Panel discussion to showcase ‘Women in Charge,’ pathways to entrepreneurship

Erica Martin

Global and local entrepreneurs will discuss pathways to American entrepreneurship during a Women Entrepreneurship Week event 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the FSU Panama City Bayside Auditorium. “Women in Charge: The Impact on the Region and Society” will include panelists Gordon Hester, global consultant and Strategist for The Juice Plus+ Company; Lana Jane Lewis-Brent, president of fine art print and distributor Paul Brent Designer, Inc. and Karen Smith, broker/owner of Beachy Beach Real Estate and president of BeachyCations Rentals & Property Management.

“We are thrilled to bring this global movement celebrating women and their accomplishments to FSU Panama City,” said business instructor Wendy Ritz, who organized the local event. “This event will help local women develop their business ideas and learn from the pros on the best ways to become successful entrepreneurs.”

The event, which is co-sponsored by the Direct Selling Education Foundation, is free and open to the public. For more information, email or call (850) 770-2214.

Hester has been involved in the Direct Selling Association (DSA) for almost 30 years. He is well-known for helping to build one of the largest global distributorships in the history of the industry, with sales of more than $8 billion and an organization of 100,000 distributors in over 25 countries.

Lewis-Brent previously served as president of grocery and convenience store chain Sunshine-Jr., when she was listed as one of the top 10 Women managing a business in the United States. Since 1985, she has served on the board of Tootsie Roll Industries, a NYSE company headquartered in Chicago and currently serves on the audit and compensation committees.

Since Smith started Beachy Beach Real Estate in 2010, the company has grown to include three locations and more than 85 employees and agents. Two years ago, she saw a need for luxury vacation rental service and opened BeachyCations Rentals & Property Management with a Partner, David Murphree. Under Karen’s leadership her businesses continue to grow as does her positive impact on the gulf coast communities.