FSU Alumni Association

The Inspire Award

Four FSU Women of Distinction will be honored during the second annual presentation of The Inspire Award on Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Sponsored by the FSU Alumni Association, The Women for FSU and the Tampa Bay Seminole Club.



For more information about The Inspire Award, please contact Dawn Jennings, director of alumni programs and outreach, at dcjennings@fsu.edu.


Meet the 2017 recipients of the The Inspire Award


Stacie Bene Harris Cox (B.S. ’02, J.D. ’05)

Assistant United States attorney, Middle District of Florida

Stacie Bene Harris Cox (B.S. ’02, J.D. ’05), a prominent attorney in the fight against human trafficking, is an assistant United States attorney for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, serving as chief of the major crimes division and human trafficking coordinator.

In recognition of the significant impact she has made on the issue of human trafficking, from successfully prosecuting complex cases to supporting law enforcement in its work and raising public awareness about the issue, Cox received the 2013 Prosecutor of the Year Award from Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Melanie Shoemaker Griffin (B.S. ’03, M.B.A. ’06, J.D. ’06)

Commercial litigation attorney, Dean Mead

Melanie Shoemaker Griffin (B.S. ’03, M.B.A. ’06, J.D. ’06), a rising commercial litigation attorney, is the Tampa office managing shareholder of the Dean Mead law firm.

Three years ago, Griffin was asked to establish a Dean Mead office in Tampa – the firm’s fifth Florida office – after making a name for herself within the firm’s Orlando office for her impressive courtroom and settlement victories. Griffin holds the Preeminent AV rating by Martindale Hubbell, was named an Outstanding Commercial Litigation Lawyer for 2017 in The Best Lawyers in America, and was recognized by Florida Trend as a Legal Elite “Up and Comer” and/or Outstanding Commercial Litigation Attorney from 2010 to 2017.

Beyond her professional life, Griffin’s passion for mentoring led her to found Spread Your Sunshine. The organization empowers women to break the glass ceiling and achieve their dreams. Griffin’s definition of success is positively impacting the lives of others to inspire their journeys and motivate them to “pay it forward” for the benefit of the next generation.

Susan Ann MacManus (B.A. ’68, Ph.D. ’75)

Distinguished professor, Department of Government and International Affairs, University of South Florida

Susan Ann MacManus (B.A. ’68, Ph.D. ’75), Florida’s most-quoted political scientist, is a distinguished professor of public administration and political science in the department of government and international affairs at the University of South Florida. She has served as political analyst for WFLA NewsChannel 8 during election cycles since 1992, has been a featured columnist on the political website sayfiereview.com since 2008, and has given commentary to every major broadcast and cable television and radio network as well as major national and international newspapers.

Judy Schmeling (B.S. ’82)

President, Cornerstone Brands, Inc., and chief operating officer, HSN, Inc.

Judy A. Schmeling (B.S. ’82), an executive with retailing giant HSN Inc., has served the company as chief operating officer since May 2013 and as president of its catalog division, Cornerstone Brands Inc., since August 2016. Since joining HSN Inc. in 1994, Schmeling has held positions of increasing responsibility, including chief financial officer, 2008 to 2016; executive vice president and chief financial officer of HSN (then known as IAC Retailing), 2002 to 2008; and senior vice president, finance, 1999 to 2002.

A prominent member of the Tampa Bay business community, Schmeling was named CFO of the Year for 2010 in the public company category by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. In addition, she serves on the board of directors and as a member of the Audit Committee of Constellation Brands Inc., a premium wine, beer and spirits company.

Prior to joining HSN, Schmeling was managing director of Tunstall Consulting Inc., a corporate financial planning firm, from 1986 to 1994. She began her career in 1982 at Deloitte & Touche, an international public accounting firm.


Learn about past recipients of The Inspire Award:
The Inspire Award in New York City, 2016 

  • Wendy Clark (B.A. ’91)
  • Maura Hayes (B.S. ’82)
  • Nancy McKay (B.S. ’78)
  • Nada Usina (B.S. ’93, M.S. ’94)