Most of us can name a handful of women who have been positively influential in our lives. Maybe it was the mother who always encouraged you and shaped you into the person you are today. Maybe it was the teacher who believed in you and inspired you to go into a certain field. Perhaps it was a great boss who helped you realize what you are capable of and paved the way for great opportunities. Sometimes it’s a role model, someone you’ve admired and molded yourself after from afar. Whoever they were, those women have served as a foundation and have shaped the way we act and defined who we strive to be. For that, we thank them.
Brevard County is fortunate to have many incredible female leaders who serve as mentors, bosses, parents and friends. Women who inspire, women who mentor, women who give back – women who rock.
Each March, in honor of Women’s History Month, weVENTURE at Florida Institute of Technology, in partnership with Zonta Club of Melbourne, honors local women who work hard to raise the profile of women in our community. At this year’s Women Who Rock Awards Luncheon, seven women will be awarded and over 30 nominees recognized for their contributions locally. It is a powerful room, filled with individuals whose contributions to our community have been impactful and transformative.
The event recognizes female leaders in five categories:
Excellence in Community Service, presented by Zonta Club of Melbourne to Dr. Sue Kiley, Director of Programs for the Women’ s Center in Brevard County. Dr. Kiley has been instrumental in leading the charge to grow awareness for the plight of human trafficking victims, educating others about human services available to those in this situation.
Entrepreneur of the Year, presented to Misty Marot, CEO and President of Novel Engineering and Riverside Technical Services. After launching Novel Engineering in 2013, Misty strategically grew the company creating more than 30 professional, high-paying jobs.
Excellence in Leadership, presented to Marcia Gaedcke, President of the Titusville Chamber of Commerce. Marcia is personally drawn to projects that build fairness, teach values, build confidence, inspire kids, provide opportunity, reduce risk to families, and help heal neighborhoods to foster stronger, more economically resilient communities.
Emerging Leader, presented to Alecia Blattler, Director of Workplace Giving at United Way of Brevard. Alecia is a creative genius in telling the ‘story of need’ helps potential donors connect on a visceral level to the challenges at-risk families face inspires philanthropy throughout our community.
The Joan Bixby Awards for Florida Tech Faculty, Staff and Student, presented to Dr. Robyn Tapley, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services; Sarah Oram, Assistant Director for the Clemente Center; and Shaheida Ramajan, student in the College of Aeronautics. The Bixby awards are given every year in honor of Joan Bixby and her pioneering spirit and legacy, which enhanced the climate for women’s participation and development in all areas of Florida Institute of Technology.
weVENTURE at Florida Institute of Technology is celebrating 10 years of service to the community in 2017 and we are delighted to share it with you. I hope you will plan to join us on March 14th from 11am-1pm at the Melbourne Hilton Rialto for the Women Who Rock Awards Luncheon as we celebrate all women making meaningful impact for our community, our economy, and who serve as inspiration for all generations. For more information, or to buy tickets, visit www.weVENTURE.org.
Erica Lemp is the Executive Director of weVENTURE. Twitter: @Erica_Lemp