Remarkable Women in South Florida
Ronnie Oller, Community Organizer and Philanthropist
Each year, Ronnie organizes "A Day for Children" health fair event at Nova Southeastern University that features free health care and education for children up to 15 years old. Ronnie has dedicated her life to serving our community. She has helped raise money for diabetes research, and is a member of the board of directors of the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center, Boys and Girls Clubs, NSU’s Mailman Siegel Institute for Early Childhood Studies, and NSU’s Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She has been an active participant in Diabetes Step Out, and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital ANF Tour de Broward. She has been honored as the Advocate of the Year award for children by the American Women’s Business Association, and voted as one of 100 women of the year in Broward County in 2009 and 2010.
You can learn more about Ronnie and her work with A Day for Children in this CBS Miami Interview.
Josie Bacallao, President and CEO of Hispanic Unity of Florida
Founded in 1982, Hispanic Unity serves as a haven for immigrants and refugees. Under Josie’s leadership, Hispanic Unity of Florida has grown to serve diverse and multi-cultural working families from the United States as well as more than 25 other countries.
Josie is a board member of WorkForce One, Greater Ft Lauderdale Alliance and the Advisory Board of Florida Blue. She has been named to the Broward County Women’s Hall of Fame, and received United Way of Broward County’s Human Services Professional Award. Legal Aid and Service of Broward County has bestowed the Russell E. Carlisle Advocacy Award on Josie and three other community leaders for their work in creating pro bono immigration clinics. Josie also received one of the most meaningful awards of her career, The Jim Moran Foundation Award, for her work leading a not-for-profit organization.
Molli Serrano, Mother and Ironman Competitor
|photo from ESPN.com|
Molli Serrano, three time Ironman competitor, was considered one of the best amateur tri-athletes in the country. Sadly, in June 2011, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but Molli didn’t allow illness to get in her way. She became an inspiration for all South Florida athletes after competing in the 34th Ironman in Hawaii in 2012 — a 140.6-mile journey that's the Super Bowl of triathlons, involving multiple-stage races that combine swimming, cycling, and running.
Molli finished the race in 11 hours, 31 minutes and 38 seconds. She crossed the finish line carrying a sign that read, "I'm beating pancreatic cancer with an Iron will."
Unfortunately Molli passed away in July 2013, and is survived by her husband and twin eight-year-old girls. Molli not only set a remarkable example for her own children, she set one for all who were fortunate to learn her story -- which reached well beyond her home in Plantation to ESPN and The Today Show, inspiring many across our nation.
Her drive and determination make her a stellar example of how one can tackle challenges even in the face of adversity. Watch Molli’s interview on The Today Show.
Dr. Jayne Greenberg, District Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy for Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Dr. Jayne Greenberg is the District Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She has also served as a Special Advisor on Youth Fitness to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She was instrumental in the development of the “I Can Do It, You Can Do It” national initiative that encourages opportunities for all Americans, regardless of ability, to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition.
She was named as the 2005 National Physical Education Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education, and received the 2005 Highest Recognition Award by Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt. She has also served as an international consultant on sports curricula.
For more information about the President’s Council on Fitness visit www.fitness.gov.
Sabrina Cohen, founder, Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research
Born and raised in Miami Beach, Sabrina endured a severe spinal cord injury in 1992 at the age of 14 from a car accident and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.
In the early days, despite the daily challenges and fears, Sabrina was determined to never let her injury get the better of her. After a long recovery, she graduated high school on time with the rest of her class. She visited schools to talk about her new life with paralysis, urging and inspiring young students to drive carefully. In 1999, Sabrina graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Communications, double majoring in Advertising and Psychology. She holds a post-graduate degree in Copywriting from the Miami Ad School, and founded her own advertising company, SabCo Productions, in 2003.
In April 2004, Sabrina unexpectedly discovered the world of stem cell research through Bernard Siegel, the founder of the Genetics Policy Institute (GPI), a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a legal framework to advance stem cell research. She then shifted her endeavors to support the cause through her creative skills by becoming the Director of Public Relations for GPI. In 2006, she established the Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research to educate the public about the cause and raise funds for research.
As a motivational speaker and spokesperson, Sabrina continuously enjoys taking the time to meet students and chat with them at schools, universities and community centers.
Lauren Book – Founder of Lauren’s Kids
Lauren Book, founder of Lauren’s Kids, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse for six years at the hands of her nanny. Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education, Lauren has worked to turn her horrific personal experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and heal survivors by starting Lauren’s Kids. Lauren’s Kids encourages victims to "shine a light in dark places" and "shed the shame."
"During the Walk in my Shoes event across Florida, I meet thousands of people - mostly women - who were sexually abused. When I look into the eyes of these women, I don't see just survivors, but warriors," said Book. "Much like the female warriors who we honor during Women's History Month, these warriors will not let gender or circumstances dictate their future. I am greatly encouraged by these women and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz for their continued strength and determination."
Lauren’s Kids is based in South Florida and educates adults and children about sexual abuse topics through in-school curriculum, a 24-hour crisis hotline and speaking engagements around the country.
Lauren’s Kids holds an annual, statewide "Walk in My Shoes" event, which brings together survivors and advocates on a walk across Florida to raise awareness and promote supportive legislation.
Lauren is a teacher and educator in South Florida, as well as a published author, including her memoir, It's OK to Tell: A Story of Hope and Recovery.
Find out more at http://laurenskids.org/
Adriane Reesey, President of the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition
Adriane is the current President of the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition and a nationally recognized speaker on Child Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. She has spent more than 35 years working in law enforcement, and she’s also extensively involved in community projects that advocate protecting children and women from sexual exploitation. In addition to working with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, she is a U.S. Army Veteran and a current member of the U.S. Coast Guard. She is also an adjunct instructor at American Intercontinental University in Weston, Fla.
“Through the ages, women have been resolute, capable caregivers,” said Reesey. “They have been tough, tenacious, talented, and always working toward fairness and equal justice. Life places its tenuous balance on the working women of the world. I am humbled to be just a working woman."
In 2007, Adriane was recognized as “Humanitarian of the Year” by Attorney General Janet Reno and she was also inducted into Broward County Women’s Hall of Fame, for outstanding service throughout her career.
In 2011 she received a Presidential and Gubernatorial Appointment to the Florida Selective Service Board. In the past, she has held numerous elected leadership positions including: Chair Outreach for Women Veterans Project, American Veterans for Equal Rights, Florida GLBT Caucus Regional Director and Broward County Crime Commission, to name just a few.
She holds a Masters Degree from Florida International University, and has completed a Doctorate in business, with her Dissertation dealing with law enforcement ethics.
For more information about the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition, go to www.bhtc.us.
Roz Frazier, CEO of the Broward Community and Family Health Center
Rosalyn Crawford Frazier is the Chief Executive Officer of Broward Community & Family Health Centers, Inc. located in Pompano Beach, Hollywood and West Park, Florida.
As an executive, she has more than 20 years experience in health care management in the areas of new business development, grant writing, financial management, physician recruitment, and managed care contracting for non-profit/for-profit health organizations. Ms. Frazier has additional experience in management service organization (MSO) contracting and physician billing/academic practice plan management in a university medical center environment.
Ms. Frazier is heavily involved in health policy advocacy from the grassroots levels through the highest levels of government. She has been integral in policy development, having testified before legislative committees, and serving on various policy planning councils. For her commitment, she has received several outstanding service and leadership awards from various federal, state, local, and community agencies and organizations. She currently serves on several boards, including Broward County HIV Planning Council, Broward Health Regional Planning Council and The Healthcare Work Group for Florida's 20th Congressional District.
“As a girl growing up in Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes, a low income housing development, it was the encouragement and mentorship of many amazingly strong women from my family and career that kept me strong and on a positive path. These women taught me the importance of God, love, strength, vision, character, compassion, humbleness and boldness,” said Ms. Frazier.
“To name a few, women like the late Pauline Payne (my grandmother), Earnestine Porter (mother), Viria Holland, Bobbie Armstrong and Peggy Robinson (aunts), Felicia Hart and Patrice Tulloch for their love of God, strength and character. The late Betsey Cooke, Ms. Annie Neasman and Yolanda Cash Jackson for their vision and compassion for the South Florida community and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her boldness and ability to remain a humble representative of the people.
“Women’s History Month is important to me because it provides me another opportunity to reflect and appreciate those same powerful women and their influence on my life. Today, these amazing women continue to pave the way and impact positive change in the lives of others!”
The proud mother of two sons, Ms. Frazier lives in Miramar. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from DePaul University in 1983, a certification in Financial Management and Executive Development from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1990 and a certification in Health Care Executive Management from the University of California/Los Angeles in 2010. She is also an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University for its Master of Public Health Program.