Women in Business Luncheon


by Sharon Quercioli

Photos courtesy of David Randell Photography www.drrphoto.com

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The Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Council presented their quarterly luncheon on Wednesday, March 28 at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa. The keynote speaker was Dr. Ava Parker, President of Palm Beach State College, with the topic of her discussion, “My Journey…My Rewards.”

ava parkerAva L. Parker, J.D., President, Palm Beach State College
Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker leads Palm Beach County’s largest higher education institution with a strategic approach emphasizing innovation, student success, and business and community collaboration. Parker is the first female president in the history of the institution, which opened in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college. Under Parker’s leadership, the College has opened a fifth campus, improved student success rates and increased support for the College from both public and private sources.

PBSC also has set enrollment records, with the highest fall enrollment in the College’s history achieved in fall 2016. An esteemed educational leader at the local, state and national levels, Parker serves on the Advisory Committee of Presidents of the Association of Community College Trustees. She also is the support council’s liaison for the Association of Florida Colleges? Council of Presidents.

Before joining Palm Beach State, Parker was executive vice president and chief operating officer at Florida Polytechnic University. She served for more than a decade on the Florida Board of Governors of the State University System, including serving as board chair; she also served on the University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees and was general counsel at Edward Waters College.

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Parker’s leadership extends beyond the educational realm. She is on the board of directors of Orchid Island Capital, a publicly-traded specialty finance company. She is a member of the Women’s International Leadership Forum and a member of Leadership Florida Class XXI. She also served as president of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association. The South Florida Business Journal has named her to its 2017 Power Leaders List, and she was profiled recently in the Florida Leadership publication. She also was recently selected by Legacy magazine as one of South Florida?s Most Powerful and Influential Black Leaders and Educator of the Year.

Active in community organizations, Parker is on the board of directors of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, the Economic Council, the Central Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, where she also serves on the Strategic Planning Committee. She is a member of the West Palm Beach Chapter of the Links, and she was honored as a female leader by the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.

Earlier in her professional career, Parker was a partner in the Jacksonville law firm of Lawrence & Parker, general counsel or the 11th Episcopal District of the AME Church, assistant general counsel for the state Department of Transportation, and assistant public defender in Miami-Dade County.

A native of Santa Rosa County in Northwest Florida, Parker earned her B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida. She and her husband, Joe Gibbons, are the parents of twins, Bailey and Parker.

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For more information about the Women In Business and the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.pbnchamber.com.

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