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Greater Fort Myers Chamber announces APEX Awards finalists, sets date for annual Chamber Awards

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce names the finalists for its 2023 APEX Awards and announces the date for its 2023 Chamber Awards, to be held July 27 in Fort Myers.

Organized by the Chamber’s Women in Business Committee, the APEX Awards recognize local women with outstanding reputations for professionalism, philanthropy and leadership. The five finalists for the 2023 awards are Darla Bonk, Alicia Miller, Marilyn Santiago, Anjali Van Drie, and Jen Whyte. All finalists will be recognized and the APEX Award recipient will be named at the Chamber Awards.

Bonk is the founder and CEO of a successful business consulting company, Darla Bonk Consulting, LLC and partners with her husband in Architectural Metal Flashings, serves on the Fort Myers City Council as the representative for Ward 6, and is the founder and host of the podcast, “On Your Way.” Her professional experience has taken her from Executive Sales Leadership in Fortune 200 companies traveling the country, to Executive Director for the American Cancer Society, to coaching and consulting.

Miller is the Executive Director of Our Mother’s Home of SWFL, Inc., whose mission is to empower young mothers in the foster care and human trafficking systems to break the generational cycle for themselves and their children. She is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic planning of the organization as well as fundraising, marketing and community outreach to help support the unique environment for young mothers in foster care and their babies.

Santiago currently owns two companies, Sunshine Integrated Solutions, where she leverages her expertise in branded content, promotional campaigns and talent management, and Creative Architectural Resin Products, serving the construction industry by providing beautiful resin-based faux architectural trims and accents. She volunteers, sits on the board of directors for several local and national organizations and is a recipient of multiple awards and recognitions.

Van Drie is co-founder and vice president of Family Initiative, a master’s level social worker and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. She has worked for more than a decade with families involved in the child welfare system and children with disabilities. Van Drie has also worked collaboratively with thousands of families across Florida and community-based care agencies. A sought-after expert, Van Drie has led presentations around the state and across the country to educate parents and professionals on best practices.

Whyte is founder and owner of Fort Myers Brewing Company, Lee County’s first microbrewery. When Whyte and her husband Rob moved to Southwest Florida, they found there was untapped potential for a local brewery in Fort Myers, and couldn’t pass up this opportunity to turn their passion into a business. Fort Myers Brewing opened in 2013, and 10 years later is one of the busiest taprooms in the state with beers and seltzers at more than 1,600 restaurant and retail outlets across the state.

Recognizing Chamber members for their outstanding contributions to the greater Fort Myers community, the 2023 Chamber Awards will be held on Wednesday, July 27 at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center & Amphitheater, located at 1375 Monroe St. in downtown Fort Myers. In addition to naming the APEX Awards winner, the program will also include an installation ceremony for the Chamber’s 2023-24 board of directors and will recognize winners in a variety of awards categories including Small Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Community Impact Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, Nonprofit Excellence Award and Young Professional of the Year.

The Chamber Awards are presented by title sponsors Convergint and Verizon. Additional event sponsors include Fort Myers Brewing Company, M&M Multimedia, Norman Love Confections, Priority Marketing, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and Spada Salon & Day Spa. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available ranging from $1,250 to $5,000.

Registration for the Chamber Awards celebration and board installation is $125. To purchase tickets or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit FortMyers.org or call 239-332-2930.

About the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce:
Serving Lee County and surrounding areas since 1989, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is a business organization that provides solutions and serves as a catalyst for growing the economy. The Chamber represents over 725 professionals and businesses throughout Southwest Florida, empowering, connecting and uniting members through meaningful networking, educational and community- and business-focused programs and events. For additional information regarding membership opportunities or events, please call 239-332-2930 or visit www.fortmyers.org. For the latest news and updates, follow the Chamber on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gfmcc.

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