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Giving of Yourself

Sharing yourself with others is ultimately good for you

It can lower blood pressure, increase self-esteem, alleviate depression, lower stress levels, lead to greater happiness and perhaps lead to a longer life, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

In this chapter of èBella èXtra, we address the 10 benefits of mentoring, plus a feature about the life-changing Junior Women of Initiative program that helps young ladies recreate themselves toward success in the future.

In advance of Hope for Haiti’s March 12 annual gala and auction at the Ritz, we shine a light on Naples’ Dr. Phil Regala, who has ventured to Haiti 10 times as a volunteer orthopedist.

Undoubtedly, giving comes in the form of sharing wisdom earned through experience. The NextGen Speaker Series does just that, presenting iconic leaders who share their personal and professional stories with our business leaders.

We also present appraisal experts from Doyle — celebrities of “Antiques Roadshow,” who return to Naples March 9-10 for the Southwest Florida Appraisal Fair, which benefits Avow Naples.

As Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

It Takes a Village
Hope for Haiti: A Doctor’s Story
Learning from Experience


Ten Ways Mentoring Benefits Everyone
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The ‘Roadshow’ Stops Here


Ten Ways Mentoring Benefits Everyone

More than giving, guiding others is a mutual exchange

by Dottie DeHart


The past two years have been tough. Many of us are feeling bogged down, burnt out and wary of what the future holds. But instead of creeping forward with a sense of dread, consider bounding in with the optimism and confidence of being a mentor.

Becoming a mentor is a way to revitalize your career, outlook and mindset, say Bert Thornton and Sherry Hartnett, Ph.D., authors of “High-Impact Mentoring: A Practical Guide to Creating Value in Other People’s Lives.”

Thornton, the former president and COO of Waffle House, says, “After 40 years of mentoring, I can say it’s a reciprocal relationship in which mentors often learn as much as they teach. You might be concerned that you just don’t have the bandwidth to add one more role to your already busy schedule, but the return on investment of becoming a mentor is unbeatable.” 

Hartnett is the founding director of the University of West Florida’s executive mentor program. She points out that, for many high-level mentors, the monthly time commitment is typically no more than an hour of preparation and an hour to meet, though some mentor/mentee pairs choose to meet more often or less.

Thornton and Harnett offer these 10 benefits mentors can receive:

1. Reignited Engagement

As you share your accumulated knowledge with your mentee, you’ll explain why you chose the path you did and reflect on what your career means to you. This self-reflection can help you rediscover your career enthusiasm and reconnect with your professional purpose.

2. Broadened Perspective 

Mentees can keep mentors updated about current tools and technologies used for productivity, help them learn to work with those of a different generation or background and engage their insight into topics such as inclusivity and unconscious bias.

3. Self-Knowledge

Mentors sometimes need to take a step back and ponder what it is they really know. You’ll confront topics such as the nature of leadership, what success really means and how to be a better person. This introspection will either reinforce your viewpoint or change it.

4. Lifelong Relationships 

“I still have contact with men and women who sat across the table from me 40 years ago,” Thornton says. “Through the years, we’ve talked about college, jobs, surviving and thriving in the business world, marriage and kids, finances and stress. Now we talk about how they are enjoying the fruits of a successful life.”

5. Network Expansion 

Many of your mentees will go on to work for other organizations. Maybe you will, too. These connections might help you, your company or your future mentees.

6. Advancing Your Reputation 

In most organizations, especially those that have a formal mentoring program, mentors are considered an influential, successful group of leaders. When you add value to your company by developing mentees, your reputation will benefit.

7. Being Your Best 

“Knowing that your mentee is closely observing how you think, act, tackle challenges, manage conflict, etc. will ensure that you’re not cutting corners,” Hartnett says.

8. Satisfaction

“To me, true success isn’t as much about wealth or power as it is about adding value. And where better to add value than in another person’s life?” Thornton asks. “It’s a privilege to pay my experience forward to deserving, emerging leaders — and I have gained a deep, abiding sense of satisfaction from doing so.”

9. Recharged Self-Development

Great leaders consistently consume an impactful list of books, articles, podcasts, websites, videos, etc. If your self-development has fallen by the wayside, you’ll need to kick-start it if you expect your mentee to invest in a similar way.

10. Faith in the Future 

“Mentors often report that their opinion of the next generation has improved because they have a better understanding of younger workers’ strengths and potential,” Hartnett says. “Mentors also say they’ve become more effective leaders because they’ve gained important insights about younger people’s outlooks and priorities.”

Thornton professes that becoming a mentor allows you to give back and implement positive changes in relationships, attitude and behavior — enriching your own life for years to come.

Harnett agrees. “Investment in a mentoring relationship is an investment in your own professional success.”


Bert Thornton’s fi­rst book, “Find an Old Gorilla: Pathways Through the Jungle of Business and Life,” is a handbook for emerging leaders. Sherry Hartnett is the founder of the executive mentor program at the University of West Florida. To learn more about their book, visit


It Takes a Village

The Junior Women of Initiative program helps young girls become confident women

by Kathy Grey 

Girls in Collier County can navigate economic, gender and social barriers with the support of Junior Women of Initiative (JWOI), helping them to become confident adults.

Althea Irving has been JWOI’s chair for two years and co-chair the year before. Prior to these leadership roles, she served as a mentor.

Jasmine Cledanor

“The JWOI was a steppingstone for me to gain independence as a young woman in society. It was a way for me to connect with others with similar interests, and I was introduced to many successful women in my community and given much insight into the world of education, creativity and professionalism.

Currently, I am a junior at Florida International University, pursuing a degree in business administration and majoring in management. I am also following my passion of music, working on my first (extended play record) as a music artist.”

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Michelle Azord

With a Bachelor of Science, Michelle Azord has her eyes set on grad school at UCF in Orlando, with a goal of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Azord has spent 13 of her 19 years being mentored by exceptional female role models connected with Junior Women of Initiative.

“I was very insecure and, being a Black girl in America, there was an assumption that I wouldn’t have a chance (in life).”

But Azord met her mentor, Tasheekia Perry, who not only taught her etiquette and about staying focused, but encouraged her to be the self-sufficient woman she is today, although she says she constantly turns to JWOA for advice and support.

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America Gutierrez

“Growing up, I never felt like I had a lot of opportunities due to coming from a different country and not having the financial support our family needed,” says America Gutierrez. “The JWOI was introduced to me when I was in middle school. I am 24 now, and I still look back to the knowledge I was given.


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“They helped me to be humble, become a leader and teach others to be better versions of themselves. They let me know that whatever I need, they’re just one call away. JWOA will stay with me till I’m 90.”

“Programs like JWOI instill a foundation at a young age to understand aspects of life, from manners to attitude to professional resumes. I always had an issue with being too passive, and I learned that being assertive allows you to keep others from taking advantage, as you respectfully get your point across. It changed my perspective and my confidence.

“Mrs. Tasheekia, Mrs. Penny, Mrs. Sue, Mrs. Kelly and many others — women who speak from real experience and passion — have helped build and shaped this program to connect with young girls like me.”

“There’s so much opportunity for individuals to work alongside young women in Collier, from donating funds to sharing their talents. Having a mentor, a listening ear, a role model for young women to look up to is huge,” Irving says. “It takes a village.”


To learn more, visit


Hope for Haiti: A Doctor’s Story

Proceeds from upcoming gala and auction support vital work

by Kathy Grey

Based in Naples and founded in 1989, Hope for Haiti is a noteworthy nonprofit with a mission to improve the quality of life for the people of Haiti — particularly children — through education, health care, water, infrastructure and economy. Its emergency relief component has responded to natural disasters such as the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Matthew and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Haiti on Aug. 14, 2021.

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“They have a great mission in Haiti,” he says of the organization. “A big medical mission, primary care, vaccinations, health screenings ... When you look at the Haitian health care system, it’s overwhelmed.”

He’s seen his share of horrors. There was an infant brought in by the Sisters of Charity. They’d found her in the garbage. Regala worked with therapists to bring her back to life.


“That almost broke my heart,” he says. “So many kids are abandoned in Haiti.” Still, he’s grateful that the sisters knew to bring the baby to the medical infirmary that was made possible by Hope for Haiti and its fundraising initiatives.


Regala has operated on people in the countryside who would have no care otherwise. At the end of each week, he says, they offer prayers for him.

“It has changed my life for the better,” he says. “It certainly makes me appreciate what I do. I can change the trajectory of someone’s life by doing what I’ve been trained to do. Once you start doing this work, it’s hard to give it up. It’s so meaningful.”

­­­­­­­­­­­­Phil Regala

With a coveted four-star rating by Charity Navigator, Hope for Haiti has attracted dedicated volunteers and board members to its mission. Orthopedic surgery specialist Dr. Philip Regala of Naples is among them. His involvement in the Rotary Club in Naples spurred his support of Hope for Haiti as a volunteer orthopedist and as a board member.


“I’ve been going to Haiti since the earthquake of 2010,” he begins. “Been there 10 times.”

He goes on behalf of Hope for Haiti to realign neglected fractures and bones that have healed improperly, to fix femurs with metal plates and screws, to work with kids born with arthrogryposis (congenital joint contracture) and to help however he can.

Support the Cause

Who: Hope for Haiti

What: Annual Gala and Auction

Attire: Black tie optional 

When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday, March 12

Where: The Ritz-Carlton Naples, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road




“JWOI is an initiative of the Women’s Foundation of Collier County,” Irving says, “a mentoring program geared to middle school girls ages 11-14. There’s a scholarship program available to them when they are high school seniors.”

Irving’s own experience as a child mentee drew her to the organization.

“Having caring adults, especially women, share their learning and social experiences, helped me see a world outside of my own. My kindergarten teacher took me under her wing, allowed me to babysit her kids and helped me get my first bank account.”

That account, and help from philanthropic organizations, helped her get into University of Central Florida.

“And now,” she says, “I own my own business as an educational consultant.”

It’s because of the impact youth programs had on her life that she wanted to help girls reach their full potential. Here’s what some JWOI students have to say.


Learning from Experience

NextGen Speaker Series: Michael Benson has high hopes for the future

by Kathy Grey

Michael Benson, CEO of Benson Blackburn, has always had high hopes for future generations, as evidenced by his NextGen speaker series in Naples, featuring some of America’s most distinguished business leaders.

The speaker series was established to encourage cross-generational leadership, mentorship, empowerment and philanthropy.

Benson has hosted 21 NextGen Speaker Series events, with more than 3,500 attendees. Keynote speakers are world-renowned entrepreneurs and CEOs who share their life and professional journeys with an invitation-only audience.

Previous presenters have included Reinhold Schmieding, president and founder of Arthrex; chocolatier Norman Love; Jan Fields, former president of McDonald’s USA; and Michael Duke, former president and CEO of Walmart Stores.

Benson designed the NextGen Speaker Series to empower future generations and to have a lasting impact on guests.


“We look for interesting stories, both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial. We want to hear lessons learned on life journeys,” Benson says. “It has surpassed anything I’d ever imagined.”


NextGen’s March 25 speaker is Greg Muzzillo, founder and CEO of Proforma, a global marketing solutions provider. Muzzillo founded the company in 1978 — a year after graduating from college. He launched the company’s franchising operations in 1986. The firm soon expanded into one of the industry’s most promising companies and has been named three times to Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.


By creating a network of more than 750 franchises, he helped transform Proforma into a company generating more than $500 million per year while serving 50,000 clients across the country.

He serves on the board of directors of the University of Florida’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, served on the board of the International Franchise Association and served on University of Tampa’s board of trustees.

He and his wife, Vera, co-sponsor the $50,000 annual Big Idea Gator Business Plan Competition.

Coming Up

What: NextGen Speaker Series featuring Greg Muzzillo | When: 8-10:30 a.m., Friday, March 25

Where: Grey Oaks Country Club, 2400 Grey Oaks Drive North, Naples | Info:


The ‘Roadshow’ Stops Here

Doyle’s appraisal experts return to Naples to benefit Avow

by Kathy Grey

Just before COVID-19 made its unwelcomed presence known in early 2020, appraisal experts from Doyle, the esteemed auction house based in New York City, came to Naples to take a look at the valuables of Southwest Florida residents.

After a two-year, pandemic-driven hiatus, they’ll be back in Naples March 9-10, starring again in the Southwest Florida Appraisal Fair, a key fundraiser for the Avow Foundation.

Appraisal experts Kevin Zavian and Sebastian Clarke, iconic personalities of the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow,” will figure prominently at the event. We chatted with both gentlemen in a Zoom session coordinated by Doyle Senior Vice President and Florida Regional Director Collin Albertsson who’s also coordinating the Avow event. Albertsson will also serve as emcee for the March 9 VIP evening preview reception.

“Everyone at Doyle has a connection to Avow,” Albertsson says about the Naples nonprofit provider of hospice, palliative care and grief support.

Clarke agrees. “Avow is entrenched in the Naples community. There’s real passion there,” he says.


Sebastian Clarke

The Experience

“Every event done in Naples has had a great turnout. It’s a big deal in the area — and for us,” Zavian says.

“Kevin and I have worked together for 20 years,” Clarke emphasizes. “I feel that’s reflected in the attendees (and) educating them about the value points. Last time (2020), we all had to have roller skates on,” he jokes about meeting the demand in Naples.

“This is Doyle’s 60th year in business … owned by the same family,” Zavian says, noting that he’s now working with third- and fourth-generation Doyle family members. “There are countless stories of us working with people who want an appraisal but aren’t ready to sell. Years later, we’ll get a call when they do.”

“Our reputation transcends taking advantage of people and their things,” Clarke confirms. To be sure, the veteran appraisers have a vested interest in the integrity of Doyle and their areas of expertise.


Kevin Zavian

Zavian is third-generation master jeweler and a senior specialist in jewelry at Doyle, evaluating and cataloguing jewelry and fine watches. A member of the Appraisers Association of America and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Zavian is a featured appraiser on “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS. 


Clarke is a senior vice president with Doyle and director of English and continental furniture and decorative arts. Clarke serves on the board of directors of the Appraisers Association of America and appears regularly on “Antiques Roadshow.”

In addition to Clarke and Zavian’s star power, what makes this an exceptional opportunity is that attendees are getting professional New York expertise locally, Albertsson says.

If You Go: Two Events

What: Avow Foundation presents Southwest Florida Appraisal Fair, featuring appraisers from Doyle of New York, as seen on “Antiques Roadshow”

Evening Preview VIP Reception: Hear fascinating stories from expert Doyle appraisers as you enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres and browse silent and live auction items. Bring an item or two for appraisal.

When: 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9

Cost: $150 per person

Public Appraisals Day: Bring two items for appraisal (fine jewelry, watches, prints, fine art, furniture, decorative art, rare books, coins, maps and more)

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, March 10

Cost: $50 per person

Where: 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples


Info: email or call 239-649-3683

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