Now Reading
Women In Business

Women In Business

Greater Gainesville has a great reputation for workplace gender pay equality – a reputation thoroughly earned. The business community is rich with fair opportunities for anyone considering starting a career here, especially women. And today – nearly 50 years after the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Greater Gainesville is proof that women are not only being paid what they’re worth, they are also thriving in roles that continue to impact the area’s work climate positively. 

In fact, The Pew Research Center recently published a report that serves as a testament to the determination our region’s businesses have closed the pay gap between men and women. Greater Gainesville comes in fourth place among metro cities where young women earn the most relative to young men, with a 110% gender earnings gap, higher than the U.S. gap of 93%. 

The ranking may not surprise Greater Gainesville residents who get to breathe the city’s inclusive culture firsthand. Still, such a favorable gap for women is a big deal — a small metro area compared to larger cities on the list. Our community is home to a thriving business community with a robust women-in-business ecosystem. Both female entrepreneurs and business leaders alike thrive in the Greater Gainesville area – from startGNV to the Gainesville Area Women’s Network (GAWN) to micro-communities that hold women-in-business events in the area. 

Some of those business leaders dropped a few dazzling gems about navigating trailblazing careers in Gainesville, the mental attitude that keeps them driven, and what it means to be passionate about the work while maintaining a confident sense of self. 


Sara Emmanuel, Executive Officer of the Builders Association of North Central Florida (BANCF)

Sara Emmanuel

Sara is impeccably erudite and sheds light on the many trials and triumphs women executives in Gainesville face – triumphs that pave the way for young women entering the workforce to have fruitful careers with longevity saturated with equality. 

These triumphs, Sara knows, are only made possible by the giving and receiving grace – both to oneself and to others. She understands that professional growth is always the result of someone taking hold of the opportunity to grace each new day with a fresh perspective, an open mind, and a genuine desire to be better – for themselves, their team, and everyone within their sphere of influence. 

Here is what she had to say about her approach to business and life: 

If you could summarize your general philosophy on life, what would it be? 

Every day is another chance to do better. Every day we wake up with good intentions, but they aren’t always realized. It doesn’t always happen that way, but every morning we wake up with the opportunity to do better – whether it’s having a better attitude or making better choices. 

If you were to summarize your general philosophy on business, what would it be? 

There are two parts to that. It’s an opportunity to improve yourself, improve your community, and improve the lives of the people who are working with you. The other aspect is – in business, it’s almost mandatory that you continue to grow and evolve. That enables the business and the people in it to grow and evolve. In many instances, we’re at our workplaces more than we are anywhere else. So those in an influential business entity have an opportunity to grow people, grow themselves, and their communities.

In a perfect world, how would the two overlap? 

I come from a construction background of 17 years – a very heavily male-dominated industry. I always felt like I had to talk louder, scream louder — make myself known. I always felt like I had to work so much harder to be seen and recognized for the same things. For women, because people are listening more and they’re more aware of how things are evolving, we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves and need to realize that we are just as strong and just as good. We need to be confident in our performance – that we’re just as respected as everyone else in the room. 

Many women feel as if we have to jump higher and try harder, but every day, we have new opportunities to operate the space in a better way. So as it relates to women – I’d like for men who operate the business space alongside us to give women a break. 

That is, to wake up every day and make an effort to recognize women as their equal counterparts consciously. Sara also said that businesses need to embrace that concept and give women grace to show up at the table to operate the space. 

Here is what Sara has to say to young women entering the workforce in Gainesville: 

If you were to give a TED Talk to an audience full of young women entering the workforce, what are five things you’d like them to know? 

  1. Do your research and know your stuff.
  2. Be very confident, even though you’re scared to death.
  3. Be honest with your strengths.
  4. Hone your weaknesses, but also show how you conquer them daily.
  5. Go out on a limb and just be you. If you’re funny, go out on a limb and tell a joke. Own who you are.
  6. Ask for it. All they can do is say no.


Carissa Blaser, Owner/ Founder of Pure Aesthetics and Allergan Medical Institute CoolSculpting Trainer

Carissa Blaser, Women in Business

When it comes to being a leader in her field, Carissa tackles it all from a position of humility. She enjoys helping those in the  Gainesville community  “feel and look their best,” and is one of the most successful businesswomen in Gainesville. For 18 years, Carissa has “blazed” the trail for the aesthetic industry in Gainesville. Today, her company, Pure Aesthetics, is the leading CoolSculpting provider in the city. 

She believes that by maintaining self-awareness of one’s true passion, no matter where your career takes you, you’ll be happy. 

If you could summarize your general philosophy on life, what would it be? 

I have a few one-liners that sum up my philosophy on life: 

  1. Find a career that you are passionate about so you enjoy going to work every day. 
  1. Enjoy life to the fullest because you never know when your last day will be. 
  1. If you aren’t happy with the way things are going, take charge and change it. You only have one life to live, and fearing change can keep you from experiencing true joy and happiness.  

If you were to summarize your general philosophy on business, what would it be? 

Surround yourself with people that will challenge you to be your best self. When it comes to Pure Aesthetics, we have a set of core values that reveal our philosophy:  

Nurture. Integrity. Gratitude. Education. Teamwork. Discretion. Hospitality. 

We take pride in helping our clients feel and look their best, but more so in helping them to reconnect with themselves and rediscover their confidence.

See Also

In a perfect world, how would the two overlap? 

Finding joy in all that you do so you can enjoy life to the fullest is an overlap, and it should be. Take charge to direct your life on the path you’d like it to go. If it isn’t where you want to be, make the change needed. 

Carissa refers to herself as “a lifelong student,” believing that “education eliminates fear and empowers healthy living,” per her bio. This is woven throughout the educational notes she shared for women entering the workforce in Gainesville. Only in this case, she empowers a healthy mental attitude for women in business: 

If you were to give a TED Talk to an audience full of young women entering the workforce, what are five things you’d like them to know? 

  1. Find your passion and make it your job.
  2. Don’t let anyone discourage you from achieving your dreams.
  3. Luck is where opportunity meets preparedness.
  4. Anything worth having will involve late nights, sweat, and tears that will yet lead to personal and professional growth.
  5. If you aren’t happy, don’t be afraid to make a life change.


Jamie McClave Baldwin, Ph.D., President of Infotech Consulting

Jamie McClave Baldwin, women in business

Jamie shares a sentiment that almost perfectly sums up the diverse perspectives of the different women in this article. Her business and personal life philosophies overlap, as she notes there shouldn’t even be a difference between the two. This is what she said: 

If you could summarize your general philosophy on life and business, what would it be? 

Be generous. Work hard. Stay humble. Forgive easily. It’s my own version of The Four Agreements (which I love but find hard to remember sometimes). If I find myself off course, I am usually not doing one of these things. When I go back to the basics, the path always becomes clear. 

In a perfect world, how would the two overlap? 

I’ve never really understood why there would be a difference between life philosophy and business philosophy. Business is simply a reflection of our values and our life philosophy. I don’t buy it when someone tries to tell me “business is business” as an excuse for treating someone poorly or cutting corners. How you do anything is how you do everything. Freedom is having all parts of your life in alignment. Infotech is a place where we are lucky to have that overlap. Where we get to be kind and generous, work hard, stay humble, forgive easily. We get to be ourselves. 

 If you were to give a TED Talk to an audience full of young women entering the workforce, what are five things you’d like them to know? 

  1. Doers make mistakes. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. Forgive your mistakes, learn, move on. We need doers.
  2. Do it anyway. Everyone suffers from imposter syndrome. Even the most experienced and educated person in the room. Be nervous and unready and do it anyway. Do it scared.
  3. Take nothing personally. You will face unfairness. You might feel insulted from time to time. You can’t control what other people do or think, but you can control how you react. The difference between humans and most of the animal kingdom is that we get to choose our thoughts – maybe not that first knee-jerk thought – but all the ones after that. We all have instant reactions. Learn to pause and think about how you want to choose to react. Let the first feeling pass and then think. Get in line with your values and act accordingly.
  4. Don’t worry so much about what others think about you – they aren’t. No one is lying in bed at night thinking about the mistakes you made. We all lay in bed at night thinking about our own mistakes – I know I do! Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Limit whose opinions you let matter and guide you.
  5. Lead from where you are. Leadership is not about a title. It is about getting off the bench and into the game –  even if that means cheering from the sidelines. Get in the game. Do something to make a difference. Take the initiative. Stand up for someone in need. You might find yourself having made a wrong choice or messing something up but at least you are trying. Again, doers make mistakes.

By Taylor Blow-Williams 


Copyright © 2024 Costello Communications & Marketing, LLC

Scroll To Top