August 2021



August 2021

Suzi Youngberg

Greetings Upper Keys Business and Professional Women!
We find ourselves near the end of Summer, but what does that really mean for us in the Upper Keys? It means that we start watching the weather a little closer as storm season ramps up for South Florida, and it means that school has started. When I was a kid, we didn't start back to classes until after Labor Day. How long those summers were! By the end of August, I was always excited to go back. This year, I wonder about the students, teachers and administrators alike, and the level of anxiety that must, once again, be mixed with that excitement. To all the teachers out there - thank you and be safe!
I don't know about you, but it's hard not to get discouraged by the rising numbers of virus cases. It seemed for a short yet glorious time we had a taste of normalcy! How quickly I got used to hugging again after so long. With changing CDC guidelines and rising infection numbers, your Upper Keys BPW Board of Directors will be evaluating our events and will let you know right away of any changes.
For now, we are proud to have speakers and programs lined up for all of our events through January 2022! The Board has been hard at work planning a great year for you, and there will be more coming. Look for a Professional Development workshop in September. And, the Adult Scholarship Applications are open! If you or someone you know is interested in continuing their education, please consider applying for the Upper Keys BPW & Holly Given Fund Adult Scholarship Program. Woman & Business of the Year nominations will be open soon too. We have a BPW/FL virtual social hour on Equality Day, and will be partnering with the Upper Keys League of Women Voters locally for Constitution Day again. There is a lot going on at Upper Keys BPW!
With love and gratitude,

Suzi Youngberg
UKBPW President 2021-22

"It is the supreme art of a teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." -Albert Einstein

Applications are now open for the 
Upper Keys BPW & Holly Given Fund Adult Scholarships!

The Upper Keys BPW Adult Women Scholarship Program, in partnership with the Holly Given Fund, is designed to help women gain a professional edge through education efforts. Particular emphasis is given to individuals who demonstrate strong character, professional collaborative efforts with other women and are, or have the potential to be, a strong role model for the current and next generation of working women.

Scholarships are up to $1500 per application and may be used for certifications, training classes, or classes and required materials for higher educational degrees. Transportation, room/board costs, or fees and CEU's associated with professional licensing requirements are eligible.  

Applicants do not have to be members of the Upper Keys BPW, however, an application sponsored by a current member is highly favorable.  Minimum requirements for applicants include: 

- High School diploma/GED 

- Florida Keys resident for at least 3 years 

- Minimum of 5 years post-high school work experience


Meet, mix and mingle with other working women in the Upper Keys on Wednesday, August 18.
Cost is $25/person - Includes appetizers and one complimentary cocktail.
We will be gathering outside, upstairs at the SandBar Rooftop Bar (weather permitting)
A special guest from Marathon BPW - Lisa Wojciechowski will be joining us with her fabulous 31 Bags to support our Adult Scholarship Program!
Thanks to our Sponsor of this event: 
Kinder in the Keys Treatment Center!

Reserve Your Space NOW!


"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.

September 1, 2021

8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

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



Our speaker will be Chuck Licis-Masson, Executive Director of the Monroe County Education Foundation and the Program Coordinator of Take Stock in Children.

Charity will be the Good Health Clinic.

Thanks to our Sponsor - Centennial Bank!


Celebration with League of Women Voters, 
Murray Nelson Government & Cultural Center 6:00 PM

Professional Development Series | Upcoming Sessions

Stay tuned for information on a great schedule coming soon from your VP/Development and Board of Directors beginning in September with a Workshop on financial planning.

The July luncheon at Baker's Cay was a huge hit! 
Don't miss the next one on September 15!

Speaker Dr. Jonathan Gueverra, President/CEO of College of the Florida Keys.
Upper Keys center is opening soon.

Sponsor SouthState Bank

Captain Lee Ann Holroyd, Glass Ceiling Award

Installing new members: (Left to Right) Michelle Pope, Brittany Parker, Wendy Cole, Adriana Cuomo, Bonnie Barnes, President-Suzi Youngberg, VP/Membership-Mary Houston.


New Members -  

Nancy Alvarez, Monroe County Sheriff's Office
Bonnie Barnes, Turtles Fly Too, Inc.
Ansley Elfmont, Kinder in the Keys Treatment Center
Amber Lange, Keys Behavioral Health
Tanya Manchester, Gulf Atlantic Bank 
Jill Pittman, Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Company
Stephanie Scuderi, Centennial Bank
Brittany Snyder, The College of the Florida Keys
Melinda Van Fleet, Two Adirondacks LLC DBA Melinda Van Fleet

Renewing Members -

Betsy Baste, Just Older Youth, Inc.
Gina Boilini, Doc's Diner
Cynthia Gneiser, Five Star Claims Adjusting
Danya Herzberg, First State Bank of the Florida Keys
Mary Houston, Houston Insurance Agency
Robert Lockwood, Attorney
Lourdes Montagne
Elizabeth Moscynski, Key Largo Chamber of Commerce
Patricia Mull, Ms. Patricia B. Mull, CPA, PFE
Beverly J Newman, Key Largo Mini Storage
Kimberly Rock, Upper Keys Marine Construction
Theresa Sutter, Theresa Sutter Virtual Assistant 

Ask about the benefits of being a member!

Meet the new BPW/FL President
Sheri McCandless 

I am honored to serve as BPW/FL’s President for 2021-2023, having been recently installed at the 100th Annual State Conference with the theme of women from history, particularly our founding mothers of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of Florida back in 1919.  We have a rich history in BPW of women who have paved the way for working women.  Thus, I have chosen the theme for my term of “Connecting our Future to our Past with Pearls of Wisdom”.

I joined BPW in 1994 and am a member of BPW/Gold Coast.  Gold Coast meets in Palm Beach Gardens on the central east coast of the state.  I bring much BPW leadership experience, having served as President and in various leadership offices of my local organization (LO), as well as at the state level.  I served as State President in 2000=2001 and as President of the BPW/FL Education Foundation in 2006.  I look forward to using that experience to connect our rich history of women from our past to lead and help introduce what BPW has and can do for women as we educate and mentor a diverse new group of women on how we achieved all that we enjoy in the workplace today.

A bit about me personally; I am a native Floridian, born and raised in Boynton Beach.  I am married to Hugh, my husband of 43 years, and we have a 42-year-old daughter, Heather, who gave us two granddaughters, Autumn, now 21, and Taylor, 14.

Professionally, I have transitioned several times in my working career.  My first professional job was as a receptionist at a bank in my hometown.  Then I went to work as a legal secretary for a general practice attorney who trained me on the job.  After several years, I went to work as a legal secretary for a law firm in Palm Beach.  I worked for 11 years for various law firms in the area and had become a Legal Assistant/Paralegal before I retired the legal profession in 1988 to help my husband full-time with the business he had started in 1986 doing Reprographics for architects.  We owned and operated the business together and changed its focus to the first and largest copy center serving the legal industry in Palm Beach County until we sold it in 2009.  I worked for the new owner for one year to help transition and train him and then started my own business as a Virtual/Onsite Administrative Assistant to solo-entrepreneurs.  After five years, I closed that business and accepted a full-time position as the Front Desk Admin/Administrative Assistant with Meyer Jabara Hotels (a hotel management company) and The Meyer Companies (a family office that manages the family’s investments), where I have been for nearly 6 years now.

I look forward to working with an inspired and enthusiastic group of leaders, as well as with the BPW/FL membership to grow our organization, improve the value for members, and become a more well-known organization in our communities throughout the state.

Atta Girl to UKBPW member 
Sue Woltanksi!
Congratulations to Monroe County School Board member Sue Woltanski on being elected to The Greater Florida Consortium of School Boards. Sue says this statewide board is a fantastic organization and she is honored to be asked to serve in a leadership role. We are so proud of all you do, Sue! Way to go!

Atta Girl to UKBPW member 
Lisa Mongelia!
Congratulations to Lisa Mongelia, Executive Director of the History of Diving Museum, on her recent Volunteer of the Year award from KAPOW (Kids and the Power of Work) for her commitment to excellence in education. Great job Lisa!

Atta Girl to UKBPW member 
Lauren Hoefert Dunn!
Congratulations to Lauren Dunn on her new career change in Real Estate with Coldwell Banker Schmitt. You can find her at or email her at  Way to go Lauren!

Atta Girl to UKBPW member 
Laura Lietaert
Congratulations to Laura Lietaert, former Principal of Key Largo School, on her new role as Principal of Coral Shores High School! We know she will continue to be an amazing leader and inspiration for the children and young adults in our community. Keep up the great work Laura!

Atta Girl to UKBPW member 
Melinda Van Fleet
Congratulations to Melinda Van Fleet on the release of her new book Life & Love Lessons: How to Discover Confidence Through Your Spiritual Journey. The audio version is also live on ACX aka Audible. Having the confidence to "let it go"  is also something she works with women on in her one on one coaching program. Melinda will be the featured speaker at our UKBPW January luncheon!
More about her book and coaching can be found at
Congratulations Melinda!

Atta Girl to UKBPW President 
Suzi Youngberg
Congratulations to Suzi Youngberg on her nomination for the Good Health Clinic's Big Kahuna contest! The Good Health Clinic helps uninsured and underinsured residents of our community, and this is their signature fundraiser. Every year, the clinic selects exceptional, community-driven individuals from a pool of nominees in Monroe Country to compete in raising funds and spreading the word about the services Good Health Clinic provides. You can donate here:
Good luck Suzi! We hope to see you crowned Big Kahuna! 

Atta Girl to UKBPW Board Secretary Jill Kuehnert and members Cynthia Gneiser and Ginette Hughes!
Congratulations to Jill Kuehnert (owner-Lucky Fish Scuba,) Cynthia Gneiser (owner-Amoray Dive Center) and Ginette Hughes (CEO-MarineLab) on a successful PADI Women's Dive Day! Cynthia at Amoray Dive Center, with the assistance of Jill and Ginette, hosted 20+ scuba-loving ladies for a women-only night dive on the Benwood wreck in Key Largo, complete with sunset, turtles, and lots of laughs along the way. Way to go ladies!



Florida Bay Forever is launching a capital campaign to support new
programs, education, and operations in their new home - Green Turtle
Hammock Nature Preserve. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are
available. All sponsorships for the business community include one-year
membership to the Florida Bay Business Alliance and named recognition at
the preserve. Help preserve Florida Bay forever! CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
Contact UKBPW member Shayne Messina to get your tickets to win the new car: