The second annual Naples Children’s Business Fair welcomed an impressive 1,200 attendees to peruse and shop young entrepreneurs’ businesses on Saturday, Jan. 11 at Gulf Coast High School. The fair had participation of 123 youth-run businesses with 211 student participants.
Presented by Barron Collier Companies, the Greater Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation hosted the fair in partnership with Collier County Public Schools to give students the experience of entrepreneurship firsthand and sell their original products and services to the public.
“This event is a great opportunity for youth in our community to get early exposure to the kinds of experience many business professionals wish they had had growing up,” said Nikkie Dvorchak, Naples Chamber vice president of events and development. “It was great to see students take their business plans and execute them from start to finish. We were blown away by the quality of their products, marketing, displays and salesmanship. We are already looking forward to how this event will continue to grow next year.”
Throughout the day, attendees had the chance to vote for the “most original business idea,” “highest business potential,” and “most creative business.” Local leaders served as judges and awards were presented in five age groups, with one student awarded the “Sunshine Award” –which granted this year’s winner, Genevieve’s Art, a spot to display and sell her product in a local Sunshine Ace Hardware store.
First place winners also won the opportunity to spend the day with Barron Collier Companies CEO Blake Gable visiting different industries in Collier County and learn what it takes to run a successful business.
Most Original Business: Storm Pet Toys
Benjamin Peterson, Max Varga, Jack Johnson, Macauley Ronninger
Highest Business Potential: VMC Designs
Most Creative: Bree Artiste
Sunshine Award: Genevieve’s Art
Age 6-7 Winners:
1st Place: Taralyn’s Treasures
2nd Place: Emma’s Sweet Art
3rd Place: Boo-Boo Buddies
Dawson Winge, Logan Grove, Janel Elwell
Age 8-10 Winners:
1st Place: John’s Woodworking
2nd Place: Tuti’s Terrific Treasures
3rd Place: S3 Creations
Ella Seidner, Mac Seidner, Devyn Seidner
Age 13-14 Winners:
1st Place – Colony Magic
2nd Place –Water Pros
3rd Place – Ready Cement Go!
Age 11-12 Winners:
1st Place: Stache Your Slime
2nd Place: Jumba’s Cotton Candy
3rd Place: Olivia’s Creation Station
Age 15-17 Winners:
1st Place: Nagen Bakery
2nd Place: Jame’s LeSage Photography
3rd Place: ABC Boba Tea
The Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation will work with participants post-event to continue their professional growth, connect them with business leaders and provide support on their entrepreneurial journey.
For more information on the Naples Children’s Business Fair, visit www.napleschamber.org/cbf.
The event was sponsored by Barron Collier Companies, Sunshine Ace Hardware, Arthrex, Naples Daily News, First Florida Integrity Bank, ACI Worldwide, Neapolitan Family, Keiser University, Wintrust Banking Center, Brown & Brown Insurance, Fieldr, Beasley Media, Sugar Shack and Florida Weekly.
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber, has named high school senior Julien Zappulla as its first-ever student board member. The decision to add a student board member was rooted in the desire to hear the student perspective on issues, especially as the Foundation’s work with youth and talent development continues to grow.
“As the LCF continues to advance our work with talent development, having a student voice on our board of advisors has proven to be very valuable,” said Amanda Beights, vice president of LCF. “Julian is not only a graduate of our Youth Leadership Collier (YLC) program but has also been active in the Foundation’s work-based learning initiative. We look forward to continuing this model of student involvement with all of our work moving forward.”
Zappulla, a 2019 Youth Leadership Collier graduate, attends Seacrest Country Day School where he is the captain of the robotics team and a member of the varsity soccer team. Additionally, he sings in the Naples Philharmonic Chorus. Zappulla also spends time mentoring local robotics teams, refereeing robotics competitions and creating STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs at the Boys and Girls Club.
“I am passionate about both the Greater Naples Chamber and LCF because I have a drive to communicate and network with people, and YLC was truly a life changing experience for me,” said Zappulla. “As an LCF board member, I look forward to providing a student perspective in discussions at board meetings and other events.”
Zappulla plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts where he hopes to receive a masters in robotic engineering and artificial intelligence. His primary goal through a career in engineering is to advance the intelligence, design, and useful capacity of machinery, emphasizing robotic systems and controls.
To view all members of the LCF advisory board, click here.
Tony McClure (LC ‘15)
Tony McClure, a partner in the litigation department at the law firm of Porter Wright, hales from Ohio. When he relocated with his family to Naples in 2012, not only was he looking to make his mark professionally in his new hometown, he was also searching for opportunities to have an impact and connect with like-minded people.
Leadership Collier was the perfect fit for his pursuits, and the friendships and opportunities that followed have fulfilled him in ways he never imagined were possible when he started the program in 2015.
For Tony, Leadership Collier IS community. He shares, “It’s a group of people from all types of industries and backgrounds coming together to learn more about Collier County and to learn more about each other. That’s what community is all about.”
Tony was hooked from the very first session, and the rewards just kept coming. He said, “The entire day was aimed at allowing us to get to know each other better. By the end of the day, I already had the beginning of so many good friendships – which I still have to this day.”
Tony, whose son has special needs, quickly found a home to apply his leadership skills, passion for community and love for his son, when he joined the Board of Directors for Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) in 2015. His son benefits from their therapeutic horseback riding lessons.
Tony is also finding ways to give back to the next generation and the LCF Alumni Association through the Leadership Collier Mentor Program, which pairs Youth Leadership Collier participants with GAIN and Leadership Collier alumni working in an industry where the mentee has an interest. He also serves on the Public Policy Committee of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Pro Bono Committee for the 20th Judicial District of Florida.
Tony’s advice to fellow alumni, “Use those friendships you’ve made and build on them. These are people with whom you’ve shared countless memories. Accept this gift and continue to build those great relationships. Your life will be richer for it.”
In addition to these fulfilling leadership opportunities that have come his way as a result of his LC experience, Tony shares that some of his best friends are LCF alumni – two of whom recently married and now have a child. Talk about a richer life?!
Now President of the NTRC Board, this month Tony was invited to share his leadership expertise on board development at the LCF Get Involved Collier Volunteer Expo. Never one to shy away from an opportunity to connect his LCF friends and his passion for special needs, Tony invites alumni to join him in support of NTRC’s signature fundraiser, The Bootstrap Boogie Barn Dance, on November 9th.
In the modern workplace, even the most entry-level positions seem to require some form of related, hands-on experience. That is why Collier County high school and college students are turning to local internships to get a jump-start on their careers.
Jake Goguen, a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University completing a major in biology and a minor in chemistry, spent the summer interning for Arthrex, an orthopedic medical device company headquartered in Naples. His goal? To gain experience in the field of industry research.
Goguen first learned of the Arthrex internship program through his involvement with Youth Leadership Collier (YLC), a weeklong intensive program managed by the Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation that seeks to develop ethical leaders committed to active community involvement.
“YLC allowed me to gain knowledge of what opportunities were available in our area and helped point me in the direction of pursuing medicine and opportunities with Arthrex,” said Goguen. “The program also helped prepare me for college, giving me the chance to refine my leadership style, speaking abilities and networking.”
Goguen’s primary responsibility during his Arthrex internship was to conduct shelf life and degradation studies of Arthrex parts. He also played a pivotal role in testing prototypes, new equipment and studies with the Orthobiologics team.
“My internship has been an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone,” said Goguen. “The Research and Development team that I worked with is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Their guidance and this experience have really helped me solidify my goals.”
While the internship experience was undeniably impactful for Goguen and his career aspirations, his contributions—along with the contributions of each summer intern across Collier County— supported the company’s overall development and growth.
“Not only do internships benefit students, but they are important for our business as well,” said Alyssa McCoy, recruiter at Arthrex. “Interns provide teams with short-term support, fresh ideas and positivity to assist us with accomplishing our goals.”
In addition to the valuable input interns provide, companies who engage interns can significantly reduce the cost, time and effort when it comes to recruiting and training new hires. For this reason, the Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation is committed to cultivating opportunities for local businesses to partner with local students. The mutually beneficial internships equip students with professional, hands-on skills and, ultimately, encourage them to return to Collier County after graduation.
“Starting an internship program can be challenging and time consuming, but it can bring both the students and the company great success,” said McCoy.
Goguen is thankful to have been one of those students.
“My experience has prepared me for leadership positions at FGCU as well as given me a better understanding of the different industries in Collier County that I could potentially enter after graduation.”
After attending medical school, Goguen plans to move back to Collier County where he hopes to conduct research with Arthrex as an orthopedic surgeon. He credits his internship experience in large part for helping him solidify his career aspirations.
“You feel like part of a larger team, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have completed my internship experience in Collier County."
Nikkie Dvorchak (GAIN '17)
As Vice President of Events and Development for the Greater Naples Chamber, Nikkie Dvorchak manages all the monthly and annual Chamber events and giving for the organization. Her work with the Chamber has given her the wonderful opportunity to work with a variety of businesses, community leaders, and talent every day. “When I see the efforts of so many people in Collier and what they do to help each other out, to do good for those in need, to take time to participate on committees, boards, and to volunteer, it truly is a place unlike any other. I am so fortunate to be able to be a part of it,” Nikkie said.
In 2011, Nikkie and her husband made the big decision to move to Naples from Pittsburgh, Penn. “Pittsburgh will always be a huge part of who I am and I love going back to visit, but I love that I can now call Naples home,” Nikkie said. “I had been visiting the area with my family for many years. It was always a dream of mine [to live here]. I decided I didn’t want to wait until I retired but wanted to live my dream now. The people are by far the best part…but of course the beauty, quality of life and endless opportunity are what make Naples really special.”
Nikkie has planted her roots firmly into the Naples community and her commitment to supporting our local area extends well beyond her important work in the Chamber’s offices. She is also a co-chair of the Zoobilee event at the Naples Zoo, where she works to help raise awareness and bring in needed funds for environmental education programs and for conservation initiatives to save threatened and endangered species. Nikkie’s dedication to our local zoo has earned her a position on the Naples Zoo’s Board of Directors beginning in October 2019. She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, serving on the organization’s National Philanthropy Planning Committee. As a GAIN graduate, she also serves on the LCF Alumni Association Events & Outings Committee.
Nikkie’s favorite Chamber event is the Naples Children’s Business Fair, which will be held on January 11, 2020. Nikkie says, “This event gives young entrepreneurs ages 6-17 the opportunity to showcase their product or service to the public. We had amazing participation our first year, and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow this year.” Please support her efforts by attending and participating in the exciting upcoming Chamber events she has worked so hard to plan.
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF) of the Greater Naples Chamber announces the Leadership Collier Class of 2020. The class began their program with a kick-off celebration at 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 at The Naples Players.
Leadership Collier was formed by the Naples Chamber in 1988 to develop a network of informed citizens prepared to assume leadership roles in our community. The Chamber believes knowledge is a key element and prime motivator of leadership. Consequently, the primary objective of Leadership Collier is to educate local business leaders about the societal and economic challenges facing the community today.
The nine-month program includes 10 full-day sessions. Over the course of 10 sessions participants will fully explore local government, education, economic development, agriculture, arts and more.
“Congratulations to the Leadership Collier Class of 2020 as they embark on one of the most rewarding and impactful experiences of their professional careers,” said Chief Stephanie Spell, LCF Board Chairwoman. “While there are so many reasons why our Collier County community is unique and very special, I know for sure that Leadership Collier graduates contribute significantly to our exceptional quality of life here.”
The LCF Board of Directors congratulates the following class members of Leadership Collier 2020:
Chair: Chief Tabatha Butcher, Collier County Emergency Medical Services
First Vice Chair: Brian Goguen, Barron Collier Companies
Second Vice Chair: Mary Beth Geier, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
Patrick J. Bimonte, Arthrex, Inc.
Julie Blauman, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida
Samantha Bloom, Oh Snap Media
Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce
Blase Ciabaton, Naples Print Source
Amy Clayton, Fifth Third Bank
Kristen Coury, Gulfshore Playhouse
Jaime Crossan-DeBres, Community Health Partners
Helena Dabrowski, Sunshine Ace Hardware
Tracy Duhaney, Unidine Corporation at Moorings Park
Steven Foster, Wells Fargo Private Bank
Brian Galligan, The Naples Botanical Garden
Bill Grigsby, Wasmer, Schroeder & Co.
Mark Hanke, Greater Naples YMCA
Matthew Johnson, Aviance Capital Partners
Peter Johnson, St. Matthew’s House
Marianne Lambertson, Grace Place for Children & Families
Claudine Leger-Wetzel, Stock Development
Tiffany Lehman, Insurance Source of Naples
Stephanie Lucarelli, The State of Florida
Todd Lyon, NCH Healthcare System
Jessica Manchette, Champions for Learning
Matthew McLean, Collier County, Growth Management Department
Robert Mirakian, United Way of Collier County
Michael Moore, Vanderbilt Beach Resort/Turtle Club Restaurant
Denise Murphy, The Players Club & Spa
Tovah Nadassky, First Florida Integrity Bank
Chad Oliver, Collier County School District
Karie Partington, Collier County Sheriff’s Office
Tony Pernas, Big Cypress National Preserve
Trish Robertson, Supervisor of Elections
Jordan Scardigno, Moorings Park at Grey Oaks
Lorna Scharlacken, Legacy Law Unlimited PLLC
Jennifer Schell, Physicians Regional Healthcare System
Michael Searcy, Searcy Financial Services, Inc.
Jamie Thompson, Barron Collier Companies
Ali Mete Timur, Mekpa N.A. Inc.
Yadira Vintimilla, BMO Wealth Management
Stephanie Wardein, Lee Health
Ken Warriner, City of Naples Airport Authority
Beth Wolff, Neurology Center, Brian D. Wolff, M.D., P.A.
Michelle Zamniak, Hodges University
Click here to learn more about the Leadership Collier Foundation and its programs.
Amy Cooper (LC '12)
GOAL: Amy Cooper is on a mission to match LCF Alumni like you to the non-profit volunteer, board, and mentoring opportunities that best utilize your skills and abilities.
Supporting local non-profit organizations is an integral part of the Leadership Collier Foundation’s mission. Sometimes as alumni, we know we have talents, time, and specialized knowledge to pitch in and make a difference for local non-profits but aren’t sure where those talents could be best utilized. That’s where Amy Cooper and the Matching Needs Committee come in! Amy Cooper, a Certified Public Accountant and Principal of Non-Profit at CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, has been serving as Chair of the Matching Needs Committee for the last six years.
Amy sums up the committee’s mission like this, “The Matching Needs Committee advocates community trusteeship through volunteerism and mentorship. The committee supports the mission of LCF by being a source for alumni for volunteer opportunities.”
As volunteer and mentor opportunities arise, the committee plays a kind of matchmaker, helping non-profits solve complex challenges by finding a highly qualified LCF member to pitch in. LCF’s alumni have such diverse backgrounds, experience, and skills, they are oftentimes ideally situated to help non-profits perform their best. The committee’s matching service helps utilize the talents and expertise of LCF alumni so members can give back to their community in the most meaningful and impactful ways.
Amy is most proud of her work on the Volunteer Expo. “It was started several years ago and has become a sought after event for the alumni and public to get to know the non-profits in the area that are looking for volunteers and board members,” Amy said. Supporting LCF by chairing the Matching Needs Committee is important to Amy. "It is a good way to give back to the community. The LCF program was one of the best experiences that I’ve had and volunteering through this committee has been rewarding.”
If you are looking for a way to get more involved with LCF through the Matching Needs Committee, Amy invites you to contact Amanda Beights. Amy says, “We are always looking for people who want to contribute!”
Stacey L. Herring (LC ’13)
Stacey L. Herring, Vice President of Private Banking with Morgan Stanley Private Bank, is no stranger to leadership, hard work and service to others. Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Herring has devoted her life to making a difference in the lives of those she encounters both professionally and personally – something she attributes to the lessons her aunt taught her growing up.
Herring shares, “I was exposed at a very young age to children who didn’t have the same life and opportunities that I had. It really had an impact on me and made me realize how blessed I was.”
Now she’s putting that passion to work for the LCF Alumni Association serving on the Board as the Leadership Lunch Chair and former Vice Chair.
Throughout her 25-year career in the financial industry, Herring has achieved great professional success. She has applied that experience and her passion for helping children to her community involvement, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition to winning awards as a top producer professionally, Herring was named a 2007 Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40, 2013 Champions for Learning Glass Slipper Award winner, and 2014 Community Foundation Women of Initiative.
Since getting involved with Leadership Collier, Herring has channeled the vast knowledge she gained and the profound connections she made along the way to make a meaningful impact in her community endeavors. During the LC sessions, she never missed a chance to meet each presenter and followed up with them afterwards knowing that one day she may need to call upon them. By being engaged, asking questions, staying involved and taking action, Herring has gotten the most out of her LC experience and our community is better for it.
As a self-proclaimed social person and constant learner, Herring enjoys her work with the LCF Alumni Association because of the opportunities it provides to spend time with other like-minded people committed to the greater good, to deepen relationships and stay connected with fellow alumni as well as stay up to date on topics that are valuable to making and keeping our area the best place to work and play. Something she takes back to her service work.
Herring said, “When choosing opportunities to give back, I prefer a leadership position or to serve as chair. I have a strong vision for the task at hand and bring passion and heart to my service work.”
The long list of her leadership roles for local charities includes Chair and Vice Chair of the Women of Initiative; Chair and Vice Chair of Junior Achievement of SWFL Business Hall of Fame; Chair of the Youth Haven Annual Lunch; Chair of the NCH Hospital Ball Gala; and Chair, Co-chair and Auction Chair for C’Mon Dream Gala.
Herring adds, “I believe that one person can make a difference, but a collective spirit can change the world. Leadership is what ties us together. Whether it’s a class project, serving on a board or chairing an event, Leadership Collier gives those of us who care a chance to come together and make a real impact by exposing us to the challenges that impact us as a community every day.”
Matin A. Nestares (GAIN ‘17)
Born in Argentina and raised in Maryland, attorney Martín Nestares has made Collier County his home for just over four years and he is already making a significant impact. Martín is a Founding Partner of ABN Law, Vice-Chair of Collier Child Care Resources, a board member of the Council of Hispanic Business Professionals, a member of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, and is involved with the Collier County Bar Association. He is also raising a family here – he and wife Kennedy have a 15-month-old son, Francisco – and he is a graduate of Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) 2017.
Martín’s favorite part of his GAIN experience was “making lasting professional and personal relationships while gaining a deeper understanding of the community around me” and seeing the areas in his community where he might be able to give back. He cites these as some of the reasons Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF) programs are so important for Collier County.
“The challenge with community involvement is that it sometimes may feel that you are on your own,” explains Martín. “GAIN allowed me to develop a stronger network of professionals who are willing to be engaged in their community and work together in order to make Collier County a great place to work and live.”
He believes that LCF alumni can make a difference in the key issues facing Collier County. “One of the biggest challenges for our community is how do we continue to grow while at the same time protecting our natural resources which attract so many of our visitors and new residents,” explains Martín, who enjoys spending time outdoors. He also cites lack of civility and listening to other points of view as another challenge, saying “we may not always agree on everything, but we should have an open mind and listen to the ideas of others.”
Martín encourages LCF graduates and other professionals “to become just a little more involved in their local government,” such as attending a County Commissioners meeting to voice their opinions, and to help foster that open dialogue that is so important for our society.
ALEX BREAULT, DIRECTOR OF WORK-BASED LEARNING
With summer quickly approaching, students across the region are starting to sketch out plans for their time off from school. For some, that may mean a part-time job or volunteering. For others, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore an internship.
Volunteer hours are now a graduation requirement at many high schools and colleges. Students try to complete these hours early in their education usually with an organization they are passionate about, but they’re often faced with a question of how they can earn money, while also gaining the valuable experience necessary to excel in their chosen field.
The solution: Internships. As more and more employers throughout Southwest Florida offer paid internships, students can get hand-on experience in their area of interest while earning a small income.
Alex Breault, director of Work-Based Learning for The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce (Photo: Photo provided)
Internships have a long-term impact on a student’s future. Traditional part-time, summer jobs are beneficial in a wide variety of ways, including teaching students the necessary soft skills – from arriving on time to customer service – that are vital to their future success. But they aren’t always in a student’s desired area of professional growth.
Traditional internships provide students with access to training that will hone their skills, mentors who will encourage their success, and opportunities that will open their eyes to what the future can hold.
While the number of internships is growing, not every student can spend a summer working in their desired field. That means employers across all industries should take steps to create positions that emulate the internship experience. At the Leadership Collier Foundation, an affiliate of the Naples Chamber, we work with local businesses and schools to create the right opportunities for our businesses and future talent.
When our team talks to employers about intern opportunities, we encourage them to consider hiring a student beginning at minimum wage. Although unpaid internships are beneficial to students who receive school credit, employers who can offer paid internships are quickly able to see it was worth the investment. Offering paid internships opens the door to a more diverse pool of interns, allows interns to feel like they are part of the team, and leads to a more productive and positive experience. As students begin their hunt for a summer job, we encourage local businesses to look at ways they can incorporate work-based learning into their offerings.Students who have traditional, part-time jobs – such as working in the mall or at a restaurant – should be able to have the same education-based experience as an intern. Employers can do that by providing student employees with a variety of learning opportunities, from providing an inside look at operations and the opportunity to work in other departments to continued education and constructive feedback.
And traditional internships aren’t always the answer. Employers can consider adding micro-internships to their host of opportunities, opening the door to the next generation of employees. These are short-term, paid professional assignments that can be completed by an entry-level new hire, with minimal guidance or onboarding. Micro-internship projects can be anything from social media monitoring, to data clean up or content creation. Assignments can range from five to 40 hours of work, typically pay between $200 and $600 per project, and can be completed remotely. This type of internship is attractive to employers who either aren’t ready to host an intern or don’t have the resources to hire a part-time intern.
“I believe that the best real-work experience a student can have is through an internship,” said Denise Murphy, general manager at the The Players Club & Spa. “Internships help students develop and learn professional skills that promote growth and development. As an employer, it gives us the opportunity to mentor, teach and guide our interns in their learning process. The best part is we get to nurture their skillset and ideally bring them on as a paid full-time employee.”
Our economy thrives when we provide students with educational and fulfilling work experiences. These opportunities expose students to high-skill, high-wage jobs available in Southwest Florida and help grow the next generation of community leaders.
For more information about work-based learning, visit www.NaplesChamber.org/CollierLeads.
Original Story shared in Naples Daily News