Leadership Circle Expands at Hear Me Roar Luncheon



The Francis Ballroom at Louies Modern in Downtown Sarasota filled to the brim yesterday morning with business owners, entrepreneurs, innovators, creators and community leaders of all sorts, where they gathered to talk shop, trade tips, network and, most importantly, show support for their fellow go-getters. And being the SRQ Women in Business 4th annual Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon, all of these local movers and shakers present were women. Playing emcee for the day, SRQ Media CEO Lisl Liang and Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Ashley Grant took the opportunity to introduce keynote speaker Cricket Burns, honor Patti Cazzato with the Trailblazer Award and induct new members into the Women in Business Leadership Circle.

Part of an initiative dedicated to championing women entrepreneurs and thought-leaders, the luncheon began by recognizing past inductees from the last four years of the Women in Business Leadership Circle, including notable names such as Lee En Chung of L. Boutique, Denise Kowal of the Sarasota Chalk Festival, Dr. Sandra Stone of USF Sarasota-Manatee, Anna Von Gehr of The Ringling Museum, Veronica Brandon Miller of Goodwill Manasota, Erin McCloud of the Friendship Centers and Jennifer Vigne of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. By the afternoon’s end, 12 more women would join the ranks.

Flying in for the event, fashion maven Cricket Burns of CricketsCrush.com gave an inspiring keynote address, leading listeners on a whirlwind journey through a life full of ups and downs and a million detours that never dissuaded her from what she knew she could accomplish. “Lofty pinnacles and deep dark valleys,” she says, but never enough to wrest control from her grasp. “I’m in charge of my own destiny,” Burns says, and not even cancer, which struck both her and her husband within a year of each other, could change that. “As a family,” she says, “we fought twice, and we won.” And the gathered women, they would have to fight too. But it would be worth it. “The world needs your gifts,” Burns concluded. “Don’t let someone else slap a dead end sign on your dreams.”

Accepting the Trailblazer Award for 2018, Patti Cazzato took the stage next. The first woman CEO of the eco-conscious San Francisco-based manufacturer Timbuk2, she began with an important reminder: “I was the best person for the job.” On her way to the top, Cazzato battled her own ups and downs, including launching her own business in June 2008, only to see investors flee as the Great Recession hit. Self-financing her venture for seven years, it proved one of the most difficult, but rewarding, endeavors of her professional life—and put her in the right place to take her current role at Timbuk2. “Think about your truth—what gets you up in the morning,” she says. “Be present on your journey. There’s a message in those setbacks.”

Lastly, it was time to announce the new inductees into the Women in Business Leadership Circle, selected by a panel of six judges, all women. All nominees were named by women in the community. Winners include: Lulu Ann of iHeartMedia, Paige LeMay of Coastal Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, Katy McBrayer of Michael Saunders and Company, Jeannie Perales of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Britt Riner of Liber Consulting. Finalists include Mary Bensel of the Van Wezel, Morgan Gerhart of Girls Inc., Peggy Kronus of Willis Smith Construction, Shawna Machado of Safe Children Coalition, Jacqueline Moore of Jacqueline Moore Campaign, Deva O’Donnell of Richards Foodporium and Kathryn Shea of the Florida Center for Early Childhood.

Closing out the night, Liang made a compact with the gathered women of business. “I promise this is only the beginning,” she says, as the Women in Business initiative—and its members—are always driven by that one forward-thinking question: “What’s next?”

Pictured: Cricket Burns delivers the keynote address at the 2018 Women In Business Hear Me Roar Luncheon. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

« View The Friday Apr 27, 2018 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Other Articles in WIB

May 13, 2019Jacob Ogles

Leaders Seek Regional Transit Solutions

May 9, 2019Jacob Ogles

Sarasota Occupancy Up In March