BPW Connection 

August 2022 Newsletter

In this issue: 

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

President's Message

Early-career connections can be life-defining.

So said a great newspaper article “The Magic of Your First Work Friends” which made the rounds on LinkedIn last month. It celebrated the benefits of forming close friendships at work – especially early in one’s career.

For me one of my first and best work friends ever was Linda.

I was a twenty-something in my first corporate job in St. Louis. She’d been around a bit longer but we got shuffled as a team across a couple of departments and even for one brief period, had no boss whatsoever. We started a ‘lunch & learn’ program for employees, and that adorable picture above is the two of us from a write-up in the company newsletter in the late 1990s.

Linda encouraged me when new opportunities came up and had my back when they went sideways. We laughed a lot. Just as that article described it, she was something between a pal and fairy godmother.

In the years since then, I’ve been fortunate to have amazing work friends – and they're almost all women. We lent each other support when a reorganization, a confusing boss or any other business or life challenge arose. We’ve celebrated promotions and cried in the bathroom together.

Although the article emphasizes the importance of work friends at the beginning of our careers, I think they’re just as important in the middle of our careers. AND whatever comes after that.

These days most of my work friends are BPW members. 

Professional organizations -- especially those focused on supporting women like BPW Florida and our own Business and Professional Women/Upper Keys -- can help bridge the gap.  They offer new ways of connecting for those of us working in smaller organizations or working from home.

If you could use some new work friends I hope you'll join our networking event this Wednesday! And take this as a nudge to check in and say thanks to the ones who've had your back all along. 

Warm regards,


Jill Kuehnert

Upper Keys BPW President

‪(305) 767-3928‬

Upcoming Events!

August 17 Meet the Candidates Mixer & Networking Night

Rooftop Sandbar at Whale Harbor, Islamorada

  • 6 PM Doors Open
  • 6:30 - 7 Welcome and Candidate Introductions
  • 7-8 Informal Networking continues


12:00 – 1:00 pm, VIA ZOOM

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated annually to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. This special presentation will take a look at the current state of equality for women and what we can do to move forward. 


September 7 Virtual Coffee Chat

8 am -- zoom 

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


September 21 luncheon

11:30am --- Pilot House Restaurant & Marina, Key Largo

Executive Director of the Good Health Clinic (and BPW member!) Kate Banick will tell us about Good Health Clinic, a resource for locals and small businesses, and the impact of health care equity overall.


October 19 Political Forum

5pm -- Upper Keys Location TBA 

Since 1985, the Upper Keys BPW have organized this highly anticipated community event during every election cycle. Candidates will have the opportunity to introduce themselves, answer candidate specific questions, and speak to our membership about earning our vote ahead of election day on November 8th.

Online registration for this event available soon on our website.


And in case you missed it...

Thanks to everyone who came out for our July luncheon last week at The Pilot House Restaurant in Key Largo!

We had a great crowd of about 50 women (and men!) eager to network, get important updates on our work to empower women in our community, and learn about being prepared to vote in Monroe County this upcoming election season.

Thanks to:

Our speaker Ginette Hughes, president of the Upper Keys League of Women Voters

Our sponsor: The Weekly Newspapers

Special guest: Jennifer McComb from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys

And all members (especially the new ones!) and guests!

Endowment Update: Less than 5k to goal!

A huge “Thank you!” to the members and friends of BPW who have contributed to the recently established Upper Keys BPW Scholarship Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys (CFFK). 

In July, the endowment reached a new milestone of $30,000!

This perpetual endowment will generate income for the Upper Keys BPW Adult Women's Scholarship Program, which has helped many local women reach new heights by advancing their education. Our goal is to reach $40,000 this year - enough to fund at least one scholarship annually. 

For a limited time, all donations made to the endowment fund receive a dollar-for-dollar match from the Peter MacDougall Match for Agency Endowments Fund. That means we only need another $5,000 (actually, $4,778) in donations to get to our 2022 goal! 

We are asking everyone who supports our mission of equity for women to consider making a contribution - any amount will help. 

Click here to donate now. 

Contributions made directly to the fund through CFFK are considered tax-deductible charitable donations for those who qualify. 

To learn more about the endowment fund, click here to visit the endowment page on our website.

Thank you!



    Our Upper Keys BPW Adult Women's Scholarship Program is now accepting applications for Fall awards! 

    Designed to help local adult women gain a professional edge through education, we award scholarships of up to $1500 per application to help cover expenses related to professional certifications, training classes, CEUs or higher education degrees. 

    The deadline for this cycle is September 15.Please help us get the word out!

    Click here to see requirements and access the application. 


    As an all-volunteer organization with a ‘working board’ and a busy schedule of events and programs throughout the year, we rely on committees to organize and carry out our activities.

    If you would like to get more involved with Upper Keys BPW and get more value from your membership, consider joining a committee!

    Right now several committees are looking to add members (no experience required):

    Membership, Marketing, Scholarship, Endowment Fundraising, Hospitality and Financial/ Audit.

    The more helping hands we have, the more value we can bring to our members and the community as a whole!


    Email blasts.

    Got a job opening you're trying to fill? 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

    $50.00 - Political Ad through end August / $75 starting Sept. 1


    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!

    We love celebrating our members in all of our accomplishments.  Here are just a few that caught our eye this month: 

    Margie Smith and Nancy Hull and the rest of their team with SBDC at FIU was recently awarded the Florida Small Business Development Center of the year! They helped to launch 114 small businesses and secure $117M in investments in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Atta girls, Margie and Nancy!!  

    Courtney Dorchak just celebrated 10 years as a Registered Dietician. And her business The Keys to Nutrition moved to a new Key Largo location.  Atta girl, Courtney!

    Everybody who's back to work in our local schools! 

    Renewing & returning members

    Glad you're still with us!

    • Bonnie Barnes, Florida Keys History & Discovery Foundation, member since 2021

    • Ansley Elfmont, Kinder in the Keys Treatment Center, member since 2021
    • Cynthia Gneiser, Amoray Dive Center, member since 2015
    • Mary Houston, Houston Insurance Agency, member since 2020
    • Elizabeth Moscynski, Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, member since 2017
    • Beverly Newman, Key Largo Mini Storage, member since 2018
    • Melinda Van Fleet, Two Adirondacks, member since 2021

    New members

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

    • Kara Biery, Crystal Health & Rehab
    • Cassandra Clark, Jellyfish Daydreams
    • Alexandria Suarez, Alexandria Suarez for School Board


    Newsletter news!

    Access past issues in our Upper Keys BPW Newsletter Archive.

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