Leading Ladies


Leading Ladies


Date: December 18, 2013
by: Harriet Sokmensuer | Community Editor


Three young schoolgirls sit around a picnic table munching on trail mix and talking politics.

“I want to serve the other girls and help them be strong, smart and bold,” says recently elected Commissioner Gloria Macias.

The other girls nod in agreement. Gloria, along with fellow Commissioner Alondra Martinez and new Chief of Police Jennifer Laub, continue to discuss their hopes for the future of the Girls Inc. community in which they serve — Dream Harbor.

For six years, a mayor has presided over Dream Harbor. However, this year, the citizens decided that their community would work better with two commissioners and one representative from each of the businesses.

Dream Harbor, a mini-society at Girls Inc. for Sarasota County, is made up of four ventures, or businesses such as the salon, and two agencies: the post office and bank. The girls felt that the new form of government would “allow more girls to participate and have their individual voices to be heard,” says Kay Mathers, Girls Inc. director of community relations.

This means that for the first time in Dream Harbor’s history, a single leader will not be in charge.

The commissioners were sworn in Friday, Dec. 6, and although they are still working on goals for their one-year term, they’ve already started taking their new roles seriously.

“It feels good,” says Gloria. “Leaders teach and help people.”



Alondra started as a helper at Dream Harbor’s fitness center, Fitness Fanatics, when she first came to Girls Inc. in 2008. Since then, she has worked as assistant manager of the Gazette, Dream Harbor’s newspaper, before starting her career in politics as representative for Mini Chef Café. When she was sworn in, Alondra spoke about watching your words and the importance of supporting each other.

“When I was little, I used to look up to the older girls,” she says. “Now, I’m looked up to.”


When Gloria worked in the Government Center last year, she says she wasn’t able to effect change. This year, however, she plans on putting herself out there and leading by example.

“If they have a problem or any troubles, they come to me,” she says. “I’ll give them advice.”

It may be nerve-wracking for the first-term commissioner, but she understands it’s a part of her role.

“They might say they don’t like (my advice), but I’ll just say, ‘That’s just my opinion.’”

Chief of police

As chief of police, Jennifer is in charge of the peacekeepers, who monitor the Girls Inc. corridors. Her main goal as the chief is to prevent bullying, something she’s dealt with herself.

“I like to look back at the other girls and say, ‘Hey, I was like that, too,’” she says. Even though she has many responsibilities, Jennifer plans on staying hands-on in her job.

“I really want to be out in the halls a lot so that if I see anything going on I can stop it right away,” she says.

Contact Harriet Sokmensuer at hsokmensuer@yourobserver.com


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