Contact us at PO Box 1037, Sanibel, FL 33957

or email Gloria at

ABWA Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter

Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter - Professional Development & Networking

Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter - Professional Development & Networking

Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter - Professional Development & NetworkingSanibel Captiva Charter Chapter - Professional Development & Networking
American Business Women's Association ABWA Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter

Local Chapter Receives National Best Practices Award

The ABWA Sanibel Captiva Chapter was recognized as a Best Practices Award Winner at the ABWA Annual National Meeting in Kansas City in October. Chapter leaders Mary Bondurant and Marty Short are shown here in red gowns accepting the prestigious award from ABWA National Officers. Left to right in black gowns the National Officers are President Fellicia Johnson, Vice President Charlotte Osborne, Secretary-Treasurer Cheryl Scott, and Trina Nknazi District 1 Vice President.

"The entire chapter participated to get our governance, record keeping, membership and spirit back to the high level ABWA calls for," said Gloria Garrett, local chapter president. Starting her  second term, Garrett added, "Most importantly, we met our goal of offering the best professional development and networking opportunities for women on the islands, and plan to build on that foundation going forward."


February 25th and March 24th at the next Women in Leadership Speaker Series luncheons, networking at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa  starts at 11:30 followed by lunch and the speaker from noon - 1:00 pm. Everyone is invited to participate,  members and non-members alike.

2018-2019 Executive Board Receives Award


The ABWA 2018-2019 Executive Board Officers celebrate the Best Practices Award brought home from Annual National Meeting in Kansas City by Mary Bondurant and Marty Short.

Connections After Hours Sunset Cruise


ABWA members and guests enjoy the  sunset, dolphin spotting and bird watching abord the Adventurers in Paradise sunset Cruise from Port Sanibel. CLICK THIS PHOTO TO GO TO CRUISE PHOTO GALLERY

Ten New Members Installed


“We are delighted to welcome this remarkable group,” said Membership Chair Lisa Newmeyer-Cochrane of Dorado Property Management. “Future ABWA leadership will spring from this group!”  Left to right: Colleen Zurcher-McGauran LMHC, Rebecca Binkowski-MacIntosh Books, Kathy Samson-K&JSamson, Maureen McGauran-Sanibel City Hall, Kelly Huguenin-Pfeifer Realty, Ellen Lai-Association Legal Services, Melanie Holliday-Rapid Response Team, Lisa Newmeyer Cochrane Membership Chair, Kailey Beech-Profile Sanford, Danielle Syzmanski-Elle Salons, Vanessa Flynt-Billy's Bikes. 

Kelley Laird Receives 5-year Service Award


Kelley Laird of New American Funding received the 5-year ABWA service award from Chapter President Gloria Garrett of HMG, Laird is an on going member of the chapter leadership team, holding multiple officers and committee chair roles. She is a Past President, a current member of the Executive Board and current chair of the Newsletter and Innovation Committees.

About Us



The Mission of the American Business Women's Association is to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support, and national recognition. 




ABWA National on Facebook 

ABWA National on Twitter

Prospective Member Brochure

ABWA National on LinkedIn



To celebrate 40 years as a chapter, in  August 2018 we launched a 24-month Women in Leadership Speaker Series.  The whole community, women and men alike, are welcome to join in the discussion with women leaders making a difference on the islands.  Date: The 4th Tuesday of each month, except third Tuesdays in Nov, Dec and May.  Time: Networking starts at 11:30 am, with lunch, speaker, and discussion noon - 1:00 pm for $25.  


Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, 1451 Middle Gulf Dr, Sanibel, 33957.  


WATCH FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS of Connections After Hours


Connections After Hours is an exciting new program! Watch for announcements! We've  enjoyed  "Appy Hour", discussing networking apps while nibbling appetizers, tours, parades and more. Upcoming events will range from a sunset cruise to poolside pizza. It's good times with good people...after hours!

ABWA offers professional development, networking, education, and recognition opportunities to women who live, work or play on the islands near Ft Myers, Florida. Learn more about us on this website and find our activities at


Short and Bondurant Graduate from Leadership Course


At the 2019 ABWA National Meeting in Kansas City, local chapter leaders Marty  Short and Mary Bondurant graduated from the Park University Women in Leadership course, earning college credit and advancing their professional skills.

Local Chapter Receives National Recognition for Best Practices


The National ABWA Best Practices Award signifies that chapter community involvement, governance, service to members and communication meet or exceed national standards

Contratualtions from ABWA National Director Renee Street


ABWA National Director Renee Street congratulated Mary Bondurant and Marty Short on completing the four-year course on Women in Leadership from Park University and commended the chapter for earning the Best Practices Award.

Mary Bondurant and Marty Short on Stage at National Meeting


At the ABWA National meeting, Mary Bondurant and Marty Short accepted the Best Practices Award for the local chapter. 

Four SWFL Council Chapters Celebrated Best Practices


Representatives from the Neapolitan, Imperial River, Palms of Edisonia and Sanibel Captiva Chapters celebrated awards.

Short and Bondurant Represent Chapter at National Meeting


The chapter deeply thanks Marty Short and Mary Bondurant for representing us at the 5-day National Meeting in Kansas City.




Would you like to participate in chapter administration?  All members are welcome to attend or call in to the monthly Executive Board Meetings. We meet during lunch at the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank conference room at  2475 Library Way on Sanibel from noon to 1pm. If you prefer to call in, call the Bank's main line at 239-472-6100 and request the conference room speaker phone.

Topics this month will include a vote on the amended the 2019-2020 proposed Business Plan and the May 29 gala.



Mark your calendar for the March 24th meeting featuring Melanie Holliday. Although she lives and works on Sanibel, many of us are not aware of her courage in the face of daunting odds.  Expect to be mesmerized as she discusses "Be Your Own Superhero" and shares her journey, and why nothing the Rapid Response Team uncovers will throw her off her game.



Mark your calendar for the February 25th discussion with Alison Charney Hussey presenting “Soaring…Flying…Thrilled! The Love of Philanthropy." As Executive Director of Crow Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wild Life, Hussey will explain the irresistible allure of conserving wild life and her journey from a more traditional career in the legal profession.


Gloria Garrett, President


GLORIA GARRETT serves a secod term as  ABWA president this year and is delighted to bring her corporate and consulting experience to the chapter as it consolidates following repositioning and growth in 2018-2019. Gloria believes the exceptional concentration of women in leadership on the islands makes it an ideal location for ABWA to thrive. Gloria runs HMG, helping small businesses innovate and grow.

Taylor Osborne, Vice President


TAYLOR OSBORNE is a new ABWA member and new to the islands, but an experienced business owner bringing the exicting combination of new ideas and practical experience to the chapter. Taylor owns Iris Print & Design, offering high quality printing on fabrics and all materials across multiple states. Taylor will take a close look at the chapter's communication protocol and best practices management with an eye out for opportunities for growth. 

Gabriela Bell, Treasurer


GABRIELA (GABY) BELL agreed to serve again as Treasurer this year due to popular demand. She skillfully managed  the chapter's finances during a tremendous year of growth in 2018-2019. Gaby was a chapter role model last year as Woman of the Year.  She is a four-year member of ABWA and is quickly making a mark on the chapter’s future. A resident of Sanibel Island, Gaby is Assistant Manager at the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank.  

Angie Roehl, Secretary


ANGIE ROEHL is a new ABWA member but a long-time player in the local business community. Angie runs the Rosier Insurance office on the islands and brings a vast network of local connections to the chapter. Angie's well respected business savvy is warmly welcome on the board. She will consider and recommend innovations for consideration in the upcoming  year.

Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter Vision and Goals


The Chapter Vision is to collectively inspire each other to  grow and make a lifetime of new  connections. The Chapter Goals are to present a premier Women in Leadership Speaker Series and offer the highest quality professional women's networking on the islands.  

The chapter adheres to the National ABWA  proud code of conduct and core values.

Past President, Kelley Laird


KELLEY LAIRD rejoins the board as Past President, bringing the experience of serving in multiple ABWA leadership roles to balance the concentration of new members on the board. Kelley will be our advisor, watch dog over the code of conduct, and steward of key strategic  initiatives. Kelley is a loan consultant and local leader at New American funding in SWFL.

Chapter Milestones

2019-2020 Chapter Officers Elected and Installed


Nominating Chair Julie DeBord of Kennedy Construction installs Gloria Garrett of HMG President, Taylor Osborne of Iris Print & Designs Vice President, Angela Larson Roehl of Rosier Insurance Secretary and Gaby Bell of Sanibel Captiva Community Bank Treasurer. Not shown: Kelley Laird of New American Funding Past President

ABWA Presents at Bailey Fest 2019


ABWA promoted upcoming events and distributed membership recruiting materials at the annual community celebration, Bailey Fest. ABWA Members Deb Ames of Enviromow, and Lauire and Alice Verme of Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream joined in with their own promotional materials and samples, demonstrating the support ABWA offer to members' businesses.

ABWA Joins the Annual Sanibel Island 4th of July Parade


ABWA incoming officers Taylor Osborne and Angie Roehl join chapter leader Julie DeBord in the Annual Sanibel Island 4th of July Parade, chauffeured by  ABWA supporter Aaron Cleary. Special thanks to chapter leader Lisa Cochrane and husband Bruce for lending their street-ready golf cart, a popular island conveyance.

Mary Bondurant Honored as Prestigious ABWA National Top Ten Nominee


Mary Bondurant has been named a National Top Ten Business Woman Nominee by the national governing body of the American Business Women's Association, a highly prestigious honor. Bondurant received the local chapter award earlier this year from Nominating Chair Julie Debord. Top Ten is the highest honor awarded by the organization, acknowledging career accomplishments, support of women’s professional development through ABWA and community service."The Chapter is delighted Mary has achieved national recognition," said Gloria Garrett, local president. "She is eminently qualified and a credit to ABWA." Bondurant was recognized at the annual ABWA National Meeting.

Nancy Barnes Elected 2019 Chapter Woman of the Year


Nancy Barnes was crowned by outgoing Woman of the Year, Gaby Bell of Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. "Participating in ABWA for over 35 years has meant so much to me," said Barnes. "It’s an organization that stands up for the progress of women in business and I’m glad to be a part of it." “Nancy has been a major force in the progress of ABWA on the islands,” said Gloria Garrett, chapter President. “She has held nearly every leadership role and won a regional Council Lifetime Achievement Award. This year she reinstated the role of Chapter Historian, spoke at the Women’s History Month meeting, participated actively and showcased ABWA at the annual Islands Day Parade.”

Rose Byrne Receives 20 Year ABWA Service Award from WOY Nancy Barnes


Rose Byrne of Sundial Beach Resort & Spa was awarded the 20-year ABWA service pin by Nancy Barnes, long time office manager of Bob’s Island Graphics on Sanibel, which closed its doors in 2018. 

Byrne has worked at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, the chapter's luncheon location sponsor, since she was first recruited to ABWA by Barnes in the 1990's.  "ABWA has been such a positive force in my life," said Byrne. "And the encouragement I've received from Sundial through thick and thin over the years means so much to me." 

"Rose is a great lady," said Becky Miller, General Manager, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa. “We are delighted to have her on our team.”

ABWA Sanibel-Captiva Celebrates Women's History Month at the Sanibel Public Library

ABWA Members

ABWA Members Gaby Bell,  Julie DeBord, Marj Nordstrom, Kelley Laird, Nancy Barnes and Marty Short 

Logo Honors 10+ Year Members


The Sanibel-Captiva ABWA Chapter Women’s History Month logo honors the memory of recent president Gail DeHaan Garland, and showcases ten year plus members Lisa Cochrane-Newmeyer of Dorado Property Management, Nancy Barnes of Arthur Printing, Rose Byrne of Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Mary Bondurant of Kingfisher Real Estate and Julie DeBord of Kennedy Construction

Click this Photo to See the Facebook Photo Gallery for the Back to the 70's Gala

ABWA Chapter Laders Kira Dworkin and Julie DeBord

ABWA Chapter Leaders Kira Dworkin and Julie DeBord

Chapter Receives 40th Anniverssary Proclamation from Sanibel Mayor


Chapter Members Marj Nordstrom, Deb Ames, Kar Cordsco, Gloira Garrett and Kira Dworkin with Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane

ABWA Joins the Parade at Bailey's Island Night


ABWA members Nancy Barnes, (atop the back seat) and Marj Nordstrom (in the front seat) throw prizes to the crowd at the 26th Annual Sam Bailey's Island's Night chauffeured by ABWA supporter Fred Nordstrom

Lisa Newmeyer Cochrane Nominated for SWFL Council Achievement Award

Lisa Newmeyer Cochrane, chapter Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, was nominated for the 2019 ABW

Lisa Newmeyer Cochrane, chapter Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is nominated for the 2019 ABWA Southwest Florida Council Lifetime Achievement Award.

2019-2020 Professional Development Programs

Jan 28 - Laura DeBruce, Owner of Sanibel Carts, Attorney, Entrepreneur and Filmmaker


At the Janaury 28 meeting, Laura DeBruce reviewed her backgound as an entrepreneur and amazing stories  in her presentation  "Lessons Learned from Poker: Know When to Hold 'Em, Fold 'Em or Go All In."

Dec 17 - Emilie Alfino, Executive Director Sanibel Historical Museum and Village


At the December 17th meeting, Emilie Alfino brought smiles to the group, presenting  "The Roundabout Way to Directorship...If That's What This Is!" Alfino explored what a career path is (and is not) all about as she explained her journey.

Nov 19 - Wendy Schnapp, GM/Co-Owner Tapon Bay Explorers and Co-Owner George & Wendy's

Wendy Schnapp

At the Nov 19th meeting, Wendy Schnapp presented  “Surround Yourself with Smart, Positive, Capable People,” addressing the importance of the company you keep when striving to achieve both professional and personal goals.  A life-long environmentalist, Schnapp is GM and Co-Owner of Tarpon Bay Explorers, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge concession since 2002. "Paddle sports and environmental education are my passions,” smiles Schnapp. "And I feel very fortunate to be able to do both here on Sanibel Island.” Locally, Schnapp is known as “Wendy” of the popular eatery George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille on Sanibel, which she owns with husband and career restaurateur George Schnapp. 

The Leadership book in November is "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.

Oct 22 - Kari Cordisco, GM Sanibel Moorings Resort and Owner iDo Weddings


At the October 22nd meeting, Kari Cordisco. GM of Sanibel Moorings Resort and Owner of iDo Weddings presented “Find Your Gift and Give it Away – The Fine Art of Hospitality.” Cordisco shared her personal journey and the career  path that inevitably led her  to the hospitality industry, revealing steps everyone can take to up their game in customer service, the art of a warm welcome and pleasing others. 

“Women are encouraged today to let their brilliance shine and take the lead, but that does not detract from the importance of delighting our customers,” said Cordisco. “In both business and personal life, there is a benefit to knowing how to put smiles on the faces of others.”

The ABWA Women in Leadership book in October is

"The Art of the Gathering" by Priya Parker.

Sept 17 - Evelyn Stewart, Co-Owner Adventures in Paradise and AIP Outfitters


At the Septenber 17th meeting, Evelyn Stewart, Co-Owner of Advertures in Paradise and AIP Outfitters presented "The Most Important Thing." Stewart has unlocked the code for a successful island  business. After over 30 years on Sanibel,  Adventures in Paradise is still growing and now expanding to the mainland. Stewart's career journey started roaming the jungles of New York City, but covered lands as distant as Oklahoma and Tahiti before settling locally. She discussed the importance of mentoring, the importance of family and the elusive "most important thing." The secret focuses on finding your strengths, developing them and pursuing them.

The ABWA Women in Leadership book in September is 

"Strengths Finder 2.0" by Tom Rath.

Aug 27 - Kathy Samson, Owner K&J Samson, Inc. and Co-Owner Malia's and Spoondrifts


At the August 27th meeting, the group discussed "Love What You Do-Do What You Love" with Kathy Samson, owner of K&J  Samson, Inc. advertising and co-owner of new Sanibel restaurants MALIA's Island Fusion Cuisine and SPOONDRIFT Island Bowls.  Samson's career journey involved breaking the glass ceiling in both publishing and advertising, two tough assignments. She was on the team that launched the innovative national newspaper USA TODAY and subsequently ran a major regional advertising agency, GreenStreet Marketing. Samson explained  how to find joy in your job, proceed bravely and find the courage to pursue your dreams.

The ABWA Women in Leadership book in August is

"Dare to Lead" by Brenee' Brown.

2018-2019 Professional Development Programs

July 23 - Ashley Burns, VP Brand Experience at Noise Inc. on "Staying True to Your North"

Ashley Burns, VP Brand Experience at Noise Inc. led a meaningful conversation on “Staying True to Your North” at the American Business Women’s Association June luncheon. "Own your core values,” said Burns. “They are your strength, your motivation, and your compass.” 

Burns explained many of us rush to define the best version of ourselves based on expanding our geography and material things, ultimately finding  it to be false direction. “An example in my experience,” smiled Burns, “was joining the United States Air Force for air traffic control to see the world, and ending up in Valdosta, Georgia.” It was not seeing the world, but many positive things happened during that time.

“I realized a career path is not a race to a destination, but an on-going journey that incorporates all the experiences that make us,” continued Burns, urging the group to be brave and continue the process of growing and learning. 

“You aren’t your future without your past,” said Burns. “The core values that define our true north are born of our experiences.”

“Finding courage to surround yourself with great people, endure inevitable challenges, and re-purpose that energy to keep going towards your north — that, to me, is career success in any capacity,” said Burns.

June 25 - Beth Oliver, Director of Marketing Offshore Sailing School on "Controlling Your Destiny"

At the June 25th meeting, Beth Oliver, Executive Director of Marketing at Offshore Sailing School® led a lively discussion on  “Controlling Your Destiny." Oliver stressed being prepared, flexible and nimble, sharing her early experiences in the tumultuous advertising, automotive and spirits industries. Oliver emphasized the skills needed to keep control of your career path.

“It’s important that trials and tribulations do not define our careers,” said Oliver. “One can wait for something to happen, or one can choose to make something happen.” 

“Don’t burn any bridges and appreciate every introduction,” said Oliver, noting her journey from corporate marketing through retail, hospitality, and non-profit was fueled by relationships and counsel from others. “Be prepared for a chance meeting and remain flexible and nimble,” she urged.

“Take advantage of opportunities and think outside the box,” continued Oliver, explaining that ultimately landing a dream job at Offshore Sailing School® would not have happened if she hadn’t been open minded to relocation and starting her own business in Naples, Florida.

“Even though we may have to reinvent ourselves,” advised Oliver, “stay true to yourself and focus on what’s most important to you.” 

May 28 - Alicia Tighe, Executive Director F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva "Neighbors Helping Neighbors"

At the May 28th meeting, Alicia Tighe, new Executive Director at F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, affirmed that people and the policies that serve them are more important than politics in her presentation “Doing the Right Thing." 

Tighe shared what she learned from ten years on Senator Bill Nelson’s team and why she was delighted to join F.I.S.H. last January. “It all comes down to people,” said Tighe. “In Washington D.C. I learned to work for those who voted for us, those who voted against us, and those who did not vote at all. It’s public service over politics.”

Tighe urged us to stay engaged in public policy discussions despite the turmoil of politics. “I believe it’s not healthy to live without talking to people with diverse opinions,” said Tighe. “We don’t always have to agree on politics, but we do need to be advocates together for policy that serves people.”

“The community is welcome to participate as a volunteer," said Tighe. "In the summer we go from 200 active volunteers to 50, so right now we can use everyone’s help – even one day every other week would make a difference.”

Maggi Feiner, F.I.S.H. President and CEO, participated in the meeting and praised Tighe’s impact on F.I.S.H. “Alicia is a great addition to the team,” said Feiner. “Thanks to Alicia, I have been able to take my first vacation in ten years.”

April 23 - Melissa Donahue, Award Winning Executive Chef at Sweet Melissa's Cafe

At the April 23rd meeting, Melissa Donahue, Award Winning Executive Chef at Sweet Melissa’s Cafe presented “Conversations with Melissa – Sweet, Savory and Skillful” and engaged group in a lively discussion. She shared the steps to her success as a James Beard Award Semifinalist, emphasizing hard work and what she learned from others along the way.

“Women who have built a career are responsible for mentoring younger women coming up,” said Donahue, noting that women still fight for equal footing in many professions. “In the culinary industry today, only 20% of kitchens are run by women,” she continued.

“As a younger woman, be a sponge,” urged Donahue. “Ask. Learn. Take advantage of women who want to share knowledge.” Donahue had the opportunity to build her career in high profile restaurants, including the Union Square Café in Manhattan and the Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, but never stopped seeking to learn, always bringing commitment to the job.

Donahue emphasized that learning can take you out of your comfort zone. She admitted that in order to represent her brand, she had to learn to find her voice as a public speaker. “Find your passion and work hard for it,” Donahue recommended. “If you’re not growing, why do it?”

March 26 - Robin Cook, Executive Vice President, The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company

At the March 26 meeting, ABWA member Robin Cook, Executive Vice President at The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company presented “Don’t Get Caught in the Dark!"  Cook highlighted the importance of financial planning for all ages, engaging the group is discussion of common pitfalls and solutions.

“Estate planning is a woman’s issue; be active in your financial life.” urged Cook. “The average age a married woman is widowed in the US in 56.  We all need to know the vital steps to take now to feel confident when it’s time to pass the baton,” Cook continued. 

Cook listed 42 essential documents everyone should assemble. “The most important item is your list of trusted advisers,” said Cook. The list of ten Cook reviewed includes your investment adviser, estate attorney, accountant, executor, banker and insurance agent.

Cook discussed issues effecting us at all ages of life, covering the best way to handle student loans, the importance of starting financial planning in your 20’s, and saving 20% annually for retirement. 

Cook hails from Wisconsin and began vacationing regularly here as a child. “Robin approaches these serious financial planning issues with mid-western common sense, incorporating a lighthearted tone that had us laughing,” said Gloria Garrett of HMG, ABWA president. "Her presentations are on the 'don't miss' list."

February 26 - Birgie Miller, Executive Director, Ding Darling Wildlife Society

 At the February 26 meeting, Birgie Miller, Executive Director, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society discussed "How the Power of Philanthropy Shapes Us", highlighting the impact on our lives, careers and communities of being a power for good. “Of the $400 billion given in the US in 2018, 87% came from individuals,” said Miller. “America is built on people helping one another and making a difference through philanthropy.”

Miller highlighted reasons generous investments in good have transformed America and become part of the American way of life. “Giving defines an inclusive community,” Miller continued, referencing the ongoing and pressing activities on the islands shaping the community for the better. The current Wildlife Society priority is the Wulfert Bayous project, targeted to conserve and restore the largest unprotected property on Sanibel. 

Miller was joined by Toni Westland, Supervisory Refuge Ranger and liaison to the Wildlife Society. “The Wulfert Bayous project will protect water quality, benefit up to 70 species of birds, and provide amazing visitor opportunities,” said Westland. “Hopefully, one day, we can add trails.”

“Giving is magic,” said Miller with a smile. “Brain research shows that giving triggers the pleasure response in the brain, reducing stress and increasing longevity. Ultimately, giving is like eating chocolate cake."

2018-2019 Professional Development Programs (continued)

Jan 22nd - Kay Casperson, Founder, CEO, Author & Lifestyle Expert

At the January 22 meeting, Kay Casperson, Founder and CEO of BeautifuLife, delivered an inspiring message on “Simple Steps to Living Your Most Beautiful Life Every Day.” Casperson focused on the power of positive affirmations. 

“Affirmations make a world of difference,” says Casperson. “And remember that nice girls really do finish first.” Casperson reinforces the importance of not worrying about opinions that discourage or stop you from accomplishing your goals. But she advises, “Be kind. Stay organized. Have faith. Believe in yourself.” 

This affirmation-based philosophy and a strong business savvy built Casperson’s multi-category brand BeautifuLife. “My philosophy is centered on simplicity, effectiveness and affirmation, while using the highest quality ingredients in products we can use every day,” said Casperson. “My mission is simple -- to inspire all people to live their most balanced life every day.”

Dec 18th - Melissa Rice, Executive Director, Community Housing and Resources

On December 18th, Melissa Rice, Executive Director of CHR, presented the perfect Holiday topic:  "When Business and Compassion Collide."   As Executive Director of Community Housing and Resources, Inc., Rice shared inspiring stories and lessons to about leadership in the collision zone. Melissa’s business savvy is evident. She built her career in  south Florida on both coasts in commercial real estate investment. She holds degrees in finance and economics and is a member of CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment). But she also has a strong commitment to philanthropy, serving on the SanCap Cares Committee and as Treasurer for both the Sanibel PTA and CHR.

“The most important aspect of bringing philanthropy and business together is managing partnerships,” said Rice. “For example, support from the City of Sanibel, community participation in Give Back Wednesdays, generous women’s education grants from Zonta and scholarships from Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis are critical to CHR.”

Nov 26th - Sandra Stilwell Youngquist, CEO Stilwell Enterprises and Pres SWFL Children's Charities

On Novenber 27th,  Sandra Stilwell Youngquist presented  "Balancing Act - Broadening Your Reach to Others While Keeping Your Focus." As CEO and Owner of Stilwell Enterprises & Restaurant Group, and President of SWFL Children's Charities, Stilwell is an expert on this powerful topic. Stilwell’s signature advice “be honest and true in all you do” reflects her dual commitment to business success and community service. 

In business, Stilwell launched her first venture at 17, building from a cleaning business to her true calling, hospitality. Now with an Inn, shopping centers and six restaurants, Stilwell credits her success to faith and a tenacious work ethic. In community service, Stilwell also has an impressive resume. Under her leadership, SWFL Children’s Charities presents the SWFL Food & Wine Fest on February 24, 2019, an event that raised $2.9MM for pediatric health care last year. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Hope Hospice, and advises many other boards and committees.

Oct 23rd - Dorrie Hipschman, Executivwe Director, Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Dorrie Hipschman, Executive Director of the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, delivered an eye-opening speech on  “Life on Earth: The Museums, Our Responsibility, My Journey.”  Drawing from her outdoorsy upbringing, she said, “As far back as I can remember, the world has always been a living, breathing, dynamic and fascinating place; but  if we don’t grow up outdoors and spend time learning the language of the natural world, we can become deaf to it." Hipschman explained this is a tragedy she and her team are dedicated to solving. “Deafness to nature is curable," she said. "And it’s imperative that we address it." 

To be true to her calling, Hipschman had to take control of her career in the for-profit sector and deliberately move it towards the natural world. She said, “When I started my career, I did not envision taking this path, but now I can’t imagine doing anything more important.”

September 27th - Laurie Verme, Owner of Pinocchio's and Geppeto's

Laurie Verme, Owner of Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream and Geppetto's Beach Foodies, discussed "The Road to Success is ALWAYS  Under Construction."  Verme's inspiring story starts from being told she couldn't run a business as a woman and winds through exhilarating successes as a McDonald's franchisee in New York followed by devastating blows to her boutique hotel on Florida's East Coast at the hands of Hurricane Wilma. Her journey to Sanibel is a  loaded with lessons. Laurie concluded with this quote: 

“The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends, red lights called enemies and caution lights called family. You will have flat tires called jobs, but if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance and a driver called will power, you will make it to a place called success."

August 28th - Calli Johnson , Bailey's General Store Management Team

Calli Johnson, Wine Manager of Bailey's General Store, led a group discussion that inspired everyone to participate.  "We all have something to learn no matter what generation we're from," she said, a fact confirmed by ABWA participants from all around the room.   Her talk on Family, Philosophy and Wisdom from a Multi-Generational Workforce was punctuated by color commentary from her dad, Richard Johnson, GM of Bailey's. "We are a 119 year old business that embraces technology," he said. "Slowly but surely," she said, which had the group rolling with laughter. For generations, Bailey's has delivered outstanding customer experience, quality products, personalized service and value every day.  

This meeting launched our 40th year celebration by showcasing a legacy business on Sanibel supporting the development of women in leadership. We were proud to launch our speaker series with  Calli Johnson.

Contact Us

Drop us a line!


Questions or comments? Contact Gloria Garrett, President at

ABWA Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter

PO Box 1037, Sanibel, FL 33957, US

Upcoming Luncheon Meetings

Meetings are normally the 4th Tuesday of the month; 3rd Tuesdays in Nov, Dec and May.

  Dec 17, Jan 28, Feb 25, Mar 24, Apr 28, May 19, June 23, July 28

Networking begins at 11:30 AM, followed by lunch, speaker, and discussion noon - 1:00 PM.

Location:  Sundial Beach Resort and Spa, 1451 Middle Gulf Dr, Sanibel FL 33957

Lunches are $25. RSVP at or register at

For our valued 80+ members/guests, and  students, lunches are $20, pay at the door.


ABWA 2019-2020 Member Interest Survey 

Print and fill out this form. Submit your completed survey to a member of the Executive Board or mail to ABWA Sanibel Captiva, PO Box 10

League Name:  Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter

Member Name:

Member’s Signature:                                                                                 


Date Completed:

1. The reason I chose to join the American Business Women’s Association is:

(Choose all that apply)

  • I wanted to network with professional women.
  • I wanted to acquire new knowledge and skills related to business.
  • I wanted to network with other women in a non-industry specific women’s association.   
  • I wanted to take advantage of the online learning content in the Apex Campus
  • I need to improve my leadership skills to advance my career.
  • I need to improve my public speaking and presentation skills to advance my career.
  • Other:

2.  I have been a member of the American Business Women’s Association for:

  • Less than 1 year 
  • Between 1-5 year
  • Between 6-10 years
  • Between 11-20 years
  • Between 21-30 years
  • Between 31-40 years
  • Between 41-50 years
  • Between 51-60 years

3.  My current job position can best be described as:

  • An entrepreneur/business owner
  • An executive/president/vice president/director/senior manager
  • A manager/supervisor/team leader/project leader
  • An administrative or customer service professional A teacher or trainer
  • Sales/account representative, sales executive, sales consultant, sales agent
  • In transition (unemployed, underemployed, just not sure what I want to do next) 
  • A stay at home Mom
  • Retired 
  • Other:

4.  The most important reason for maintaining my membership in the ABWA is:

5.  In the next 12 months, my one main goal is to:

  • Find a new job in my current field
  • Update my professional portfolio (résumé, cover letter, references) in preparation for a job change 
  • Search for a new job in a new industry
  • Start a new business Grow my current business Sell my business
  • Retire 
  • Other:

6.  The knowledge, skill sets and/or experiences I will need in order to achieve my One Main Goal 

in the next 12 months are:

7.  I think the following leadership positions may help me acquire the knowledge, skill sets and/or 

experiences to help me achieve my OMG.  (Choose all that apply)

  • Membership Recruitment Committee Fund-raising Committee
  • Newsletter Chair
  • Publicity Committee Auditing Committee Nominating Committee
  • Programming (Professional Development) Committee
  • Awards and Recognition Committee Compilation our Best Practices Submission Scholarships Committee
  • ABW Day Committee
  • New Member Orientation Committee Hospitality Committee
  • Other (please specify)

8. In my league’s regular monthly meetings, the areas of interest that I feel would be most 

beneficial to my career advancement are on these topics:

  • Marketing my business 
  • Basic Accounting Principles Communications
  • HR Management 
  • Effective Leadership 
  • Operations Management 
  • New Business Start-Up 
  • Customer Service
  • Presentation/Speaking Skills 
  • Project Management
  • Social Media
  • Project Management 
  • Dressing for Success 
  • Other

.Thank you for completing this survey!