Grace Horvath:  Helping People and Building Relationships

Grace Horvath: Woman of Distinctiongrace

Grace Horvath knew fewer than five people when she moved to Gainesville from Miami in 1995, but being new did not stop her from getting involved in our community. “Coming here was a bit of a shock,” she says, “but I started volunteering and learned about our area’s demographics, cares and concerns. At 30 years old, I was starting my life all over again.”

Horvath’s career trajectory took her from a job in luxury retail sales and training for Dior cosmetics in South Florida to her current job as vice president of services for CPAmerica International in Gainesville, a professional trade association for certified public accounting firms. She credits the sales training she received from Dior for many of her skills in public relations and marketing. “We learned that sales is really about helping people and building relationships,” she explains.

Those two concepts—helping people and building relationships—are hallmarks of Horvath’s volunteer work in Gainesville for organizations such as Girls Place (formerly Girls Club of Alachua County), the Rotary Club and Rotary Reading Safari.

For Girls Place, Horvath served as board president, as director of public relations and marketing, and as co-chair and marketing chair of Hats, Hearts & Handbags, the organization’s annual fundraising event. She served as president and as Avenue chair (mentor for other members) of the Rotary Club of Gainesville and as board chair of the Rotary Club of Gainesville Foundation and feast master of the Wild Game Feast.

Horvath helped to found Rotary Reading Safari, a program that brings third graders to the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo for tours and reading activities. “Children who cannot read by the time they are in third grade are at risk of not being able to succeed in life,” she says. “Our Rotary Club buys books for this after-school program that’s held at the zoo. The children read stories that connect them with the zoo animals and they get to interact with college students who are studying to be zookeepers. It’s a chance for the third graders to get out of their neighborhoods, get onto a college campus and to realize, ‘I could do that.’” In 2008, the League for Innovation in the Community College recognized Rotary Reading Safari as the League’s Innovation of the Year.

About being named a Woman of Distinction, Horvath says, “It’s very humbling to receive this award because I am so inspired by my peers in this community. I am in awe of many of the people I’ve met here over the years, people who have fortitude in spite of whatever problems they have and who have encouraged me to raise my own bar. But I don’t do what I do for recognition, I do things because I can.”

“This is an awesome community to live in,” Horvath continues. “Opportunities abound for you to make an impact no matter what your passion is. My best advice is to be true to your word—do what you say you are going to do and mean it. Fulfill your commitment, be honest and follow through.”

About Women of Distinction

Women of Distinction recognizes outstanding female service in Alachua and Bradford Counties, and was created by the Women’s History Committee at Santa Fe College in 1987. Women of Distinction has honored more than 150 outstanding women in the community since its inception and acknowledges new women each spring at a formal ceremony.

The 2016 Women of Distinction ceremony will be held Thursday, March 31, at the Best Western Gateway Grand. This year’s Women of Distinction are Bonnie Cameron, Susan Faulkner-O’Neal, Grace Horvath and posthumously Gloria Fletcher. Also being honored at the ceremony is the Woman of Promise Victoria Denmark.

Tickets for the Women of Distinction event are $35 per person and are available online. Reservations should be made early, as seating is limited. For more information, please contact event coordinator Teri McClellan at 352-395-5201.