The Westside Gazette

Six New Impactful Women To Be Celebrated During History Fort Lauderdale’s “Women Trailblazers: Champions Of Change – Broward County” Set For March 9 At Galleria Fort Lauderdale

Recipients to be Recognized and Honored at Special Reception and Photo Exhibition During Women’s History Month

 Submitted by Fran Folic

      FORT LAUDERDALE, FL  History Fort Lauderdale and Galleria Fort Lauderdale will honor six new impactful women who lead our community during “Women Trailblazers: Champions of Change – Broward County” presented by UKG, set for March 9 – 31. This year’s honorees are Lori Wheeler, vice president of Marine Industries Association of Fort Lauderdale, Barbara Sharief, former Broward County commissioner and founder and CEO of South Florida Pediatric Homecare, Inc., Heather Geronemus, senior director, social equity, opportunity and impact at UKG, Stephanie Toothaker, Esq., chairwoman and chief strategist of, Joy Satterlee, executive director of Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, and Ramola Motwani, chairwoman, Merrimac Ventures.

Today’s modern champions, along with their historical female predecessors who helped to pave the way for our community, will be honored during a ticketed preview and recognition ceremony benefiting History Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, March 9, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., at Galleria Fort Lauderdale (2414 East Sunrise Blvd). The photography exhibition celebrating their achievements will be on display through March 31.

“History Fort Lauderdale is thrilled to celebrate Women’s History Month by recognizing this year’s new wave of leaders who embody strength, courage, enthusiasm, and a passion for giving back to the community,” said Patricia Zeiler, executive director of History Fort Lauderdale. “From growing our marine industry to creating opportunities for economic prosperity to developing land and even inspiring a new generation of artists, these fearless women are committed to making Broward County a premiere location to live, work and play.”

Past pioneering women counterparts to be highlighted in the exhibit include Angeline Weir (1924 – 2007), Broward’s first woman distaff solicitor anda secretary to Broward State Attorney’s office as well as the first woman to be appointed Municipal Court Judge in Hallandale; Sylvia Alridge (1884 -1962), creator of the first woman-owned employment agency in Fort Lauderdale plus a cab company and fundraiser/champion of desegregating healthcare; Elsie Bellamy Blackwell (1896 – 2001), business partner/owner of Blackwell pharmacy and restaurants Rockery Tea Room and Stranahan House’s Pioneer House, which was one of only three restaurants in the area in 1940;  Jane Wray (1882-1969), preservationist who established Floyd L. Wray Foundation in 1969 to preserve 60 acres of land which would later become Flamingo Gardens, secretary and treasurer of Board of Flamingo Groves, and Hollywood School of Fine Arts teacher in 1926; Sadye Katz (1902-1986), co-owner of the first women’s dress shop with her husband (Mack’s Lady Shop), fundraiser for the first area synagogue, Temple Emanu-El (founding member), Holy Cross Hospital and War Memorial, and founder of Service Men’s Center (1942); and Mary Brickell (1836 – 1922), regional pioneer and land owner who helped shape Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Colee Hammock and in 1917, was instrumental in developing Las Olas Boulevard and building a bridge over the New River Sound which connected the mainland to the beach.

“Galleria Fort Lauderdale is proud to support History Fort Lauderdale’s Women Trailblazers ongoing effort to spotlight the industrious women who move our great city forward,” said Melissa Milroy, senior marketing manager of Galleria Fort Lauderdale. “These passionate historical and modern leaders paved the way for progress and continue to inspire us all. We invite the community to join us in celebrating their significant achievements and learn more about their personal and professional journeys through this engaging photography exhibit.”

As part of the special event, Dillard’s will host a pop-up shop with 10% of its sales benefiting History Fort Lauderdale.

History Fort Lauderdale’s “Women Trailblazers: Champions of Change – Broward County” presented by UKG is now in its third year. Past honorees that have become part of History Fort Lauderdale’s permanent exhibition space devoted to telling our stories have included Sebrina María Alfonso, music director for South Florida Symphony Orchestra, Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons, founder and owner of Total Marine Solutions, Kathleen Cannon, president and CEO of United Way Broward County, Melanie Dickinson, president and publisher of South Florida Business Journal, Bertha Henry, county administrator for Broward County, Carolyn Michaels, executive vice president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Kareen Boutros, executive director of Broward Workshop; Lori Chevy, market president of Bank of America; Heather Havericak, CEO of Broward Health Medical Center and Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital; Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D., president and CEO of Broward Community Foundation; Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale, and Burnadette Norris-Weeks, Esq. of Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell, PLLC and founder of the Women of Color Empowerment Institute.

History Fort Lauderdale and Galleria Fort Lauderdale’s “Women Trailblazers: Champions of Change – Broward County” is presented by UKG and sponsored by Memorial Healthcare System, Total Marine Solutions, GPR | Goodman Public Relations, City & Shore PRIME magazine, Dillard’s, and Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants.

Tickets for the special March 9 recognition ceremony preview honoring the six local women of today are $50 and are available at

For more information about “Women Trailblazers: Champions of Change – Broward County 2023,” call (954) 463-4431 or visit Additional information about Galleria Fort Lauderdale is available at or

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