Angela Ward is feisty. Determined. And ready to take on any challenge.
So it’s fitting that she was recently awarded a 2013 Florida Glass Ceiling Award by the Florida Diversity Council.
For the 44-year-old president of Boca Raton based-Bluegreen Vacations’ Resort Title Agency, the honor is a testament to how hard she has worked. And, at the same time, how much more she wants to achieve.
“It is an honor to join other women who I see have definitely broken through,” says Ward, a graduate of Lincoln Law School in California. “It’s hard for me to see that I have actually broken through because I feel like I have so much more to accomplish, but I am honored that people see me as something to aspire to be. I am happy to be valued for who I am and what I bring to the table.”
From an early age, Ward, who is biracial, learned what it is like to be in the minority. Raised in Sacramento, Calif., by a single mom who worked nights, she also developed a can-do attitude.
“I was one of the original latchkey kids. I became a very independent kid,” she recalls. “My mother who was my mentor, always wanted me to be a lawyer. I was quite the negotiator when I was a kid.”
Ward wasn’t sure that was the career she wanted to pursue – but she’s since learned Mom really does know best. A former family lawyer, she has been working at Bluegreen since 2008 after moving here from Orlando with her husband, Jeff, (they have a 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, and two older daughters, Midori and India from Jeff’s previous marriage).
She manages the real estate transactions for Bluegreen’s time-share sales while also helping the 50 associates who report to her meet their goals.
And, she does everything she can to promote discussions about diversity. “We live in a global society where children generally are surrounded by a diverse group of individuals, however in business at the highest levels diversity is not yet cultivated and definitely not capitalized upon,” she explains. “The statistics are clear that businesses that embrace diversity and all its aspects have much higher profit margins, higher employee engagement and various other key metrics.”
Their challenge? “Today’s employers are faced with college students that are extremely familiar with and comfortable with diversity. But if companies continue down the path of what we know to be the traditional dynamic in the workplace, there is going to be an extreme disconnect with the next generation of great minds and growth opportunities could potentially be missed.”
What are your hobbies?
‘I love the beach and the ocean. And I love to dance. My husband, daughter and I dance at home, in the car, whenever we hear music.’
Who is your hero?
‘My mother who raised me without the support of my father. Single mothers perform a heroic feat, and mine inspired me to be a strong woman, independent and a good mother.’
What is the best book you have read?
‘Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio. It’s a children’s book (that she read with her daughter) about a young African-American girl who realizes the U.S. has never had a female president.’
What do you do to get away from it all?
‘I listen to music. Music has this amazing way of transporting you to the place or time you were when you first heard the song.’