Cynthia Allen Gracey

Women In Leadership Awards

Wednesday April 18, 2018



2017 Honorees

Volunteer Sector: Sharon Gill of Lake Worth

When Sharon Gill left Jamaica for the U.S. at the age of 21, she had $56 in her pocket. Decades later, she is the COO of the Gill Law Firm and Founder/CEO of Oasis Compassion Agency, which helps the underprivileged with a food pantry, clothing store, housing, skills development, and job placement. Since its inception in 2003, Oasis has assisted more than 10,000 individuals in Palm Beach County become self-sufficient, motivated, empowered and successful members of the community. In addition to being the founder and CEO of Oasis, Gill serves on the boards of the Women’s Chamber Foundation, EmpowHer of the Palm Beaches, Umom, and Palm Beach Atlantic Alumni. 

Private Sector: Nellie L. King, P.A. of Jupiter

A noted criminal defense lawyer, King is a leader who has held local, state, and national roles. After serving as President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL), King oversaw significant work with President Barack Obama’s Clemency Project. The clemency initiative focused on minimum-mandatory sentencing policies, which had resulted in the incarceration of thousands of Americans for non-violent drug offenses. One of only four women elected President of FACDL, she is also a Past President of the Palm Beach Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. King currently serves on the Board of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Boys Town South Florida, and the Criminal Justice Commission.

Nonprofit Sector: Linda De Piano, Ph.D. of Palm Beach Gardens

Linda De Piano, CEO of the Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health in West Palm Beach, has been a champion for mental health in Palm Beach County for more than 34 years. Dr. DePiano oversees 385 professionals who provide a full range of services, including a 44-bed psychiatric hospital, mobile crisis team, outpatient services, housing, and addiction and co-occurring programs. In addition to her responsibilities at the center, she also a leading advocate of addressing mental health and related issues throughout our community.

Public Sector: Jean A. Wihbey, Ph.D. of Palm Beach Gardens

Jean A. Wihbey is the Provost for Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth campus. As the campus’ chief executive officer, she is responsible for providing leadership and inspiration to a campus of more than 9,000 students and 225 employees. Dr. Wihbey ensures the quality and relevance of the campus’ academic programs, oversees campus operational activities, and leads through encouraging ideas and strong relationships. She is actively involved in the PGA Corridor Association Board of Directors as President, the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, serving as a Trustee, as Treasurer on the Board of Directors, and on the Women in Business Steering Council. 

2018 WILA  Chair - Trixy Walker
2018 WILA Co-Chair Tammy O'Rourke

The Cynthia Allen Gracey Women In Leadership Awards Luncheon (WILA) is held annually in the spring.  It was the first award program in Palm Beach County to recognize the leadership accomplishments of women in our community. At the luncheon, Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, Inc. presents its Annual Women In Leadership Awards to exemplary women who have demonstrated extraordinary achievements and leadership in the nonprofit, private, public and volunteer sectors. Since 2010, each recipient is presented with the Free to Be statue, by artist and member JoAnne B. Berkow.  The Luncheon is one of the county’s most successful community events, attracting approximately 600 attendees annually.

While the luncheon recognizes the achievements and celebrates the contributions of exceptional executive women, proceeds of the Luncheon provide critically needed scholarship assistance. The Women in Leadership Awards program has raised significant dollars to help promising young women in our community pursue their dream of a college education.

This year's keynote speaker is US Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Misson (2011), Space and AviationContributor for NBC News/MSNBC and husband to former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Past Women in Leadership Awards Luncheon keynote speakers have included such outstanding nationally recognized women as Ann Richards, Elizabeth Dole, Mary Matalin, Andrea Mitchell, Mary Alice Williams, Jane Bryant Quinn, Betty Rollins, Erica Jong, Sherry Lansing, Linda Ellerbee, Gloria Steinem, Ellen Goodman, Dr. Sarah Weddington, Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick, Dr. Jeri Nielsen, Mavis Leno and Tipper Gore, Mae Jemison, Betty Nguyen, Alison Levine, Jeannette Walls, Barbara Corcoran, Celine Cousteau, Joan Lunden, Valerie Plame, Jennifer Fleiss and Susan Packard.


Our Mission: Empowering women to succeed and lead

Our Vision: To be the voice that inspires integrity, equality and leadership

in the workplace and our community

Executive Women of the Palm Beaches Foundation, Inc.
2701 N Australian Avenue, Suite 205
West Palm Beach, FL  33407

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