Photography by Robert Nelson
If you’re designing men’s swimwear and you’re looking for inspiration, where would you find it—the concrete jungle that is Manhattan, or the island paradise that is Palm Beach? Amanda Boalt came to the same conclusion, too. It wasn’t a tough decision.
After two years in New York working at Ralph Lauren, Boalt was eager to see if she could make inroads into what she considered an underserved market: creating swim trunks and boardshorts inspired by an environment she loved—the waters of South Florida and the Caribbean. It’s easy to find surfer-dude stuff and garish Hawaiian prints, she reasoned, but something in the quintessential “Palm Beach style” prized by friends back home was a different matter. So she returned to the island, to a north-end home just a tatting needle’s throw from the ocean, and launched her own company (Strong Boalt) in the fall of 2009. Soon, such influential fashion voices as Elle and the Wall Street Journal were calling for information...
Heart of the Matter
Gulfport, Mississippi, is seldom confused with Palm Beach, but Angela Culveyhouse draws parallels between her original hometown and her current one: Both waterfront communities are small enough for motivated residents to make a difference. Maybe that helps explain why she moved to Florida six years ago—enticed as much by the social environment as by boyfriend Michael Vecellio, who already lived here.
In an effort to immerse herself in her new surroundings, Culveyhouse started working with the Palm Beach Heart Ball committee, encouraged by Vecellio’s mother, Kathryn, a key player in the annual American Heart Association fundraiser. The significance of her association, however, hit home in a deeply personal way this year. She served as live auction chair of the 2011 Heart Ball, helping to raise more than $1 million overall—an accomplishment tempered by her mother’s fatal heart attack three months earlier. “It was a reminder of why we give back,” she says. Next year, she’ll serve as junior chair...
One irony of living in the Information Age is that there’s way too much information floating around out there—frequently inconsistent, often unreliable—and the temptation to tune it all out is strong. So when the topic turns to making Palm Beach County a better place to work and live, Dack Patriarca does his best to keep people dialed in.
Patriarca, who manages corporate and real estate holdings professionally, moved here from the Boston area in 2006 and immediately found himself “overwhelmed by so many philanthropic causes. It’s hard enough if you’re a resident, let alone a newcomer, to understand what the causes are, what they do and how people can get involved.”
To make sense of it all, he and friend Ben Macfarland created Palm Beach Philanthropy in 2008, blending the strengths of new media (a website featuring recorded interviews with local leaders, among other resources) and personal interaction (such as roundtable conversations with directors of nonprofit groups, held in popular settings such as Café Boulud)...
A Real Jewel
When she was in college, people sometimes would stop Jordann Weingartner on the street to ask where she bought the unique jewelry she was wearing. When she’d reply she had made it herself as a hobby, the usual response was an offer to buy it from her. Majoring in entrepreneurship—not jewelry design—at highly regarded Babson College, she recognized the business opportunity rather quickly.
After graduation, followed by two years in New York handling publicity for Cartier, Weingartner (née Miller) decided to pursue her “dream job” by melding her business skills and her design talents. In 2007, she returned to Palm Beach and began what’s now known as Jordann Jewelry. She’s best known for her signature Magnolia Collection of “everyday” necklaces, earrings, bracelets, bangles and rings—a line that not only caught the eye of People magazine but also comes with a philanthropic component. Sales of specially designed pieces benefit Locks of Love, a West Palm Beach-based organization providing prosthetic hairpieces to children who have lost their natural locks through illness...
A Family Affair
Jeff, Kevin and Ben Berman
There is strength in numbers, as Jeff, Kevin and Ben Berman will attest. They are the three local faces, from among six brothers and cousins, representing Berman Enterprises, the company that purchased and revitalized Downtown at The Gardens, the Palm Beach Gardens shopping, dining and entertainment center, during the past two years.
Jeff (32) and Ben (23) are brothers. Kevin (31) is their cousin. At company headquarters in Maryland, they’re joined by Brian (31), who is Jeff’s and Ben’s brother, and Adam (29) and Casey (25), who are Kevin’s brothers. Confused? It’s easier to think of them as one big, happy family—which is only appropriate, since their company has been family-owned for three generations.
When they rescued Downtown from foreclosure in June 2009, they had significant work ahead of them. It had fallen into disrepair and was more than 30 percent vacant. As the principal on-site figures, Jeff, Kevin and Ben played crucial roles in resurrecting the center by knowing the community and recognizing it needed a social focal point. After investing millions to fix the property’s physical deficiencies, the Bermans have infused it with energy by bringing in regular pop, jazz and classical concerts, talent shows and other entertainment, including a $600,000 custom-built carousel...
To read more about this year's Palm Beach Rising, please pick up a copy of Palm Beach Illustrated's May 2011 issue here.