Congratulations, Janet & Sharon as Ambassadors of the Quarter!

Congratulations, Janet Arena!

Janet Arena HeadshotJanet was born in Philadelphia.  Lived most of her youth on a farm in Bucks County. Went to Penn State—majored in business education. Very active in a service sorority, cheerleading, and the theater. Went on to Pittsburgh where she taught two years before going to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in East Africa where she taught business procedures to government employees. While there, she took the challenge of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro which she did in three days—19,340 feet (with no oxygen).

Came back to the U.S. where she taught at Suffolk Community College and Nassau Community College on Long Island. At the same time, she completed her Master’s Degree at Columbia University.

Janet moved to Connecticut where she accepted the position of Chairperson of the three high schools in Milford, CT. In 1979, she became President and co-owner of Stone Academy, a business and medical training post-secondary institute.

She moved to Florida in 2003. After working at various jobs throughout the area, she accepted the position in the Marketing Department at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. She is presently involved in various committees for four Chambers, ushers at seven venues, house manager at Venice Theater, serves on the Gala Committees for Goodwill, Save Our Seabirds and the American Cancer Society, works Meals on Wheels every Saturday; Vice President of the Penn State Alumni Association; Executive Committee member and treasurer for the Big Ten Alumni Group.

Congratulations, Sharon Litchfield!


Sharon Litchfield HeadshotSharon has lived in the Sarasota community for over 40 years and has been married to Andy for 32 years, with one son, Adam, both of which keep her grounded. They have two rescue dogs, Levi and Ziggy, who are inseparable and a joy every day. Sharon enjoys all activities that Sarasota provides, from walking the Ringling Bridge to exploring what downtown has to offer on a regular basis and all the festivals that Sarasota brings to our community. She loves traveling and exploring other areas outside Sarasota and look forward to many fun trips this summer.

Sharon will be celebrating 27 years at one of the finest private golf clubs in Sarasota, FL, home to the Champions TOUR from 1986 through 2001 as part of the PGA TOUR Golf Course Property Inc. clubs for over 17 years at TPC Prestancia in Sarasota.

Sharon’s involvement with The Chamber is extensive as she serves on three different councils within Thc Chamber: Chamber Ambassadors, Member Services & Small Business Support Council, and the Finance Committee.

In 2014, she returned to USFSM to pursue her Masters in Hospitality and Technology Leadership and graduated in April 2017. Her involvement in many fundraising charitable organizations over the past 25 years includes United Way, Susan G. Komen, MDA, BBBS, Southeastern Guide Dogs and Be The Match Foundation as a Registered Bone Marrow Donor.

Sharon’s philosophy that you need to give back to your community and give to those in need to have a meaningful life.

Congratulations, to both Janet & Sharon! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to The Chamber Ambassadors’ program. Janet and Sharon’s longstanding commitment through The Chamber Ambassadors and other Chamber Programs, make them excellent representatives of The Chamber and its’ programs. Thank you & keep up the great work!


For information on the Chamber Ambassadors program or to join, please contact Megan Neal or Craig McGonigal

Partnering to Build Your Business

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

1945 Fruitville Road | Sarasota, FL 34236

Congratulations Michael Kline, Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter!

Congratulations to Michael Kline, our Ambassador of the Quarter!

Michael is the 13th of 14 children born into poverty to an alcoholic father living in a michael-klinejunkyard. He lost his mother at age 7 and discovered powerful lessons about resources. His journey from junkyard to country club is proof that anyone can do anything. He became the turn-around president of a franchise company with 35 locations, then a six-time successful entrepreneur. He is a Certified Jack Canfield Success Trainer, a RIM Master, and Success Coach, working with clients here and around the world. He and his partners provide corporate training and coaching in the areas of leadership, communications and emotional intelligence. Having grown up in Orlando, Mike moved back to Florida just over a year ago with his husband Sal, after 21 years in New England.

Congratulations, Michael! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to The Chamber Ambassadors’ program. Michael’s inviting personality and engagement through the Chamber Ambassadors with welcoming and on-boarding of new members makes him a great representative of The Chamber. Thank you, Michael, & keep up the excellent work!

For information on the Chamber Ambassadors program, please contact Megan Neal or Craig McGonigal

Congratulations Scott Rimmer, Ambassador of the Quarter!

Congratulations to Scott Rimmer, our Ambassador of the Quarter!

Scott Rimmer is an Advisor with SVN Commercial Advisory Group specializing in the lease and sale of industrial properties throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties with a focus on helping companies expand or relocate in Florida. He also handles othOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAer commercial property types such as Office and Retail.

Prior to joining SVN, Scott was Vice President of Business Attraction for the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC), a public/private partnership focused on growing and diversifying the economy of Sarasota County. At the EDC, Scott helped companies of all sizes relocate and expand in the area requiring a strong knowledge of the local commercial real estate environment, the regulations and many benefits affecting businesses and their owners in Florida, and the incentives offered to companies by State and Local government.

Earlier in his career, Scott held senior executive positions with JPMorgan, State Street Bank & Trust Company, Siemens, and Digital Equipment Corporation (now Hewlett-Packard). Scott uses his extensive knowledge of the corporate environment, and the many industries he became knowledgeable about while working at these firms, to better serve his clients in the decision-making process.

Scott moved to the City of Sarasota in 2003 from Boston and enjoys sailing, surfing, and other Suncoast activities with his wife, Rita.  He is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Congratulations, Scott! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to the Ambassadors. His knowledge of the community and engagement with the Chamber Ambassadors, welcoming and on-boarding of new members makes him a great representative of The Chamber. Thank you, Scott, & keep up the awesome work!

Interested in being a Chamber Ambassador?

Contact Craig McGonigal at (941) 556-4034 or, for more information on The Chamber Ambassadors program.

Member Tip Monday: Joining a Council

Members of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of both their business and the greater Sarasota community by serving on various Chamber council and committees. This opportunity is available not only to you personally but to all your staff as well. Volunteer services afford Chamber members a mean to become actively involved in community affairs. Even more importantly, it provides vehicles necessary to bring together the wealth of talent, experience and expertise within our membership ranks for the benefit of our business community.

See the listing below to discover ways to get involved, share your vision and have a voice in issues that affect your business.

2016-Chamber-MemberServices&SupportLogo-Hz.pngTo provide relevant and profitable events for the membership, fulfill/provide the services and benefits relating to membership and identify revenue sources in addition to membership dues.

2016-chamber-chamberambassadorslogo-hzMember Volunteers serve as customer relations representatives for the Chamber, visiting new members, contacting existing members to expand communications and involvement.


2016-chamber-governmentallogo-hzMonitors and develops public policy positions that are “pro-business and pro-greater Sarasota.”  Research is involved, as well as meeting with elected officials and experts on various topics as The Chamber’s positions are developed and then communicated and advocated.

2016-chamber-cityprioritieslogo-hzThe council focuses on strategic economic development planning, as well as on partnerships, that benefit the continuing revitalization of downtown Sarasota.

2016-chamber-ypglogo-hzCreates a platform for its members ranging in age from 21-40 to build relationships, develop professionally, become politically and philanthropically active, and contribute to the economic development and high-quality living of our community. (council appointed – membership & committees open)

By Invite-Only:

2016-chamber-leadershiplogo-hzThe Council is comprised of Leadership Sarasota County alumni who oversee the Adult and Youth programs, Alumni activities, Engage Sarasota and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. The mission is “Engaging, Developing, and Inspiring Community Leaders.” (participation by application/selection)

2016-chamber-financelogo-hzThis committee is invite-only. The committee monitors The Chamber’s finances.

For more information on joining one or more of the councils and committees below, contact Dillon Buckland, or (941) 556-4039.


Congratulations to Sandi Spahn, Ambassador of the Quarter

Chamber Ambassador Corner-Sandi Spahn

Congratulations to our Ambassador of the Quarter, Sandi Spahn! Sandi is Director of Sales of Springhill Suites by Marriott near the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. In her role with Springhill Suites, Sandi and her team strive to make every guest stay the best one.spahn

Sandi has been a Chamber Ambassador for four years and enjoys utilizing her visibility to spread the word about The Chamber as she credits most of her clients as former leads she generated through her Chamber membership. Sandi is a great example of just how far a positive attitude and hard work can get you, as she believes the more you give the more you will receive.

In addition to being an Ambassador for The Greater Sarasota Chamber, Sandi is Preliminary Director for Miss Sarasota USA and helps young women achieve their goals as they journey to become the next Miss Florida USA. She is also active with Miss Sarasota, Miss Siesta Key, and the Little Sisters.

In her free time, Sandi is a BMX racer and currently holds the #8 National Title in her age group.

We congratulate Sandi on her deep involvement in the community and we thank her for her time and energy with The Chamber.

Do you have what it takes to be a Chamber Ambassador? We’re looking for volunteers to help take the Chamber to the next level. From welcoming new members to answering questions and making introductions at events, joining the Chamber Ambassadors is a great way to grow your sphere of influence. If you enjoy meeting people, and want to get involved, please contact Craig McGonigal, (941) 556-4034 or

Chamber Ambassadors, Rolling Out the Welcome Wagon


People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. –Anonymous

One of the largest committees of The Chamber, Chamber Ambassadors are a high profile group of volunteers who personally welcome and mentor new members, serve as greeters at events and assist existing members with getting engaged through their Chamber membership.

Chamber Ambassadors act as the official hosts of The Chamber, mentoring members during their first year of membership and acting as an extended arm of Chamber staff to assist members on an ongoing basis. They are well-educated on Chamber activities and serve as a premier volunteer information resource for existing and future members.

They’re everywhere!

You will be hard-pressed to attend a Chamber event where you won’t be greeted by one of our dedicated Ambassadors. One of the key benefits in attending the numerous educational and networking opportunities that The Chamber offers is business referrals. In fact, 80 percent of our Chamber Ambassadors gave or received business leads as a result of the connections they made through the committee.

troy peterman

An Ambassador for over 8 years, Troy Peterman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for PayServ Systems serves as Chair of the Chamber Ambassadors this year. His success in a leadership role like this serves the committee well, as Troy facilitates the distribution of new member visits, goodwill calls, written thank you cards, community updates and event volunteers on a monthly basis.

“I originally got involved with the Chamber Ambassadors because I knew the best way to maximize my investment in Chamber Membership was by being involved,” said Peterman. “When I took a look at the various committees available, the Ambassador Committee was most desirable because it provided the opportunity to personally meet with businesses and organizations in our community. It feels great to give back to the community in this capacity because I know I am helping others grow their business.”

In his role as Chair, Troy is joined by over 30 Chamber members including: Janet Arena, Dan Austin, Cheryl Badiali, Courtney Barron, Mercedes Bido, June Braithwaite, Helen Burgess, Nancy Erickson, Danielle Hasty, Gregory Hayes, Deb Holton-Smith, Fay Lynne Huang, Nate Hudson, Anya Keogh, Michael Kline, Gigi Kovach, Robert Leibold, Ian Leventhal, Sharon Litchfield, Allan McCall, Sharon Miller, Phil Mott, Andrea Nierenberg, Laurie Pike, Hank Progar, Scott Rimmer, Bond Smith, Sandi Spahn and Jerry Thomas.

Each quarter, one Chamber Ambassador is recognized for their dedication and volunteer time as Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter. This recognition includes a feature in The Bridge and great visibility for a member’s business. At our recent Annual Kick-Off Breakfast we celebrated the following Ambassadors who received this recognition in 2015.

chamber ambassadors of the quarter

President Steve Queior with Fay Lynne Huang (Catering by Clayton), Gigi Kovach (PayServ Systems), Phil Mott (Morgan Stanley) and Hank Progar (AIM Safe Money Advisors).

To learn more about Chamber Ambassadors or to get involved, please email

Congratulations to Phil Mott, Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter

Phil Mott 2 PrintCongratulations to our Ambassador of the Quarter, Phil Mott! Mr. Mott is a financial advisor in the Wealth Management group at Morgan Stanley focusing on retirement income; investment management; asset allocation; education funding; lending, liquidity, and cash flow planning; and in life, disability, and long term care insurance. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Mr. Mott served in the US Navy as a surface warfare and intelligence officer for 29 plus years involving deployments and assignments to the Mediterranean and Norwegian Seas, Persian Gulf, Haiti, Germany, and Iraq. His final assignment was as the US Navy’s liaison officer to the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Mott has a B.A. in Government from the College of William and Mary and a M.A. in National Security Affairs from Georgetown University. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ and holds Series 7, 63, and 66 registrations.

Continue reading “Congratulations to Phil Mott, Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter”