A&P International

María Victoria Vargas Silva | Councilwoman for the Bogotá City Council

How beautiful is diversity – and we see it everywhere – even in a male–dominated field such as politics. Today, we wrap up our Women on the Move spotlights. And last, but not least, we are honored to present a woman who has excelled in the difficult life of politics for more than three decades; María Victoria Vargas Silva is the Councilwoman for the Bogotá City Council, in Colombia, South America. We have the honor to have Councilwoman Vargas personally connected to our team, as her daughter, Ana Maria Valencia de Benitez, serves in our Department of Cultural Communications, specializing in the legal and business translations in both Spanish and French.

Until the mid-50’s, women were not allowed to vote in Colombia; but today, they play key roles in politics. This is the case of today’s spotlight. Councilwoman María Victoria Vargas Silva graduated as a lawyer from the Universidad del Rosario with a specialization in Commercial Law, and she earned her degree in Political Sciences from the Universidad Javeriana. She has been elected seven times for the Bogotá City Council by popular vote and has been the council’s President three non-consecutive times. Her career has been exemplary, thanks to her honesty, strong values, and generosity to those in need. It is a pleasure for us to share some of her insights about maintaining a balance between a remarkable career and taking care of a loving family.

How have you balanced a successful career while raising and caring for your children?

“I stopped working, for a year, when my daughter was born. Subsequently, my mother and a nanny helped me take care of her while I was at work. The political world never stops, especially during campaigns. However, my family is my main priority, and I always manage to spend quality time with my daughter – and now with my grandson, too. Fortunately, my mother and my daughter’s father were supportive of her in her childhood and teenage years.”

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a mother in your career?

“Without a doubt, the main challenge has been trying to play my roles as a mother and a politician, at the same time. Dividing my time between a career as demanding as politics and dedicating quality time to raising a daughter, requires a good sense of time management. Besides, as I mentioned before, I was lucky to have the support of my daughter’s father and my mother. But, that does not mean I was not involved in 100% of my daughter’s life. The same instance applies today with my grandson. Even though I am still engaged in the political sphere, my family is my priority, and I always manage to spend as much quality time with him as I can.”

How has your career inspired your children?

“Well, I guess my daughter could give you a better answer! Nonetheless, I would say my dedication to my different roles –especially as a mother and a working woman– has inspired her to achieve her goals and aspirations, as both a mother and a professional woman. Of course, her husband and my grandson’s grandparents have been an essential piece of the process of her achieving her family and professional goals.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders regarding career success while being an active, caring mother for their children?

“Fortunately, parenting has become more of a shared task between both parents nowadays, and that makes things easier. But, based on my experience, I would advise them to organize the amount of time they dedicate to different activities, yet most importantly, they must dedicate quality time to their children.”

 

Even though I am still engaged in the political sphere, my family is my priority.

Juan Pablo Benítez | Translation Services Coordinator

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Ann Dunwoody | First Female Four-Star General (U.S. Army, Ret.)

In our fourth segment of Women on the Move, we pay tribute to General Ann Dunwoody (U.S. Army, Ret.), a woman who represents a major milestone in the U.S. Army by becoming the first female four-star General in the history of our nation. She advocates for diversity; encouraging people to “leverage the power of diversity” by creating teams of different backgrounds to provide a broad range of ideas leading them to the best-informed decisions. In 2017, A&P International’s Department of Cultural Communications was honored to translate, into Spanish, her successful book A Higher Standard – an incredible story of her journey of leadership strategies and powerful messages.

General Ann Dunwoody served 38 years in our country’s military forces. She is the former commanding general of one of the Army’s largest commands – the U.S. Army Materiel Command. Now retired, she offers strategic insights to companies and corporate boards. 

In addition to becoming the first woman in U.S. history to achieve the rank of four-star general, she was also the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division and become Fort Bragg’s first female general officer. Dunwoody was also the first woman to lead the Combined Arms Support Command. We had the chance to have a beautiful conversation with her about the difficult task of keeping a balance between family and a successful career in the military.

How have you balanced a successful career while raising and caring for your children?

“I have never had children of my own. I always thought I would but the Good Lord had other plans. I do have a wonderful husband, four beautiful grandchildren, and two daughters and sons-in-law. During my 38-year career in the army, finding a good balance between family and work was challenging.  As a nation at war for the last 12 years of my career, putting our deployed men and women, who were in harms way, and their families had to be a priority. That said, taking care of my own family was a priority for me, as well.  You cannot work yourself to death and ignore your family, or else you may risk losing your family along the way. Small things count. Showing love, respect and demonstrating in small ways that you care about them, will go a long way to retain your family’s love and understanding.”   

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a mother in your career?

“The biggest challenge trying to find the time to spend and stay in touch with my own family and friends.  I had loving parents, and now I have two brothers and two sisters scattered around the country.  I worked very hard to stay in touch, visit when I could, and not let them fall off my radar screen.”

How has your career inspired your children?

“I know how proud my parents, my husband, my brothers, and sisters were of my accomplishments.   I also have heard from girls in elementary schools who have done reports on me, and they send me pictures of themselves in uniform; conveying the message that they can be anything they want to be – including a four-star General.  I could not even image doing what I did, when I was their age.”  

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders regarding career success while being an active, caring mother for their children?

“Believe in yourself and never give up. Anything is possible with hard work and commitment.”

 

You cannot work yourself to death and ignore your family, or else you may risk losing your family along the way. Small things count.  Showing love, respect and demonstrating in small ways that you care about them, will go a long way to retain your family’s love and understanding.

Juan Pablo Benítez | Translation Services Coordinator

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Anthea M. Pennant | District Director, Supplier Relations & Diversity at Broward College

Continuing with our section Women on the Move, we are honored to introduce today’s spotlight, Anthea Marie Pennant – a woman of great faith whose passion and dedication for the community has set an example for those who have the honor to work and walk alongside her outstanding career as a leader and mother. A&P is proud to be walking alongside Pennant and her team at Broward College in how to better the coaching of diverse suppliers in their participation as recipients of large government bids in both capacities, either as prime or subcontractors.  

Anthea Pennant is the District Director of Supplier Relations and Diversity at Broward College. With over 20 years in executive leadership positions, she has a distinguished performance history in business development, management, advocacy, and fundraising — always with a focus on strengthening communities.  She works closely with various government agencies and large prime contractors to advocate for the removal of systemic impediments in procurement practices on private and government-funded contracts. 

Anthea has received numerous awards over the years as recognition for her contributions to the community, including being named by the Florida State Minority Supplier Diversity Council as “Advocate of the Year” in 2019 during their Annual Awards Gala. On top of that, Legacy Magazine recently featured her as one of South Florida’s “50 Most Powerful Black Leaders in Business & Industry” for 2020. We are grateful for having the chance to discuss with Anthea of how she balances her career with her role as a mother; two roles in which she has excelled.

How have you balanced a successful career while raising and caring for your children?

“Prayer and God’s grace has been key to successfully balancing career while raising and caring for my children, Cameron and Taylor.  Over the years, I have learned to compartmentalize and prioritized the various aspects of my life. When I am at work, I am fully engaged, and when I am home, I am fully in tuned with my home life.  God is the constant center of all I do, and my kids are my top priority gifts from God. The serenity prayer, and Philippians 4:13 have always been an inspiration to keep me going “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a mother in your career?

“When I got married and started having children, I did not envision having to raise my children alone, but that became my reality, and I very quickly had to learn how to pivot.  Financial care for my children meant working smart and efficiently at the office, and their emotional care meant intentional, thoughtful, and quality family interactions at home. That care and love continues, no matter how old they are.” 

How has your career inspired your children?

“They both have great work ethics, and hearts of servitude. They know “to whom much is given, much is required” – Luke 12:48. My career choices have always been aimed at supporting and developing under-served communities, by being a voice of advocacy.  My son, Cameron, while earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Florida State University (FSU), worked for six years at the Florida State Capital.  He also served as a guest lecturer at FSU and worked part-time tutoring under-served children. My daughter, Taylor, age 20, while a student at Broward College, works for Branches through AmeriCorps, tutoring under-served children.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders regarding career success while being an active, caring mother for their children?

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” Thessalonians 5:11. As they are building their own career, building and nurturing their own families, they should remember to encourage and build up those around them. Always keep God at the center of all that you do and pray.”

When I am at work, I am fully engaged, and when I am home, I am fully in tuned with my home life.

Juan Pablo Benítez | Translation Services Coordinator

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Mumtaz Tharoo | VP & Co-Founder of PayKoncept Merchant Solutions

We are honored to introduce today’s spotlight for Women on the Move, in recognition of her dedication to the growth of our community and her passion for business-to-business development. We have been blessed to serve her organization, PayKoncept Merchant Solutions, through business coaching focused on reaching the Hispanic market and they were invited to participate in the 2018-2019 Mentor/Protégé program, we facilitated, at Wyndham Destinations.

Mumtaz Tharoo, is the Co-Founder and Vice-President of PayKoncept Merchant Solutions.  She leads her company alongside her life partner, Abdullah Tharoo, with the dedication of serving small to mid-sized businesses by providing payment technology solutions, needed to reach the next level of success.  Mumtaz Tharoo, is recognized for her knowledge and skills in Marketing, Strategy, B2B relations and Finance. Not only does she excel as a business leader and role model, but her commitment to serving the community-at-large is commendable.  She serves as the director of Miracle Makers Foundation, which was founded in 2014 by her daughter, Maya Tharoo at the age of 9, with the express purpose of aiding families of children born prematurely.  Together, they serve as a sounding board for the families of preemie and raise funds for the neonatology units at the regional hospitals.

The community initiatives and dedication of Mumtaz Tharoo continues to shine bright, with their commitment to donating up to 5% of PayKoncept’s revenue to the cause.  Her professional accomplishments, her dedication to her children, and her desire to serve our great community is why we have chosen her to today’s spotlight for Women on the Move.  In acknowledgment of Mother’s Day, we have asked Mumtaz Tharoo to share about her life’s journey as a mother and a businesswoman.

How have you balanced a successful career while raising and caring for your children?

“I am very blessed to have a supportive partner in life and business for which I am grateful every day.  We have a great understanding and, more so, we involve our kids in all the decisions that have to do with the family. This way the entire family works as a team towards a goal. I have learned to prioritize Faith, Family, Career, and Philanthropy respectively which enables me to stay focused on the important things.  Raising kids is teamwork and no one person can do it all.  It takes a village to raise a child, and in my case besides my husband and me, we have great support from my husband’s parents who have been there for us and our children.  I am also grateful for my mom and late father, who have always taught me to be patient, as there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and to always give back and share one’s blessings.”

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a mother in your career?

“Like most career mothers, I missed being able to attend my daughter’s events in school, having to put her in aftercare, and not able to separate work and life itself. My biggest challenge was to keep learning from the sacrifices earlier in my career and stay focused in the pursuit of a happier life, which in turn shaped my career choices.”

How has your career inspired your children?

“According to my daughter Maya, “Mom has inspired me to work smart, dream big, make a plan, see it through, give back, and celebrate my accomplishments, every step of the way.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders regarding career success while being an active, caring mother for their children?

“Be BOLD… proactively manage your own career, but most importantly do what you are passionate about and give it your all.”

 

IMPOSSIBLE means to me: I AM POSSIBLE

Samuel Lowry Photo - Transparent

Samuel Lowry | Marketing & Communications Manager

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Mimi Flatley | Community & Citizenship Manager at Turner Construction

We are honored to introduce today’s spotlight for Women on the Move, in recognition of her dedication to the supplier diversity community and her passion for equality among all people. We have been blessed to serve her organization, Turner Construction Company, as trainers and facilitators for their Turner School of Construction Management program for the last several years.

Leading the Turner Construction Company’s community involvement and supplier diversity development is Mimi Flatley, Community and Citizenship Manager. Mimi graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Public Relations. Since 2007, she has been an active member of our community supporting partnerships, charities, and associations.  She has served as board member to Downtown Orlando Partnerships, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, CREW Orlando, Central Florida Chapter Associated Builder and Contractors, Inc., and currently serves as CO-VP of Accreditation on PRSA Orlando. Her dedication to the community and her passion for the Construction/Architecture/Engineering industry are why we have chosen her to be today’s spotlight for Women on the Move. In acknowledgment of Mother’s Day, we have asked Flatley to share about her life’s journey as a mother and a career woman.

How have you balanced a successful career while raising and caring for your children?

“My husband, John, and I have three little boys – 5 years, 3 years, and 11 months old. I will admit that I struggle with the balance – but what working parent does not?! John also has a career, so for us, balance is only possible through constant communication and being able to share realistic expectations, one day at a time. Our kids all went through the same daycare, so we are very appreciative for that extension of care, and to have the support from family close by.” 

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a mother in your career?

“Coming to the realization that you cannot do it all, at the same time, has been my greatest challenge. The instant solution for a perfect work/life/parenthood/self-care balance does not exist. More time at work means less time at home, and vice versa. But what I am learning that does exist in parenthood are these wonderful seasons of time: learning to crawl, talk, walk, read, write, and make friends, all of which seem to happen so fast. A season of complete dependence, followed by defiance (that would be our current 3-year old’s phase!), to the start of more independence. For my kids, some of their milestones happened while I was home, others while I was at work. I had to learn to give myself the grace to not let guilt creep in if I happen to miss something while at work and challenge myself to appreciate everything that happens in both work and home life.  I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful group of working mom role models at Turner and in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industry. These are women who have raised their children while working very demanding careers, and chances are whatever ‘season’ I am in, I can call one of them for advice.

How has your career inspired your children?

“I think my children are a little too young to really understand what I do. But as a mother of only boys, I hope, when they get older, they will see me as an example of someone who loved her family and was committed to a line of work she was very passionate about.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders regarding career success while being an active, caring mother for their children?

“Find a career that allows you to be the best version of your true self. The older my boys get, the more I realize they pick up on emotions. I had roles at work that I was not truly passionate about, and kids can sense that.

In the short, but best, five years of my motherhood life, I’ve found that no matter what your career is, what company you work for, what season of parenthood you are in, your kids will love you just the way you are.

Samuel Lowry Photo - Transparent

Samuel Lowry | Marketing & Communications Manager

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The Daily Signal | Problematic Women: Lessons of Hope From a Woman Who Has Spent Decades as a Quadriplegic

Despite the health and economic crisis affecting the world during most of 2020, this unexpected pandemic has also shown a positive side: people who are willing to go beyond their limits to help the world.

This interview, produced by The Daily Signal, reveals the extraordinary testimony of a great example of resilience, empowerment and caring for others, from a woman whose mission in life is to help others during these difficult times.

After spending more than 50 years in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic, Joni Eareckson Tada is still sharing a message of life and hope with the world. When she learned that she would never walk again, she most likely would not have believed that she would become a renowned artist, author and founder of a powerful ministry to the disabled called Joni & Friends.

In this must-read interview, Joni shares her powerful story, explains her works on The Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, and offers us all some much-needed hope. “I think gratitude with the mouth stirs up gratitude in the heart, and so that’s good advice, whether you’re a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, whoever. Good advice for anybody who’s feeling discouraged, or has lost their job, or perhaps lost a loved one during this terrible pandemic”, says Joni.

More than Ever Lessons of Hope From a Woman Who Has Spent Decades as a Quadriplegic from The Daily Signal.

Source:

Evans, L., & Allen, V. (2020). Problematic Women: Lessons of Hope From a Woman Who Has Spent Decades as a Quadriplegic. The Daily Signal. https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/04/30/problematic-women-lessons-of-hope-from-a-woman-who-has-spent-decades-as-a-quadriplegic/

Juan Pablo Benítez | Translation Services Coordinator

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Binger Financial

Binger Financial Services is a Minority Business Enterprise that provides financial solutions for diverse business enterprises. They began serving their community in 1989 and have over 35 years of experience in the financial industry. They facilitate growth for their clients by offering Property & Casualty and Commercial Lending solutions to their clients.  Insurance services include general liability, property, cyber security and bonding.  Commercial Lending services include, factoring account receivables, commercial real estate and equipment leasing.   

Leading the team is Catherine Schrader and Roy Binger two former banking executives. Catherine leads the company as President and Co-owner of the organization. Her background is in banking and sales management. She has served as area manager and senior vice president of banks in her region, until she made the decision to be her own boss. Catherine and Roy built the company culture on the principles of honesty, integrity, respect, and excellence. With that culture at its core, Binger Financial has developed into the community leader it is today and will continue to be. Schrader, as part of her legacy, continues to shine as a woman in her industry and in her home. Her success and leadership have inspired her daughter, Danielle, to follow in her footsteps and become part of the core team at Binger Financial. Together, along with others on their team, they have become the catalyst that businesses need to facilitate security, financial stability, and growth.

At A&P International, we are proud to serve as business coach for this growing, successful business, and to be a recipient of their services. We have been blessed to see the growth, not only of the business, yet of the woman that leads her team forward. Congratulations Catherine on your desire and diligence to grow, and for your company’s recognition by the Florida Business Hall of Fame.

Click the link below to visit Binger Financial’s website and see how they serve the supplier diversity community, and how they can serve you.

Samuel Lowry Photo - Transparent

Samuel Lowry | Marketing & Communications Manager

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