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Women to Watch

Celebrating the successes of influential women among us

Women in Southwest Florida have continued to make meaningful strides through the most difficult time in our shared existence. This special chapter of The èBella èXtra highlights just a few of their success stories.

For consideration in Women to Watch, email the success story of a woman you’d like to celebrate, along with her high-resolution photo, to inspireme@ebella.com. This might include her biggest accomplishment, award or honor received, appointment to a Board, educational achievement, etc.

Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) has appointed Berneitha K. McNair as its executive director, with a mission to increase housing opportunities available for individuals with developmental disabilities. She has dedicated her entire professional career to helping disadvantaged individuals and their families have an enhanced quality of life.

Sheryl Soukup, president of Soukup Strategic Solutions, has been appointed vice chair of Residential Options of Florida (ROOF)’s board of directors. Soukup founded ROOF in 2014 while working on a project to connect adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with residential options across the state.

Lindsay Smith has opened Vibe Yoga in Fort Myers, offering free “Warriors” classes once a week to active military members, veterans and first responders. A military spouse, she supports Warriors at Ease, which brings the power of yoga and meditation to military communities around the world through training, advocacy, programs and partnerships.

The Neighborhood Health Clinic has appointed Janet Vasey vice treasurer of its finance committee. Since 1999, the clinic has delivered quality medical and dental care to the low-income uninsured workers of Collier County.

STARability Foundation’s Chief Philanthropy Officer Miriam Pereira has been recertified as a Certified Fund Raising Executive through CFRE International. The STARability Foundation exists to Support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing life-transforming opportunities that emphasize Teamwork and connection to the community to build Awareness and Respect for their individual abilities.

Divorce, marital and family law attorney Iman Zekri with Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. will begin serving on The Florida Bar’s Student Education & Admissions to the Bar Committee, which determines whether Florida law schools are adequately preparing their students for the practice of law. She is also the recipient of the Florida Bar Journal Excellence in Writing Award for her article, “Respectfully Dissenting: How Dissenting Opinions Shape the Law and Impact Collegiality Among Judges,” which appeared in The Florida Bar Journal.

The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau has named Sandra Rios its public relations and communications manager. She looks forward to telling the story of Florida’s Paradise Coast to inspire travelers to experience our destination to its fullest.

Teresa Lientz has joined GATES Construction as assistant project manager, assisting in overall project coordination from preconstruction and permitting to owner occupancy. She has over 18 years of construction experience with a career focus in assisted living, multifamily and clubhouse.

Kristin Delfs has been named administrative coordinator for the two not-for-profit organizations, Emmanuel Academies and Emmanuel Communities. Delfs will serve as lead administrative professional with an emphasis on communications, relationship building and community partner collaboration. Emmanuel Academies’ mission is to create and develop leaders for Christian service within diverse communities, providing opportunities for theological and spiritual formation, leadership development and vocational training. Emmanuel Communities, Inc. was founded by Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Naples, to develop and manage Faith Based Communities seeking health, joy, spiritual growth, and social and service engagement.

Naples photographer Lisette Morales’ photo essay, “Women Farmworkers and Gardening: Cultural Heritage and Food Sovereignty,” has been published in ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America. Her images show Immokalee farmworkers and their allies engaging in the work of growing and sharing food from a community pantry – thriving against the odds during the pandemic.

Soukup Strategic Solutions’ Director of Grant Services Teresa Stohs has been recognized as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) by CFRE International. 

Dr. Peggy Aune will join the staff of Champions For Learning in the newly created executive position of chief innovation officer. Her primary responsibilities will be to manage and lead our program initiatives, including student and educator programs, and ensuring organizational outcomes are fulfilled. She will also be leading the new Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in Learning that will be finished in Summer of 2021.

Pictured L to R: Patricia Plummer, Diane Preston Moore, Janet Hoffman, Denise McLaughlin, Patricia Forkan, Paul Kardon, Patricia Rodilosso, Sarah Cass Berg, Diana Walsh, Susan Pezzullo and Alison Wescott. Not pictured: Jan Eustis, Abe Levy, Dena Liston and Julie Wade.

The League of Women Voters of Collier County recently announced its 2021-2022 board of officers, directors and programs. Patricia Plummer and Janet Hoffman are co-presidents. Diane Preston Moore is vice president. Sarah Cass Berg is secretary. Denise McLaughlin is treasurer. Diana Walsh is governance committee chair. Directors are Jan Eustis, Patricia Forkan, Paul Kardon, Abe Levy, Dena Liston, Susan Pezzullo, Patricia Rodilosso, Julie Wade and Alison Wescott.