I joined Community Partners of South Florida because I believe in building strong families and strong communities where love, trust and dignity can safely live. I believe in making Palm Beach County a place where all are welcome and where all can thrive and achieve their goals. Our work and community advocacy calls to me, and I am proud to serve as Board Chair. -Charlotte Pelton
Charlotte Pelton joined our CPSFL board in 2016 and became vice chair in 2017. She also serves our organization as the chair of our development committee. Charlotte’s passion for our organization’s important role in the community inspires her to advocate for and make connections with local leaders who can further our impact. Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Charlotte earned her bachelor’s in marketing from the University of Southern Mississippi becoming a resident of South Florida in 1980 when she worked for Florida Power & Light Company in Miami.
As president of Charlotte Pelton & Associates since 1995, she is committed to providing superior consulting services that give organizations strategic tools to maximize their potential for success. She has managed and directed many capital campaigns for clients while providing planning, marketing, and resource development services. Charlotte has also served on several local boards in various capacities including as founding chair of the Suncoast High School Foundation and as president of Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. Charlotte’s passion for service informs and inspires, and her many connections in government and business through both her work and personal endeavors are instrumental to the success of our organization. She and her husband, Larry, have four children and nine grandchildren. Charlotte loves to cook for her family and friends and create mosaics with stone, tile and other materials.
Brian Lynott served on our development committee in 2014 before he joined our CPSFL board in mid-2016 and later became treasurer in February 2017. Brian grew up in the inner city of Scranton, Pennsylvania with an early awareness of crime and poverty. He has a bachelor’s in human resources and personnel management from the University of Scranton and a master’s in business administration and management from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Brian moved to South Florida in the 1990s and has over 25 years of professional banking experience including coordinating bank acquisitions and systems conversions and establishing and maintaining community reinvestment activities (CRAs) throughout the state.
Brian was a regional executive manager for AmTrust Bank, a division of New York Community Bank, for 13 years and is now the retail division head for Valley Bank and responsible for the retail branch sales, service, and operation for the east coast of Florida. Brian appreciates how CPSFL staff, volunteers, committee members, and board members are passionate about what they do to improve the lives of those in need in our area. He enjoys contributing in ways both big and small, whether a holiday toy drive or a strategic decision while learning about the work needed to address local housing, social services, and community support issues. When not changing the odds for others, Brian enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Dee, and their two teenage girls, as well as landscaping, swimming, biking and running -- with three Boston Marathons and 12 full-distance Ironman Triathlons completed (so far).
Ricky Petty Sr.
Ricky Petty Sr. joined our CPSFL board in March 2019. Raised in Boynton Beach, Florida, he is the project director of Palm Healthcare Foundation’s Healthier Boynton Beach initiative led by Pathways to Prosperity. He is the former director of BRIDGES at Lake Park. Ricky earned his bachelor’s in sociology from Bethune-Cookman University and was recognized in 2017 with the school’s “40 Under 40 Movers and Shakers” award.
Ricky is passionate about improving the lives of children and families and sharing his life experiences to build bridges to success. By surrounding himself with positive influences as an adolescent, Ricky overcame a number of challenges. His broad professional experience includes working with serious and violent offenders through Workforce Alliance and the Department of Corrections, serving as a volunteer coordinator and director of the Beacon Center for Children’s Home Society, and working as a licensed real estate broker. Ricky is a 2011 Nonprofits First Rising Leader and serves in a volunteer capacity with a number of organizations and nonprofit boards including Genesis Community Health, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and St. Paul AME Church. He’s also a proud father, mentor, life coach and motivational speaker to local youth and young adults.
Rev. James B. (Jim) Cook joined our CPSFL board in June 2018, bringing a diverse leadership background and a heart for service. Jim has served as rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School in Palm Beach Gardens since 2007, when he moved from Minnetonka, Minnesota. Jim grew up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s and a master’s in journalism. He served as director of media for Arthur Andersen & Co. in Chicago and Minneapolis prior to beginning his seminary studies at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1993, Jim has served congregations in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. During his tenure at St. David’s in Minnetonka, Jim led the building of a 25,000-square-foot headquarters for a large food pantry on the church campus. At St. Mark’s, he has served as a founder of Family Promise of North/Central Palm Beach and helped to create Hearts of Palm, a ministry that provides assistance to low-income homeowners with city code violations. In 2017, St. Mark’s bought and renovated several homes that are being used for supportive housing. Jim also recently led St. Mark’s through a $25-million renovation of the church-and-school campus that took nearly six years to complete. He is the co-founder and chairman of the board of The Mama Ada Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds for school fees and farmer assistance in rural northwest Kenya. He and his wife, Karen, have two grown sons.
Cornesha Dukes-Chisholm joined our CPSFL board in March 2016 and served as secretary from February 2017 to September 2018. Prior to this, Cornesha worked for our organization professionally from 2004-15 as a project director in our community services department. She grew up in Belle Glade and earned her bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Florida.
With more than 20 years of valuable experience in the local non-profit sector, Cornesha is currently the vice president of family services at the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County in Boynton Beach. She is a huge asset to our board with her vast knowledge of the community resources and services within the Belle Glade, South Bay, Pahokee, and Canal Point Areas and her experience with adherence and compliance to federal, state, and local regulation.
Scott Hansel joined the Board of Directors in August 2023 after serving as the chief executive officer for seven years. Scott has extensive senior leadership experience with national healthcare corporations, small businesses, and start-up enterprises. As an entrepreneur, Scott has developed several new businesses from concept to nationally-recognized best practice levels. Since 2011, he has been a strong supporter of the life-changing work of CPSFL on a financial and volunteer basis.
An excellent listener, creative thinker, and visionary, Scott is a highly collaborative and contemplative leader. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Bellarmine University and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Kentucky. In 2011, he became founder and managing member of Laguna Gardens, providing consulting on operations management, strategic design and implementation, business and organizational development, and executive performance enhancement.
A member of Leadership Palm Beach County’s Engage Class of 2018-19, Scott has shared his professional experience and talents in a number of capacities with several local nonprofits including Providencia WPB, UniverCity, Circles USA, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and the Unicorn Children’s Foundation. Scott has served as a member of the board of directors of multiple organizations including the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living, and he has spent several years developing a methodology for contemplative leadership, such as the curriculum for Spiritually Aware Leadership Training (S.A.L.T., Inc.). Originally from southeastern Kentucky, Scott, his wife, Robin, and their college-aged son have called Palm Beach County home for the past 15 years. Rarely one to sit still long, Scott loves to be outside and enjoys running, cycling, swimming, fishing, and golfing.
Charlyn Lowery joined our CPSFL board in July of 2016. She was born and raised in the Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach, Florida communities. Charlyn earned a bachelor’s in social science education from Florida State University, a master’s in public administration with a minor in nonprofit management from Florida Atlantic University, and a specialist degree in educational leadership from Nova University.
Charlyn has been an educator for 15 years and is currently Vice Principal at Palm Beach Lakes High School. Within her many roles at exclusively Title 1 schools, Charlyn has tirelessly advocated for and motivated at-risk youth to succeed and promoted community programs that ensure positive outcomes for students and their families. She’s been a Neighborhood Accountability board member for the city of West Palm Beach since 2014 and an I-Teach Mentor since 2011. She says she is honored to serve on the board of an organization with a mission and vision that passionately serves the ones who need it most. Charlyn’s insight regarding the questions, concerns, and needs of the community are extremely valuable and expand our team’s perspective. Charlyn is married to Cortney, and they have two children. She loves to travel, dance and read.
Jean Wihbey joined our board in September 2019. She is the past vice president of workforce development and provost for Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens campuses. As chief executive officer for both campuses, she was responsible for providing leadership and inspiration to over 20,000 students and 2100 faculty, staff and administrators. She earned her bachelor’s in economics from Fairfield University, her master’s in community counseling from Southern Connecticut State University, and her doctorate in educational psychology with a concentration in college leadership from the University of Connecticut. Prior to moving to Florida in 2009, she was the dean of academic and student affairs at Northwestern Connecticut Community College for six years.
Jean is the economic and business development manager for the City of Riviera Beach where she has started a new department for the city’s growth with commercial, industrial and residential development, redevelopment, workforce and business opportunities. She enjoys community service and believes that strong partnerships and alliances benefit everyone. In addition to serving CPSFL, she is actively involved in the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, the PGA Corridor Association’s board as past president, the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center governing board as vice chair, and the board for the Center for Creative Education. She also participates in the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County as well as the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches. Her many awards and accolades include the 2017 Executive Women of the Palm Beaches Women in Leadership Award (WILA) in the public sector, the 2016 Women’s Chamber of Commerce Giraffe Award, and the 2015 Cancer Alliance of Hope and Healing award for Magnificent Leader. She loves music, cheese and a good barbecue and is often spotted donating her time and organizational talents at a number of important fundraising events.
Whitney Walker joined the CPSFL board in April 2020 and is the strategic planning committee chair. Whitney is an innovative community impact leader with over 15 years of experience in public affairs, social governance, and strategic branding. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Whitney began her career in media, marketing, and social responsibility in New York City. After developing platforms with Tyra Banks and Sean "Diddy" Combs, Whitney launched a mission-led brand management firm, Brandchild, catapulting author Wes Moore's "The Work" to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
In 2017, Whitney returned to her hometown of West Palm Beach to develop infrastructures for Florida Power & Light Company's role as an advocate for the communities it serves, a mission closely aligned with the goals of CPSFL. As NextEra Energy's senior community relations specialist, Whitney oversees the NextEra Energy Foundation's $30 million social impact investment, which has directly benefited 4000 lives since its 2021 inception. Her leadership has impacted 11 new STEM workforce development programs, ten new scholarship programs, seven new permanent endowments, and 53 strategic partnerships and alignments with national and local organizations advancing racial equity for the Black community.
In addition to serving CPSFL, Whitney is president of the nationally award-winning African American Professional Employee Group, NextEra Energy's largest and oldest employee resource group. Whitney generously uses her gift of synthesizing and storytelling as a sought-after subject matter expert, speaker, and panelist on the propositional value of social sustainability. She is an executive board member and chair of the communications committee of the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County. She is also a board member of the Palm Beach State College Foundation. Whitney is a member of the West Palm Beach chapter of The Links, Incorporated, the Junior League of the Palm Beaches' Community Advisory Council, and Leadership Palm Beach County's 2020 Focus Class. Whitney and her husband, Toshawnka Walker, love spending time with their two-year-old daughter, Zora, being active at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, bike riding, going to the beach, and traveling.
* After 12 years of service, Allison LaBossiere stepped down from the Community Partners of South Florida Board of Directors.
We are grateful to Allison for her commitment to Changing the Odds for Palm Beach County's children and families.
Allison LaBossiere retired in 2011 after almost 30 years in banking. She has served as a member of the board since 2008 and became Chair in 2015 and Immediate Past Chair in 2020. Allison is dedicated and active in serving the residents of Palm Beach County through Community Partners and other organizations. She provides excellent leadership of our board and a willingness and availability to help with whatever is needed.
Look back at John Corbett’s long history with Community Partners of South Florida and you will see times of triumph, and you will see times of desperation when the only thing keeping the organization afloat was his steadfast commitment to the people who worked there. As John puts it, “They were a bunch of saints.”
Just about anyone who knows John would say the same about him.
“The Guy Who Talks About Affordable Housing”
While affordable housing is at the forefront of today’s greatest challenges in Palm Beach County, John has been around long enough to know it is nothing new. He was first drawn to the cause by William Finley, a nationally renowned urban planner, city builder and developer. John, a successful entrepreneur and developer, first partnered with Bill in the 1980s on two affordable housing projects in the county, including a downtown West Palm Beach building where the Kravis Center stands today.
As John puts it, “We weren’t developing affordable units just to build housing. We were building communities.”
The two were inextricably linked through their desire to advance affordable housing through their companies and through public policy. Bill served as the chair of the Palm Beach County Affordable Housing Task Force in the 1980s. The task force recommended that the county form a public-private partnership to address the need for affordable housing in the county. As chair, Bill took the initiative to form the Housing Partnership (HP), Community Partners’ predecessor, in 1986.
John was one of the first people Bill invited to serve on the HP board. He was proud to represent the business community as a board member and took on the responsibility of writing the housing portion of Palm Beach County’s Comprehensive Plan in 1988—a requirement for all counties to have a plan for housing. His passion had just ignited in those early years, but it was strong, and John shared his personal mission with anyone who would listen. He warmly recalls how many people referred to him as “the guy who talks about affordable housing.”
A year after John left the HP board in 1990, CEO George Steele had a new prospect for him: step into his shoes. John accepted and on October 15, 1991, he walked into the office as a staff member.
The agency was in trouble. With HP facing insolvency in a matter of months, John had the difficult role of deciding to close the doors or try to turn it around. With his personal mantra, “own the problem and take responsibility for the problem” as his guide, he led a drastic but necessary downsizing to save the agency. By January 1993, John was the only employee left of an organization with no source of revenue.
John’s commitment to HP had become resolute. “My intent was to do the job for six months and hire a CEO and go back to work. I never left.”
With few sources of funding at that time, John relied on relationships to keep the agency alive. He had rent-free office space in the Comeau Building on Clematis Street thanks to a trade deal he made with a colleague. Grants from the county and Delray Beach helped HP get back on its feet and by the fall of 1993, enough money had started to flow that John could hire someone to answer the phone.
On the Rise
John continued to work nearly solo during 1994 and 1995 as he received funding to buy HUD houses. He partnered with Barnett Bank to qualify people for their first-time mortgages and in 1995 he helped 55 families secure their mortgages in just one year. That experience of working one-on-one with families changed his outlook and his life.
John listened deeply to each family’s story so that he could explain to loan officers why they had the problems they had, how they were trying to fix their credit reports, and convince the bank that they would be good loans. Gary, a single father with four special needs children, was one client that touched John’s heart and made him see the connection to the human side of his work in community development.
Through Gary and others, and the HP expansion that John led in the early 1990s to own and manage multi-family rental apartments and housing for special needs, he saw that real estate wasn’t the problem. The problems were social and economic. Families needed support services and neighborhood revitalization.
That opportunity came quickly. In 1996, HP had become so successful that it was named a chartered affiliate of the national NeighborWorks America, created and funded by the U.S. Congress to promote neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing. HP expanded community development efforts by operating community centers on the grounds of elementary schools in disenfranchised neighborhoods. The concept was brought to the county by the Children’s Services Council in 2002. Community Partners of South Florida currently operates five of ten BRIDGES Centers in Palm Beach County and is viewed as a leader in this arena, certainly one of John’s legacies.
A Second Turn-Around
In 2001, John received a call that would once again put him in the position of rescuing a community organization. The Parent Child Center (PCC), a county agency dedicated to the mental health needs of children and their families, was facing deep financial troubles. They weren’t going to make their next payroll. John’s experience with HP and his business acumen for taking over problematic properties gave him the confidence to save PCC. While always humble, John shared that, “I never doubted my ability to go to work and make things happen.”
And things did happen. While it wasn’t easy and there were strong headwinds, he merged the boards and the two agencies created a partnership under the umbrella organization Community Partnership Group.
John retired in 2007. At the core of his legacy, is what he calls “the spiritual infrastructure of the organization.” He’ll tell you, “It’s about who we are. You see what we spent years in creating.”
“You help one family at a time. You help one kid. You make incremental differences. You change the course by just a few degrees and have faith that the difference is going to change someone’s life. It’s humbling.”
And we are humbled by the man whose tenacity, courage, vision and profound care for others is the reason Community Partners of South Florida exists today.
If you are interested in learning more about CPSFL Board and committee service, please contact us via the form below.