BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas August 14, 2014 Newsletter
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Business and Professional Women (BPW) /
St. Petersburg-Pinellas

Achieving equity for all women in the workplace through education, advocacy and information

Our BPW Brother

Welcome to the fourth issue of Step Into Our Shoes, a newsletter focused on the people, programs and activities of BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas. Click here to read past issues

Many of us talk about the benefits of the BPW sisterhood. While the word "Women" is squarely in the BPW name, we have also been fortunate to have male advocates in our corner. On July 29, 2014, we lost one of our strongest voices--our dear friend and BPW brother Lawrence J. "Larry" Renda.

A BPW member since 2003, Larry was actively involved with multiple committees and was an avid supporter of our events. He hosted planning sessions, committee meetings and social affairs with a genuine hospitality. He also served on the BPW/FL Education Foundation Board of Directors, where he advocated for housing scholarships for female students on Florida university campuses. And, many of us relied on his company, Air Quality Control, for our homes and offices.

Loyal and dependable. Pleasant and present. Larry was a man of faith and family as well as a devoted friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones as they go through this difficult time. May each of us always have the time spent with Larry at the forefront of our memories.

Thank you, Larry, for your stories, your laugh, your advice, your expertise, your encouragement, your positive outlook and your brotherhood in BPW.

This issue is for you.

In solidarity,
Alizza Punzalan-Randle headshot
Alizza Punzalan-Randle
2014-15 President
BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas
Member since  2002

Contact me

Community Engagement Manager
All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine


Aug. 23: Celebrate Women's Right to Vote at Diversi-Tea

Our annual celebration of National Women's Equality Day has a new twist this year. Join us!

Diversi-Tea: Writing Women Back Into History

Saturday, August 23, 2014
1 p.m., Registration and Networking
2 p.m., Program and Conversation
The Manhattan Casino, 642 22nd St So., St. Pete

Reserve your seat today!
BPW Members, $20 / Non-BPW Members, $25 / Day of event, $30

Our “not-so-high-tea”  will feature a hat fashion show emceed by Mrs. Terri Lipsey Scott, light fare and a cash bar, and an exchange of ideas. Dress hats are encouraged!

The 2014 National Women’s Equality Day will be the 94th anniversary of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote. During the suffrage movement, women relied on tea houses and teas as gathering places for meetings and fundraising. The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, a BPW community partner, will be present with a voter registration table.

New to the Tea this year is our emphasis on diversity—a critical piece of BPW’s strategic efforts to be relevant to our members and to the greater community. Thank you to our major sponsor Mountcastle Vein Centers.

Upcoming Speakers

Our general membership luncheon meetings feature topical speakers and programs that meet the personal, professional and political pillars of BPW. Reservations are required. Cost: Members, $16; Guests, $21. A $5 fee will be added to reservations received after Noon on Tuesday prior to meeting. 

If a proposed 1% sales tax referendum passes in November 2014, PSTA (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) will implement the Greenlight Pinellas Plan. The Plan, which includes "transformational bus improvements and future passenger rail that will significantly enhance public transportation in Pinellas County," has its champions and critics. On August 7, we heard from Barbara Haselden, an outspoken activist and leader of the South Pinellas 912 Patriots and spokesperson for No Tax for Tracks. Hear the other side of the story on August 21.

Darden Rice
St. Petersburg City Council, Dist. 4

Thursday, August 21, 2014
11:30 a.m., Networking; 12-1 p.m., Meeting & Lunch
Register for this meeting

Councilwoman Rice
chairs the legislative committee on the PSTA Board as well as serves on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council legislative subcommittee. Ms. Rice has more than a decade of experience working for national, state, and local organizations in communications and issue-based advocacy campaigns for the public interest.

Serving at the State Level

Thank you to these members who have stepped up to help guide statewide initiatives: Florida Business Woman Editor, Sheila Barry-Oliver; Women in Transition Chair, Lily Alcott; Membership Chair, Cynthia Gramberg; Special Committee on Style Manual - Chair, Sheila Barry-Oliver, and Member, Tami Simms.

The BPW/FL Education Foundation is a major initiative that provides housing scholarships for female college students at state college and university campuses across the State of Florida. These members are volunteering their time for the Foundation: Vice President, Tami Simms; Board Member, Cynthia Jenkins; St. Petersburg College Liaisons/Selection Committee - Helen Leslie, Cynthia Jenkins and Tami Simms.


In the Community

July Social BPWSPP Group
Gretta Paige Bellas & Sheila Barry-Oliver
Juli Kempner & Tami Simms
Top: Anna Savalli, Gretta Paige Bellas and Cynthia Gramberg with friends David and Wayne. Bottom left: Gretta Paige Bellas and Sheila Barry-Oliver. Bottom right: Juli Kempner and Tami Simms.

July Member Social at Ricky P's

A big thank you to Lisa and Rick Parsons for hosting our July 31 member social at their restaurant, Ricky P's Orleans Bistro! More than 20 BPW members and friends gathered for fellowship and specially-priced beverages and appetizers. We were also pleased to collect money for Girls Inc. of  Pinellas so that Girls Inc executive director and new BPW member Kristina Fortner and her staff could purchase school supplies for the girls that they serve.
BPW SPP SPChamber Women's Leadership Council panel

Women in Politics Balance Power

On July 23, members Sydni Shollenberger, Kristina Fortner, Alizza Punzalan-Randle, Cory Adler, Aimee Bennett, Catie Matthey and Sheila Barry-Oliver attended the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce Inspire! Women's Leadership Series at the St. Petersburg Country Club. St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Amy Foster, State Representative Kathleen Peters and USF Political Scientist Susan McManus shared their personal stories of how women in politics find their voices in the quest for balancing power with other women as well as men.

Be Relevant in 2014-15

Authenticity – We will strengthen what we do best. Mastery – We will be mission driven in all that we do. Empathy – We will diversify our reach, way of thinking, audiences and partnerships. Action – We will communicate, collaborate and connect to further our influence.

2014-15 Executive Committee
President Alizza Punzalan-Randle 
President-Elect Amy Dinovo
1st VP/Programs Jerri Evans 
2nd VP/Membership Kristin Smith
Secretary Audrey Wood 
Treasurer Joan Ghassemi
Parliamentarian Tami Simms

In This Issue
August 14, 2014

BPW/FL Updates
Calendar of Events
Get Involved
Giving Back
In the Community

Member Kudos
Upcoming Speakers

Working Women's Forum

Save the Date: Working Women's Forum


From Grasshopper to Queen Bee: Mentoring Relationships That Buzz
Thur., Oct. 23, 5:30-8 p.m.
The Studio@620

(620 1st Ave S, St. Pete)
Members, $20; Guests, $25.
We observe National Business Women's Week with an annual working women's forum. This year's panel discussion focuses on mentoring, something that works at any age.

Giving Back

Our activities include giving back in the community. Contact Philanthropy Chair Gretta Paige Bellas to join BPW at one or both of these upcoming events:

Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation 
One Step Closer To The Cure 5K/10K /1Mile Run/Walk
Sat., Sept. 6, 8:45 a.m.
Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive SE, St. Pete

Join the BPW/SPP Team for the 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk.
Registration is $25/$30.


Daystar Life Center Fall Fashion Fling & Luncheon  
Sat., Sept. 27, 11 a.m. Shopping, 12 p.m. Fashion Show & Lunch
Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, 1600 54th Ave So., St. Pete

Volunteer your time and/or attend the event as part of the BPW table. Tickets are $25.

Member Kudos


Our members are accomplished in numerous and various ways. We applaud the following BPW members for their recent achievements.


Joan Ghassemi recently passed exams that designate her as a certified Pilates Instructor teaching single or duo reformer classes. She also co-owns Reza Chiropractic, which helps patients with wellness, auto accidents, athletic injuries, nutrition and corrective exercises.

St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice is a recent graduate of the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellowship. As one of three fellows in the July 2014 class, she spent three weeks in intense state and local government programming at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass. The program helps senior executives hone their skills and furthers the leadership potential of already accomplished public servants.


Celebration photo / Getty Images

BPW Member 

Happy anniversary to those who renew their membership in BPW year after year! We also welcome our newest members since the last issue.

Joined in July 2014
Kristina Fortner
Juli Kempner
Kathie Michael
Linda Thielmann

Joined in August of...
2001, Becky Duffy
2001, Jane Harper
2011, Jerri Evans
2011, Darden Rice
2012, Meenakshi Jain
2012, Laura Wolfe

Calendar of Events

8/18, Diversi-Tea Planning Committee Meeting
5:45 p.m., Location TBD
Contact Cory Adler or Jerri Evans

8/21, General Membership Meeting - St. Pete City Councilwoman Darden Rice on Greenlight Pinellas
11:30 a.m. Networking; Noon Lunch, 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House, 400 Beach Dr NE, St. Pete. More info

8/23, Diversi-Tea: Writing Women Back Into History
1 p.m., Registration & Networking
2-4 p.m., Program & Conversation
The Manhattan Casino, 642 22nd St S, St. Pete. More info

8/27, Executive Committee Meeting
5:45-7:15 p.m., Simms Team, Coastal Properties Group, 238 Beach Drive NE, St. Pete. 

9/4 & 9/18, General Membership Meeting - Speakers TBD
11:30 a.m. Networking; Noon Lunch, 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House, 400 Beach Dr NE, St. Pete. 

Get Involved

Candid from Working Women's Forum

Committees Make BPW Go Round

BPW is only as good as the membership makes it. You can help shape our activities by serving on a committee. Contact the following chairwomen to learn about each committee's functions and planning efforts.
Cory Adler, Diversity and Inclusion
Kristin Smith, Equal Pay Day Unhappy Hour
Cory Adler & Jerri Evans, Equality Day Tea
Kristin Smith, Finance
Sheila Barry Oliver, Individual Development
Jerri Evans, Legislative
Kristin Smith, Membership
Gretta Paige Bellas, Philanthropy
Amy Dinovo, Public Relations / Technology
Elizabeth Knowles, Scholarship
Amy Dinovo & Wendy Wesley, Working Women's Forum
Sheila Barry-Oliver, Young Careerist

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PO Box 1063
St. Petersburg, Florida 33731

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