SRQ MEDIA “ROARS” at the Women in Business Leadership and Awards, April 27



From left to right: SRQ Media’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Ashley Grant, 2017 Trailblazer Award Recipient, Nancy Bernardini, 2017 Hear Me Roar Keynote Speaker, Ria Rersad and 2015 Hear Me Roar Keynote Speaker, Pam Van Der Lee. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


On Thursday, April 27, the mighty roar of SRQ Media’s “Hear Me Roar” Women in Business Leadership and Awards Luncheon echoed from Bradenton all the way to Venice as this year’s winners and finalists were announced to a sold-out crowd at The Francis in Downtown Sarasota.


Guests shopped Jo Malone presented by Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota during the Pop Up Boutique experience. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


Guests enjoyed a glass of bubbly while perusing through pop up boutiques representing some of our favorite local retailers, including Barton and Gray, Diamond Vault, Jo Malone and Laura Mercier courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota, New Balance Sarasota, PAINT Nail Bar, Philosophy and Vines, Pineapple Yoga, Scout and Molly’s Boutique and The Ritz Carlton, Sarasota Spa.

Keynote Speaker, Ria Persad speaks on self confidence and enjoying the journey you are on. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 

After Mike McMullan of Seaside Bank kicked off the afternoon and welcomed those in attendance, the multifaceted keynote speaker, mathematician, classical musician and child prodigy Ria Persad, CEO of StatWeather spoke on her empowering journey of determination, courage and her belief in maintaining a ‘happiness perspective’. In addressing the audience, she noted, “The joy in life isn’t in ‘arriving’ – it’s in the journey itself.  We seldom ever ‘arrive’, and that ‘arrival’ doesn’t usually take the shape we think it will.  99.99% of our life is spent in the journey, so let’s enjoy this very moment and time we live in to the very fullest. Our greatest inspiration and our greatest catalysts in life can be from our places of greatest suffering, as we rise up from those places with strength and courage.”


2017 Trailblazer Award Recipient, Nancy Bernardini speaks on the importance of mentorship. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


In receiving 2017 SRQ Trailblazer Award, honoree Nancy Bernardini, General Manager of Gurwitch Products/President of Laura Mercier and RéVive and leader of the $200 multi million dollar global luxury cosmetics and skincare enterprise, brought the house down and elicited peals of laughter from the crowd with the hilarious opening of her acceptance speech, “I’m supposed to follow an astro-physicist? – I sell lipstick!”, she joked and continued with her connection-centric philosophy, “This day is about you. Celebrating you and your accomplishments and applauding you for your leadership and mentorship. I am a believer in the transformative power of mentorship.  I have had a strong mentor throughout my career and I actively mentor others. My advice to you is to tap into that power. Mentor others, seek out a mentor yourself, connect with others.”


SRQ Media’s CEO and President, Lisl Liang announces the 2017 Leadership Circle. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


Once the awards ceremony was underway, stellar women leaders from diverse regional industries were revealed by SRQ Media CEO and President Lisl Liang sharing poignant, inspirational, empowering quotes from each woman. Hailing from Tampa, South Carolina and even New York, the 2017 Women In Business judges spent time getting to know each applicant, seeing the world from their perspective and taking hours and weeks of deliberation to render their decisions.


Champion for Children, Graci McGillicuddy receives 2017 Women in Business Award and commemorative pin courtesy of Diamond Vault. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


And without further ado, announcing . . . this year’s winner and finalists!

Women in Business 2017 Leadership Circle

Erin McLeod, President, The Friendship Centers, winner
Nikki Taylor , President & CEO, Taylor & Company, LLC, winner
Graci McGillicuddy, Champion for Children, winner
Jennifer Vigne, President, Education Foundation of Sarasota, winner
Karen Windon, Deputy County Administrator, Manatee County Government, winner
Anna von Gehr, Senior Director of Development, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, finalist
Veronica Brandon Miller, Vice President Foundation, Goodwill Manasota, finalist
Liz Brookins, Senior Marketing Coordinator, Willis A. Smith Construction, finalist
Renee Preininger, Realtor, Sarasota Trust Realty Company, finalist
Susan Moseley, President, Moseley Investment Management, finalist
Shannon Rohrer-Phillips, Co Founder, Visible Men Academy, finalist
Debbie Smith, CEO, Two Trails, Inc., finalist


Michael Chokr of Diamond Vault displays the 2017 Hear Me Roar commemorative pins during the Pop Up Boutique experience. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


When accepting their award, each winner and finalist received a commemorative pin created by SRQ Media in collaboration with Michael Chokr and the Diamond Vault team. Each pin featured a roaring lioness holding a gem in her mouth: a diamond representing Leadership Circle winners and a ruby representing Leadership Circle finalists.


2014, 2015, 2016 and the newly initiated 2017 Leadership Circle ambassadors at the Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.


Ambassadors from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Leadership Circles joined the newest inductees as they begin their journey into the Women in Business Initiative as they inspire, collaborate and lead each other and the community in the coming year.


From left to right: Cindi Johnston, SRQ Media’s Executive Publisher, Wes Roberts and Seaside Bank’s Steve Altier at the Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


A huge thank you to our sponsors who have partnered with us to bring the Women in Business Initiative to life: Seaside Bank, USF Sarasota-Manatee, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Barton & Gray, CS&L CPAs, New Balance Sarasota, Diamond Vault, The Ritz Carlton Sarasota, Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota, Muse, Gold Star Limousines, Victoria Blooms, CCAV, PAINT Nail Bar, Scout & Molly’s Boutique, Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota, Philosophy and Vines, Pineapple Yoga and last but most certainly not least, The Francis. We couldn’t do it without you!


From left to right: Mother Daughter duo, Marjorie Broughton and Nikki Taylor pose with Kimberly Manooshian at the Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


To view a full gallery of images from the 2017 Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards luncheon click here. Stay tuned for more Women in Business stories as we enter our new 2017-18 season. To download the 2017 Women in Business Awards Supplement, click here. 

“It’s Go Time” SMARTgirl Class of 2017, April 14


SMARTgirl Class of 2017. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

On April 14, SRQ Media hosted its inaugural SMARTgirl Leadership and Mentorship Summit at the Hyatt Regency engaging 84 girls from the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida and the Sarasota YMCA with 23 mentors representing our region’s many diverse industries such as engineering and software development to law enforcement, photography and medicine. The luncheon consisted of a curated mentoring program aimed to engage the young women in soft skills training, mentorship and career imaginings.


Students from Girl Scouts Gulfcoast Florida participate in coding activity. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

The summit kicked off with interactive workshops including Brand You, highlighting personal branding and goal marketing,  SMART Inc. Pitch Workshop for budding entrepreneurs, Bright Side Communications Workshop for positive and effective communication in challenging situations and Reverse Interview Workshop designed to provide insight about each mentor’s career path. 


Mentor, Joy Randels listens to girls proposing a business idea at the SMART Inc. Pitch workshop. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

In between workshops and the luncheon, participants formed teams based on their chosen superpower preferences and collaborated with girls from other groups to develop a name, logo and mission as a team.  The result?  Strategic teamwork, analysis and amazing artwork.  The girls also participated in a Coding Workshop in which they chose the look, name and slogan for the 2017 SMARTgirl Superhero presented at the end of the luncheon. The girls fittingly chose the charge “Its GO Time!


Girls form a superpower group to create team logo, name and mission. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

Between bites of decadent mac n cheese, participants heard from keynote speaker, Sandra Stone from USF Sarasota-Manatee as well as 4 alumni speakers representing each of the participating organizations; all emphasizing that we have the power to thrive in any industry through empowerment, tenacity and spitfire determination.


Dr. Sandra Stone gives a powerful and inspirational message to SMARTgirl class of 2017. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

“As an educator, it always brings me great pleasure to see students who are dedicated to learning, who are willing to challenge themselves to maximize their potential, and who are committed to successfully achieving their goals. As I have learned more about each of you during the morning and your plans for continued education and careers, I am confident our future is in good hands!” said Dr. Sandra Stone


SMARTgirl students from Girl Scouts Gulfcoast Florida eager for their workshops. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

“The SMARTgirl Summit surpassed our wildest hopes and expectations”, said Ashley Grant, SRQ Media’s Vice President Strategic Partnerships. The event was designed to show the girls the amazing array of possibilities and avenues open to them, some of which they had not considered before, and let them know that there are people around ready and willing to help guide and nurture them on their individual paths. The positive energy in the room was so powerful it was infectious – everyone was smiling, enthusiastic and eager to learn.  It was incredibly gratifying to see the connections the girls made with their mentors and each other as they navigated through the workshops and the team building exercises. The experience touched everyone from participants to mentors and sponsors and our staff.  It was a powerful day full of possibility and aha moments that will stay with each of us for a long time.”


Representatives from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Seaside Bank, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida and the Sarasota YMCA at the 2017 SMARTgirl Summit. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

The impact of the 2017 SMARTgirl Summit has resonated well beyond the few hours spent a the Hyatt Regency. Organization representatives, students and even parents have kept the conversation going.

“On behalf of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, we give the 2017 SMARTgirl Summit two thumbs up! The impact of this program goes well beyond just a day and aligns with our mission perfectly – building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” said Girl Scout of Gulfcoast Florida’s Director of Corporate Communications, Patricia Ramthun.

Girl Scout troop leader and parent Lynn H expressed her gratitude by saying: “Thanks for treating my girls to such a fantastic afternoon! Lily Gwendolyn, Natasha and Sophia LOVED the SMARTgirl event and talked the entire way home!!! They are all 6th graders and as you know, this is such a special age and it’s so important to keep them engaged in positive events such as this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”


From left to right: SMARTgirl Mentors Betsey Penewill, Jennifer Vigne, Sarrah Vesselov, Kameron Hodgens, Lee-En Chung, Sherri Sanders, Shana Nichols, Cynthia Holliday, Dr. Sandra Stone, Gabrielle Vest, Laurie Pike, Stefanie Overturf, Minna Traugott, Joy Randels, Cora Imboden, Tammy Kovar and Brenda Janowski. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan 

We would like to thank the Hyatt Regency, Seaside Bank, USF Sarasota-Manatee, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and PSAV for investing in 84 futures and creating a dynamic day for each of these young women.

A special thank you to Everett Dennison for capturing the SMARTgil Summit on video. To view a video recap of SMARTgirl click here.

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

Join Us: Tickets SB2 | GOOD PEOPLE The Tourism Economy, May 18


The tourism economy sparks opportunities beyond finding the perfect ice cream cone or enjoying the beauty of a sunset on Siesta Beach. Visitors have a major positive impact on our region and its ability to invest, sustain and grow the local economy.

Join SRQ Media for our dynamic SB2: GOOD PEOPLE–The Tourism Economy breakfast symposium on Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 7:30am–9:00am at The Francis, Downtown Sarasota. Local tourism experts will give us insight on the 2016-2017 year in tourism and its impact on quality of life. Keynote, Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, will discuss her work to protect, educate and promote the diverse interests of Florida’s hospitality industry before the Florida Legislature and lobby against unfair government regulation. Special guest panelists include: Rick Piccolo, President and CEO, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport; Jeff Mayers, General Manager, The Resort at Longboat Key Club; Elliot Falcione, Executive Director, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Thank you  John Horne of Anna Maria Oyster Bar for coming on board as our Keynote Sponsor! Thank you to SB2 Series Sponsors: The Resort at Longboat Key, CS&L, SRQ Airport and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  If your business thrives on our tourist economy, you should consider joining us!

Tickets are $35/per person, which includes a mouth-watering breakfast spread provided by The Francis. Reserve your spot online at SRQSB2.COM.

SB2 Reporting Out: From Underwear to a Giant Rube Goldberg Machine – GOOD ARTS, March 30


Left to right: Panelists Tom Barwin, Jeff Rodgers, Anne-Marie Russell, keynote Nathan Schwagler, moderator Wes Roberts and panelist Steven High. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.


It is no secret that the Sarasota and Bradenton communities pride themselves on the rich culture and spectacular arts institutes that encompass the region. As the home of countless causes bringing all forms of art, dance, music, theater, culinary arts and culture to the region, it only makes sense that we hosted an SB2 symposium dedicated to keeping these institutions alive. The discussion honed in on how to maximize the potential of these institutions by creating energetic spaces to enhance creativity.


Keynote speaker, Nathan Schwagler transports the audience into the mind of Salvidor Dali. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan. 


Last Thursday, SRQ magazine hosted an engaging SB2 GOOD ARTS breakfast symposium at The Francis in downtown Sarasota. After Jay Clarkson of CS&L CPAS welcomed those in attendance, Keynote Speaker, Nathan Schwagler, Co-Director of the Dali Museum Innovation Labs began the discussion with an interactive activity to demonstrate how things were seen through the creative mind of Salvidor Dali by asking the audience to draw a penny merely by memory. The audience struggled to get even a few details sketched out, which proved Nathan’s point perfectly. Once we get used to seeing something enough times, we stop really seeing it. Dali experimented with the multi-dimensional realities of what we see. “Dali read widely. He appreciated the diversity of inputs into his stream of thinking,” Schwagler said.


Keynote speaker, Nathan Schwagler speaks on the importance of creativity in the workplace. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.


Schwagler spoke of the work he directs at the Dali Museum Innovation Labs where he engages with companies to transform their pathways to creativity. A poignant story about his son and his wooden tiger spoke to how easy it is to inadvertently shoot down new ideas. He went on to say that there is work to be done by cultivating creativity in adults and in corporations. “I think creativity is and creative thinking skills are the ultimate 21st-century thinking skill. I think with an accelerated rate of change and disruption everywhere you look, we have got to figure out how you play in this space and that’s what we do at the Innovation Lab at the Dali Museum.”

The Dali Museum Innovation Lab believes in 3 Fundamental Principles:

  1. 1. There is almost always more than one way to solve a problem
  2. 2. Creativity is a natural human phenomenon
  3. 3. Creativity is the essential ingredient for innovation

By utilizing these principles, the Dali Museum’s Innovation Lab strives to get people out of their own way, by thinking and doing differently. “You are the biggest barrier in your creativity. You have more leverage than any other ingredient of the process,” Schwagler stated.


Left to right: Jeff Rodgers, Tom Barwin, Anne-Marie Russell, (center, moderator) Wes Roberts, Steven High and Nathan Schwagler. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan


Between bites, guests picked up thought provoking insight from some of the region’s most inspiring arts organizations: Steven High of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Anne-Marie Russell of the Sarasota Museum of Art, Jeff Rodgers of the South Florida Museum and Tom Barwin of the City of Sarasota. Participants were on the edge of their seats listening to the number of innovative experiences available in their own backyard.


Jeff Rodgers speaks on creating innovative spaces to enhance creativity. Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.


When asked about the formative museum experience they most cherished, Anne-Marie Russell of the Sarasota Museum of Art proudly stated, ” It was actually John Dillinger’s underwear that was my first and most compelling museum experience. It was the first time I understood the power of objects to be a repository of memory and fascination.”

To that point, Jeff Rodgers of the South Florida Museum spoke on the power of authentic objects to transform a space. “They are not just places where people with laser pointers point at the stars anymore. They have become immersive digital theaters where we can create any number of experiences and we can invite artists to come in and think creatively on how to use this space. Just like seeing that underwear that sparks some sort of new understanding and new way of seeing things. That is what our space is all about. It’s about giving you access to objects and access to time to think about those objects to spark your creativity.”

As part of the South Florida Museum’s expansion, Rodgers shared that they will be building a large Backyard Rube Goldberg machine to engage both kids and their parents in exploring cause and effect.

The museum space itself, can set the precedence on how the artwork is seen by audience.  “The space really sets up or stages these paintings in a particular way. You know you are seeing important works because the space frames them in that context and gives that work to you,” said Steven High when describing the pieces of art displayed at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Our region can be described as an arts and culture mecca where innovation is at the forefront. Tom Barwin from the City of Sarasota said it best, “If you look at the geography of the City of Sarasota and if you were to travel from Sarasota Memorial Hospital to the Sarasota Airport, we have 12 incredible cultural institutions and another one on the way. We are a city of 60,000 full-time residents and cities of 600,000 would die for any of these facilities.”


NewGate IB High School students attend SB2 GOOD ARTS . Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan.


We would like to recognize the students and faculty from NewGate School who attended last week’s event. Thank you for your engagement and your thoughtful insights!


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 series sponsors: CS&L CPAs, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, 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 ARTS in SRQ DAILY. A gallery of images from SB2: GOOD ARTS is available online. The 2016-2017 SB2 season will continue on Thursday, May 18 with SB2 GOOD PEOPLE: The Tourism Economy featuring Keynote Speaker Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. For tickets, visit

SRQ MEDIA Announces Keynote and Trailblazer Honoree for the 2017 Hear Me Roar Leadership And Awards Luncheon on April 27, 2017

SRQ MEDIA hosts the powerful Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at The Francis to recognize exceptional women in the region through the Annual Women in Business competition who have made noteworthy contributions to business, education, philanthropy, culture and health in the community. The Awards Luncheon kicks off with the Keynote Speaker who shares her story of success and the honoring of this year’s recipient of the prestigious Trailblazer Award, a luminary who has cultivated distinguished achievements.

It is our great pleasure to announce the Keynote Speaker and Trailblazer Award Recipient for the 2017 annual luncheon and awards ceremony: mathematician, classical pianist and child prodigy Keynote Speaker Ria Persad, Founder and CEO of Statweather; and, Trailblazer Award Honoree Nancy Bernardini, General Manager of Gurwitch Products/President of Laura Mercier and RéVive, the global luxury cosmetics and skincare entreprise. Past Trailblazer Award recipients include Adrienne Vittadini (2015) and Pamela Fiori (2016).

“We’re thrilled to host keynote speaker Ria Persad and Trailblazer Award recipient Nancy Bernardini as our honored guests,” says SRQ MEDIA CEO/President Lisl Liang. “Hear Me Roar recognizes the passion within each of us conquer the inevitable challenges in our personal and professional lives. The strong and compassionate women nominated each year are a testament to resiliency, innovation and the spirit of giving back to our community.”

Bio: Keynote Speaker – Ria Persad, Founder and CEO of StatWeather

Ria4 Dec16

Ria Persad is the founding CEO of StatWeather, a weather and climate services corporation specializing in state-of-the-art weather prediction systems for the risk management industry. The company has been recognized as the 2015 Top Data Provider Globally through Energy Risk Awards, Top U.S. Weather Company in Energy Risk Software Rankings 2013, Best Newcomer of the Year 2013, a 2014 Platts Global Energy Awards “Rising Star”, and in the Top 5 Most Innovative Companies in America in 2015 through MeetAdvisor.

Ria was a child prodigy researching under mentor, Eleanor F. Helin at the California Institute of Technology, in asteroid discovery, origin and motion. At the age of 13, she was a research assistant at the High-temperature Superconductivity Lab at Boston University. At the age of 14, Ria developed new methods of numerical integration including the “Method of Polygonal Partitions”, “Vector Approximation Method”, and “Inversion Method” all while taking coursework at Harvard University. Ria studied mathematics and physics at Harvard, Princeton, and Cambridge Universities with doctoral study at Rice University. Her experience in climate modeling began at Lawrence Livermore Lab’s Supercomputer Center in 1991. Persad performed earth and solar system modeling at NASA and went on to model geophysical systems at Bell Geospace.

In addition to her extensive accomplishments in science, Ria is also a classical musician, she was the prizewinner of the 2010 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition. She has given numerous piano performances in Italy and throughout the United States, she performs nationally for charities and benefits and made her Carnegie Hall debut in April 2011. In November 2011, O, The Oprah Magazine profiled Carlo’s life as a pianist and her story appears on Oprah Winfrey’s website in a feature on “Turning Dreams Into Reality.” Ria currently mentors technology companies and is the author of the book: All Things Are Possible: Unleashing the Superhuman Within, available on Amazon.

Bio: Trailblazer Award Recipient – Nancy Bernardini, GM, Gurwitch Products
President of Laura Mercier and RéVive


Nancy Bernardini is currently the General Manager of Gurwitch Products LLC, the global luxury cosmetics and skincare enterprise best known for its Laura Mercier and ReVive brands. Most recently she led the Laura Mercier brand to deliver the company’s most successful year ever, outpacing industry growth and increasing overall market share. She is responsible for reengineering the company’s business model to fuel growth internationally. Under Nancy’s leadership, the brand implemented a digitally-led marketing mix to increase brand awareness and reach a broader consumer base. In 2016, she successfully managed the divestiture of the business to Shiseido Americas.

Nancy previously spent 11 years at the Proctor & Gamble Company where she held several positions including serving as the Chief Financial Officer of the Global Fine Fragrance division located in Geneva, Switzerland. Under Nancy’s financial and strategy leadership the business delivered explosive growth in revenue and profitability.

Nancy holds an MBA in Finance and a BA in Quantitative Analysis from Saint John’s University. She is married and has three daughters, Isabella (19), Olivia (17) and Grace (10) who are the center of her world.

SRQ MEDIA would like to thank the Women in Business Sponsors for their support of this engaging community platform: Seaside Bank, Barton & Gray, New Balance Sarasota, CS&L CPAs, University of South Florida at Sarasota-Manatee, Community Foundation of Sarasota, Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Diamond Vault, Gold Star Limo, Muse Salon, Victoria Blooms, Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue and CCAV.

To purchase your online tickets to the SRQ Women in Business Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon and for more details on the program, visit SRQHEARMEROAR.COM.

Event Details: Thursday, April 27, 2017, 10:30am-1pm at The Francis, Downtown Sarasota, 1289 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.Registration opens at 10:30am. Join us for shopping during the Pop-Up Boutique from 10:30 to 11:30am. The luncheon program begins at 11am and wraps at 1:30pm.


IN YOUR MAILBOX: Best Of SRQ Awards Are Live!


Hometown heroes are the focus of the April issue, where each year we open up the floor to readers and business owners alike to make their voices heard on what local establishments constitute the best of the best. Hang on tight and see where readers took us this year.

Cover Feature: Best of SRQ Local Reader’s Competition

To bring you the highly anticipated results of the 9th annual Best of SRQ Local competition, we donned some rose-colored glasses and peace-sign necklaces to celebrate the big winners and finalists in each of the 59 categories we opened up this year. From potholes to trivia nights, food festivals to fish markets, it ultimately comes down to our last write-in question: Why do you love Sarasota?

Interview With: Dr. Larry Thompson

As the college today undergoes the greatest capital investment and physical expansion of campus since the school opened in 1931, Dr. Larry Thompson  proves to be the driving force behind the explosion of growth. As he puts it: “We’re on our way to being the preeminent art school in the country, and we’re on the fast track to get there.” Take a look at the academic pushing the boundaries of traditional higher education.


Out and About 

SRQAPR17-food life-PEANUTS.jpg

At the Table



Hunting and Gathering

  • Embrace the open road with road trip essentials that will keep your eyes on the prize.
  • Bathe in color with sprightly prints from Charlotte Osterman.
  • The future’s looking up inside a Venice Island mid-century hideaway.


Medical marijuana passed in November, but moratoria delay dispensaries.


Karin Murphy of the Urban Design Studio evaluates water taxis for Sarasota.

Body and Wellness

Learn about what the future holds for research into Alzheimer’s disease.

Parting Shot

Passing of the books into Ringling College’s new library.

Women In Business Leadership Circle Member, Stefanie Overturf Gets Published in Passionistas

Stefanie Overturf.jpg

Business Owner, Stefanie Overturf shares her inspirational story in Passionistas: Tips, Tales and Tweetables From Women Pursuing Their Dreams. 


Business owner, “enterprenueress” and 2015 SRQ Women In Business Leadership Circle member, Stefanie Overturf started 2017 on a high note by having her inspirational and empowering story published in the book Passionistas: Tips, Tales and Tweetables From Women Pursuing Their Dreams.

Over 40 powerhouse and fellow Passionistas, including entrepreneurs, founders of brands and small businesses, women in business and the entertainment world, speakers and authors, share their authentic, from-the-heart stories that promise to inspire and make you better. This book touches and relates to exactly what the reader may be going through with powerful tips and inspiration on how to get through challenging obstacles and come out the other side more determined and validated than ever.

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SRQ Women In Business Leadership Circle members receive copies of Passionistas: Tips, Tales & Tweetables.


“I am so excited to be a part of Passionistas: Tips, Tales & Tweetables! This book challenged me to dig deep and format my story in a way that would not only tell my story but also provide inspiration to the reader. We’ve received emails and facebook posts from women who read the book and decided to start a business! Others are inspired because they’ve realized that they aren’t alone in some of the things they are going through. I can’t wait to see where else it takes us and the impact I know it’s going to have!” says Stefanie Overturf.

Passionista: Tips, Tales and Tweetables From Women Pursuing Their Dreams can be found on and is currently a best seller.