PALM COAST, Fla. – Staging the perfect kind of Monday morning meeting, the Professional Women of Flagler County hosted dozens of women in business for their fourth anniversary celebration as a tea party on the lawn at the Hammock Beach Resort & Spa on Monday.

Squeezing a full agenda of business into two hours, the PWFC showed why they mean business when getting together.

Recognizing women in the community whose contributions are largely unknown to the average resident, the organization named their 2024 Humanitarian of the Year from a trio that included heavyweights Sue Freytag, a leading philanthropist for AdventHealth Palm Coast and the Flagler County Education Foundation, and Jacqueline Sales Davis, an engineer renowned nationally as an entrepreneur in the technology and science sectors.

Selecting Abby Baker as the 2024 Humanitarian of the Year for the Professional Women of Flagler County, Baker was stunned to be in such prestigious company.

Serving the community, Baker was noted for her volunteerism with the Professional Women of Flagler County, Flagler County Education Foundation, and Palm Coast Lion’s Club.

“Wow, just wow. I mean, just to be in the presence of those other two women, is amazing. I really do love the community. I was born and raised to give. Living is the giving, and it’s important to me to give back, so to be recognized is amazing,” said Baker.

Baker’s award presentation followed an inspirational speech from Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore. Urging women to be kinder to one another, including themselves, her message was not only uplifting but realistic about the challenges and responsibilities women face daily.

“We have to identify what’s important to us and go after that,” said Moore.

“To be in a space that allows for women to come together, to strengthen and encourage each other, it’s more than just the scholarships that you’re going to give out, it’s more than an opportunity to wear our fancy hats, it’s more than an opportunity to have nice, good tea cups, it is cultivating and normalizing a space where we encourage each other and where we give each other strength, hope and just a little bit of a push forward.”

Addressing the fact that 3,193 businesses in Palm Coast are owned by women, Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin presented a proclamation on behalf of the City of Palm Coast, deeming May 13, 2024 as Professional Women’s Day in Palm Coast. Alfin recalled attending the first meetings of the PWFC with business mentor Joe Roy, as the organization got off the ground.

“From the very beginning I’ve been an advocate and a believer in how important your organization is,” said Alfin during his remarks.

“I’m honored to read a proclamation letting our entire community and the City of Palm Coast know how important the business women of Flagler County are to our community. I mentioned in my opening remarks that they are a foundational pillar for all that we do presently and in the future.”

The Glitz

Transforming the area into a picture-perfect setting, it was a full-scale production that started shortly after 5:00 a.m. courtesy of certified event planner Michele Gordon, owner of Divine Elegant Events and PWFC member.

From the floral arrangements, dainty tea cups, and bling to a photo op area on the lawn, PWFC went all out to ensure the $100 ticket price was worth it. An excellent variety of hot teas and catered brunch items gave the event all the makings of a true ladies’ day out. Instagram-worthy photos were snapped by ladies in fascinators and plenty of florals.

Opening the event with a silent auction to raise funds for their grant program, PWFC President Diane Vidal said 2023 the organization awarded $15,000 in Go Girl! Grants for women in business across Flagler County.

“Today we’re holding our fourth anniversary tea party to celebrate how far Professional Women of Flagler County has come and how bright our future is,” said Vidal, while also giving a nod the 2023 grant recipients and the women nominated for Humanitarian of the Year.

“They are extraordinary women and they’re changing Flagler County. We’re very thankful for what they’re doing in the community. They’re true philanthropists and volunteer so much of their time for businesses and the children, and they should be recognized,” she said.

Marking the fourth anniversary, PWFC Vice President Vanessa Cole said she has enjoyed watching the organization grow during the three years she has been a member.

“We have about 90 members now. I’ve been involved for the past three years and it’s tremendously grown in the past three years,” shared Cole. “We have a goal of raising $20,000 for the Go Girl! Grants for this year and we have already met that and we’re actually going to be stepping that up. The fundraiser is to add to that and extend that on.”

Brand new to the community just four years ago, as the owner of Coffee News in northeast Florida, she said the organization had been a boost as a woman in business.

“Being part of this organization really has helped get my name out.”