AchieveHERs: Women-in-Business Group Makes Major Headway in Tampa Bay

AchieveHers-rgb-lowresOne of the largest inaugural events ever in the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce history makes significant progress in Tampa Bay.

I am proud to announce that one of the organizations that I have been heavily involved in this year is making great strides in Tampa Bay.  As the PR Chair for this newly formed group, I have to give kudos to the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce for having the foresight and vision to see an unfulfilled need in this region for women in business.

The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce heeded the opinions of over 100 women regarding women-in-business issues and added to its 2013 strategy a ‘Women in Business’ group. Tina Tenret, a Certified Financial Planner and VP at Provise, was appointed by CRCC President and Chairman as the group’s chair. The new group, entitled AchieveHERs, commissioned a marketing research study by JoTo PR to discover what the Regional Chamber’s women-membership felt was the most pressing issue in today’s business climate. The study brought to light issues faced by women in the local community – the majority feedback indicated assistance was needed on how to shatter the ‘glass ceiling.’

9990057516_e7c754a240_oMale members of the Chamber applauded the initiative including, board member Frank Dame, COO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. “During my career, women executives have proven to be exceptional managers with sound leadership, high ethics and a desire and willingness to make a positive contribution within their company.” said Dame. “When a woman demonstrates her ability to lead and achieve, she should have no limits in climbing to the very top of an organization.”

The gender-pay gap for the past 43 years has come a long way since the 1970’s when women’s pay was 60% of a man’s job. Although the wage gap has closed since the 70’s it remains unchanged since 2005 at 77%. (1)

Global executive search firm, Rosenzweig & Co., reported in March that it sees clear signs things are changing for the better where gender will no longer play an important role in leadership positions. (2)  There are now 7.8 women-owned businesses, employing more than the top three US employers and adding three trillion to the economy.

“A significant part of the United States’ income growth over the past 15-20 years has come from women.” Chamber Chairman Nick DiCeglie said. “From shareholders, boards of directors, governments and women themselves encouraging change with this issue, our economy can get even stronger.”

The founding committee represents some of the region’s most recognized names, including seven business owners, three politicians, and the COO of Johnson, Pope, Boker, Ruppel and Burns law firm.

9990143043_a98a99365d_z─    Ernestine Bean, Vice President of Development, Morton Plant Mease Foundation
─    Sheryl Conrad, Partner, Connelly, Fields, Carlisle & Nichols Insurance Agency
─    Doreen DiPolito, Owner, D-Mar Contracting
─    Carol Hague, COO, Johnson, Pope, Boker, Ruppel and Burns
─    Karla Jo Helms, CEO, JoTo PR
─    Nancy Longstreth, Director of Sales & Marketing, Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach
─    Barbara McCarthy, Owner and Founder, Sun Country Cleaners
─    Carlen Petersen, Former Clearwater City Councilwoman
─    Suzy Sofer, owner of Cody’s Original Roadhouse and a City Commissioner City of Belleair Bluffs
─    Katy Planamenta, Owner and Founder, Superfly Digital
─    Stephanie Schlageter, Owner and Founder, Radiance MedSpa
─    Melissa Seixas, Community Relations Manager, Duke Energy
─    Diane Stein, President, JoTo PR
─    Tina Tenret, Vice President, ProVise Management Group

AchieveHERs has been using the marketing research findings to deliver what the women membership indicated it wanted in all aspects of the group – from the events, educational forums, networking meetings down to the logo and even the name itself.

Fawn Germer to Keynote AchieveHERs Inaugural Luncheon at Ruth Eckerd Hall

achieversnewAchieveHERs will hold their inaugural luncheon at Ruth Eckerd Hall on this Thursday, November 7 from 11:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Fawn Germer as their keynote speaker.  300 are expected to attend.  Germer is a well-known leadership speaker, executive coach and four-time Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist – even endorsed by Oprah Winfrey who said, “If you want to read a very inspiring book, read Hard Won Wisdom.”

At the upcoming luncheon, Fawn Germer will address “Hard-Won Wisdom,” covering what today’s most successful women—Nobel Peace Prize winners, Olympic athletes, CEOs, presidents, prime ministers and Academy Award winners—learned the hard way.

Germer will also moderate a panel discussion about three of the area’s most prominent women in business, and what major hurdles each had to overcome in order to achieve success:

•    Holly Duncan—President Emeritus, Morton Plant Mease Foundation
•    Nancy Ridenour—Shareholder, PDR Certified Public Accountants
•    Judy Mitchell—Former President and Owner, Peter R. Brown Construction

“Women are now more distinguished in the world of business,” said Tenret.  “Once leadership began to shift from being male-dominated, we realized that we had to create a program that would not only benefit female business leaders who have already found their niche, but also create an opportunity for the aspiring young women in business.”

AchieveHERs plans to continue creating opportunities by helping women overcome obstacles and increasing their competitive edge as entrepreneurs.

“This project is the most significant initiatives that the CRCC has undertaken in the past 15 years,” stated President and CEO of the Clearwater Chamber, Bob Clifford. “AchieveHERs will be a regional leader providing support and opportunity to established women in business and those aspiring to lead.”

AchieveHERs would like to thank its sponsors: Bright House Networks, Tampa Bay Times, Hyatt Regency, Power Design Inc., Johnson Pope, Morton Plant Mease Foundation, JoTo PR, ProVise Management Group, LLC, Clearwater Gas System, Hill Ward Henderson, Sun Country Cleaners and Radiance Med Spa. Superfly Digital was the agency commissioned to create AchieveHERs’ logo based on the marketing research feedback.

About AchieveHERs

To meet the demand of businesswomen in the Clearwater region, AchieveHERs was established under the auspice of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce to be a regional leader providing camaraderie, support, networking opportunities and valuable new insights to women in business. AchieveHERs will provide impactful quarterly events that share insight, ideas, skills and success stories to ultimately help women overcome obstacles to their success.  AchieveHERs is open to both established women in business and those aspiring to lead.  For more information or to inquire about membership or attend events, visit their Facebook page at or their website at

(1)    Countdown to Equal Pay Day 2013 – The Gender Pay Gap from 1970-2013 Infographic;;

(2)    Corporate Gender-Equity Battle in Focus: The End of Gender Bias in Hiring Corporate Leaders Is Nearing, Global Executive Search Firm Predicts — Facebook COO’s Manifesto Indicative of Changing Attitudes; Bulldog Reporter;

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