37th Annual Women in Leadership Awards
Terry Gearing was born in Harrisburg, PA, but moved with her family to Clearwater, FL at the age of two. After graduation from high school, Terry came to South Florida to attend Florida Atlantic University and never left! As a Faculty Scholar, she received her B.A. in English Education in 1973, and completed her M.Ed. in Administration/Supervision in 1977.
After teaching in both public and private schools, Terry began her career in the nonprofit sector at Junior Achievement. She served there and with other organizations in several different capacities, gaining extensive experience in nonprofit management. During her nine years at United Way of Palm Beach County, she was responsible for corporate & residential campaigns, staff training, agency tours and volunteer recruitment/management. As vice president of the Volunteer Services division, she facilitated board retreats for a number of area nonprofits.
Terry was the first executive director of the South Florida Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. During her tenure, the annual Race for the Cure in West Palm Beach grew from 6,000 to 10,000+ participants. She has also held the position of Director of Development for Café Joshua/The Lord’s Place and the American Lung Association of
Southeast Florida, planning and coordinating fundraising activities and special events. In 2002 she returned to her first love – education, and became the director of University Relations for her alma mater, Florida Atlantic University, at the MacArthur Campus in Jupiter.
Her responsibilities included media relations, special events, publications and community outreach. She also coordinated alumni activities for northern Palm Beach County, and served on the FAU Alumni Association board for three terms, including two years as Secretary.
In the summer of 2015, Terry retired from FAU and launched her own business, Be Positive Consulting. Her goal is to share her expertise with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, bringing the best practices of volunteer development and management to make a difference in our community.
Terry served as president of Executive Women of the Palm Beaches in 2004/05. She is a 1999 graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County and a former board member. She helped institute and served as co-chair of the annual Leadership Excellence Awards for five years Terry was a member of the Arthritis Foundation’s Magic of Caring event committee for 15 years, and chaired the event numerous times. She continues her involvement with United Way as a member of the Community Impact Committee. Terry also volunteers for the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, serving on the Emerald Awards committee. She enjoys portraying Girl Scout Founder, Juliette Gordon Low, in her one-woman-show about Low’s fascinating life, Tea with Juliette. She is an advisory board member of Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm
Joi Gordon joined Dress for Success® as a board member in 1999 and became CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide in 2002.
Under her leadership, Dress for Success has become a globally recognized leader that has empowered more than one million women to become economically advanced in nearly 150 cities in more than 20 countries. In addition to expanding the organization's reach, Joi has broadened its programming, offering a full continuum of services that help women secure employment, advance in their careers and achieve financial freedom.
Joi is a member of the Greater Queens Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and the Women’s Forum of New York. She also serves as an adviser to the G100 Women's Leadership Council. Previously, she served on several inaugural women's advisory councils for American Airlines, Office Depot and VOICE, an imprint of Hyperion Books. She also served on the corporate board of directors of Urban Brands, parent company of fashion brand Ashley Stewart.
Joi has received recognition from several professional and academic institutions including: the 2020 Chief Executive Award from the New York Society of Association Executives (NSAE); induction into the Hall of Fame at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law where she also received two of its most prestigious accolades — the Order of the Owl and Regents’ Alumni Award; the Legacy Award from Working Mother Media; Business Law in Leadership Awards from Lawyer’s Alliance; the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc.’s Economic Business Award; the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Oklahoma, Gaylord College of Journalism; the Vice Chancellor’s Award from The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies; and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Additionally, she has been profiled in Crain’s New York Business, Financial Times, Epoch Times and Black Enterprise. She also was named among Working Mother Magazine's “Most Powerful Moms in Non-Profit” list and named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by Network Journal Magazine.
Joi received her B.A. in radio/television broadcasting from the University of Oklahoma and her juris doctorate from its College of Law. She lives with her husband Errol in Queens, NY. Her greatest joys are her daughter and son, Sydney and Nicholas.