2009 WILA Award Recipients

Cheryl Crowley
“Literacy is at the core of anything you do in life. If you can’t read well, it is very hard to navigate daily life…from reading a newspaper, applying for a job or even reading instructions on a bottle of medicine. The Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County is a part of me. It inspires me every day. I know that what I’m doing is helping to give so many people the tools to achieve a better life and, at the same time, a better community.”
 

Cheryl K. Crowley is president and CEO of ImMEDIAcy Public Relations, Inc. Cheryl is an award-winning public relations consultant with more than 20 years experience in creating and implementing successful media strategies.

One of Cheryl’s greatest pleasures is her many years of pro-bono work for the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County. For the past 16 years, Cheryl has donated more than 8,000 hours of public relations services to the Literacy Coalition.

Since 2002, Cheryl and her ImMEDIAcy Public Relations team, helped create and implement media and marketing campaigns for Read Together Palm Beach County. Its goal is to get everyone in Palm Beach County reading the same book at the same time to promote the importance of reading.The inaugural 2002 Read Together campaign was described as one of the most successful community involvement efforts ever in Palm Beach County. More than 30,000 people read and discussed Fahrenheit 451.
Former Governor Jeb Bush encouraged mayors all over Florida to conduct community reading campaigns modeled after the local campaigns Cheryl helped create.

In 2008, President George W. Bush personally presented Cheryl the U.S. Freedom Corps President's Call to Service Award, the highest volunteer award given by the President of the United States. Cheryl, who grew up in Palm Beach County, worked at The Palm Beach Post for nearly a decade before founding ImMEDIAcy Public Relations, Inc. She lives with her husband, Brian, in Palm Beach Gardens.

Dr. Alina Alonso
“I am a Family Practice Physician by training, but a Preventive Medicine/Public Health servant by choice.”
 

Dr. Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County Health Department Assistant Director, has been serving the medically underserved in Palm Beach County since 1989. She oversees the operations of one of the largest county health departments in the state. Its 900 plus employees provide a full range of primary and preventive services to seven health centers located throughout Palm Beach County. Dr. Alonso has trained in Bio-Chemical Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction since 1997. She has the experience of handling the clinical operations of the first case of inhalation Anthrax in the United States in the last twenty-five years. She has extensive training in communicable and emergent diseases.

In 1978, Dr. Alonso graduated from Barry University with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in biology, and a double minor in chemistry and mathematics. She then pursued her medical career, graduating from medical school in 1984 from Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. From there, she went to New York, and served as Chief Resident in the Family Practice Residency Program at St. Joseph Medical Center. After returning home, she finished a second residency in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the Palm Beach County Health Department. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice and a member of the Palm Beach County Medical Society. Dr. Alonso serves on the faculty for Nova Southeastern University, Health Professions Division, as a Clinical Assistant Professor. She remains very active in the Preventive Medicine/Public Health Residency Program at the Palm Beach County Health Department, training our future leaders.

Dr. Alonso combines her Cuban heritage and her experience and training in Mexico and Central America to stay active in minority health issues, patient rights advocacy, cultural diversity, and tolerance training. Her favorite pastime is snorkeling or scuba diving off the Florida Keys and the Bahamas Islands with her sons Gabriel and Alex.

Kathi Kretzer
“It is such an honor just to be on a list with all these remarkable women. It’s also amazing to receive such a prestigious award for doing something that I love to do. I am so happy to be a part of Executive Women and am grateful for the many friendships I have made as a result of this wonderful association.”

Kathi Kretzer, President of Kretzer Piano, is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education, principal in piano. As a professional musician she has performed for two Florida Gubernatorial Inaugurations, First Lady Laura Bush, and was ballpark organist for the Atlanta Braves for one season.

Kathi opened her first piano store in West Palm Beach in 1985, building her business on faith, courage and talent. Her business acumen has been recognized throughout the music industry, including Yamaha Piano VIP and Diamond Dealer Awards, The House of Baldwin Award, and Music Inc. Magazine’s Retailing Excellence Award.

Locally, Ms. Kretzer was recognized in 2008 as the Business Leader of the Year by the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce. She was named Small Business Person of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. She also received the Palm Beach County Cultural Council Service Award and the Northwood University Cultural Arts Innovation Award.

Children, music, and quality of life have woven a colorful tapestry for the community through Kathi’s commitment to music education. She has started programs such as Music for the Mind, a monthly concert series at the Harriet Himmel Theater in City Place, giving invaluable performing experience to over 7000 artists while raising money to help keep music in our schools; Keyboards for Kids at the Boys & Girls Club, including a musical instrument recycling drive providing instruments for home practice; Kretzer Kids, featuring young artists who perform for nursing homes and assisted living facilities; and David Crohan in Our Schools program, featuring concerts by blind pianist David Crohan, who inspires students to achieve their highest goals.

 

 
 


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