We had the good fortune of connecting with Barbara Courshon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Barbara, how do you think about risk?
All my life I have welcomed taking “Calculated Risks” without hesitation inspired by the fabulous women in my family…but especially my great-grandmother, Grammy Katie Pollack. Who could have imagined that this Russian immigrant settling in Chicago having five children and owning a small hat store would be the founder of an influential family in Miami Beach? When her husband was killed in a train/auto wreck in 1920 this woman sold all she had, packed up her kids and move to Miami Beach because she found out “You could make money there” She settled south of 5 th Street and begin slowly acquiring small apartments, then larger ones, then hotels… until the age of 80. Her brilliant mind and gutsiness inspiredall her children…men and women alike to build several iconic motels in the original “Motel Row.” That very same instinct has inspired future generations of men and women in Katie’s family to branch out successfully in varied careers to this day!

When it came to my professional growth…”Calculated Risk” has been my theme. I loved taking on new challenges whether it be in Florida or Texas. As a publicist and event planner since 1969 I have helped raise millions of dollar for countless charities, many of whom were born under my supervision. My thrill has always been to bring challenging issues to a resistant public and watch them become sympathetic to it. I have tried to inspire my co-workers with the visions of conquering the impossible and changing themindset of a community be it local or world-wide. Whether it be Aids among teenagers in the 1980s(Houston’s Jewish Family Services): Children with learning disables in 1995 (Unicorn Foundation):

Resurrecting the lives of homeless (Houston’s Search Homeless Services 1989/Miami’s Dress For Success 2022) and so much more…I’ve always been inspired by the gutsy spirit of Grammy Katie and hoped
she’d be proud of me.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We live in a glorious state…I love showing it off to out of town guests. If I had a week…I’d show them the contrasts of natural beauty and city life.

I’d take them:

On a boat tour of the Everglades and the Seminole Indian museum

Touring downtown Miami then seeing Key Biscayne and the wonderful views from there including the historic lighthouse

Let them see Little Havana so they can admire the courage of a people’s will to survive

Drive Miracle Mile and dine pool side at the historic Biltmore Hotel with its wonderful pool and historic photos showing early 1900 Coral Gables

I’d drive them to the St.Petersburg, Tampa, Sarasota area to savour the many museums and the magnificent sunsets surrounded by many Midwesterners and their laid back and charming manner.

On to the historic and beautifully preserved east coast town of
the oldest city in the USA where Ponce de Leon landed. You’ll also see the hotel built by Flagler. Flagler’s railroad ending in the Keys was the reason Florida could be populated.

Then down to Palm Beach and the historic Breakers Hotel, the Flagler mansion/museum, visiting the local art museum and drooling at the shops…

Complete the circle by going to Ft. Lauderdale and walking Las Olas…Great restaurants and shops. Take a water taxis and see the city in a unique way so you’ll know why they call it the Venice of the south

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I believe one is lucky to find their strengths and follow them early in life. Working with the public and creating events were nurtured by my teachers as early as elementary school and religious school. I understood the value of mentoring whether I was the one being mentored or playing knowledge forward to others. It’s impossible to say one individual formed me…it’s been a lifetime of being blessed by many when I came to them for guidance. My mantra is never stop learning and sharing knowledge

Other: Divabarb1@hotmail.com

Image Credits
L. Holly Royce C.. Barbara Courshon R. Karen Weibe

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