BPW Connection 

March 2024

In this issue: 

President's Message  -- Events -- Opportunities --Member news!

President's Message

Sorry! This newsletter is about two weeks late. 

You’ve probably had these seasons in your life too, where everything seems to be happening at once and some tasks just have to wait their turn. 

Waiting our turn is something women are familiar with.

Whether it’s for a teacher to call on us, for a bathroom stall in a busy ladies room, for the kids to go to bed, for the doctor’s appointment, for the car repair to finish, for a call back from a job interview or for a promotion to open up. 

Sometimes waiting is just annoying. Other times it comes with a real cost: time, money, opportunities to grow as individuals, families and communities, and even our own health and safety. 

Here are two things that I personally think a woman shouldn’t have to wait for:

  • Support for continuing her education and training in pursuit of career goals. 
  • Access to a safe and comfortable place when her life is at risk. 

In the first case, I’m extremely proud that our Upper Keys BPW has been bringing down the wait time for women to invest in their education and careers for years with scholarships for working women.

With your help, we took it to a new level in 2022 when we established a permanent endowment that will generate real money for this program, pretty much forever. A new round of funding opened for applications this month.  

In the second case, I’m frankly furious that the critical emergency shelter facility serving the Middle and Upper Florida Keys was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and has yet to be rebuilt

Since that time, residents – and that means mostly women but any of us, our friends, family, neighbors –  who are experiencing domestic abuse have lost an estimated 7,000 nights of safety each year, according to analysis from the Domestic Abuse Shelter (DAS), which serves Monroe County and the Florida Keys. 

So once again, we’re working to bring down the wait time. At our March 20 luncheon, we launched a campaign to raise $10,000 to create a business center within the soon-to-be-built domestic abuse shelter.

In a way it’s a drop in the bucket of the $5 million project, but I hope it sends a strong signal for how important this is to those of us who support working women in our community. 

When we say our Upper Keys BPW strives to support women at every stage of their lives, we mean every stage.

From the most dangerous times when we’re experiencing threats of violence in our own homes, to the most promising times, when we decide to invest in our professional education and training, empowered women empower women. 

So let’s move this line along! Please spread the word about our scholarships and contribute whatever you can to our Give Hope a Home campaign in rebuilding the Domestic Abuse Shelter.

I'm tired of waiting. 

Warm regards, 


Jill Kuehnert

Upper Keys BPW President

‪(305) 767-3928‬

Another thing we're tired waiting for: equal pay for equal work! Thanks to everyone who came out for our UnHAPPY Hour on March 12, the day in 2024 that women finally finish earning the equivalent of what men earned in 2023!

Upcoming Events!

April 2 BPW/FL Panel: Successfully Transition to Retirement

6 pm -- zoom 

Working women experience many different transitions during their working years, some of which are market induced, some are career induced and some are life-cycle induced. The final transition is to retirement. Successfully transitioning to retirement begins long before actually retiring. There is no one way to retire; there is no one path to successful retirement; but it all begins with planning.

The panel -- which includes Upper Keys' own Cathy Brewer will consider all these factors as it discusses successfully transitioning to retirement.


April 3 Virtual Coffee Chat

8 am -- zoom 

Start your day by sharing something good with fellow BPW members and others in our community!


April 17: Meet, Mix & Mingle

6 - 8pm -- Safe Harbor Angler House, Islamorada

Grow your professional network and support working women in the Florida Keys, while enjoying a beautiful evening under the tiki hut!

Registration includes your first drink + tasty snacks!

Advance online registration:

  • $26 per person / BPW members
  • $35 / Non-members

Thank you to our event sponsor:  Houston Insurance Agency


April 20 Swim Across America with BPW

8:00 am -- Founders Park, Islamorada 

The Upper Keys BPW has formed a team for the 3rd Annual Swim Across America event, and we want YOU to join us!

BPW Board Member Margie Smith is encouraging her BPW sisters and others to join her April 20th on the BPW team to fund cancer research. 

Be part of a larger project this year to get us out into the sunshine and out of our comfort zones--especially if we don't identify today as a swimmer or an athlete and open water swimming may be new to us despite where we live here in the Keys.

If there is interest, in mid-April Margie has offered to host a drop-in beach day, with a group swim of the course in advance just for fun or even a stroke clinic. 

Click here for more information about the Upper Keys "BPW Splashers" team and this fun event!


Save the Date May 22 Luncheon and Annual Meeting

11:30am - 1 pm -- Upper Keys Location TBD 


In case you missed it...

Thanks to everyone who came out for our February evening event, sponsored and hosted by Mote’s Key Largo Coral Nursery! Check out the photos here.

Luncheon room


Attend BPW/FL State Conference

This 103rd BPW/FL State Conference "Building Bridges" will be held June 5-7 this year in Sarasota, Florida

Click here to learn more about the agenda and sponsorship opportunities. 

Some expenses will be covered for Upper Keys BPW members who would like to participate. Contact President Jill Kuehnert by replying to this email if you're interested in joining the Upper Keys delegation. 


Join a committee, sit in on the Board

If you would like to get more involved with Upper Keys BPW, consider joining or chairing a committee! Or come to a Board meeting to learn more about what we do.

It's a wonderful way to meet other members, contribute to the community and make the most of your membership. 

Click here to learn more about different committees, including responsibilities and time commitment needed.

An email with more information about Board positions will be sent to members from Nominations Chair Suzi Youngberg later this week. 


Email blast ads to locals.

Got a new location to promote? An event you want to get the word out? Reach our active mailing list of over 400 members and others in the Florida Keys. 

Our E-Blast prices are as follows:

$20.00 - Members

$35.00 - Non-Members

Purchase your ad in our online store to get the process started. 


To learn more about these opportunities, send an email to BPWUpperKeys@gmail.com or contact one of our Board Members directly.

Member News 

Atta girls!

Renewing & returning members

Glad you're still with us!

  • Elizabeth Brown, Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, since 2023
  • Ilja Chapman, Voyage Blue Travel, since 2015
  • Vivian Dodge, Chapters Health Hospice, since 2021
  • Lucy Given Doyle, Holly Given Fund, since 2018
  • Jackie Harder, Key Dynamics Coaching and Consulting Inc., since 2011
  • Shayne Messina, Sunmasters Elite Travel, Inc., since 2021
  • Lisa Mongelia, History of Diving Museum, since 2021
  • Michael Rojewski,  Century 21 Circle, since 2022
  • Dennis W. Ward, since 2016
  • Sue Woltanski,  Monroe County School Board, since 2016

    New members in February and March 2024

    Welcome, we can't wait to get to know you!

    • Mailén Santa Cruz

    • Yvette Talbott, Appraisers of the Keys/ AOK Realty

    • Lauren Zelt, Zelt Communications


    Newsletter news!

    Access past issues in our Upper Keys BPW Newsletter Archive.

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