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  • 11/06/2017 3:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Get to know another new EMERGE Lakeland member.  She's creative and loves the beach!  Read below to learn more about her!

    Q. Are you originally from this area? If not, where from? 

    A. I was born in New Jersey, lived in Maryland for a few years, ended up in Long Island, New York, before I came to Lakeland. I call Shoreham, NY, my hometown since that's where I've lived the longest.

    Q. What do you do? 

    A. I'm an Associate Producer at Indie Atlantic Films. 

    Q. What do you like most about your job/profession? 

    A. I absolutely love what I do! I think what I enjoy the most about working at Indie Atlantic Films is that I'm surrounded by an amazing, talented team of passionate creatives/storytellers. I've learned so much from all of them these past few years and each of them has helped me grow in the film industry. Also, I love getting to know our clients and hear their story. It's so rewarding to create a film that shares their experiences.

    Q. What are some of your hobbies? 

    A. My all time favorite thing to do is go to the beach. If I'm not there, I'm usually designing, photographing, writing, or reading. Anything that's creative and/or challenging is pretty much my hobby.

    Q. What’s your involvement in the community? 

    A. Around our community, I've been volunteering my photography and design services to some local non-profit organizations, and creating designs for local businesses and friends. I also recently joined the Marketing Committee for EMERGE. I'm hoping to get more involved in our community.

    Q. If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going? 

    A. Anything really, I love meeting new people! If I had to pick specific topics, obviously anything that has to do with film/TV (Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live, to name a few), coffee, or music.

    Q. What do you like most about Lakeland? 
    A. Hands down, I love the people here. They work hard, and want to see others in our community succeed.
    Q. Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland? 

    A. I joined EMERGE Lakeland primarily to network and meet new people, as well as become more involved in the community.

    Q. Anything else you want to add? 

    A. I'm looking forward to what's in store for this upcoming year. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!


  • 10/09/2017 2:27 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    Since 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been changing children's lives by matching them with caring adults to guide them on a path to success. EMERGE Lakeland members now have an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a local child through this mentoring program that requires as little as one hour a week.

    We are joining forces with United Way of Central Florida's Young Leaders Society and the Student United Way from Lakeland Polk State Collegiate High School to provide at least 10 mentors for a two-year minimum commitment to Oscar J Pope Elementary students. The program actually has a need for 29 mentors, so please encourage your friends and colleagues to join you!

    The first step is attending an upcoming Big Orientation and Training Session (no RSVP required):
    If you have any questions or would like to see more training date in November, please contact Angie Pattison at AngieP@BBBSTampaBay.org or (863) 220-1116. Once you complete the mandatory training, background check, and fingerprinting (provided by BBBS), you will be matched with a student (typically a third or fourth grader). To learn more about BBBS, please visit BBBSTampaBay.org.
    http://BBBSTampaBay.org
  • 10/05/2017 3:39 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    Time to get to know another new EMERGE Lakeland member! You'll never believe all the places Andrew has lived! Read below to learn more about him.

    Q: Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?
    A: I was born and raised in Detroit, MI. I have lived in Las Vegas, Miami, Thailand, Hungary, and Malta before moving to the area. I did a lot of regional traveling in each area as well.

    Q: What do you do?
    A: I launched a Real Estate Private Equity Fund last year which I work actively on to both raise capital and find sufficient investment opportunities to deploy the capital raised. We raised 200K at launch and are currently up to almost 900K in capital raised in under 1 year.

    Q: What do you like most about your job/profession?
    A: It's challenging!

    Q: What are some of your hobbies?
    A: I was a professional poker player for 9 years and still sometimes play for fun, including a recent 4th place right here in Florida. I enjoy most forms of competition.

    Q: What’s your involvement in the community?
    A: My involvement is mostly business related through both counsel of friends/acquaintances, and the employment of others.

    Q: If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?
    A: They should ask me about how alternative investments work (but disclaimer Andrew is not a registered investment advisor and does not hold himself out to be one) and how they can compliment various portfolio strategies. Alternatives are pretty misunderstood and most of the advice out there is pretty poor.

    Q: What do you like most about Lakeland?
    A: It's a very dynamic city making most real estate decision quite tricky and speculative, but thats okay, I enjoy puzzles!

    Q: Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?
    A: I want to be better at networking.

  • 09/17/2017 1:36 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    EMERGE Lakeland is all about networking and connecting with your peers, that's why each month we like to spotlight a new member. This month we're highlighting Josh Breed. Be sure to introduce yourself next time you see this California native at an EMERGE event!

    Q: Are you originally from this area? If not, where from? 
    A: I moved to Lakeland when I got married. I'm originally from San Jose, CA

    Q: What do you do? 
    A: I work at Southeastern University as the Student Financial Services Counselor for our online and graduate programs. 

    Q: What do you like most about your job/profession?
    A: I like the advising and counseling portion of my job. I like helping students get through one of the most stressful parts of going to college: finances. 

    Q: What are some of your hobbies? 
    A: I like cooking, traveling and running.

    Q: What’s your involvement in the  community? 
    A: I am eager to get to know and get involved in the community that I have grown to love and call home.

    Q: If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?
    A: Traveling, grad school (I'm finishing up my MBA degree in December!)

    Q: What do you like most about Lakeland?
    A: I love how Lakeland has the resources of a big city, while keeping the small town charm. I also love the pride people have in the city. 

    Q: Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland? 
    A: To expand my network of young professionals and to get to know the community through its business leaders.

  • 08/01/2017 4:28 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    by: Melaina Chromy, EMERGE Marketing Committee

    We have all heard of the phrase “guilt free shopping”. This phrase is meant to convince shoppers that they are getting a great deal and that they don’t need to be concerned with how much they may spend. Imagine if retailers tried attracting customers with the phrase “empowering shopping”. There’s a business in Lakeland that is doing just that—and it’s those they impact who promote the phrase.


    Created four and a half years ago in Lakeland Florida, Top Buttons Boutique combines the best of our community’s creativity and heart for service. Top Buttons is a non-profit organization that sells high end thrift clothing and accessories. This unique boutique is also a nonprofit organization that’s proceeds go to helping at risk women. Through fashion, Top Buttons hopes to empower women and give them tools necessary for success.

    Top Buttons CEO, Sarah Powers, was initially inspired to open a boutique when she saw the clothing options available for her young daughters.

    “As a mother of four, three of whom are girls… I was tired of the sexually explicit and inappropriate content that is often associated with the fashion and media industry…Top Buttons came about from my desire to provide an alternate fashion resource… One that considered the strengths and virtues of young women.”

    Powers’ vision for Top Buttons quickly evolved to meet the needs of all women in our community. According to Powers, “Many young women do not have the same resources and opportunities as others. We can tell people what to do… But we also need to equip.”

    Through the Wearing Confidence Program, Top Buttons provides professional clothing and training for at risk women. Organizations such as PACE Center for Girls, Boys and Girls Club, Echo Ministries, and Youth for Christ nominate women to enroll in the program. Each month more than 30 women are served and Top Buttons spends an average of $5,000 equipping these women with clothes and other services. The following services are provided for women enrolled in the Wearing Confidence Program:

    •  Personal styling services.
    • At least one wardrobe makeover with up to $75 of quality proper fitting attire.
    • $20 Bonus voucher to receive more clothing.
    • Free makeup which has been carefully selected for their skin tone.
    • Educational sessions on resume writing, budgeting/personal finance, and workplace appearance and professionalism.

    There is currently a waitlist of organizations seeking to enroll in the Wearing Confidence Program. The popularity of this program serves as an example of the impact Top Buttons is making in the lives of young women throughout Central Florida.

    You can be a part of Top Buttons success and impact. An easy way to support Top Buttons is to stop by and shop—Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. All proceeds go right back into running the boutique and sustaining the Wearing Confidence Program. You can donate your own clothing, give online at www.topbuttons.org/donate, and even text the word “buttons” to “50155” to donate and help the boutique continue to thrive.

    Check Top Buttons out at 236 N Kentucky Ave. in Lakeland to see what all the hype is about and be a part of this transformational organization.

  • 08/01/2017 9:59 AM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    Each month we introduce you to one of our new members. This month's spotlight is Nick McGowan, Director of Business Development of Woyster Media Inc. 

    Q: Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?
    A: I'm originally from Philadelphia, lived there for about 32 years then spent a year in Portland OR and moved to Lakeland this past June.

    Q: What do you do?
    A: I handle Business Development for Woyster Media, Inc.,  a family owned company in Lakeland that helps small businesses grow through Social Media, Digital Marketing and Web services.

    Q:  What do you like most about your job/profession?
    A: I love the people! We work with incredible clients, all with different stories and paths on their way toward success. By being their marketing team, or an extension of, we're blessed to be able to help serve and support them as they work everyday to achieve their dreams. I also love and appreciate the entire WoysterCrew who make magic happen everyday! 

    Q: What are some of your hobbies?
    A: I'm a musician, sci-fi geek and avid podcast devourer with a deep love for my family and thirst for adventure.

    Q: What’s your involvement in the community?
    A: I'm an active member of RGA Lakeland and I joined EMERGE to learn of new opportunities to meet and serve the community.

    Q: If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?
    A: I can always talk about business, marketing, technology, music, sci-fi and basketball... anytime any place.

    Q: What do you like most about Lakeland?
    A: Since moving here a few weeks ago I've explored and met with some local small businesses. I love the amount of passion they have for their craft and I always appreciate the good ol' southern hospitality.

    Q: Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?
    A: To learn more about the community I'm a part of and meet others that are working to make a lasting impact.

    Q: Anything else you want to add? 
    A: Thank you for the opportunity and the hard work everyone at EMERGE does for putting all of this together.

  • 06/02/2017 9:40 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)
    EMERGE Lakeland is all about making connections, that's why each month we highlight a new member for you to get to know. Be sure to check out this Q&A and say hello to Tim when you see him at an event!

    Q: Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?
    A: Yes, I’m a native Lakelander!

    Q: What do you do? 

    A: Mortgage Loan Originator with Compass Mortgage, LLC

    Q: What do you like most about your job/profession? 
    A: I really enjoy helping people realize their dreams of home ownership, and my co-workers at Compass are amazing.

    Q: What are some of your hobbies?
    A: I sing and play guitar, and am currently working on an instrumental music project. I’m also training for the Chicago Marathon!

    Q: Are you involved in the  community? 
    A: Yes! Member of Lakeland Runners Club, EMERGE Lakeland, and Lakeland Realtors. I’m also a Volunteer with the Polk County School Board and coach at Lakeland City Baseball.

    Q: If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going? 
    A:  Anything but small talk…I hate small talk.

    Q: What do you like most about Lakeland? 
    A: The burgeoning arts/music/culture scene is great, and I enjoy the recreational opportunities here. Lakeland is family-friendly as well. I’m married with three kids, and there are so many things we can do together.

    Q: Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?
    A: I’m in a new profession and I want to meet others in my industry and related fields. There are also great opportunities to help others through EMERGE, such as Habitat for Humanity projects.

    Welcome Tim, we're happy to have you in EMERGE!

  • 05/04/2017 7:22 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    Each month EMERGE Lakeland spotlights one of its new members. This month we are getting to know Amber Howell. Read below to find out some possible topics of conversation when you meet this self-proclaimed social butterfly at an upcoming event.

    Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?

    I was born in Jackson, Mississippi but at a very young age my parents relocated to Tampa where I grew up. Once I was old enough I moved to Lakeland.

     What do you do?
    I work for GTE which is a local Credit Union. I am a Member Experience Officer and in my position I advocate for any current or potential members who have questions or need assistance opening accounts, applying for loans and assist in simple account maintenance. I also work closely with our members and community partners to build and maintain relationships.

    What do you like most about your job/profession?
    GTE considers community involvement huge and fully supports me regarding engagement with in the Polk County and surrounding areas. This is my what I admire most about my role. I meet so many people from different walks of life and most important of all I am able to say I have made a difference with these individuals.

    What are some of your hobbies?
    My hobbies are anything having to do with being outside! I participate in a lot of neighborhood clean-ups where I get to enjoy that wonderful Florida weather. I am a total foodie, so trying out new restaurants make me complete.

    What’s your involvement in the  community?
    My involvement within the community include youth build events as well as holding financial literacy classes for all generations. I also get the privilege to focus on Community Partnerships. 

    If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?
    If you were to see me at an EMERGE event you can bring any topic to me as I am an open book and willing to talk about anything under the sun. (I am a talker/chatty Cathy/social butterfly, etc.). I have great knowledge of banking as I have been in the business for ages so that is always a great convo starter too.

    What do you like most about Lakeland?
    What do I not love about Lakeland??!!! The people here are some of the most amazing and friendly people ever! Downtown has the greatest views and shoppes and there are so many things to take part in as the community works so nicely to come together. LOVE IT!!!!

    Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?
    I joined emerge like most others to meet new people and network with other Lakelanders. There is nothing like meeting like-minded people with goals in mind.

  • 04/23/2017 10:53 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    Ultimate Dance Center has an opening that needs to be filled ASAP. Click below to download the PDF with more information about the Administrative Assistant position and how to apply.

    Administrative Assistant.pdf

  • 03/30/2017 3:01 PM | Jessica Lawson (Administrator)

    1. Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?
    I joined EMERGE because I am new to Lakeland and am looking forward to meeting and getting to know my peers in this great city.

    2. Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?
    I am originally from the Poconos in Pennsylvania but have lived on the South East coast of Florida (in Jensen Beach/Stuart area) since I was 16. I love living in Florida!​

    3. What do you do?
    I am a Real Estate agent at Talk Florida Living. I encourage people to choose to live in Lakeland as a great central location with plenty of things to do for all types and all ages.

    4. What do you like most about your job?
    I meet exciting people from all walks of life and help them find their dream homes.

    5. What do you like most about Lakeland?
    I love the small town feel and cool vibes of this ever-growing city.

    6. What are some of your hobbies?
    My main hobby is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I train under Fabio Novaes here in Lakeland. At 31 years of age I competed in my first ever tournament (last week) and placed 2nd. While I dedicate most of my free time to training, I do enjoy yoga and long walks with my Labrador/hound mix named Knives Chow.

    7. If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?
    I love talking to people, please come and say hello. If you mention fitness or jiu-jitsu we will be instant friends lol

    8. Anything else you want to add? 
    I love Lakeland!

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