Palm Coast, FL – Busy women need a little pampering too, so when Elite Dance & Travel owner Magdalena Piekarz offered to host the April after hours event for the Professional Women of Flagler County, the ladies said “sign me up!”.

Alina Perry-Smith provides headshots for attendees including Flagler Auditorium director Amelia Fulmer during the Professional Women of Flagler County Elite Networking event at Elite Dance & Travel, courtesy of owner Magdalena Piekarz, on Thursday, April 14, 2021.

Joining the award-winning ballroom dance performer and teacher at her studio in Roma Court, ladies who’d just finished a long day at work were eager to shake the stress away with energetic dance lessons and frosty beverages, topped off with something a little extra – a new headshot.

Courtesy of Images by Alina, members came dressed to impress for the photo shoots, and received professional touch ups by Ana Reyes-Outzs before heading in front of the camera.

Ana Reyes-Outzs touches up make up for Kim Fitzgerald during the photo shoot and networking event held by the Professional Women of Flagler Couny at Elite Dance & Travel, courtesy of owner Magdalena Piekarz, on Thursday, April 14, 2021.

Life has not always been as perfectly finished as the photos she takes but taking charge of her destiny, Alina Perry-Smith is preparing to live out her own professional dreams, as a photographer. Diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2013, she said it was during chemo and radiation that she had her epiphany.

“Now I’m retiring from education and want to do this full time,” she said, preparing to mark her eighth anniversary of being cancer-free on Saturday. “I still want to teach so I’m hoping to do photography classes for adults.”

Embarking on a new professional journey, she’s helping others reach their full potential by staring out with a great head shot.

“I love networking with women and head shots are critical. They meet your headshot before they meet you,” explained Perry-Smith. “Women are egging each other on, looking spectacular and they’re having fun with it.”

It’s the same vigor and drive that other professional women who are part of the organization possess.

Peeking at her photos after the photo shoot, family law attorney Cynthia Lane was excited about the networking opportunity to meet new people and catch up with colleagues in the elegant surroundings.

Alina Perry-Smith focuses on the head shot for Cynthia Lane during the Professional Women of Flagler County Elite Networking event at Elite Dance & Travel, courtesy of owner Magdalena Piekarz, on Thursday, April 14, 2021.

“I was very excited to come to this in-person event today. It’s been a very long year, a very isolating year but the legal community has not slowed down,” she said. “The screen that I’ve primarily been in front of has been a Zoom screen for my Zoom court hearings, so today being in front of her camera on this green screen was very exciting and very fun, and a good change of pace. I’m excited to see how everything turns out.”

“In-person networking events, any sort of networking with regard to our local community is so vital for our community. We all come from different walks of life, different experiences but we have a shared sense of community of wanting to move our practices, our professionalism and our lives forward in a healthy, positive way and so these types of events and this organization in general is so important for that,” said Lane.

Serving as the organization’s first formal in-person event, PWFC President Danielle Silva appreciated Piekarz opening her business to host.

“It’s a full on networking and dance lesson,” said Silva. “It is amazing. I’m hoping the women meet new people, learn a little bit of dance and have some fun.”

Guests and members mix and mingle during the Professional Women of Flagler County Elite Networking event at Elite Dance & Travel, courtesy of owner Magdalena Piekarz, on Thursday, April 14, 2021.

“I love connecting, I want to be part of the community and the Professional Women of Flagler County is what I relate to,” shared Piekarz.

“I know the ladies, we’ve met on Zoom so far, so it was exciting to meet in person. We need to get together – nothing feels better than the human smile, human interaction, energy and human touch. People are ready to connect.”

The next Professional Women of Flagler County event is set for May 7, 2021 at 8:30 am, hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn, Palm Coast, focusing on workplace wellness. Members $25, Future members $35. Visit www.professionalwomenflagler.org.

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