A Message From The President

October 2015

th-4Our Retreat in Winter Park was a fabulous kick-off for this Athena year. From shopping and great food and drink on Park Avenue to hearing moving personal stories from some of our Athena sisters, it was a wonderful weekend. Among the many memories created, the highlight was our special guest and speaker, Janet Echelman, who spent the entire weekend with us. Janet is many things – a renowned artist who creates experiential sculpture at the scale of buildings that transform with wind and light, #1 on Oprah Magazine’s List of 50 Things that Make You Say Wow!, an Athena Young Woman of Promise and Anne Kantor’s daughter. Janet’s story is entertaining and inspiring, from Tampa to Harvard to Bali to Boston. Her work is recognized worldwide for its innovation and imagination. We were so impressed with Janet and her work that an Athena working group is being formed with the mission of acquiring a permanent Echelman installation in downtown Tampa. This is a unique opportunity to celebrate a native Tampan (and “honorary” Athenian), raise the profile of The Athena Society, and add iconic public art to our downtown area as it continues its transformation through redevelopment. If you are interested in working on this endeavor, please speak up and join the group!

Another delight of every retreat is the chance to get to know our new members. I had the pleasure of rooming with Gail Auerbach, a new member, and it was a treat to become acquainted with her. I invite you to learn more about Gail and her accomplishments below, and we will share details of all our new members in the President’s message throughout the year.

Gail is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources with Masonite International. Masonite is a public company headquartered in Tampa. It is a $1.8 billion global manufacturing business with 65 plant locations and 10,000 employees. When Gail joined Masonite, the company employed few women in professional roles and none in leadership roles. Under her leadership, gender representation has improved with women now representing 25% of these positions. Gail has led many initiatives to support working women and parents in the companies where she has worked. She holds a B.S. in Communications and HR from Illinois State University and an EMBA from Goizuetta Business School at Emory University.

Gail was proposed by Miriam Mason and co-sponsored by Amelia Campbell and Caroline Black Sikorske.