Born in Chicago, Sharon grew up believing that someday she would be writing cutting-edged editorial pieces or bestselling detective novels set in the gritty underbelly of the big city. Instead, she found herself residing in beautiful Southwest Florida, publishing upscale magazines and marketing collateral for a largely affluent audience.
The underbelly of paradise is hardly gritty, but it’s been a wild ride nonetheless. Over the years, she and her team have created exceptional publications that showcase the unique attributes that make the area so vibrant and exciting.
It began in 1985, when Sharon, an advertising sales manager with the Tribune Company in Chicago, requested a transfer to the company’s affiliates in Southwest Florida. Within a year, she moved from newsprint to become the Director of Marketing for Gulfshore Publishing, a producer of high-end monthly lifestyle magazines, finally accepting the position of Publisher for Gulf Coast magazine, a competing publication.
In 1992, Sharon founded Gulf Coast Media, a custom magazine publishing company. The firm grew quickly, at one time creating annual Visitor and Relocation magazines for eight Southwest Florida Chambers of Commerce, as well as targeted magazines for the Naples Area Hotel Association, American Express, The Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club, the Naples Philharmonic (now Artis, Naples), Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, to name a few.
She formed Platinum Media in 1995 and co-founded n magazine, a monthly publication featuring the famous, fashionable and philanthropic celebrities and residents of Naples, Fl. Many other publications featuring the high-end real estate, hobbies and fashion of Southwest Florida were added to the mix. She eventually sold n magazine and the two companies merged to became Platinum Media Services of Southwest Florida, Inc.
Sharon has held a number of Board positions with Chambers of Commerce and non-profits, as well as Economic Development Councils and Business Federations. She has held Advisory positions with several Educational and Charitable Foundations.
She is a graduate of Leadership Collier and Leadership Bonita, and is currently on the Steering Committee for the development of Leadership Estero, set to commence in October, 2022.
Zina Cochran has held a variety of creative arts titles over the years, deservedly so for her ability to create eye-catching messages. For 20+ years, Zina has expanded her talents to all areas of print and digital, plus photo retouching and other lab work, management, and training. In college, a photographer friend (now husband) and a college roommate who was a graphic designer kickstarted her career.
Working with a variety of clients from small businesses to corporations, her diverse campaigns have included corporate identities, logos, collateral materials, advertisements, maps, illustration, magazine and newspaper creation and layout, posters, signage, mailers, sales sheets, package design, trade show booth graphics, and electronic marketing through email campaigns and collateral, and photography.
Zina has won several ADDYs on behalf of clients such as the Microsoft MVP IIS Group, Platinum Media, London Bay Homes, City of Naples, Collier County Public Information Department, Abbey Carpet Corporate offices, AboveWater Public Relations and Marketing and numerous other agencies and real estate companies.
A journalist with a foundation in business news and feature writing, as well as special event promotions, Cynthia (Cindy) has been employed in the communications field for more than 20 years. She began her career as a part-time newspaper reporter at the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times), and then edited magazines on the East Coast of Florida.
Her hospitality industry public relations career took her to New York, New Jersey, and Virginia until she returned to Florida several years ago. Cindy has created and implemented marketing communications programs for a variety of industries, including restaurants, hotels, real estate, law, finance, interior design, private clubs, film and art festivals, tourism, boat shows, fashion and luxury retail in Naples, Estero, Fort Myers Beach, Port Charlotte, Englewood, Palm Island, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tampa.
Cindy graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa in communications and also attended Eckerd College. She is the author of a book entitled, Moving to Greater St. Petersburg: The Un-Tourist Guide. She is a graduate of Leadership St. Petersburg, Class of 2016 and served on the Board of the Leadership St. Petersburg Alumni Association. She lives with her husband on Treasure Island.