Women of Distinction

During its annual Women of Distinction luncheon, Palm Beach Atlantic University honors women who cherish community and family and want to preserve these ideals for others. The event is a PBA tradition for more than 30 years, and proceeds from the luncheon benefit a scholarship fund for deserving female students


Women of Distinction

Women of Distinction
2023 Luncheon

Honoring Mary Freitas & Monika Preston 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023
The Breakers Palm Beach

11 a.m. Reception with the honorees with the luncheon to follow at noon. 




Individual Ticket | $350
Table Host | $3,500

Can't make it to the event? Click here to donate.



2023 Honorees


Monika PrestonMonika Preston

Monika Preston was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and grew up in Ontario, Canada, where she met her husband, John, at the University of Guelph. She moved to Palm Beach County in 1991. 

Preston chaired the American Heart Association Ball in 2019 and has been a co-chair for several years. She has also co-chaired the Palm Beach Police & Fire Foundation Ball with her husband. Preston is vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. She has co-chaired the Kravis Center’s annual gala for a number of years. She previously served on the boards of The Benjamin School, Town of Palm Beach United Way, Center for Children in Crises and Stop Children’s Cancer.  

She is a mother, wife and grandmother to five. She and her husband will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this summer. In addition to her civic responsibilities, she is thankful to be an equestrian.



Mary Fairbanks Freitas

Mary Fairbanks Freitas

Mary Fairbanks Freitas is a graduate of Florida State University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Communication. She worked in radio and television locally for WPTV NewsChannel 5 and radio stations WRMF and WJNO during and after completing her studies. Prior to that Mary attended high school at Rosarian Academy where she is a current parent and Board Member.

Along with her husband Mark, they are quite active supporting many charitable organizations and are highly respected for their philanthropy. Through the Mark and Mary Freitas Foundation, they support many causes affecting those in need in the community, especially children. Some of those they aid include: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, Town of Palm Beach United Way, Nat King Cole Generation Hope and Best Buddies International.

Mary is a trustee of The Town of Palm Beach United Way, The Cox Science Center and Aquarium, Rosarian Academy, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, and a Board Member of The Historical Society of Palm Beach County, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and a Founding Member of the Palm Beach Police Foundation’s Council of 100 and a Founder Member of the Kravis Center for Performing Arts.

She has chaired numerous luncheons and galas for many organizations such as:

The Palm Beach Police Foundation Policeman’s Ball Chairwoman (2014 & 2015) Honorary Chairwoman (2016 & 2017) Saint Edward Church Christmas Dinner Dance Chairwoman (2012) Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County Jingle Bell Ball Chairman (2011 & 2012) Rosarian Academy Rose Ball & Auction Co-Chair 2012, Co-Chair 2021 Town of Palm Beach United Way : Tocqueville Dinner Co-Chair 2018, General Campaign Chair for 2018/2019 Season, Chairman of the Board 2019/2020, Chairman of the Board 2020/2021, Chairman of the Board 2021/2022 South Florida Science Center & Aquarium Spring Gala Co-Chair (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)

Cox Science Center & Aquarium Annual Gala Honorary Chair (2023) Historical Society Of Palm Beach County Archival Evening Co-Chair (2015, 2017, 2018 2019), Executive Committeee 2022 Nat King Cole Generation Hope Chaired and Hosted Fundraiser March 2020 Best Buddies International Palm Beach Gala Co-Chairwoman (2009, 2011, 2016) Children’s Home Society Ultimate Dinner Party Host (2009,2010,2011,2012,2013, 2014) Center for Family Services “Old Bags Luncheon” Co-Chair (2008) Honorary Chair (2009,2010,2013) Johns Hopkins A Woman’s Journey Co-Chair (2016, 2017) Host Committee (2018, 2019) Susan G. Komen Perfect Pink Party Co-Chair (2013) 



Become A Sponsor

We invite you to support the 2023 Women of Distinction event as a sponsor


$35,000.00 – Presenting Sponsor
$25,000.00 – Chairing Sponsor
$20,000.00 – Luncheon Sponsor
$15,000.00 – Reception Sponsor (Thank you to Bonnie McElveen-Hunter)
$5,000.00 – Dessert Sponsor
$10,000.00 – Honoree Recognition Gift Sponsor
$8,000.00 – Photography Sponsor
$7,500.00 – Flowers and Décor Sponsor
$7,500.00 – Lighting Sponsor
$7,500.00 – Invitation Sponsor
$7,500.00 – Music Sponsor
$7,500.00 – Valet Sponsor
$5,000.00 – PBA Student Table Sponsor
$3,500.00 – Table Sponsors
$3,500.00 – Chocolate Bars Sponsor (Thank you to Sheila Rinker)
$2,500.00 – American Flag Sponsor
$2,500.00 – PBA Choir Sponsor
$2,500.00 – Program Sponsor
$1,500.00 – Harpist Sponsor

Contact us at advancement@pba.edu or 561.803.2021 if you’re interested in sponsorship. 



Women Of Distinction Scholarship

Awarded to female PBA seniors who demonstrate outstanding academics, service and leadership.

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Previous WOD

Past Women of Distinction

For 30 years, the Women of Distinction luncheon has provided scholarship funds to deserving female students

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Past WOD

Women of Distinction Interviews

Watch the latest interviews of Women of Distinction

Watch Interviews


Women of Distinction 2022 Event