side menu icon

Women Who Make a Difference

Women Who Make a Difference recognizes the influential women in the Gainesville area who positively impact and support their community.

WWMD Logo

Thank you to all who attended the 2019 Women Who Make a Difference Celebration, recognizing the female leaders in our community!

A special thank you to our sponsors!

If you know someone who should be recognized as a 2020 Woman Who Makes a Difference, nominate her today.

Women Who Make a Difference 2019 Honorees

Kim A. Barton
Kim A. Barton

Kim A. Barton was elected Alachua County Supervisor of Elections in August 2016. In so doing, she became the first African-American elected Alachua County Supervisor of Elections. She is chiefly responsible for administering elections and voter registration in the county. She takes great pride in the fact that it is her responsibility to serve all Alachua County residents.  

The daughter of Everett Davis Jr. and Gertrude Davis, Barton was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from high school in 1980, she received a basketball scholarship to attend Connors State College in Warner, Oklahoma. She led her team to its first National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament and was named a First-Team NJCAA All-American. Barton was recruited by Debbie Yow to play NCAA Division I women’s basketball for Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When Yow became the head coach of the University of Florida women’s basketball team, Barton followed and became a proud “Lady Gator.”   

Barton graduated from the University of Florida in 1985 with a degree in advertising from the College of Journalism and Communications. Following graduation, she worked as a public assistance specialist for the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Service’s Medically Needy Program and then as program coordinator for the department’s One Church, One Child adoption program, where she was responsible for identifying prospective adoptive families for black children in the foster care system.

She came to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office in 1993 as its first outreach coordinator, working under then-Supervisor Beverly Hill. In 2006, she was promoted to outreach director, a position she served in until her election.

She credits her passion for voting and civic engagement to her parents, who were very involved in civil rights era community organizing and participated in get-out-the-vote and voter registration efforts.

A member of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, Barton serves on the association’s education, ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center) implementation, legislative and scholarship committees. She is also a member of the Election Center, a graduate of The Gainesville Sun's Focus on Leadership Program (Class of 1994), a member of Florida Civic Advance's Voter Education and Civic Engagement Workgroup, and serves on the Center for Technology and Civic Life's Advisory Committee. 

Barton’s husband, James, is a retired state of Florida correctional officer. The two are active members of Gainesville’s Compassionate Outreach Ministries. When not at work, she enjoys empowering and influencing the lives of youth in the community and her church.  

 

Awards and Honors

  • Black Woman of Distinction | Actors' Warehouse (2019)
  • Rosa Parks Quiet Courage Award | Rosa Parks Quiet Courage Committee (2018)
  • Outstanding Elected Official | League of Women Voters of Alachua County/Gainesville (2018) 
  • Professional of the Month | Gainesville Black Professionals (2017)
  • Violette Anderson Award | Delta Sigma Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. (2017)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Outstanding Contributions in Public Policy | Alachua County Democratic Executive Committee (2017)
  • Ebony Appreciation Legacy Award: Pioneering Spirit in the Area of Community Service (2013)
  • Outstanding Community Service Award | League of Women Voters of Alachua County (2009)
  • Barbara Higgins Award for Community Service | Alachua County Democratic Black Caucus (2008)
  • Alachua County Community Service Award | Citizens Academy for Community Service (2007)
  • Connors State College Athletic Hall of Fame | Connors State College Athletics (2012 — Inaugural Class)
Pauline Lawrence, Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree
Dr. Pauline Lawrence

Dr. Pauline O. Lawrence was born in Jamaica, West Indies and attended high school and The University of the West Indies, where she received the Bachelor’s degree (Honors) in Zoology. During her high school years, she was elected President of the Student Body and Science Club and Leader of her Girls Guide (Scout) troop, and was awarded the First Class Guide Badge (Gold Award). Her Girls Guide experiences collecting leaves, shells, and insects bolstered her love for nature with encouragement from her parents Lysias and Iris Lawrence.

Pauline, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, received a Master’s degree in Entomology from the University of Florida (UF), sponsored by the Government of Jamaica. After her Ph.D, she married Dr. Carlton Davis, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Food and Resource Economics, and made Gainesville her home.

She was Assistant Professor and Professor of Zoology at UF (1976 to 1993). In 1994 she became Professor of Insect Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF until her retirement in 2011.  Pauline, a founding member of the Minority Mentorship Program, served on the Academic Personnel Board and the Boards of the Athletic Association, UF Foundation, and UF Women. She sponsored one of the largest numbers of undergraduate research students, particularly young women, in her laboratory and received several teaching and research awards from UF,  Florida Blue Key, scientific societies, and the National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.  In 2003, she established an endowment to support scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students in Entomology at UF.

Pauline was a 1992 awardee of the Women of Distinction from the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council (GSGC) and also from Santa Fe College. Pauline catalogued numerous insect species on the Girl Scout’s Camp Kateri property. She served on the Advisory Board of the GSGC and for over fifteen years has been a Gold Sponsor of the Women Who Make A Difference Luncheon in Gainesville.

Virginia Maurer
Virginia Maurer

Ginny Maurer was born and reared in Shawnee, Oklahoma, sadly a town without Girl Scouts. She was, however, a Blue Bird and then a Camp Fire Girl for many years, and spent happy summers at Camp Fire’s Camp Shahama (Shawnee Happy Maidens). She still has her vest with all the beads and patches, and still treasures the values, skills, confidence, and friendships Camp Fire nurtured.

In time, she earned a B.A. in History from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois as well as an M.A. and a J.D. from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. In 1980, she and her husband Ralph and two little boys (Ralph and William) moved to Gainesville to accept jobs at The University of Florida. Ginny served for 38 years on the faculty of the UF Warrington College of Business and Ralph on the faculty of the UF College of Medicine for 25 years, until his death in 2006.

At UF, Ginny taught business law and business ethics to fulltime and executive MBA students most of her career. She also chaired the Management Department for 9 years and served on innumerable college and university committees, including five terms on the board of directors of the University Athletic Association, Inc.  She founded the Huber Hurst Research Seminar, the most prestigious research seminar in her field; served as President of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business and editor in chief of the American Business Law Journal; and served as a visiting professor or member of the faculty of the University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, Helsinki School of Economics and Business (Finland), Bocconi Universita (Italy), The University of Catania (Italy) and The University of Cambridge (UK). She published more than 45 scholarly articles, book chapters, and monographs and received numerous awards for teaching, research, and academic service. The most enjoyable part of the job, however, was founding the Poe Center for Business Ethics, which she directed from 2004 until her retirement in 2017. This provided a means to influence the lives and values of thousands of business students through discussion groups, coursework, conferences, symposia, college speakers, ethics teams, and study tours.

Currently Ginny serves as a trustee of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Foundation, Inc., the Myers & Briggs Foundation, Inc., and the Community of the Cross of Nails/North America, Inc., an organization based in Coventry, England dedicated to peace and reconciliation.  She is a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of Gainesville and a past member of the Gainesville Women’s Forum. Her hobbies include travel, The Yardbirds gardening group, lunch and dinner with friends, reading, and playing grandmother with two adorable grandchildren. Both sons and their families live in Florida after multi-year sojourns in China and Chile. Ralph is headmaster of the Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, and Will owns UF Video, an adventure game, in Gainesville.

Barzella Papa
Barzella Papa

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Barzella Papa has made Gainesville her home since her arrival in 1999. To quote an article that appeared in The Gainesville Sun thirteen years ago, she “hit the ground running when she landed here.” Her behind-the-scenes work in our nonprofit sector during the past twenty years has significantly changed the landscape of local charitable giving and has left a lasting impact for hundreds of individuals, philanthropists and organizations. In two decades, she has gone from volunteer to leading a multi-million-dollar foundation dedicated to improving our community of North Central Florida.

As a member of the Junior League of Gainesville, she served as chair of Fund Development and Membership Development and created the League’s signature fundraising event—The Tour of Kitchens—a fundraising event that has continued to today. She was elected President of the League within seven years of membership and her service to the League earned her the Aunt Carrie Award and the League’s Legacy Award. Under leadership, the League formed the Community Advisory Board and rebranded the annual Toy Sale to become the Miracle on Main Street.

In 2006, she was hired as the first full-time President and CEO of the Community Foundation of North Central Florida. During her tenure, she has raised more than $35 million in charitable and planned gifts and increased the Foundation’s assets from $6 million to $21 million in more than 100 different charitable funds. She has overseen the distribution of more than $20 million in grants to local nonprofits and has facilitated significant gifts including the purchase of buildings for the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, the YMCA and the Peaceful Path expansion. She also managed the launch of such successful initiatives as the Women’s Giving Circle, the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, the Amazing Give, the Legacy Awards and the Mental Wellness Fund.

She is an alumn of Leadership Florida Class XXVII. She earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive designation in 2012 and has served on numerous local boards including the University of Florida Performing Arts and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is a member of the Women’s Forum and a Paul Harris Fellow, presented by the Rotary Club of Gainesville. She is frequently requested to train, lead and facilitate nonprofit boards on topics including governance, best practices and fundraising strategies.

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Barzella enjoyed a successful career in publishing at Southern Living and Time Life Books before moving to Gainesville. She is married to Patrick Papa, a second-generation graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy also from Mobile. Her daughter Sophie, a former Girl Scout, is completing her first year at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts where she is a starting player for the Varsity Tennis Team as a freshman. Her son Sam is a sophomore at Buchholz High School and hopes to play soccer as a goalkeeper in college. 

Kathie Southwick
Kathie Southwick

Kathleen Bzoch Southwick moved to Gainesville from Chicago in 1960 when her father was hired to become a part of the new Medical School at the University of Florida.

After graduating from Gainesville High School in 1969 she received a BS in Public Relations and Journalism at the University of Florida. After working briefly in PR, she returned to graduate school at UF and received a Master’s and Specialist Degree in Counselor Education. Before becoming the founding Executive Director for PACE  Center for Girls of Alachua, Kathie was a middle school counselor, Teen Court Coordinator, had her own private practice and taught at Santa Fe Community College. She describes one of her classes there, “Living Effectively in the 1990’s” as her own Oprah Show because she was given the freedom to explore serious issues in society that affect us all.

From 1997-2014 Kathie served as Executive Director of the PACE Center for Girls of Alachua, providing academic and counseling services to at-risk (or at-promise as she likes to refer to them) teenage girls who were failing in the public school system due to reasons such as victimization, trauma, bullying, substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse and poverty.  She felt strongly during that time that this was her calling, her role matched her soul, and it wasn’t really a job but a work of heart.

Kathie retired in 2014 and is currently on the PACE Alachua Board. She is an active member (Past President) of the UF Volleyball Gator Attack Club, a weekly mentor for a student at Loften with Take Stock in Children and serves on the Staff /Parrish Relations Committee at Trinity United Methodist Church. She has been married to her husband, Fred, for 18 years. She enjoys reading, exercising, mothering, being a MeMe to two grandsons and walking her two miniature poodles, Izzie and Rennie, who remind her to stop and smell the roses every day.

  

Presented by 

   

  Gold Sponsors


Dr. Pauline Lawrence
Ms. C. Ann Scott
   
Silver Sponsors