Women's History Month Celebrations

An annual luncheon held in March, to support the National Women’s History Project (NWHP), which was founded in 1980, and is an educational nonprofit organization. The NWHP’s mission is to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs.

Each year, the Women’s Business Center recognizes the Space Coast Community Award of Excellence Winner and the Florida Institute of Technology Alumni Association recognizes the Joan Bixby Award Winners. We also select a notable Florida Tech alumna to receive the Florida Tech Award of Distinction.

We also invite you learn more about inspiring women in our area. We start by recognizing the 2014 recipients of the Florida Tech Award of Distinction, the Space Coast Women’s History Month Community Award Winner, and the Florida Tech Joan Bixby Award Winners.

Women's History Month Celebrations: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.

2014 "Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment"

The theme for the 2014 National Women’s History Month was Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. The National Women’s History Project had this to say about the chosen theme:

This year’s theme presented the opportunity to honor women in a wide-range of occupations and accomplishments. We will be selecting National Honorees. At the same time, we would like to encourage schools, women and educational organizations, and workplaces to use the 2014 theme to honor special women in their own organizations. (2013)

Florida Tech Award of Distinction

The Florida Tech Award of Distinction is given to a prominent Florida Tech alumna who has achieved great accomplishments in her career.

2014 Recipient

Judge Catharina Haynes was sworn in as a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on April 22, 2008. In addition to her judicial service, Judge Haynes spent thirteen years in private practice, including more than five years as a partner and six years as an associate in the trial section of Baker Botts, L.L.P.’s Dallas office. Judge Haynes is board certified in Consumer and Commercial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Judge Haynes was born and raised in the Melbourne area, where her father, Pieter Dubbelday, was a professor at Florida Institute of Technology. She joined the Florida Tech family personally, graduating with highest honors with a B.S. in Psychology in 1983. In 1986, she received a J.D. with distinction from the Emory University School of Law. She was honored as an Outstanding Women Law Graduate by the National Association of Women Lawyers. Judge Haynes has been actively involved in the legal community for many years. She has received multiple awards for her professional and personal committment. Join us in recognizing Judge Haynes for her commitment to our community.

Space Coast Community Award

Each year, the Space Coast Community Award is given to an outstanding leader in Brevard County. All the nominees will be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments for enhancing the climate for women's participation and development in Brevard County.  

Lola Mitchell, Career Transitions Consulting; 2014 Space Coast Community Award Recipient

Lola has been an instructor for the Career and Family Success Center at Brevard Community College (now Eastern Florida State College), teaching and training with their WENDI program (When Entering New Directions) since 1977. She was the Employment Counselor for 12 years at BCC’s Women in Transition Program for Displaced Homemakers, as well as providing a career guidance program with the Women’s Center for 3 years. Through her guidance and her business, Career Transitions Consulting, she encourages self-development, assertiveness skills, confidence-building, and conflict resolution.

Nominated by Martha Young

All Space Coast Community Award Nominees

Pastor NaNette Sebrena Clark, Truth Revealed International Ministries 

Pastor Sebrena, as she is fondly known as, is the Administrator and Associate Pastor of Truth Revealed International Ministries in Palm Bay. Pastor Sebrena is the role model that demonstrates “Yes You Can,” by concentrating her efforts on raising self-esteem of women. As an Administrator, she has managed the financial and managerial affairs of the organization with integrity. These include Human Resources Management, employee relationship and strategies for Quality Improvement and growth. She has the heart of a servant and this is expressed in everything she does.

Nominated by Dr. Maxcelle D’Oyley

Linda Evans, Pregnancy Resources

Twenty nine years ago, Linda Evans, mother of two toddlers, had a vision that each woman facing the prospect of an unplanned pregnancy—and all the questions that come with it—would have a trustworthy source for the information, resources, and support she needed. Her vision turned into reality as Pregnancy Resources, Inc. opened its doors in 1984. Since 1984, over 50,000 clients have been served through Pregnancy Resources. Pregnancy Resources has helped many women as they transition from crisis to success through the services provided.

Nominated by Pilar Blanchard

Terri Friedlander, FLORIDA TODAY columnist and author

Terri is an educator, writer and columnist for FLORIDA TODAY as well as a proud member of the Oceanside Chapter of ABWA (American Business Women of America). As a freelance journalist, she created a new column in Florida Today called “In Front of the Classroom”, writing about issues in schools today. Terri energetically serves as the District Director for FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), the largest student organization in the country. In addition, she volunteers tirelessly in the community.

Nominated by Daniel Friedlander

Karen Gregory, HRSS Consulting Group

Karen is President of HRSS Consulting Group, a Woman- and Veteran-Owned small business. She is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, with 16 years of military Service, and supports the 920th Rescue Wing & U.S. Special Operations. Karen is the only woman on Congressman Bill Posey’s Veterans Advisory Council and an active member of the Military Affairs Committee of the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is currently the President of the Space Coast Chapter of Women in Defense (WID).

Nominated by Joseph Mayer

Malak Hammad, PNC Bank

Malak is a highly motivated professional, serving as a PNC Bank Vice President. Malak serves as Chairman of the Women of Excellence (WE) Committee at the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce. She was most recently appointed as President of the Women’s Center Guild of South Brevard, where her efforts will benefit the battered and oppressed women and children of Brevard County. Currently, Malak sits on several boards, including the Children’s Hunger Project and Devereux.

Nominated by Ioanna Hawkins and Patty Hurst

Caroline Kempf, CK Communications

Caroline leads a team of graphic designers, advertising, & public relations professionals as the President and Owner of CK Communications. Caroline is described by her peers as a hardworking, dedicated businesswoman, balancing career, family and philanthropy. She and her husband have been very involved in providing aid to Haiti. Caroline is on the Board of Club Esteem. She is also an active supporter of Space Coast Crew and supports the Scott Center for Autism at Florida Tech.  She graduated Cum Laude from Florida State University.

Nominated by Shelley Johnson, Florida Tech

Lisa Rice, Brevard Workforce

Lisa Rice , President of CareerSource Brevard, is a force to be reckoned with and a powerful source of motivation for women. Through innovation, determination and strong community partnerships, Lisa helped create and deliver valuable workforce solutions critical to the sustainability of not only jobs but businesses operating during economically challenging times. In the spirit of supporting her community, Lisa serves on committees and boards of Brevard’s most effective organizations, sharing her insights, networks and best practices to support their missions.

Nominated by Denise Biondi


Joan Bixby Awards

Each year, the WBC partners with the Florida Institute of Technology Alumni Association to present the Joan Bixby Awards. The awards were given to a faculty, staff, and student who have helped enhance the climate for women’s participation and development at Florida Tech and is named for Joan Bixby, a Florida Tech alumni who was the first female graduate of the Master’s in Contract Management. For a list of past award winners, please visit Joan Bixby Awardees.

Monica H. Baloga, Ph.D., VP for Institutional Effectiveness and International Programs

Dr. Baloga chairs the Quality of Life Committee which examines ways to improve life for all faculty, staff and students. As a faculty member, she has consistently received student evaluations that were among the highest in the chemistry department for her general chemistry classes. Dr. Baloga, along with her collaborators, were instrumental in obtaining funding for the redesign of the General Chemistry I and II lab courses resulting in a curriculum that has benefited Florida Tech students and will help other schools as they adopt the curriculum materials. She has served as Dean of the Graduate and International Programs making sure that processes and procedures were in place to help students successfully achieve their advanced degrees.


Mary Dyer, Business Manager, External Relations and Economic Development

Mary defines success, not by society’s standards, but by one’s own personal standards. She tries hard to lead by example whether it is providing support and mentoring to students or displaying a strong work ethic. She has actively supported campus organizations such as Greek life by donating her time and skills in communications and art activities. She continually promotes opportunities available, particularly in Continuing Education and Women’s Business Center educational courses. She encourages women to focus on their goals, seek knowledge and maintain a balanced life. As a member of Women of Excellence, Women in Defense, LEAD Brevard and more, she continues to reach out to women and men to suggest ways to achieve success.


Tara Drumm, Undergraduate Student, Interdisciplinary Sciences with military option

Tara is pursuing a BS degree in Interdisciplinary Sciences with a military option. She is heavily involved with the ROTC program on campus, is a member of Alpha Phi sorority and has participated in many events helping to raise money and awareness for heart disease. She has been awarded the title of Distinguished Military Student and has been recognized by the Daughters of America Military Foundation. She currently serves as the Battalion’s Command Sergeant Major, primarily a male position, where she continues to strive to perform at her personal best while also mentoring underclassmen.

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Nominations can include men or women who have shown leadership in improving the Florida Tech campus for women.

Nominees were evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Examples of support for women's programs
  • Implementation of improved employment practices
  • Examples of providing educational advancement opportunities
  • Recognizing women's accomplishments or general improvement of the status of women

2014 Amelia Earhart Sponsor:

Truth Revealed International Ministries

 Truth Revealed International Ministries

2014 Oprah Winfrey Sponsor:

Women of Wuesthoff

Women of Wuesthoff

Past Events

On March 18, 2013, the Women's Business center, in collaboration with the Florida Institute of Technology Alumni Association, Zonta Club of Melbourne, and Zonta International, hosted a celebration in honor of Women's History Month with the theme of Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination.  This year, we were honored to recognize these women with special awards.  General Ann E, Dunnwoody was the recipient of the first Florida Tech Award of Distinction.  Now retired, General Dunwoody was the military’s first female four-star general, with 37-plus years of service to her country. In her last four years of service she led the largest global logistics command in the Army comprising 69,000 military and civilians located in all 50 states and over 140 countries. She managed a budget of $60 billion and was responsible for the oversight of approximately $70 billion in service contracts.  Also, we were honored to recognize Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos who is a family practitioner, wife, mother, and a survivor of domestic violence. She now lends her support, voice and encouragement to others who are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Dr. Haridopolos has been frequently recognized for devoting her time to charities and organizations. She recently served as the chairwoman and community organizer for the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk. Additionally, she has mentored underprivileged children and lent support to homeless veterans by helping to secure a million- dollar state grant for the National Veterans Homeless support group to establish a transitional housing facility.  In addition, we were honored to recognize the following three recipients of the Joan Bixby Award: Dr. Niescja Turner who is an Associate Professor of Physics and Space Sciences, Jarin Eisenberg who is Program Coordinator at the Nathan M Bisk College of Business at FIT, and Carla Deras who is an undergraduate student in Aerospace Engineering.

On March 6, 2012, the Women’s Business Center, in collaboration with the Florida Institute of Technology Alumni Association, Zonta Club of Melbourne, and Zonta International, hosted a celebration in honor of Women’s History Month. This year, we were honored to recognize the women below with special awards. Ms. Donna Skattum was the recipient of the 2012 Community Award. Donna has been an active advocate for education by supporting non-profit organizations throughout the county. Through her voice and beautiful photographic eye, she has empowered the community through awareness and promotion. Skattum has worked tirelessly to help local organizations. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors for Prevent!, and helped plan and organize Brevard’s Poshest Pet event which benefitted the Central Brevard Humane Society. She is the Managing Editor for Space Coast Living magazine and Events Editor for Space Coast Business magazine. The 2012 Joan Bixby Award Recipients were Lisa Steelman, Ph.D., and Ms. Beth Gitlin.

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On March 16, 2011, the Women’s Business Center, in collaboration with the Florida Institute of Technology Alumni Association and Zonta Club of Melbourne, hosted a celebration in honor of Women’s History Month. This year, we were honored to recognize the women below with special awards. Ms. Marilyn J “Bunny” Finney was the recipient of the 2011 Community Award. She has been described as a critical thinker and visionary, she is an active community leader who has been involved in extensive civic work for more than 30 years. Her civic interests include strengthening and mobilizing the community, education and children. Finney has been recognized for her distinguished work by Florida Today, United Way of Brevard County, Children’s Home Society, Brevard Public Schools, Space Coast Business Marketing, the National Association for Community Leadership, LEAD Brevard, Junior League of Central & North Brevard and the March of Dimes. The 2011 Joan Bixby Award Recipients were Deborah Carstens, Ph.D., Mr. John Reynolds, and Ms. Trisha J. Ross.

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On March 23, 2010, the Women's Business Center - in collaboration with Florida Tech's Alumni Affairs, Barnes & Noble, the Business and Professional Women's Association, and Brevard County Woman newspaper - hosted a panel discussion in celebration of Women's History Month. Panelists included Katie Dobek, Field Engineer, Manson Construction Company; Priscilla Griffith, League of Women Voters; Rose Padrick, author of "The Art of Grand-parenting"; Sue Tompkins, President of Board of Directors for Brevard Women's Center; and Lynne Wright, author of "More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Florida Women". The keynote speaker was Monica Wofford, author of "Contagious Leadership" and 2008 Women of Distinction nominee in the category of Business. Also included with the celebration was an awards ceremony for the Space Coast Women's History Award that honors a local Brevard County woman who has broken new ground to help ensure women are written back into history, and the Joan Bixby Award that honors a Florida Tech faculty or staff member who has enhanced the climate for women's participation and development on campus.

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On March 24, 2009, the Women's Business Center - in collaboration with Florida Tech's Alumni Association, the Business and Professional Women's Association, Brevard County Woman newspaper and MGAA - hosted a luncheon and panel discussion in celebration of Women's History Month. The theme for this year's Women's History Month was Women Taking the Lead to Save the Planet. Panelists included Ros Lanthorne, The Zen of Clean; Pamela Shoemaker, Brevard County Recycling; Melissa Meeker, South Florida Water Management District and President of Sustainable Treasure Coast, Inc.; Donna Braunlich, Sea Turtle Preservation Society; Brigadier General Mary Ann Epps (ret.), former assistant adjutant general of the State of Connecticut Air National Guard and director of the Joint Staff Project for the Connecticut Military Department. The keynote speaker was Diana Dobin, Valley Forge Fabrics (2008 Sustainable Florida Best Practices Award Winner for Large Businesses). Also included with the celebration was an awards ceremony for the Green Ribbon Award for Women who have taken the lead to save our planet, and the Joan Bixby Award that honors a Florida Tech faculty or staff member who has enhanced the climate for women's participation and development on campus.

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On March 12, 2008, the Women's Business Center hosted a panel discussion in celebration of Women's History Month. The theme for this year's Women's History Month was Women's Art, Women's Vision. Panelists included Marjorie Beckett, Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, Florida Tech; Carolyn Fausnaugh, Ph.D., CPA, Assistant Professor for the College of Business, Florida Tech; Doris Larson, Zonta International; Amacita (Cita) Maloon-Gibson, President, MGAA; and Kathy Ogle, Project Coordinator, PEAK Contracting and President Space Coast Chapter, National Association of Women in Construction. In honor of the theme, Theresa Brown and Jessica Martin, two local artists, displayed a few of their pieces for attendees to enjoy.

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