The New 100

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What makes someone powerful in Sarasota? In our egalitarian, results-oriented community, the key element is this: They get things done. They do that in a number of different ways. Some have a lot of money and use it wisely. Some have a job they fill—or enlarge—with talent and dedication. Others have amazing personal style and […]


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What makes someone powerful in Sarasota? In our egalitarian, results-oriented community, the key element is this: They get things done.

They do that in a number of different ways. Some have a lot of money and use it wisely. Some have a job they fill—or enlarge—with talent and dedication. Others have amazing personal style and charisma that defines and even changes the way we live here.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Sarasota is changing—fast. And that includes our power grid as well as the local landscape. We’ve done this listing several times since 1993, but this year’s list has more new names than any we’ve done before. And many of them are younger than in the past, thanks to the influx of new faces and talents that are infusing our once-sedate city with fresh ideas and energy. But whatever their age, position or duration in town, their abilities and agendas are shaping and redefining our city today.

The list is the result of several months of research and discussion, including with many community leaders and insiders. Any list of this sort is subjective, of course, but we were surprised by how much agreement we found about most of the names on the final list. It’s worth noting that these are not necessarily Sarasota’s most important people (some little-known artists or scientists may prove to be that), or Sarasota’s most popular people, or even the nicest. They are, in the opinions of our editors, Sarasota’s most powerful people at this moment in time. Take a look and see whether you agree.

 

Abbott, Carl. Our link to the Sarasota School of Architecture, he’s won important awards for modernist structures like the Summerhouse Restaurant and St. Thomas More Church. Now championing the effort to save Riverview High School, designed by his Yale professor and Sarasota School eminence, Paul Rudolph.

Atkins, Fredd. Sarasota’s first black mayor (he held the title twice) decisively won re-election to the city commission in March. Gregarious and funny, he’s a feisty champion of his native Newtown and an advocate for affordable housing. Trademark greeting: “Better and better.”

Band, David and Myrna. No, he’s not Donald Trump, but close. His hand is everywhere and his eye sees everything. Famous for his discretion, thank God—and his neckties. But the Donald should have a wife like Myrna. She humanizes him and turns him into a big pussycat. The perennial Sarasota power couple.

Baron, Luis. The courtly Colom-bian TV soap-producer-turned-Florida-publisher has become the voice of the Hispanic community in West and Central Florida, thanks to his La Guia (named the nation’s best Spanish-language magazine) and weekly newspaper, 7 Dias.

Benderson, Randy. Head of Benderson Development Company, which moved here from Buffalo several years ago. Quiet and unassuming, he doesn’t look like one of the nation’s largest private developers, but his plans for the region, including the Town Center at University Park, are huge.

Bennett, Mike. Blunt-spoken real estate investor and developer, he’s a rising Republican star in the Florida Senate, chairing the influential public utilities committee. Shades of the good old boy, but he’s increasingly willing to take bipartisan positions and may seek the Senate presidency in 2010.

Black, Ian. Passionate (some say hot-headed) realtor and advocate for downtown and the Sarasota Film Festival, whose board he chairs. Growing up Jewish in Northern Ireland gave him an outsider’s canniness and an accent he’s kept into his 60s. Also an abstract painter, tai chi teacher—and newlywed.

Brady, Veronica. Ultra-community-minded Sun Trust wealth management exec. Known for her cool efficiency, killer schedule and knack for connecting clients with causes, she sits on major boards, including the YMCA and Asolo. Brakes for her kids’ cheerleading and sports events.

Buchanan, Vern. Entrepreneur-turned-auto  tycoon-turned Republican politician, he outspent almost every candidate in the country to win the District 13 seat in Congress in November’s famously contested election. Has already surprised some by breaking from the straight conservative line.

Carlton, Lisa. Smart, level-headed scion of a historic Sarasota ranching family, she’s got serious statewide clout. Now in her final year in the Florida Senate, she controls both the state’s purse strings and its legislative agenda as chair of its fiscal and calendar committee.

Crowell, Steve. City manager of North Port whose low-key professionalism has, in just two years, won the support of an often contentious commission. Methodically working his plan to improve government and services in Florida’s third-largest (in area) but still mostly undeveloped city.

Culverhouse, Hugh Jr. Less well-known than his late father, he controls Sarasota’s biggest land development project, the 11,000-acre Palmer Ranch. Courtly (“We’re Southern, you know”) but holds a powerful card: Whether Sarasota gets an I-75 interchange at the ranch depends on his donating the land.

Dabney, Tom. Rancher, banker, developer (The Forest at Hi Hat Ranch), Southwest Florida Water Management District board member and current chamber chair, this affable multitasker lives by the credo, “Government is run by the people who show up, and the business community needs a voice.”

De Renzi, Victor. With several recent retirements and firings, the maestro of Sarasota Opera has become—a little prematurely—the Grand Old Man of our arts scene. Opinionated and curmudgeonly, he’s mellowing as the opera moves from strength to strength. Next: Aida in the “new” ($60 million in renovations) Opera House.

Delaney, Phil. The handsome, genial Northern Trust Bank president is everywhere all at once, supporting the arts and human services efforts that matter to him and his high-net-worth clients.  

Dent, Kathy. Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections. A minor local politico turned into a cause celebre by the 2006 election. She insists she did a great job. The big question: Will “Scratch and Dent” run again? The smart money says no. She wouldn’t dare.

DesMarais, Linda. Mary Richards moves to Sarasota and ends up running the TV station. The general manager of the Herald-Tribune’s SNN6 is driven to succeed but full of appealing self-doubt. Married her former boss several years ago. Her life deserves a sitcom deal at NBC.

Dewane, Bishop Frank. A former exec for PepsiCo and NBC who came to the priesthood at 33, the new bishop brings business smarts to leading the 10-county Diocese of Venice. A voice against global poverty, locally he wants to help immigrant workers and intensify the fight against abortion.

Dignam, Tom. Big-hearted owner of the Key insurance agency (Englewood’s largest private employer), founded by his father 55 years ago, he’s a relentless fund raiser and go-to guy for causes such as The Hermitage Artist Retreat, MCC, the Englewood YMCA and more.

Earl, Bill. With anti-growth sentiment stirring, the chair of the new Citizens for Sensible Growth could garner support for tougher development restrictions. An environmental and land-use attorney, Earl insists he’s a voice for moderates who favor controlling rather than stopping growth.

Edwards, Michael Donald. The Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Aussie artistic director has drawn praise for his first year’s innovative play choices and charmed donors, too. Next challenge: the coming season’s pre-Broadway world premiere of the musical A Tale of Two Cities.

Famiglio, Jennie and Mark. When maverick investor/entrepreneur/philanthropist Mark wed sweet (and smart) Jennie last year, Sarasota’s most glamorous couple was born. When they’re not jetting off to somewhere fab, they’re at every event, looking great, donating generously and generally supporting the civic good.

Fitzgerald, Keith. District 69’s freshman rep in Tallahassee is a New College prof who won on his first time out and is already serving as the legislature’s deputy policy chair. The self-proclaimed pro-biz Democrat is brainy, articulate and comfortable outside of the Ivory Tower.

Gallagher, Judi. She’s on TV, radio, at charity events, and yes, in the pages of this magazine. In a food-crazy town, this dynamic combo of chef, nurturing Jewish mother and nonstop promoter has become a celebrity fast, and she markets some of the hottest new restaurants in town.

Githler, Kim and Charles. More successful than ever with their Intershow (the world’s largest investment seminar company), the Githlers also find time for his development interests and her philanthropic endeavors for children. He’s gregarious and charming; she’s private and passionate about friends and family.

Gustafson, Karin. As president of the YMCA Foundation, she’s raised many millions and forged major relationships for Sarasota’s most powerful not-for-profit. Tireless and efficient, she shuns the spotlight to shine it on others, and her care and compassion have lit up the last years of many lonely donors.

Gutierrez, Father Celestino. The Spanish-born pastor of St. Jude Parish, head of the Spanish ministry for the Venice Diocese and beloved shepherd to Sarasota’s expanding—and often exploited—Hispanic community. Known for his wit and for his great paella.

Hansen, Terri. In five years, the head of Florida’s largest community foundation, the $226 million Gulf Coast Foundation of Venice, has proved she’s a strong leader who’s not afraid to shake things up, from her board to her organization’s name. Secret vice: the warm chocolate lava cake at Fleming’s.

Harris, The Rev. Gregory. The pulpit still means power in the black community, especially that of the proactive Truevine Missionary Baptist Church. Kind, quiet and committed to his beliefs, Harris is determined to make his world a better place. 

Harvey, Trevor. The polished young new president of Sarasota’s NAACP—and a member of the Sarasota Republican Executive Committee—gets behind issues from Darfur genocide to disadvantaged youth. Helped rally support for controversial school superintendent Gary Norris.

Hay, Don. Well-respected Venice Smith Barney exec who works for a wealth of community causes, including the school tax referendums. Beneath that gentlemanly Southern exterior beats a rock ’n’ roll heart—he plays guitar in a band called The Cryin’ Shames.

Hazan, Giuliano, Marcella and Victor. International cookbook authors, teachers and tastemakers, they’ve introduced the world to classic Italian cuisine. Italian-born Marcella and Victor are parents to Giuliano, who was just named international cooking teacher of the year and often appears on the Today Show.

Jacobs, Debra. The revered Mother Superior of Sarasota’s nonprofit world, dispensing smart, no-nonsense advice and encouragement along with funds from the Selby Foundation she heads. The last word on everybody and everything civic and worthwhile. Expect her e-mail in your inbox by 7 a.m.

Jacobs, Dolly and Reis, Pedro. Only in Sarasota—a circus power couple. Their Circus Sarasota is a local treasure. The keepers of the flame for the vanishing art form that put our town on the map. Engaged for years, they’ll tie the knot at the Ringling Museum this fall.

Jacobson, Mike. Gee, somebody who’s not just talking about affordable housing! With missionary fervor, the volunteer-turned-executive director is energizing Habitat for Humanity with his cry, “500 homes in five years.” Coming soon: 215 townhomes in north Sarasota—the most ambitious Habitat project in the nation.

James, Ed. As the host of Channel 40’s Black Almanac, he introduces issues and faces in the black community to the general public. Once known for his belligerent style, he’s mellowed into a senior statesman who can listen and mediate as well as challenge.

Jennings, Christine. Strait-laced banker turned Democratic politician and a new icon in Florida politics. Possibly cheated out of a Congressional seat, she’s kept her cool and marshaled her forces. She’ll be running again (against Vern?). Now that’s going to be some election.

Jensen, Rex. Straight-shooting developer, attorney and president of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, he controls the juggernaut that is Lakewood Ranch, working to smooth the way for future development at the giant master-planned community. Takes off the gloves for growth-slowing politicos.

Joerger, Albert. Half of Sarasota’s newest young philanthropic couple (wife Pauline is Bertha Palmer’s great-great-granddaughter). His Sarasota Conservation Foundation aims to preserve public access to the waterfront and has already landed big donors and important tracts.

Kane, Janet and Stanley. Kind, generous, lively and rich, they are Sarasota. They donate millions, sit on every board and give the best parties, from their famous Academy Awards bashes to Stanley’s 87th birthday celebration this summer. Thank you, Janet and Stanley—we love you guys!

Kauffman, Mark. Prescient doctor-turned-developer who’s transformed downtown with projects from the Hollywood 20 to Courthouse Centre. Now poised to do the same for Washington Boulevard, with his five-story commercial Landmark Center. Major art collector and force behind the nascent Sarasota Museum of Art.

Kelly, Patrick “Paddy.” Engaging Irish developer who bought the Sarasota Quay for $100 million in 2004 and recently got the Sarasota City Commission to approve plans for the upscale, $1 billion Sarasota Bayside mixed-use mega project—unanimously. It will transform the downtown waterfront—real estate market permitting.

Kielbasa, Jody. Our local Mr. Hollywood, he runs the Sarasota Film Festival with great energy and a cell phone always at his ear. Proves himself over and over in tight situations and has made his nine-year-old event into a national star.

King, Stephen. Fans around the globe thrill to his scary plots, but the Casey Key author keeps a low profile here, with rare sightings of his famous rumpled presence. Perhaps the world’s top-earning writer, he’s lately making stars out of little-known artists through his column in Entertainment Weekly.

Kirschner, Kelly. Our new 32-year-old vice mayor, whose sudden appearance on the scene holds great portent for the future. His journey from Cardinal Mooney to Selby Gardens to the Peace Corps to City Hall makes for a great story—and you can read it on page 48.

Klauber, Katie. As general manager of the family-owned Colony Beach and Tennis Resort, she personifies all the pluses of our local hospitality industry: quality, sophistication and a sure vision of what make Sarasota so stylish in the eyes of the world.

Klauber, Michael. Most prominent member of Sarasota’s leading hospitality family and the reigning king of food and wine. After 20 years, his Michael’s On East remains a favorite with the power structure and the critics, and the catering company he co-owns with Phil Mancini rules the party world.

Ley, Jim. The life of a county manager can be short, nasty and brutish, especially in fractious Sarasota, but Ley’s still riding high after a decade. Smart, confident and a gifted politician, he’s respected by his commission—and on the handball court.

Lobo, Caren and Dick. As prez of WEDU, he’s revitalized Florida’s largest PBS affiliate; she founded the Sarasota Reading Festival and Forum 2007 and is a formidable force in the local Democratic party, now organizing Florida fund raisers for Barack Obama.

Loevner, Sandy. As leader of the Florida Winefest & Auction, Loevner has for 16 years lent her endless energy and enthusiasm to the cause, which has raised more than $5.5 million for 70 different local charitable agencies. As down-to-earth as she is driven.

Mahadevan, Dr. Kumar. A benthic ecologist, the quiet Mahadevan is a genius at getting government grants for Mote Marine Laboratory, which he’s grown in his 30 years there to a world-respected resource and research center (sharks, red tide and more), with a $23 million budget and a staff of 250.

Mancini, Phil. The Godfather of Sarasota parties, he’s adored by everyone from socialites to his immense staff for his passionate dedication and ability to deliver food and service that outshine almost any city’s on earth. Just named one of the country’s top 10 caterers; we think he’s No. 1.

McFarlin, Diane. A meticulously put-together steel magnolia with serious journalism chops, the Herald-Tribune publisher led the company into the multimedia age with SNN and heraldtribune.com. Former chair of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and member of the Pulitzer Prize Committee.

McGillicuddy, Dennis and Graci. Major givers, even when exploring the globe aboard the ultra-luxurious condo ship, The World. A cable TV entrepreneur, he’s part of the Connie Mack political family; she’s a bubbly socialite who burns to become known as the Mother Teresa of Sarasota kids. Her new Sarasota Sports Foundation is raising big bucks, fast.

McKenzie, Gwen. As uninsured costs increase, public hospitals struggle to maintain fiscal health, but Sarasota Memorial’s CEO has cut expenses while expanding services and maintaining quality. You’ll see her in scrubs as well as power suits at civic functions—or in gym clothes on the treadmill at the Y.

Meurs, Brian. Get-’er-done Venice realtor, past chair of the Economic Development Corporation and president of the Community Housing Trust, he’s built strong bridges between the south and north county business communities.

Michalson, Gordon “Mike” Jr. President of New College, the unconventional and highly ranked liberal arts school that adds prestige and brainy kids from all around the country to the Sarasota mix. A religion and philosophy professor, he’s a political whiz at getting state support and is expanding the campus—and perhaps enrollment.

Miller, Mike. Now planning to revitalize downtown Venice’s Intracoastal Waterway with condos, shops, offices and a hotel, the Waterford Construction president jokes he’s a consensus builder who persists until others see it his way. Major supporter of causes from MCC to the YMCA.

Norris, Gary. The controversial school superintendent, who resigned in frustration last September but then decided to stay, is pushing forward his Next Generation plan to fit students for tomorrow’s workplace. Detractors remain, but he’s promised he’ll work to build consensus.

North, Marjorie. Our local Liz Smith is turning into H.L. Mencken. The Herald-Tribune social columnist holds the key to the Publicity Kingdom and wields her power with great skill. Her support can make you. If she doesn’t like you—move.

Orr, Matt. The 30-year-old Michael Saunders realtor with the Southern drawl personifies Young Sarasota. Only in town a few years, he’s civic-minded, knows everybody and happily takes on one cool new project after another.

Pappas, Sarah. Steady, serious president of Manatee Community College, she’s elevated the profile and quality of our largest institution of higher education, adding new programs, increasing enrollment while lowering class size, and investing $29 million in facilities. Serves on powerhouse state and local boards.

Parry, Emily Walsh. Yes, she’s the competition, but we love her, anyway—just like everyone else in town. Sweet and adorable, this talented young Longboat Observer photojournalist both chronicles and shapes the social scene, chairing events and rallying other young bright lights to her causes.

Peterson, Guy. Boyish-looking modernist architect with lots of awards under his belt. With his spectacular redo and addition to the iconic Twitchell/Rudolph Revere House, he’s reinventing the Sarasota School. The architect of the moment in a town that’s architecture-mad.

Pfahler, Chris.  This South County newcomer, a doctor’s wife who’s now dedicating herself to her family and philanthropy instead of nursing, has quickly become a super-chair, bringing new energy and ideas to some of Sarasota’s most glittering galas. On her calendar for next season: eight events and counting.

Piccolo, Fredrick. He recently decided to be called Rick instead of Fred, but the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport prez has made a name for himself by elevating the airport’s sometimes shaky fortunes, increasing passenger traffic and landing AirTran and JetBlue.

Queior, Steve. Quiet and bookish-looking, he’s turned a faltering Chamber of Commerce around since he assumed the presidency three years ago, solidifying its finances and increasing membership as well as identifying and recruiting strong volunteer leadership.

Rappaport, Marty. He’s the largest landowner on St. Armands Circle, and his vigorous leadership has kept Sarasota’s famous shopping district vibrant. He persuaded the other owners to create a business improvement district there, taxing themselves to fund much-needed improvements and landscaping.

Rodriguez, Henry. A telecom exec who retired to Casey Key at 35, he soon got restless and started shaking up his new ’hood, first rallying Osprey to support his development of a new Wal-Mart and now planning a hotel at the southern gateway of Casey Key.

Saunders, Drayton and Michael. She’s the long-established luxury real estate tycoon with charisma to spare, lending her voice to causes from the Ringling Museum to Selby Gardens while expanding her biz territory to the Caribbean; he’s the tech-smart scion-in-training and a mover in the YPG. A formidable pair. 

Schule, Sally. With her impeccable fashion sense, the gel-haired, hard-working manager of Saks defines upscale style in this town, but she cares about more than the pretty and privileged, making her store a partner with—and venue for—some of Sarasota’s most deserving causes.

Searing, Ulla. Nonprofits have been swooning over Searing since the 94-year-old started giving her millions away, most notably to the Ringling Museum and Ringling College. She’s got stamina, too, showing up at dozens of events, wearing her trademark white gloves.

Simon, John. The low-key CEO of Isaac Group Holdings plans to revitalize downtown Sarasota with the $200 million, mixed-use Pineapple Square. He can deliver the goods; former projects include the ultra-luxurious International Plaza in Tampa and the Mall at Millenia in Orlando.

Smith, Anne Folsom. Focused, hardworking designer of countless condos on Longboat Key and mainland homes. As much as anyone, she’s created the Sarasota Look—calm, subdued, contemporary and very expensive.

Souza, Tony. Has the enthusiastic director of the Downtown Partnership really been in town only two years? Totally connected to the community, the French-Portuguese transplant from New Bedford has brought in celebrity speakers and convinced power players we can be the next Great Downtown. Trains for marathons, too.

Springer, Jerry. Our most famous (infamous?) resident, he hosts the trash TV show everyone loves to hate. But he’s also a serious Democrat, former Cincinnati mayor and national talk radio show host. Loves spring training, his family and escaping from Chicago to quiet Bird Key.

Stearns, Stewart. Unofficial mayor of the philanthropic community. Since he became CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota in 1988, he’s built assets from $300,000 to over $150 million. Dedicated do-gooder who wears his heart on his sleeve.

Swart, John. The   president  of Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty has brought an astounding 300 companies (with 12,000 workers) and four million-plus square feet of offices, retail and medical facilities to the ranch, with more to come. Grows bonsai, too.

Thaxton, Jon. Not many politicians are public servants, but this thoughtful, well-informed county commissioner deserves that title. An environmental champion, he’s also a realtor who’s respected by
business for his commitment to the
county’s good. Closet contra dancer and dedicated runner.

Thompson, Larry. He’s helped Ringling College of Art and Design become a national leader, raising academic standards and expanding programs. He also has a way with donors, wangling major gifts with cordial ease. Helped establish Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and jokes that he’s a “recovering lawyer.”

Tryon, Tom. No, Herald-Tribune editorials aren’t written by New York Times elitists. The editorial page editor is a Palmetto native who loves the Baltimore Orioles, dotes on his family and brings a long-timer’s perspective to current issues. Nationally, newspaper readership may be down, but in literate Sarasota, his editorials get attention.

Turner, Jim. He can build a legal strategy or hunt turkey with the good old boys on the family’s Hi Hat Ranch. As an attorney, past chamber president, Field Club commodore and member of a big land-owning family, Turner plays well in just about every Sarasota sector.

Vengroff, Harvey. Colorful entrepreneur who eschews suits and status symbols and loves sailing, he runs the second-largest collection company in the nation. A voice for affordable housing, he (with his wife) also started The Backlot, an alternative space for performers.

Vetter, Bob. Gregarious longtime publisher of the Venice Gondolier Sun, he wields the power of the pen in all matters South County. Look for him at the podium using his self-deprecating humor to raise funds for Venice good causes.

Vitale, Dick. Sure, you see him everywhere on TV as a college basketball expert and sports analyst, but you also see him everywhere in town, whether breakfasting at the Broken Egg or supporting causes from the Boys & Girls Club to cancer research. Awesome, baby, indeed.

Walsh, Matt. Citizen Kane on Longboat Key. Famous for his expanding Observer newspaper empire, including regional and business weeklies, and his conservative editorials. Doesn’t believe in global warming or most social services and says we need more roads—and Republicans!

Weinrich, Carl. He’s built the Sarasota’s YMCA into one of the nation’s most successful, with most of its $90 million budget dedicated to trailblazing social services. His vision, guts and political clout helped find the funds and form the partnerships to tackle troubled kids, Florida’s foster care bureaucracy and more.

Wetherington, Lee. The hard-driving homebuilder is a softie when it comes to kids; he’s one of the biggest donors in the history of the Boys & Girls Club and, with his “Building Bridges” campaign, now encourages others to give to the Community Foundation.

Wise, Margaret. She took the town by storm when she arrived 20 years ago and hasn’t let go since. Of all the society grande dames, she’s in a class by herself. Famous for her energy, problem-solving, matchmaking—and her well-applied Southern charm.

Zdravecky, Barbara. Brave, bold CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida, she’s   attracted leaders and politicians to her cause through charm and total conviction. Now expanding her organization, with new clinics in Sarasota’s Rosemary District, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas. z

 

POWER FAILURES

Mike McNees. Sarasota’s city manager guided downtown through six years of dynamic growth but resentfully resigned this spring right before the commission, fed up with communication problems, perceptions of arrogance and the Van Wezel mess, planned to fire him.

John Wilkes. The arts community loved the longtime executive director of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, but that couldn’t keep him from going down after stories broke about financial and other improprieties at the Big Purple.

Katherine Harris. The most polarizing politician in America crashed and burned (and seemed to unravel) in her effort to jump from freshman Congressman to the U.S. Senate.

Bill and Carla Griffin. Though no longer a couple, the once ultra-prominent Griffins own the properties—Morton’s Market, Fred’s, Annabelle’s and The Tasting Room—that made Southside Village so fashionable. The recent abrupt closing of all but Morton’s left neighbors and nearby retailers shocked and worried.

 

POWER BOARDS

Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. If you want to be a leader in Sarasota, better put in some time (preferably as president) on this large and influential board.

The YMCA Foundation and Metro boards. Power attracts power, and the top boards of the town’s biggest not-for-profit are living proof. If members don’t care about disadvantaged kids and families when they sign on, they soon will.

The Ringling Museum. Being on this board proves you’ve made it. Board members are bigwigs from all over the state, appointed by the governor; to score a seat you need to be wealthy, important—or both.

Asolo Repertory Theatre. Big donors, from socialites to business leaders, populate this board, and the staff knows how to make each one feel like a part of the Asolo  family.

Van Wezel Foundation. Stepping eagerly into the current power vacuum at the hall, the feisty foundation board, chafing under the city’s bureaucracy, is determined to play a bigger role in its future. Stay tuned.

 

POWER HANGOUTS

The University Club. The sweeping view of Sarasota from this 12th-floor downtown club is spectacular, and the members make up a Who’s Who of commerce and leadership. How’s the food? Like we said, the view is spectacular.

Neoderm Skin Care. The beautiful people (yes, men, too) get more beautiful after being peeled, lasered and botoxed at this intimate, state-of-the-art clinic. Etiquette tip: What happens (and who you see) at Neoderm stays at Neoderm.

Carr’s Corner Café. Bigshots, arts leaders and politicians love the food and off-the-record conversation at this hole in the wall on the North Trail.

Saks Fifth Avenue. The counters and racks attract Sarasota’s most stylish, and if you want to see a rich person get excited, just ask her about triple points days.

First Watch. Breakfast is power hour at this downtown restaurant, where leaders meet to plan business deals and fund-raising strategies over the egg-white omelettes, banana pancakes and big carafes of coffee. 

The YMCA. The rich and powerful get more powerful on the weights and elliptical machines at the Y’s three locations.

Dolphin Aviation. Private jet traffic is soaring in Sarasota, and the lobby of this private aviation facility at the airport has become a private club for some of the highest fliers in town.

Bijou Café. Some top dogs even have regular tables at John Pierre Knaggs’ comfortable, elegant downtown restaurant. Best power-sightings: on the barstools in the Gossips Lounge.

Spring training baseball at Ed Smith Stadium. Even hard-to-get celebs show up for the boys of spring—that’s where one savvy civic promoter recently spotted Jerry Springer sitting a few rows away and promptly invited him to speak at an upcoming meeting.