Seven distinguished new Directors were elected to the Civic Association Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting this week.
In alphabetic order:
Mr. Belmar serves as managing director of Capitol Counsel Group, LLC (“CCG”), a firm that helps clients navigate programs at the US Departments of Energy and Agriculture that assist companies using new technologies for environmental and energy supplies. To complement CCG’s mission, Mr. Belmar engages in public service as chair of the American Bar Association’s Federal Clean Energy Finance Committee, as a Senior Fellow at the Administrative Conference of the United States, and as a senior counsel at the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. As a Deputy General Counsel for Energy Policy of the US Department of Energy for almost three years he served as a principal legal advisor to the Secretary and senior DOE officials to resolve issues in the operation of the Department’s traditional oil and gas programs as well as its energy efficiency, alternative fuels, and renewable energy programs. Prior to his public service at DOE, Mr. Belmar’s career had been spent in private practice in Washington DC, primarily with the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP. There, he spent 22 years as a partner, providing counsel primarily to clients in the energy and financial services sectors, representing clients in litigation in the Federal courts and before various federal and state departments and agencies, and before Congress. Mr. Belmar has a bachelor’s degree with honors from Brooklyn College and a law degree with honors from Columbia Law School. Early in his career, he served as Court Law Clerk for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and as an attorney with the Office of Legal Counsel of the US Department of Justice. He is a member of the DC and NY Bars, a former chair of the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section of the American Bar Association, and a life member of the American Law Institute.
Mr. Bernick is president of Bernick Advisory Limited, a private investment advisory company based in Chicago. Mr. Bernick was born in Canada and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1973. He began his career with Wood Gundy Limited, a leading Canadian investment banking firm, and moved to Chicago to join First Boston Corporation. In 1977 he joined Alberto-Culver as director of profit planning and acquisitions. He was promoted to vice president, corporate development in 1979; to group vice president in 1981; and to executive vice president in 1985. A director of Alberto-Culver Company since 1986, he was named president and chief operating officer in 1988 and was promoted to chief executive officer in 1994, a position he held for more than twelve years. He retired as president, CEO and a director after a thirty year career at the Alberto-Culver Company, a $5 billion market capitalization NYSE listed manufacturer and marketer of beauty care and household products and the world’s largest professional beauty supply distribution company through its Sally Beauty Company subsidiary. In the community, Mr. Bernick is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization, Chief Executives Organization, Economic Club of Chicago, Commercial Club of Chicago, and serves as a director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a member of the board of trustees at the Field Museum in Chicago. He also serves on the board of directors of Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, the Duchossois Group, Inc., the HAVI Group, LP and Levy Acquisition Corp. Mr. Bernick was also a member of the board of directors of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company until its $24 billion merger into Mars, Incorporated in October 2008.
Paula Sammons Butler
Mrs. Butler is the director and vice president of Subaru Distributors Corporation, the exclusive distributor in NY and northern NJ of Subaru vehicles and parts. She is the Director of Diversified Automotive Inc., an automotive transport company in Boston, MA. Both companies were founded and are privately owned by her husband, Bob. She is a native Texan and is a graduate of the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas. Mrs. Butler completed three years at The University of Texas at Austin and graduated from Manhattanville College, BA, Summa Cum Laude. She graduated from Pace Law School, JD, Cum Laude, where she was a member of the Environmental Litigation Clinic. Mrs. Butler is a member of the Bars of NY, CT and DC. She has served on the Board of Visitors of the Hockaday School, the Auxiliary Board of St. Vincent’s Hospital Westchester, the Boards of Trustees of Manhattanville College, the Rye Free Reading Room, and the United Nations Hospitality Committee. She is the founder of the Auxiliary Board of the Rye Free Rading Room. She was Co-Chairman of the Fiftieth Anniversary United Nations Ambassadors’ Ball, and has served as Chairman of the Marymount Manhattan Ball in NYC, the St. Vincent’s’ Hospital Ball in Westchester County, and the American Heart Association Ball in Palm Beach. Mrs. Butler and her husband, Robert T., have two daughters who are graduates of Brown University and Fordham Law. The Butlers live in Palm Beach in the winter and in Southampton, Newport, Nantucket and Rye, New York during the summer.
Mrs. Durst is an environmental activist. Born in Denmark, she spent part of her childhood on her grandparents’ self-sustaining farm. Her parents worked in landscapes and the flower industry. Mrs. Durst traveled all over Europe with her father studying plant growth, and earth conditions in the wild and in nurseries. At 21, she moved to New York City for a job at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital as a lab technician in cancer research program for melanomas. She married Douglas Durst in 1967, and they have three children. Along with her husband, Mrs. Durst founded one of New York’s largest certified organic farms – McEnroe Organic. The farm has been in operation for more than 30 years, has a large teaching facility and focuses not only on sustainability and organic growing, but also the importance of the environment and the wildlife within it. She previously was a board member of the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society. Mrs. Durst has been coming with her family and horses to Wellington, Florida, for the past 35 years. After her horses were retired, she moved to Palm Beach where she now is involved in the coalition for the protection of the wildlife in our unique inlet and lagoon communities.
Mrs. Fisher has enjoyed a distinguished volunteer career serving in numerous leadership positions for charitable organizations throughout Palm Beach County for over seventeen years. She is currently a member of the board of trustees for the Palm Beach Day Academy, The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, H.O.W. (Hearing the Ovarian Cancer Whisper), the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, and the Board of Advisors for the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Mrs. Fisher also serves as a member of the Vestry at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea. She is active in the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches as an organizer of the annual Women in Leadership Awards and scholarship programs. In 2006, Mrs. Fisher was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by Palm Beach Atlantic University, and in 2015, she received the Shining Star Award on behalf of her dedication to the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation. Prior to joining the Palm Beach community, she served in the West Wing of the White House as Special Assistant to the Counsel for President George H.W. Bush and co-founded and directed the National Environmental Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Fisher is a native of Tuscaloosa, AL and graduate of the University of Alabama. She and her husband, Jeff, have one son, Harrison (age 11).
Mr. Leach was named US Ambassador to France in 2001 and served until 2005. A businessman and private investor, Ambassador Leach began his long entrepreneurial career as co-founder and president of various food-processing corporations from 1958-1971 in California. From 1995 to 2000 he was president and often major shareholder of numerous businesses, including Tejon Ranch Company, Cypress Farms Inc., and Union Ice Company in California; Sterling Inc. in Wisconsin; Krestrel Dental Corp. in Illinois; and Sybron Corporation in New York. He was an early limited partner in Forstmann Little and Co. in New York. Until entering his new post as US Ambassador to France, Mr. Leach was the president of several commercial and financial companies, including Foley Timber and Land Company, Leach Capital and Leach McMicking & Co., and Hunter Fan Co., involved in such public interest associations as the National Legal Research Center for the Public Interest in Washington and the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco. He earned a BS from Yale University and studied at Stanford Graduate School of Business and at Stanford Advanced Management College. He is a former chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of California and he was vice president of the San Francisco Opera Association.
Ambassador McElveen-Hunter was appointed chairman of the American Red Cross by President George W. Bush, the first woman to be selected as chairman in the in the organizations 126-year history. She is the founder and CEO of Pace Communications, the nation’s largest custom publishing company, and former US Ambassador to the Republic of Finland (2001-2003). Her initiatives as Ambassador included the Women Business Leaders Summit in Helsinki in 2002 for women from the Baltic Region and Russia. Ambassador McElveen-Hunter’s program Stop Child Trafficking: End Modern-Day Slavery and Children of Karelia helped Finnish and Russian charities assist children at risk from drugs, crime, HIV/AIDS and trafficking. She was awarded one of Finland’s highest honors – the Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion. Ambassador McElveen-Hunter led Women Business Leaders Summits in Riga, Latvia and in Amman, Jordan, for women from Iraq, Palestine, Syria and other Middle Eastern nations. These summits advanced entrepreneurship and encourage businesswomen from the Baltic Region to the Middle East to launch or expand business opportunities in their native countries. In 2004, she was appointed and also served as a member of the International Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity, chaired the Alexis de Tocqueville Society and served on the board of United Way of America. Ambassador McElveen-Hunter has received numerous awards from such organizations as the US Chamber of Commerce and the Women Leaders Forum, as well as the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Appeal of Conscience Public Service Award. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from North Carolina State University. Ambassador McElveen-Hunter and her husband Bynum Merritt Hunter, and attorney with the law firm of Smith Helms, have a son. They have homes in Palm Beach, Greensboro, North Carolina, and Washington, DC.