Jones Foster Litigation Associate, Megan Coughlin, recently graduated from the 2018 Class of Leadership West Palm Beach, a program developed by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches to cultivate the leadership potential of those selected and utilize their skills to foster the development of programs and opportunities that enrich and improve the quality of life in the Palm Beaches.

Megan shares her firsthand experience with the program and her community outreach efforts below:

How did you get involved in Leadership West Palm Beach?

One of the things I love about Jones Foster is that it has always been invested in the growth and development of the City of West Palm Beach. The Firm believes Leadership is a great way for its associates to become more involved in the community. When they asked me—I did not hesitate to say yes!

What type of events and outreach did you participate in as a member of the class?

Over a period of six months, we were immersed in the different communities and industries of West Palm Beach. On one day, we visited Grassy Waters Preserve, 23 square miles of Everglade wetlands that provides much of the City’s freshwater supply, and the Solid Waste Authority, where we learned about the City’s commitment to recycling and its renewable energy program. On another day, we visited the Port of Palm Beach, the 18th busiest container port in the U.S., and the Northwood neighborhood, where we learned about the City’s current restoration of the Sunset Lounge, the neighborhood’s historic jazz venue, and the building of a community park.

We also had the opportunity to visit the Senator Philip D. Lewis Homeless Center, and The Lord’s Place, two non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County that provide crucial services, such as housing and employment opportunities, to the homeless population in Palm Beach County in order to break the cycle of homelessness. On another day, we toured the recently renovated and expanded South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, which (as a big fan of science) was so much fun!

What are some of your key takeaways form the experience?

Through Leadership WPB, I gained behind-the-scenes knowledge about everything from the City’s government and economic development plan, to its many arts and culture initiatives. I was impressed to see the effort the City has devoted to making West Palm Beach a great place for residents to work and live for a long time to come.

Overall, I took away from the experience that it is important for citizens to get involved as leaders for the betterment of our community—whether to support the art and sciences programs, advance the City’s sustainability goals, or combat the homelessness issue in Palm Beach County. Through strong, focused, and committed leadership, along with involved, enthusiastic residents, we can continue to create a City where people will want to work, live, and raise their families.

How do you think the program will help you personally and professionally?

Having a well-rounded understanding of the diverse industries and communities of West Palm Beach, as well as knowledge of the various governmental bodies and their functions, makes me not only a more informed, engaged citizen, but also a better attorney for my clients that live and work in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County. Through Leadership WPB, I not only built relationships with other professionals in the community, but also formed life-long friendships. 

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