March 2021



March 2021

Suzi Youngberg

Greetings Upper Keys Business and Professional Women!
Spring has sprung! Even here in the Florida Keys, not really known for the changing of seasons, Spring is definitely in the air. I think perhaps it's because 2020 was like a long winter, and now, as we start to see Hope sitting on the threshold singing of Better Days, it seems the world is waking to so many new possibilities. The availability of vaccines definitely plays a huge part in that. Personally, I have received my first dose and can't wait to be fully vaccinated in a few feels almost like the proverbial "Get Out Of Jail Free" card! While I know we will have to continue to exercise caution, I am looking forward to being out and about and among people more in the coming months! Better days, indeed.
Speaking of "Springing forward to better days," did you make it to the first ever Member Appreciation Day?! What an amazing day it was. I can't say enough how wonderful it was to see so many members in person after a full year of virtual events. Thanks to all of our sponsors, everyone who donated goodie bag items, and all of the board and committee members who volunteered and worked to make the event such a success. Special thanks to Beverly Newman for providing the Key Largo Mini Storage property for us. It was the perfect location for a drive through event!
As we come to the end of March, we are almost at the end of our 2020-21 fiscal year. It's time to think about our 2021-2022 Leadership. The Nominating Committee has been formed and will be reaching out to potential Board members over the next month. Have you considered getting more out of your BPW membership by becoming more involved? Think about a Board or Committee role! If you've been involved with local leadership and want to expand your reach, BPW/FL is also looking for potential board and committee members to serve at the state level. Please reach out if you want more information.
Be on the lookout for news about our upcoming April and May events. Your Board and Hospitality team are working hard to figure out how we can begin to safely meet in person! Hopefully, we will gather for an evening event in April and be fully back together in person for the May Annual Membership Meeting! In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, and keep looking forward to better days!
With love and gratitude,
Suzi Youngberg
UKBPW President 2020-2021

Every year March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history.

Did You Know that Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week?

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women's History Alliance) and including the BPW—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

Subsequent Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

Because last year's Women's History Month was affected by COVID-19, this year's theme is a continuation of 2020's, which is Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.
 "We refuse to allow our voices to be silenced, even by a pandemic."


There is no cost to attend our virtual events. We want everyone to feel welcome to join us! BUT, we do give you a tier of donation options, including a Top Tier Level of only $50! (Top Tier Level donors will receive one FREE E-Blast.)  Donations go to the Upper Keys BPW Adult Scholarship Program.

"Tell Me Something Good!" 

Let's start our day by sharing something good that is happening, has happened or will happen. Can be personal and/or professional related as long it is positive.

April 7, 2021

8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Coffee Talk with the Upper Keys BPW, first Wednesday of every month.

April Evening Social/Happy Hour!
April 21st
5:30 PM -7:00 PM
Location: TBA

Your Upper Keys BPW Board of Directors and Hospitality Team are working hard and planning - 
If everything goes well and we can secure a safe location, 
the April evening event will be IN PERSON!
Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information coming soon.

Professional Development Series | Upcoming Sessions

The fourth and final Spring 2021 Technology Webinar is April 29th.
Using Social Media Professionally.
Our own Upper Keys members, Jackie Harder and Jill Kuehnert, will be hosting this one!

If you missed any of the webinars in this series, the videos are all available in the Members Resources section of the BPW/FL website, along with more resources and information about our organization.

Spring Forward Into Better Days!
The first ever Drive Through Member Appreciation Day was a great event!
It was so nice to see so many of our members in person. Some drove through and some walked through, and it seemed a good time was had by all! Thanks to all of the board, committees and other members who volunteered and worked the event. We couldn't have done it without you! Thanks to everyone who donated all of the amazing "swag" items for the goodie bags! And extra special thanks to all of the sponsors of the event:
Mary Houston, Houston Insurance Agency
Ilja Chapman, Voyage Blue Travel
Danya Herzberg, First State Bank
Katherine Rubio, Seminole Theatre
Kimberly Rock, Upper Keys Marine Construction
Beverly Newman, Key Largo Mini Storage
Lynda Weinstein, Florida Keys Children's Shelter
Nada Khalaf-Jones, Photography/Film/Drone
Julie Austin, Florida Keys Photo
Scott Youngberg Music

Mary Houston, Owner

Ilja and Brad Chapman, Owners


(305) 451-4111


New Members -  

Maria Acosta, The Wellness Company and Horses and Exotics Animals Transport
Julie Austin, Florida Keys Photo
Vivian Dodge, Chapters Health Hospice
Madeleine Gowing, MOSMI at Mariners Hospital
Katie P. Jones, Swankridge Care Center
Shayne Messina, Sunmasters Elite Travel, Inc
Lisa Mongelia, History of Diving Museum
Jen White, Olive Morada

Renewing Members -

Lucy Given, Holly Given Fund
Stephanie Graeler, Keys Diver
Soraya Lloren, SurThrive

Ask about the benefits of being a member!

Meet Margie Smith

Margie Smith, Business Consultant
Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at FIU

Florida SBDC at FIU provides one-on-one assistance to business owners to grow their business in Monroe County, part of an experienced team with various specialties providing this at no cost. SBDC is an SBA Resource partner. We also assist with disaster loans within the State Emergency Support Function 18: Economic Stabilization.

My husband Cale and I moved to Islamorada from Washington, DC, in 2005. We had just had our first baby and after a 14-year career in the aviation industry, we were planning for me to stay home for a few years. I was not ready to leave my career behind permanently but he had an opportunity in beautiful Islamorada (and his parents are in Key West), so I decided to take a leap and start over. What an amazing place to show my infant, then toddler, the world!

I had worked summers during grad school as an aircraft mechanic in the Chicago area (near Glenview where I had grown up) after obtaining my degrees and FAA certificates from Southern Illinois University. With my MPA in hand, I was the first Airport Manager at Schaumburg Regional Airport.

I moved to DC in 1996 for my dream job: Congressional staffer on an Aviation Congressional Commission tasked with financial and operational reform of the civilian aviation industry. We created the first Performance Based Organization in the federal government at the FAA with our legislation. From there I became technical staff at MITRE CAASD, a non-profit aviation think tank that supports the FAA. My work there ranged from developing runway approaches and departures to writing the first Business Plan for the FAA. My last job in DC was representing the nation’s public airports before the federal government as Director of Regulatory Affairs for the American Association of Airport Executives.

Later I rejoined the workforce after my second child, just as my husband was starting Islamorada Investment Management in the Keys. Fellow BPW member Jackie Harder told me about a position at United Way of the Florida Keys, and I became the CEO in 2010. After that high profile turn around focusing on food insecurity and affordable childcare, I did business development for our wealth management firm and then in banking—a departure from my public service mission but skills I use in business consulting now.

Active in business groups Keys-wide, I served on the BPW/Upper Keys board from 2011-2014, working on our political forum since then. As Past President of the Ocean Reef Chamber of Commerce, I serve on advisory boards for Monroe County Parks and Recreation, and Mote Marine Lab.

After running our United Way, I was designated an Honorary Conch, and a Community Service Award winner for the American Business Women Association chapter. In DC I had been a White House Fellowship Finalist but that seems like a world away now. I have been a member of BPW/Upper Keys since 2008. My family can often be found poolside as my teens are competitive swimmers and I officiate for USA Swimming.

If you would like to submit your story to be featured on BPW/FL, please send bio and photo to

Atta Girl New UKBPW Member Lisa Mongelia!

Lisa Mongelia, Executive Director of the History of Diving Museum, was featured recently in a Marathon TV88 video about the Diving Museum! It's a great video, showcasing many of the exhibits and the history behind them. Lisa gets another Atta Girl for the Immerse Yourself presentation this month on the history of Women in Diving, sponsored by Upper Keys BPW!
Stop by the Museum and check out everything they have to offer, and don't miss the Upper Keys BPW sponsored exhibits featuring women in diving.  You can watch Lisa's video here:

 Way to go Lisa! 

Atta Girl UKBPW Member Laura Lietaert!

Laura Lietaert was named Chair of the new Upper Keys Advisory Council for the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. She was among ten Upper Keys civic and business leaders who are the charter members of the new Council, which
 will help continue broadening the mission, grantmaking, donor base, and public awareness of CFFK in Key Largo, Islamorada, and Tavernier. 

Congratulations Laura!  

Atta Girl UKBPW President Suzi Youngberg! 

Suzi Youngberg was among ten Upper Keys civic and business leaders who are charter members of the new 
Upper Keys Advisory Council for the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys.  The new Council will help continue broadening the mission, grantmaking, donor base, and public awareness of CFFK in Key Largo, Islamorada, and  Tavernier.  
Another shout out for her new position with Keys Life Magazine!

Congratulations Suzi!

Atta Boy UKBPW Member Sam Steele!

Sam Steele has been seen around the Keys speaking at various Rotary meetings, updating everyone on the Monroe County Tax Collector's Office. Monroe County has become the second Tax Collector’s Office in the State of Florida to bring passports to their list of public services! We appreciate Sam and everything he is doing for Monroe County and the Keys.
Great job Sam!

Atta Girl UKBPW Membership Committee Chair Ilja Chapman!

Ilja Chapman was featured recently in an issue of the Coconut Telegraph newspaper. It was a wonderful article about her and husband Brad and their travel business, Voyage Blue.

Congratulations Ilja!

Atta Girl UKBPW Member Emma Haydocy!

Emma Haydocy, Director at Florida Bay Forever Save Our Waters, has launched the  “Voices of the Florida Bay: Honoring Tradition, Guiding Conservation.” The first feature film, which premiered Friday, March 26th, celebrates the rich history of fishing in the Florida Keys and honors the contributions of the guide community to protecting the Florida Bay. (Emma also serves on the Upper Keys BPW Public Policy Committee.)

Great job Emma!