7th Annual Women of Distinction and Caring Luncheon
Honoring Seven Outstanding Women
Each year Plaza Health Network Foundation celebrates and honors women who have made a difference in the community through their leadership, volunteer service and philanthropy. At the annual Women of Distinction and Caring Luncheon, the signature event of the foundation, these seven women will be honored: the Honorable Gwen Margolis, Bea Hines, Nancy T. Hector, Joy B. Spill Esq, Aida Levitan, Pam Garrison, RN, and Robin Jacobs, who will receive the “Bessie Award.” This first-time award is named for Bessie Galbut, who was among the founders of a 12-patient convalescent home in 1954 that grew into Plaza Health Network, and her daughter-in-law Bessie D. Galbut, who continued her commitment to those in need of quality care and rehabilitation.
Meet the Honorees
It is fitting that Robin Jacobs will be the first to receive the Bessie Award, for not only is she a generous donor to many charities, she is a brilliant businesswoman. In addition to being the incoming vice chair of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, she co-founded CruzJac Productions and was a past president of the Miami Beach Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Center. She has raised millions of dollars for charities and institutions of higher learning. A member of many boards, including the Hebrew Academy of Greater Miami, she and her family have dedicated the Academy’s campus as the Schwartz-Jacobs Campus. Married to Dr. Baruch Jacobs, a noted plastic surgeon, they have four children in whom they have instilled the values of giving back — something they learned from their parents. A most outstanding family!
A resident of Coconut Grove, Levitan is president of the Levitan Group, Inc., a firm that provides strategic branding and marketing consulting services to companies and organizations. She is the founder of ArtesMiami and a member of many art and cultural boards in the community. In 2011 she had the distinct honor of chairing the Public Committee of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, which was created by President Obama and Congress. Levitan is a major player in both the Hispanic and Anglo worlds. Quite impressive.
Pamela Garrison, R.N.
A retired nurse, Garrison has more than 50 years of professional experience in the health care field. Her legacy of giving dates back to her grandparents and uncle who were all generous supporters of the University of Miami. In addition to co-chairing the Momentum2 campaign for the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University, the Coconut Grove resident is a director of the The Kirk Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports many charities. She also serves on numerous arts and charitable boards. An extraordinary woman.
Nancy Thornton Hector
Residing in Coral Gables, Hector is the retired owner of Bayview Financial, a mortgage asset management and service firm in Coral Gables. Since retiring Hector has been an active volunteer and philanthropist focused on organizations that work with at-risk children and families. Hector’s passion is children’s causes, and the Hector Family Foundation has given grants to more than 50 charities in our community. Recently, she created a therapeutic riding program called Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center. This non-profit organization works with children and adults with a variety of emotional, physical and learning disabilities. A woman we all admire.
Joy B. Spill
A well recognized attorney and a South Florida native, Spill returned to Miami after three years of practice and numerous awards in New York City. For the past 26 years Spill has been with the law firm of Simon & Simon P.A. In addition to a heavy case load, she performs numerous pro bono services. Her primary focus in volunteer activities is bringing dignity to people in the community who are made vulnerable due to factors beyond their control. Joy is a past President of the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center and is one of a small group that founded the Miami Jewish Film Festival. In 2005-2006, she served as President of the Miami Beach Bar Association. A Woman of Valor!
Senator Gwen Margolis
An Aventura resident, Margolis began her four-decade career in public service in 1974. In 1990, Senator Margolis became the first woman to serve as President of any Senate in the United States where she spearheaded the passage of landmark legislation. Through her illustrious career she served successfully in many impressive positions and returned to the Florida Senate in 2002 where she served for six more years. She has received numerous awards for her leadership including “Legislator of the Year,” “Good Government” Award, the “Glass Ceiling” Award and many others. Professionally, Senator Margolis has been a real estate agent and investor for more than 35 years. She has four adult children and seven precious grandchildren. An esteemed household name in Miami-Dade County!
When Hines began her sterling career at the Miami Herald as a file clerk in the paper’s library, only her most intimate friends knew of her desire to be a journalist — a position she deemed impossible at that time. However, in 1967 at the urging of friends and family members, Hines enrolled in Miami-Dade Community College and studied journalism. The rest is amazing journalism history. When the managing editor of the Herald laid eyes on some of her work, she was immediately hired as the paper’s first female reporter. Throughout her career, Hines became a voice for the community, and not only the black community. She has received many awards and honors and is in demand as a speaker. In 1985 SAVVY Magazine named her as one of the five top women columnists in the United States. You go girl!
To pay tribute to these remarkable women, attend the 7th Annual Women of Distinction and Caring Luncheon on Thursday, November 17, at Jungle Island. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased online at www.PlazaHealthNetwork.org. All proceeds from the event will benefit the very successful Music and Memory Program for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s launched last year.