December 9, 2023

Women Leaders

Profiles of women leaders in Florida

Amy Martinez | 9/28/2017
Pam Iorio
President/CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Tampa

Pam Iorio has been a fixture in Tampa Bay public life for more than three decades, most notably as Tampa mayor from 2003-11. She is credited with having helped Tampa revitalize its downtown, reduce crime and increase its financial reserves despite a recession. In 2014, she took the helm of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, then based in Dallas. A year later, she steered the non-profit through its headquarters move to Tampa, where she and a staff of close to 50 support about 300 affiiates nationwide.

Wendy Link
Managing partner, Ackerman Link & Sartory, West Palm Beach

In 1996, West Palm Beach attorney Wendy Sartory Link started a business law firm with husband Scott Link and friend David Ackerman. As they built up the firm, Wendy Link and two associates became pregnant. In 1998, she went into labor early and gave birth prematurely to twin boys. The two associates — a third of the firm’s legal staff — opted not to return to work after maternity leave. Not wanting to leave the firm shorthanded, Link returned to work within two weeks of childbirth. “I have a sign on my desk that says, ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain,’ ” she says. “You’ve just got to deal with things as they come.”

Link says her late father, former Palm Beach Post President Larry Sartory, stressed the importance of giving back to the community. She is active on many boards, including the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach State College, the State University System and Florida Healthy Kids, a state-funded agency that provides lowcost health insurance to underprivileged children.

Shelley Broader
President/CEO, Chico’s FAS, Fort Myers

Shelley Broader’s career includes leadership roles at Walmart, Michaels craft stores and Sweetbay Supermarket. In 2015, she became CEO of women’s clothing chain Chico’s FAS — which includes Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma — tasked with reviving sales at the $2.7-billion public company. A native of Spokane, Wash., Broader worked briefly as a TV journalist and then as an investment banker before getting into the retail business. Her civic and community board engagements include Moffltt Cancer Center and the Florida Council of 100.

Marsha Powers
Regional CEO, Tenet Healthcare, Coral Springs

As leader of Tenet Healthcare’s Florida region, Marsha Powers oversees nearly 10,000 employees and revenue of more than $1 billion. Dallas-based Tenet has 10 acute-care hospitals and about 3,500 beds in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Powers earned an MBA from the University of Florida and was a divisional president for Triad Hospitals, overseeing operations across seven states, before joining Tenet in 2007. She’s a UF trustee and a board member for the Federation of American Hospitals and Associated Industries of Florida.

“Health care isn’t a one-sizeflts-all fleld,” she says. “When my hospitals implement a new treatment option or procedure that offers our patients a better quality of life, I still feel just as fulfllled today as when I started.”

» In 2012, the state’s women-owned businesses employed more than 470,000 people, up 27% from 1997.

Hilarie Bass
Research Project

In August, Miami attorney Hilarie Bass, co-president of the Greenberg Traurig law flrm, took the reins of the American Bar Association. Among the issues she’ll address during her one-year tenure as ABA president is why women in their 40s and 50s are leaving the legal profession in large numbers. Bass will help launch a research project, “Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law,” with a summit at Harvard Law School this fall.

While “superstar women are still extremely successful,” she says, the question remains: “Can the average hardworking woman lawyer be as successful as the average hardworking man? There may still be some inherent, implicit bias,” she says.

“It’s critically important to the profession that we not have diverse and highly skilled attorneys walking out the door at a time when they should be reaching the pinnacles of success.” – Hilarie Bass, co-president, Greenberg Traurig

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