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JWOF March Newsletter

Dear Friend:

Spring has sprung! For those of us in Florida we might ask, “what Spring?” We know that we are in for more warm weather.  Spring signals new birth – many plants and animals hibernate during winter and come alive in Spring.  So too do many people who are forced inside during winter months long for the promise of Spring to open up to the outside and let fresh air inside. Take the time to “Spring Clean” – thoughts, emails, homes, etc.

This is also tax season and we are pleased to have JWOF Member Michelle Moise, CPA share her thoughts during the season on how to safeguard yourself from fraud.

The JWOF Powerful Women…Next Generation Scholarship application period is now open for all graduating seniors who are first or second generation Jamaican-American females to apply for the renewable scholarship.  Please visit www.jamaicanwomenofflorida for details.

Our second annual Women’s Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon is a month away and we are proud of the esteemed list of presenters that we have assembled.

Smash The Glass Ceiling 
Rene Marsh – CNN Aviation & Government Regulation Reporter
Marie McKenzie – Carnival VP Global Destination
Pauline Grant – CEO Broward Health

Dr. Karen Carpenter – Clinical Sexologist/Psychologist
Dr. Audeanne Donaldson – Author/Inspirational speaker         
Eva Francis, MSN, RN, CCRN – Author/Motivational Speaker     

Luncheon Guest Speaker
Mrs. Paula Williams-Madison
CEO Madison Media & Author Of:  "Finding Samuel Lowe -China, Jamaica, Harlem"

Felecia Hatcher – CEO Code Fever Miami/Black Tech Week
Jermaine Haughton – Top of his class Baltimore Law School
Sharu Goodwyn – Communications & Community Development Consultant

 There will be all day shopping for carefully selected and one of a kind items and silent auction.  The event runs from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM and costs $125 pp for JWOF Members and early bird registrants before April 15; and $150 pp after April 15. If you can only attend the Scholarship Luncheon it will be $75 pp.  Please purchase your tickets at http://jamaicanwomenofflorida.com/index.php/event or go directly to Eventbrite: 

Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Meet Our Panelists
"Smash the Glass Ceiling"


Jamaican-American Rene Marsh is CNN's aviation and government regulation correspondent, based in the network's Washington bureau.

Marsh joined the network in 2012.  Since joining CNN she has reported on several high profile assignments including the disappearance of commercial passenger plane, MH370. Marsh also covered the shoot down of MH17 over Ukraine.       

Prior to CNN, Marsh was a general assignment correspondent for WSVN in Miami, Florida, covering breaking news, local politics, education and sports.Marsh graduated with honors from Binghamton University and earned a master's degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.


Marie McKenzie was named vice president of global destinations services and sourcing for Carnival Corporation & plc in March of 2015.

McKenzie leads a team of brand experts who are responsible for geographical regions on behalf of all 10 brands.  She started her career with Carnival Corporation in 1996 and since then has held a number of roles of increasing responsibility.  

McKenzie began her career in 1992 with Arthur Andersen LLP in Washington, D.C. Originally from Jamaica; she is a graduate of Howard University where she earned her bachelor's degree in accounting. She also attended Florida International University where she earned a master's degree in international business.  


Pauline Grant is the new interim Chief Executive Officer of Broward Health  - the public hospital system in Broward County, a nationally recognized health-system. She has more than 36 years of healthcare experience and spent twelve years as Chief Executive Officer of Broward Health North (BHN).  

Ms. Grant has received several prestigious awards, including 2012 Top Ten Most Powerful Women In Healthcare by Health Exec News and awarded Legacy Magazine 2014 Black Professional Leaders in Business & Industry.  She serves as a board member and healthcare advocate for several local organizations and is a National Board Member for the American Lung Association. 

A native of Jamaica, Ms. Grant is an avid Dolphin football fan, she attends as many home games as possible. Her greatest joy is her two daughters and two wonderful grandchildren.

  Finding a qualified tax professional    

Florida has been in the news lately regarding identity theft crimes that involve filing bogus income tax returns. In fact, Florida is #1 in the nation when it comes to identity theft. As a result, care must be taken when you choose an individual to file your tax return. Keep in mind that even if someone else prepares and files your tax return with the IRS, you are responsible for everything reported on your return. To avoid tax return preparer fraud or misconduct, or even careless mistakes, it’s important to know what to look for and avoid when choosing a tax return preparer.

Here are a few tips to help you find a qualified tax professional:

1.  Research – Do not wait until the last minute to search for someone. You should research potential tax preparers to determine if they match your personal preference and requirements. It’s essential to find someone who is responsive to your questions and someone you’ll be able to contact after the return is filed. It’s also important to ask for references or talk to others who had successful experiences with the preparer. Check the preparer’s history. With social media today, you can check their websites for testimonials or other social platforms such as Yelp and Facebook. You can also check professional databases and sites such as the Better Business Bureau and the Florida Department of Business Regulation to see if there are any filed complaints or disciplinary actions, and for the status of the preparer’s license.

·       For Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) – State board of accountancy

·       Attorneys – State bar association

·       Enrolled Agents – IRS Office of Enrollment 

2.  Be knowledgeable – Ensure that the tax professional you decide on has the expertise and knowledge you need to prepare an accurate tax return. Do not be afraid to get technical and ask questions. Since you are responsible for everything that’s reported on your tax return, you should get an understanding on what’s been reported. Every tax preparer must have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). You can decide if you need an enrolled agent, attorney, or CPA who can represent you before the IRS in situations like collections, audits, and appeals.

3.  Be careful of scams – Avoid any preparer who guarantees a refund or claims they can obtain a larger refund than other preparers. Also, avoid any preparer who based their fees on the percentage of your refund. Before starting your tax return, always ask for the fees upfront. Many people are not aware how much they are being charged to complete their tax return. Keep away from preparers who don’t offer follow-up support after tax season. Credible tax professionals are available year-round.  Do not allow a tax preparer to persuade you to include items on your tax return that is not true, in order to get a bigger refund. If this happens, find another tax preparer. Also, do not sign a blank tax return, or allow them to send your tax refund to a bank account under their control. 

4. Be diligent – Make sure that your tax preparer gives you a complete copy of the filed tax return, and that it has the preparer’s signature and Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Keep the signed copy in a safe place.

These four tips will help protect your tax refund and guard against fraud and misconduct.

SFL Tax & Accounting Solutions, LLC
2700 N 29th Ave., Ste. 218A
Hollywood, FL 33020

For Third Anniversary – Jamaican Women of Florida, stages Women’s Empowerment Conference and Scholarship Luncheon

For Immediate Release

Following an overwhelming response, the Jamaican Women of Florida, Inc. (JWOF) will host the second annual Women’s Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon to celebrate its third anniversary on Saturday, April 23, 2016.  The event will take place at the Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, in downtown Miami. 

Some 200 patrons are expected to participate in the daylong event which will include three panel presentations and the Scholarship Luncheon.   The sessions will include groups of professional and renowned first and second Jamaican women who will share their experiences at morning session Smashing the Glass Ceiling with CNN National Aviation and Government Regulation reporter, Rene Marsh, Carnival Cruise Vice President Marie McKenzie; and Broward Health North Executive, interim President and CEO, Pauline Grant.  

A panel on Transformation follows with clinical sexologist and psychologist, Dr. Karen Carpenter, author and inspirational speaker, Dr. Audeanne Donaldson and registered nurse and inspirational coach, Eva Francis.  An afternoon session on Mentoring will close the activities with a panel including CEO, Code Fever Miami/Black Tech Week, Felicia Hatcher, Communications and Community Development Consultant, Sharu Goodwyn, and Baltimore attorney who excelled to top of his class coming from humblest of beginnings in rural Jamaica, Jermaine Haughton.  

Guest speaker at the Scholarship Luncheon is second generation Jamaican, Mrs. Paula Madison, who successfully rose to the top of network television at NBC Universal.  Mrs. Madison tells an interesting story as she traced her roots back to Jamaica and China and chronicled her history in the riveting book, Finding Samuel Lowe-From Harlem to China, spanning four generations and moving between New York, Jamaica, and China, a powerful memoir that is a universal story. 

“It is outstanding that we have been able to assemble this exciting group of Jamaicans to present at this year’s Conference. Our first Conference was such a success that it was a challenge to find engaging panelists at the top of their game, but we did it! This is an event not to be missed,” says Dahlia Walker-Huntington President of JWOF.

The event as with all others hosted by the JWOF members is known for the signature shopping gallery where retailers showcase a variety of items - clothing, jewelry, hand-crafted leather sandals, accessories and Jamaican Art. 

Launched in April 2013, Jamaican Women of Florida is a Florida Not-For-Profit and an IRS 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt corporation that has grown from an original 20 founding members to more than sixty members and continues to provide an outlet for Jamaican women in Florida to empower themselves through charitable and educational endeavors, personal development and mentoring.

Through their ongoing commitment to engage and assist in the development of leadership and personal skills of Jamaican women in Florida, the JWOF members continue to give back to the next generation of young women through several programs including their annual renewable “Powerful Women…Next Generation” scholarship program.  This scholarship helps a college-bound Jamaican-American female student chart her career through college and sustained for a four-year degree, two such students are already benefitting as they are now enrolled at universities. Jaime Noicely, the first recipient is currently enrolled at Florida Atlantic University pursuing studies in pre-law while Adrianna Jones is completing her first year at University of Florida as a biology major.  A third recipient will be awarded at the Scholarship Luncheon this year.  Under the mentorship of JWOF members, these young women are mentored by the members in leadership and personal skills as they prepare to operate in a global environment.

The organization of vibrant professional women has made several strides through fundraisers, networking sessions and collaborative efforts.   One feature is the adoption of young female residents at Melody House Girls’ Home in Montego Bay, Jamaica. “We have been able to achieve these milestones because of the support of our members and the community” stated President of the three-year old organization, Dahlia Walker Huntington, attorney and community activist.

This year’s Conference is being staged in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board and sponsored by: Victoria Mutual Building Society; Broward Health; Law Offices of Dahlia A. Walker; Golding Law Group; Weiss Serrota; Robinson Law & Mediation; Western Union; Daniels Kashtan; Hamilton Miller & Birthisel; Zap Courier and Cox Media.

Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are still available to interested persons.  Information on details of the Conference are available at www.jamaicanwomenofflorida.com and www.facebook.com/jwoflorida  or by calling 561-320-1391.


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