Florida 500: Snapshots of influential Tampa Bay area women

The Tampa area is home to some of Florida’s most impactful business leaders. A select few make the annual Florida 500 list, which highlights influential executives among different economic sectors. These individuals are identified by Florida Trend magazine through extensive research. Below, select women who earned the most recent honor share advice and direction.

Joy Randels

Founder & CEO

New Market Partners


How do you define influence?

Influence comes through emotional connections. It doesn’t come instantaneously. It grows as we purposefully take action by extending honor, and receiving respect, from others in return. As the saying goes, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.”


The process of connecting with your team starts by getting to know them as individuals. Understand their goals, and passions, in, and beyond, the workplace. Helping people grow, lifting their vision to higher sights and inspiring them to raise their performance to a higher standard, often even beyond what they see for themselves. That is real influence.


What advice do you have for would-be influential business leaders?

Be authentic. Know yourself and understand your personal strengths and weaknesses.

  • Truly connect with people.
  • Create an environment that allows your people to achieve small wins that magnify their potential.
  • Understand that you will never please everyone and that is okay.
  • Strive for respect, versus popularity.
  • Give trust so that you can earn trust.
  • Think bigger for others—even bigger than they think of themselves.


Nancy Tower

President & CEO

Tampa Electric

(Tower announced plans to retire from this post in 2020)


What advice do you have for would-be influential business leaders?

There is no one style of leadership that works. Be a student of leaders and take from those whom you admire and learn from those that you don’t. Find your own style and be true to yourself and your values.


How do you define influence?

Influence means the ability to achieve your goals without making all the decisions yourself. A leader must influence, guide and, maybe even, course correct the team to achieve the strategy.


Rhea Law

Former Chair, Florida Offices

Of Counsel

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Tampa


Please explain your leadership strategy.

My leadership strategy is to inspire others to succeed in things they never thought possible and thereby develop an “army” of empowered people to work towards the success of the organization. This strategy works best when applied to individuals at all levels. Clearly communicating mission, and goals, encouraging independent thought, and accountability, providing coaching, and leadership training, as well as specifically identifying opportunities for growth are the tactics necessary to achieve the strategy.


What advice do you have for would-be influential business leaders?

There are thousands of books on the characteristics of a leader, however, in my view, the most important single attribute is to always maintain one’s credibility and integrity. An entire lifetime of positive actions can be undone in a moment of lapsed judgment. Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel quite right – don’t do it.


View the entire list of Florida 500 honorees here.

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