After more than a year of virtual meetings, the Upper Keys Business & Professional Women (BPW) met in person to conduct its annual meeting recently in Islamorada. 

Over 40 BPW members and guests gathered at Whale Harbor Restaurant on May 19 to reconnect and ring in a new year at the event, which was sponsored by the College of the Florida Keys. 

“This past year brought so many unforeseen challenges, but I am so proud that our organization continued to provide meaningful and relevant support to our members,” said Suzi Youngberg, Upper Keys BPW president.

For more than 50 years, the BPW has been empowering women in the Upper Keys to achieve their full potential through a range of monthly meetings and programs, including awarding of scholarships for education and career advancement. 

With close to 100 members, the Upper Keys BPW is the largest local organization within BPW/Florida. 

The 2021-22 Upper Keys BPW board of directors was installed: Suzi Youngberg, president; Victoria Leonard, treasurer; Jill Kuehnert, secretary; Gina Boilini, vice president of development; Mary Houston, vice president of membership;  Brittany Parker, vice president of hospitality; and Patricia Milian, director. 

Three scholarship awards were also presented to women in the Upper Keys by the BPW’s scholarship committee in partnership with the Holly Given Fund. 

The adult women scholarship program accepts applications and makes awards twice each year, with individual scholarships of up to $1,500 available to successful applicants. 

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The Spring 2021 scholarship committee and award winners. From left, Suzi Youngberg, BPW president; Jennifer Cappadona, BPW member; scholarship winner Chelsea Trawick; scholarship winner Jackie Patterson; Annie Hagen, Holly Given Fund representative; and Gina Boilini, BPW scholarship chair. CONTRIBUTED

This spring’s winners were:

Jackie Patterson, for courses on how to teach reading strategies to struggling upper elementary and middle school students.

Lauren Sanchez, enrolled in the MDC and Nova Southeastern University master’s in health science and bachelor’s of applied science with a concentration in physician assistant studies program.

Chelsea Trawick, currently attending University of New England online to earn a master’s of science in applied nutrition.

“All of BPW’s fundraising came through virtual events and online donations this year. We are so grateful to our members and the local community for stepping up to ensure scholarship funds are available to support women,” said Gina Boilini, scholarship committee chair. 

The Upper Keys BPW supports working women professionally, politically and personally. More information on programs and monthly meetings is at upperkeysbpw.org or on Facebook @upperkeysbpw.

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