Sunday, February 28, 2021

Learning and Leadership

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The learning is continuing for the Leadership Marco Class of 2017, which is in the midst of a journey of discovery that began July 26.

Leadership Marco is a Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce program that provides current and potential community leaders with exposure to the essence of Marco Island. For the next four months, the 14-member group will immerse itself the community’s history, infrastructure, government, hospitality industry, educational providers, media, tourism, parks and recreation, law enforcement, culture, real estate and more.

The program had its first day of activities, followed by a kick-off party at the home of Jim and Allyson Richards, where the participants and their loved ones socialized and took a moment to be interviewed.



Below is the second installment of brief profiles of this year’s participants, excluding Samantha Kopren, who will be profiled in the Coastal Breeze’s September 1st issue.


Tom, the owner of All Event Party Rental in Naples, and his wife Lisa, have been residents of Fiddlers Creek for one year.

He is a Philadelphia native who grew up at “the Shore” in Wildwood, N.J. The Manns have four adult children and three grandchildren, all of whom reside out of state.

Tom attended Stockton State College, now Stockton University, in Pomona, N.J.

An invitation to become a member of the Marco Island Sunrise Rotary led to his participation in Leadership Marco.



“It was suggested to me as a good way to learn about the area, my new home, and to meet a lot of people around town,” said Tom.


Kaitlen is a Wayne, N.J. native who moved to Marco 11 years ago, after graduating from high school there. Today, she is a charge nurse at Marco Island Urgent

Care Center, where she’s worked for the last five years.

She has been a Registered Nurse for seven years and spent her entire career with Naples Community Hospital.

Kaitlen attended what is now Florida SouthWestern State College, where she earned an associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing, completing her in 2013. She is currently midway through a master’s degree in nursing, with a focus on management and leadership, through Walden University in Minneapolis. She also holds a board certification (RN-BC) in ambulatory care nursing.



Her husband of seven years is Marco Magdalener, a local captain with Florida Adventures and Rentals on Marco. The couple has two children, Johnny, age 4, and Lola, 1.

A desire to better know the community she calls home, as well as its leaders, motivated Kaitlin to take part in Leadership Marco.

“I think it is a great way to interact with people from different occupations who share the same love for Marco Island that I do,” she added. “I love this island and I want to learn as much about it as I can.

“I hope to gain a better understanding of not only Marco Island but the people who live on it. I am looking forward to learning more about the history of the Island and getting a fresh perspective of how the island operates.”




A native of Uniontown, Pa., located near Pittsburgh, Megan is the social media – membership sales manager the Marco Beach Ocean Resort, where she has worked for four years.

The Naples resident said networking and broadening her community knowledge are her goals.

“I want to learn more about why we’re Marco Island, about the founders, more of the history,” she added. “I know that many people come here because of Trip Advisor, but what goes into making the island the island and from a residential standpoint, why are people relocating here.”




Sue is the senior development manager – distinguished events, for the Marco Island office of the American Cancer Society, where she has worked for the last five years.

“Aside learning more about the island, I hope to gain contacts, meet new people and form friendships,” she said. “It seems like the past classes are always so close and they can use that for networking. So it’s another source for knowledge and resources.”

She and her husband, Kevin, have lived on Marco Island for almost seven years. They have three children, John, 21, Matthew 18, and Emily, 16.

A native of Crete, Illinois, located near Chicago, Sue attended Prairie State College in that state, where she studied management and finance.


A retired physician, Jerry and his wife, Linda Turner, became part-time Marco Islanders in 1982, moving here permanently during the previous decade. But he is one of the rare people who can recall the community when it was still a semi-isolated village.

He first came to Marco in 1962 while attending prep school at what is now St. Leo’s University, located north of Tampa.

“I had some friends from Naples and we came down here for a long weekend,” he said. “They said let’s go to Marco Island and I said, ‘What’s Marco Island?’”

Jerry relocated his medical practice to Collier County in 2007 and became a full-time Marco resident, five years after his wife made the move, and they purchased a home here.

“I’ve been active on the island with various committees and organizations and I just thought it would be an interesting thing to do,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot about it and I’ve always wanted to learn more about the island. I thought Leadership Marco would enable me to be more a part of the island.”

Originally from Farmington Hills, Mi., a Detroit suburb, Jerry is a member of the Marco Island Police Foundation, the Marco Men’s Club, the Caxambas Republican Club and the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary.

“I just thought learning more about Marco would help me with the other organizations I’m involved with.”


Abby is CEO and chief consultant for her Marco-based business, Bright Ideas Small Business Solutions, which opened in October of 2015. The company provides small-business development services for companies on the island and in Naples, including such services as business consulting, office organization, customized branding and more.

She is also the creator of the Bright Ideas Small Business Academy, an online educational system that will offer courses to help small business owners master the different facets of owning a small business when it launches at the end of August.

“I’ve been vacationing on Marco with my family for decades, but I moved down permanently in 2012 and have been living and working here ever since,” said the native of York, Pa.

Abby is a 2011 graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where she graduated Cum Laude and with honors in receiving a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, with a prelaw emphasis, and a minor in criminal justice.

Her husband, Brennan Yetter, is the director of bands for the Community School of Naples and a professional jazz woodwind specialist. The couple shares their home with their three kitties, Melody, Miles and Ella.

“I know others who are alumni and had great experiences, and I thought that it would complement my completion of the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors Leadership Program in 2014 and help with networking for my business,” said Abby. “I think it is important for communities to invest in educated, dedicated community leaders who can serve as liaisons between the city, businesses, important organizations and the residents. A more connected community is a healthier community and leadership programs like this are an important part of making that a reality.”

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