Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Spectrum Awards For Women honor outstanding leaders

Nicole Russeau, Georgette Kuch, Jessi Berrin and Mary Snow at the 22nd annual Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Awards For Women.
Nicole Russeau, Georgette Kuch, Jessi Berrin and Mary Snow at the 22nd annual Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Awards For Women.

Nearly 300 community leaders attended the 22nd annual Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Awards For Women to honor outstanding leaders in our community. The American Red Cross South Florida Region is the sponsor of this prestigious ceremony.

Swanee DiMare was honorary chair; Penny Stamps philanthropic chair. Romero Britto donated his original artwork, American Woman, for the Spectrum Awards held at Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove.

Spectrum Awards honorees represent the mission and humanitarian principles of American Red Cross, including Humanity, Impartiality, Independence, Unity, Neutrality, and Voluntary Service.

“We are honored to recognize the remarkable achievements of these women,” said Phillis Oeters, president of the Council of Chairmen of the Spectrum Awards in a news release. “Their dedicated work to improving our community and help others is making an extraordinary impact in South Florida and in medical research throughout the world.”

Emmy-winning television journalist Ileana Bravo hosted the awards presentation. Alfred Sanchez, executive director of the American Red Cross Greater Miami & The Keys Chapter, addressed the crowd.

The 2015 honorees: Tracey Berkowitz, Florida Blue Philanthropy Award; Becky Roper Matkov, Trish and Dan Bell Chairmen's Award; Marianna K. Baum, Cervera Real Estate Ambassador Award; Karen Peterson Corash, Bank of America Cultural Award; Virginia Emmons, Royal Caribbean International Education Award; Laura Kozelouzek, Mercantil Commercebank Entrepreneurial Award; Dr. Tina Carroll-Scott, Baptist Health South Florida Healthcare Award; Carolyn Cauceglia, White & Case LLP Hospitality Award; Diana Brooks, Ethel and W. George Kennedy Family Foundation Volunteerism Award; Elena Luca, Barbara Nelson Red Cross Service Award; Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Margaret and Rick Tonkinson Community Service Award; and Maite Iribarren, Swanee and Paul DiMare Youth Award.

Big book sale

Come visit this sale of great books at great prices hosted by the South Miami-Dade Chapter of the Brandeis National Committee. More than 2,000 books will be offered for sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 15, at Publix near Southwest 146th Street and US 1.

This popular annual event is known for its excellent selection including current and classic fiction, cookbooks, children's books, art books, biographies, and history books about Florida, the United States and the world. The enthusiastic BNC members, who have as their motto, “old books for new,” have spent the year collecting and sorting the books to prepare for the sale.

Power of the Purse

The Women’s Fund annual signature event, The Power of the Purse Luncheon, will be held March 13 at the Hilton Miami Downtown. Attendance will include Miami-Dade County community leaders, corporate executives, elected officials, celebrities and professional philanthropic-minded women and men. All are motivated to help bring about equality for women and girls. Businesswoman and fashion icon Elle Macpherson will host.

“This is a cause very near to my heart and I am honored to be an integral part of this important event,” said event co-chair Tiffany Zientz Heckler in a news release. “And, we are all honored to have Ms. Macpherson, a fierce advocate for women’s and children’s rights and a true role model, as the Master of Ceremonies at this year’s luncheon.”

Heckler oversees the financial operations of LSN Partners and Llorente & Heckler, P.A. She previously served as development director for the Women’s Fund.

To buy tickets or for more information regarding corporate partnerships, go to events at or call the Women’s Fund at 305-441-0506. Seating is limited.

Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award

Coral Gables-based law firm Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton has announced that founding partner John W. Kozyak has been awarded the 2015 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award by the Florida Bar. Kozyak was honored for his voluntary contributions and dedication to diversity.

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga made the presentation at the Supreme Court of Florida in Tallahassee. The Tobias Simon Award is the highest statewide pro bono award. It was created in 1982 and named after late Miami civil rights lawyer Tobias Simon.

“I am truly honored to have received this award by the Florida Bar,” said Kozyak in a news release. “It has been extremely rewarding on a personal level to represent the poor in pro bono matters and match minority law students with judges and lawyers to serve as their mentors. I know the importance of a good mentor and I have wanted to increase diversity in the Florida Bar by helping students succeed in law school and find a job.”

Kozyak and his wife, Barbara Silverman, founded and oversee the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation, a nonprofit organization that “promotes awareness in the legal community and the need to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession by providing minority law students with mentors.”

The foundation’s yearly picnic is celebrated with more than 3,500 attorneys, judges and law students from schools across Florida, and helps provide minority law school students with mentorship opportunities.

Tree Society talk

Learn about David Fairchild’s expedition at this talk “Chang Ho Revisited--Flowering Trees of the Great Southeast,” presented by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden director Carl Lewis at 7:30 p.m., March 9 at the Garden’s Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables.

Visitors are welcome at no cost. Become a member of host Tropical Flowering Tree Society, for $30 a year. The group meets on the second Monday of the month at Fairchild. Programs include speakers, rare flowering tree auctions, bloom table, and refreshments. For information call TFTS at 305-389-5404, or check out or the TFTS Facebook page.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at