by Pam Eubanks, Your Observer
Sarasota business woman Teresa Mast has faced challenges in her life, from running a construction business through the housing recession of 2008-2009 to health problems to losing family members.
But, she said, it’s all been a part of her finding her path. When troubles arose, she chose to believe in herself and get to work and said other women should do the same.
Mast, who owned her own construction company for 26 years, gave the keynote speech for Habitat for Humanity of Manatee County’s International Women’s Day luncheon March 8 at The Grove, in Lakewood Ranch.
After citing statistics that 60% of America’s workforce is women, yet only 10% of women are CEOs or business owners, Mast encouraged the roughly 100 attendees — mostly women — to work together, encourage one another and recognize each other’s strengths.
“Everyone in this room has walked a path. We as women have very unique talents, unique gifts,” she said. “I say create a culture of success. I want people around me who are smarter than me. Be confidently humble.”
She also encouraged women to be generous with whatever they have, whether finances, time or abilities.
“If you are able to be as generous as you can be, you will reap more,” she said.
After Mast’s speech, Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Diana Shoemaker awarded Habitat homeowner Yesenia Garcia-Lorenzano with Habitat’s “Achievement Award.” A Mexican immigrant-turned-U.S. citizen, Garcia Lorenzano has been a Habitat homeowner for more than a year and credits Habitat for providing her family stability and confidence.
Habitat for Humanity of Manatee County has hosted its International Women’s Day luncheon for four years. Shoemaker said the day is about celebrating women’s social, economic and political achievements.
“We believe enabling women can go a long way,” Shoemaker said.