SHEILA JOHNSON and SANDRA FREEDMAN
MARCH 10, 2017 | HILTON TAMPA DOWNTOWN
The Centre for Women’s Waves of Change Women’s Leadership Luncheon celebrates the life of our late founder, the iconic Helen Gordon Davis.
Today, we celebrated two women who made waves thus making changes in the lives of people around them.
Catching the Wave…
Sheila Johnson left the crowd wanting more. The powerhouse entrepreneur captivated the crowd at our second Waves of Change Luncheon on March 10th as she shared her remarkable journey from basic survival on a music teacher’s salary to unparalleled success as a billionaire businesswoman. Along the way, she launched Black Entertainment Television (BET) with her now ex-husband Robert Johnson. She became the first female owner of three professional sports teams, founded Salamander Hotels & Resorts, produced a series of documentaries and launched her own line of scarves. Last year, she and 11 like-minded women launched WE Capital, a venture capital consortium to invest in female-led startups that focus on social impact work.
The luncheon was a fundraiser’s dream. It raised more than $100,000 and our longest-standing and loyal corporate supporter TECO Energy presented us with a $20,000 gift to celebrate our 40th Anniversary and help the Women’s Business Centre meet its annual match.Clearly understanding that a rising tide lifts all, Sheila spoke of her commitment to give back and then to everyone’s delight announced a surprise gift to The Centre for Women: $30,000 to support the Women’s Business Centre.
Earlier at the VIP Meet and Greet, Sheila good naturedly posed for photos (lots of them) with scores of admirers. VIPs were thrilled that she brought along her close friend, businesswoman, actress and supermodel Beverly Johnson.
Pictured: Ann W. Madsen, Executive Director of CFW, Sheila Johnson, Sandra Freedman, Beverly Johnson and Kathleen Pravlik, Advancement Director, CFW
The ebb and flow of conversation among hundreds of people filled the grand ballroom at the Hilton until Emcee Kelly Ring of FoxNews 13 officially welcomed the audience and then introduced a video about the Center for Women created by Tampa Bay Community Network.
From the dais, Ann W. Madsen, Executive Director, explained how we defined women’s leadership. “Look around this room in any direction and you will find it. Accomplished women who give back to the community, and most importantly, devote time to helping other women succeed”
“Gloria Steinem was so impressed with our work that she came to Tampa to accept the inaugural Helen Gordon Davis Women’s Leadership Award at the first Waves of Change luncheon. Many of you were there and know that it was an incredible success. We wondered if lightning could strike twice. In a town known for the lightning, we decided to take a chance.”
Tampa’s first female mayor Sandra Freedman caught her own wave of well-earned recognition as she graciously accepted the inaugural Waves Award celebrating local women’s leadership. Longtime Centre supporter Julie Weintraub presented the former mayor with a solid gold pin fashioned into a beautiful wave handcrafted by Gold & Diamond Source.
Presenting sponsor Johnson and Johnson Global Services along with their sister company Vogue International was there in full force with J&J’s Vice President Erin Champlin giving a compelling introduction to Sheila and the Poynter Institute’s Vice President Kelly McBride for an onstage conversation. Kelly’s witty and intelligent questions prompted thoughtful and amusing responses from our honoree.
In a conversation sprinkled with lessons learned, Sheila relayed her remarkable life’s story. The audience was enthralled. Board President Chris Jimenez and Ann W. Madsen were then honored to present Sheila with the 2017 Helen Gordon Davis Women’s Leadership Award -- a beautiful Wave sculpture by renowned artist Robert Wyland.
Honorary Chair Dr. Susan Dellinger perfectly captured the spirit of the event with her impassioned closing remarks asking everyone to follow Sheila’s lead and give a 40th birthday gift to The Centre for Women. Happily, our generous audience was in a giving mood donating more than $10,000 to support our work.
|Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.
Fifth Third Bank
Memorial Hospital of Tampa
Painters On Demand
in memory of Stacy Frank
Suncoast Federal Credit Union
Surly Feminists and Friends
The Poynter Institute
The University of Tampa
Tampa Bay Community Network
Women of Color Golf/LPGA
EMPOWERING WOMEN SPONSORS
Fulfill Your Destiny
KPI - Key Person of Influence
Molina Health Care
|Rivero, Gordimer & Company
Ruth’s List Florida
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Hirsch Group of Baird & Co.
Women in Film & Television Florida for Video of the Event with special thanks to Fabiana Lowe and Victoria Jorgensen
And Industrial Strength Staging for making us look good with sounds, video and room decor.
And a special thanks goes to The Community Action Committee of the The Athena Society for helping create our centerpieces on each table.
And our Waves of Change Committee who without their help this event wouldn’t have happened: Dr. Dore Beach, Kim Caruso, Dr. Susan Dellinger, Lisa Demmi, Katie Everlove-Stone, Jessic Felix, Connie Gage, Paddy Moses, Ashely Nessler,Debra Palmer, Lynette Reynolds, Amanda Stevens, Alma J. Thomas, Nancy Vaughn, The Centre for Women: Ann W. Madsen, Executive Director, Kathleen Pravlik, Director of Advancement, Jeannie Busscher, Advancement Coordinator, Susan Woolley, Executive Office Administrator, Hannah Troutman, Advancement Intern
The Centre for Women Staff and volunteers who made this event so spectacular.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-435-7352, WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. THE CENTRE FOR WOMEN, INC.’S REGISTRATION NUMBER ISSUED BY THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES IS SC-00072. THE CENTRE FOR WOMEN, INC. DOES NOT UTILIZE THE SERVICES OF PROFESSIONAL SOLICITORS, AND 100% OF ALL CONTRIBUTIONS GO DIRECTLY TO THE CENTRE FOR WOMEN, INC.