Photos from Thursday night Fearless Women TB private party and Fearless Fashion Makeover events. Credit: Fearless Women, Lena Hunt Photography, Celebritize You

All highways and skyways lead to Tampa for the Fearless Women TB events
by Lena Hunt Tampa Bay Travel Photography Examiner

October 8, 2011

They flew in from L.A., the midwest, and other areas. Some drove nineteen hours one way. Some are celebrities on tv and in the movies and some are celebrities in their own towns and superstars with their families and friends. Either way, they came from near and far to the Fearless Women Tampa Bay events held this weekend on Oct. 7-8.

An intimate private dinner in the glowing lights of the Renaissance Hotel's Pelagia Tratorria was held for the main leaders and contributors of this incredible sixteen-city launch, gala, and networking event for women and men who want to be inspired and to inspire others. Mary Ann Halpin's latest upcoming Fearless Women book will be the result of this event.

A private dinner on a balmy Thursday night was a magical time as women from around the nation celebrated the lauching of the next two day's events; a first time ever for Tampa Bay to be a part of the Fearless Women annual events. This was also a time for Leslie Belcher Huston and Linda Conley, Co-Chairs, to sit back and enjoy a relaxing time and catch their breaths before the international weekend gala and events started. Immaculate chefs created Italian cuisines that would make even the truest of Italian hearts proud, the wines flowed, and laughter filled the evening.

Fearless Women and Fearless Women TB is a chance to bring some of the most amazing women in the nation for one worthwhile and much needed mission - to help others be empowered and to be empowered by others. Vendors and attendees from from around the nation and other countries made for an incredible opportunity of networking, having fun, being inspired, and to gain great prizes, products, and services. Ideas and collaborations were ignited. Face-to-face time with local and national celebrities offered great photography opportunities. Area businesses and individuals - including recipients of the funds that many of these fearless women have raised - came out to mingle as a complete whole, regardless of anything in life. The goal was to empower and to be empowered by fearless women (and men).

Mary Ann Halpin, the reason for these events, is a renowned photographer, author, and a beautiful, energetic former actress. She has photographed stars included Joan Lunden and Cybil Shepherd. Mary Ann is launching yet another fabulous book where she captures the phases and issues in women's lives in the way that only she can do so perfectly. Her photography and stories not only capture these phases and issues that we often want to hide and ignore (such as midlife crisis, aging, health issues). Through her eyes and the lens of her camera, she helps women to see that these phases are part of life and can be embraced and even celebrated!

The Gorgeous Sarina Fazan, ABC Action News Anchor, was emcee for the Red Carpet Gala. While meticulous hotel staff presented a luxurious four-course meal, Sarina along with Leslie Belcher, owner of Accessoreez and co-organizer of the event as well as Linda Conley, owner of ConnectWorking & Network NOW Staffing delivered an array of Picnik moments for all the media to capture on camera and video. 

Some of this evening's highlights included the introduction of the Fearless Women TB Award Nominees:

Sue Churuti – An attorney with Bryant, Miller, and Olive and Co-Chair of their State and Local Government Practice Group who is active in her community with numerous organizations and many philanthropic and civic efforts.

Susan Jacobs – Founder of Wheels of Success which provides vehicles and vehicle-related repairs to men, women, and families in need throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Karen Krymski – CEC, MPH, CEO, and Founder of Women PowerUp! She has been recognized as eWomenNetwork's Managing Director of the Year and was Finalist 2008 Business Woman of the Year, Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Ryane Shields – Known for her work with the Heart Gallery and Eckerd, she is very active with promoting adoption, helping foster children and promoting youth activities.

Lisa Ford and Karen Gillman – These ladies founded Charity Chicks where they meet with other women once a month, raise funds, and 100% of the money goes to a different charity in Tampa.

The Fearless Women Tampa Bay Award went to the Charity Chicks. Yet all the nominees, attendees, and women in this country and around the globe are commended for their acts of fearlessness and strength.

Tampa Bay Unsung Hero Award was also given tonight and it went to Josephine Schaaf who founded the Baachus Event Solutions Foundation. This is a 501c(3) which holds fund-raising events to benefit such charitable organizations as the Boys & Girls Clubs and the YMCA of St. Pete.

Photos were snapped and cameras rolled as the dizzying array of winners, dinners, and vendors continued into the balmy, breezy Tampa Bay night. From the private party (minus the press other than Yours Truly) to the VIP Red Carpet Gala) to all of Saturday's activities and events, this was the perfect photo and networking opportunity to launch and a new, amazing Fearless Women book by Mary Ann Halpin.

A truly Fearless THANK YOU!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 1:14 PM

Hello Fearless Women (and Men!),

Renowned photographer & author Mary Ann Halpin

Words cannot express how much Mary Ann, Leslie, and I appreciate all that you so selflessly gave to bring the first Fearless Women Tampa Bay Conference and Gala to fruition and to take part in an inspiring gala and motivational conference. We truly appreciate the thanks that many of you sent our way and we are so glad that so many of you felt empowered and connected in some way after meeting each other and participating in this event. Below is one of the articles written by Lena Hunt with Celebritize You, as well as a link to a slide show and video from the event. Lena's words truly represent the inspirational moments that inspired some to fly from the East and West Coast and drive 19 hours to attend!

From the speakers who so graciously gave of their time and special thanks to those from out of state, we salute you and appreciate all that you did to prepare for the event - Dr. Kathleen Hartford & Melody Pierce, Francesca Szarnicki, Tami Gomez, Rosemary McDowell, Forbes Riley, Sheri' Taber, Amy Wettig, Dr. Jennifer Hayes, Ellen Schuster-Nastir, Dr. Florence Alexander, Lena Hunt, and to Donna Rippley of Realize It Coaching who so graciously volunteered to speak at another event as we ran short on time - she is truly a Fearless Woman and we will let you know when we can reschedule an event so that you may hear Donna speak in the very near future.

We would also like to send a special thanks to the sponsors and exhibitors and appreciate their kind words and support as it was YOU who truly helped us pull this off in a short period of time! Sponsors included St. Pete Times, Tampa Bay Rays, Parenting Magazine, Dr. Kymberly Caporale, Visionary Centre for Women, Omnia Group, Phive, Charity Chicks, Dermazone/Kara Vita, Blue Cross of Florida, Becker & Poliakoff, Meridian Homes & Land, Celebritize You, Gsati, CoolCat Graphics, Minuteman Pess,  Las Palmas Appraisal, Bacchus Charity, eWomen Network, Accessoreez, and Get Connected Tampa Bay Magazine. Special thanks to Laura Simon and the St. Pete Times for advertising this event and to ABC Action News and the Tampa Tribune for covering the gala and conference!!

Exhibitors included Ameriprise Financial, American Express, Aflac, Boresha Coffee, Kara Vita,  Phive, Private Quarters, Miche Bags, Trajan Insurance, AnswerFirst, Pampered Chef, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Lilli D's, Boldly Unique, Omnia Group, The Gift Box, Zilergy, GPS Marketing, ADT Security, Bethany's Group, Sue Adams - Artist, Schakolad Chocolate Factory (who made the fabulous gifts for the nominees with a gold chocolate picture frame with their picture - truly amazing).

To Troy Anthony Designs, Makeup Artist Nina "The Diva" Durham,  Lena Hunt with Celebritize You and all her fabulously beautiful models, Donna Green, and photographer Carol Gallagher - many thanks!

Also special thanks to Denise Link who was truly the lady behind us who ran the event and for all of the wonderful volunteers including Lori Rhea, Stephanie Petto, Pat Chung, Kelly Bower, Veronica Life, Christina Link, Jennie Cabrera, Karen McCloskey, Mary Stroker, and Rhonda Gully, Amber Aaron, and Jennie Cabrera, as well as the Wheels of Success Volunteers Lisa, Veronica, and Rhonda.

The accommodations were AMAZING and special thanks to Debbie Boehning the event coordinator at the Renaissance who learned to make changes on the fly with us and to Bill Gurney, and Jeff Davidson and their staff who helped keep us rolling throughout the weekend! I HIGHLY recommend the Renaissance for your upcoming event.

To Susan Jacobs and Wheels of Success - the inspiring story of the the domestic violence victim who received the "new to her car" (and who will remain anonymous in print) inspires us all to be truly Fearless Women. There was not a dry eye in the house after hearing her story at the Gala.

Sarina Fazan of ABC Action news was the Emcee for the Red Carpet Awards Gala and her story is truly inspiring and we owe a humble thanks to her for so elegantly speaking throughout the evening!

We also want to thank our Fearless Women Award nominees Sue Churuti, Deborah Duffey, Susan Jacobs, Karen Krymski, Ryane Shields - you are ALL winners - and to Lisa Ford & Karen Gillman - founders of Charity Chicks - CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING NAMED THE FIRST RECIPIENT OF THE FEARLESS WOMEN TAMPA BAY AWARD!

The Tampa Bay Unsung Hero nominees all had such compelling stories and to hear the obstacles they have overcome and all that they have accomplished against the odds was truly inspirational! Nominees included Sylvia Alvarez, Yolanda Lee, Shelley Harper, Kelly Ann McKnight, Lt. Col (Retired) USAF Karen Mertes, and Laura Simon. This inspiring award was graciously received by Josephine Schaaf, founder of the Bacchus Charity.

To the ultimate Fearless Woman herself - Mary Ann Halpin - who is bringing together women from not only the United States, but who will be taking this event to the UK and Uganda in 2012 - we truly appreciate all that you have given to help bring women together and to understand how we can all make a difference in some way and feel empowered as we battle the odds and overcome life's struggles! We have other videos that will be forthcoming, so stay tuned for more updates on this event and others and keep checking out Fearless Women Tampa Bay on our Facebook page!

Warmest regards and humble thanks!

Leslie Belcher & Linda Conley

Organizers - Fearless Women Tampa Bay -


Video: Fearless Women Tampa Bay - Fearless Fashion Makeovers




March 2010 - Women in Business
January 2010 - Long-Term Vision
January 2010 - Evening with SRI
January 2010 - Fountain of Youth
October 2009 - Tampa Bay Metro

For Immediate Release -

Mobile, AL,
June 26, 2011

Angela Kendall-Dempsey
Chairman, Florida’s Distinguished Young Women
C: (407) 760-7360

Distinguished Young Women of Florida Scores Two Perfect Tens!

  • Holder of 19 World Martial Arts Titles, Florida’s Caitlin Mosley makes top ten at national Distinguished Young Women scholarship program
  • Distinguished Young Women of Florida breaks top ten in scholarships provided at state level

Caitlin Mosley took Mobile, AL by storm, garnering a place in the top ten Distinguished Young Women of America participants from over 14,000 nationwide. Mosley was evaluated in five categories to earn this important distinction, including a personal interview, a fitness routine, an evaluation of her scholastics, an extemporaneous speaking category called self expression and a talent presentation, for which she showcased her 2nd degree black belt by performing martial arts forms featuring a weapon known as a bow.

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