By Michelle ColesantiSusieAward

In early September, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) hosted a breakfast at the Florida Aquarium to highlight the students, their businesses, and those that have spent time with the students mentoring and giving back.

The students vote on a recipient by deciding who has made the biggest impact for them during that school year.

The HCC Entrepreneur of the Year Award (awarded to Susie Steiner in August 2014) has been renamed the Susie Steiner Community Impact Award, and honors a member of the community who makes giving back through entrepreneurship education a priority.

Steiner was a business leader and visionary who greatly contributed to the technology, social media, and entrepreneurship scene in Tampa Bay. She was very involved with several other local entrepreneurial enterprises, technology programs, and events, and was also an active volunteer.

The award recognizes an active partner and volunteer with the Hillsborough Community College Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program and who has a positive and on-going impact with students.

This year’s award recipient was Kim Randall, founder of KiMedia Strategies, which deals in social media management, strategy, consultation and mentoring. Randall was a close friend of Steiner, who passed away suddenly in July 2014. They were owners and partners at Geek is Single, and also helped lead StartUp Weekend events in Tampa Bay.

It was because of Steiner that Randall met with HCC professors and learned about the mentoring programs.

“Now I know that I earned this award because of all that I did, but I can’t help but think that somehow, some way my friend had a hand in it,” noted Randall.

Steiner’s impact was significant to the success of HCC’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation program that continues to inspire students today.

Not knowing she would win the award, Randall noted, “I was there to support the family, Susie, the HCC professors and students. I cried, I laughed, and then I cried some more. It was bittersweet to say the least. I wish my friend would have been there to celebrate with me.”

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.