Charlotte Pelton wears many hats, each with a distinct style. The owner of an eponymous consulting company that shepherds clients as they forge into the future maintains a demanding – yet flexible – schedule, switching from one hat to another with amazing grace.
“I’m a believer that we should – if we’re going to work on things in our community – really focus and give a lot,” Pelton says. “If you’re going to do something, make an impact.”
The corporate leader with a Mississippi drawl has made an impact in Palm Beach County, no matter what she has on top of her head.
As president of Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, Pelton has put her professional planning pedigree to use by developing a long-term strategy for the non-profit organization that awards educational endowments and grants to needy girls and women.
“Back in the day, this was the only women’s organization,” she says of the 33-year-old group. “Fast forward: that’s no longer the case. The world is a very different place from when those women founded it.”
Pelton has led a six-month stakeholder survey of today’s more-modern members to find out what they need, value and want in return for their annual dues. The effort also includes an internal assessment aimed at streamlining operations and an external component identifying similar networking entities competing for female executives.
“What’s the old saying?” she muses. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
The 62-year-old wife and mother also serves as senior warden at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church & School in her hometown of Palm Beach Gardens. The stark title comes with the same responsibilities as a chairwoman.
Pelton laughs as she remembers the moment the vestry asked her to serve.
“My husband said, ‘No! She’s already senior warden at home!’” she says.
The hat that’s hung on the rack the longest belongs to the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for The Everglades. Pelton has sat on the advisory board since 1998, carrying out the environment-minded mission of its namesake to educate students and the public on the importance of restoring a historic ecosystem.
A couple of hats have returned to their boxes. The Palm Beach International Film Festival turns 20 this year because the former CFO, COO and marketing director of the Cultural Council stepped up as one of its founders. The festival has brought international attention to the area by showcasing it as a beautiful location for movies, attracting Academy Award-winning stars to VIP parties and raising more than $1 million for film and television programs in local schools.
The hat that remains the most important and makes wearing all the others possible is known as Charlotte Pelton & Associates.
“I bring the business sense into the non-profit world,” Pelton says.
She has more than a dozen clients, most of them charities in need of marketing and resource development.
“I need to make sure that the dollars they spend on me are very well-invested,” Pelton says.
Her term at Executive Women of the Palm Beaches ends June 30 and, with that, she will have left her legacy. She’ll also have more time to cook, entertain and garden – her three passions.
“That’s my therapy,” she says.