Category Archives: Member Announcements


Lakeland Organizations Team Up for a Holiday Full of Service

January 17, 2011 was a “Day ON, not a Day OFF” for Camp Fire USA volunteers at the Sunshine Council. The day was spent helping residents of the Manor at Washington Oaks, a subsidized housing complex for seniors in Lakeland, FL. Despite the rain and clouds on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 95 people showed up, including Catherine Eskin, her husband , and two kids. The bad weather didn’t slow them down.

“One of the things we did was get out our rain boots and rain jackets because we thought we were going to be working outside today,” she said.

“You would have been willing to work outside?”, we asked.

“Sure,” Esking replied. “Why not?…because when people need help, that’s why we’re all here, to help each other.”

That spirit of volunteerism was everywhere in the crowded building where activities were taking place. Because of the rain outside activities were moved inside yet volunteers and residents were happy to be there in the action. The volunteers came from Lakeland High School Key Club, Gamma Phi Beta, Theta Chi, Publix, Camp Fire USA, and VISTE. They cleaned the senior’s apartments, ate and played games with them.

The day was a collaborative effort by VISTE and Camp Fire USA.


GreenDrinks Lakeland – Sustainable Happy Hour!

I love it when I get a random email from a Chamber member! This afternoon, Jennifer Hicks of AGreenMaid sent me an invitation to Lakeland’s GreenDrinks event. Wikipedia describes GreenDrinks as:

An informal networking event where environmentally minded people meet over drinks. Started in London in 1989, by Edwin Datschefski, Paul Scott and friends, it has spread to 51 cities in the United Kingdom, 400 in the U.S. and many more in Canada, Germany, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Puerto Rico and Lebanon. As of September 2010, there are over 737 Green Drink Chapters worldwide.

Lakeland’s meeting is Wednesday, January 26 at 6:30 p.m. Natalie’s Sports Bar & Grill, another fabulous Chamber member, will play host to this group & there is no cost to attend!

If you or someone you know has thoughts or ideas about “green” in Lakeland, please be sure to stop by! The event is informal & unstructured and is a great way to connect to folks who care about the health and beauty of our community!


Florida Southern to Host Major Nonprofit, Musician on January 26

Florida Southern College will be the location for a Jan. 26 event featuring major nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms and a member of the band Thrice.

The program, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Branscomb Auditorium off Lake Hollingsworth Drive on the College’s campus, will be free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit organization that aims to help those struggling with depression, addiction and self-injury or contemplating suicide. It began in 2006 in Orlando when founder Jamie Tworkowski wrote a story and started selling T-shirts to help a friend pay for drug treatment. The movement took off as others related to the story, and bands such as Switchfoot, Anberlin and Paramore took interest. Within three years, TWLOHA had the largest online audience of any nonprofit on MySpace and Facebook, with more than 700,000 followers.

Tworkowski will speak at the event, as well as Denny Kolsch, the organization’s head of university relations and booking, and Aaron Moore, a licensed mental health counselor with the organization. At such events, TWLOHA speakers engage the audience in discussions about life, struggle, recovery and healing.

Lending music to the occasion will be Dustin Kensrue, singer and guitarist with California-based band Thrice. The band formed in 1998, producing modern rock and heavy music albums such as “Identity Crisis” in 2001; a four-part concept album titled “The Alchemy Index” in 2007 and 2008; and “Beggars” in 2009.

Mike Crawford, assistant dean of student development, said TWLOHA is a welcome guest at Florida Southern because it complements the holistic wellness message of SAGA (Student Awareness Generates Action), a campus-wide initiative.

“We’re lucky to have them because it’s such a relevant subject for today’s college students,” he said.


Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium set for January 31 at Southeastern University

Lakeland-area women who are thinking of starting their own business or perhaps already own one, are invited to Southeastern University on January 31st for a free two-hour session that could help set them on a track toward success.

The session, called a Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. in Room A121 of the Business & Education Building. The university is located at 1000 Longfellow Boulevard, east of U.S. Highway 98 South and north of North Crystal Lake Drive.

Presenters will be business women Tamara Mattison, Charity Dixon, and Judy Coyle. Among the topics they will discuss individually and in a panel setting: key things to think about when starting a business; research; first steps; mission statement; set up; working with others; talking to people; and evaluation. The session will be informal, and audience participation will be encouraged.

After the symposium, the presenters will be available to answer additional questions from participants who elect to buy lunch and join them in Southeastern’s campus restaurant.

Ms. Mattison has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a Masters of Management degree from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management, and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. She was in public accounting for more than four years; worked one year at a technology firm in Plano, Texas, where she spearheaded their initial public offering; and practiced corporate and securities law at leading law firms in California and Texas, with a focus on small start-up companies.

Ms. Dixon, a Southeastern University graduate, describes herself as a hopeful philanthropist and incurable optimist. She is the Director of Operations for Greater Works, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring literal salvation to people around the world. Literal Salvation is the act of saving people from harm, destruction, obscurity, or failure.

Ms. Coyle has a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Oglethorpe University. At Emory University, she earned a Master’s degree in Library Science and a law degree. She practiced Environmental and Real Property law for four years at the Department of Interior, and worked 15 years at Fannie Mae – three years in the legal department, then in management. She served almost 10 years as Senior Vice President of the Southwestern Regional office in Dallas, overseeing 250 employees and more than 300 lenders in a 10-state region.

For more information about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, call Southeastern University at (863) 667-5000 and ask for faculty members Carolyn Holton or Beth Leslie. Pre-registration is not required.

Southeastern University is a 75-year-old private, liberal arts school with more than 2,800 students. Its website is


Ideas2Money Seminar Hosted by USFP Blue Sky

Intellectual Property for Startups

A management-level overview of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets

How to reduce risk and create value

Presented by

Brent C. J. Britton

Chair, Emerging Business and Technology Practice Group | GrayRobinson , PA

Wednesday, January 19

Networking: 11:30a

Presentation: noon-1:30

Blue Sky West

116 S Kentucky Avenue