Published On: Mon, May 14th, 2012

Executive Women of the Palm Beaches Honors Women In Leadership Award Recipients

WEST PALM BEACH(May 9, 2012) – In the 21st Century adults can expect to change jobs 12 times, so you’d better be prepared, Joan Lunden advised guests and honorees at the 29th Annual Women In Leadership Awards Luncheon May 3 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

And the key to success is transferable skills, said Lunden, who speaks from experience. Her run as host of Good Morning America ended 15 years
ago, but she has continued to work in TV and has been able to transfer her skills into roles as author, entrepreneur, health advocate and businesswoman, while raising seven children, including two sets of twins. Her remarks about her trials and tribulations as she attempted to “have it all,” were greeted with nods of understanding and laughter.

Executive Women of the Palm Beaches was the first organization in Palm Beach County to honor professional women leaders in the community who also are adept at transferring their skills. The Women In Leadership Awards are presented to women in three community sectors — volunteer, public and private –whose talents and qualities have an impact in their business and charitable activities. The luncheon is regarded as the premier
event of its kind in the county, and this year was no exception. Honorees included Rena Blades, Dorothy Bradshaw and Dr. Maureen Whelihan.

Bradshaw, Procurement Bureau Chief for the South Florida Water Management District was honored for her volunteer work. She has served as president of the Boys and Girls Clubs, on the board of Junior Achievement, on countless projects for the American Lung Association, as co-chair and chair of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, and more recently as chair of the 2010 Walk To Defeat ALS and the 2011 Heart Walk.
She’s also on the board of the West Palm Beach Library Foundation, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Speak Up for Children.

In the public sector, Blades, CEO of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council since 2004, has overseen its unprecedented growth, securing new grants and funding for arts education and the strengthening of cultural organizations throughout the county, expanding services to artists and spearheading the Council’s move to new headquarters in Lake Worth. She also has served as a board member and treasurer of the Florida Cultural
Alliance, a member of the Palm Beach County Six Pillars Community Plan committee, a member of Palm Beach County’s Overall Economic Development Program Committee (2006-10) and a volunteer at St. Mark’s Episcopal School, 2005-2011.

A practicing gynecologist in West Palm Beach, Whelihan, nominated in the private sector, is only the fourth woman to serve as president of the Palm Beach County Medical Society (2009). She co-founded the society’s Services Project Access, a program that coordinates voluntary physician and hospital care, diagnostic services and medication assistance for low-income residents. Since 2005, Project Access has donated more than $8 million in care to help more than 5,500 residents. She serves on the board of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, co-chaired Lupus Foundation’s Models of Success, and was named the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s woman of the year in 2003 for raising $50,000 in eight weeks.

Additionally, Executive Women of the Palm Beaches presented a special Inspirational Leadership Award to its founder and first president Cynthia Allen Gracey for her lifelong example and service. She received a standing ovation. Despite dealing with CMT, a lifelong neuromuscular disorder, Gracey has raised two sons, served as a caregiver to her parents and other family members, practiced law and been a visionary community activist.

Executive Women’s mission is to promote the professional and personal advancement of women through networking and resource sharing and by helping them to develop and realize their potential as leaders. Proceeds from the luncheon support the scholarship and grant programs administered through its charitable foundation, Executive Women Outreach.

For information about Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, call (561)684-9117, email or visit

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