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APEX Award winner
August 20, 2019

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The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce's Women in Business Committee's APEX Awards acknowledge women in the community who are members of the chamber and excel in the areas of professionalism, philanthropy and leadership. This year the award was given to attorney Kelly L. Fayer for demonstrating excellence in all three categories.

The presentation was made Friday at The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village.

In addition to estate planning and practicing elder law, Fayer also helps victims of domestic violence. She said the key to both her personal and professional life is treating people or clients right.

"Attorneys sometimes have a reputation for not doing that, but when I meet a potential client, I ask myself how I can best help them. That is the most important thing, and I sleep at night knowing I've made that contribution," Fayer said.

"Winning this award won't change anything about my work ethic or how I contribute to the community. It has, however, already given me a greater appreciation for my family," Fayer said, recognizing her parents, brother Todd and her late grandmother, Grace. "My grandmother was very kind and very strong. She always had an excellent view of others. My brother Todd inherited that same heart that she had."

She also credits her win with a newfound view of herself, admitting that it's something she doesn't often take time to consider.

Speaking to future APEX Award nominees, Fayer said, "I have learned from my family and from my life that it's OK to be good to people. You can be both strong and kind and work tirelessly professionally and personally toward reaping your goals while helping others along the way, just do all that while no one is watching. If you can do these things in every area of your life, you will have already won."

While all of the finalists competing for the 2019 APEX Award confessed that it was an honor just to have been nominated, there could only be one winner. The finalists all weighed in just before the award was given to Fayer.

Karen Mosteller (Markham Norton Mosteller Wright) has been with her current firm for 34 years.

"For me this award is a display of giving to the community," she said. "I do this work for the community, not for the award, however I am very honored to be named as a finalist."

She admits that she was nominated because her peers and partners see her give unconditionally.

Kerri Goldsmith (HBKS Wealth Advisors) has been a financial advisor for her firm for 10 years.

"I have always been very involved in the community in different leadership roles and especially with the Scouts. I am very honored to be nominated, much less a finalist," said Goldsmith.

She also said winning would be a tremendous honor because many of the women who were nominated for the APEX Award along with her happen to be friends for whom she has great respect and admiration.

Julie Koester (Dragon Horse Ad Agency) is the founder, and has been president of her agency for 3 years.

She confesses that she has been committed to problem solving for a long time, with one very big solution in mind, which she believes may have been the catalyst for her 2019 nomination.

"The most significant thing in my journey, to date, is the founding of the Children's Museum of Naples," she said. "It would be an amazing honor to win but what's really amazing about the APEX Award is that they are shining a spotlight on the things that women do naturally every single day."

Katie Berkey (Becker & Poliakoff) is an attorney and certified land planner, who has been with her current firm for 8 years.

She said she believes her nomination was due primarily to her involvement with Mother's Milk Bank of Florida, where she has donated over 33 gallons of breast milk to feed micro-preemies across the state and in Georgia. She also volunteers with ULI Southwest Florida and co-chairs the Women's Leadership initiative.

"I lost my mom when I was 26, so she couldn't be here tonight, but winning would mean I am doing something right and making her proud. She would say, I knew you could do these great things before you did," Berkey said.

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