Whenever she meets someone for the first time, Roxanne Joffe always wonders whether they’re listening to the words she saying — or her South African accent.
Joffe, president of CAP Brand Marketing, took over as chairwoman of the newly formed Downtown Sarasota Council Dec. 3.
The council’s focus for 2010 will be a strategic plan and vision for downtown, by identifying viable economic stimuli and bringing Sarasota’s talents and assets together to leverage new partnerships.
“I’m not exactly sure of the vision, but I would like to see a calculated strategic approach by engaging interested parties and collaborating,” Joffe said. “As we take our collaboration to the next level, we need to be inclusive of ideas, groups and cultures, bringing talents and assets together and, then, articulating this vision.”
By combining the synergy of such downtown-centric groups as the Downtown Improvement District and Downtown Sarasota Alliance, as well as neighborhood and community groups, Joffe hopes to preserve the character of downtown and maintain a livable, urban neighborhood in the Sarasota community.
Joffe, one of the founding members of the Five Points Neighborhood Association, sees downtown Sarasota as a vibrant, active, pedestrian-oriented downtown with a broad range of activity — a place where people of all ages come together to work, socialize and live, and that offers nightlife, sidewalk cafés, dining and shopping.
“It doesn’t just benefit downtown, but also the people who come downtown for dinner, sit on the sidewalk with a cup of coffee or walk the streets.”
One goal is to continue the focus on the revitalization and beautification of a chief gateway to downtown — Fruitville Road. Initiatives to beautify it have been in the works for several years, but the council will take the lead and to make it a reality.
Other key strategies include developing and supporting public-private partnerships to benefit the central business district, downtown neighborhoods and near-downtown areas; supporting the efforts of the City Alliance by supporting connectivity efforts; and investigating and integrating with the chamber’s existing councils and committees.
“Downtown reflects our spirit,” Joffe said. “It is our showcase and embodies who we are. Lets make sure we keep the lights glowing and the doors open.”
Contact Loren Mayo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Title: President of CAP Brand Marketing and chair elect of the Sarasota Downtown Council
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa
In Sarasota since: 2004
Favorite part of Sarasota: Its urban feel and potential; Running or walking the bridge at sunrise and sunset.
Hobbies: Running, spinning, cycling, cooking and baking
Fun fact: Voice-activated phone systems don’t recognize her South African accent, so she has to speak in an American accent.
Secret desire: To be a standup comedian.
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