Staff Report

MIAMI – For nearly a decade, a committee of local influential women have organized the Women of Influence Cocktail Reception in support of the YWCA of Greater MiamiDade.

This premier cocktail event benefits the YWCA’s programs throughout the county and brings together hundreds of philanthropic women who have amassed professional and personal affluence throughout South Florida for an evening of networking, cocktails, conversation and a panel discussion around what it means to be a successful woman.

The event’s presenting sponsors are Akerman, PwC, Steven Douglas and A.C. McCowan CPA, along with supporting sponsors Sapoznik Insurance, Mercedes Benz and Jali Creatives, LLC. This year the reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on August 23 in the Treetop Ballroom at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail in Miami.

In the past panelists have included C-suite level women such as Marie McKenzie, an Executive VP for Carnival Corp, Rachel Sapoznick, Founder and CEO of Sapoznick Insurance, Darcee Scavone of Ryder System, Inc. and many more.

The evening is designed for attendees to hear the powerful stories of women who are the best and brightest in their fields, as well as generate impactful conversation between panelists and attendees, and celebrate the importance of women in the workplace. This year’s panel includes Kim Stone, EVP Miami Heat, GM American Airlines Arena; Laura Berger, Leadership Expert, Media Personality and Author; Geraldine Schlueter, CIO, PetSupermarket and Esther Surujon, Chief Financial Officer, Memorial Physician Group, Memorial Healthcare System.

Each woman offers keen insight into navigating a professional career by sharing her personal pathway to success. The conversation will be facilitated by superstar Accelerator and Influencer Michelle Villalobos, who lent her talents to last year’s panel as well.

“We are excited to host this event once again this year. It has grown tremendously over the years, and every year we are delighted by the thought-provoking and inspirational messages of the panelists,” said host committee member Keri Benson, Director of Client Services at Steven Douglas.

Those in attendance will enjoy light bites, an open bar, networking, a silent auction featuring select items and a chance to win a getaway on a three or four day cruise for two on Norwegian Cruise Line from Miami to an exotic destination.

Registration for the cruise is available upon ticket purchase. Entry into the contest is $25 per single ticket or five for $100. The winner will be announced at the close of the event.

Event proceeds directly benefit the YWCA of Greater Miami, and programs that work to support those at the intersection of racial and gender disparities.

Tickets can be purchased at