a collaborative effort to set local girls up for success. SMARTGirl fosters “curated mentorship” and engages middle school girls from Sarasota and Manatee counties in a program designed to educate them on career possibilities and provide the tools they need to succeed. The goal of SMARTgirl is to connect young girls with examples of excellence in our region and provide encouragement, advice and feedback on how to make their dreams happen.

Stay tuned for additional insights and findings gathered from the SMARTgirl Initiative and updates on the future 2018 SMARTgirl Mentorship and Leadership Summit.

For a full gallery of photos from the SMARTgirl Luncheon click here.

For more information on SMARTgirl and SRQ’s Women in Business Initiative, please visit


RESERVE YOUR TICKET: September 26—SB2 RUMBLE: Sarasota, How Does Your City Grow?



SRQ MEDIA invites you to attend the next installment of our brand new initiative, SB2 RUMBLE on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion, New College from 5:30-7:00 pm.

Sarasota, How Does Your City Grow?
Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged when the rhetoricians take the stage at SRQ’s SB2 Rumbles!

STOP! is a group of citizens from all areas of the City of Sarasota concerned about zoning codes that create looming buildings with narrow sidewalks. Are citizens shut out of the decision-making process? Is there such a thing as bad growth? Do we risk losing opportunity with increased restrictions? Don’t miss this lively debate featuring civil discourse designed to sway positions through factual information and rhetorical skill.

Can You Rock The Sway?
Join us at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion, New College for a lively debate on an issue that some consider ‘too hot to handle’. Attendees are asked their position on the topic of the day before and after the debate. The success of the participants is judged on those they sway from their initial positions. SRQ launched SB2 to bring together our two sister-counties with collaborative programming, now, with our Rumbles, we will inspire a return to respectful disagreement, an admiration of the art of rhetoric and a reminder that we should always challenge our own preconceptions in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Tickets: $25/person; Students $15/person, use “GROWRUMBLE” for the promo code.

Buy your tickets today at SRQSB2.COM!

SB2 Reporting Out: GOOD HAND Building Capacity In Our Independent Sector, July 20


Left to right: Panelists, Veronica Brandon Miller and Stacey Corley, Event Sponsor, Jaime DiDomenico, Keynote, David Odahowski and Panelists, Susie Bowie, Heidi Brown and Roxie Jerde. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.

On Thursday July 20, SRQ Magazine took our SB2 attendees on a journey into the minds, missions and hearts behind some of Sarasota’s most notable charitable foundations and organizations at SB2 GOOD HAND: Building Capacity in our Independent Sector. Hosted at The Francis in Downtown Sarasota, the discussion took a look at the ways to develop and improve donor relations.


Opening presenter, Jaime DiDomenico from Cool Today welcomes guests to SB2: GOOD HAND Building Capacity in our Independent Sector. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.

After opening remarks from Event Sponsor, Jaime DiDomenico of Cool Today, David Odahowski, President and CEO of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation gave a compelling presentation on innovation in giving and most importantly return on investment. “There is a sea of almost 84,000 non-profit organizations in Florida seeking funds from foundations, government and other non-profit funders,” Odahowski stated. 

With the non profit sector constantly innovating, the demand for effective use of dollars in turn requires nonprofit leaders then to stay up to date with the best practices and technologies utilized within the giving community. “Donors are consumers, and they want the Amazon Prime experience,” Odahowksi stated with regards to simplified giving.

According to local philanthropic leaders, today’s donors expect involvement in how their dollars get expended, a major shift from decades past when it comes to large sum donations. “If a donor has put in a life time of work, worry and risk, you better believe that the donor is going to expect more and ultimately get it,” Odahowksi stated in his address.


Keynote Speaker, David Odahowski of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, talks about building capacity in our independent sector. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.

Between sips of coffee and bites of maple coated bacon, guests were able to hear from non-for-profit movers and shakers in our region known as the ‘giving coast’. Panelists hailed from a variety of organizations: Roxie Jerde from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Stacey Corley from the Ringling College of Art and Design, Veronica Brandon Miller from Goodwill Manasota Foundation, Susie Bowie from the Manatee Community Foundation and Heidi Brown from the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the Suncoast. Panelists were passionate about donor relationship building and stressed that organizations who fail to work with those giving funds may see the resources head someplace else.


Left to right: Stacey Corley, Veronica Brandon Miller, Roxie Jerde, Wes Roberts (moderator), Susie Bowie. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 

Veronica Brandon Miller, Vice President of the Goodwill Manasota Foundation kicked off the conversation by explaining the shift in donor expectations. Organizations are no longer seeing the typical donor giving from generations past. Today’s donors, work hard for the money that they have earned. “You have to be part of that shift and understand the donors thinking because it is not the same. The donor of today has earned their money. They want to see a return on their investment and be part of this change,” she explained.

To that point, Stacey Corley, Vice President for Advancement at the Ringling College of Art and Design believes that donors to the college are truly committed to transformational change. “A lot of our donors really care about changing lives and seeing the impact of their giving. Many times we might be raising money for a building but its not about the bricks, paint or materials, it’s about what that building will do for students and community members. ”


Veronica Brandon Miller and Roxie Jerde discuss return on donor investment at SB2 GOOD HAND. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.

Today’s donor also prefers to allocate their funds to a specific intention, but what happens when the intentions do not match the needs or mission of an organization? Roxie Jerde, President & CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County works closely and listens intently to those willing or currently donating to ensure funds match the non-profit mission and will remain useful for years to come. “People who work hard for their money, want to work hard giving it away and be smart about that,” Jerde explained.

Similarly, Manatee Community Foundation Executive Director Susie Bowie said her organization’s top goal remains honoring intent. “It takes a great deal of trust that the donor has to have in us that we know the community and we know the community need.”



Stacey Corley discusses the millennial generation’s giving patterns. Photo Credit Wyatt Kostygan. 

From an organizational standpoint, Heidi Brown, President of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the Suncoast, feels it is more important to zero in on specific organizational needs to ensure resources get leveraged to best serve their clients benefiting from philanthropy. “If we are spread too thin or working in areas where we do not have the expertise and praise, then I’m not certain we’re serving the community or the donor,” she said.



Representatives from SB2 Series Sponsor, The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 

We couldn’t have learned the incredible things from this engaging discussion without our incredible 2017-2018 series sponsors: CS&L CPAs, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, and the Sarasota-Bradenton International AirportThank you for supporting 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. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.

Click here to read the article about SB2: GOOD HAND in the SRQ DAILY. A gallery of images from SB2: GOOD HAND is available online.

SRQ is pleased to announce that the 2017-2018 SB2 Symposia Series will move to lunchtime. Although many die-hard SB2 fans loved getting up at the crack of dawn for SB2’s signature compelling dialogue and content (not to mention the bacon) we want to share the conversation with an expanded audience and provide for a longer deep-dive into important conversations affecting both Sarasota and Bradenton.

We invite you to join us at the New SB2 Luncheon Symposia Series at The Francis, Sarasota from 11:15am-1pm on November 30, 2017, January 25, 2018 and July 26, 2018  for incredibly engaging afternoons of insight, illuminating facts and examples of game-changing innovation.

For tickets and 2017-2018 annual VIP member passes, visit

We hope to see you there!