BY JOYCE NANETTE JOHNSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – The Gathering of Women, Inc. 2016 Men and Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony kicked off an amazing afternoon this past Sunday. The St. Petersburg Country Club, located at 2000 Country Club Way S, was filled with well-wishers who came out to support the achievements of some 18 honorees.
The awards are to honor individuals who have tirelessly given their time, talent and expertise to benefit the community. The honorees represent a broad range of community activism that included health, culture, public service and business.
Andrida McCall Hosey presided as Mistress of Ceremonies with her usual warmth and graciousness. The stylishly dressed crowd enjoyed musical performances by the group “4 Gents,” who took the crowd to a trip down memory lane as they performed a tribute to “The Temptations.”
Guest speaker Corey Givens, Jr. has been a community activist for most of his young life. He is the second vice president of the St. Petersburg NAACP, a member of the Pinellas County Urban League Young Professionals and founded and the Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus, where he is also president.
Speaking on women and the many accomplishments they have given to the world, Givens lauded the honorees and the Gathering Of Women, Inc. for epitomizing their same ingenuity, perseverance and strength.
“It only takes one person with a dream and a vision,” he encouraged the audience. “It’s about how we can do for each other, how we can help each other.”
Samantha Richardson, chair of the Gathering of Women, Inc., explained that the honorees undergo a strict review process that starts in October of the previous year. To evaluate the nominations, a selection committee gauges all names within the context of community involvement, leadership, commitment, a concern for humanity and having an enduring and meaningful impact.
The Roger and Renee Ambrose Education Scholarships were presented to five local youths who are eager to make a difference in the community. This year’s awardees were Alexander King (St. Leo University), Khalil Harris (Florida A&M University), Greg Cason (Pinellas Technical College), Sha’Von Chasten (Pinellas Technical College) and Terence J. Ware (undecided).
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Clarke is the assistant director of Pinellas Technical College, St. Petersburg. She graduated high school at 16 and attended the University of Florida where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Science Education. She went on to earn a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida.
She has served Pinellas County in the field of education for 27 years as teacher, assistant principal, principal and now in her current position of assistant director. In fact, she holds the distinction of being the first black principal of Bay Point Middle School.
She was also an adjunct instructor for St. Petersburg College, and also taught computer literacy and applications to adults.
Clarke has dedicated her life to social justice and equity for all. By working in her sphere of influence, she has facilitated equal and equitable educational opportunities for all students.
In her role as assistant director, Clarke focuses on the community workforce development through the management of technical education programs and the success of hundreds of students annually.
She was involved in implementing the Girlfriends program in Pinellas County, and received recognition from Governor Charlie Crist for leadership in the NFL Play60 initiative while principal of Bay Point Middle School.
Ann Marie Clark received the Education, Training & Development Award.
Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Britt graduated from Gibbs High School in 1956, Paine College in 1960 and Golden Gate University with a Master’s Degree in Public Relations in 1982. She worked for the Florida State Department of Children and Families for 34 year.
She retired in 2001 from the position of district operations and program manager, where she was responsible for operations, program/policy development and budgets for Family Safety, which encompassed foster care, protective services, adoptions and child abuse investigations. She was also responsible for developmental services and aging and adult services. These programs covered Pinellas and Pasco counties and involved oversight and management responsibilities for more than 300 staff members and a 50 million-dollar budget.
Britt is a founding member and the current executive director of James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center. She is responsible for managing over a million dollar budget for programs provided by the center.
She is an active and faithful member of the Zeta Upsilon Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and New Faith Free Methodist Church, where she serves as church treasurer.
She is the mother of two daughters and one son and the grandmother to six adorable grandchildren. She also was the caregiver for her mother who died at age 103.
Lounell C. Britt received the Humanitarian Award.
With the personal motto of “believe and do good,” Bro. Muhammad has been involved in grassroots organizing and community outreach since joining the Nation of Islam in 1997 at age 21.
He has a passion for uniting people and developing the next generation of leaders. Bro. Muhammad co-founded the St. Pete Stop The Violence Coalition in 2012, and in 2013 and 2014 the group was recognized by President Barack Obama and received back-to-back National Volunteer Service Awards from his office.
As president of the Childs Park Neighborhood Association since 2011, he has increased membership and led the group to be recognized as “Neighborhood of the Year for Civic Engagement” as a result of their campaign to “Put Neighbor Back in the Hood.”
Bro. Muhammad helped co-found the Community Development and Training Center, Inc., which is a non-profit corporation that helps individuals and groups develop their potential and accomplish their personal and professional goals by connecting them with resources and opportunities.
Married to his high school sweetheart for 23 years, he and Tashawn have three daughters: Keara, Ja’Kevia and Zakiyyah and two grandchildren.
Bro. John Muhammad received the Volunteer, Advocacy & Community Leadership Award.
The youngest child of Frank and Doris Crenshaw, Crenshaw-Robinson graduating in the top 10 of her East Orange, N. J., high school. She went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science from Seton Hall University’s College of Nursing. She specialized in obstetrics and gynecology at NYU.
Returning to New Jersey, Crenshaw-Robinson began teaching nursing in a diploma, hospital- based nursing school. She re-entered Seton Hall University obtaining a Master’s Degree in Nursing and an Advanced Degree in Nursing as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
A year after completing school, she relocated from the northeast to Miami where she was a clinical educator at Jackson Memorial Hospital. After relocating to St. Pete, she secured a teaching position at St. Petersburg Junior College in the nursing program where she taught pediatrics and obstetrics, both the didactic and clinical components of these specialties. Bayfront Medical Center offered Crenshaw-Robinson a full-time position in their Level III Obstetrics Department ushering in a new era.
She spent 22 years at there and worked as a clinical specialist, nurse manager, nurse recruiter and the clinical director for Women and Children. In 2003, Crenshaw-Robinson was recruited to Community Health Centers of Pinellas, Inc., where she remains employed as the director of Clinical Operations for 10 healthcare centers.
She shares three beautiful children with Hendri Robinson: Destiny, Cyrel and Hendri II.
Cheryl Crenshaw-Robinson received the Health & Awareness Award.
Founder and senior pastor of New Destiny International Church and Ministries, Lett is also the founder and president of their Affiliate Alliance that oversees pastors, churches and orphanages in Africa and Haiti.
Deon Lett Ministries focuses on transforming lives with God’s unlimited love and power and expanding the kingdom of God locally and globally.
Believing that the church has a vital role to play in the end time outpouring of the Spirit of God, Pastors Deon and Carmen Lett carry a mantle to reach the broken, revive God’s people and expand the Kingdom of God on earth. The result is life-changing transformations through salvation, deliverance, discipleship and empowerment.
He also has planned, overseen and orchestrated many city-wide outreaches providing goods and services to the community. His church has an outreach ministry for the homeless and hopeless of where they provide food, clothing and spiritual guidance.
Lett leads mission trips to Haiti several times a year where they go into the mountains and feed and clothe adults and children. He serves on several national and international boards, holds an honorary doctorate and has been in full-time ministry for more than 30 years. Married with two children, they currently reside in Pinellas County.
Pastor Deon Lett received the Spiritual & Religion Award.
Voted an “Up and Comer” by “Modern Healthcare Magazine” in 2012, Nichols is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, which signifies his expertise, experience and commitment to continuing education and professional development.
He has led Northside Hospital as the chief executive officer since June of 2013. Nichols held multiple executive level positions in HCA since joining the company in 2001. His tenure includes serving as CEO of John Randolph Medical Center (Hopewell, Va.); CEO of CJW Medical Center (Richmond, Va.) and as Associate Administrator of West Florida Hospital (Pensacola).
Nichols received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from South Carolina State University, and his Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Indiana University. He is a member of the National Association of Health Services Executives and was named one of the Richmond, Va., area’s Top 40 Under 40, as well as a Top Healthcare Leaders Under 40 by “Richmond Magazines.”
He is active in the community, serving as a board member of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving on the executive cabinet for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.
He and his wife Andrea are the proud parents of have two sons, Donovan and Cameron.
Dia Nichols received the Business & Leadership Award.
While attending high school at Canterbury School of Florida, Dr. Confident spent time training with one of St. Petersburg’s most prominent family physicians, Dr. Frederic Guerrier.
He went on to obtain an undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida. He then studied abroad in England and earned his medical degree from St. Christopher’s College of Medicine.
Upon his returned to the United States, he completed his residency training in family medicine at Columbus Regional hospital in Columbus, Ga. During his residency, he traveled to Haiti to provide much needed medical care to the victims of the massive earthquake.
Once he completed his residency, Dr. Confident worked in the prison system providing medical care for a year before returning to St. Petersburg to start working at Professional Health Care Of Pinellas.
He is now working hard to provide excellent healthcare to his community.
Dr. Leonard Confident received the Health & Awareness Award.
The Cultural Competence and Inclusion Director at Cox Target Media, Smith has developed a cultural competency rubric that shows how diversity coupled with inclusion creates opportunities for innovation, drives revenue and enhances recruitment, retention and professional development of employees, franchisees and suppliers channels.
He has over 25 years of experience as a corporate finance and marketing professional, and is also the Managing Consultant and CEO of Carlton Consulting, Inc., a cultural competence and marketing advisory firm specializing in strategic planning, capacity building and cross-cultural marketing for both profit and not-for-profit enterprises.
Smith’s most recent engagement was becoming the executive director of The Jeff Johnson Institute for Urban Development, whose focus is to train the young urban professionals for leadership. Additionally, he served as the COO of Jeff’s Nation, a consulting firm with offices in Maryland and Ohio and whose specialty is media and message consulting.
He has consulted for numerous Fortune 100 advertising agencies, public relations firms and consumer product companies globally.
Before founding Carlton Consulting, Inc., he led all marketing functions for 216 Entertainment and Recording, LLC, a small cutting edge agency specializing in youth and ethnic marketing.
Smith educational background consists of a MBA from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University.
Erik C. Smith received the Business & Innovation Award.
Dr. Kanika and Terry Tomalin were married June 19, 1999, in St. Petersburg. They met while both working as journalists for the St. Petersburg Times.
Kanika serves as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida’s fourth largest city. She was appointed in 2014 by Mayor Rick Kriseman. Terry is the Outdoors and Fitness editor for the Tampa Bay Times. A well-known adventurer, his journalism has taken him around the world.
They are the parents of two children, Kai and Nia Tomalin. Kai is a 14-year-old ninth grader at the Canterbury School of Florida. Nia is a 12-year-old sixth grader at The Canterbury School. Both are honor students who excel at track, cross country, karate and piano.
Kai earned the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout earlier this year, an accomplishment often achieved at 17 or 18 years of age, and Nia has been awarded Superior and Excellent ratings as a member of her Junior Thespian Troupe this year.
The family attends St. Thomas Episcopal Church and is committed to various community service in their spare time, in keeping with their commitment to give back to the wonderful community of St. Petersburg, at least as much as it has given to them.
The Tomalin family received the Family of the Year Award.
A transplant from Ottawa, Ohio, Johnson Hussar has been a Florida resident since 1967. Employed in the Pinellas County School system for 23 years, she has dedicated her life activism.
Homeowners Association President and Crime Watch chair
Volunteer of the Year, GFWC Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs
Pinellas Education Foundation recognition for 20 years as a Take Stock in Children ambassador
Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Safety Harbor Citizens Academy
Pinellas County Schools, Special Achievement Award
City of Safety Harbor Citizen of the Year
Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Co-Chair, GFWC Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs
Featured speaker for The Florida Association of Partners in Education, Florida PTA, Florida Department of Education, General Federation of Women’s Clubs
Created the county’s first HIV/AIDS program where parents and educators from 16 elementary, middle and high schools attended a five-panel forum
On the steering committee for Parent University, a school and community program that features over 80 workshops for parents and guardians.
Created Macy’s Light the Way, a partnership with Macy’s, which has resulted in over one million dollars of marked out of stock goods being donated to families and community groups
The Cougar Closet, Countryside High School, helps over 600 low income students with free clothing and school supplies
She secures clothing to the Homeless Missions in St. Petersburg and Clearwater