• Goodwill Manasota to launch women’s speaker series

    (From l-r) Goodwill Manasota’s community engagement manager Sam Valentin, vice president and opening speaker Veronica Brandon Miller, and speaker Linda Gould

    SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – In May, Goodwill Manasota is launching a speaker series, called “Women Empowered,” featuring some of the most influential, inspirational, and innovative women of the Suncoast. The goal of the series is to empower and inspire by sharing the stories of local successful women who have overcome obstacles and broken barriers to get to where they are today.

    Speakers will include local community leaders, entrepreneurs, veterans, and business and nonprofit executives – Goodwill plans to showcase a wide range of backgrounds and professional achievements. Some of the speakers will include:

    Linda Gould serves as the Community Connection Consultant for The Patterson Foundation’s Patriot Plaza initiative, and is also a team leader in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR). Gould, who retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army in 2011, crashed through the Army’s glass ceiling, rising to the top of the military world.

    Lee-En Chung is the founder of Ivy Ventures and has been noted as the first female in Florida to have earned both licenses as a general contractor and professional engineer. As an award-winning entrepreneur, she serves as a construction consultant, owner’s representative, and public speaker.

    Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller, who has more than 25 years of experience in development and marketing, will kick off the series on May 2. She will discuss how she assisted in completing the capital campaigns for the National Museum of the American Indian for the Smithsonian Institution and the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier for the Navy League of the United States.

    Other speakers to include retired Sarasota County Commissioner Carolyn Mason, Florida Center for Early Childhood president and CEO Kathryn Shea, and the women of the Neuro Challenge Foundation.

    “With the incredible women we are fortunate to have as Goodwill Ambassadors, we felt it would be our privilege to offer a platform for them to share their stories of overcoming barriers and becoming local heroes,” said Sam Valentin, community engagement manager for Goodwill Manasota. “Through these stories, they can help to inspire others to pursue their dreams and further positively impact our community and beyond.”

    The series begins on May 2 and runs for eight weeks, through June 20; each lecture will take place on a Tuesday night in Goodwill’s Lakewood Ranch Community Room (8750 E. State Road 70, Bradenton) from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The agenda will consist of an approximately 40-minute presentation, followed by Q&A and open-ended discussion. These events are free and open to the public.

    For more information, go to experiencegoodwill.org/empowered.

    About Goodwill Manasota
    Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.