BY SUE ERWIN – She’s exceptionally articulate, well educated and cool tempered. This week’s profile candidate, Englewood Bank Senior Teller Cannon Wenzel, found herself drawn to Boca Grande after vacationing here with her family.
Cannon was born in Newtown, CT., a small rural town on the western side of the state about 75 miles north of Manhattan
“It’s considered a commuter town. There were only about 25,000 residents there. It was possible to drive daily to New York City, but still a bit of a distance,” she said.
Cannon refers to Newtown as being “just beautiful – an absolute idyllic hometown,” she said.
She attended Sandy Hook Elementary school and then attended Newtown High School.
“When the tragedy at Sandy Hook happened, it was just completely surreal, no one could fathom that it had actually happened. I am still very closely connected to that town and the friends I made there,” she said.
After graduating high school, Cannon attended the University of Vermont and pursued a degree in social work, earning a B.S.W. (Bachelor of Social Work).
One of the more memorable experiences she recalls from college is an internship she took part of during her junior year, when she was working with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program where she worked with Somali women who fled the camps in their country in a desperate attempt to find peace.
“That was a very unique experience, it gave me a wonderful appreciation of what the women were going through on their mission … I think working with them in their homes – language barriers and all, gave me sincere respect for them. It was really a powerful experience,” she said.
After that, she pursued another aspect of social work during her senior year when she took part in an externship as a medical social work advisor in northern Vermont. She worked at a pediatrician’s office and did routine visits with families in rural areas who resided near the Canadian border.
“I did community advocacy and made sure the families were getting what they needed from their physicians and making sure resource connections were made available.”
After earning her master’s degree, Cannon relocated to Washington, D.C. She worked for a non-profit organization called “Capital Partners for Education” where she worked with high school students who were vying for scholarship programs in the Washington, D.C. area.
“I loved living in D.C. immensely. I really enjoyed living in the city,” she said.
Soon thereafter, she was accepted into the graduate program at University of Pennsylvania and pursued a master’s degree in non-profit leadership.
“I thought it was the ideal program for me and it seemed to be. Upon graduation, the recession of 2009 hit and there weren’t any jobs available in my field,” she said.
So she reconnected with family in Chattanooga, TN.
“I felt I needed some time to figure out my next step. My parents had retired and moved there so I went there for a few months to figure things out.”
In January of 2011 Cannon and her sister, Kyle, decided to give Florida one more try.
“We grew up vacationing here and we both love the island. Our dad bought a place at the Boca Grande Club in 1986. We find this area so familial that we both wanted to get back here as soon as possible,” she said.
She recalls it was hard to find work on the island at first, but at the same time, it allowed time for the two sisters to form a very close bond.
“I think that time together made us both respect each other and the area all the more.”
Cannon has since worked at several retail shops on the island to make herself solvent.
In 2011, she met her husband, Nick. They were both relaxing at Eagle Grille and Miller’s Dockside one evening and fate took it from there.
“We dated for two years and then he proposed on New Year’s Eve 2012. We’ll be celebrating our third wedding anniversary on October 19.
Cannon and Nick currently reside on the island. Nick is a professional fishing charter guide in Boca Grande.
Nick has lived in Charlotte County since he was 8-years-old.
He’s been coming to the island since he was a kid and has been a professional fishing guide for the last four years.
Cannon has been working at Englewood Bank on the island for three years, and says she enjoys her position because of the daily interaction with the friendly customers.
“Our clients are very special and it’s nice to catch up with the seasonal guests who are returning to the island after the summer months. They’re so happy and excited to be back and I think that is really sweet,” she said.
Because of her specialized educational background, Cannon is well versed in navigating social spheres to gain the experience necessary to thrive in her environment. She is a natural people person; who seeks the positive outcome in every scenario.
She said there are 26 non-profits on the island right now that she is aware of and she’d eventually like to be a part of one of them.
Cannon and Nick left Boca Grande in 2015 because she wanted to be near her family in Chattanooga, TN.
“My father had passed away and I wanted to be closer to my sister and my mom who live in that area. I think I just arrived at a place in my life where I felt family was more important than the island and although I loved it here – I felt drawn to go there.”
Cannon and Nick returned to the island in March 2015.
“It was time. While it was satisfying to be with my family during that time, we were drawn back to Boca Grande,” she said. “I was very fortunate. I called the (Englewood Bank) branch manager and she said an employee was leaving in March and she welcomed me back. That was truly a sign it was time to come home.”
She said they literally fell right back into the swing of things with Nick’s charter business and her being at the bank. She feels this is the right place for both of them at this time in their lives.
“It feels great – I actually think this move has made our marriage stronger. I just feel like our welcome back was so powerful … the love from the community was so genuine and warm. At first wasn’t sure if I could come back and then once I was here, I felt so refreshed and revived. I feel this is where we are meant to be.”
Stop in Englewood Bank and say hello to Cannon. She’ll be happy to help you with all of your banking needs.
Hometown: Newtown, Conn.
Occupation: Senior teller with Englewood Bank & Trust
Hobbies: Beach walks, listening to live music, traveling
Favorite Book: “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Favorite TV show: “Jeopardy”
Favorite movie: “The Sound of Music, “Pitch Perfect”
Person I admire the most: My parents Yogi and Pam, and my sister Kyle
Likes: Good conversations and laughter