WE It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” —G.D. Anderson
a new feature
IBy Stanley Barnhisel
“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong.
Empowered Women of Florida
I have always been a proponent of equality in the work
place, but this is about much more. This segment is about
women that truly stand out. Though the power to live a quality
life is in all of us there are so many that settle. Accepting the
life we have while wishing for more is a disease of epidemic
taught us that women are to be obedient to their husbands
and be happy with less pay than men in the same profession.
It is only in the recent past that women have shed this belief
and begun to take the wheel where it comes to their own destiny.
This is not to take credit away from those greatly empowered
women of the past, but to celebrate the path they
This edition of Empowered Women of Florida, is on Sarah
Shaffer, whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet personally. Sarah
was born in Oakland, California in 1983 where she lived
with her parents. Later moving to Florida her parents leased
a 40 stall horse barn in Pinellas County where they kept their
horses and leased the rest out. Sarah would get her parents to
drop her off at the stables as early as 5 am and pick her up as
late as 9 pm. She earned pocket money cleaning and caring
for other people’s horses. This was not punishment. She loved
it and she loved her horses.
This is where she learned about hard work and how passion
makes work a lot less like work. Sarah has a tendency
of inviting unsuspecting friends for a sunset trail ride then
letting her sense of humor speed the ride along until someone
ends up face down in the dirt. I don’t recommend her for
riding lessons nor is this why she is my choice for this article.
As with most of us when we were young, Sarah went
through her rebellious stage. Sarah found the street life and
it consumed her for years. In and out of desperate situations
wore her down to nothing. Eventually she met a guy from the
same life and they had a son, but as expected, guys like this
don’t hang around very long. Never the less Sarah gave birth
to her son Brody and has raised him alone ever since. Sarah
left the streets, gave up every part of the “bad life”, and began
being the mother and woman she was meant to be. With the
help of her higher power and a renewed dedication to her
FIGHT! It’s amazing to see her now competing in a man’s
Brody is now eight years old and doing well. He is in
the second grade and plays in organized sports. His favorite
sport is football and Sarah is there to watch each and every
practice and game. Sarah has a strange way of waking her
son for school, though she is not a lyricist she puts together a
“rap” to sing her son awake. Apparently this gets him up to
Sarah Shaffer‘s zest for life has poured on to her work life at
Bay Area Auto Glass, too.
begin his day or at least to get out of ear shot.
Realizing that every mother has an opinion on how kids
should be raised and often judge others on how they raise
their kids, Sarah decided to raise Brody her way. Sarah teaches
Brody the importance of integrity and that honesty is a
great virtue. She also teaches her son how important it is to
treat others with care and respect. Though Sarah provides
balanced meals for her son, once in a while she and Brody will
break the rules and eat cookies for breakfast or doughnuts for
dinner. Brody doesn’t seem to mind this occasional tradition.
Sarah is a bit of a thrill seeker as well. She likes to strap on
has been known to jump from airplanes or take her son on the
fastest rollercoaster in the state. She is excited about life and
her future. We should all feel like that. Sarah’s zeal for life has
poured in to her work life, too.
Sarah operates Bay Area Auto Glass, based in Pinellas
County; she has taken this company from a struggling shoe
string budget business, to a two million dollar company that
has created many jobs for the community. When Sarah began