The Burg’s Most Influential Women 2019

The Tampa Bay area is propelled forward each year by the women in our community.  Here is a small selection of so many women who keep the ball rolling in St. Pete.

Jessica Rivelli

Working Women of Tampa Bay

Jessica founded Working Women of Tampa Bay in an effort to create an environment that motivates and inspires women to be better leaders. She believes that each one of us can be responsible for a fellow member’s professional growth by connecting them with resources. Since the launch of the foundation in 2016, Working Women has given $15,000 to more than 20 women-owned startups as part of their “Seed Money” grants.


Alsace Walentine

Tombolo Books

Alasce Walentine opened her own independent bookstore on Central Avenue. She makes it her personal mission to get to know the people in our community so that she can provide the best inventory. She says she loves to connect to people by learning about what books they like. She says, “Books aren’t products; they are pieces of art that delve into human nature. Much of a bookseller’s day is spent figuring out the next best book for each customer by speaking frankly with them about what inspires them.”


Photo courtesy Academy Prep

Gina Burkett

Head of School, Academy Prep St. Petersburg

Gina entered the field of education shortly after earning her MBA and has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and an administrator. Over those 25 years, she has been involved in schools in New Orleans, Tampa, and St. Petersburg, as well as serving on the Florida Commission for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International). She leads the students and teachers at Academy Prep St. Pete in the direction of a more supportive learning environment.


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Our founder @kate_berlin and West Coast Director @lizarch just spend a productive week at @pranadelmar in Baja, Mexico putting the finishing touches on our Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher Training ?? . Will you be joining us? . #Repost @lizarch ・・・ So grateful to have found my soul sister @kate_berlin in this lifetime and to be walking this path of service and trauma healing together. We just spent a powerful week together at @pranadelmar in Baja with @thetravelyogi raising money for our heart's work – @purpledotyogaproject. If you are called to serve others in helping to heal trauma or if you simply want to find tools to help heal and empower yourself, join us for our upcoming Trauma Informed Teacher Training in Los Angeles, May 5-7th at @yogarajwla. Link in my IG bio. ?

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Kate Berlin

Founder and Executive Director of Purple Dot Yoga

After yoga helped Kate break the cycle of abuse and partner violence, She quit her job in the corporate sector and started Purple Dot Yoga Project. Kate is a certified yoga teacher specializing in Trauma Informed Yoga. She realized, “the tools acquired from a dedicated yoga practice benefitted her life to journey from survivor to thriver” and made it her mission to share this knowledge with her community.


Lorielle J. Hollaway

Founder and Owner of Cultured Books

Lorielle created a popup bookstore along the Deuces Corridor. This bookstore, Cultured Books, tries to create a reading culture that exposes all children to the world through art, music, and picture books. Recently, Lorielle partnered with The Well to connect, engage, and empower individuals.
Photo courtesy of The Library

Rachel Bennett

Executive Chef of The Library St. Pete
Rachel Bennett, the executive chef of The Library, is one of 23 semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards: Rising Star Chef for 2019. Rachel Bennett started out at Bern’s Steakhouse shucking oysters and then worked up to executive sous chef at Oxford Exchange. Then she began working towards opening a restaurant as an executive chef that was similar to Oxford Exchange, but also completely individual.

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Written by Kacy Vance

Kacy Vance

Kacy is a freelance writer for I Love the Burg. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a degree in Mass Communications and Criminology. Her thesis on Deaf and Disability representation in the media was published as part of the DePauw University Ethics Symposium in 2018.