On the Spot: ANNETTE GRAY
By Delray Beach Forum, Sun Sentinel
August 20, 2014
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DELRAY BEACH COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Since 2011, you have served as the first vice chairwoman on the board of commissioners for the Delray Beach CRA. How did you get started as a CRA commissioner?
I was serving on a board for the city when I was asked to join. My expertise closely aligns with the CRA. I understand economic development. I’m a real estate broker and know the language, deals and contracts, which made my leaning curve easier. Professionally, I had worked on staff for the Boynton Beach CRA as its marketing and communications manager. I had also worked for the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority as its marketing and business development director. This is the third year of my four-year term.
What do you hope to see develop in Delray Beach?
It’s important that we create a city that reflects the future generation. The millennials are the second largest generation. They’re two times the size of the baby boomers. They think, act, work and play differently. They’re very entrepreneurial, tech savvy and socially conscientious. We need to make sure we prepare our city for those who will inherit it.
When you’re not volunteering, you run your two businesses. What are they?
For 15 years, my Global Business Development Center has been supporting small businesses as a marketing and development incubator. We look into a company’s planning and marketing foundation. When that is correct, we segue to business development. Where many organizations fail is in managing their human capital. Many employees want more than a paycheck – they want an incentive in the workforce. I am also the broker-owner of Global Real Estate Collaborative.
Your latest project is the GBDC Entrepreneurship Institute, a nonprofit. How did that get started?
Through my years of consulting for the Small Business Administration and teaching as an adjunct professor at local universities, I’ve developed a passion for fostering an entrepreneurial sprit in others. When I was asked to do a youth conference six years ago, I was blown away by the response from the teens. Now I’m setting up Kid-preneur camps and, for adults, business startup boot camps. I hope to have a bus that can take the programs to the community.
Where were you born? Tell readers about your early life and college years.
I was born in Jamaica and raised by my no-nonsense grandmother. She shaped my formative years, which are so important. She told me that you can do anything you want to. When I was 12, I moved to the Jersey Shore and went into foster care. I left foster care when I was 17 and have been on my own ever since. In high school, my French teacher introduced me to French culture, and I was fascinated. In college, I studied abroad and spent a year and a half in Paris. I have two bachelor’s degrees – French and mass communications – and an M.B.A. Now, I’m working on my doctorate.
■ Gray is single and in a relation- ship. She has no children.
■ Gray began modeling when she was 16; it paid for half of her college costs.
■ While living in France, she learned the art of dining and loves to sit down with friends over a good meal.
■ She enjoys cooking and putting on dinner parties.
■ Gray is most happy when traveling.
■ Every year on her birthday, she visits a new destination. She’s been to Italy many times, toured Ireland and Germany and can’t count her trips to France.
What skills does Gray have that make her successful in her endeavors?
“She understands business. She’s able to pick out our clients strengths and weaknesses and apply solutions. Not only does the client feel good, we feel good because it’s a match.”- CLAUDE JENKINS | VP of Operations, Global Business Development Center
“Three things come to mind: her leadership skills, marketing skills and amazing time management skills. Overall, she’s one of the most passionate and caring people I know. She’s not only a good leader, but she encourages and teaches others to be good leaders.” – CATHY BALESTRIERE | Board of Commissioners, Delray Beach CRA General Manager, Crane’s beachhouse.