Florida Tech’s weVENTURE Business Center Unveils ‘Women Who Rock’ Award Winners

Florida Tech's Women’s Business Center Hosted Luncheon to Celebrate All Nominees

Juanita Jackson, second from right, won the Zonta Yellow Rose Award for Excellence in Community Service at the 2024 Women Who Rock Awards. She is joined by, from left, Dr. Ross Clevens from presenting sponsor Clevens Face and Body Specialists, Susan Erickson from weVENTURE and award presenter Cathy Greene from Zonta of Melbourne.(Florida Tech image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech’s weVENTURE Women’s Business Center at the Bisk College of Business and presenting sponsor Clevens Face and Body Specialists announced the winners of the 2024 Women Who Rock Awards at sold-out luncheon March 19.

All 68 nominees were celebrated at the event in honor of Women’s History Month at the Hilton Rialto in Melbourne, where more than 400 people attended.

In her opening remarks, weVENTURE Executive Director Kathryn Rudloff noted that while American women have made great progress, there is still a notable lack of gender diversity in management and leadership positions across all industries.

“These awards celebrate the tenacious women who, despite the odds, have ascended to leadership positions and continue to advocate for the women coming up the ranks behind them,” she said.

Here are the winners of the 2024 Women Who Rock Awards:

Small Business Owner of the Year

Presented by Mica Layne, Bank of America

Rebekah Coates, owner, Fit4Mom. Coates is the leader of a movement that supports hundreds of women across Brevard County. She and a team of 12 instructors lead outdoor fitness classes where women are invited to bring their young children.

They make exercise fun and provide much-needed community for women during the most challenging years of their lives. Whether they are professional women juggling work and kids, women on maternity leave, or stay at home mothers, Fit4Mom helps nurture mothers physically and mentally.

Coates is also an active member of the weVENTURE WBC community and is passionate about supporting other female entrepreneurs. She has received nominations for weVENTURE recognition the last four years, a testament to the growing community impact of Fit4Mom.

Executive of the Year

Presented by Derek Carnicom, PNC Bank

Janie McDermott, vice president, chief human resources office and principal, BRPH. McDermott serves on the board of directors for the employee-owned firm, the first and only woman to hold a board seat.

As CHRO, she is instrumental in shaping the culture of the firm, ensuring a supportive and welcoming environment for all team members, particularly women and minorities.

Under her leadership, the firm has repeatedly been named a “Best Place to Work” by employees. She is responsible for driving the company’s in-person, hybrid and remote work options to promote a “family first” atmosphere in which team members can work a flexible schedule to support their young children and/or aging parents, prioritize their health and participate in charitable endeavors.

McDermott has spent her career rising through the ranks in male-dominated engineering and facilities industries. Prior to joining BRPH, she worked at Johnson Controls and spent several years at Harris Corporation (now L3Harris Technologies).

Since joining BRPH in 2012, she has facilitated the firm’s fast-paced growth, increasing the number of team members by 66% to 315 and doubling the number of offices from five to 10. Over the past decade, revenue at the firm has grown by 380% percent and stock prices have risen more than 568% percent.

Excellence in Mentorship

Presented by Kelly Swartz, Widerman Malek

Kodey Bogart, CEO, KB Solutions, LLC

Bogart has had an impressive military career, as well as working in private aviation. She served our country as a combat veteran and has earned numerous achievements in aviation, including airline transport pilot and a master’s degree in aviation safety.

In addition to being CEO, she is also the founder and president of the Space Coast Women in Aviation Alliance and active in the Central Florida Business Aviation Association, where she chairs the Safety Committee.

Bogart recognized aviation and aerospace are critical to the Space Coast economy and that these industries are facing critical workforce shortages. So, in 2022 she began promoting aviation and aerospace careers to a K-12 audience: Girls in Aviation Day was launched.

She also wrote and published “Helo Girls,” the first in a series of mission-based books for children showcasing careers in aviation and aerospace. Bogart teaches aviation safety courses at Florida Tech, where she is alsoa student in the Aviation Doctoral (AvD) program.

Women Trending in Tech

Presented by Carmen Robertson, L3Harris Technologies

Kimberly Alkire, director of cyber wellness and chief information security officer, Health First. Alkire has risen quickly in her career at Health First: from security architect to director of cyber wellness to also, as of January 2024, chief information security officer.

Alkire leverages her extensive experience in healthcare, financial and government industries to develop and implement technology and cybersecurity strategies that reduce risk to Health First and the patients it serves.

She also developed a mentoring program at Health First, specifically for women in tech, and founded and currently presides over the ISC2 Space Coast Chapter, a local affiliate of the world’s leading association for cybersecurity professionals.

Excellence in Caregiving

Presented by Dr. Jeff Stalnaker, Health First

Jennifer Barton, founder and CEO, Seniors Helping Seniors. Seniors Helping Seniors Brevard provides in-home care services to brighten the lives of seniors who benefit from a helping hand and a friendly smile. Barton manages a team of exceptional caregivers, who are seniors themselves, to provide compassionate support, beautifully vibrant moments, and shared experiences.

In addition to the hundreds of patients they care for, Barton’s organization has been a source of meaningful employment for 98 seniors.

Zonta Yellow Rose Award for Excellence in Community Service

Presented by Zonta of Melbourne Board Member Cathy Greene

Juanita Jackson, President, Brevard Zetas. The Brevard Zetas is a dynamic group of women dedicated to community service and uplifting others.

As president, Jackson is instrumental in supporting national initiatives, hosting local fundraisers to contribute to national organizations such as the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Under her leadership, the chapter is also a powerful force for good locally: In partnership with Brevard Public Schools, the Brevard Zetas adopted several elementary schools, providing much-needed volunteers and classroom supplies.

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