2013 WILA Award Recipients

Each Recipient this Year will receive the "Free To Be" award, designed by JoAnne Berkow, this year's 2013 WILA Chair


The Call for Nominations for our 2013 Recipients began on November 26, 2012.  Deadline to submit nominations for our 2013 WILA Recipients is February 1, 2013.  If you would like to nominate someone, download the nomination form here WILA 2013 Nomination Form.doc



2012 WILA Award Recipients

Cynthia Allen Gracey, Inspirational Leadership Award

Cynthia Allen Gracey is recipient of the 2012 Women In Leadership Award in the Inspirational Leadership category. This is a special designation only awarded when a woman deserving of the recognition is nominated for her lifelong example and service to Palm Beach County. As Founder and first President of Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, Gracey is also an attorney, a mother of two grown boys, and a visionary community activist. She continues to be involved in the organization she began thirty years ago as a role model, mentor, and advisor. She also leads the Gracey Society, made up of long time leaders of the organization. Gracey does all this while dealing with a life- long neuromuscular disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease or CMT.

Gracey chaired the Palm Beach County's Commission on the Status of Women and the Woman's Law Society at Villanova Law School where she received her juris doctorate. She received her BA with honors from the University of Hawaii.  She co-founded Path Consultants and worked as a personal development consultant for over 10 years after leaving the law. She was selected by Modern Salon as one of the top 100 consultants to the industry.  Cynthia was also an adjunct professor at Neill Quality College in New Orleans and on the advisory board of Upledger Institute in Florida.

Cynthia Gracey has a global background, having lived in places like Korea, Honolulu, Manhattan, and Philadelphia. When she came to Palm Beach County in 1980, she was taken aback by the good old boys’ network that was in existence as that time. In obtaining a position at a law firm in this tight knit community, she was told not to wear her pink colored suits to court and to get used to being called “sweetie” by the judges. As a Villanova law student who fought for a simple request that a women’s restroom be located in the law school, Gracey did not allow such injustice to go unchecked. She and her group of influential women friends began Executive Women of the Palm Beaches thirty years ago, to raise the consciousness of the community and create a supportive network where women could feel safe, share experiences, and grow together. They wanted members who were executives and professionals, but also had a community service background. Since that time, she has raised her two sons, been a caregiver to her parent and other family members, and also managed her own physical disability. Cynthia Allen Gracey serves as an inspirational leader in Palm Beach County and we are proud to recognize her on EWPB’s 30th Anniversary for her service to this community.

Dorothy Bradshaw

Dorothy Bradshaw, graduate of Northwood University and an "Outstanding Alumni Award" winner, is employed at the South Florida Water Management District as Procurement Bureau Chief where she serves as a mentor for the District's Mentoring Program.

Dorothy's non-profit board representation spans nearly three decades. With a focus on children and health issues, she has been a champion of fundraising efforts leading teams of volunteers to raise tens of thousands of dollars for children's programs and health research.

Dorothy’s service to the Boys and Girl Clubs began as a member of the West Palm Beach Unit Board as president from 1986-1989. During her tenure, Dorothy volunteered for the Annual Car Show, the PGA Senior Golf event and as chair for five years of the “Prince and Pauper Auction”, raising more than $50,000. Dorothy served on the Corporate Board of the Boys and Girls Club from 1990-2001 and is currently an Advisory Board member.

As a board member for Junior Achievement, Dorothy served as co-chair of the annual golf classic. Because of her tireless efforts, she has secured sponsorships and auction items resulting in raising more than $80,000 for the programs in Palm Beach County through Junior Achievement. In 2004 Dorothy persuaded her husband to donate what is now known as “Sheriff for a Day” to the “Watch a Rising Star” event for Junior Achievement. This item is now the highlight of many charity events raising thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations throughout the county.

The American Lung Association benefits from Dorothy’s dedication to health issues. She has serve d as an Honorary Co-Chair of the “Food Is Art” event for five years, securing countless auction items and providing financial support throughout her more than ten years on the board. Dorothy served as the co-chair for the “2009 Breather Luncheon” and was the recipient of the 2010 “Inspire Life Award.”

As a champion of the fight against breast cancer, Dorothy served as co-chair of the “2008 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk” and was chairman in 2009. This event raised more than $120,000 for the American Cancer Society. Dorothy served as the Parole Board Captain for the “Jail and Bail” event in 1995 and 1996. As a member of EWPB for over 25 years, Dorothy has served on a variety of committees, the Board of Directors and as president in 1993-1994.


Private Sector

Dr. Maureen Whelihan

Dr Whelihan is a board-certified OB/GYN who has practiced in West Palm Beach, FL since 1997. She graduated Alpha Omega Alpha from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and completed her residency at the University of F lorida – Shands Jacksonville. She practices gynecology in West Palm Beach and is a founding partner in the Center for Sexual Health and Education which is based in West Palm Beach and Charlotte NC. She is a Past President of the Palm Beach County Medical Society, and the Immediate Past President of the Florida OBGYN Society. She has a series on XM RADIO 160 Sexual Medicine and Health and makes a regular appearance each month on NBC’s Charlotte Today Show. Dr Whelihan serves on the Board of Managers for the Healthcare Committee of the Palms West Chamber of Commerce. She is a volunteer physician for the Project Access program in Palm Beach County since 2006. She has been awarded “America’s Top Obstetricians and Gynecologists” and “Top Doctors in the United States.” In 2003, 2009 she was honored by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Palm Beach Illustrated as “Woman of the Year” and in 2009 nominated by the Lupus Foundation as one of the Best and Brightest Women in Palm Beach County.

Public Sector

Rena Blades

Rena Blades, CEO of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council has been chosen by Executive Women of the Palm Beaches to receive its 2012 Women In Leadership Award for the public sector.

Blades will be recognized at the annual Women In Leadership Awards Luncheon on May 3 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, with recipients Dorothy Bradshaw for the volunteer sector and Dr. Maureen Whelihan, private sector.

Blades has been CEO of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council since 2004. She 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), the West Palm Beach Downtown Master Plan Advisory Committee (2006-09) and the Capital Campaign Committee for the Center for Creative Education; a grant panelist for the Bank of America Neighborhoods for Excellence program (2007), chair of the Palm Beach County Economic Summit Quality of Place Committee (2005), co-chair of the Resource Development Committee of Palm Beach County School District’s Arts in Education Comprehensive Plan (2005-06) and a volunteer at St. Mark’s Episcopal School, 2005-2011.


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