As a writer, I am known for articles that engage the audience and provide a unique angle on topics people want to know more about. Over several decades, I have written and reported hundreds (maybe even thousands) of articles for newspapers and magazines.
Here are some of the features I have written for a variety of publications:
It’s a growth environment for women entrepreneurs in Florida
Women are starting small businesses in Florida at a rate faster than the national average. The state has seen a 74% increase in the number of women-owned small businesses in the past 15 years, ranking Florida as the sixth-fastest-growing state for women-owned businesses.
Women’s organizations have proliferated throughout the state and provide support for small-business owners. “It’s really a great climate because we are champions for each other,” says Pat Blanchard, director of the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center. Coral Gables business coach Jody Johnson, owner of ActionCOACH, says women who run the more successful companies hire for the functions in which they lack expertise. “That’s the differentiator.”
Following are profiles of several successful women-owned businesses in Florida.
Florida’s Women Leaders Focus on Growth
At the same time women are starting and growing businesses in record numbers, they also are confronting an always-on culture that brings new challenges. For company leaders, there is an unspoken expectation to be on-call 24/7 while staying passionate about business goals and instilling passion in their teams.
Now, a newly released survey by The Commonwealth Institute South Florida shows that despite the grueling demands on their time, many women leaders in Florida are committed to growing their businesses in 2016. The survey of 350 women-led businesses in Florida reveals 54 percent of women business leaders foresee moderate growth for their companies and nearly 27 expect substantial growth. “As their businesses grow, the women are realizing it takes a heck of a lot more time management or hiring more help, but they are doing what it takes,” said Laurie Kaye Davis, executive director of TCI.
Female Lawyers Forge New Paths to Success
On a typical day, Mindy Mora arrives at her law office about 8 a.m. and leaves 12 hours later. She will drive home, eat dinner and put in a few more hours of work, even taking client calls late at night. “Being a partner at a law firm is not a 9 to 5 job,” she says.
The grueling lifestyle, even with the cache of a partner title and a six-figure salary, is one Mora, a bankruptcy attorney at Bilzin Sumberg, knows young female law associates increasingly are shunning. “They want to be able to have a family and enjoy their family.”
In the competitive legal industry, pressure to meet quotas for billable hours, bring in business and service clients who want instant responses is creating demands on lawyers that are all encompassing. That pressure has led more women to forge their own paths — even to hang their own shingles — rather than navigate the politics of big law firms.
When Daughters Inherit the Family Business
Evolving trends in family business succession include a growing number of father-daughter transitions, according to an article in the February edition of Florida Trend magazine. With this trend comes a new set of opportunities and challenges for the dads and daughters involved.
Communication is key in succession planning, Gunster attorney Adi Rappoport, tells Florida Trend writer Cindy Krischer Goodman. This includes talk of goals and involvement expectations.
Read the digital version of the entire section, Dad/daughter succession: Next-generation business leaders need to consider things their parents didn’t have to worry about
More people are working past retirement age. That means big challenges for businesses
While few corporate leaders work into their 90s, more are staying on well past the traditional retirement age. In fact, more senior leaders as well as employees are working into their 70s or 80s. Indeed, the U.S. has a larger number of older workers than ever, now that the huge baby boom generation is hitting retirement age.
A spotlight on MBA programs in Florida
Across Florida, universities are rolling out a variety of MBA programs to attract working professionals looking for the bigpicture thinking skills that employers value. Some earn the degree to boost their knowledge in areas of weakness. Others earn the degree to pursue a new career path. Almost all recent MBA graduates say the bonds they establish with their fellow students and professors and the sharing of real-life scenarios are the biggest benefits of the MBA programs. Some recent MBA graduates share their experiences here.
Amanda Wikenholm Jacksonville University MBA
Running the Numbers Studying for an MBA leads Swedish student Amanda Wikenholm on a new career path.
Amanda Wikenholm spent the winter holidays interviewing for jobs knowing she had a huge advantage over other applicants.
She not only speaks two languages, but also has an MBA with a dual concentration in management and accounting/finance.
Within weeks, she landed a position as a financial analyst with Black Knight Financial Services in Jacksonville.
Bands of Angels: Local groups of investors are forming all over Florida, providing funding to capital-starved emerging companies.
In April 2008, Craig Reilly was ready to take the next step. His Orlando firm, Plus-One Solutions, which provides background checks and other business services for companies that use independent contractors, was off the ground and had a major customer lined up. Reilly and his two partners had gotten the company that far with their own money but had begun looking for investors to fund more growth. Reilly turned to a group called the Winter Park Angels — an organization comprised of affluent local residents who had come together to fund local startups and emerging companies like his.
Wealth management in Florida: Money tips and advice from the experts
With a new administration in Washington, Florida investors are watching for changes in policies and laws. Research shows most Americans headed into 2017 with financial concerns about retirement. In 2016, 64% of Americans said they were worried about not having enough money to pay their living expenses in retirement, up from 60% the year before, according to a Gallup poll. Even with uncertainty, there are ways to manage income and accumulate wealth. Financial experts around Florida offer their strategies. (Read More)
Tax Planning Move to Make Before Year End: For Both Individuals and Businesses
With the end of 2011 closing in, now is a good time to make a few smart moves to reduce your tax bill. Some tax breaks are scheduled to expire this year.
Other tax credits will be around awhile longer, but it might make sense to claim them this year.
“This is the time to get organized and make sure you have the right expertise,” says Elaine King, president and chair of the Financial Planning Association of Miami-Dade and managing director of Lubitz Financial Group in Miami. King and several other Florida financial experts share tax moves to make before the end of the year. (Read More)
Katja Janson: She manages two family-owned Miami Beach hotels – but makes plenty of time for her kids.
Food entrepreneurs: The next breakout food product is just waiting to be discovered
Jacqueline Jones makes the most delicious red velvet cookies for the holidays and arranges them so beautifully on a plate that many of her friends have urged her to go into business. It is a common encouragement this time of year when people in kitchens across the country bring out to-die-for holiday recipes and get egged on by friends and family to launch upon the path of entrepreneurship.
While Jones, a Davie mom, has decided against selling her cookies commercially — she sells them only to a few friends — more than 20,000 food products a year actually get off the ground, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
What most people typically discover is that being a food entrepreneur — someone who launches a business around a food item new to the marketplace — can be fun and profitable. But it isn’t a path to pursue as a side hustle or quick trip to fortune. There are dozens of nuances in taking your fabulous tasting cookie batter from a hobby to a brand, which is why many food entrepreneurs fail. Those who have taken the journey say it takes a huge time commitment, work life trade-offs, financial sacrifice and a determined but flexible mindset.