A home cooked meal filled with Italian favorites like garlic bread and linguini with red sauce isn’t just something you would find at Frank’s Grill, which happens to be Donna Fenech’s favorite restaurant, but is the nightly fare at the Fenech home on Duck Key.
This super family oriented mom of four children, Lisa, 23, Kristina, 20, Alyssa, 14, and Nicholas, 11, not only finds time to cook dinner nightly for her husband, Brian, and kids, but works full time as an administrative assistant for emergency communications in Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and also volunteers herself selflessly to fundraising in the community for Marathon’s BPW scholarship and charity fund.
Donna Fenech is a deserving community member who received BPW’s Woman of the Year award.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Fenech started visiting the Keys when she was 18 years old with her sister and friends.
“Six years later, after I was married and pregnant with my second daughter, Kristina, my husband and I decided to visit the Keys again. By chance we came across Lime Tree Bay Resort in Long Key and vacationed there for a couple of years,” she said. “Then one year we decided to stay at Hawk’s Cay and really loved it.”
The Fenech’s loved it so much that they bought a unit there and continued vacationing in the fabulous Florida Keys.
“The main factor is you can’t beat the weather,” she said.
In a familiar story, the New York winters were too cold, and they packed up their bags and kids, sold everything and moved to the Keys for good four years ago.
“Moving down equaled a new life for me,” Fenech said. “I went from Corporate America, business owner and 10 years of raising kids to waiting tables again like I did when I was younger.”
This was a great way for this social butterfly to meet new people in the area. She started out at The Quay until Hurricane Wilma blew her over to Cabana Breezes and then she flew over to Butterfly Café and eventually managed the restaurant until Cay Clubs took over.
While a loan processor for Orion Bank, a friend and co-worker Joy Wilson invited her to a BPW meeting as a guest. After joining the club, Fenech was asked to co-chair the Ways and Means Committee with Karen Trujillo, which handles fundraisers like the annual wine tasting and fashion shows.
“When I joined everyone was very friendly and welcomed me in,” she said. “We do a lot of community minded activities and have a lot of fun doing them.”
After a lapse in the annual Taste of the Islands, no one stepped up to the plate again to oversee BPW’s biggest fundraiser, that’s when Fenech, who was intrigued by her first Taste of the Islands experience in 2007, hit a home run with 2009’s Taste of the Islands.
Thus, she was nominated and won BPW’s Woman of the Year. She is also the treasurer of the club.
In her rare spare time, she likes to snorkel out on the boat, swim in the pool and hangout with her kids. She is also in the middle of renovating their house, and finds time to run in local races, like the Sombrero Beach run, which she won first place in her group this year. She can also be seen at her son’s football games, and is probably the only person in the Keys who wears pantyhose, obviously a New Yorker thing.
BPW’s State Conference is being held in Key West this year June 11-14. For more information on the conference or Marathon BPW, please visit www.bpwmarathon.com.