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Exploring Naples

Meet Our Locals

Keeley Collins

What brought you to Naples?

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Naples was the little piece of paradise that I visited every year as a child. Upon graduating from UW-Madison, I wanted to stretch my wings and try something new. Naples felt like a home away from home after visiting for 21 years, so I packed my life into boxes and moved across the country.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

I have a decade of experience as an entrepreneur and over the years, the one inherent challenge I’ve continually faced is being taken seriously. I’ve found that in this industry, young adults, especially females, have to fight much harder to be given respect and acknowledgment. For me, I turn this into motivation to prove them wrong. People may dismiss your ideas, discredit your experience, or question your ability. Don’t let those voices keep you from chasing your dreams. 

What projects/initiatives am I involved in?

I’m an advocate for the MS Society and raise money to fund vital research to find a cure. My mom has MS so this is a cause that’s close to my heart. In the business realm, I meet with legislators to discuss the importance of providing support for underserved female entrepreneurs. These important conversations will enable more women to thrive and find success which energizes me. Lastly, I’m developing my third business and look forward to sharing it with you soon! 

How do you balance professional responsibilities with personal life?

I’m so protective of my time and I set strict boundaries around it. This has helped with the balance tremendously because I’m never really off the clock. I put my work phone away around 5:30pm and use that time to be with friends, family, or my significant other. 

Jay Campbell

Tell us about you and your business?

My family is from the Pittsburgh area, I grew up outside of Ft. Lauderdale and I’m a proud graduate of Florida State University (Go ‘Noles!). Married to my beautiful wife Patty, we have two great kids: Pearce and Eva.  I am a Realtor with John R. Wood Properties / Christies International Real Estate

What brought you to Naples?

My wife had an opportunity with her company so we made the leap across the Everglades in 2005. I’ll always have a love for the east coast but Naples is our home.

What is most important to you in life?

I know it sounds cliché but it’s true: Family and Friends!

What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?

As a family, we enjoy traveling. I try to stay active with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, tennis and other activities. I also try to remind myself that we all live close to a beach.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Worry only about what really matters. Man, it goes by fast!

What was the best advice you ever received?

Surround yourself (personally and professionally) with people that make you better. And of course, don’t forget to call your Mom.

How do you define success in your life?

I believe that if you’re happy you’re successful. The specifics of success are up to the individual. P.S. I’m Happy!

If you could have dinner with 3 people, passed or living, who would you invite and why?

Jesus, George Washington, and my Dad. Hopefully the “Why” is obvious.

What is your favorite restaurant in Naples? Why?

Ocean Prime. I’m hoping they remember this article come season……😊

Rachel Keller

Tell us about you and your business?

Carl's Wine Vault is the premier wine storage center with white glove concierge services to protect the longevity of your wine. With a state-of-the-art Tesla battery backup system, we are ready for any type of weather with the knowledge that our systems won’t fluctuate. We are thrilled to provide pickup and delivery services, as well as accept deliveries to add items to your collection.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career or in your community involvement?

I embarked on my political journey early in life with the goal of making a positive impact. After years of experience as a fundraiser and grassroots manager, working 80 hours a week without taking care of myself, I came to the realization that a change was necessary. Naples has offered me tranquility, fostering my growth and opening up new opportunities. I have had the chance to connect with mentors from various backgrounds.

What is most important to you in life?

In Naples, I am grateful to have family and friends around me. I have established a circle of individuals whom I deeply care and admire and have had the opportunity to meet several mentors in all walks of life.

How do you balance your professional responsibilities with your personal life?

I am lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful team and a supportive network of friends. Their positivity and support keep me grounded. Naples offers a seamless blend of both worlds without draining your energy. In my professional life, I interact with remarkable wine connoisseurs who share valuable insights, while in my personal life, I get to savor their wisdom.

Eric Papenfuss

Tell us about you and your business?

My wife Dr. Yasmin Papenfuss and I have resided in Naples for almost 20 years. We have two beautiful teenage daughters, Claudia and Julia who are heavily involved in soccer and dance.

I recently merged my medical contract manufacturing company, Lenkbar LLC with Intech Medical and remain one of the largest shareholders of the company.  The company holds over 70 patents worldwide and has 100-plus employees in Naples. This merger has allowed me to focus on my newest project, the Marrow MarxMan.  This is a flexible bone marrow aspiration system used to speed up the recovery time after surgery and cancer treatment using your own bone marrow and stem cells.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career or in your community involvement?

 The high cost of living in Naples has made it difficult to attract qualified and experienced employees.  By investing in our employees’ future through on-the-job training we have successfully grown our business in spite of employment challenges in Naples.

What is most important to you in life?

 My wife and two daughters.

How do you balance your professional responsibilities with your personal life?

My “Let’s get it done” attitude and quick decision-making ability allows for increased efficiency at work which in return frees up my personal time.

What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?

 Boating, traveling, wine tasting and being outdoors. Ideally, all at the same time.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

 Focus on one task at a time and excel at it.

Elena Griffin & Meri Karenova

Tell us about you and your business. 

Pink Shark Media is a female-led marketing agency founded by two Naples locals, Elena Griffin and Meri Karenovna. What makes Pink Shark Media different? They tailor every strategy specifically to clients' needs and goals. While social media is their bread and butter, their expertise extends to email marketing, website design, and more. Clients can expect a hands-on approach with relevant and current content designed to reach the target audience and ultimately generate a solid ROI.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career or in your community involvement?

One of the biggest challenges we've faced is convincing potential clients that social media marketing is not just the future—it's the present and worth the investment. Many businesses hesitate to allocate resources to social media, seeing it as secondary. To overcome this, we focused on educating clients with detailed case studies and real-time analytics, demonstrating how a strategic social media presence can lead to increased brand awareness, customer engagement, and a solid return on investment. By staying ahead of industry trends and delivering measurable results, we've built trust and shown the immediate benefits of investing in social media marketing.

What initiatives or projects are you currently involved in?

We are currently involved with the local JDRF Southwest Florida chapter, lending our time and services in preparation for their yearly gala this coming February 2025. Although we don't have a direct tie to someone with type 1 diabetes, JDRF is an organization we have loved contributing to for the last several years. This involvement is important to us because it allows us to support a cause that impacts many lives, and we are passionate about giving back to our community in meaningful ways. Our work with JDRF enables us to use our expertise to make a positive impact, helping to raise awareness and funds for research and support for those affected by type 1 diabetes.

Cristina Levon

What is the most important to you in life?

God, Family, Health, Love, Personal growth and professional growth

What motivates you?

I am definitely a blend of freedom, compensation, and unique problem-solving and some high pressure occasionally. Setting myself high standards. My family, most importantly my two handsome sons, Leon and Levi.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

CREATE BOUNDARIES. This took years (and a lot of therapy) but learning to create healthy boundaries.

So, if I could whisper just one thing through time travel to that young woman with stars in her eyes, it would be this: "Cristina, darling, the playbook of life cannot be written in advance, nor can its lessons be imparted through whispers from the future. Each joy, each setback, each serendipitous twist of fate is a brushstroke on the canvas of your becoming.

Some days will be tough, and you might feel like the world is against you, but remember, it's those very moments that will forge your resilience, spark your creativity, and lead you to discover the depths of your own strength.

You are already a force to be reckoned with - a truly bada** soul. Embrace each experience with open arms and an open heart, for they are the very essence of your story."

Patrick Dearborn

What brought you to Naples?

Vacationed here and Sanibel 30-plus years ago and fell in love.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career or in your community involvement, and how did you overcome them?

Like everyone - we have had challenges! The real estate market crash of 2008 was a big one. But overcoming that challenge actually made me a much more successful and passionate realtor! The pandemic of 2020 was challenging for all of us. I am proud of taking a stand and helping others navigate those fear-driven months. Always try to be a light in a dark world!

What is most important to you in life?

My faith and love of God, my family and my love of our great country.

What initiatives or projects are you currently involved in, and why are they important?

I am blessed to be able to give back to our community and those in need, including supporting many events and organizations that help my fellow veterans and first responders! Also, anything I can do to help the children in Immokalee. God is so good!

How do you balance your professional responsibilities with your personal life?

That’s easy — balance through my faith, and prioritizing every morning what I want to accomplish that day. Surrounding myself with incredible and talented teammates and partners is also critical in the balance.  Many hands make light work!

  • Keeley Collins
  • Cristina Levon
  • Patrick Dearborn
  • Erik Pappenfuss
  • Rachel Keller
  • Jay Campbell