March 2018 Print

President's Message

Our Speakers Forum was a huge success. We had over 250 people attend this fabulous event. We have received rave reviews for both the accommodating staff and the speaker. We were so fortunate to have Jeannette Walls speak with us. She told many of the stories that were in her book The Glass Castle.  Jeannette spoke about how we all have stories to tell and it’s important and cathartic to be authentic. In the car driving her back to the airport she spoke so highly of the women she met in JWN & how warm and genuine the women were towards her.  I observed Jeannette take her time meeting the ladies and gentlemen at the Reception prior to the event and at the book signing. She took her time with each individual person – never rushing them. She was genuinely interested in what each person had to say and makes you feel you are a close personal friend. Ms. Walls exudes authenticity.

Prior to the event I took Jeannette to the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center luncheon where our member Theresa Meares was the speaker. She spoke about being confident and making connections.  Theresa said that you learn that there are others that have had the similar or same life experiences. Sharing our stories gives us hope…we are not alone in our struggles and our successes.

Listening to such wonderful speakers definitely caused me to reflect. When I read Jeannette Walls' book, I wondered how many children today are going to school hungry? How many are living in terrible conditions? How does one deal with mental illness in a family. I reflected on how Theresa as a police officer connected with people on a level to understand what people that were in conflict were struggling with.  I was inspired by how she tried to connect with the individuals. Not because she had things in common but rather connecting on a level so that she could empathize and understand their conflict and struggles.

Which brings me to how proud we all should be of our program committee busy putting together thoughtful programs for the year that will cause us to think and reflect. They will keep us inspired and allow us to connect with one another. We’ll also have a few informal JWN Meetups. These are all great ways for us to all stay connected and share our stories.


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Highlights from Speaker's Forum

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Member News

Do you know a JWN member that has recently received an award, honor, accomplishment? Please let us know so that we may recognize their achievement. Send to Laurie Price at

Kudos to Kathy Murphy, owner of Comfort Keepers, for being selected as the 2018 Small Business Leader of the Year for the Health Council of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Mary Fisher,
 owner of Mary Fisher Design, recently shared her marketing expertise with the Women Business Owners of Northeast Florida.

Congratulations to Vicky Zelen, Zelen Risk Solutions, (left) and Dana Stallings, Kilwin Chocolates at Town Center, (right) for being honored as the Enterprising Women of the Year. This is considered among the most prestigious recognitions for Women Business Owners.

JWN members are keeping Past President Peg Chassman in their hearts and minds during a difficult time. 

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Upcoming Events


The UNF Women’s Center would like to invite you to the 2018 Women’s History Month Luncheon on Wednesday, March 14. The Women’s History Month Luncheon is a celebration of women, their accomplishments and their contributions to society. At the luncheon, the Women’s Center will present the 2018 Women’s History Month Scholarship and Susan B. Anthony award.

We are proud to announce that the 2018 Women’s History Month speaker is Ms. Dorothy Pitman Hughes. Ms. Pitman Hughes - child-welfare advocate, equal rights activist, African-American change-maker, co-founder of Ms. Magazine and author - has spent a lifetime leading and organizing communities to overcome barriers imposed by racism, classism and sexism. Ms. Pitman Hughes continues to open the way for those in need to discover their courage and embrace self?ownership, self-determination and their intrinsic self?worth as she shares poignant stories from her history-making journey and reveals the value of listening with care.

Tickets for the 2018 Women's History Month Luncheon are on sale at the UNF Ticket Box Office, Building 8, Room 1100. General Admission tickets are available for $25. We will also have tables available for purchase at a cost of $250; each table seats eight guest and includes table signage, preferential seating and recognition during the program. Purchase a ticket here.

For more information about the luncheon or purchasing tickets please contact Joanna Hillman at


The commission’s focus and project this year is “Gender Wage Gap” with an event schedule on Equal Pay Day, April 10, 4-7 p.m. at Moxi Kitchen + Cocktails.

For more information about MCSW:

Contact:  Board Liaison for enquiries and additional information.   


2018 Programs and Meet Ups

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Members' Spotlight

Meet Melissa Ross

Melissa Ross is the Emmy award-winning host and producer of WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program.

First Coast Connect was honored in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and  2017 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized multiple times as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality.

The show has won five national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI).

In 2018, Melissa began co-hosting the statewide public radio program “The Florida Roundup,” heard throughout Florida. The show features newsmakers and journalists and focuses on issues of importance to listeners across the Sunshine State.

Melissa is the Jacksonville Chapter Leader for She Is Fierce! a global women’s organization with thousands of local members in Florida and more than 100,000 women who interact with the digital community worldwide. She leads dynamic local events that feature *fierce* talks from inspiring female leaders in the region.

During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.  

Prior to joining WJCT, Melissa spent three years in the corporate communications field at Jacksonville’s Dalton Agency. During her stint at Dalton, she was cast in the HBO film Recount, playing- what else- a reporter!

Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications.

Meet Jennifer Holland 

Jennifer Holland is one of only 35 Certified Brand Strategists in the country and is part of The Brand Establishment, a group evolving brand-building best practices. For two decades, Jennifer’s award-winning consulting expertise has grown clients’ brands into unique signatures for their products and services. As CEO of Holland People+Brands, now celebrating its 21st anniversary, she is also a known thought leader—co-creating the Holland HELIX®, a model integrating a business+brand+people strategy that enhances companies’ brand personas and engages employees to live their brands. Holland’s Build Your Brand Workshop® teaches the Holland HELIX to growth-oriented entrepreneurs in U.S. and Canadian markets. The next Build Your Brand Workshop will be held on Friday, April 6 in Jacksonville. Jennifer is a top-rated Expert Resource Speaker for Vistage International and consistently presents for national conferences and private corporations.

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Newsletter Submission Guidelines

This is an exclusive e-newsletter for and about Network members and upcoming JWN events. We welcome items about your personal and professional achievements, and any projects you would like to promote to members of JWN. Please include photos, preferably in JPG format.

Please email items and photos to

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