Women's Right to Vote Women's Right to Vote

Wednesday August 26, 2020 marks the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment being signed into law granting women the constitutional right to vote, although many women fought for decades to realize that right. To honor this historic milestone in our nation, Visit Tallahassee/Leon County Division of Tourism celebrates local “Leading Ladies” – Women in leadership positions in Tourism and Economic/Community Development.

LeadingLadies Leading Ladies

Althemese Barnes

Founding Director Emeritus
Operations Manager, John G. Riley Center & Museum

The 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment of women’s suffrage is a pivotal opportunity for today’s women to review history and make a commitment to “dare to be different” and address social injustice that still exist today. On March 3, 1913, female organizers of the Women’s Suffrage Parade displayed one of the most blatant episodes of injustice. The women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, college students at Howard University in D.C., were forced to march at the very back of the parade. They marched anyway. Women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority refused to participate after their letter asking to join the parade resulted in being told that they could only do so if they agreed to march at the back with the Colored Units. They refused and did not march. Both organizations were African American, still exist and hold the largest membership among Black Greek sororities. Ironic is that their desire and efforts to participate would only benefit white women as Black women still would and could not gain the right to vote until much later, because of their race.

What can local women do to help address social injustice?

With this as a backdrop, local women can address today’s social injustices by:

  1. Claiming it as a reality that has existed and been practiced by one race (white), against another (Black) for over 400 years in America;
  2. Owning it and calling it out from the role of spectator, participant or enabler in ways that help to eradicate it;
  3. Beginning, conscientiously, to see injustice as a “sin” or “psychological ill” from which there is a need for attrition, or a cure;
  4. Internalizing that acts of injustice demoralize, make a victim feel uncomfortable, give an unfair and unequal advantage to the perpetrator in critical life situations: job attainment, promotion and security; access to financial support systems, corporate America and governance; educational systems from the  playground to the halls of academia  – all based on race (Black) or the more contemporary labeled minorities Hispanic or Latino groups);
  5. Acknowledging the inequities, vow in all situations to advocate for access, equality,  equity and liberation for all regardless of race and skin color
  6. To thine own self, be true.

What advice would you give to young women just starting out in tourism or community leadership?

For young women just starting out in Tourism and Economic Development, decide what it is that you want people to know, see and learn about your terrain. Read journals, visit locations, and, attend a couple of quality hands-on type meetings or conferences on the subject. Seek out those that you can excite, influence or draft into your space and begin indoctrinating to form a group of believers, embracers, participants and loyalists. Success, ultimately, will be assessed through multiple eyes and appreciated and respected by how you make others feel. The arc of your success and how you are viewed, positive or negative, will bend toward the level of respect, value and fair representation that you show to all.

To thine own self, be true.

Cherie Bryant

Director, Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

I came to Tallahassee for graduate school and my internship grew into a full-time job.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

The new homes and restaurants being built along Cascades Park will create an active hotspot Downtown, complementing park. There’s a 2008 drawing from before work began in the park and it shows a series of buildings very similar to the ones being built. I love seeing the idea come to life and imagining all the people living in the new homes or visiting in the hotel and enrichening the culture of Downtown.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

Be aware of generational differences. If you are just out of school, there are two generations before you with different preferences and perspectives. By the middle of our careers, we’re working with a new generation coming into the workforce. It’s important to be open to new ideas and allow ourselves to grow by leaning from those both older and younger than whenever we are in life.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

Be open to listen to and think about different perspectives and life experiences, then make positive changes wherever we have power to do so.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Dorothy Vaughn, NASA computer programmer and one of the women portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures. Because she became the best in her field and when electronic computers began to replace her work, she adapted and become a leader and expert in the new technology.

We would dine at Mayuri Indian.

 

Say hi to Stanley!

Angela Burroughs

Owner, Proof Brewing Co.

What kept us in Tallahassee?

Once we established, Proof: A Modern American Pub, in 2008 Byron and I dedicated our energy to creating a pub that was focused on the best beer we could get our hands on.   We risked time, energy, and money to drive to all over the state to get special liquid back to Tallahassee because a lot of the distributors did not deliver here then.  From that point forward, the company’s roots grew deeper as the local community rallied around the concept. Every year after we were in a growth phase.  We focused on being a mile wide and 100 miles deep – we wanted to be a legacy brand for Tallahassee. As the community continued to support us, our roots grew deeper in our home, Tallahassee. The same dedication to Tallahassee was a major part of the plan once we started brewing beer in 2012.

What excites me the most about the future of Tallahassee?

Honestly, we are on very shaky ground due to COVID. Proof, along with many other local companies, are contending with new challenges after the shutdown. It is hard to see clearly regarding what the future holds.  We love this town and were extremely excited with the development and growth that Tally was experiencing before the pandemic. The future remains challenging. It will take some time to rebuild– probably years to get back to pre-covid momentum. Our community partners and leaders must strengthen our bonds to rise to the challenge to success to rebuild.   I am excited to strengthen those bonds.  There will be a new world at the end of this. Restoration and regrowth are always the result after a wildfire and I believe, with all my heart, that good things will come out of this imposing moment in time.

What advice would you give to young women just starting out in tourism or community leadership?

Our success has always been focused on inclusivity. We want you to feel like a local when you walk in the front door no matter where you are from. The best part of travel, in my opinion, is when you go someplace and feel like a local, not a tourist. If you are just starting out in this industry, figure out how to create the vibe that tourists are welcomed with open arms, treated with respect and offered things that only locals might know about – the special, unique details about the city.

What can local women do to help address social injustice?

VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! Use whatever resources you have available to create change.  If you have money, dedicate it to the areas that you believe it will have the greatest impact. If you have time, volunteer. If you have a large social circle use it to create a plan of action and execute it. If you are unsure of what to do, start by listening to other’s needs and try to adapt to the best of your ability.

What female leader would I like to have dinner with and where would I take her?

I would love to have dinner with Mary Donoho, the first woman of the Santa Fe Trail.  My admiration is extraordinarily strong for the tough women of the frontier – the covered wagon women.  These were literally trail blazing women who had as much responsibility as men did in regard to survival and had the additional challenge of bearing and raising children, but were rarely documented in history.  Mary Donoho is of special interest to me as she was one of the first women in hospitality on the frontier. She was the first white woman to travel the Santa Fe Trail in 1833, with her husband and 9-month-old daughter. Once in Santa Fe they established a hotel that she typically ran by herself as her husband was traveling to trade.  They had 3 children during their stay.  Due to civil unrest they moved to Texas where they opened another hotel and had 2 more children.  When her husband died, she fought for 6 years to keep possession of the hotel. She was able to reclaim the estate in 1851 and the hotel thrived under her management.

On the most challenging days I always envision what life was like for the women who came before me.  The women who had no rights, no justice, no time to sit still and feel sorry for themselves. Women who worked their asses off to not only survive, but thrive and create opportunities for the next generation of women. Thinking about these incredible individuals will put my self-indulgence in check every time. As challenging as my experience has been from opening up on Tennessee street in 2007 to being shut down due to a pandemic in 2020, I am still truly grateful for our rights as modern day women, the community we live in, technology and supportive attitudes of the modern man.

I would love to take her to Vertigo Burger for lunch and Food Glorious Food for dinner.  It would be incredible to listen to her perspective on modern day American style food.

 

In celebration of National Dog Day, Cocoa Bean and Petunia Butter Lips say “Be sure to Vote!”

Autumn Calder

Director, Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

Tallahassee’s access to open spaces, like parks is part of what keeps me in Tallahassee. We have good friendships here and being near my extended family is important to me.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee? 

I have to say all the investment in bike and pedestrian and park infrastructure. I know that’s very Blueprint of me, but I believe so much in the positive impact from healthy open spaces where strangers feel safe to talk and learn from each other. Our community will be stronger and more resilient if we can trust and care for each other.  Parks are a way to have interactions in spaces where we are free to be ourselves.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

Let your creative side shine and be open to other people’s creativity.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community? 

Work together to make a bigger difference. Jump on someone else’s bandwagon or start your own. I think women have a natural instinct for working together to achieve great things. Don’t wait around for the perfect cause just get out there and do something!

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Joan Rivers because she’s hilarious and she tells it like it is. She has a great perspective on what it’s like to be female. I don’t think she would sugar coat her advice. I would take her for a pre-dinner at the Double Tree roof top bar.

Betsy Couch

Executive Director, Knight Creative Communities Institute

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

In college I had job offers in Gainesville, Charleston and Tallahassee, which were all family-friendly cities with similar cultural and outdoor offerings. It was a professor at the University of Florida who suggested I take the job Tallahassee if I wanted to gain diverse marketing experience and have the chance for quick upward mobility. He recommended I get involved in as many activities as possible in the first few years and then find my niche. It was the best advice any professor ever gave me because by the time I was 29, I was leading international and domestic public relations for Visit Florida and had already gained numerous connections locally, regionally and internationally.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

Tallahassee is on the cusp of being an exceptional city. Right now, we are a best kept secret, but all the hard work is paying off and Tallahassee is gaining national recognition from various organizations, periodicals, etc. as a great place to live. The ideas and practices that were making that happen – our focus on creating various districts in town as special and intimate, on encouraging entrepreneurship and public involvement, can begin again once this virus is over. Now, people are spending more time outdoors and families activities are on the rise as people all over town are walking, cycling and are more active in general exploring our trails and natural leisure opportunities, which provides us yet another opportunity to promote these assets.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

To get involved, learn as much as possible about the people you meet, explore all areas of the community. Get outside of your comfort zone, meet and volunteer with a diversity of people, spend time with people who may be or think differently from yourself and learn from their perspectives.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

Choose a cause that is most important to you, get involved locally, and give it your 100%. When you are engaged locally you learn about new dimensions in your community, meet other interesting people, and you can make a difference. If you want to dig deeper in that cause, sign up to take a course at TCC, FAMU or FSU that is related to the cause or sit down with professors who teach the courses. We are blessed to have so many academics in Tallahassee.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Maya Angelou – She was motivated to change situations that she did not like. Instead of sitting around complaining, she took decisive action, which is inspiring. She used her talent and her art as a means to communicate her message, and not only advocated for social and political change but for the importance of self-expression.

I would make her dinner at my house with a few friends in attendance. Sitting outside, under the oaks, by the lake dining on locally sourced food.

Sue Dick

President/CEO, Great Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

The Hope for Opportunity…..

I have been blessed to have experienced Tallahassee during two different times in my life. As a first generation Cuban American, I had the opportunity to attend FSU, and then as a young professional  working to advance my career and start a family with my husband Bobby. Tallahassee offers the mix of private and public sector job opportunities embedded in a community that prides itself on a high quality of life. A feature most memorable and one that I still observe and treasure today, are the smiles and simple “hello” both residents and visitors experience on a daily basis. It’s more than southern charm, it’s the Tallahassee way.

The future of Tallahassee is bright, even during these unprecedented times. In 2024 our City will celebrate its Bicentennial and by 2030, our population is estimated to grow by 15%. As the Capital City of the third largest state in our nation, we have the opportunity to make history, similar to the 100th Anniversary Celebration we are recognizing today.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

Engage, Listen, Build a Trusted Network of Mentors, Don’t Be Afraid ….

Tourism and economic development have been my professional life’s journey.  Whether Tourism, Economic or Community oriented I have always kept in mind that the definition of development is growth, progress and positive change. As a college graduated I was fortunate to start my career at the Fontainbleau Hilton on Miami Beach and today I am blessed to serve as the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. Throughout my career,  women mentors and “champions” have played a critical role in where I sit today. There is a difference in the two. Mentors will be your trusted advisors – Champions will fight for you or a cause you are working on.

Kelly Dozier

Chair, LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival

Co-Owner/Senior Vice President, Mad Dog Construction

What has kept you in Tallahassee?

Tallahassee is a town in which everyone can make a difference. There is so much to do and to get involved in and the size of our town allows for many interests to be pursued.  For me it is the beautiful natural setting that surrounds Tallahassee.  Many rivers to paddle, parks to see wildlife, hiking trails to explore and close enough for weekend trips to the beach.  The arts are fostered through our universities, colleges and private local venues providing a wide variety of entertainment and cultural experiences.  All of this makes Tallahassee a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

A growing recognition of the positive impact of the arts on our way of life and on our economic growth.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

Dream big and then focus on what you can get done.  Draw others in so you create a community around your dreams.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

Keep learning about what social justice looks like and what forces or systems work against it.  Speak out when you see injustice happening and work to educate others.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Eleanor Roosevelt.  She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. She was a woman making a difference when it was hard for any woman to have a voice.

We would dine at Il Lusso.  Beautiful setting, wonderful food in the heart of Tallahassee’s downtown.

 

Say hi to our “dogs”!

Elizabeth Emmanuel

CEO, Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority

What has kept you in Tallahassee?

​We have the strongest magnet in the world. I’m a firm believer that the MagLab has not only kept me in Tallahassee with it’s incredible force, but drawn me back the few times I’ve left. I also have heard rumors it controls the weather.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

​There is so much to look forward to! While I believe the elections in November will have an incredible impact nationally, and importantly, locally, we have an incredible opportunity to ensure the leadership we have in place right now can help us shape the future.

I cannot wait to celebrate Tallahassee in 2024. It is the 200th Anniversary of the Capital City of the 3rd largest state in the Country. This is an exciting opportunity to showcase our assets, talent and community.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

​You are as strong as the woman next to you. Lean on them when you need to, and lift them up at every chance.

We have incredible leaders in our community. Many of them are women. This makes me so proud of our community. One of the strengths of that leadership is the openness and accessibility- not only does it create great communication, but great opportunity. Take advantage of their willingness to have a conversation, and build relationships with leaders in many facets, from City and County Commissioners, the women on this call, the women you see working on community initiatives, etc.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

​Keep putting in the work. Be willing to have tough conversations- and turn those insights into opportunities. I believe a lot of us have had many difficult conversations with ourselves and our boards, lately- this is great, but let’s keep going. We have a lot more to do. Change happens from the top down and the bottom up. Grassroots efforts have to combine with Management’s efforts to effect change in many facets- it takes everyone working together to make a difference. While we’re putting in the work, it’s really important to remember we’re all humans, we all make mistakes and we all have so much to learn- but we’re in this together, so being kind to one another is vital.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

​I would take Catherine Willis Dangerfield Murat to dinner at Il Lusso. If Genevieve Randolph wanted to join us, excellent. If Clifton Lewis could come along too, even better- I like to think she’d call Patricia Stephens Due and invite her, too. I know you said one- but if we’re bringing community servants back to life, let’s go big and have an epic dinner party at the best spot in town! You know what would be even better? Just inviting these modern day lady leaders who are thankfully all with us on this call to dinner at Il Lusso.

​One of my favorite things about Tallahassee’s history is that we were built by people just like us. Exceptional leaders, but women who saw the change that needed to happen in our community as opportunities and gave it their all. In our community history, Catherine is a bit overshadowed by her illustrious husband, Prince Murat (whose memory was even more clouded by the motel of ill repute.) She was an incredible force in preserving history, fighting for injustice and pushing change, and being a badass.

I could listen to stories about those women who have come before us all day- bonus if Ms. Althemese, Ashley Edwards or Barbara Boone are the ones telling them!

Amanda Heidecker

Senior Director of Sales & Sports, Visit Tallahassee

What drew you to Tallahassee?

I arrived in Tallahassee 14 years ago, attending Florida State on a Track and Field scholarship. Having the opportunity and experience to be an intern with Visit Tallahassee while I was a student, I knew Tallahassee was where I wanted to start my professional career.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

Being an avid runner and true trail lover, I’m very excited about the continued connectivity of the trail system throughout the community. But what I’m most excited about is the completion of the current construction project out at Apalachee Regional Park, which will solidify the course as one of the nation’s best.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism and Economic/Community Development?

Your daily work can truly make a difference in your community. Remember, every person you come in contact with can and will play an essential role in your professional career.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

Be a leading example of equality, fighting for equal opportunities for each and every person.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Mia Hamm –She has been a role model for girls since she established herself as one of the greatest female athletes of all time. Growing up as a young girl playing soccer during her prime, she gave girls the voice and confidence to play sports. She has also been an advocate and leader in women’s fight for equal pay.

I would take her to Momo’s for a piece of pizza as big as your head, an ice-cold beer and watch any sport that’s on TV.

Dr. Michelle Mitcham, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC

President & Publisher, Tallahassee Woman Magazine

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

I was drawn to Tallahassee because I wanted to make a difference and use my expertise as a professor and accreditation expert at a HBCU. I accepted a job at Florida A&M. I was very impressed with the mission, the faculty, and clinical mental health counseling and school counseling graduate programs. I love Tallahassee because of the warm and friendly small-town feeling, the warm southern culture and people, and so many opportunities to interact with so many diverse people and discover the many hidden gems of the city.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

The city is constantly growing and developing, especially the downtown area. It is exciting to see growth all around the city.  I see Tallahassee Woman Magazine as a vehicle to continue to bring women together and elevate them, their families and the community with events, training and empowering stories of amazing women.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

I would recommend that young women just starting out visit the various chamber events, art exhibits, attend mix & mingle networking events, the TLH/Leon County CSWG meetings, take a listening tour (even if on Zoom) to the many women’s forums, get involved with United Way (Women United) or any non-profit for which there is passion.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

Partner with organizations that are dedicated to your mission and passion; organizations or agencies for which you feel strongly or a strong sense of advocacy. Attend community town hall meetings, forums and get involved. There are endless initiatives addressing social injustices in Tallahassee. Use your voice, expertise, position and personality to make a difference and advocate for your favorite cause.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

I would have dinner with Harriet Tubman. I admire her faith, courage, spirit, advocacy and dedication to equality. Her incessant resilience and determination, despite the challenges she faced, was beyond commendable. She was a dreamer and doer and exuded confidence. I so admire her strength against all odds.

What restaurant would we choose… this is a tough question. I would be torn between Il Lusso and Z. Bardhi, but both are excellent!

Cristina Paredes

Director, Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality

What drew you Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

I am to Tallahassee to go to school at Florida State University about twenty years ago. I knew that I wanted to have career in government – working to make a difference in our state and community. After I got my masters in public administration, I went on to start my career at Leon County Government. Throughout my 15 years in local government, I have had an opportunity to work in so many different aspects and projects that have helped shape the Tallahassee that we know today. Now I have the privilege of serving as the Director of the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality (which serves as a joint department with the City of Tallahassee and Leon County) and continue the work to position our local economy for sustained and directed growth that will raise the quality of living for our community. My husband and I proud to call Tallahassee home and raise our two boys here. We love exploring the many greenways, parks, and cultural offerings right here and around Tallahassee!

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

Find a mentor that can guide and champion you along your career path. Be sure that you it is a woman (or anyone) that you respect and admire their work and commitment to the community. There is a lot of opportunity and challenges in this field for women and having someone that your trust to give you advice and guidance can make your career journey a little smoother. And remember to take time to give back to your community and smile! A smile goes a long way.

 

My dog Jack Bauer is here to save the day!

Michelle Personette

Executive Director, Challenger Learning Center

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

Short answer, I moved here for love !

I moved to Tallahassee from Orlando in 2001, my husband (fiancé at the time) wanted to attend Florida State University for graduate school. At the time, we were both positive that Tallahassee was a temporary stop on our journey, we thought we would move back to Orlando or Naples after his two-year program was complete.

In 2003, when he completed his program, the Challenger Learning Center was also opening to the public. Once I saw the first kids from Dothan, Alabama in our space mission simulation, I was hooked on the Challenger Learning Center mission. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of the Challenger Learning Center journey and operations and that I had more dreams and plans for the institution.

In the last 15 years, on several occasions, opportunities that would have required us to move away from Tallahassee, have been presented to our family. Each time, one of these opportunities presented itself, we “convinced” ourselves to stay in Tallahassee. Tallahassee is where we want to raise our children. Tallahassee is a community of accessibility that welcomes engagement and celebrates opportunity. Tallahassee is our home.  

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

The people. Tallahassee’s talent pool is deep and diverse. Our community is in good hands. We have a dedicated, educated, and passionate group of leaders guiding the economic development of our MSA. These leaders recognize that Tallahassee’s uniqueness is to continue to expand and nurture the big city talent and amenities we currently have, while maintaining our small town feel.   

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development? 

Attend every meeting you can, invite yourself to a seat at the table, participate in as many conversations as possible…especially those that are difficult. There is no shortage of opportunities if you are bold enough to be present, secure enough to receive constructive criticism, and steady enough to listen with the goal of understanding.  

Find yourself a mentor (or several) in your desired field. A “she-ro” that will be honest with you, even in the most difficult of times. Become your mentor’s “go-to” person, because when she succeeds/gets promoted/moves on, she will remember all the times you were there for her and she will open doors for you because you helped her to raise her own ceiling. Females should be inspired by other females.   

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community? 

I feel strongly that women have a responsibility to recognize and identify the “elephant” in the room, especially when the “elephant” is an act of social injustice. Whether that social injustice is in the form of discrimination, racism, ageism, sexism, or economic inequality, we have a collective debt to use our voices (since we did not always have them) to point out social injustice and make everyone else aware of where and when it is occurring.

To address social injustice, women need to work together, raise each other up and get out of the habit of tearing each other down. Together we are a powerful. We need to be seen, especially by young females coming together for a cause, for fellowship, for the future of females everywhere.  

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and wwhat restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Nope, I can’t name just one, in the spirit of unity and the power of female camaraderie…I insist on having a dinner party! At this dinner party, I would have Maya Angelou, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Katherine Johnson, Jacinda Ardern, Kim Rivers and Audra Pittman. I would host a brief reception prior to the dinner where we our daughters could join us. After the reception, the women would have dinner at Sage Restaurant.

 

Zoey says hi!

 

Kerri L. Post

Executive Director, Leon County Division of Tourism / Visit Tallahassee

What drew you to Tallahassee?

I moved to Tallahassee from St. Pete for a job at VISIT FLORIDA, when the organization had just been created to lead Florida’s global tourism efforts, to head up a new Division created specifically to develop and market nature-based tourism, arts/culture tourism and heritage tourism for the State of Florida.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

I believe Tallahassee is at a tipping point, and its greatest years are on the horizon. Every part of town is seeing growth and development and the right people are in the right places at the right time. Despite the global human, health and economic crisis of COVID-19 and national/local civil unrest from social injustice at this moment in time, there are so many positive and powerful changes taking place in our community.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism and Economic/Community Development?

  1. Do your best on every project, whether the project is big or small.
  2. Act with integrity and honesty always.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

Speak up and speak out against social injustice wherever it exists. Be intentional to be inclusive in all the ways you can with all the means you can. Be courageous to have uncomfortable conversations because that brings growth. Your voice and actions will make a difference.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

I am a huge fan of Oprah Winfrey. She is on another level as a human being and a true leader. I especially appreciate her spirituality and focus on elevating people, especially women. So when Oprah arrives in Tallahassee, Katie Kole and I would give her a tour of the city (Katie is a big Oprah fan too!), then we would meet with some of the local leading ladies around town and then we would go to dinner at Backwoods Crossing and walk through their expansive garden with the chef, selecting veggies and other healthy fresh goodies for a fabulous dinner.

 

Foxy Roxy says hi!

Sharon Priester

Area General Manager, Interstate Hotels & Resorts

What drew you to Tallahassee?

I relocated to city due to work and closeness  to home “ Jacksonville” and being a Seminole Fan for life

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

The growth of the city, ie downtown, cascades and  culture activities

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

Hard work pays off, doing the small things may seem petty now but as it is always remembered

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

Stay involved,  support  and give back at every opportunity, vote and stand up for what you believe in. Numbers are powerful!

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Shirley Chisholm, I love her determination to do what she believe in and although she knew she didn’t have a chance to win she still put her name on the ballot

 

Eugene says hi!

Kathleen Spehar

Executive Director, Council on Culture & Arts (COCA)

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

Employment opportunities drew me to Tallahassee, first as a visiting professor at FSU, then eight years later, as Executive Director of COCA (Council on Culture & Arts). I have an affinity for capital cities, and Tallahassee offers a combination of historic richness and modern-day charm.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee? 

The way Tallahassee can be a national leader in how we live and work. Despite the challenges of COVID, I’ve seen unique innovations between sectors, hybrid models of learning led by universities, colleges and schools, virtual opportunities to connect and collaborate.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

At the intersection of tourism and economic/community development is inclusivity. Understand what this currently looks like, and envision how you’d like this to look beyond 2020. Then consider how your time, talent and ideas can help build this new vision, for the industry and your community.

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community? 

Seek the stories you don’t know. Listen with an open mind and heart. Decide what you can do to impact change, and commit to taking action for one year.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

I’d love to have dinner with the writer, poet, artist and change agent Maya Angelou. She lived authentically, with a fierceness and grace the transformed painful, difficult living into stories, poems, and writings which touched hearts, transformed lives and compelled action. We’d dine at Lucille’s, for gracious hospitality, creative menu sprinkled with signature Southern flavors, and a winning wine list.

Mandy Stringer

CEO, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra

What drew you to Tallahassee OR what has kept you in Tallahassee?

Since I moved to Tallahassee in 2004, I have never stopped marveling at the natural beauty of Tallahassee. I love the confluence of South and North Florida, with the palms and Live Oaks. I love the sound of cicadas, I love walking the quail farms north of here in the Fall and Winter; and of course, I love punctuating these experiences with the incredible and special performances of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra that profoundly enrich the cultural life of this community.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

I would have dinner with my husband’s mother, Mrs. Nancy Abberger, whom I’ve never had the privilege to meet, because she had passed away before my husband and I met. She was a remarkable woman who, in the 1960’s and beyond, was able to balance her duties as head of household, raise 4 rowdy boys, and lead many arts organizations in Orlando as volunteer. One of her most memorable accomplishments was bringing the international opera superstar “Jessye Norman” to Orlando in the 1970s to sing the role of Aida for a then small-town audience. The Orlando socialites couldn’t believe Miss Nancy had entertained a Black woman in her home, even while Ms. Norman was gracing opera stages around the world! In her spare time, Miss Nancy wrote a 400-page history of the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, learned to play the dulcimer, painted watercolors, wrote poetry, needlepointed, became a connoisseur/collector of antiques, and kept up her accomplished piano skills. Like me, she loved to cook and exercise. She was a true pioneer and I am humbled that often my husband tells me how much we would have loved and respected each other.

I would take Miss Nancy on a picnic lunch on a late October date in Meyers Park. We would walk Golf Terrace drive (on the Capitol City County Club green, of course) and revel in the beauty of old Tallahassee and the ancient trees that connect us to a storied past and hopeful future.

 

Say hi to Henry!

Katrina Tuggerson

President, Capital City Chamber of Commerce

What drew you to Tallahassee?

I came to Tallahassee to attend college.

What excites you most about the future of Tallahassee?

The community is listening & willing to embrace inclusive pathways.

What advice would you give young women just starting out in Tourism or Economic/Community Development?

Work your projects/community with your passion and have fun!

What can local women do to help address social injustice in our community?

“You/We Define The Moment!” When women know their value it shows through our actions to help create that culture of change.

If you had the chance to have dinner with one woman leader (dead or alive), who would it be and what restaurant would you go to in Tallahassee?

Michelle Obama, I don’t like politics either. We would go to Earley’s Kitchen or Catering with Care.

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