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Barry-Smith-Marcia2Marcia Barry-Smith personifies hard work and dedication materializing into self-actualization and personal fulfillment. However, the Jamaican-born executive director of BankAtlantic Foundation and Women in Distress board member, has had her full serving of challenges and pitfalls.

An only child, Barry-Smith was born to Jamaican parents who worked in the corporate environment. This afforded her a somewhat indulged childhood, which was regulated by her father’s relentless insistence on proper manners and class. “The difference between class and style is that you can buy style,” he instilled in the young Barry-Smith. In 1980, after attending St. Andrew High School in Jamaica and later Trinity College of the University of Toronto in Canada, she moved to the United States.

morrisBernadette Morris is a highly accomplished lady who has found a way to turn her passion into business success.

Morris started and owns the largest African American, full-service marketing communications firm in Florida. Sonshine Communications is also one of the largest in the United States. Morris also started and owns Black PR Wire, the first and largest black newswire distribution service in the U.S. Black PR also serves the Caribbean. Morris also started and owns a non-profit entity called Women Grow Strong, which focuses on developing training and empowerment programs for women.

PowellClaire Powell-Taylor is an artist and a visionary. She is a doll maker who creates life-like baby dolls that leave admirers in awe.

At an early age her mother discovered her talents. Today, Powell-Taylor praises her mother for encouraging her to pursue her dream. “When she realized that I was artistically inclined, she made sure that I attended special classes to nurture my talents,” she said of her mother. Powell-Taylor was born in Jamaica and raised in Havendale, St. Andrew. She attended Holy Childhood High School. In 1980, she moved to the United States and soon began making dolls. At first, she made dolls for her own gratification, but later began entering doll shows where she won several awards.
Eventually, Powell-Taylor’s love and passion for dolls motivated her to start her own business.

SchvartzTrinidadian-born Petulia Schvartz, has found success in doing what she loves. She moved to Miami in 1987 at age of 17, to attend college, and now she is the owner of Trintec Construction Inc., founded in 1998, and Icon Roofing, founded in 2005.

As a woman working in construction, Schvartz has seen her fair share of challenges. In 1994, when she graduated with a master’s degree in construction management, only three percent in the construction industry were women. That did not deter her, as she was anxious to get the field experience and knowledge.

“I applied to many firms,” she said, “and although I had countless job offers they were all office positions.”

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