Maria Espinoza, Executive Director, FISH OF SANCAP, was awarded the 2022 Young Professional of the Year award at an dinner hosted by the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce celebrated its inaugural Chamber Awards by recognizing members for their outstanding contributions to the greater Fort Myers community. “We are so proud of Maria and her contributions to our organization and islands,” says Maggi Feiner, President & CEO, FISH. “She is hardworking and selfless, always thinking of others first and how we as an organization can help. Maria’s passion and commitment to our island residents, workforce, and community continue to grow and enhance the mission of FISH. There are few that know the ins and outs of FISH like Maria, and her involvement in our community to bring awareness to FISH through networking and promotions is second to none. This award is well deserved.”
Maria Espinoza has been with FISH since 2017, when she began with the organization after Hurricane Irma as a volunteer. Her commitment to FISH’s cause made her an obvious choice to bring on as a full-time employee. She soon became the Walk-In Center Manager, Director of Food Programs, Assistant Executive Director and now Executive Director, proving herself a committed organization advocate. Maria is dedicated to the community around her—always available to help someone in need or taking time with staff or volunteers at FISH to hear about their day or help problem solve. Maria, who is multi-lingual, uses her critical language skills when communicating with FISH’s diverse community of clients—she wants each client to be able to discuss their situations comfortably. She always exemplifies professionalism and a can-do spirit. She doesn’t take no for an answer when solving problems for those in need—always putting FISH families at the forefront of any decision making. She’s often the first person in and last person out during the day, walking out the door with her laptop and a smile.
Maria always exemplifies professionalism and a can-do spirit. She doesn’t take no for an answer when solving problems for those in need—always putting FISH families at the forefront of any decision making. Because of her excellent work ethic, leadership skills and communicative qualities, Maria was named Executive Director at FISH in 2022. Maria is an excellent verbal and nonverbal communicator. She listens first and asks appropriate questions to better her understanding, while taking into consideration other people’s situations and emotions in a nonjudgmental manner. She possesses the confidence to communicate with individuals or groups and she trains, works with staff and volunteers and organizes many programs and services. She has very strong core values in her personal and business life and is respected by Board, staff, volunteers and clients. Her motto is ‘treat others as you wish to be treated…with dignity and respect’. She is honest, humble and transparent. Maria is always eager to cooperate and work in a team or as a team leader. There are few that know the ins and outs of FISH like Maria! Always smiling and energized, Maria positively impacts staff, volunteers, all she comes in contact with, including the community at large.
“I am grateful to be recognized by the Greater Fort Myers Chamber and my peers and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” says Espinoza. “As I continue to grow with the FISH organization, I’m thankful to have the support of the FISH Board and an extraordinary team of dedicated professionals and volunteers that allows us to continue to serve our community.”