All posts by SRQInsidetheBrand

March BrandStory: Achieva Credit Union

Now available online to view and download, the Achieva Credit Union BrandStory tells the story of this community-focused institution.

It all started in 1937 when seven Pinellas County teachers were denied a loan from a bank. The teachers soon banded together to form a financial institution of their own – a credit union – with just $99.25. Today, Achieva Credit Union has more than $1.7 billion in assets, and over 160,000 members across 26 branches. 28,000 of those members are right here in Sarasota.

Read more from the Achieva Credit Union BrandStory HERE


Tickets on Sale Now! Best of SRQ 2020 TGIF Party!




TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Join us for the New Date for the TGIF 2020 Best of SRQ Local Party: FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2020 from 5-8pm at the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Sarasota! Don’t miss out, click the link below for tickets!

We’re hosting an incredible BEST OF SRQ LOCAL TGIF PARTY for the 4200+ readers who voted in SRQ Magazine’s biggest ever 2020 Best of SRQ Local Readers Competition on Friday, June 5, 2020 from 5-8pm at the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Sarasota. You are invited to to join us to taste and experience the best restaurants and cocktails voted by our readers and share a hip evening with the area’s passionate localvores and foodies.

Don’t Miss Out! Tickets on Sale: Friday, March 13 for Our BEST OF SRQ LOCAL TGIF PARTY!


Skip the happy hour just one Friday and head over to the atrium of the Aloft instead for the BEST OF SRQ LOCAL TGIF PARTY. This one’s for the 5000+ readers who voted in SRQ Magazine’s biggest ever 2020 Best of SRQ Local Readers Competition. Join us to taste + experience the best restaurants and cocktails voted by YOU, and share an evening getting your photos taken and mingling with fellow avid localvores + foodies.

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 13! A complete list of vendors soon to come!

Our lovely event sponsors include —
Aloft Sarasota
Berlin Patten Ebling
Marina Jack: Sarasota Bayfront
Cheney Brothers, Inc. Headquarters

Photos from last year’s BOSRQ TGIF Party —

Announcement: SRQ MEDIA SMARTgirls Mentorship Summit Has Been Postponed

After much thoughtful consideration and input from both partners and participants, SRQ MEDIA has decided to postpone its SMARTgirl Mentorship Summit previously scheduled to take place this Friday, March 13, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. While our organization is disappointed to postpone this incredibly vibrant event, we recognize that our greatest responsibility and concern is to take every precaution for the health and well-being of our mentors and the 90 SMARTgirl students hailing from schools from Sarasota and Manatee as well as Lee and Charlotte counties as well as their families. 
Given the current realities as they continue to evolve, postponing this impactful event to later this year will likely create an even more powerful opportunity for creating a space for positive, generative dialogue with these 90 future-seeking elementary and middle school girls. “We treasure our time together,” says SRQ MEDIA President and CEO Lisl Liang. “We want for it to be as meaningful and productive an experience as possible.” 
Plans are currently underway to reschedule the Summit to a later date this year. 

Speakers Announced for the SRQ MEDIA SMARTGirl 2020 Mentorship Summit and Luncheon

SRQ MEDIA is pleased to announce Sebrena Pawley of Eckerd Connects Workforce Development as the keynote speaker for the SMARTGirl 2020 Mentorship Summit and Luncheon. SMARTGirl 2020 will also feature an engaging presentation by Interactive Presenter AJ Lee from Game On Nation and Ambassador Speaker Shaneeka Foster from The Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County. Powered by the SRQ Women in Business Initiative, SMARTGirl is a collaborative effort to set local girls up for success through human interaction and local connectivity. This year’s luncheon summit will take place at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota on Friday, March 13, 2020 from 9:30 am-1:30 pm.

Sebrena Pawley entered the foster care system directly from the hospital where she was born. Growing up, she alternated between foster care and homelessness. As an adult, Sebrena is a champion and tireless advocate for teens and young adults as the Area Manager for Young Workforce Development at Eckerd Connects in New York City, and is the founder of the scholarship program “I Was 16 Yesterday”.

A former NCAA Division I gymnast, Adrienne “AJ” Lee earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Auburn University, specializing in research related to student-athlete engagement. She has spent the past four years utilizing her expertise in strategic planning, marketing, student development (Higher Education) and adult learning to lead Game On’s internal operations while also facilitating organizational leadership, well-being, workplace rights, and culture development training programs.  Some of AJ’s recent clients include Verizon Media Group, FCCI Insurance Group, and Alabama Softball. AJ resides in Bradenton, FL with her husband.

Shaneeka Lee Foster was born in Hollywood, FL and was five years old when she was first introduced to the Boys & Girls Club in Davie, Florida. After her family relocated to Sarasota, Shaneeka became involved with the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club and was honored with the Youth of the Year award during her senior year of high school. This accolade enabled Shaneeka to pursue her dreams of becoming a first generation college student. With the dedication of both staff and board members Shaneeka received the empowerment she needed to transition from high school to college. In 2009, Shaneeka graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. Believing that too whom much is given, much is required, Shaneeka returned back to Sarasota to work at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club. During her one year tenure, she developed a program entitled pre-professionals in action to enable high school students to create a plan of action to reach the desired goal of getting into college. In 2010, Shaneeka relocated to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to attend Drexel University and begin her professional career with QTC Management INC., a Leidos Company. In 2013, Shaneeka graduated from Drexel University with a Master’s in Public Policy. Her roles at QTC include Medical Care Specialist, Medical Quality Assurance Specialist and Human Resource Training Specialist. A lifelong learner, Shaneeka is currently working towards the completion of her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in project management in August 2020 and opening a Sugaring NYC Franchise in Tampa, FL this summer. 

We’re thrilled to have Sebrena Pawley, AJ Lee, and Shaneeka Foster offer their wisdom and encouragement to our SMARTGirl 2020 Mentorship Summit and Luncheon audience. SMARTGirl is an innovative program designed to engage elementary and middle school girls in 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades in imagining their future careers and creating the tools they will need to succeed through mentorship, soft skills training and hands-on workshops with some of the community’s top women leaders. 

In Your Mailbox: The March 2020 Home of the Year Edition is Here!

Spring is in the air, and great reads are in our March edition of SRQ Magazine. The architectural arts arrived with our 16th annual Home of the Year competition showcasing stunning feats of house architecture and design. Those with house and home on the mind can check out our selection of eclectic stools and ottomans, as well as dazzling handcrafted wooden tables from Decor Direct. Hungry for more? Try an unexpected twist on traditional tacos or plan an Impossible burger bar crawl. Last, plan a staycation just down the road, with our flipbook covering all the newest and most exciting additions to Lakewood Ranch, from Waterside Place, the Farmers Market and the polo field, this diverse ‘destination,’ has it all. #LIVELOCAL #LOVELOCAL


  • The Wildest Year Yet: DreamLarge spent the entire year planning PINC (People Ideas Nature Culture) collecting curiosities from around the globe.
  • Home of the Year 2020: From seaside to street side, inside and out, these award-winning domains celebrate and contribute to a growing legacy of innovative home design.

SRQIST: Local Heart & Soul Stories About the People, Places and Experiences that Define Our Hometown

  • In The Eye of the Beholder: Sarasota Art Museum’s visionary exhibition objectifies the theory of color.
  • Hollywood Doyenne: Heather Graham visits Ringling College of Art and Design, weighs in on sexism in Hollywood, cult movies and more.
  • British Bling: British historian and jewelry designer Andrew Prince wants to see diamonds from across the room.

CULTURE CITY: Arts + Culture, Performing and Visual Arts, Portfolio, In Studio, Art-sheet

  • Act Two: The Hermitage Artist Retreat finds Tony Award-Winning leadership in theater maven Andy Sandberg.
  • A Lemon Tree: A new gallery graces Palm Avenue.

CARGO: The Goods, Design Dossier, Retail Therapy, Antique Story, Nest, Books

  • This Seat Taken?: Funky, yet functional – put our feet up, or pop a squat, with an eclectic collection of ottomans and stools.
  • Burn Me On: BIA Candle Co.’s nature-driven candles fill homey dens with scintillating fragrances.
  • Tree Whisperer: For Celeste Gruenstein of Decor Direct, it’s all about the wood.

FORAGE: At the Table, Foodarama, Restaurants, Foodie Life

  • Southern Renegades: Circo rebels against a predictable pairing to cultivate an unorthodox bourbon and taco scene downtown.
  • Mission Impossible: The next generation of America’s favorite fast food, the Impossible and Beyond burger plant-based meat substitutes are on their way to becoming staples. Time to take a bite.
  • The Chef Inside the Egg: Three executive chefs prepare the classic French omelet and reveal what makes them tick.


  • Canopy Meg: In the treetops with scientist Margaret Lowman.


  • Living Lakewood: Nobody believed in the potential of a property at the Sarasota-Manatee line when Rex Jensen signed on in 1990. The Lakewood Ranch executive has enjoyed the last laugh for 25 years and counting.

Get in on all the goodness and check out the March issue today!

-The SRQ team