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Inspired by the Best

Inspired by the Best

Personal Insights from Past Winner Barzella Papa to the 2024 FIERCE Award Winners 

By Deborah Holmen, M.Ed., NBCT 

As the emcee of this year’s FIERCE award ceremony and a 2017 FIERCE winner, Barzella Papa sat down with HOME to share some personal insights with this year’s winners. Papa takes the opportunity to acknowledge the incredible impact each winner has made in their respective fields and express inspiration by their strength, resilience and determination.  

What was the best part of being recognized as a FIERCE woman? 

The best part of being recognized as a FIERCE woman is the empowerment and inspiration it brings not only to myself but also to others. It’s a validation of my strength, resilience and determination, reminding me that we have the power to overcome any obstacles that come our way. Being recognized as a FIERCE woman has allowed me to serve as a role model for other women and girls, showing them that they, too, can embrace their strength, chase their dreams fearlessly and make a lasting impact on the world. 

How have you been leading since your FIERCE win? 

Since my FIERCE award, I have continued to lead by accepting new challenges and constantly learning new skills. Last month, I accepted the invitation to chair the leadership team for the Community Foundations of Florida for the next two years. Our statewide group is comprised of 27 community foundations with more than $4 billion in total assets. Each foundation is led by amazing, fearless leaders who inspire me to do more. This month, after a year of intense study, I finally earned my Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) designation from the American College of Financial Services. As I shared with my colleagues, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Despite over two decades of philanthropy work, I learned so much through this course. 

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If you could tell this year’s winners one thing, what would it be? 

To this year’s recipients, enjoy the moment and be sure to connect with the other FIERCE women. Lift each other up. Together, we can continue to define what it means to be FIERCE. 

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