Women in Business

Women Who Sell the Panhandle

Velia Lala


Website: floridafinehomes.com

Velia Lala is a full-time REALTOR® at eXp Realty® and an avid artist. Velia Lala has a gift for helping people buy and sell a desired lifestyle near the beach. Velia has been traveling to the white-sandy beaches of Destin, Florida, long before relocating and purchasing her first piece of paradise in 2008. Since then, Velia has built a strong reputation for her charisma and involvement with the art and philanthropic communities.

Velia stands out with her 30 years of sales and marketing experience. She has always had a passion for beautiful high-end homes and luxury RVs. Through eXp Realty®, Velia has access to thousands of associates across the country to help sell her client's properties quickly for the most money. She utilizes smart technology and effective marketing strategies to deliver a white-glove level of service to her clients.

Velia’s blends her artworks into high-end real estate properties, accentuating the strong relationship between art and luxury real estate. They breathe life into her property listings helping them to stand out. Practicing the art of real estate is just one of the many ways that Velia manages to exceed her client’s expectations!

Ada Bowman

Digital Marketing & Brand Strategist

Website: abplusproduction.com

Ada Bowman of AB+Production believes optimism and building real relationships with others by delivering genuine value. This is vital in the modern world. She aspires to be a strong leader in her personal and professional life, is a forward-thinking individual with a love for entrepreneurship, business, and investment.

Ada Bowman was born into a family of entrepreneurs and has cultivated her unique brand for many years. She works with other like-minded individuals to grow their businesses by branding them online through social media marketing or developing strategies and campaigns that yield results!

What sets her apart is her knack for understanding the needs and wants of every type and size of business. She has worked with businesses of all sizes, from multimillion-dollar corporations to small mom-and-pop operations.

AB+Production grows businesses with customized social media and video content plans. Ada guides them through content creation, strategy development, advertising campaigns and execution.

She is a go-getter who always has a smile on her face, no matter how busy she is behind the scenes. Whether marketing or branding, you can count on Ada!

Dr. Bo Yung King, O.D.

Owner & Optometrist, South Walton Eye Care

Website: southwaltoneyecare.com

Dr. King is an accomplished optometrist and a bold entrepreneur who designed South Walton Eyecare from the ground up. She incorporated best practices, luxury eyewear and state-of-the-art instrumentation typically only found in specialty clinics. Unlike most clinics, South Walton Eye Care provides on-site diagnostics. Dr. King enjoys all aspects of her practice including day-to-day office management.

“I decided to open my own practice and it has been a game-changer…..it has been enlightening, pleasurable, and rewarding.”

Dr. King received her doctorate degree from the State University of New York, College of Optometry. She provides complete continuity of care for complex optical needs, leveraging her rare breadth and depth of practice. Her experiences include eye care for celebrity clients in Manhattan and urgent medical eye care for an underserved population in Atlanta. Her passion is to provide her patients with the best-corrected vision and the most current technology in the therapeutic management of ocular diseases.

Dr. King resides in Inlet Beach with her husband Dave, her son Peter and her pup Jack.

PULL QUOTE FOR DR. KING: “I decided to open my own practice and it has been a game-changer…..it has been enlightening, pleasurable, and rewarding.”

Heather Curry

Agent and Team Leader

Emerald Coast Home Collective brokered by Real Broker, LLC

Website: echomecollective.com

Heather’s real estate team of six has hit the ground running. Real Broker LLC provides them with the tools they need to continue growing. ‘Work Hard, Be Kind’ captures their winning attitude. And, their superpower is being able to collaborate with over 9,000 realtors nationwide!

“I’m proud of my team and excited to be in real estate.”

The Air Force brought Heather from Erie, PA to Destin, where she has seen the area flourish. She now is a mother to a 6 year-old daughter and her older daughter Lyric, ECHC's Marketing Director. Coming from the medical field, Heather is a ‘nurture by nature’ kind of person. Her specialty is really building relationships. Real estate is just the vehicle.

She loves working with the military community, investors, and people preparing for retirement by getting a home in the area and looks forward to reaching the team's first goal of helping 120 local families make their real estate dreams come true.

Heather’s vision is to establish a one-stop shop for real estate needs including property management.

Sherrie Salas

Website: sherriesalas.kw.com

Sherrie Salas is a consistent, high-performance REALTOR® who has built her career on honesty and integrity. She prides herself on always responding quickly to her clients, knowing that getting them to the closing table quickly is her goal.

She’s been blessed with a profession that allows her to care for her family, serve God and her community. She and her daughter travel to Peru every year with Reimagine Ministries to build homes and love on families there.

She is the 2023 President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® of the Emerald Coast, previously serving as President-elect (2022), Treasurer (2021), and Secretary (2020). This has been an opportunity to serve others in her profession and inspire others to get involved!

“We are a network of successful REALTORS®, advancing women as business leaders in the industry and in the communities we serve.”

Keller Williams has exceeded her expectations for community involvement. KW Agents worked on ‘Red Day’ in 2022 at the local Boys & Girls Club and she’s served with the Women’s Council of REALTORS® ‘We Care Day’.

Sherrie is also involved with the ECAR Global Committee, RPAC Committee (REALTORS® Political Action Committee), Shoreline Church’s Host Team.

Please contact Sherrie Salas for any questions on how you too can get involved at 325-513-9897

PULL QUOTE FOR SHERRIE SALAS: “I will continue to give back to my clients, my community, and my family with my whole heart.”

Diyana Nikolova

General Manager, Pepitos Mexican Restaurants

Sales Associate, eXp REALTY®


Diyana Nikolova immigrated from Bulgaria in 2003 with an indomitable spirit. Today, she is a Licensed Florida Realtor with a passion for development and housing and is leading the opening of a new Pepitos Mexican Restaurant as Area General Manager. Her language fluency (English, Bulgarian, Spanish) allows her to assist first-time Hispanic homebuyers. She’s in ECAR’s Global Committee, Commercial Committee and was the Women`s Council of REALTORS®’ 2022 Top Producer! Her family is her inspiration. She brings her business acumen to flipping homes with her husband Leonardo Rosas (Mighty Remodeling). As a mother to two teenagers, she loves to support local schools and children’s organizations.”

Amanda Abbott

Website: amandasellsthecoast.com

Amanda continues the Abbott family’s real estate legacy as a third generation REALTOR®. Her family established the first commercial office in Destin in 1970! 

When Amanda graduated from Florida State University, real estate was far from her mind. She sought adventure in Chicago, Manhattan, and Hawaii. Before long, she was managing over 200 accounts across 27 states as a sales representative for the fashion industry. 

Returning home in 2011 for a summer visit, she saw her beautiful hometown with fresh eyes — a place of opportunity with a relaxed lifestyle. Today, Amanda loves introducing people to her hometown through real estate. Her local knowledge sets her apart. Not only does she help people achieve financial success with smart real estate investments, she also loves sharing the healing qualities of the Gulf. Her non-profit, Gulf Therapy, gives her a chance to share her love of the water with others while raising funds for mental health care.

Distinctions: eXp Luxury Agent, Emerald Coast Women’s Council of REALTORS®, Top Producer 2021, AMG Top Production for Women 2022

Sarah Timmons


Sarah Timmons grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Marketing from the University of Alabama. In 2010, as her professional career was taking off in Atlanta, she found herself drawn to real estate through a local agent helping her find a place to call home.

Sarah grew up visiting her grandparents in Destin, seeing the Emerald Coast as a second home. Although they sold the condo in 1998, Sarah visited to find a painting owned by her grandparents, now proudly displayed in her home office.

Sarah’s lifetime of knowledge about the area helped her to earn "Rookie of the Year" and "Top Individual Agent" honors at her previous brokerage. She earned the “Extraordinary Award” In 2020 and 2021. She was a REALtrends 2022 America’s Best Real Estate Professional. Sarah specializes in guiding investors in communities from Destin to 30A and Panama City Beach.

Sarah is a member of the Women's Council of Realtors and Impact 100 of Northwest Florida.

Dina Haas

owner of Om Relaxation Spa

Website: omrelaxationspa.com

I have always had a love affair with the Ocean, and a dream of living near the beach.  I grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Missouri State University.  I found Destin on a vacation, and that dream became reality 19 years ago!  Inspired by the beautiful area, and 20 plus years in Healthcare, Om Relaxation Spa was born.  May marks our 4 Year anniversary.

At Om, all people can be nurtured, embraced, and cared for.  Om Relaxation Spa is more than Relaxation massage, Medical Massage, Aesthetics, and Spa Parties.  Om Relaxation Spa provides an Experience.  A gifted staff, combined with a peaceful, beautiful environment, is the reason Om Relaxation Spa is successful.  We truly live up to the name!

I also enjoy supporting other local businesses.  I am a member of the Destin Womans Club and volunteer at Alaqua Animal Refuge.  I see Om Relaxation Spa as a vehicle of change in these crazy times.

Tilly Souriyseng Owner and CEO at The Beauty Experts

Website: tillysbeautyexperts.com

Tilly is living proof that following your passion is the best path to success. Born in a UN refugee camp in Thailand, she immigrated to America from Laos in 1987! Over time, Tilly started a home-based business, collecting her money in a shoebox to fund her first location! Tilly’s persistent passion for beauty led her to become a Master Esthetician running two locations and a training academy!

Tilly’s spas and beauty professionals specialize in making visitors feel relaxed. Their clients leave feeling great about the way they look. Each spotless location delivers only industry-approved, state-of-the-art technologies. They offer lash extensions, clinical chemical peels and skin care, body waxing, natural body contouring, and so much more!

Tilly quickly outgrew her original location, when a few ladies contacted her to work in her spa. Energized by their shared interest and amazing work ethic, she began to employ and train new estheticians. Through The Beauty Experts Training Center, she is able to share this amazing career path!

Tarra Wixom Destin

Owner, Pink Coyote Dessert Co.

Website: pinkcoyotedessertco.com

Tarra has been on a journey to create the Pink Coyote Dessert Co. since her childhood in the high desert of Colorado. Tarra’s mother from south Louisiana instilled in her a love for homemade foods and treats. Much of what the family ate was made, grown, and hunted by her parents. She continues to be inspired by the quality and scratch-made food at Pink Coyote Dessert Co.. where she hand-crafts ice creams - “tried-and-true favorites (but better)” - and scratch-made baked goods.

“At Pink Coyote Dessert Co. we know that dessert is more than just dessert, dessert is a tradition and an experience. In every scoop of ice cream we make, in every treat we bake; we source the highest quality ingredients from local and small batch makers to create the perfect sweet bite.”

Tarra and her husband, a sixth-generation Floridian and descendant of the town’s namesake, live out this vision together. Choosing to partake in dessert should be a reminder that life is about savoring experiences and moments; despite sometimes the hustle and bustle of our modern existence.

PULL QUOTE: “We hope that with every taste you are transported to a treasured memory or a place where taste and smell introduce you to a new story. Come on in and meet your new favorite dessert!”

Marisol Prado owner of Dazzling Ink by Marisol

Email: mary_pmu@yahoo.com

“Creating confidence through the power of ink”

Marisol was embarrassed for years about botched permanent eyebrows. She learned firsthand that ‘ink’ is both a creative and life-changing service. From her private Navarre studio, she uses her skills to make a lasting impact on the lives of her clients. Learning simple permanent makeup snowballed into becoming a paramedical artist This includes tattooing the illusion of a 3D areola for breast cancer survivors. Marisol is fully certified and insured.

“I'm passionate about using my talents to help cancer patients and about introducing military spouses to this portable career.”

She provides up-to-date training to two estheticians who provide facials, microdermabrasion, and eyelashes. Willow will soon provide tattooing as well.

“I offer a variety of permanent makeup services, such as powder Ombré brows, eyeliner, and lip blush tattoo. The techniques I use are perfect to achieve a more natural and flawless look.” 

“The more you demonstrate being your authentic self, the more evidence you'll see of it all around you.”

Evelyn Underwood owner of Eve the Wrapper

Website: evethewrapper.com

I’m a Fort Walton Beach-based artist and a lifelong student.  I dabble in various mediums and have enjoyed creating since childhood. I draw, paint, sculpt wax, sculpt clay, create digital art, virtual reality art, and design florals. After an inspiring trip to Santa Fe, I began to make jewelry. I fell in love with wire woven art and started my jewelry business in March 2022. 

Eve The Wrapper LLC is a tribute to the Hip Hop artist Eve, my love of puns, and wire wrapping and my logo represents my heritage displaying a crown of Filipino rays. My Lola Constancia is one of my biggest influences. Her love for Doris Day and retro glam helped shape my love for aesthetics. I love freestyling extraordinary, colorful statement pieces.

My business exists to promote individualism and personal sovereignty. Find my work at The Pearl Galleria locations in Destin, Foley, Biloxi and online at evethewrapper.com.

Nina McClanahan, CRPC™ Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Email: nina.mcclanahan@ml.com

Nina joined Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in 2018 with previous experience in the financial industry. A Panama City Beach native, Nina graduated from Florida State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She also holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor™ designation qualifying her to assist clients with pre- and post-retirement needs, as well as issues related to asset management and estate planning. She has helped a number of clients with advanced retirement planning strategies.

Nina is a member of the Krueger, Fosdyck, and Associates Team based in Destin, Florida and is devoted to a mission of guiding clients onto a path of financial security and success. Nina provides helpful advice to assist clients to get from where they are now financially to where they want to go. She’s committed to building strong client relationships based on trust and personalized service. Clients appreciate her gift for connecting all aspects of their lives to help them prioritize and pursue the goals that matter most to them. 

She welcomes being a resource for your financial planning and investing needs.

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