Women Who Rock Awards 2021

History is full of unsung female heroes.   So, at weVENTURE WBC, we believe it is important to elevate women who are who breaking barriers and inspiring others through their work and leadership.  We believe in celebrating Women Who Rock today to inspire the female leaders of tomorrow.  

This annual awards program honors hard-working, deserving women and local businesses who prioritize diversity in their leadership ranks.  This annual celebration in honor of Women's History Month is part of our mission to be the leading voice and resource for professional women on the Space and Treasure coasts. 

The categories are:

  • Excellence in Mentorship
  • Female Small Business Owner of the Year
  • Women in the Workplace Champion
  • Dr. Mary Helen McCay STEM Award
  • Zonta Yellow Rose Award of Excellence in Community Service

The response to our call for nominations was absolutely unbelievable.  65 women were nominated - our most EVER!  weVENTURE WBC will recognize all the nominees on social media leading up to the March 23rd virtual event.  Theme inspired by the Oscars, the program will highlight the nominees for each category before the winner is revealed live! 

2021 Winners

  • Excellence in Mentorship Award - Rochelle Hood, PINK Consulting
  • Female Small Business Owner of the Year Award - Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing
  • Women in the Workplace Business Champion - Lockheed Martin
  • Women in the Workplace Individual Champion - Shalarie Highsmith, U.S Department of Defense
  • Dr. Mary Helen McCay STEM Award - Dr. Kelli Hunsucker, Florida Tech
  • Zonta Yellow Rose for Excellence in Community Service Award - Tara Pagliarini, Family Promise of Brevard


2021 Nominees:

Excellence in Mentorship Award

Pamela Bress, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Ready for Life Brevard; Grenita Brooks, Founder, International Mentoring Society;  Natasha Cartagena Spencer, Senior Vice President and Branch Manager, Shelter Mortgage Company; Jennifer East, Co-Founder, bUneke; Marta "Tiki" Fiol, Founder and President, Teaching Interventions Keeping Individuality, Inc.; Heide Gabriella, CEO, Avian Engineering and Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses; Beth Gitlin, Ph.D., BJG Global Consulting and Florida Tech Adjunct Professor; Dana Gresky, Ph.D., Vice President, Value-Based Care at Health First; Rochelle Hood, President, PINK Consulting; Cami Leech Florio, Chief Strategic Officer for St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care; Ann Luke, Sr. Vice President, Truist Bank; Joy Ruffen, Founder, Style with Joy and Leading Ladies Leaving Legacies Podcast; Ginger Snead, DPT, Owner, Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center; Leslie Tibbetts, VP of Commercial Services, Community Credit Union; Linda Webster Dubea, Regional Manager, External Affairs, Florida Power & Light.

Female Small Business Owner of the Year Award 

Kim Artlip, Owner/Promoter, IGNITE Wrestling; Wendy Barnes, Founder, Wendy Barnes Design; Mary Brotherton, Editor, bUneke Magazine; Wilma Connell, Founder, Vero Beach eMarketing; Latice Daniels, Owner, Hope House United; Maria Dockery, Owner, Femme Fatale ARMS and Training; Amy Donaldson, Captain and Co-Owner, Sea Tow Sebastian; Melissa Engasser, Founder, The Bedrock Clinic and Research Center, Inc.; Megan Hall, Owner, True Home Inspections; and Kelley Higney, Founder and CEO of Bug Bite Thing; Kallee Jackson, Founder, Kallee Classy Fashions; Quinisha Jenkins, Owner, Q’s Crackin’ Crab and Seafood Kitchen; Delatron Johnson, Owner, Café Krewe 22; Kristina Latraverse, Studio Owner, Seagrass PotteryLeigh McDowell, Founder, The Elderberry Fairy; Emily McHugh, Founder, Casauri and Regional Director for Treasure Coast WBEC; Shari Pierce, Owner and Chef, A Kitchen of Her Own; Michelle Shoultz , President, Frazier Engineering; Ginger Snead, DPT, Owner, Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center; Julie Song, President, Florida Business & Manufacturing Solutions, Inc.; Rebecca Sparks, Owner, Apollo Realty; Tracy Stroderd, CEO, EverythingBrevard.com; April Symonds, Founder, Fields Family Baskets and Gifts; Zechra Williams, Owner, Evolution Beauty Lounge.

Women in the Workplace Champion

  • Business Champions:

bUnekeJennifer East, Founder; Call One, Inc., Dawn Mays, Chief Strategy Officer;   Florida Power & LightBart Gaetjens, External Affairs Manager; H.A.L.O No-Kill RescueJan Howington; Lockheed Martin, Sarah Hiza, Ph.D., VP Fleet Ballistic Missile Program

  • Individual Champions:

Leonardo DRS, Joslyn Barroso, Director, Human Resources; Shelter Mortgage, Natasha Cartagena Spencer, Senior VP/Branch Manager;  U.S. Department of Defense, Shalarie Highsmith, Deputy, Chief of Education and Training; Italian Terrazzo and Tile, Rhonda Huckabee, Director of Operations; Florida Today, Suzy Leonard, Food and Dining Writer; NatEv Life LLC, Kimberly Modesitt, Landscaper and Owner; Roundtable of St. Lucie County, Teresa Bishop, Executive Director

Dr. Mary Helen McCay STEM Award

Sarah Angrisani, Founder, Coastal Community School; Kelly Billon, Orbital Launch Site Deputy Program Manager, Blue Origin; Kelli Hunsucker, Ph.D., Florida Tech Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences, Director of the mobile science lab, the Science Bus; Rachel Weeks, Systems Test Engineer, United Launch Alliance and Chief Marketing Officer, Reinvented Magazine

Zonta Yellow Rose for Excellence in Community Service

Barbara Schlitt Ford, Executive Director, Environmental Learning Center and In-House Counsel, Founder/Facilitator, Indian River CARES; Dana Blickley, Property Appraiser, Brevard County Property Appraiser; Mary Brotherton, Editor-in-Chief, bUneke Magazine;  Jennifer Cleveland, Consultant, Inner Sight Living, Board Member, Center for the Visually Impaired; Jennifer East and Lynn Kinnison, Co-Founders, bUneke; Meredith Egan, COO, United Way of Indian River; Marta “Tiki” Fiol; Founder and President, Teaching Interventions Keeping Individuality, Inc (TIKI Inc); Chris Kern, Board Member, LEAD Brevard; Ellena Little, Executive Director, Club Esteem; Tara Pagliarini, Executive Director, Family Promise of Brevard; Stacey Patel, Brevard Democrats and Founder of Coronavirus Mutual Aid Network; Jonnie Mae Perry, President, American Association of University Women; Claudia Prado, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Univision; Visalakshi Srinivasan, M.D., Aging Services Clinic, Pamela Carithers, Executive Director, Lincoln Park Mainstreet. 

About the 2021 Program

weVENTURE invites you to help celebrate all of the 2021 nominees during a live-virtual event on March 23rd at 11:30am.   Join us to learn a little bit about each of the nominees before we announce the winner for each category.  This fun event is inspired by the Oscars, and will honor these women for the superstars they all are!   Red Carpet fashion is optional, but encouraged! 

Make An Investment in weVENTURE WBC

Your investment is critical to our organization.  weVENTURE WBC is funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and we must match that grant with investment from the local community.  Your support allows us to provide low and no-cost business education and training to over 600 women a year in Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie Counties! 

Donations of $1,000 are eligible for our League of Extraordinary Investors and those giving over $2,000 are recognized year round as our Equity Partners. 

Please visit our giving page or contact Executive Director, Kathryn Rudloff, to learn about how YOUR investment in weVENTURE WBC directly supports women growing businesses here on the Space and Treasure Coasts.