January 2022


January 2022

Suzi Youngberg

Greetings Upper Keys Business and Professional Women!
Happy New Year!
It's exciting to begin a new year, a time for reflection, change and growth. A little over 2 weeks into the  year, how are we doing with our new year resolutions?! My big one this year is better time management. It's a work on progress... 
We have some exciting events coming in the next few months. I'm really looking forward to seeing Melinda Van Fleet's presentation at the luncheon on Wednesday! Melinda hosted one of our virtual Professional Development workshops back in October as well and you can watch it here. Speaking of Professional Development workshops, we are excited to present the in person event on February 3rd at the College of the Florida Keys/Upper Keys Center. Our own Board Director Patricia Milian will be presenting this workshop on building your brand. The February evening event at Whale Harbor SandBar Rooftop is sure to be a special one with a full moon! And at our March Luncheon, we will be bringing back Speed Networking so mark your calendars now!
You will notice a new feature in your BPW Connection Newsletter this month. Public Policy Chair Emma Haydocy will be giving us an update each month on public policy issues that relate to our advocacy platform and affect working women. If you are in interested in joining the Public Policy Committee or would like to know more let me know or get in touch with Emma. Advocacy for women's rights is part of the core of BPW's mission. 
Our membership is growing every month and word is out about BPW! You can help by inviting your friends to join you at an event, share social media posts or forward emails to friends and colleagues. 
I hope to see you at one or more of the upcoming events. And don't forget Connect Over Coffee first Wednesday of every month at 8:00 AM. It's a great way to start the day!
With love and gratitude,

Suzi Youngberg
UKBPW President 2021-22

Join us on January 19th

for our first luncheon of 2022!

Topic: Don’t Let Comparison Hold You Back!

Comparison can happen to the best of us, so don’t feel bad. But, it can be a crucial roadblock in moving forward in your business and life. We all desire to be happy and live our purpose so, it’s essential to recognize this often triggering and limiting mindset and shift it to the positive.

In this workshop-style presentation, Melinda shares some insights, tips, and ideas that will help you move forward fast.

·       Understand your full potential and how you were uniquely created.

·       Importance of shifting your mindset.

·       Three simple tips to head you towards feeling better and success.

About our speaker:

Melinda Van Fleet is a Sales Strategy & Success Coach, International bestselling Author, Speaker, and Podcast Host who works with businesswomen to make more sales in a way that feels good! 

Utilizing her 25+ years of experience building businesses, and her passion for working with women, Melinda teaches real life tools they can use to stop the daily struggle, build their confidence, increase productivity and achieve the success they desire. 

Check-In opens at 11:00 AM for networking.

The Program will begin at 11:30 AM.

 Lunch  will be served at 12:00 NOON.


 $25 for Members

$30 for Non-Members

Register before 9:00 AM on Monday, January 17th
to secure your spot!


Thank You to our Sponsor - Italian Food Company

This month's featured charity is Community Foundation of the Florida Keys! 

CFFK helps non-profits throughout the Keys with grants and endowments. The Upper Advisory Council helps make sure more Upper Keys organizations are recognized. 

Please come prepared to make a donation to this worthy cause!

"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.

February 2nd

8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

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



February Evening Event - Feb 16th at Whale Harbor SandBar Rooftop (Full Moon!)

March Luncheon - March 16th at Baker's Cay Key Largo

Professional Development Series | Upcoming Sessions

Stay tuned for more Professional Development workshops coming soon. 

Join Us for an In-Person


Thursday, February 3
6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

at the
Upper Keys Center of the College of the Florida Keys 
MM 106 Bayside, Key Largo

Do your 2022 goals include launching or growing a business or professional service?

Whether you're a budding entrepreneur, an established business owner or an independent professional, creating a distinctive brand - one that appeals to your customers and sets you apart from competitors - can accelerate your success. And the good news is, it's not as hard as it looks!

Designed for those with no previous marketing training, this interactive workshop will reveal the key components of a strong brand (it's not just a name and logo!) and walk you step-by-step through the process of building a brand that stands out. Through a combination of educational content and fun exercises, you will learn how to apply the concepts used by leading brands like Apple, Coca Cola and Nike to strengthen your own business or personal brand.

Please join us at the beautiful new Upper Keys Center of the College of the Florida Keys for this hands-on session. In addition to in-person training, each attendee will receive a workbook and a list of helpful resources for reference after the workshop.

Mark your calendars and reserve your seat now! 

This is a complimentary event with voluntary donation options. 
All proceeds go directly to support our Adult Women's Scholarship Fund.  

Top Tier donors will be mentioned in the BPW
member newsletter and receive one FREE e-blast.

Thank you for your support!

About Your Workshop Leader

Patricia Milian has more than 30 years' experience in marketing and brand-building for small and medium-sized businesses. Her career has spanned numerous industries, including travel and hospitality, consumer and business e-commerce, and marketing agency services.

Patricia currently leads product development and brand strategy for ComplyRight, Inc., a national provider of HR products and services for employers of all sizes. A resident of Key Largo, Patricia also proudly serves on the Board of the Upper Keys Business and Professional Women (BPW).   

Holiday Party 2021 - Hosted by Theresa Sutter at her home. 
We raised $425 in donations for the Florida Keys Children's Shelter!

Upper Keys BPW participated in Light Up Key Largo with a booth where children could write letters to Santa. Over 70 children mailed their wish list directly to the North Pole. If their parents gave an email address, the children received a response letter from Santa! 


New Members -  

Deborah Serafini, Thomas McDonald Law Firm

Renewing Members -

Kate Banick, Good Health Clinic
Ilja Chapman, Voyage Blue Travel
Carolyn De Paula, De Paula Jewelers
Dawn DeBrule
Emma Haydocy, Florida Bay Forever
Ginette Hughes, Marine Resources Development Foundation/MarineLab
Holly Merrill Raschein, Monroe County Commissioner
Denise Nedimyer, Healthy You
Pamela Niekamp, Eye Catcher Charters, LLC
Antonia Shusta
Debra Walker, Archaeology
Dennis Ward, State Attorney
Sue Woltanski, Monroe County School Board

Ask about the benefits of being a member!  bpwupperkeys@gmail.com

Member Spotlight | Meet Cindi Irwin 

Hello BPW Members,

I am writing to you from the BPW/FL virtual office as your new business manager, and this is a little bit about me.

I am a native Floridian, born and raised in the Florida Keys.  I grew up as a typical barefoot Keys kid. I lived in the water, so much so that I often dreamt I could breathe underwater.  It was so easy in my dream, why hadn’t I done this before?  My parents owned and operated a Marina.  My brother and sister and I gassed up boats, sold bait, played in the shrimp tank, and had access to an endless supply of candy, soda, and bait.  We often rendezvoused with friends on an island to barbeque, and at night with no light pollution or car noise, we would gaze up at a billion stars.  It was small-town quiet living.

After high school, I found the mountains calling me.  For 30 years, I lived on the west coast, experiencing more of the beautiful outdoors: snow-skiing, pacific coast sunsets, and backpacking in the mountains.  I managed a couple years of college, but as a single mom my focus was on my children and paying the bills.  Their success and making their volleyball and basketball games were more important to me.  I returned to the Keys 10 years ago and continued raising two wonderful daughters, both earning master’s degrees and becoming women I’m very proud of.  Brooklyn now lives in Tampa, and Laura lives in Miami.  I live in Key Largo with my boyfriend, and I have family here and up the east coast.

My professional background includes 15 years in the banking industry and various bookkeeping and office management positions.  In my heart, though, I think I am a researcher/scientist.  I love solving puzzles, and I am fascinated by the human condition.  This drew me to earn certifications in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching.  One of my favorite quotes is by the late Christopher Peterson, a founder of Positive Psychology, who summed up in three words our pursuit of what makes a good life, “Other people matter.”  I reflect on that quote often, a powerful statement that touches every aspect of our humanity.

In addition to working for BPW/FL, I also provide virtual office administration and bookkeeping for BPW/FL VP, Ilja Chapman, in her business, Voyage Blue Travel, and for Travel Resources Group.  I am a new member of BPW/Upper Keys, and I’m looking forward to meeting more of our members.

Voyage Blue Travel http://www.voyageblue.com/

Travel Resources Group https://www.travelresourcesgroup.com/

BPW/FL email: BusinessManager@BPWFL.org

Cell: 509-421-1345

  Emily Haydocy           
Public Policy Chair        

January. The beginning of a new year. A time for resolutions and optimism for the year ahead. The kick-off of the Florida State legislative session. January 10, 2022 marked the first of sixty days of regular session for the Florida House of Representatives and Senate at the state capitol in Tallahassee. Over the next two months, 40 state senators and 120 representatives, Republican and Democrat, will work to pass laws, approve budgets, and redraw district lines, all in ways that will change our work, environment, health, families, and lives as businesswomen of the Florida Keys. 

While Tallahassee may be out of sight and out of mind for those of us ‘living on the rocks’, what happens over the next sixty days will directly impact all of us as working women. The BPW of Florida is an organization with a history of tireless advocacy for the rights of women and the policy that shapes the course of our working lives. The Upper Keys BPW is no exception to the organization’s history of advocacy. This LO supports the BPW/FL’s policy platform, with a strategic focus on economic equity, opportunity, and self-sufficiency, the environment, healthcare, safe workplace, and equality for all. Read more about the platform here

We all have a role to play in the decisions that are made during session and a voice when it comes to the policies that impact all of us. It’s truly as simple as picking up the phone, sending an email, or writing a letter to your local representatives to participate in the process. Here are your Florida Keys representatives and how to get in touch with them during this important time: 

House Representative Jim Mooney

Address: 102050 Overseas Highway

Key Largo, FL 33037



Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez

8401 NW 53rd Terrace

Suite 107

Doral, FL 33166



Don’t be nervous to pick-up the phone! While it may seem intimidating at first, it is truly the job of our elected officials to listen to their constituents when we reach out to them. If you are a looking for a place to start, check out this handy guide to communicating with your legislators here

While we are only one week into session, there are already bills moving through committees that hit the core of our public policy platform, and we are here to keep you informed and engaged every step of the way. 

Cheers to session!

Emma Haydocy
Public Policy Chair 
Upper Keys BPW


1. Economic Equity, Opportunity, and Self-Sufficiency

2. Environment

3. Healthcare

4.Safe Workplace

5. Equality for All

Atta Girl to Courtney Dorchek!
Courtney is owner of Keys to Nutrition and recently expanded her services, including grocery store tours. She was also featured in Upper Keys Weekly Newspaper (article written by Melinda Van Fleet from a connection made during Connect Over Coffee!)
Congratulations Courtney!

Atta Girl to Bonnie Barnes! 
Bonnie was named new Executive Director of Keys History & Discovery Center! Following a nationwide search, our very own Bonnie was selected. She was also featured in the Weekly!
Way to go Bonnie!  

Atta Girl to Mary Houston! 
Congratulations to Mary Houston on moving to her new office location and her feature in Keys Life Magazine!
Way to go Mary!