The WUF 2018 Woman of the Year was announced at the 10th-annual ceremony on Aug. 6.
Being named Women United Flagler’s 2018 Woman of the Year has been a decade in the making for Joanne Tavzel.
Currently the fund allocation chairwoman, Tavzel said she was shocked when WUF President Maureen Walsh announced her as the Woman of the Year at the 10th-annual Power of the Purse event Monday, Aug. 6, at the Hammock Dunes Club.
“It’s such a surprise and such an honor, such an honor,” Tavzel said. “I’m still taken aback.”
Tavzel was one of the charter members of WUF, which changed its name from Women's Initiative in the last year.
An Ormond Beach native, Tavzel moved to Flagler County in 2000 and has devoted her free time to giving, volunteering and advocating — three of WUF’s primary principles.
“I just don’t know where I would be without volunteering,” Tavzel said. “I think it rounds a person out. It can’t be all about taking; there has got to be some give. And you’re getting tenfold back when you give.”
Through her efforts with WUF, the Family Life Center, the Flagler County Association of Realtors and the Women’s Council of Realtors, Tavzel said she enjoys volunteering because she gets to meet new people and even “have a very small impact on other people’s lives.”
Family Life Center, a Flagler County nonprofit that works to end sexual assault and domestic violence locally, is one of the many charitable organizations that benefits from WUF donations.
At the banquet, Family Life Center CEO Trish Giaccone spoke of WUF’s concrete impact on FLC.
“Tonight, you are helping to fund 31 people,” Giaccone said, adding that the FLC facility houses 32 people in a 6-bedroom home where donations are always needed for electricity, food, AC and supplies.
Beverly Naylor, president of the Gal 7 Foundation, echoed Giaccone’s remarks on how WUF donations make a difference by helping children in Florida foster care. She said there are currently over 1,700 children in the foster care system in the 7th Judicial Circuit.
Representing another organization that benefits from WUF, Shelley Wheeler, the Flagler County Education Foundation finance data specialist, emphasized the many ways the Ed Foundation works to mentor (Take Stock in Children), provide for (STUFF Bus) and encourage success (Flagler Schools flagship programs) for local children.
“It takes a village,” Wheeler said. “And you are all part of that village here in Flagler County.”