March 2022


March 2022

Suzi Youngberg

Greetings Upper Keys Business & Professional Women
March is the month dedicated to the celebration and remembrance of Women's History. On March 8th, we celebrated International Women's Day. As we remember all the outstanding, brave and empowering women in our world history, I can't help thinking of the women making history today. At this very moment, mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives are making Molotov cocktails in Ukraine to fight for their country. Many others are fleeing with their children, pets and the clothes on their backs in search of safety and peace. Did you know that there are female soldiers in the Ukrainian Army? A week before International Women’s Day a video of a Ukrainian woman soldier went viral. Dressed in military gear, she is heard saying with a smile on her face, “I’m still alive, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, everything will be fine. Long live Ukraine.” The identity of the soldier and the source of the video remains unknown, but it brings attention to thousands of Ukrainian women fighting the war against Russia.
As we remember all the outstanding, brave and empowering women in our country's history, I can't help thinking how some of the rights those women fought so hard for are under attack today. Women are in danger of losing basic rights and freedoms that we have come to take for granted - the right to control our own bodies and reproductive freedom, and the basic right to vote. Our fight for equality is far from over. 
Want to help make a difference on a local level? Consider becoming involved with BPW leadership. Nominations are now open for the Upper Keys BPW Board of Directors as well as BPW/FL (Federation & Education Foundation.) Many board and committee positions are available. Give me a call if you want to discuss the opportunities and how you can help.
I'm looking forward to seeing many of you Wednesday for the Speed Networking event, always one of our most popular annual events. Please register by 9:00 AM Monday (3/14) to secure your spot. Don't miss the virtual Nonprofit Board Panel Discussion on April 1st, or the Member Business Expo on April 20th. May will be busy as well with our Annual Membership Meeting on May 18, and State Conference starting on May 19th! And, don't forget Coffee Talk the first Wednesday of every month! 
With love and gratitude,

Suzi Youngberg
UKBPW President 2021-22

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? 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 (California) 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)—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.”

Women's History Month Theme 2022

The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women's History Month. The 2022 theme is "Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope." This theme is "both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history."

Read more at:

If you’ve ever wished you knew more of the terrific women in our Upper Keys business community, our March luncheon is for you.

But this won't be your mother's networking event --  there will be a lot more to it than name tags and business cards. (Although please do bring those!)

Featuring a ‘round robin’-type speed networking program, we’ll help you make connections to enrich your professional life -- and maybe make some new friends too!

Please join us on Wednesday, March 16th

Baker's Cay Resort in Key Largo

  • Check-in & Networking starts at 11:00
  • Program 11:30am - 1:00pm**


 $25 for Members

$30 for Non-Members

Register before 9:00 AM on Monday, March 14th
to secure your spot!

Thank you to our Event Sponsor - ComplyRight!

"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.

April 6th

8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

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



April Evening Event, April 20th - Member Business Expo!
May 18th - Annual Membership Meeting: New Board Installation & Scholarship Awards

Professional Development Series | Upcoming Sessions

Stay tuned for more Professional Development workshops coming soon. 


The Realities & Rewards of
Serving on a Nonprofit Board

A Panel Discussion

Friday, April 1
Noon-1:30 p.m.

via Zoom

Curious about what it takes to serve on the board of directors for a nonprofit organization? Wondering whether you are qualified, how much time it requires or where to learn about open positions? 

These are just a few of the questions that will be answered during this virtual panel discussion featuring some of our community’s most experienced nonprofit leaders (and BPW members!).

There’s no question that serving on a nonprofit board can be personally rewarding. It’s a great way to support 

a cause that’s close to your heart and give back to your community. Board service can also be a career catalyst, helping you to build valuable relationships, hone critical skills and elevate your professional profile.

The purpose of this panel discussion is to demystify nonprofit board service by answering the questions and challenging the assumptions that hold many of us back from volunteering to serve. You will also learn about open board positions and how to “throw your hat in the ring” to serve one of the many local nonprofits doing great things for our community.


The February Evening Social Event was at Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo. It was a lovely night on the beach, with sunset and a full moon!  It's so nice to gather with such a wonderful and empowering mix of women in our community.  

Thanks to everyone who chose the TOP TIER volunteer registration for last month's Professional Development In Person Workshop. Your donations go to fund our Adult Scholarship Program! 
We appreciate your support!

Manuela Carillo, Overseas Media Group
Jill Couture, Reef Quest Boat Tours
Cynthia & Jeff Gneiser, Amoray Dive Center
Ana Perez, Ana M. Perez Esq.


New Members -  

Michael Rojewski, Century 21 Affiliated 

Renewing Members -

Vanessa J Chamizo, LoKation Real Estate 
Lucy Given, Holly Given Fund 
Jackie Harder, Key Dynamics Coaching and Consulting Inc. 
Lisa Mongelia, History of Diving Museum 
Jen White, Olive Morada 

Ask about the benefits of being a member!

Member Spotlight | Meet Melinda Van Fleet

My husband Ryan and I moved to The Florida Keys in 2009 after we both lost our jobs simultaneously. Does anyone remember what it was like in Florida? I can sum it up, quiet. It was the middle of the recession. We stayed in Fort Myers for three weeks before finding our place in Tavernier. When we were in Fort Myers, we didn’t see anyone for two days. It was freaky!

When we landed in The Keys, it was October, off-season. To say, shifting from a successful corporate career in major cities (NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis) to a small-town vibe in a recession was depressing would be an understatement. There were plenty of tears and I often asked, “Was moving to The Keys a mistake?”

Then by some grace, following the bread crumbs led me to the Upper Keys BPW (Business & Professional Women). Thank you, Holly Raschein and Audra Hill! I finally felt like I found a female organization that was not only friendly and welcoming but organized and fun!

Isn’t there a famous quote from Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Make sure they are good people! I am so grateful to BPW!

Now, after 12 years as a multi-million dollar sales rep and building a successful charter fishing business with my husband (Good Karma Sportfishing), I am a Sales Strategy & Success Coach for Businesswomen. This year I authored and fully self-published two bestselling books— Confidence Mastery for Couples- Roadmap to a More Intimate Relationship and Life & Love Lessons- How to Discover Confidence Through Your Spiritual Journey. I am also a weekly dual podcast host (The Good Karma Success Coach and Crush It In Sales) and a speaker.

My passion is working with women so they can fulfill their dreams and feel good at the same time!

Connect on FB, LI or IG @melinda_vanfleet or through my website

Both books are available on Amazon in paperback, eBook, and Audible.

  Emily Haydocy           
Public Policy Chair        

Florida Legislature Action Alert

Call your legislators to express your opinion.  All 160 Florida legislators are up for reelection this year; they need to hear from their voters now!

Representative Jimmie Mooney 850-717-5120

Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez 850-487-5039

As quickly as it began, legislative session in Tallahassee is coming to an end. Over the course of the past eight weeks, thousands of bills have been introduced with varying levels of success. Now, with both chambers hashing out the final details of the budget, the bills that made the cut are headed to the Governor’s desk for final approval. 

It is a mixed bag for policies impacting working women and their families. Thanks to all who took action to protect reproductive healthcare last month, a central pillar of the BPW/FL’s state policy platform. HB 5 passed both chambers and is headed to the Governor’s desk, but there is still an opportunity to ask the Governor to veto the bill. If you want to make your voice heard, you can email him here

Curious about what else happened in the Capitol in 2022? Debrief on the state of public policy in Florida with BPW/FL and the League of Women Voters Florida


1. Economic Equity, Opportunity, and Self-Sufficiency

2. Environment

3. Healthcare

4.Safe Workplace

5. Equality for All

*UKBPW Platform Planks mirror BPW/FL's Public Policy Platform, but are in order of importance to Upper Keys Members, based on a recent survey of membership.

Questions or Comments, Contact:

Emma Haydocy
Public Policy Chair 
Upper Keys BPW

The Nominating Committee for the 2022-23 Board of Directors will consist of:
Suzi Youngberg, Chair
Cathy Brewer
Cynthia Gneiser
Please contact one of the committee members is you wish to know more about serving on the Upper Keys BPW Board of Directors 2022-23 term.  Available positions TBA.

Committee Chairs and Members also needed for 2022-23.
Consider one of the following:
Membership Committee
Marketing Committee
Public Policy Committee
Scholarship Committee

Atta Girl to Brittany Parker!

BPW Board Member Brittany Parker was part of an Art Show on Miami Beach earlier this month - Naked For Nature.

Brittany is also a brand new Home Owner!

Congratulations Brittany!

Atta Girl to Bonnie Barnes & Lisa Mongelia!

BPW Members Bonnie Barnes, Executive Directors of the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center and Lisa Mongelia, Executive Director of the History of Diving Museum announced a Joint Museum Event last month. Both exhibits were stunning and it's so nice to see the collaboration between these two important sources of history and information right here in the Upper Keys!

Nice job Ladies!