There are many Outstanding Women in our community who are inspiring leaders. They implement positive change, celebrate diversity, and represent all walks of life.
Sunny 1063 wanted to celebrate and recognize these outstanding women in our community and we needed your help! This was your opportunity to highlight a diverse group of inspiring women in Southwest Florida who represent different careers, backgrounds, volunteer activities, family lives, and passions.
After many nominations, Sunny 106.3 is proud to recognize the Top 12 Outstanding Women in our community!
Congratulations to these women, and thank you for doing so much for our community!
Dr. Anne has been in clinical practice since the year 2000. She received her Undergraduate Degree with Honors in Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, and subsequently her medical degree as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from NSU in South Florida. Dr. Anne is Partner and Co-Founder of U First Health & Rejuvenation in Fort Myers. She is founder of Dr. Anne All In - a platform of educating and empowering women and couples to “explore their edge” in Optimal health, wellness, intimacy & aging. She has maintained Board Certification in her specialty and offers services in Cosmetogynecology, Surgical Feminine Rejuvenation, ‘Laser’/ heated energy devices, and mastery in Bioidentical Hormone Restoration for men & women. Dr. Anne has been recognized and published both locally and nationally and is a member of many medical organizations including Lee county medical society. Dr. Anne is the mother of three children, she BOTH preaches and practices the integration of ‘whole-food-plant-based’ nutrition, exercise & yoga consistency, meditation & mindfulness, AND ‘giving back’ to society & others... BALANCED with fun & exploration...practicing the art of living well – together! As of 2019, Dr. Anne became a certified Yoga Teacher by Yoga Alliance Affiliates. She is fluent in speaking Spanish, trained in classical piano, and enjoys anything in nature/ on the water! One thing people should know about me is: “ I approach every aspect of life and relationships, whether alongside of patients/ in the community/ for my family/for myself, Wholeheartedly... with a passionate belief in the concept, “Better, Together.”
I, as well as my husband James, have resided in the area for most of our lives. I am blessed to be married to a wonderful man. Our children, and grandchildren were all born, raised and still live here in Southwest Florida. Family and community are very important to us and we do what we can to support both. In my free time, I enjoy quilting, sewing, day trips to explore Florida and a good card game. I imagine over the last year I have made and given away 100+ fabric masks. I have been blessed in so many ways.
The one thing that people should know about me is how important my faith, family, friends, and the members of the Above Board Chamber of Florida are to me. No one travels far without the support of loved ones. I am blessed to have had many in my life. The Above Board Chamber allows me to work with so many wonderful people. But I have to say the part I enjoy best is helping to make the invisible people in my life visible. I absolutely love being with my family, and I absolutely love to promote my members. I have to say they all bless me!
Olga Placeres is a travel professional with over 35 years of experience. She joined Preferred Travel in 1988, and in 2001 she became a Managing Business Partner and CFO. Olga has been instrumental in Preferred Travel’s growth as Southwest Florida’s leading and most award-winning luxury travel agency. Spearheading agency acquisitions and adding personnel to grow the agency from ten advisors to a team of over 70+ advisors and support staff. Her leadership skills and business acumen have never been more needed or evident than during the unprecedented halt to travel. Olga was able to relocate the Naples office and open a second location in Bonita Springs to better serve clients. Placeres continues Preferred Travel’s legacy of supporting the community by working with local charities on fundraising opportunities. Olga currently serves on several travel industry boards and is passionate about helping people. Passionate about elevating their travel experiences and discovering the world. Passionate about supporting the local charities in the communities that support Preferred Travel. Passionate about creating a happy and healthy work environment for the Preferred Travel family. And finally, passionate about living her best life with the opportunities she has been blessed with.
Diana Sanmiguel is a mental health counselor and has been providing bereavement counseling at Hope Hospice for almost 6 years. The organization has always held a special place in her heart ever since her very first internship as a graduate student and she eagerly awaited to be a part of the team. This life calling came kind of spontaneously, but it has been an honor to help families heal from the pain of grief. She always makes sure that her clients understand that grief is as big as the love that they will always have for their loved ones, and it is an honor to walk alongside these healing hearts as they embark of finding their purpose as they learn to love in separation. She is a single mother to 4 amazing kiddos, and they are the driving force behind every decision she makes.
Mary Vlasak Snell is a partner in the Fort Myers Office of Pavese Law Firm practicing in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration; and business law. Mary is a long time member of the Board of Directors for United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties, a member of the Executive Committee and Secretary, and an Allocations Team Leader. Mary is also a former chairperson of Bishop Verot and St. Francis Xavier School Boards; a Finance Committee Member with St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church; a Sustainer Member with Junior League of Fort Myers; a member of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida, Inc.; and a Reading Pals Volunteer.
Growing up in Geneva, NY, a relatively rural part of upstate New York, I once read about an old blind deaf and overbred cocker spaniel being thrown out of a moving truck...and it was there and then I guess when it all began. I've never looked back at that moment until now, but it was that horrific story that gave rise to my passion for animal rescue. I subsequently helped the cocker, named Charity and found her a home thru a rescue group in the area. I may be an aeronautical engineer by training (received my degree from Clarkson University) but I am an animal advocate and rescuer by instinct :-) I started Florida Coastal Cocker Rescue in 2017 after having been involved in one way or another with rescues both in the states of New York and Florida. Although we are primarily a cocker spaniel rescue group, we also take in other smaller breeds and every so often when space allows, larger breed dogs. Most people don't realize just how stressful and emotionally taxing rescue can be. In my "spare" time I love to get away from it all and enjoy extreme sports such as scuba diving (with sharks), skydiving, and hoverboarding . I am also an avid golfer and amateur wildlife photographer. One thing people should know about me is: "I may be an aeronautical engineer by training, but I am an animal advocate and rescuer by instinct."
With a passion to come alongside the hurting and the hopeless, Shari Lacey, along with teams of like-minded individuals, have made it their mission to provide opportunities for healing, hope and transformation. The Church she pastors – Grace Church, Fort Myers Shores - has become an outpost to share the love of Jesus and meet the many needs of this SW Florida community. From feeding struggling families, to hosting recovery meetings for addicts and alcoholics, to holding events on campus such as free outdoor movie nights, art exhibitions, and concerts for local families and their children to come together – the prevailing theme is “We are better together.” Lacey also has a passion for art and in the last year, has invited anyone interested in learning to mosaic out to her home studio to create beauty out of brokenness. Her avocation, Message Mosaics by Shari Lacey, is all about transformation, inspiration and healing. She is married to Neil Johnson and has two children and two extraordinary grandsons. Shari completed her Course of Study at Duke Divinity in Durham, NC.
Maggi was raised in a military family living in various US states and Europe. After many years of working in the areas of medicine and law she and her husband moved to Sanibel permanently 21 years ago. In looking for opportunities to give back to her new community Maggi became a FISH volunteer delivering meals, driving residents to medical appointments, visitation with island seniors and delivering health equipment. She joined the FISH Board as Director and served two terms as Board Chair. As FISH grew in services so did Maggi’s passion for serving her community neighbors. Maggi served as Executive Director for several years before taking the position as President & CEO. For 18 years Maggi continues to serve her community as a volunteer. Maggi’s husband, Don, is a strong supporter of FISH, Maggi’s commitment to the community and the mission of FISH. One thing people should know about me is: "Maggi believes in “family”. The Sanibel and Captiva community is not only Maggi’s home but is also Maggi’s family. Maggi believes that it is important for those who “can” to share, support and give to those who need and “paying forward” for a hand up."
A life-long animal lover, while adopting her first dog from a local shelter, a staff member told her he was most likely a “puppy mill breeder dog”. From that moment, Liz McCauley’s life was forever changed and she has dedicated her life to saving animals, fighting to strengthen the animal cruelty laws nationwide through tougher legislation and educating people about animal abuse and neglect. In 2015, Liz became the Executive Director of one of the oldest and largest open admission animal shelters in Eastern Pennsylvania where she had previously served on the fundraising committee, the board of directors, and as a foster. During her tenure, she led the organization in expanding the foster program, developed relationships with other rescues, implemented new programs and procedures, and substantially increasing live release rates for both dogs and cats. Liz became a Pennsylvania Humane Police Officer in 2016 and assisted with animal cruelty investigations throughout the region. In 2019, Liz became the first Executive Director of the new Cape Coral Animal Shelter and Veterinary Clinic. With over 30 years of experience and a master’s degree in Business with a specific concentration in Non-profit Leadership and Management, she was the ideal candidate to lead this brand-new shelter and clinic. Her passion for animals, experience in rescue, and education in the non-profit sector has been instrumental as CCAS fulfills its mission. Always striving to ease the burden placed on animal control facilities and rescue groups throughout Florida, Liz has developed relationships with rescue partners and works tirelessly to save unwanted, abandoned, and abused animals. A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Liz resides on Pine Island with her husband, Bobby Mierzejewski and four misfit rescues—Abbey and Holly, Buckeye, and Oliver. One thing people should know about me is: "I was adopted as a baby into a wonderful, loving family. Somehow, I think that has fueled my passion for finding homes for unwanted and abandoned animals."
Betty Kai was born outside of Chicago in 1927. Betty is a mother of 3 and raised her family in Wisconsin from 1965 to 1990 and in that time was a paralegal and owned and operated her own bar. Betty has been in Fort Myers Beach for 30 years and coined the name Sunset Betty at the historic Jimmy B's Restaurant right on FMB. Currently she is a Hostess at Nauti Parrot Dock Bar, Bartender at Hurricane Tinas, Assistant Manager at Bel Air Beach Club and an Ordained Minister who officiates weddings on the beach.
Robin was born in Pittsburgh Pa and grew up in a small town Martins Ferry, Ohio. Right after high school Robin Joined the Navy where she proudly served for six years and was Honorably Discharged. While in the service she was awarded a Good Conduct Medal. She decided to go to college in 1993 and seven years later graduated with her Master’s Degree from the University of South Florida Robin volunteers and devotes her services for seniors and children with learning disabilities. For the past thirty seven years she has lived in Florida And has resided in Fort Myers for eighteen years as a Speech and Language Pathologist and Senior Advocate.