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Press Release: Women Executive Leadership honors 32 Florida public companies that have advanced gender diversity in the boardroom



Lisa Pelish, Communications Chair
561 477 9076
August 17, 2017
News Release
For Immediate Release


Women Executive Leadership honors 32 Florida public companies that have advanced gender diversity in the boardroom

Companies will be honored for their advancements in adding or increasing female executives to their board of directors


Tampa, Florida — Women Executive Leadership (WEL) honored 32 Florida public companies on October 18, 2017 for accelerating the advancement of gender diversity in their boardrooms and C-Suites.


Women Executive Leadership is a non-profit organization that advocates, educates and connects accomplished executive women. WEL is a member-driven organization, reflective of Florida executive women with a national reach through its alignment with 2020 Women on Boards. For more than a decade, WEL periodically prepares a census of top public companies headquartered in Florida, as listed by net revenue in Florida Trend magazine.  Using the most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including annual reports and proxy statements, the WEL census evaluates the number of women on boards and in executive positions. Based on those results, WEL brings leaders together to celebrate and reaffirm the financial and social benefits of diversity in the boardroom and corporate leadership.


“We were thrilled to recognize Florida’s top public companies that embrace gender diversity in the boardroom and executive suite at our Women Executive Leadership 2017 Corporate Salute event,” said Cindy Kushner, WEL Florida Chairman Emeritus and Founder. Kushner is also a partner at Crowe Horwath LLP. “Thirty-two of Florida’s leading public companies have either added a woman to their board of directors or increased the number of women currently on their board since WEL’s last census in 2014. Clearly, organizations are recognizing the financial and industry expertise, as well as the importance of having the female perspective of diversity in the boardroom and C-suite. While we are making progress, we still have a ways to go. I congratulate all of the companies that were recognized, along with our Trailblazer Award winner, Evelyn Follit, who has helped pave the wave for past and future leaders.”

Below are the companies that were recognized with the Breakthrough Award for naming one or more women to their board of directors for the first time since WEL’s 2014 census listed according to Florida Trend 2017 revenue rankings:


  • Fidelity National Financial Inc.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
  • Roper Technologies, Inc.
  • Spirit Airlines
  • SBA Communications Corp
  • FirstService Corp
  • HEICO Corp
  • Intertape Polymer Group
  • Universal Insurance Holdings Inc.
  • National Retail Properties Inc.
  • PGT Inc.
  • Bankrate Inc.


The following companies were recognized with the Elevate Award for adding women to their board of directors since WEL’s 2014 census listed according to Florida Trend 2017 revenue rankings:


  • Tech Data Corporation
  • AutoNation Inc.
  • Jabil, Inc.
  • Carnival Corporation
  • NextEra Energy, Inc.
  • CSX Corporation
  • Office Depot
  • Lennar Corp
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
  • HSN, Inc.
  • MEDNAX Inc.
  • Dycom Industries, Inc.
  • Chico’s FAS, Inc.
  • Tupperware Brands Corporation
  • Sykes Enterprises, Inc.
  • ILG, Inc.
  • SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
  • Kforce, Inc.
  • BankUnited, Inc.
  • Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc.


The WEL 2017 Corporate Salute event held on October 18, 2017 officially honored Florida headquartered companies making advancements in gender diversity in the boardroom and featured keynote speaker Lillian Garcia EVP and Chief HR Officer of Tupperware Brands (Forbes.com Platinum 400 – America’s Best Big Companies | 2008-2015 Fortune Most Admired Company ). “There’s a reason Tupperware has landed on Forbes’ most admired companies list eight years in a row,” said Tupperware Chairman and CEO, Rick Goings, who is one of the longest serving CEOs of a global public company.  Lillian Garcia shared Rick Goings passion and dedication to promoting gender equality in business since  he joined the brand almost 20 years ago and has been urging other companies to do the same. Tupperware Brands exemplifies the mission of WEL, as they are at 50% female board representation, and consistently promote women to leadership roles.


The event featured Cynthia Smoot, Emmy award winning News Anchor, FOX 13 | WTVT, as its emcee and also honored Evelyn Follit, Founder and President of Follit Associates as a Trailblazer who has made significant professional and personal contributions to promote, recommend and mentor women. Evelyn’s board appointments include: Marine Max, TECO Energy, Nautilus, Winn-Dixie, Linens-n-Things, and Catalina.



About WEL Florida


Women Executive Leadership, Inc. (WEL) advocates, educates and connects accomplished women. WEL is a not-for-profit organization whose primary purpose is to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards and in the executive suite through advocating, educating and connecting accomplished leaders. WEL’s membership is reflective of executive women across diverse businesses in Florida. For more information, visit www.welflorida.org.