In 2007, the Chamber identified a growing demand from our members for programming designed to foster success among female business professionals in the Tampa Bay Region. Out of this need grew the Women of Influence Luncheon, an annual event designed to offer local women an opportunity to develop relationships and discuss issues specific to women in business. Previous luncheons have welcomed Giuliana Rancic, Entertainment Journalist, Soledad O'Brien, CNN correspondent, Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and TODAY show contributor, Elizabeth Gilbert, best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, and Sarah Blakely, founder of SPANX.
A record crowd of 880 welcomed Acadmy Award Nominee Viola Davis
to the 2013 Women of Influence Luncheon April 10. Viola shared her personal reflections on her journey from a childhood of poverty, dysfunction and low self-esteem to a successful professional and personal life in Hollywood. "The privilege of a lifetime is simply being who you are," said Davis. She left the crowd calling on women to support one another. "Encourage one another and don't demonize ambition."
In addition, Judith Lisi
, President & CEO of The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Woman of Influence Award. Under Lisi's leadership, The Straz Center has become a major presenting, producing and educating cultural institution that continues to provide a local economic impact of $100 million annually. Ms. Lisi has served on the boards of the Tampa Downtown Partnership and is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award from the International Society for the Performing Arts.
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