March 8 is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. The Sunshine City is extraordinarily lucky because of the artistic, ambitious and inspired women who call St. Pete home. They have left an indelible mark on the residents of the Burg by creating jobs, breaking barriers and providing opportunities for men and women in industries they harbor a true passion for.
Today, we look at the women who continue to redefine what it means to be influential and who continue to shape our city.
Diane Bailey Morton
Diane Bailey Morton has just been appointed Executive Director of The Warehouse Arts District. The Warehouse Arts District is a non-profit organization with the goal to convert some of St.Petersburg’s land into a thriving community for artists. This includes affordable art studios as well as art education. The Warehouse Arts District has contributed to St. Pete having a thriving arts scene and providing an excellent destination for tourism. Diane has also served on the board of the American Stage, Great Explorations and freeFall Theater. Diane has been practicing law in the Tampa Bay area for the past 30 years including serving as General Counsel for C1Bank, now Bank of the Ozarks.
Photo by Joey Clay Photography
Jenny Miller and Katelyn Grady
Jenny Miller and Katelyn Grady are a married couple who took a leap of faith and transformed an old ice factory into a yoga company. Just last week, the Body Electric Yoga Co. celebrated its fifth year and continues to thrive in St. Pete. Beginning with just four teachers, the BE now has 30 teachers as well as ten on staff. They now have gone beyond their studio and taken yoga all over St. Pete and Tampa through special events, usually free to the public. Jenny Miller and Katelyn Grady truly show that following your heart to do what you love, even if it means taking risks, will pay off.
Photo by Kelly Nash Photography
Ya La’Ford is a local professor, visual painter, installation artist and muralist. Ya began her art journey in St. Pete and has now done shows all over the world. She owns studios in both St. Pete and New York. She is an advocate to keep the city full of art and is responsible for many murals, paintings and installations scattered through St. Petersburg, inspiring others to take part in the arts. Her art can spans the Burg, Boston and all over the world.
Sarah Perrier is one-half of the dynamic duo behind Kahwa Coffee, voted Best of the Bay for 8 years in a row. Kahwa Coffee Roasting has been in St.Petersburg since 2006. Sarah started her career as a professional dancer with the Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia before coming down to St. Pete with her husband, Raphael, to open their coffee company in St. Pete. Fast forward to 2018, Kahwa now has 12 locations throughout the Tampa Bay region. Kahwa Coffee works with and supports local non-profit organizations as well by donating time and products to events or donating proceeds from special coffee blends such as the No. 3. In collaboration with former Rays player, Evan Longoria, No. 3 has raised funds for Wheelchairs for Kids and now for Where Love Grows which promotes a zero tolerance for childhood hunger.
Trish Duggan is known for her work as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, as well as artist. She is the benefactor of the new Imagine Museum which opened its doors in St.Pete recently. You can read more about the Imagine Museum here. She has also served as President of the Adoption Support Group in Santa Barbara, California. The Adoption Support Group’s goal was to inspire people to adopt children domestically and internationally. Duggan is also known as one of the largest donors to one of the world’s most successful rehabilitation programs to control addiction to harmful drugs and alcohol. This non-profit assists people in their goal to living a substance and addiction-free life.
Lorraine Langlois and Priya Rajkumar
Metro Wellness & Community Centers is an organization that provides health services while being advocates for the LGBTQ+ community which includes providing the area with transgender programs and services, counseling, support groups, and substance abuse programs. At Metro Health and Wellness Lorraine is in her 22nd year of running what is now one of the largest and most respected HIV/AIDS and LGBT service organizations. Priya joined Metro Wellness and Community Centers in 2009 as the Director of Quality Assurance and Training. Both women have and are continuing to make impressive impacts in the LGBTQ+ community.