May 2021



May 2021

Suzi Youngberg

Greetings Upper Keys Business and Professional Women!
Happy New Year! May marks the start of the new fiscal year for Upper Keys BPW, and I am so excited to see what the new year has to offer. The May Membership Meeting this year compared to last was a strong indication that it's going to be a very different year! Last year we were so proud that we were actually able to pull off having the meeting in a virtual setting and continue to conduct the business of the organization. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to be back together with so many of our members on May 19th! The joy and celebration in the air was amazing...I think Whale Harbor went through a lot of bubbly that night!
Thanks to Whale Harbor for hosting us for the May event. Look for more events at their beautiful location. Special thanks to The College of the Florida Keys for sponsoring the evening. Congratulations to the recipients of our Adult Scholarships. (read more about them below.) Thanks to the Holly Given Fund for their continued partnership which allows us to help even more deserving women in our community.
Welcome to the new Upper Keys BPW Board of Directors! We have a great team this year, and I know that the membership will benefit from all they have to offer. We have our traditional Board Retreat planned for June 12th where we will make the strategic plan for the coming year. Stay tuned for exciting updates on events, workshops and special programs. And, then we are off to the BPW/FL State Conference on June 17th! It's not too late to register if you want to attend. Meet BPW members from around the state, see the new state leadership installed, attend training workshops and more. Let me know if are interested!
Many of you are probably enjoying a day off from work today in honor of Memorial Day. The holiday signals the beginning of summer; a transition to a more relaxed season. I'm not sure if we will see any relaxing of the traffic and influx of tourists here in the Keys any time soon, but it comes with living in paradise! Please have fun and be safe as you celebrate today, but remember that this day is for honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. 
See you on Coffee Talk on June 2nd, and in person on the 16th!
With love and gratitude,

Suzi Youngberg
UKBPW President 2021-22

Today we celebrate those who gave everything for our freedom.
As you enjoy the holiday, remember the reason we celebrate.
Here are some things you might not know about Memorial Day:
  • Memorial Day Was Unofficially Started by Women

    Before the Civil War ended, women’s groups got together to decorate the graves of the soldiers who had passed away. On April 12, 1886, the Columbus Ladies Memorial Association in Columbus, Georgia, announced they would dedicate one day a year to decorating graves as a way to remember fallen soldiers. This was one of many events put on by local Ladies Memorial Associations that eventually led to the federal holiday.

  • It Was Originally Called Decoration Day

    The holiday wasn’t called Memorial Day until 1971. Before that, it was known as Decoration Day. It was re-named in 1971, which is also when it became a national holiday.

  • Newly Freed Slaves Held One of the First Memorial Day Celebrations

    One of the very first Memorial Day celebrations on record was held by newly freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina

  • Memorial Day includes a National Moment of Remembrance

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Moment of Remembrance Act, which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The act asks all Americans to observe a national moment of remembrance at 3:00 p.m. local time on the afternoon of Memorial Day.

  • Flags Are to be Flown at Half-Mast Until Noon

    You might think that the American flag should be flown at half-mast all day, but the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states that the flag should be flown at half-staff “from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation’s battle heroes.” 

  • Poppies Are a Symbol of Memorial Day

    Poppies have long been used to remember fallen soldiers after the bright red flowers began to bloom on World War I battlefields following the end of the war.

"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.  Zoom link provided after RSVP.

June 2, 2021

8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

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


June Evening Social Event

June 16th, 6:00-8:00 PM

Mark your calendars!

(More info coming real soon!)

Professional Development Series | Upcoming Sessions

There are no Professional Development Workshops planned at this time, but stay tuned for a great schedule coming soon from your VP/Development and Board of Directors.

May Meeting
To everyone who attended the May 19th Annual Membership Meeting - what a wonderful evening of fellowship and celebration! To everyone who missed the event - we missed you!  Thanks to Whale Harbor for hosting us. The location and the food were amazing! The staff took great care of us and we hope to be back there again soon. Special thanks to the evening's sponsor - The College of the Florida Keys! Thank you Scott Youngberg for providing the sound system and DJ services. Congratulations to the new Board of Directors and to the Spring Scholarship Recipients! 


New Members -  

Christina Teasley, Key Largo Library
Annamarie (Amy) Young

Renewing Members -

Jennifer Cappadona, Electric Cooling and Illumination, Inc.
Pam Feeser, Living Springs Counseling
Christine Lauterborn, Keystroke Media LLC
Pam Martin, SHINE, Alzheimer's Assoc., AARP (LIFETIME MEMBER)
Kathryn Norris, Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell-powell
Mardella Wheaton, Wheaton's Tire Center (LIFETIME MEMBER)

Ask about the benefits of being a member!

Meet the 2021-2022 Board of Directors

Pictured left to right: Gina Boilini, Patricia Milian, Brittany Parker, Suzi Youngberg,
Mary Houston, Jill Kuehnert and Victoria Leonard

Board of Directors 

2021- 2022

Suzi Youngberg

President  Shall be the principal officer of the local organization 

Suzi is a 24 year resident of the Florida Keys. She has been a member of Upper Keys BPW since 2015 and on the Board since 2016. She served as President in 2020-2021 and will be serving her second term this year. 

Suzi currently works for Keys Life Magazine as a Sales Executive and the History of Diving Museum as Community Outreach Specialist. In addition to her commitment to Upper Keys BPW, she also serves on the Technology Committee for BPW/FL and is looking to expand her involvement at the state level. 

Her other volunteer endeavors include being a Charter Member of the Upper Keys Advisory Council for the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys and she still supports and fundraises for American Cancer Society. Suzi is very passionate about BPW, supporting the community and empowering local women to become better leaders. 

   Victoria Leonard 

Treasurer Responsible for all monies of the local organization and shall report thereon at all meetings.

Victoria is originally from Houston, Texas. She moved to the Florida Keys 20 years ago and made this beautiful place her home. She  married her high school sweetheart, and they have a four-year-old son who is playing t-ball for the first time this year, and a baby girl on the way. 

Victoria started working at Florida Keys Electric Cooperative in 2006 in the mailroom. In 2008 she transferred to the accounting department, and became the Accounts Payable Specialist in 2017. Her work in the accounting department at FKEC will be beneficial for the role of Treasurer. She has been shadowing the outgoing Treasurer, Theresa Sutter, for the last eight months.

Soon after Victoria joined Upper Keys BPW she served on the Board of Directors as the VP of Hospitality since 2019. 

Victoria wants to see the Upper Keys BPW grow and continue to be the most significant LO in Florida. She desires that BPW continue being known for its scholarship opportunities so that the community knows we are here to help support our local women in furthering their education and careers.

  Jill Kuehnert 

Secretary Responsible for all correspondence of the Upper Keys BPW organization and for keeping records of meetings of the Board of Directors and other BPW activities.

Jill is a science communications and outreach consultant and the co-owner/operator of a private scuba charter.

Jill has spent more than two decades in science communications, working with farmers, plant scientists, agribusiness leaders and policy makers around the world. She currently supports a project to develop disease-resistant cassava in Africa.

Five years ago, Jill and her husband Glenn Wright moved to South Florida and in 2018 they launched Lucky Fish Scuba in Key Largo. On the boat, Jill often serves as First Mate and she is a PADI-certified Divemaster. On shore, she coordinates guest bookings, trip planning and provisioning, accounting and marketing.

Jill sees the Upper Keys BPW as a community where working women can connect with each other, further their professional development, and contribute broadly to society. Having previously served as chair of the Marketing Committee, Jill began service on the Board in 2021 as Secretary. Her organizational experience from work inside corporations and not-for-profit organizations and her marketing and communications skills are a great asset to Upper Keys BPW.

 Gina Boilini

Vice President of Development Responsible for recognizing and developing member-programs to enhance the membership value

Gina is the owner and Manager of Doc’s Diner. She was born and raised in Key Largo, and graduated from FSU.  She returned back to Key Largo in 2009 and began working at the family Diner and she has been a partner in the business since 2014.

Her biggest joy is raising 2 young boys, in her hometown, operating her business, and of course BPW. 

Gina has been a member of BPW since 2009 and served as the organization’s President for several years. She is SO EXCITED to possibly serve on the Board again.  To work together for the betterment of our members and the women we represent!  

Gina wishes for Upper Keys BPW to continue to be present in the community, educating our membership on tools that will enhance their business and personal growth. Celebrate women!   Together we are stronger!  

We know from experience that Gina will get stuff done, she is a team player and leader and will put Upper Keys BPW and its members first.  

  Mary Houston 

Vice President of Membership Responsible for growing and maintaining membership. Contact new and existing members, prepare new membership certificates and prepare them for installation, reconcile the states membership list with our list monthly, prepare member list for newsletters, install new members.

Mary has 19 years of experience in the insurance industry and  just recently opened her own insurance agency. This has always been a dream of hers that is now coming true and her Business Degree will serve her well in this position.

Mary has experience in the membership area with another board she served at for over 7 years.  She also will bring knowledge from previous membership duties for the PKS PTA Membership. Her interest is to see how her expertise and knowledge can be of great help to grow the Upper Keys BPW in the membership area.  

Mary’s vision is to see each one of us empower each other and uplift one another. 

 Brittany Parker

Vice President of Hospitality Responsible for finding and arranging for locations and speakers for regular monthly and special meetings.

Brittany moved to Key Largo in 2014 with a degree in Marine Science. She obtained a 50 ton Boat Captain, and PADI Dive Master certification. She worked for MarineLab and REEF until she made the switch into the health field. She is now the Program and Development Manager at the Good Health Clinic.

Brittany still captains for MarineLab and works as Dive Master for other charter companies on the weekends. She also teaches Paint & Sip classes at Baker’s Cay along with selling and commissioning her own work. 

Brittany is comfortable with public speaking, organizing events, and reaching out to individuals for donations/sponsorships. She has connections with diving companies, conservation businesses, and an understanding of how non-profits function. 

She will engrain herself further in the community and is looking to help expand the membership for younger members here in the keys. BPW is a wonderful group to be a part of and she would like to help more women who may not be aware of the membership opportunities. 

Her positive attitude, ability to work alone and in a group, and love for the Florida Keys Community makes her a driven candidate for the Board of Directors. 

  Patricia Milian

Director Supporting any of the Vice Presidents in their role throughout the year

Patricia is the Director of Product Development and Brand Management at ComplyRight, Inc. (headquartered in Pompano Beach, FL) – previously Senior Vice President of Marketing. 

Patricia is originally from northern New Jersey, she moved to South Florida with her family at the age of 16. After graduating from Lehigh University (PA) in 1985, she lived and worked in Broward County for 30 years. In 2001, she purchased a home in Key Largo as a second home. In 2015, she relocated with her husband to Key Largo and now lives here full time.

Patricia was excited to find a vibrant organization for professional women in the Upper Keys! For her it is an invaluable resource for women who aspire to be successful professionals, business owners and community leaders, offering support, education, coaching/mentoring, networking and friendship with women who have similar values, challenges and aspirations.

It is her vision that the organization continues to grow and thrive, and expand its reach and impact in our community as more professionals move to the Florida Keys. 

Although Patricia continues to work for the Broward-based employer of 17 years she does have a bit of extra time on her hands, as she recently reduced her work schedule to four days a week and no longer has to commute weekly to Broward County. She is a strong supporter of the BPW mission to achieve equity for women in the workplace. 

Atta Girl to the 2021 Spring 
Adult Scholarship Recipients! 

Chelsea Trawick - My name is Chelsea Trawick, and I living in Key Largo Fl. I am originally from Fernandina Beach Fl, and have lived in the keys for the last 5 years. I am a marine mammal care specialist at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada Fl and work with dolphins. I am currently attending the University of New England online to earn my Masters of Science in Applied Nutrition to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. 

My goal is to help people live healthier and longer lives through nutrition. I have already learned so much information about the importance of nutrition and am so excited to continue this journey!

Jackie Patterson - My name is Jackie Patterson.  I have called Key Largo home since 1997.  I began my teaching journey at PKS, The Best School On The Planet,  in 1997.   I have worn many hats at PKS.  I have taught special education, English Language Arts grades 6th ,7th  and 8th .  I have also been a Curriculum Resource Teacher and am currently the Literacy Coach.  For the past eleven years I have also been the Positive Behavior/Intervention Support (PBIS) Coach for PKS. For PBIS I plan and implement activities and rewards for students demonstrating good behavior.  I have raised two beautiful boys, Joey and Matt,  here in the Keys with my husband Joe. For many years I was involved in the Kiwanis Club of the Upper Keys and I continue to actively participate in community events and activities. I am proud to live in this wonderful community, and I am most thankful for the opportunity the BPW in affording me with this scholarship.  I will use the scholarship to enroll in courses on how to teach reading strategies to the struggling upper elementary and middle school students.

Lauren Sanchez - My name is Lauren Sanchez. I have been a member of the Florida Keys community for over 20 years. I have always strived to be as involved in the community as much as possible since a very young age. In 2010 I graduated from Coral Shores High-school and attended Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. After graduating in 2015 with a Bachelors degree in Anthropology, I moved back home and began volunteering at the Good Health Clinic, a small charitable care clinic that offers free healthcare to locals who live off of a lower income and have no health insurance. It was there that I knew I wanted to be a part of the medical profession, helping underserved populations get the medical care that they need and deserve. I have recently been accepted into the MDC and Nova Southeastern University Masters in Health Science and Bachelors of Applied Science with a concentration in physician assistant studies program. I look forward to becoming a physician assistant and bringing my skills and compassion back to my hometown where I will be able to help provide quality health care to the community. This specific scholarship has a very personal meaning for me as well so I am incredibly honored and appreciative for this opportunity. Thank you all again so very much for awarding me with this scholarship.

Pictured left to right: Suzi Youngberg, UKBPW President; Jenn Cappadona, UKBPW Scholarship Committee Member; Chelsea Trawick, 2021 Scholarship Recipient; Jackie Patterson, 2021 Scholarship Recipient; Annie Hagen, Holly Given Fund Representative; Gina Boilini, UKBPW Scholarship Committee Chair. (Not pictured: Lauren Sanchez.)


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