Read the 2017 Awards Gala Winners Press Release

2017 Rising Star Award Winner:

Carolina Aponte, Caja Holdings
Carolina Aponte is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience serving clients both large and small. As the CEO of Caja Holdings, Carolina divides her time between business development, client services, consulting and analysis. In a span of 5 years, Carolina has grown Caja Holdings’ revenue an average of 40 percent for the past 3 years . Her business services multi-million dollar companies, law firms, and diverse small businesses and provides bookkeeping for local accounting firms.

Carolina began her accounting career working on manual ledgers for a Miami law firm. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a degree in Business Management. Afterwards, she climbed the corporate ladder at a thriving accounting software company until she moved to North Carolina with her family. There, she used her extensive understanding of tax code and accounting to start a small consulting company to provide clients practical and effective internal accounting and tax-reporting solutions.

Carolina is the recipient of the Latin American Businesswoman 2012 Award in Charlotte, NC. She is also an Executive Board Member of The Sandbox Group. Most recently she has been tapped to serve on the Union County Board of Directors for United Way and the Union County Small Business Advisory Council. Carolina has been a member of Business Sorority since 2016 and a member of NAWBO Charlotte since 2015.

2017 Woman Business Owner Award Winner:

FabiP_1807-12-4x5Fabi Preslar, SPARK Publications
Fabi Preslar is founder and president of SPARK Publications, a 19-year-old, Charlotte-based graphic design and custom publishing firm specializing in the design of print and digital magazines, books, catalogs, and marketing materials. Clients include enthusiasts, trades, national associations and professionals. The firm was started as a home-based business and has moved, expanded, and restructured several times.

Fabi identified her passion at age fifteen when she saw graphics on a highway billboard. She knew she wanted to be that person communicating to the masses through design. At 17 years old she moved to Charlotte by herself, had no car, knew no one, and had no money. She enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College, worked three jobs and with student loans lived in a girls’ boarding house with 60 other girls seeking education at a variety of local colleges.

Currently Fabi celebrates having the best team in her career history which includes her husband of 30 years, Larry, their daughter Sofi, top design talent, and two past clients.

Fabi now owns the office space that houses her firm and three years ago launched her own magazine, b2bTRIBE, for greater Charlotte area small business owners ( SPARK Publications has won more than 150 industry awards in the past few years. In 2015, Fabi was named B2B Marketer of the Year by the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas. She’s received numerous other honors, including Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine, a Gold Stevie® Award for Best Entrepreneur with under 100 employees and the Greater Women’s Council Trailblazer Award (WBENC). See more about Fabi’s firm, her amazing team, and highly engaging and effective work at

Our Rising Star Award Finalists Included:

Stacey Brown Randall, Take Control of Your Days
Stacey Brown Randall is the creator of Take Control of Your Days and Growth By Referrals and the founder of the Brown Randall Group.  Stacey defines herself as a Red Sox loving wife to one die-hard Yankee fan husband, mother to three amazing though patience-testing kids, owner of a business that sometimes has a split personality, proud member of the business failure club, community contributor and an aspiring author.

Through her business growth advising, referral marketing consulting and productivity coaching and training, Stacey works with solo-preneurs, small business owners, and people on commission to make more money and find more time.

Stacey has started three companies and in her “corporate” days was a Chief Talent Officer, Workforce Development Director and has a background in sales, marketing and non-profit management.

Stacey has served as an adjunct professor at Queens University and a corporate trainer for the UNC Charlotte Continuing Education division.  She received her Master of Arts in Strategic and Organizational Communication from Queens in 2013 and her Bachelor of Mass Communication and Broadcast Journalism from the University of South Carolina (go Gamecocks!).

Stacey has been published and featured in several national publications including Workforce Management, Chief Learning Officer, Accounting Today and Business Finance.  She has been recognized as a Mecklenburg Times 50 Most Influential Women, Charlotte Chamber’s Young Professional of the Year, Leukemia & Lymphona Society’s Woman of the Year and a Standout Charlottean by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Stacey serves on the ChariTEA committee to support the Dove’s Nest, the board of directors for the Queens University Entrepreneurial Leadership Council, Vice President of the School Leadership Team at Cotswold Elementary School, and coach of the first all-girls T-ball team for Myers Park Trinity Little League.

Mindy Hinson, M3 Real Estate Group
Mindy grew up in Charlotte, NC and has lived in Fort Mill, SC for the last eight years.  She has two sons who are now 19 and 20, became a single mom when they were just babies and has “spent the most amazing years of my life raising them as a single mom. We are committed members of Forest Hill Church. My sons were always active in sports and music and I was right there with them serving on volunteer boards and as every type of team mom imaginable while working very hard to financially provide…… and what fun we had! I would not change anything!  I currently volunteer with various organizations that engage women in need. Life was not always easy as a single mom and it is my utmost desire to share with others the hope, faith and courage that carried me through some of my more difficult times and eventually propelled me to become a business owner.  My real estate career began in 1994. I have been a commercial broker for 15 years where I found the career that I love and have discovered it to be the great passion of my life. Commercial real estate allows me to meet and engage with other business owners in many various capacities.  I love these incredible challenges. I look at my role as a business owner as a great honor to be able to give back over and over what has been given to me. I love cycling, yoga, and reading as means to relax and stay grounded.  NAWBO has opened so many doors for me and I am so honored and humbled to be a finalist for this amazing award.”

Our Woman Business Owner Award Finalists Included:

KB001Kim Brattain, Kim Brattain Media
Kim is a veteran television journalist and anchorwoman, having worked in small and large markets. She’s won numerous awards, including an Emmy for investing corruption in the Cleveland, Ohio police department, for spot news during hurricane coverage and for her reporting franchise, Family Focus, covering issues that effect children and families. She’s also won several Associated Press awards for journalism. Her performance credentials are stellar.
When anchoring local newscasts at WSOC Charlotte, her newscast was the highest ranked local newscast in America for four years in a row. Her latest documentary, Live at the Double Door Inn is garnering critical acclaim. Her prior film, An Act of Trust, has been a finalist in 3 film festivals thus far. Most recently, Kim was one of the top five finalists in a national video contest sponsored by NAWBO. She is an active member of the Charlotte Rotary Club and on the Board of Visitors at Charlotte Country Day School.

Kim now focuses on film production with impact as owner of Kim Brattain Media. Her years of journalism and on-camera experience give her a unique ability to recognize a good story thread and obtain impactful interviews.

At KBM, we know each second of film or video is a persuasive opportunity and we make sure every second counts. And yes, we’re kind of obsessed with getting the perfect shot, using the best cameras, drones, steady-cams, sliders, underwater cameras, you name it — to get those
shots viewers will never forget. Film that changes minds, opens pocket-books, and creates lifelong emotional devotion.

KBM clients include Continental Tire, Discovery Place, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Counselors of Real Estate, Habitat for Humanity and numerous other commercial and non-profit partners.

Dest-10_original copyRosa Plaza Dest, Rosa Dest Interiors
Rosa is an award winning interior designer who believes the best décor reflects a client’s personality. Through her practical approach to planning and her joyously unrestrained sense of color, Rosa creates bold, collected and colorful spaces that are inviting and livable. She prides herself in getting to know her clients by listening to their needs, wants and expectations in order to create a process and product that exceed clients’ expectations.

In addition to home remodeling and design, Rosa is the only interior designer in the Charlotte area designing dental and medical offices. Her specialized experience designing these spaces ensures that offices meet the needs of doctors, staff, and patient.

Rosa is also a native Spanish-speaker, this skill allows her to bridge the communication among clients, contractors and subcontractors, facilitating clear understandings of expectations and solutions on the job site.

Rosa was a finalist for NAWBO Business Woman of the Year in 2014. She is the winner of the “2009 Excellence in Remodeling Award for Kitchens,” presented by The Home Builders Association of Charlotte, was published in “Charlotte Designs,” benefiting Habitat for Humanity, and was Honorably Mentioned by the Charlotte Historic Society for Preservation of a Historic Site for her ‘Belvedere Family Dentistry’ project in 2012.

Rosa received her BS in Clothing and Textiles from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a certificate in Interior Design from the Sheffield School of Design. She and her husband of 32 years have three adult children and are proud to call Charlotte home.