2020 Women of Distinction Honorees
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2019 WOD Honorees

2020 Honorees

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Women of Distinction and Woman of Promise. All honorees have achieved success in their chosen fields and serve as inspiring role models for girls in our local communities, each exemplifying ethical leadership and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens through community service.

Colleen Chappel

Colleen Chappell, APR (Tampa) – ChappellRoberts, President and CEO

With nearly three decades of experience in the marketing industry, Colleen Chappell is President and CEO of one of the region’s most sought-after branding agencies. With a roster of prominent regional, national and global brands, Colleen leverages past high-level Corporate America experience where top-tier national agencies once called her the client.

Colleen earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of South Florida. She is a Dale Carnegie graduate and accredited by the Public Relations Society of America. She is a past chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Council and serves on their Executive Board. In addition, she serves on the Feeding Tampa Bay Board of Directors, USF Muma College of Business Advisory Council and Monsour Executive Wellness Board of Directors. She’s also served on the American Marketing Association’s international Professional Chapters Council.  A Leadership Tampa graduate, Colleen is a past Chair of Leadership Tampa Alumni and the American Marketing Association Tampa Bay Chapter.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce named Colleen the 2018 Women of Influence. Other honors include the International Bronze Stevie Award for Business Services Female Executive of the Year and the Gold Stevie Award for Management Team of the Year, Tampa Bay’s Businesswoman of the Year by Tampa Bay Business Journal and an Outstanding Alumnus by University of South Florida’s School of Mass Communications.

Watch Colleen Chappell's WOD Video.

Kathleen Peters

Commissioner Kathleen Peters (Treasure Island) – Pinellas County Commissioner, District 6

Commissioner Kathleen Peters continues to create positive change in her community through her political career. Currently, she serves as the Pinellas County Commissioner for District 6. Commissioner Peters received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Human Development from Eckerd College and her Associate of Arts degree from St. Petersburg College.

Commissioner Peters moved to the area in 1985 where she raised her four sons in St. Petersburg. She owned and operated a business in St. Pete Beach and was previously employed by the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, the YMCA and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioner Peters previously served southwest Pinellas County as a State Representative from 2012 to 2018. She has focused her legislative career on helping those suffering with mental illness and addiction. She toured the vast majority of mental health hospitals, forensic facilities, and Baker and Marchman Act facilities across the state and interviewed dozens of sheriffs, judges and behavioral health professionals to reform Florida’s mental health system. Commissioner Peters proved to be a tireless advocate for behavioral health reform, passing legislation to provide better preventative services and treatment, rather than jailing those in need of help.

Commissioner Peters was elected to the Pinellas County Commission in November 2018. She continues to focus on improving access to substance abuse treatment and mental health services for the residents of Pinellas County.

Watch Commissioner Kathleen Peters' WOD Video.

Lauren Weiner

Dr. Lauren Weiner (Odessa) – WWC, Founder & CEO

Dr. Lauren Weiner’s extensive knowledge of the federal government is allowing her to impact the lives of hardworking Americans. Dr. Weiner is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of WWC – a federally-focused management consulting firm that recently won the largest award to a woman-owned small business in the history of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), making WWC one of the largest government contracting firms in the Tampa Bay region.

Prior to founding WWC, Dr. Weiner worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Under two different administrations, she oversaw policy development and implementation for multiple federal agencies including the Departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice.

Dr. Weiner was the co-founder of In Gear Career, now part of the Hiring Our Heroes program of the US Chamber Foundation, and is active on a number of non-profit and community boards, including that of St. Joes/Baptist in Hillsborough County. She has a Ph.D. in Research Psychology from Dartmouth College and a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Weiner has won numerous awards, to include the Tampa Bay Business Journal's "Angie's Award" for mentorship and community service and "40 Under 40," and has been named as a finalist for Small Business Leader of the Year and Businesswoman of the Year. 

Watch Dr. Lauren Weiner's WOD Video. 

Tonjua Williams

Dr. Tonjua Williams (St. Petersburg) – St. Petersburg College, President

Dr. Tonjua Williams has dedicated her life to enhancing students’ access to a quality education and ensuring their learning experiences are rewarding and successful. In 2017, she became the seventh president of St. Petersburg College. 

Throughout her 31-year career as a leader in post-secondary education, Dr. Williams has been nationally recognized as an expert in transforming departments and institutions through student development and strategic planning. Most recently, she won the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Leadership Award. She also was named one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Under Dr. Williams’ leadership, St. Petersburg College (SPC) was named sixth best among public and private colleges in Florida, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 study. That same study ranked SPC at number 17 among the top 84 public schools in the southern region, which is comprised of 12 states.

As a tactical leader of the Education Ecosystem movement in the Tampa Bay Area, Dr. Williams has created a pathway for educators, businesses as well as government and community agencies to work closer together. This movement has strengthened the alignment between schools, created pathways for working adults to advance their careers and improved the economic mobility of our residents and the growth of our region.

Watch Dr. Tonjua Williams' WOD Video.

2020 Woman of Promise, a deserving young woman under 40

Jessica Rivelli

Jessica Rivelli (St. Petersburg) – Working Women of Tampa Bay, Founder

Jessica Rivelli is supporting female entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams of owning their own business through Working Women of Tampa Bay (WWOTB). Jessica launched WWOTB in 2009 after leaving her 10-year career as a local television news producer. Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, WWOTB has more than 750 members and nearly 20 events every month. In 2016, Jessica founded the Working Women Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing small seed funding investments to help get female-owned businesses off the ground. Over the past four years, the organization has awarded more than $35,000 in seed money to more than 50 Tampa Bay women start-ups. 

Jessica serves as an ambassador and former board member for Dress for Success Tampa Bay. She’s been a board member for YWCA Tampa Bay and is a proud partner, donor and Camp CEO Alumni for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. Jessica is also part of the Business Advisory Board for HCC and a community contributor for St. Pete Catalyst.

Jessica’s awards and recognitions include TBBJ 2010 Up & Comer, 2010 Spark & Hustle Daring Doer, 2013 and 2014 TBBJ Business Women of the Year Finalist, 2014 Iconic Women Nominee, 2015 Woman Leader in Gravitas Magazine, 2016 and 2018 Tampa Bay Metro Women in Business, 2018 BPW Tampa Bay Woman of the Year, 2019 Influencer – St. Pete Catalyst and 2019 Edge Magazine “Celebrating Women” Honoree.

Watch Jessica Rivelli's WOD Video.