Luncheon ends Black Emphasis Month celebrations

After a monthlong celebration, Black Emphasis Month came to an end Tuesday with the Carter G. Woodson Student Leadership Luncheon. The luncheon began with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem.

Felecia Winton, the guest speaker, was chosen to speak because of her success as a local black businesswoman. Winton graduated from USF in 1981 with a degree in finance. Winton was a math major until she found finance suited her better.

After working at Citycorp for more than 10 years, she then pursued Books for Thought in Tampa and Lily’s in Bradenton, the business she now owns.

The reason Winton opened the stores was because of her passion for reading.

“I love my job, working with numbers,” Winton said. “But I love to read. It’s a great way to escape.”

While on a convention in Baltimore, Winton made a trip to Washington D.C. to visit black bookstores. She knew there were no black bookstores in Tampa, so upon her return from Baltimore, Winton went to the USF Small Business Development Center, and began looking for information on how to start a business.

“It’s a good idea to base your location on where you want to be in the future,” Winton said. It is for this reason that Books for Thought is located on 56th Street near USF.

Winton was featured in last January’s O Magazine, in an article about women who completely changed careers. She has also been mentioned in a booklist for Essence magazine.

All these events led to her expanding the Tampa store. In June, she expanded Books for Thought to 2,000 square feet and opened Lily’s in Bradenton.

“In business when you really work hard, people support you in your endeavors,” Winton said. “Go forward with your aspirations. There is nothing like having a job that you really love.”

Katie Giglio, mistress of ceremony and co-chairwoman for Black Emphasis Month, said this event was held last year and was a great way to get students involved with local community leaders.Freshman Ashley Willison said the luncheon was a learning experience.

“The luncheon was very informational and a great way for USF to interact with students.”

Lorraine Reeves, chairwoman for USF’s Black Emphasis Month committee, said black history is still a part of people’s lives today.

“Every day is black history. We are living it. Let us continue to let the story be told,” she said.

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