Tampa Bay Business and 
Professional Women

2011 Dollars at Work

07/19/2012 10:47 PM | Heather Brown (Administrator)

What a difference made in the lives of nine women!  Last October, through generous donations to our 2011 Networking Night, the proceeds raised for the Tampa Bay BPW Foundation were awarded to Tampa Bay women as educational scholarships.



(Front row) Maria Salazar, Nicole Martingano (not pictured Erica Bradley)

(Back row)Linda Passmore, Tanya Wilkins, Melanie Roux, Jessica Gibbs, Nikole Riley and Jessilyn Thiboult

Jessilyn is a third year law student at Stetson University College of Law, working toward obtaining her Juris Doctorate degree, expected in May 2012.  Her undergraduate major was Public Relations/Political Science at University of Florida.  She graduated early and then interned for the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign and worked in the offices of several politicians and governmental officials in Washington, DC, and Tampa.  She now works part-time on campus while carrying a full load of courses.  Her goals include working for women’s human rights through the law.  Jessilyn is a second year BPW Scholarship winner. 

Tanya is a Hillsborough Community College student working toward her Liberal Arts degree with an emphasis in Business.  She expects to receive her AA in 2012 and will then pursue a degree in Accounting, her long time goal.  Self-disciplined, she lived alone after her family moved from New York and, with the freedom to do whatever she pleased, diligently pursued her high school education and graduated with honors.  Her scholastic performance confirms she is devoted to learning; she is a strong leader; and she will be an asset to the business world.  Tanya is a second year BPW Scholarship winner.

Linda remains undaunted in pursuit of achieving her educational goal of graduating from Erwin Technical Institute in September of 2012 with a major in Computer Repair & Networking. Linda is a single mom in mid life who has adopted two children. While being a full time student she has the help of her family close by so that she can provide her children with a strong secure foundation.  When she is not in class or studying she is an active volunteer at Academy Prep Center of Tampa and was honored with the 2010 Parent Volunteer Award.  She began her higher education in 1996 at Strayer University where she attended school for 3 years.  Linda continues to rely upon scholarships and US Pell Grants as she pursues her degree. 

Nikole is a single mother raising 4 children, working full time and attending Nova Southeastern University to obtain an M.I.B.A. (Master’s in International Business Administration).  During undergrad studies at University of Phoenix Nikole worked 2 jobs to as she says “make ends meet” and graduated with a B.S. in Business Management. Nikole is an L’Oreal Club Program Administrator.  Obtaining a position with L’Oreal as a Global Development International Strategist is Nikole’s career goal.  Receiving her MBA with a minimum of a B in each course will open the door at L’Oreal for Nikole to obtain her goal.  Nikole is also the 2012 Tampa Bay Business and Professional Women Young Careerist and will compete at the State level in June.

Maria will be the first person in her family to receive a higher education.  She is a single mother raising her daughter and attending Southwest Florida College working towards a degree in Criminal Justice.  Maria expects to graduate in July 2013.  She wants to work with the Child Protective Service helping children that have been neglected.  She volunteers in her community and in a local day care in addition to her educational studies.  Maria maintains a 3.89 GPA and has been on the Dean’s List for the last two years.

Melanie was a full time flight attendant for 20 years with American Airlines. After a routine surgery gone terribly wrong, Melanie was no longer able to perform her job and had to quit due to medical reasons.  Now at age 45 she is faced with reinventing herself into a career that she can perform.  Melanie is working towards a degree in Cosmetology and is on track to graduate in October 2012 from Erwin Technical.  She depends on social security disability, scholarships and borrowing from family and friends to pay for her education costs.  Melanie says it is her belief that a good education that focuses on skill development and business management can lead to a long and prosperous career.

Jessica is a single mother of 2 children and is working full time as a legal assistant at a local law firm while attending Southwest Florida College seeking an Associate of Science degree in Paralegal Criminal Justice.  Jessica graduates with a 3.44 GPA in March of 2012.  She is the first child in a family of eight to graduate from high school and to further her education.  Jessica also volunteers 20 hours a month at Hands on Tampa giving back to her community.

Erica is enrolled in the Technical Management program, with a concentration in Health Services Management at Devry University and maintains a 4.0 GPA.   Erica also works full time at a local hospital as a medical records analyst. Erica wants to use her extensive background in healthcare, institutional research and business to pursue a career in clinical research auditing with the goal of becoming an independent contractor and employing her own staff.  She says it is her intent to create a company in this female-dominated field based upon the core values of honesty, transparency, equality and quality in service.  She is expected to graduate in April 2012. 

Joanne is a second year student at Stetson University College of Law and working towards graduating in May 2013 with her Juris Doctorate degree.  In 2006 Joanne endured a traumatic brain injury and other life threatening injuries after being hit head on by a drunken driver.  Joanne has turned a tragic event into a positive impact on her life and the lives of others.  She has created a presentation about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving and speaks at schools around the nation.  Her motivation behind earning a law degree is to change the way young people feel about drinking and driving.


These women were described by others as persistent, dedicated, energetic, intelligent, driven, determined, responsible, and passionate.  The selection Committee found them to be all that and more.  Each have overcome personal issues and are diligently working toward their respective goals of higher education.  They each maintain a high GPA; have proven financial need, and a commitment to their education.  THANK YOU for your support that allows the Tampa Bay BPW Foundation to financially support women.  We hope you will join us at the 2012 Networking Night, October 25th, where you will meet many of these women.



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