Business Women’s Association names Woman of Year

Those who know Andrea Levenson know she’s willing to lead with her heart.

Whether mentoring students, guiding colleagues or providing disaster relief for hurricane victims, the veteran human resource executive offers a hand.

So it’s no surprise the American Business Women’s Association Coral Springs Charter Chapter has named Levenson its 2015 Woman of the Year.

“Andrea is amazing. She has been this way — so involved, so caring — all her life,” said ABWA President Lois Margolin. “It’s clear why she was chosen to be our Woman of the Year, and this is not an award we take lightly. We’re lucky to have her human resources skills and her leadership skills in our chapter. I value her input tremendously.”

Levenson, who lives in Parkland with her husband, Alan, is senior vice president of human resources for OneBlood, a blood center in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to joining OneBlood in 2013, she launched her own human resources consulting company, Strategic HR Inc., in 2005. She has held senior-level leadership positions with Office Depot, Ryder Systems, Levitt Corporation, Macy’s, and Abraham and Straus.

Among her accomplishments are her years spent as a Girl Scout troop leader, serving as a board member for the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, and recognition for her leadership and fundraising skills. She and her daughter, Amy, 29, are both lifetime members.

“I’m proud that nine girls from my troop graduated high school as Girl Scouts,” said Levenson, who is originally from Queens, N.Y., and graduated from SUNY in Albany. “It’s vital we build courage, conviction and character in the girls. When I was troop leader, I wasn’t about arts and crafts. I taught my girls about community service and focused on skill building. … My goal was to make sure they understood how they impact the world around them and how to make a contribution.”

Levenson set a strong example, most notably as a Take Stock in Children mentor, a statewide program that identifies students and focuses on a family commitment to academics and staying out of trouble. She began mentoring a Coral Springs student when he was 13. Today, that young man is 30, has earned a graduate degree and remains close friends with Levenson.

“We have been together for 17 years; the commitment we have to each other is forever,” she said. “Why do I do it? It feels right to me, and I do it without hesitation.”

Levenson moved to South Florida to work with Office Depot in 1992, just months before Hurricane Andrew struck the region.

“There were a lot of communities and a lot of people we did business with who were significantly affected. So, I became the anointed disaster relief queen,” she said, describing how she rode with delivery drivers for a month down to South Miami, searching for diapers, food and sleeping bags for those in need. “I set up a caravan, delivering furniture, water, clothes. Whatever was needed, we found it and took it down there.”

That effort — the Office Depot Disaster Relief Foundation — morphed into the Office Depot Foundation, and Levenson was there once again when the Oklahoma City bombing struck. “It was one of the most gratifying jobs ever,” said Levenson, who was the president of the foundation for seven years. “They needed help, and I was capable of helping. Each job I’ve done I’ve done with my heart.”

A Leadership Broward alumnus, Levenson has served as a director on several boards, including INROADS South Florida, the Broward Education Foundation, Alliance for Families with Deaf Children and Ryder Elementary Charter School.

In 2009, Levenson was recognized as the American Business Women’s Association’s Philanthropist Leader of the Year by the South Broward Chapter. In 2010, she joined the Coral Springs Charter Chapter, where she serves as the fundraising co-chair.

Founded in 1949, the American Business Women’s Association’s goal is to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and help them personally and professionally through leadership, education and networking.

Visit abwa.org.

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/fl-cspf-abwa-0603-20150601-story.html?track=rss

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