Ilja Chapman, owner of BPW Business of the Year Voyage Blue Travel, left, and Patricia Milian, BPW Woman of the Year. BPW/Contributed

On Oct. 18, more than 70 honorees, members and guests attended the Upper Keys Business & Professional Women (BPW) Celebration of Working Women at Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo. 

Patricia Milian, a corporate marketing executive with ComplyRight Inc., and BPW board member, was named 2023 Woman of the Year. Her generous sharing of marketing, branding, training and professional development expertise were cited as invaluable assets to BPW and the community.

The 2023 Business of the Year is Voyage Blue Travel, a full service agency owned and operated by BPW member Ilja Chapman. The business was applauded for exceptional service, support for female employees and agents and creative support for local causes.

“What Patricia and Ilja have accomplished this year is truly inspiring,” said Jill Kuehnert, Upper Keys BPW president. “In fact, each of the individual and member-run business nominees embody the empowering spirit of our Business & Professional Women organization.”

The other nominees for the Woman of the Year were: Cathy Brewer, Carolyn De Paula, Elizabeth Moscynski and Sue Woltanski. 

Also nominated for the Business of the Year were: Houston Insurance Agency Inc. (Mary Houston), Jellyfish Daydreams Tattoo (Cassandra Clark) and MountainTop Financial (Alissa Reckard). 

At the same event, five fall 2023 scholarship recipients were recognized: Suzi Youngberg, Meredith Tyminski, Hayley Anne Colarusso, Isis Majeska and Caitlin Yong. 

From left, Leslie Leopold, Holly Given Fund sponsorship and donation coordinator; Annie Hagen, director of the Fish For Holly Sailfish Tournament; scholarship recipients Caitlin Yong, Meredith Tyminski and Isis Majeska; and Jill Kuehnert, Upper Keys BPW president. BPW/Contributed

In partnership with the Holly Given Fund, $6,000 was awarded to these local women for education and training courses, ranging from Leadership Monroe County to education certificates to master’s programs. 

The Upper Keys BPW Adult Women Scholarship Program supports women who already have some work experience and are looking to achieve additional professional goals through education and training. 

“We share the Holly Given Fund’s commitment to empowering bright futures in our Upper Keys community and are proud to support the current and next generation of working women alongside them,” Kuehnert said.  
Many of the 70 attendees at the Oct. 18 event wore pink and purple in solidarity with Domestic Abuse Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which are recognized in October along with National Women’s Small Business Month. The 2023 Woman of the Year and Business of the Year awards were sponsored by SouthState Bank.