Wellington Resident Ava Parker Joins Kravis Center’s Board

At the last meeting of the season, the board of directors of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts elected Sherry Barrat as board chair starting July 1. Barrat succeeds Jeffrey Stoops, who served as board chair for the past three years. Evan Deoul and Ava Parker, a Wellington resident, joined the board and will serve three-year terms.

“The Kravis Center is excited to announce Sherry Barrat as its new board chair,” Kravis Center CEO Diane Quinn said. “Her dedication, commitment and generosity to the Kravis Center spans nine years, and her business acumen and financial expertise has been invaluable to our organization’s mission. Bringing a wealth of experience and passion for the arts, she will help guide and ensure the continued growth of this performing arts center as we enter our 30th anniversary season.”

Barrat has held several leadership roles on the Kravis Center board, including vice chair, Finance Committee chair and Governance/Nominating Committee chair. She has also been a member of the Employee Relations Committee and continues to serve on the Executive Committee. Barrat is the lead director of NextEra Energy Inc., the largest generator of wind and solar power in North America and the parent company of Florida Power & Light. She also serves as a director of the Prudential Insurance Funds, which oversees $170 billion of client investments, and of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co, the world’s fourth largest insurance broker. Barrat is a board member of the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties. She and her husband, Tom, reside on Singer Island.

“I attended the Kravis Center opening in 1992,” Barrat said. “I have enjoyed being a patron, supporter and board member, and I look forward to expanding my role with this premier organization.”

Parker has served as president of Palm Beach State College since 2015. She is the first female president in the history of the institution. Under her leadership, the college opened a fifth campus, improved student success rates, increased enrollment growth and developed a Cross-Cultural Equity Institute. PBSC also achieved a top gold ranking in the Florida College System in 2017.

Parker is chair-elect for the American Association of Community Colleges and serves on the board of directors for MasTec, an American multinational infrastructure engineering and construction company; Professional Bank, a Florida-based community bank; and Orchid Island Capital, a publicly traded specialty finance company. She is on the advisory board of the Community College Research Center and is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, Achieve Palm Beach County Executive Champions and the West Palm Beach Federal Courthouse Committee.

In 2021, Palm Beach Illustrated recognized Parker as one of Palm Beach County’s “Most Influential Business Leaders,” along with Florida Trend’s 2020 Florida 500 issue. Palm Beach Illustrated also named her a returning member of the Palm Beach Top 100, recognizing Palm Beach County’s most influential community and business leaders. Parker and her husband, Joe Gibbons, and their two children, Bailey and Parker, reside in Wellington.

Deoul is senior managing director at AB Bernstein, where he leads Bernstein’s private client practice in West Palm Beach with oversight for their Miami, Cleveland and Minneapolis private client offices. He currently serves as a member of the Kravis Center Investment Committee and Finance Committee, as well as the Kravis Center Corporate Partners Executive Committee. Deoul and his wife, Joan, reside in Palm Beach Gardens.

Other officers elected to serve one-year terms for 2022-23 are Vice Chair Paul Leone, Vice Chair Monika Preston, Treasurer David Lambert and Secretary Bradley Hurston. Other board members include past chairs Jeffrey Stoops, Michael Bracci, Jane Mitchell, William Meyer and Alexander Dreyfoos, as well as Penny Bank, Sherry Endelson, Lourdes Fanjul, Stuart Frankel, Robert Fromer, Irene Karp, Norma Klorfine, David Mack, Bill Peterson and Richard Sloane. Ex officio members are Palm Beach County Commissioner Mack Bernard, West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and Kravis Center Chief Executive Officer Diane Quinn.

Reaching the mandated term limit, James Harpel was elected to the position of life trustee following his 12 years of service on the board, of which he served four years as board secretary. Harpel chaired the Investment Committee and Operations Committee and served on the Executive Committee.