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Four business women feted at annual WIB Awards luncheon

Four women business leaders were honored March 24 for their business acumen at the 24th Annual Women inwomen in biz Business Awards by the Women Business Owners of North Florida. The winners were Teresa Meares, Entrepreneur of the Year; Lauren Little, Franchisee of the Year; Jean Jones, Pioneer of the Year; and Anna Brosche, Corporate Leader of the Year. They received their awards in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 300 attendees at the Omni Hotel in Jacksonville.

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Teresa Meares

Entrepreneur of the Year, Teresa Meares, is CEO of DGG Taser & Tactical Supply, which provides law enforcement and personal self-defense products. A former retired patrol sergeant with the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office, she manages 15 full-time and six part-time employees in her retail operation.

Meares is the author of the “Kids Safe” series of stories that teach children how to stay safe. She is currently authoring a book for adults on mental self-defense. DGG Taser & Tactical Supply has been listed 17 of 50 fastest-growing companies in North East Florida.

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Lauren Little

WIB’s Franchisee of the Year, Lauren Little, is owner of Edible Arrangements in the Shoppes of Avondale and the Shoppes at Bartram Park. Her stores are part of a chain that provides high-quality, artistically designed fruit arrangements. Little, a graduate of Duncan U. Fletcher High School, served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

After her return to Jacksonville, she earned a degree from Columbia College in business administration and worked for several area organizations, including the University of North Florida, RehabCare Group, I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, and Fidelity Informational Services. She opened her first Edible Arrangement location in 2006, and acquired the second in 2009, making her the only Edible Arrangements multi-store franchise owner in Jacksonville.

Jean Jones
Jean Jones

Jean Jones, Pioneer of the Year, the owner of Jean E. Jones, E.A. Tax & Consulting. Jones has been advising and counseling individuals and small business owners for more than four decades. She is a founding member of the WBO. During her long career, she has volunteered with many civic and faith-based organizations and presented seminars to help others better understand and manage their finances. She was recognized by the Small Business Administration in 1998 as Accountant Advocate of the Year and by the American Business Women’s Association as Woman  the Year in 2007.

Anna Brosche, CPA, recipient of the Corporate Leader Award, is a partner and the chief operating officer of Ennis, Pellum & Associates, CPAs, a locally owned firm serving the audit, tax

Anna Brosche

Anna Brosche

planning, and management consulting needs of privately-held businesses and their owners. Brosche also enjoys leadership and mentoring roles in the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center, WBO, the Women’s Giving Alliance, and the Jacksonville Women’s Network.

The annual awards program is sponsored by Women Business Owners of North Florida, the Professional Women’s Council of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville Business Journal, WOKV, AMP Promotional Products, Cave Productions, and Pegasus Media.

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