2010 WILA Award Recipients

Christine Oberlink 

“I thought that homeless children were a product of third world countries. I was outraged to learn that every night more than one thousand children sleep in cars in Palm Beach County. I knew I wanted to help our community of vast wealth and unlimited resources provide hope for hard-working, low income families.”

Christine Oberlink has worked as a full time community volunteer since her retirement in 2002.She currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of United Way Palm Beach County. Christine has-been a volunteer with United Way since 1993,serving on various committees including Food, Shelter and Emergency Needs and as chair of the Tocqueville Society. Through her work at United Way, she became involved with Adopt-A-Family, an agency whose mission is to restore families in crisis to stability and self-sufficiency. She served on their board of directors for ten years in many different capacities. During her tenure as chairman, Adopt-A-Family raised the funds to acquire 24 additional apartments for homeless or at-risk families and to construct a community activities center.

 

She was recently appointed to the Commission on Affordable Housing by the Palm Beach Board of County Commissioners. In the early ’90s Christine worked as a volunteer for PRASAD, traveling to Ganeshpuri, India with a group of surgeons to participate in Eye Camps where each year more than 1,000 patients with cataracts had their sight surgically restored. In 2004,Christine piloted a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)site at Adopt-A-Family. VITA was started with a partnership between United Way Palm Beach County and the IRS after it was reported that more than $18 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (a government subsidy for low income working families) went unclaimed each year in Palm Beach County.

 

Since the pilot in 2004,the VITA program has grown to 20 sites through-out the county, utilizing more than 250 volunteers to complete over 8,500tax returns free of charge. Tax refunds this year will total $15.5 million creating a $70 million dollar economic impact on our community. Christine logs more than 300 volunteer hours a year for VITA alone.

Dr. Maria M. Vallejo 

“My personal mission is to facilitate collaboration among diverse groups, so that we may all reach our full potential.”

Dr. Maria M. Vallejo has served as Campus Provost and Chief Executive Officer for the Lake Worth Campus of Palm Beach State College (formally Palm Beach Community College) since 1999.PBSC’s Lake Worth Campus is the largest and longest established campus in the college district, serving an average of 25,000 students yearly. Maria has more than 30 years experience in higher education. Prior to coming to Palm Beach State College, she served as vice president at both Nassau Community College and Rockland Community College in New York, in addition to several private and public four-year colleges and universities.

 

Over the years Maria has been involved in many projects. She has coordinated and hosted the Palm Beach County School District’s Hispanic Career Day for the past four years, bringing an average of 400 to 500 high school students to the campus. In cooperation with the American Association of University Women, she helped organize the Sister to Sister Summit that focused on issues impacting girls. She began an Adopt-A-School Program at both Heritage and Diamond View Elementary Schools, creating a commit-tee to look at how PBSC could address their needs. She was instrumental in forming a partnership between PBSC and the Lake Worth Resource Center to provide educational opportunities for immigrant families.

 

Because of Maria’s tireless efforts with public schools, the Palm Beach County School District awarded the Lake Worth campus both the Silver and the Gold Awards for public sector contribution. Maria received her Ph.D.in Bilingual Curriculum Development/Higher Education from New York University. She earned two master's degrees from Columbia University and her bachelor's degree from Hampshire College. She actively serves on several national educational boards as well as local nonprofit boards. She is a member of the Women’s, Palms West, Lake Worth and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and Executive Women of the Palm Beaches.

Karen Clarke 

“It is inspiring to join such an impressive group of women who have contributed to our community’s vitality in so many powerful and creative ways. A special thank you to Executive Women for your leadership to keep us focused on excellence.”

Karen Clarke, as the Agency Principal of MarketingConcepts,Inc.,leads the agency’s brand marketing programs, communication studies and audits, public relations and event management efforts. She has designed and managed numerous multi-platform marketing, public policy and communication campaigns for Fortune 500 corporations, trade associations and not-for-profit organizations. Karen has extensive experience in creating and managing social and cause marketing campaigns and alliances, public-private partnerships and grassroots projects in Florida and throughout the U.S. Karen’s brand marketing, event and consumer education campaigns have received national recognition and awards including Ford Motor Company’s North American President’s Award for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign in2002.She has created and directed agency work for clients including AT&T, Sequoia Voting Systems, National Cable Television Association, Hertz Corporation, American Council of Life Insurance, South Florida Ford Dealers, Ford Motor Company, Florida AFL-CIO, Florida International University, American Express, USA NAFTA, National Cable Telecommunications Association, SMART PPN,U.S. Fire Administration and the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metro-Dade.

 

Karen is an alumna of Leadership Palm Beach County and a past president of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She has served as a director of the Girl Scouts of Palm Glades Council, Florida Women’s Foundation and as an officer and committee chair for Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. She was the inaugural chair for the South Florida Komen for the Cure’s Pink is Powerful Luncheon. She was twice appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Palm Beach County Housing Authority where she served as vice-chair. Karen is listed in Who’s Who of American Women. Karen earned a B.S. from the University of Ohio with a dual major in history and political science. She received a M.Ed. from Florida Atlantic University, where she is currently a doctoral candidate.

 

 

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