Kathleen Passidomo is an instigator. At the 2014 Installation Celebration for the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Sunday evening at the Hideaway Beach Club, Passidomo, State Representative for District 106, which includes Marco Island, performed a dual, or rather a triple role. She was a member of the 2013 graduating class of Leadership Marco, and performed the induction ceremony for the chamber’s new executive committee and board of directors.
Attending the event solo, without her husband and fellow Naples attorney John Passidomo, Kathleen dragged partners out onto the dance floor both before and after dinner, and once the dancers attained a critical mass, led a conga line that snaked around the parquet floor. Monte Lazarus, husband of chamber executive director Sandi Riedemann, and Lori and Tom Wagor were among those dancing the night away with Passidomo, who was also clapping her hands overhead, Italian wedding style.
In between the dancing, outgoing chamber president Nancy Carrington passed the gavel to 2014 president Jacquie Koon, the six members of the executive committee and 14 directors for 2014 were sworn in, and the 2013 Leadership Marco class officially became alumni. They joined over 120 previous graduates, and during the year, Leadership Marco raised more that $15,000 in scholarship funds for area high school seniors.
Leadership Marco sponsored three major events as fundraisers, the Paddle Challenge, Wet Paint Live, and the “Souper Bowl,” with area restaurants donating soup for attendees. Held the Saturday before the football Super Bowl, this event will return to Mackle Park Feb. 1.
Speaking of football, chamber executive director Sandi Riedemann said it was simply coincidence that she and both outgoing and incoming presidents are female, and that had nothing to do with scheduling the installation banquet the same evening as the NFC championship.
“It’s just scheduling,” said Riedemann. “This was the only night Hideaway had available.” Regardless, a steady trickle of men poked their heads into the bar next to the banquet hall to catch a little of the action on the widescreen televisions, and more checked the score on their phones.
Outgoing president Carrington mixed football and flower metaphors in her remarks, suitable to the evening and her day job at Marco Island Florist, which also donated the floral table arrangements. Jacquie Koon, she said, is a “star quarterback,” and she is confident in the chamber “reaching the goal line” in the year ahead.
Inducting the officers and directors, Passidomo acknowledged that everyone says their leadership class, “but really, mine was the best.” When it was her turn, Koon shared a little personal history, starting with her childhood in Bancroft, Iowa, working at the local Dairy Queen “the first and last time anyone let me near a kitchen.” Husband Curt Koon, Jacquie’s partner in CJ’s on the Bay, led the applause.
Jacquie Koon said she is the “poster child” for the benefits of getting involved in the chamber, attributing much of CJ’s success to the local support they have earned. She said she has a “great team” of officers and directors, and they are already hard at work with plans for the upcoming year.
The new officers, in addition to Koon, include Carrington as immediate past president, Dick Shanahan as president-elect, Rick LoCastro as secretary, and Jada Shigley as treasurer. The directors for 2014 are Susan Ackerson, Alan Brown, Desiree Buhelos, Nick Campo, Bruce Gear, Daniel High, Tiffany Homuth, David Hyatt, Joyce McFarland, Patrick Neale, Alex Parker, Rick Popoff, Mary Quinton, and Lori Wagor.
The 2013 Leadership Marco graduating class members are T.J. Boone, Beverly Dahlstrom, Lola Dial, Tricia Dorn, Julie Edmister, Lisa Gandy, Brenda Garretson, Bruce Graev, Drake Heroy, Scott Lowe, Kathleen Passidomo, Neil Snyder, Jennifer Stanley, and Lori Wagor. Leadership class chairpersons were Carole Roberts and Bruce Robertson.