May 2020

May 2020

Ilja Chapman, President
Dear Upper Keys BPW member, 
During these unnerving last couple of months, it has been difficult to stay in touch with you. How are you? How are you holding up? Staying well – both in healthy and good spirit? 
It was so much fun to see some of you during the couple of virtual cocktail hours we held. Thank you for attending and for sharing your story. It is amazing how important it is, now more than ever, to have a tribe. 
This month I will be stepping down, not just as your president but from the Upper Keys Board of Directors, too. I took office back in September 2015 as the vice president of membership. It was only six months after I joined as a member of this amazing organization. Such an enriching experience to be part of leadership for this historic organization. I will continue to be a member!
I do want to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU to the UKBPW board of directors of 2019/2020. What an amazing team!  Thank you, Theresa Sutter, Suzi Youngberg, Jackie Harder, Victoria Leonard, Jordan Budnik, Cynthia Gneiser and Wendy Coffman, for your support, your commitment, your hard work and most of all THANK YOU for YOUR SISTERHOOD! 
Looking back to the last two years in the role of president, I can only be proud to be part of the leadership of this organization. We are all about learning, growing, and supporting. So many members committed and stepped up in leadership roles which resulted in productive and fun committees. Thank you, Gina Boilini and Jill Kuehnert for taking the leap as founding committee chairs and leading valuable public policy and marketing initiatives, respectively, for the organization. 
A huge thank you to all our sponsors and supporters over the past year. Without you, we would not be able to award scholarships to those fantastic women looking to further educate themselves to be able to better their lives and others.
Time for a new chapter in my life, but I can assure you Upper Keys BPW will have many paragraphs in it. Handing over the torch to Suzi Youngberg makes me feel calm and serene as I know the organization is in good hands under her leadership. Have fun with it, Suzi!
Dear UKBPW members, I hope to see you Wednesday at our Virtual Annual Membership Meeting and then again soon in real life for a hug and a toast. 

Warm regards,
Ilja Chapman
UKBPW President 2019-20
Tel: 305-998-8348

2020 BPW/FL State Annual Meeting: 
“Century Of Strength…Vision For The Future”
When: June 13, 2020
Where: Video Conference
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Professional Development Series | Upcoming Sessions

Look for Virtual workshops to be announced over the next few months, and for previously scheduled programs (and lots more!) to resume once it is deemed safe for us to gather.


“Discover the Secret World of Mangroves”
Part of our Professional Development Series
Saturday, May 9, 20201 PM - 5 PM
RSVP required; no walk-ins, please, 
due to the space limitations on our US Coast Guard inspected vessels.
More details coming soon.

We had fun at the Virtual Happy Hour on May 6th. It was wonderful to socialize with everyone and catch up. Thanks to everyone who made an appearance!

We are definitely living in a virtual world right now!  The Key Largo Chamber of Commerce held their May "Luncheon" virtually.  It was nice to see so many of our Upper Keys BPW members in attendance, including member Holly Raschein, who did a great job addressing the concerns of the Upper Keys.

The Nominations Committee is pleased to present to you today a strong slate of nominees for the Upper Keys BPW 2020/2021 Board of Directors. All nominees meet the criteria as outlined in the by-laws. They all are members in good standing and have consented to serve. Below you can learn more about them. Nominations do remain open until NOON on May 20th. If you are interested in serving a term at the Upper Keys BPW Board of Directors or if you have any questions, comments or concerns please reach out to one of the Nominations Committee members. 

UKBPW Nominations Committee 2020
Kristi Mitchel 305-393-1617  
Danya Herzberg 305-451-3033  
Ilja Chapman 305-998-8348

Board of Directors 

2020-2021 Nominees


Renewing Members -

Cathy Brewer, Southeastern
Joyce Griffin, Supervisor of Elections
Lee Ann Holroyd, Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Ask about the benefits of being a member!

Ilja Chapman

Outgoing President, Ilja Chapman, leaves an impression on everyone who meets her, and she has most certainly made an impression on the Board Members who served with her during her two year term as president of Upper Keys BPW. 

"I met Ilja through BPW when she joined as a "Newbie" to the Keys.  Not only has she been an asset to BPW but to me as well.  I value her level head, her can do attitude and leadership.  I consider her friendship as my biggest gift I have received and I know it will last well beyond her (and my) tenure on the Board.  Blessings my friend." -Theresa Sutter

"From wondering "who the hell is THAT woman" when she first stepped up to be on the board to unadulterated admiration for her leadership skills to, finally -- and I hope forever -- a deep and abiding friendship...I now have a pretty good idea of who "THAT" woman is. Working with volunteers is never an easy task, and leading them to move together in the same direction is nothing short of miraculous. Ilja has been my biggest supporter on the board,and has kicked my butt when necessary. But in doing both so well, she shaped me into the board member I am today. For better or for worse! I will not miss Ilja being on the board because we have plans to conquer the universe together once our terms are over." - Jackie Harder

"I've know Ilja for a few years now and although there are a number of things about her that are amazing, her commitment and dedication are fantastic. She follows through with heart and passion. I loved working on the board of BPW with her but I love being her friend more. She's inspired me to be a better person with awesome advice always. Our heart to heart talks have always been wonderful. I miss not working side by side with her but I know I'll always have a true friend in Ilja. Love you girl to the moon and back." - Miriam Lazcos

"I met Ilja when I joined Upper Keys BPW.  The first thing that struck me about her was her fearlessness; I so admire her courage and confidence.  At the same time, I noticed her huge heart and kindness.  She is an amazing leader, who not only has the most uncanny way of steering and encouraging people to bring out the best in them, she also leads by example. Her level head and no-nonsense approach to every situation is something I strive to learn from her! But, I also love her humor, silliness and uninhibited way of putting everyone at ease with her smile that lights up a room.  I am so thankful for her guidance over the last few years, but even more grateful for our friendship." - Suzi Youngberg

"I remember that very first time she showed up at our BPW Christmas party at Della Wheaton’s house, just like a flower she was! She made the rest of us feel more comfortable with one another. Her courage and bravery inspired me from the get-go! And from there the growing and learning was immense for me! She was an alpha type to my beta type and our friendship blossomed and continues to do so to this day. I’m forever grateful for her guidance and brutal honesty over the years and look forward to witnessing more great things from this amazing woman!" - Laura (Maupin) Rivera

"I have truly enjoyed working with and getting to know Ilja this past year. She has been a dedicated and motivating leader and puts her all into Upper Keys BPW. She is not only my fellow BPW Board member but a great friend I enjoy being around. I am thankful for the times she listened, gave my confidence a boost when I needed it most, and for the fun times, we have shared.  I am going to miss her presence on the Board." - Victoria Leonard

"Ilja is the life of the party. Her generous heart and contagious laugh make her a joy to be around. She goes out of her way to champion causes and support others, even when it isn't the popular or easy thing to do. She will make you feel part of a sisterhood from the moment you meet her and I am happy to be part of the BPW tribe with her!" - Jordan Budnik

"Joining the Upper Keys BPW was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being on the board and having Ilja as my leader was truly an amazing experience.  I never served on a board before and from day one Ilja took me in with open arms and did nothing but push me, encouraged me, and guide me to be the best I can be. She never found faults, only goodness. I will truly miss her on the board, but she will still be a part of our amazing organization. Ilja, thank you for believing in me." - Wendy Coffman

We can't wait to see what you do next!

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