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i4 Business Announces 2021 Women’s Inspired Leadership Awards Honorees

Central Florida leaders will be honored in 7 categories at virtual event and in magazine. 

(Orlando, Fla.) — i4 Business magazine has announced the honorees of the 2021 Women’s Inspired Leadership Awards, which celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout Central Florida who are making a difference in the community. Recipients will be honored during a live, online event on Thursday, March 11.  

 “Evaluating the nominations was extremely challenging this year,” said Diane Sears, editor and publisher of i4 Business. “We received nearly 60 nominations for seven categories, and all of these women are powerhouses. Our committee chose to focus on seven women whose work is creating ripples throughout the community, improving the lives of thousands of Central Florida residents and visitors.” 

 The honorees are: 

 Spirit of Advocacy — Deborah Beidel, Ph.D., ABPP, executive director of UCF RESTORES, a nonprofit trauma research center and treatment clinic. Beidel’s leadership has resulted in exceptional results for patients being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She works with state legislators to advocate for more innovation for PTSD treatments. 

 Spirit of Collaboration — Marcie Golgoski, executive producer of special projects, WESH-TV Channel 2. Golgoski spearheaded an all-day telethon in April 2020 that raised more than $1.1 million to support the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. In December 2020, she led a second campaign to support families in need during the holidays, raising an additional $1 million for Second Harvest. 

 Spirit of Engagement — Leticia Diaz, Ph.D., J.D., dean and professor of law, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Diaz is the first female Cuban American to hold the position of dean at an ABA-accredited law school. She is a champion for diversity in the legal profession, working to increase enrollment of African American and Hispanic students. PreLaw Magazine recently ranked Barry Law sixth for diversity among law schools nationally.

 Spirit of Entrepreneurship —Verbelee Nielsen-Swanson, owner of Oxford Eyes. Nielsen-Swanson is founder of a boutique eyewear shop in Orlando that is recognized for its innovation and international brands. Among Nielsen-Swanson’s community outreach activities, Oxford Eyes sends used donated lenses and frames to local and overseas charities. She is the current president of Florida Executive Women and co-chair of Harbor House of Central Florida’s Purple Door Luncheon.  

 Spirit of Innovation — Kirstie McCool, executive director of the GuideWell Innovation. McCool is empowering entrepreneurs to improve the way health care problems are solved across America. She has launched national health innovation challenges and scale-up accelerator programs to empower entrepreneurs to deliver health care in innovative ways, and in 2020 she helped develop a COVID-19 Health Innovation Collaborative.  

 Spirit of Mentorship — Lena Graham Morris, vice president of HORUS Construction Services and founder and president of Entreprenista Enterprises LLC. Graham Morris is working to take 100% ownership of her family’s third-generation construction business. She is a rare African American female executive in the construction industry. Graham Morris is also founder of Entreprenista Enterprises and HORUS Academy, which mentor female business owners to succeed as subcontractors. She will be installed in June as president of the Orlando chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners. 

 Spirit of Progress — Pamela Nabors, president and CEO of CareerSource Central Florida. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Nabors transitioned CareerSource Central Florida’s career services to a virtual model to help thousands of people who were suddenly out of work. The organization served almost 80,000 career seekers, a 70% increase from the previous year, and launched a dedicated support team to help people laid off from Central Florida’s largest employer, Walt Disney World. Nabors’ team also has worked with 4,000 businesses to recruit talent during the pandemic.  

 Each honoree will be presented her award by a surprise guest from the community in a live event that observes March as Women’s History Month. Additionally, each honoree will be profiled in the magazine’s March issue, which has a theme of Diversity and Inclusion. 

 “It’s an honor for us to tell their stories,” said Meaghan Branham, managing editor of i4 Business. “This is one of our favorite issues of the year because we get to explore the fabric of what makes Central Florida such a strong and caring community.” 

 The Zoom event is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, March 11. Registration is complimentary and is required in advance. You can register here

 Limited sponsorship opportunities are still available for levels ranging from $500 to the title sponsorship for $5,000. For information, contact Keith Landry at keith@i4biz.com or 407-730-2961.  

 For more information, visit www.i4biz.com and click on Events. 



Founded in 2013, i4 Business connects the community’s leaders by covering the people, projects and priorities shaping Central Florida. The print, digital and video editions of the magazine promote the spirit of progress by sharing timely, relevant stories that are uplifting, inspiring and educational. 

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About the author

Diane Sears

A career journalist, author and advocate for business growth, Diane Sears is the CEO, editor and publisher of i4 Business. She is also the founder and president of DiVerse Media LLC, which has handled content marketing projects including nonfiction books, white papers, executive speeches and scripts since 2000. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Go for the Greens Foundation, which helps connect women-owned and minority-owned business owners with growth opportunities internationally.

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