WGCU Public Media, in partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Women's Fund of Southwest Florida, is accepting nominations for 2015 MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida. The public is invited to nominate a woman who is impacting Southwest Florida and leaving her mark in the arts, business, education, environment, health/wellness, politics or social justice.Nominations will be accepted at Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. Previous MAKERS are not eligible. Nominees will be considered by a selection committee of MAKERS alumni and WGCU leaders. WGCU will notify the five women selected as 2015 MAKERS in Novemer 2014.Inspired by the PBS national project, WGCU MAKERS preserves the stories of remarkable Southwest Florida women. WGCU produces video and audio portraits of the MAKERS to air on WGCU TV and WGCU FM and archives their stories at for future generations.The opening of nominations in September coincides with the premiere of the PBS MAKERS new six-part series spotlighting women in comedy, Hollywood, space, business, politics and war. The series premieres on WGCU HDTV Tuesday, Sept. 30 @ 9 p.m. and airs every Tuesday for the following five weeks.



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If you set your mind to something in life and you’re determined and you just keep pushing forward, no matter what obstacles you’re going through, eventually you’re going to succeed.

Dollars for Mammograms had a slow start in 2000, said founder and president Rita Bertler of Englewood. It wasn’t for a lack of funding. And in addition, the one-page application was simple and copies could be found “everywhere we could think to put them,” Bertler said. The problem was that women had a hard time believing they could really get free mammograms.

A lesson I have learned is not to give away your power. It is good to recognize where you need help and that you can’t do everything. It is best to stay in the areas that you know best. But it is good to recognize, too, that you are capable. And to trust your own instincts.

“Growing up in a house with seven siblings prepared me for dealing with publishers and other different personalities that arise,” said Sharon Bruckman of Naples. 

A graduate of Central Michigan University, Bruckman started out studying marketing and retailing, switched to psychology and ended up with an art degree. She laughed. Needless to say, the path to owning a magazine franchise was an organic process. It came after 20 years spent raising children and germinating the message that would grow a magazine.


I believe I have lived my life helping people. And I want to live my life to the last day helping people achieve. You’re never too old to help someone else.

Myra Daniels remembers sitting at the dinner table when she was a little girl and her father asking her, “Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I think I was four years old,” Daniels recalled. “And I said ‘in charge.’ They all laughed and I didn’t think it was funny. But you know, I have been blessed. And every job that I went into, as soon as I learned it, I got to be in charge. And so I thought that was a title.”

I’ve certainly encountered enough instances where I’ve heard, ‘I love turtles just as much as you do, little lady, but …’ I didn’t let that detract me or deter me. Just a mental note, maybe this person isn’t quite ready for a more progressive woman, progressive attitude and changes.

About 35 years ago, Eve Haverfield followed some footprints in the sand. They were huge, and led from the beach to the sea oats on Sanibel, where she was a new resident.

Those tracks led her to a passion for which she’d become known for 35 years: the protection of sea turtles. She was a group of one in 1989, the “Turtle Lady” who wandered the beaches convincing people to dim or shield or even turn off lights so the turtles could nest in peace. It wasn’t hard to convince Sanibel residents to conserve and protect. But Haverfield had a harder time carrying the message to more tourism-minded Fort Myers Beach.

The first question that they asked me was, ‘As a rather diminutive woman, how do you think you would control a courtroom?’ I answered that I thought it had to do with knowledge of the law, treatment of the clients, being the most prepared person in the courtroom.

When she was voted to the bench at 38, Laura Safer Espinoza was the youngest civil court judge to be elected in New York State.

“The first day I was setting up my books on the bench, I had yet to put on the robe and an older defense attorney entered the courtroom and approached and said, ‘Miss, do you think you could run along and let the judge know that we’re here and ready for the trial?’ So I didn’t say anything, I did go in the back, make a couple of phone calls, take a few minutes to rest and then went out with the robe on. And his face was priceless.”