Women’s Business Center Celebrates Success

The Women’s Business Center (WBC) at Florida Tech held its fourth annual Success Celebration on December 8, 2011. This special event brings together WBC board of directors, clients, students, business leaders, and community to commemorate the year’s accomplishments and network. Since its inception, the WBC at Florida Tech has helped more than 347 clients and trained over 3500 individuals. Distinguished guests at the event including (from left to right): Lynda Weatherman, President, Economic Development Commission (EDC) of the Space Coast; Dottie Allen, Interim Vice President of Development, Florida Institute of Technology; Barbara Wall, President, Prudential Sterling Properties; and Gretchen Sauerman, Director of Corporate Giving, Florida Institute of Technology.

 Samiyyah (Sami) Black, a Palm Bay High School student, spoke about how the WBC program has guided her in her entrepreneurial endeavors. Sami is one of the participants of the 2011 WBC/Junior Achievement Youth Summer Camp and also member of “Yogini,” the winning Palm Bay High School team for the first annual Be Entrepreneurial High School Business Plan Challenge (http://blogs.fit.edu/blog/2011/12/11/first-annual-be-entrepreneurial-business-plan-challenge/). Other speakers included Maria Sulick, who owns Snoedel.com along with her mother and sisters; Eileen Tighe, owner of Winning with Horsepower (www.winningwithhorsepower.org) and the Zen Ranch, and Dawn Meyer, a recent participant in the Entrepreneurial Training Service Program which is offered through Brevard Workforce for aerospace workers being affected by the Shuttle Program layoffs. All gave inspiring stories of how the WBC has helped them start, run, and grow their companies over the past year.

Cessy Meacham, Travel with Cessy; Malak Hamad, PNC Bank, and guest

One of the main reasons for the success of the WBC is its wonderful board of directors. The WBC board consists of community leaders, business owners, and experts who guide the WBC in fulfilling its mission. Members are chosen for their expertise to provide WBC clients with opportunity and hope through self-sufficiency. This year, four new members joined the WBC Board, each bringing their own area of expertise to help entrepreneurs throughout the region.

Angelica Cotshott is the CEO of Kindred Hospital in Melbourne. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology and Cell Science as well as a Master’s Degree in Health Administration. She is responsible for completing the opening and start of Kindred Hospital in Melbourne. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of the Space Coast.

Dustin Hodgkins is the Business Development Officer for Commercial Business Finance, a company that provides accounts receiving financing for growing companies. Dustin has a B.S. in Finance from Florida State University. He serves as the President of the West Melbourne Business Association and is actively involved in the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce

Sylvia Garner is President of DragonPoint which is a Microsoft partner specializing in customer software for businesses. Sylvia has a more than 20 years of experience in business process development for companies including electric utilities, banks, manufacturers, and service firms. At DragonPoint she manages all aspects of software development projects from requirement definition through implementation and support.

Michelle Naberhaus is a shareholder in the Melbourne Office of Gray Robinson, P.A. which is a state-wide full service law firm. She graduated from the University of Florida College of Law in 2000. Her main focus is on guardianship, and estate and trust administration/litigation. She is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She is also serves the community as a volunteer for the guardian ad litem program, Fostering Independence Program, and St. Gianna’s Center.

The Women’s Business Center is honored to have these additions to our already distinguished board of directors. For more information regarding these wonderful community leaders, please visit http://wbc.fit.edu/about/directors.php.

Jesy Black with sister, Samiyyah Black, JA High School Business Plan Winner


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