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A longtime advocate for at-risk and underprivileged children, Maria Jimenez-Lara serves as CEO of the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), founders of the world-renowned Naples Winter Wine Festival. Working with the NCEF Board of Trustees, she oversees the grant awards of millions of dollars in festival proceeds annually to nonprofits that serve Collier youth.

Here is what she keeps at her desk.

1. A wooden case from vintage Remírez de Ganuza wine from Spain, part of a valuable collection donated by the vintner for auction at the Naples Winter Wine Festival.

2. A decorative box filled with thank- you letters from nonprofit organizations and children who have benefited from health and education services provided through NCEF grant funding and strate- gic initiatives.

3. The 2019 Festival Book for guests of the 2019 Naples Winter Wine Festival, telling them about our three-day fund- raiser and explaining NCEF’s mission.

4. The Auction Lot Catalog that describes the 63 incredible lots, which were up for grabs at the 2019 Naples Winter Wine Festival. (The happy frog on the cover reflects this year’s “Joy to the World” theme.)

5. A yellow sticky note on my computer screen with the word “crisp” written on it. Our trustees Valerie Boyd and Jeff Gargiulo often use “crisp” to describe how things should run. I’ve turned it into my guiding acronym that stands for Clear, Relevant, Insightful, Strategic, Prepared.

6. Commemorative pens and markers from previous Wine Festivals. My favor- ite is the teal one from the 2016 Wine Festival, my first as CEO of NCEF. 

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