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Meet The Influencers of Palm Beach County

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Photo courtesy of JASON NUTTLE

Andrew Kato

Producing Artistic Director/Chief Executive, Maltz Jupiter Theatre

Americans for the Arts, a national organization that brings together those who support and sustain all things culturally, estimates its industry generates a seven-to-one return on investment.

In that case, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre—led by Producing Artistic Director and Chief Executive Andrew Kato—funnels an approximate $56 million into community coffers every year.

“People don't understand that theater is a business and that there are great advantages to having the No. 1 regional theater in the lower United States in their own backyard,” he says, referring to a ranking by the League of Resident Theatres. “It is truly an investment in our community by supporting our growth.”

The theater is in the midst of a massive renovation project that will increase the size of the stage to make it Broadway-compatible.

“Pre-Broadway shows—they all start at a regional theater somewhere, including ‘Hamilton',” Kato says.

The Believe Campaign needs to raise $7 million this season to complete this construction phase, “but getting the building finished is not the end result; it's the start,” he says.

The 55-year-old has been at the helm of the beloved facility since 2004; in that time, he has quintupled its staff.

“We're definitely an economic driver,” Kato says. “Area restaurants—when we're full, they're full.”

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“As long as people are still listening and want us around, we'll keep with it.”

Mo Foster and Sally Sevareid

Co-Hosts, ‘The Mo & Sally Morning Show'

Their personality-driven program has propelled them to the pinnacle of their profession.

Mo Foster and Sally Sevareid, who wake up South Florida each day on “The Mo & Sally Morning Show,” have been at it for so long—26 years, 16 of those on KOOL 1055—listeners feel as if they personally know the husband-and-wife team.

“They know about our cats, that I like to cook, that we drink wine—so I get that a lot,” Sevareid says.

“That's exactly it—we're an open book, so they know pretty much everything,” Foster adds.

The royals of radio rule the airwaves from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., dishing on everything from news oddities and viral videos to talking about the everyday humor in people's lives.

“We prepare with our life,” Foster, 54, says. “We make a lot of notes just about what we encounter on a daily basis.”

“We've become professional observers,” Sevareid, 56, says. “It's a lot of fun.”

They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in November.

“She's my best friend, and she doesn't annoy me,” Foster laughs.

“I'm not going to say the same,” Sevareid laughs back.

The duo plans to stay at WOLL-FM for the foreseeable future.

“As long as people are still listening and want us around, we'll keep with it,” Foster says.

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“Ever since I became a mother, I have tried to shine a light on issues that many families face that others might not want to discuss.”

Angela Cruz Ledford

Communications Specialist, Florida Power & Light Company Beauty and Lifestyle Blogger, ‘Beauty News with Angela Cruz'

She moved to Palm Beach County after accepting a job as a reporter for WPTV NewsChannel 5. Then, Angela Cruz Ledford took a position as the media relations manager for the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Another high-profile job followed at Discover The Palm Beaches, where she served as public relations and communications manager.

Now, Ledford is a communications specialist at Florida Power & Light Company. She promotes initiatives such as the FPL SolarNow program to help fund the development of solar canopies and solar trees in public places like museums, parks and schools. The 38-year-old spends her spare time blogging about beauty and lifestyle topics for “Beauty News with Angela Cruz,” her well-followed website and YouTube channel. She unboxes products, samples makeup and raves about magnetic eyelashes and other trends. Ledford also shares anecdotes about being a mother.

“Ever since I became a mother, I have tried to shine a light on issues that many families face that others might not want to discuss,” she says. “I feel like when I talk about being pregnant, my struggles—that I haven't washed my hair in three days because I don't have time—and all the things I've been through that weren't so pretty, that it's making a difference in the community.”

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“I am extremely fortunate to chair one of Palm Beach County's cultural jewels and best-run not-for-profit organizations.”

Jeffrey Stoops

Chairman, Kravis Center

Now appearing on his proverbial stage are the board of directors, the members of the committee and the chief executive officer of the Kravis Center.

As chairman of the performing arts venue in West Palm Beach, Jeffrey Stoops produces the agendas, directs the meetings and reviews all projects and tasks with the CEO. This season, he will oversee the wrap of a renovation project and the Kravis 2020 campaign.

“I am extremely fortunate to chair one of Palm Beach County's cultural jewels and best-run not-for-profit organizations,” he says. “While I am certain that the Kravis Center is recognized today for the great programming it brings to our community, particularly to our children, and for the use of its facilities by many other organizations, we can always build upon that success.”

In addition to serving on the boards of Children's Healthcare Charity, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties and Seminole Boosters, Inc. and managing the Stoops Family Foundation, the 61-year-old Delray Beach resident is the CEO at SBA Communications Corporation and is in charge of business initiatives, investor relations and risk assessments.

“We are the seventh-largest public company in the state of Florida by market capitalization, we are an S&P 500 company and we do business in 14 countries,” Stoops says. “I stay pretty busy.”

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“I'm more of an enabler than an influencer. I enable scientists to be all they can be.”

Douglas Bingham

Executive Vice President of Florida Operations, Scripps Research

His presence on the Jupiter campus of Scripps Research is paving the way for biological breakthroughs.

As the institute's executive vice president of Florida operations, Douglas Bingham stands behind its study of basic and applied, curiosity-driven biomedical research, in addition to other major pressing health concerns.

“I'm more of an enabler than an influencer,” he says. “I enable scientists to be all they can be.”

Bingham recently facilitated a $5 million commitment to buy a cryo-electron microscope, which enables the visualization of biological molecules like antibodies, proteins and viruses, and in 2020 will kick off a $15 million campaign to build a Molecular Imaging Center using the technology.

“Science, at the end of the day, is a very robust marketplace, and you have to compete in the marketplace for resources,” Bingham says. “One of my jobs is to get out there and sell what we do and get support for it.”

When he is not helping his team of scientists test and prove their ideas and theories, he either is riding his bicycle around town, hanging out by the beach or dining at a waterfront restaurant.

“North Palm Beach County has a real nice laid-back vibe to it,” the 66-year-old Juno Beach resident says. “I've always liked Florida.”

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“A chamber of commerce brings people together... we all know you can do more things together than you can do alone.”

Noel Martinez

President and CEO, Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce

He considers himself “a chamber person deep down inside”—probably because he has been involved with the organization for nearly 18 years.

“There's something special about a chamber of commerce, especially our chamber of commerce,” says Noel Martinez, president and CEO of Palm Beach North. “It's part of who I am.”

The Hialeah native moved to the area to open Bonefish Grill in the Shoppes of Oakbrook. Once there, he joined the Chamber. As a member, he volunteered at the ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival, created the Small Business Advisory Council's inaugural expo and eventually joined the staff as director of membership development. He left the chamber in 2014 for other pursuits, including executive stints at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and Leadership Palm Beach County. His return was inevitable.

“When this opportunity presented itself, I went after it,” the 42-year-old Jupiter resident says. “For me, it was just the next step in my career.”

His goal is to carry out the non-profit's mission of supporting local businesses and championing sustainable growth.

“A chamber of commerce brings people together,” Martinez says. “It brings people the ability to collaborate. And we all know you can do more things together than you can do alone.”

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“The absence of total victory is unacceptable.”

Jeff Atwater

Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief Financial Officer, Florida Atlantic University

Cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases among other dementia-related ravages will be discovered at Florida Atlantic University's John D. MacArthur Campus, predicts Jeff Atwater, vice president of strategic initiatives and chief financial officer.

“We will do this on that campus,” he says. “We will solve this in Jupiter, Florida; that is what we have set our sights on.”

The former state representative and senator who had a long career in banking is putting both skillsets to use in his newly created position. In conjunction with his fiscal duties, his job entails facilitating partnerships with the neighboring Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience as well as Scripps Research.

“We believe we have a responsibility to deliver on the high expectations that Florida committed to in bringing these incredible research institutes here,” he says. “We believe we have a responsibility to raise our game. Anything less out of us would be letting the people down in the community, the state of Florida and even the world.”

The 61-year-old North Palm Beach resident believes such advances will happen in his lifetime.

“The next 15 to 20 years are going to be exciting,” Atwater says. “I think we will tell you that the absence of total victory is unacceptable.”

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“It all comes down to what we can do to make everyone's lives better.”

Raphael Clemente

Executive Director, West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority

He is the eyes and ears of West Palm Beach's core community—an area that encompasses buildings, businesses and bustle between the Royal Park Bridge and the Flagler Memorial Bridge from the Intracoastal Waterway to Australian Avenue.

As executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, Raphael Clemente has the nuts-and-bolts job of keeping the public realm landscaped, litter-free and looking good.

“A lot of what we do as an organization is to focus on the basics,” Clemente says. “Is it safe? Is it clean? Is it well-lit? We always try to stay on top of all of those details that make the place appealing and attractive.”

The goal of the special taxing district is to promote the vibrancy of the city and create cultural, economic and social programs that engage and entice residents and visitors. The more than two dozen downtown murals were painted by local artists and by national and international artists in partnership with the CANVAS Outdoor Museum Show.

“When I think of my job, I think of it in terms of, ‘Can I attract another business?'” the 51-year-old urban planner says. “But I think also of, ‘Can I attract people?' It all comes down to what we can do to make everyone's lives better.”