Press Releases

15th Annual BPW Unhappy Hour in Observance of Equal Pay Day

Business and Professional Women (BPW)/St. Petersburg-Pinellas will hold its 15th annual “Unhappy Hour” on April 10, the symbolic day that the average woman in the United States finally earns the same amount of pay that her male counterpart earned in the previous calendar year. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in September 2016, the average woman makes just 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid, reflecting a gap that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages over the course of a career. Therefore, if a man was paid $50,000 to perform his job from January 1 through December 31, it will take a woman in the same position, on average, until April of the following year to earn the same amount.

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Lessons from a Female Florida Pioneer

March is Women’s History Month and on March 1, BPW welcomes Elizabeth Coachman, MD, who will discuss “Mary Jane Safford, MD: A Rediscovered Feminist”. Dr. Coachman will present a short biography of Mary Jane Safford and how she relates to the modern woman. Elizabeth lived outside Chicago before attending Moore College of Art and Rutgers University near Philadelphia. Following two years in Okinawa, she gained an MD at Temple University Medical School and pathology training with board certification in Florida. While working as the Tarpon Springs, Florida, hospital’s Laboratory Medical Director, she also served on the University of South Florida Medical School’s Clinical Faculty.

Elizabeth is also an historian, artist, book writer, and a family member of one of the founding families of Pinellas County. She spent many years researching and touring about the US learning about Mary Jane Safford, who was one of Florida’s first trained women doctors in the 19th century and helped found a Florida community in Tarpon Springs.

Dr. Coachman fills retirement with printmaking, landscape painting, and traveling with her husband Mike throughout the US and Canada. They live on a small, Hernando County, Florida, cattle ranch. Repeated requests for her reenacting Dr. Mary Safford for Temple University Medical School led to research that resulted in the book Mary Jane Safford, MD: Indomitable Mite, which is available on Amazon and at the meeting. Come listen to an amazing woman talk about an amazing woman.

Click Here to Attend This Luncheon Meeting, which will be held from 11:30 am-1:00pm

Pinellas County Schools – What’s new?

July 20, Lori Matway speaks to BPW about Pinellas County School system. Lori Matway is the Associate Superintendent, Student and Community Support Services.

Lori Matway joined the district in 1987 working as a middle school and high school social studies teacher for 11 years. She also served as a track and cross country coach at both levels. In 1998, Matway joined the district’s administrative ranks as an assistant principal at Kennedy Middle School, which is now known as Clearwater Fundamental. In 2005, Matway was named principal at Pinellas Park Middle School, where she worked for two years.

In 2007, Matway left the district to join the City of St. Petersburg as the managing director of Education and Government Services. In that capacity, she was responsible for growing the city’s programs that supported schools, to include the Mayor’s Mentors & More program. Matway worked to recruit mentors for the city’s 43 public schools; secure private funding for TSIC/Doorways Scholarships; pair public schools with corporate partners; and fund incentive programs for principals of top-performing schools.

Matway holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Social Studies and a master’s degree from the University of South Florida in Educational Leadership. Matway served as president and treasurer of the Secondary Assistant Principal’s Association and was winner of the 2013 Chairman’s Award from the Pinellas Education Foundation.

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Dr. Kanika Tomalin: Deputy Mayor

July 6, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin will speak to BPW St. Petersburg-Pinellas . Dr. Kanika Tomalin is the Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. In this role she works in partnership with Mayor Rick Kriseman to strategically advance one of Florida’s largest cities toward its goals.

As deputy mayor, Dr. Tomalin’s citywide purview ranges from operations to strategy and serves to extend the mayor’s reach. Prior to being appointed deputy mayor, Dr. Tomalin served as a healthcare executive in various senior leadership capacities for Health Management Associates’ 23-hospital Florida Group and the five-county Bayfront Health Network.

An experienced strategist, she has also worked as a marketeer and journalist. Dr. Tomalin earned a B.S. in broadcast journalism from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, an MBA from the University of Miami and a Doctorate from Northeastern University.

She is the fifth generation of her family to call St. Petersburg home. She was married to well-known adventurer Terry Tomalin and they have two children, Kai and Nia.

She has received numerous awards and appointments and is committed to many causes, namely improving the health of the community she serves.

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Workplace Inclusion, Part 2

Ashley Brundage returns on June 15 as our guest speaker to bring us part 2 of her very popular and informative program from last year. A highly regarded Inclusion Consultant for PNC Bank, Ashley was hired into her current position as a male to female transgender person, when she self identified during the interview. As a well known speaker about her transition, workplace equality, and diversity & inclusion, she has been interviewed and featured on many local news stations and newspapers. Ashley has been recognized in many areas and received numerous awards, including PNC’s highest employee achievement, The Performance Award, and a commendation from The City of Tampa for her community engagement and outreach. She recently celebrated 13 years of marriage to Whitney, together they have 2 boys ages 9 and 11.


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Semper Paratus

Join BPW on May 18 as we welcome guest speaker Captain Holly Najarian of the USCG. As  Sector  Commander,  Captain  Najarian  serves  as  Captain  of  the  Port,  Officer  in  Charge  of  Marine  Inspection,  Search  and  Rescue  Mission  Coordinator,  and  Federal  Maritime  Security  Coordinator  while directing Coast Guard operations along the west coast of Florida and throughout the Tampa Bay region. Sector  St.  Petersburg  is  comprised  of  2700  people  and  14  units,  including  five  search  and  rescue  stations, eight cutters, and an Aids to Navigation Team.


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A Step Forward Understanding HIV

GUEST SPEAKER for May 4. Joy Winheim is the Executive Director of EPIC (Empath Partners in Care), a member of Empath Health, steering the recently-expanded agency that combined the HIV expertise and compassionate care of ASAP (AIDS Service Association of Pinellas) and Francis House. For almost 10 years Winheim has worked in a variety of capacities serving the HIV community in Tampa, most recently as Executive Director of Francis House.  She holds a bachelors degree in social science from St. Thomas Aquinas College.

EPIC is a nonprofit integrated network of care supporting those challenged by chronic and advanced illness in the Tampa Bay region.

The state of Florida now has the highest number of new HIV infections in the country with Hillsborough County leading the state with a 63 percent increase from 2012 to 2014. William Harper, Executive Director of the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, was recently featured in a Tampa Bay Times article exploring why there is an increase, how HIV had and does affect those infected with the disease and how the younger generation views the disease.

A wide variety of medical care, counseling, support and prevention services are offered at the ASAP and Francis House campuses and other locations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. EPIC aims to provide seamless care and support that helps clients maintain healthy and self-sufficient lives, assistance to families, and HIV testing and education in the community.


Election and Installation of Officers for 2017-2018

Elections are always an exciting time for our organization. We are fortunate to have a diverse and strong membership who believe in the mission of BPW and the importance of a strong leadership team.  BPW/SPP is entering an exciting time with new leadership this summer at the state level from our local organization.

Our mission of building powerful women professionally, personally and politically remains as important now as it did 50 years ago.  We encouraged all members to be a part of electing our new leadership.  On April 6 we did elect our officers for 2017-2018.  Tami Simms then spoke about The Education Foundation of the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.

Then on April 20, BPW/FL President-Elect Alizza Punzalan-Randle installed the new officers for 2017-2018: Liz Illgen, President; Sheila Barry-Oliver, President-Elect; Jane Byers, 1st Vice President; Gretta Paige Bellas, 2nd Vice President; Lily Alcott, Secretary; and Jill Wenner, Treasurer.  Tami Simms will serve as Parliamentarian.

Unhappy Hour in Observance of Equal Pay Day

To recognize National Equal Pay Day and to raise awareness of pay equity and wage discrimination, Business and Professional Women (BPW)/St. Petersburg-Pinellas will hold its 14th annual “Unhappy Hour” on April 4, the symbolic day that the average woman in the United States finally earns the same amount of pay that her male counterpart earned in the previous calendar year.

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Keeping People and Pets Together Since 1949

GUEST SPEAKER for March 16th. Sharon Boyes is the Director of Development for the Humane Society of Pinellas. Sharon relocated to Florida in 2015 from the shores of Lake Erie in her native hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Graduating from John Carroll University with a degree in English, Sharon brings more than 15 years of non-profit management, fundraising and marketing experience to the Humane Society of Pinellas.  In addition to being a lifelong dog owner, the love of animals is a family affair. Sharon’s daughter is a Certified Veterinary Technician with an Animal Sciences degree from Ohio State University. Her stepson, Alex, holds a Zoology degree and works at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Sharon and her husband Marc have two dogs, a Black Lab named Marley and a Golden Retriever named Butters (after her favorite South Park character). In her spare time, Sharon enjoys listening to Pearl Jam, rooting on her hometown Cleveland Browns, Indians, and CAVS, watching Ohio State football and exploring the many beaches of Florida.