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Two business alumnae receive FSU Alumni Association honor for inspiring others

Jul 31, 2017

Inspire AwardTwo College of Business alumnae were among four women recently honored with the Florida State University  Alumni Association’s Women of Distinction Inspire Award for 2017. Melanie Shoemaker Griffin (BS Finance ’03; JD/MBA ’06) and Judy Schmeling (BS Accounting '82) received the recognition for distinguishing themselves as leaders in their industries and for their hard work and determination, which inspire students and young alumni. The award was presented at the Tampa Bay Seminole Club.

Griffin is a commercial litigation attorney and office managing shareholder in the Tampa office of the Dean Mead law firm. She established a Dean Mead office in Tampa – the firm’s fifth Florida office – after making a name for herself within the firm’s Orlando office for her impressive courtroom and settlement victories. Named an Outstanding Commercial Litigation Lawyer for 2017 in The Best Lawyers in America, Griffin holds the highest Martindale-Hubbell peer-review rating – the AV Preeminent® – and has been recognized by Florida Trend as a “Legal Elite Up & Comer” and/or Outstanding Commercial Litigation Attorney every year since 2010.

Griffin has also secured a long list of other professional honors, including: Florida’s 2009 Most Productive Young Lawyer (Young Lawyers’ Division of The Florida Bar Board of Governors); Rising Star recognition, 2010-2017 (Super Lawyers); a 2016 Tampa Bay Metro Inspiring Woman in Business and Business Woman of the Year Legal Services Finalist (Tampa Bay Business Journal); Best Lawyer in America, Best of Tampa Bay honoree and one of Orlando’s Best Lawyers (Orlando Magazine). In 2016, Griffin also received the title of Notable Nole, an FSU Alumni Association recognition given to outstanding young alumni.

Beyond her professional life, Griffin has a passion for mentoring that led her to found Spread Your Sunshine. The organization empowers women to break the glass ceiling and achieve their dreams. Griffin’s definition of success is “positively impacting the lives of others to inspire their journeys and motivate them to pay it forward for the benefit of the next generation.”

Schmeling has been chief operating officer with retailing giant HSN Inc. since 2013 and president of its catalog division, Cornerstone Brands Inc., since 2016.

Since joining HSN Inc. in 1994, Schmeling has held positions of increasing responsibility, including chief financial officer, 2008-2016; executive vice president and chief financial officer of HSN (then known as IAC Retailing), 2002-2008; and senior vice president, finance, 1999-2002. Prior to joining HSN, Schmeling was managing director of Tunstall Consulting Inc., a corporate financial planning firm, from 1986 to 1994. She began her career in 1982 at Deloitte & Touche, an international public accounting firm.

Prominent in the Tampa Bay business community, Schmeling was named CFO of the Year for 2010 in the public company category by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. In addition, she serves on the board of directors and as a member of the Audit Committee of Constellation Brands Inc., a premium wine, beer and spirits company. She also has served as a Charles A. Bruning Distinguished Speaker at the College of Business.

College of Business graduate Nada Usina (BS Marketing ’93; MS Sport Management ’94) was one of last year’s Inspire Award honorees. Usina is a member of the CEO/Board Services Practice at Russell Reynolds and Associates in New York and leads the firm’s technology sector across the Americas. She also co-leads the company’s global Digital Convergence and Mobile Practice and the firm's global Media, Entertainment and Sports Practice.

The two other 2017 Inspire Award recipients are Stacie Bene Harris Cox, (JD ’05), assistant United States attorney for the Middle District of Florida, and Susan Ann MacManus (Ph.D. ’75), Distinguished Professor, Department of Government and International Affairs, at the University of South Florida.

By Barbara Ash





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