In this series of posts, we are asking Lakelanders to share what is inspiring them in the world of art and media. We hope sharing these recommendations will help you find your next great read or the perfect flick to add a little something extra to your week.

This week we are featuring Stephanie Madden. Stephanie serves the City as Commissioner for the District At-Large. Moving to Lakeland in 1985, Stephanie and her husband, Steve, started local promotional marketing company, Madden Branded Goods, in their two-bedroom apartment 10 years later.  Along with being small business owners, Steve and Stephanie also have six children and one daughter-in-law.

Stephanie is a past president and 22-year member of the Junior League, a graduate of Leadership Lakeland Class XXII, has been on the boards of Lighthouse Ministries, Success by 6, Young Life Polk County, Lakeland Assemblies Cotillion Club, Lakeland Lacrosse, and the LHS parent teacher partnership. She has been on Polk Vision’s Literacy Council and SEU’s National Leadership Forum O2 committee.  She is a Daughter of the American Revolution, and she and her family attend Grace City Church.

Here’s what’s inspiring Stephanie this week:


Oil Painting

This week I’m painting Florida landscapes from pictures I took on my drive home from the Florida League of Cities conference in South Florida.


Madame Secretary

I love a chance to watch Madame Secretary. It inspires me because the lead character is the Secretary of State, a female leader on the world’s stage, AND she loves her husband and children well!


Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard


I love historic reads that reveal secrets to the making of heroes. I happen to admire Winston Churchill, so my fellow Churchill aficionados and friends, Steve and Will, recommended Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard. Most great leaders traverse dangerous journeys that prepare them for their positions of influence. This book details Winston’s younger years as a journalist navigating the Boer War in South Africa.


“You’re Beautiful” by Michael Ketterer

His heart for his family — a beautiful blend of adopted kids — and the passion he exudes when he sings … awe-inspiring.


Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek is like ice cream — full of delicious bite-sized articles featuring innovative companies, global news, and latest trends. It helps my perspective, to think bigger, to be better.