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Women to Watch

Concrete examples of successful women and their stories of achievement are the best inspiration and means of empowerment for other women to seek the heights in their professional career and take a leading role in society. ~ Dalia Grybauskaite


Please join us in congratulating these women on their achievements and contributions to our community.


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 This might include her biggest accomplishment, award or honor received, appointment to a Board, educational achievement, etc.


Gail Lamarche has been selected to serve on the International 2023 Legal Marketing Association Conference Committee, planning the 2023 conference for a 3500-member organization.

Dr. Cyndi Yag-Howard, founder and president of Yag-Howard Cosmetic Dermatology (YHCD), was elected as incoming vice president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

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Claudia Leah of Claudia Leah Design / Decorating Den Interiors in Naples, FL has been named 2021 Franchise Owner of the Year at this year’s Decorating Den Interiors annual conference DESIGNCOM 2022.

Alexandra Gabel of Grant Fridkin Pearson, PA was again selected by Florida Super Lawyers to the 2022 Florida Rising Stars list.

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Literacy Volunteers of Collier County welcomed new board members Wendy Aguilera and Mary Colina-Fowler and named Michelle Wilkins as its new children/families program director.

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The Greater Estero Chamber of Commerce presented the following awards: Trish Leonard – Woman of the Year; Estero Historical Society – Nonprofit of the Year; Chloe Maros with Select Realty – Young Professional of the Year; and Nikolle Larrea with The Llama’s House – Woman-Owned Business of the Year. Sharon Van Rite joined its board as chairman. Nikolle Larrea (not pictured) and Sharon Van Rite (not pictured)

Trish Leonard; Gail Langner, Estero Historical Society board chair; and Chloe Maros

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Julie Koester expanded her co-owned Naples-based ad agency, Dragon Horse, to Santa Monica, California.

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Mally Khorasantchi’s paintings will be featured in The Baker Museum’s summer exhibition, Recent Acquisitions: 2019-Present.

PANIRA Healthcare Clinic announced the appointment of new board member Jeanne Sweeney.

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Olga Placeres, owner and president of Preferred Travel of Naples (PTN), and Donna Christensen, PTN travel advisor, accepted a top performing travel agency award for Preferred Travel by global luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent (A&K).

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Victoria Pelka has been promoted to vice president at One Source Business Capital.

Alex Breault is the new vice president of Teen Initiatives for Boys & Girls Club of Collier County.

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Carole Stuckert joined Florida Gulf Coast Ear Nose and Throat as physician liaison.

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The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples named Bonnie Thayer as chief operations and education officer and Laura Richardson Bright as chief advancement officer.

Valerie’s House hired Sarah Andrus as its Collier County office outreach director.

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Norma Long opened iN’ Dulge Cut & Color Treatment Bar.

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Genevieve Gosset, an esthetician, medical representative and entrepreneur, opened Purpose Advanced Esthetics.

Kelly Apfel was named director of marketing and development at Freedom Waters Foundation.


Conservancy of Southwest Florida hired Katy Hennig as director of communications and marketing.

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Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Company., P.A. (MNMW) added Lydia Robinson, CPA to its data analytics team.

Gulf Coast International Properties® named Melanie Mogelvang Hovland, P.A. its Agent of the Month for May 2022

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Susan Goldy and Scott Spiezle with Kathy Courtnage, an early Kids’ Minds Matter investor

Lee Health Foundation awarded the Frank Haskell Humanitarian Award to Susan Goldy and Scott Spiezle, co-founders of Kids’ Minds Matter.

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Genevieve Davis, Junior League of Fort Myers board member, with Sharon Tolnai

Photo Credit: Pam Dorchak

Sharon Tolnai received the Spirit of the League award from Junior League of Fort Myers.

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Top Row: Jackie Nelson, Kristin Cartwright and Ana Maria Senica

Bottom Row: Amber Phillips, Erin Otterbeck and Lesley Colantonio.

Pace Center for Girls, Collier at Immokalee announced its newly appointed board members: Jackie Nelson, Kristin Cartwright, Ana Maria Senica, Amber Phillips, Erin Otterbeck and Lesley Colantonio.

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