Gemstones in the Making founder, Claribel Bocanegra is the owner and Practice Administrator at Porto Fino Dental for the last 22 years. Clary’s passion has always been bringing people together and empowering others. After arriving in Florida at 15 years of age from the island of Puerto Rico, she’s continuously been involved in her community. Her most recent endeavor has been founding “LEAD like a Girl!”, a mentoring program for young women and girls.
In her spare time, she also volunteers as a mentor herself, and, alongside her husband, funds scholarships for students to pursue vocational and higher education. Most recently, they have established a fund at FGCU’s Community Counseling Clinic for the participants of Gemstones in the Making and LEAD to receive free counseling and mental health services.
She has participated on several occasions as a panelist presented by Florida Gulf Coast University speaking about the importance of diversity and the benefits of creating an inclusive society that ensures equal opportunity for all. She’s an active member of the American Association of Dental Office Management and an advocate for her community. In addition, she is a devoted mother to her four children, Astrid, Isabella, Ricardo and Alexandra, and a loving wife, sister, and cherished friend.
Clary’s passion comes from her experiences as a young, biracial, Spanish-speaking immigrant to SWFL. She has experienced first-hand the challenges that young girls face as they take their first steps into adulthood, be it mental health, professional life, or education opportunities. She spent time learning from her peers, mentors, and friends, and has learned how collectively powerful we can be when we come together. Today, her hopes are to support and inspire young girls to reach their dreams, whatever shape they may take: from cardiologist, to yoga professor, to hair stylist, to senator, Clary hopes to inspire the next generation of girls to look for support and to create a network of women who will fight inequality and ensure everyone can lead their lives proudly.