Monday Meeting: Sarah Alsofrom chairs Chamber of Palm Beaches


Sarah Alsofrom is the chairman of the board of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. She is also a key leader at the Hanley Center Foundation.

In today’s Monday Meeting, Alsofrom discusses the foundation’s work and what she wants for the chamber.

Name: Sarah Alsofrom

Title: Executive director of development & community relations at Hanley Center Foundation in West Palm Beach

Hometown: I’m a Florida native who grew up in Palm Beach Gardens and North Palm Beach and was born at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

Where you live now: West Palm Beach

About Hanley Center Foundation: Hanley Center Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to provide financial aid to patients who could not otherwise afford addiction treatment.

Just as important, our foundation does work in local schools, both public and private including Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach — a school I attended! Our Prevention and Education Department provides age-appropriate substance abuse programs to elementary, middle and high school students. We also offer presentations to parents and caregivers.

Part of my job is to look for corporate and private funding so we can help more people with access to care and serve more schools and kids with our prevention programming. We produce two annual events – our 20th Annual Hanley Center Foundation Family Picnic was Sunday and our 16th Annual Golf Classic is set for March 30 at Old Marsh Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens. I welcome people to participate in these great events!

What makes your business unique?

There are so many people touched by the disease of addiction. We provide prevention and education programs to ensure that young people make healthy decisions about how they lead their lives. Stop a problem before it starts. When statistics say one in four Americans will have an alcohol or drug problem at some point, nearly everyone we know is touched by substance abuse in some way. Our foundation is here to start conversations about prevention and to help those who need access to quality care.

What is your goal for the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches?

To bring more talented, successful business women on our board of directors and into leadership positions. We want to continue the chamber’s growth and build upon our strategic alliances with the Business Development Board and Economic Council of Palm Beach County.

Plus, this May, we’ll showcase our Women’s 5K/10K Race. Iva and Dennis Grady should receive the credit for bringing another signature event to our chamber.

First paying job and what you learned from it:

Baby sitting was my first and primary job throughout high school. I had steady work with the same families. It takes a lot of organization and responsibility to care for young children. One also learns negotiation, mediation and arbitration skills when dealing with siblings!

First break in the business:

I have two: The late Bill Brooks hired me to work at WPTV Channel 5 immediately after college graduation. The second was Don Beuttenmuller, who hired me to work at the Gunster law firm. Through these opportunities, many doors opened up for me. I’ll always be grateful to these two men who I consider mentors and father figures.

Best business book you ever read: Anything written by Malcolm Gladwell.

Best piece of business advice you ever received:

Attorneys Michelle Diffenderfer and Christine Hanley have said to me that to manage everything in life, our professional and personal lives are often seamless. Don’t compartmentalize. Our business colleagues become our friends and our friends become our business colleagues.

What do you tell young people about your business?

It’s the same advice I’d give in any business. Preparation and perseverance are the keys to success.

What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County?

Tremendous growth and energy

Where we can find you when you are not at the office?

You can find me at Yoga Palm Beach in Palm Beach Gardens or Pilates Studio One in West Palm Beach.

On Sunday afternoons, I eat lunch with my mother at the bCafé in Bloomingdales, Gardens Mall.

What is the most important trait you look for when hiring?

There are several important traits: honesty, motivation, intelligence, commitment and enthusiasm.


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