Tag Archives: board members

Suzanne McAlpine – From the Courtroom to the Ballroom

From the Courtroom to the Ballroom

by Carolyn Pitt

Suzanne McAlpine - Social Chair Wine Tasters of NaplesSuzanne McAlpine, Wine Tasters of Naples’ former social chair, has transformed a successful professional life in Connecticut into enjoying retirement in southwest Florida. Ballroom dancing has become a passion. She can also be found at exercise classes, especially water aerobics, playing golf, or watching football and baseball on TV.

Suzy originally hails from Gary, Indiana, and met her husband while in college. His successful career in sales caused the young family to relocate periodically. While living in California, Suzy was able to complete an M.S. degree in psychology at California State University Long Beach. Years later and recently divorced, she obtained a law degree from the Quinnipiac University School of Law, and entered private practice where she was active in criminal defense work for nine years. This led to her decision to join the Psychiatric Defense Unit within the Public Defender’s office. Located on the grounds of the state psychiatric facility, she represented people found not guilty of criminal behavior on terms of having mental disease. Her rationale for this career choice is clear: everyone is entitled to the best defense and it was her role to support the Constitution. She was also an adjunct instructor at Quinnipiac University where she taught Legal Research and Writing. Her involvement with the Board of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, for whom she organized large events, prepared her for her current responsibility as Social Chair for Wine Tasters of Naples.

Suzy has two sons of whom she is proud. Her older son earned a doctorate in physical chemistry and is now a research professor at the University of Minnesota. His research in nanotechnology has placed him on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and in Time magazine. Currently he is involved with 3D printing. Her younger son is a production manager in the animation department for The Simpsons, America’s longest running animated TV show.

What does Suzy anticipate for her future? More dancing. Traveling, with Ireland and Greece on top of her bucket list. Planning more social activities for Wine Tasters of Naples such as the recent dinner at the Bleu Provence and the dancing lesson at Dancing with Marcia, and other events which include the Holiday Trolley Tour and the Tenth Anniversary Celebration – a sunset cruise aboard the Naples Princess on February 23, 2018.


Sherri Weidman – Our President

Written by Rita Sullivan

Sherri Weidman
Sherri Weidman, President, Wine Tasters of Naples 2014 – present

Wine Tasters of Naples is primarily a social club with a focus to contribute to those less fortunate in the community.  It has grown over the years and continues to grow under the leadership of its current president, Sherri Weidman.   She has embraced the mission of the founding members focusing on encouraging its members to help those in need within the Naples community.

Growing up in the Midwest, Sherri’s earliest memories were those of camp.   Whether it was church camp, the 4-H or Girl Scouts, she loved them all.  Accepted at Purdue University, she majored in elementary education with a minor in recreation.  It was the minor as it turned that changed the course of her life.   Through a camp class, she was introduced to the American Camp Association (ACA).  After graduating, she realized her true passion was to continue in camping, which she did as a Day Camp Administrator and Field Director for a northwest Indiana Girl Scout council.  Her enthusiasm and drive elevated her up the ranks to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts in northern Indiana.

Sherri Weidman
Sherri Weidman, former Girl Scout Council CEO

As CEO, she was responsible for the oversight of 50 staff members, 2,000 volunteers, and over 10,000 girl members and nine properties – five of which were camps.  During her tenure as CEO, Sherri and her organization received national recognition as one of the highest performing councils for diverse membership representation and for fundraising success. Her vision and fund raising ability led to the construction of a custom headquarters for the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana in Fort Wayne, (rendering below). Still devoted to camps for children, Sherri currently serves on the national board of directors of the American Camp Association.

Girl Scout Leadership and Learning Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana
One of Sherri’s former legacies: Girl Scout Leadership and Learning Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Recalling her time spent with the Girl Scouts, I asked Sherri if there was one thing in particular she felt affected her most. Without hesitation she recalled an ACA convention she attended in Albuquerque in 1992.   She was invited out to dinner with three Russian delegates who were representing the International Youth Federation. The group was here to set up exchanges between Russian and American teens.  The dinner was a success in more ways than one. In addition to participating in an exchange of Girl Scouts with their Russian counterparts, she wound up marrying the head of the Russian delegation. While the marriage did not last, the friendships and international memories certainly did.

Sherri first visited Naples in 2008.  It took her one fantastic weekend to decide that this is where she wanted to live – Indiana winters or Naples winters – not a difficult choice. In August 2010, she made it happen.  At first she did not know anyone, but she soon became immersed in the many activities around Naples and was invited to join Wine Tasters.  Shortly after meeting Dan Leaman, Sherri was invited to join the board where her marketing skills were instrumental in attracting new members. In 2014, she was asked to be President of Wine Tasters.

As President, she is committed to ensuring that the service component of the mission statement remains the focus of the club.  She encourages members to volunteer their time and efforts for the good of the community. Her marketing efforts continue to attract new members. Sherri has her sights set on a big club event in February 2018 which will be our 10 year anniversary. What better way to mark this milestone than for each of us to volunteer for at least one project. Her vision is for this celebration to be a capstone of a decade of fun and service of Wine Tasters of Naples — another event we will all fondly remember.