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LEADERSHIP Palm Beach County

The Vision In 1983, Leadership Palm Beach County was formed through a joint task force of local chambers of commerce. In 1984, thirty-nine local community and business leaders became the inaugural class. Today, there are almost 1,500 alumni.

Our Mission To educate and unite leaders to build a better community.

Our Core Values Integrity • Compassion • Credibility • Passion Risk-taking • Fairness • Empowerment • Humility 

Leadership Program Leadership Palm Beach County’s signature program is a comprehensive exploration of Palm Beach County’s leading industries and most pressing issues. Between September and May every year, up to 50 community leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors meet for one full day per month and complete a Civic Engagement project. Topics for the monthly sessions include agriculture, education, art and culture, business and public safety. The program provides a transformative learning experience and introduces leaders to a powerful new network. Admission to the program is competitive, and applications are due annually in April.

I have become involved in the community on a much larger scale. Leadership showed me how I can help build a better community, not just within the 3-mile radius of my home and the kids’ school, but on the scale of Palm Beach County.

Chris Radentz, Class of 2010

My Aha Moment

“When we co-hosted a transportation forum with the Economic Council for the community at large, I realized that Leadership had become a respected organization with standing in the community.” Gale Howden, Class of 1986

LPBC graduates include business leaders, entrepreneurs, government and nonprofit executives, finance, legal and creative arts professionals and elected officials from all over Palm Beach County. They remain active in Leadership programs and enjoy a variety of social activities. The greatest benefits are, without a doubt, a common bond and point of connection with alumni throughout the county and programs that spark ongoing conversations about the betterment of our community.

FOCUS Program FOCUS is a 2 ½ day intensive workshop designed for up to 50 professionals to fast-track their education about Palm Beach County history, industries and government. A condensed version of the Leadership program, FOCUS covers the same topics and is especially beneficial for executives who are new to Palm Beach County or whose schedules do not permit them to participate in the full program.

The pace, energy and curriculum of FOCUS combined to make the perfect appetizer for the Leadership program. Linda Culbertson, Class of 2005

My Favorite Part

“Challenging each FOCUS class member to be deliberate about doing something constructive with the information they learn from FOCUS.” Rob Torrington, Class of 2011


Inaugural class graduates 39 community leaders.


LPBC initiates Health and Human Services Planning Association

Youth Program Modeled after the Leadership Program, Youth Leadership has become widely-known for its impact on Palm Beach County’s youngest leaders as they prepare for college and envision future careers. The genesis of the program can be traced to the opening retreat for the Class of 1989. As a community service project, the class decided to have a “Youth Leadership Day” where two dozen high school juniors were invited to learn about county government, the media and education in Palm Beach County. A few years later, the Youth Leadership program was approved as a new LPBC offering.

The Youth Leadership Program helped solidify the thought that we are all an important cog in our community. Everyone can make a difference and contribute to the betterment of our society. Rebecca Seelig, Youth Leadership Class of 1993 The program is available to local high school juniors who are admitted based on the recommendation of school administrators and faculty. Alumni program coordinators encourage students to reflect on their future as community leaders and build necessary skills including public speaking and resume-writing. At the yearly Youth Program graduation ceremony, several students receive scholarships from funds contributed by local donors and the Songwriters in the Round event. A total of $47,000 has been awarded through 2013.


“I have had many kids come back to me over the years and say that Youth Leadership PBC was the most significant and meaningful part of their high school experience.” Eric Hopkins, Class of 1995

Ethics Initiative The Leadership Palm Beach County Ethics Initiative was launched in 2007 following the convictions of several county and municipal elected officials, with the belief that LPBC could be a catalyst for replacing the “Corruption County” image with a “Culture of Ethics” label. A committee was formed to study best practices in ethics policy and education, survey opinion leaders, advise on public policy and host community-wide forums on ethics. Later, the committee successfully formed a coalition with a number of community and business groups to bring about ethics reform in Palm Beach County.

The county commission and staff were strongly opposed, making it difficult to get traction, but the tenacity of the steering committee and the involvement of the state attorney ultimately led to successful implementation.

David Baker, Class of 1989, Ethics Initiative co-founder


LPBC Inc Board of Directors and LPBC Alumni Association Board merge to form LPBC Board of Governors


FOCUS program launched

The committee created the county’s first Ethics Pledge and their efforts ultimately resulted in the creation of a county Commission on Ethics, Office of Inspector General and Code of Ethics within the county charter. Recognizing that compliance measures were only half of the solution for curing the “Corruption County” image, members of the committee acted as advisors for the creation of a Center for Applied Ethics at Palm Beach State College. The center focuses on providing education and training to assist individuals and organizations with creating a culture of ethics.


First Youth Leadership class graduates.


Leadership Palm Beach County Graduate Count hits 500!


New Leadership logo unveiled

Civic Engagement Community engagement is a guiding principle of Leadership Palm Beach County. Leadership class members are empowered to take active roles in the community through the program’s interactive curriculum as well as civic engagement projects. Early projects involved fundraising events and charitable activities. In 2005, new guidelines were developed, challenging each class to adopt a project focusing on a pressing local issue, with the objective of achieving long-term positive impact. These projects utilize the intellectual capacity of each class to address the needs and goals of organizations in Palm Beach County.

The amount of work you all did, and the quality of the work was beyond my greatest hope! You took the time to listen, and really put your hearts into the project. You came up with very creative enhancements, and you personally reached out to help our organization beyond the scope of the project. We have made some very special friends within the Class of 2012!

My Favorite Memory

“The Thank You Ceremony by the staff and clients of the Harmony House. . . . The volunteer hours were long and the work was exhausting for everyone, but the reward at the end of the project was deeply emotional and inspirational.” Brian Edwards, Class 2005

Project: Refurbish and renovate apartments and playground at YWCA Harmony House

Rhonda Clinton, Executive Director of Family Promise, Class of 1999

Alumni Graduates of the Leadership Program are Leadership Palm Beach County’s greatest asset. Engaged, successful, and well-connected, they share a common commitment to service as well as the resolution of local issues and concerns. With almost 1,500 Leadership graduates, our alumni includes elected officials and entrepreneurs, law firm shareholders and medical professionals, nonprofit visionaries and educators, and almost every profession one can imagine. They live, work and play across Palm Beach County and work tirelessly to fulfill the organization’s mission.

The Leadership connection is an instant bond. It’s always great to know that you can call a fellow leadership alum—perhaps one you haven’t met— and ask for help.

Lisa Johnson, Class of 2000


Civic Engagement Projects begin.


First Leadership Palm Beach County website launched.


Leadership hires its first full-time Executive Director.

Songwriters in the Round Started in 2004 as a class project, the annual Songwriters in the Round has become one of Palm Beach County’s hottest events. Mixing Nashville charm with the intimate setting of the Harriet Himmel Theater, Songwriters brings the heart of country music to West Palm Beach. Talented singer/songwriters who have penned some of the biggest hits in country music history, bring their songs to life with music and with incredible stories. Twenty-four songwriters have graced the stage, and almost every show has been sold out. The event has raised more than $400,000 to support the Youth Leadership Program and has become one of the most unique and anticipated events of the year.

To the Class of 2004, Songwriters in the Round is our enduring gift to the Youth Program. We know we have left a legacy that will forever be our imprint on Leadership Palm Beach County, its alumni and our entire community.

Jan Rodusky, Class of 2004

Leadership Excellence Award With almost 300 attendees at the inaugural event in 2005, the Leadership Excellence Award found its rightful place as a pinnacle among local award programs. Created to celebrate Leadership Alumni who reflect the organization’s core values, the Leadership Excellence Award is a coveted recognition. Until 2013, the Award Recipient was announced in advance of the event, along with all of the distinguished nominees. Beginning in 2013, finalists were selected from the outstanding group of nominees, and the Award Recipient was revealed at the event, adding excitement and intrigue to this wonderful event.


2013 Patrick McNamara 2012 Eric Hopkins 2011 Rev. Pam Cahoon

2010 David Goodlett 2009 Wendy Sartory Link 2008 Sharon Bock

2007 David Baker 2006 Gale Howden 2005 Don Chester


Don Chester is first recipient of the Leadership Excellence Award.


First Songwriters in the Round event.

LEADERSHIP PALM BEACH COUNTY 2751 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 1A West Palm Beach, FL 33405 561.833.4321

Past Presidents 2013-2014 David Greene 2012-2013 Monte Resnick 2011-2012 Tom Jensen 2010-2011 Ron Harbison 2009-2010 Laura Deck Cunningham 2008-2009 Brian Edwards 2007-2008 Marty Rogol 2006-2007 Dorothy Bradshaw 2005-2006 Michele Gurto DeLong 2004-2005 Tony Lofaso 2003-2004 John Fumero 2002-2003 Robert Boike 2001-2002 Dave Luhrsen 2000-2001 Kahart Pinder 1999-2000 Robert Bertisch 1998-1999 Jim Sugarman 1997-1998 Deborah Stewart

2012 2007

Leadership Palm Beach County alumni pioneered a community-wide ethics initiative to address the county’s perceived culture of corruption.

1996-1997 Diane Carlino 1995-1996 Dari Bowman 1994-1995 Sally D. Chester 1993-1994 Bill Pfeifer 1992-1993 Jonathon Frost 1991-1992 Gary Frechette 1990-1992 David Baker* 1990-1991 Dan Shorter 1989-1990 Carole Cleveland 1988-1990 Gale Howden* 1988-1989 Jerry Flanders 1987-1988 James Crews 1986-1988 Anne Byerlein* 1985-1986 Stormet Norem 1984-1987 Bary Berg * President of Alumni Association

New website and branding campaign revealed.

LPBC 30th Anniversary piece  

A look back at 30 years of Leadership Palm Beach County.

LPBC 30th Anniversary piece  

A look back at 30 years of Leadership Palm Beach County.