Judy Pantoja synonymous with community service

By Gloria Burns

Judy Pantoja

Judy Pantoja is a tall statuesque woman, whose beauty inside and out is matched by a sharp mind and giving heart. For those who know her, she and community service are joined in thought and action. Like peanut butter and jelly, where there is one you will often find the other.

As the oldest of five girls from an upper middle class Honduran family, Pantoja has never taken anything for granted and has always felt the need to give back to her community. From rescuing stray animals as a young child and helping elders cross the street to serving as a candy striper at the age of 15, Pantoja continues in this vein to this day.

She is truly a product of Coral Gables. Her early education began at Coral Gables Elementary, St. Theresa’s School, and, finally, at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. During those early days, she took full advantage of what the Gables had to offer its residents. In fact, she learned to swim at the Venetian Pool and spent endless summers at the Coral Gables Country Club, and even attended summer camps at the Coral Gables Youth Center.

She stuck close to her beloved Coral Gables when deciding on a college and looked no farther than the University of Miami where she earned a degree in finance.

Following her graduation from the University of Miami. Pantoja began her career working for Merrill Lynch becoming a successful financial advisor. Currently, Pantoja is a vice president for investments at UBS International and still works in Coral Gables.

As a very active member of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, she has been organizing almost weekly community service projects developing a program as Community Service chair who has won the club many accolades. For her outstanding service, Pantoja was named the 2009 Rotarian of the Year by the Rotary Club of Coral Gables.

She continues coordinating volunteer efforts for her club members with such organizations as Paws4You, the VA Hospital at Jackson Memorial, International Kids Fund, The Marian Center, Special Olympics, Camillus House and Shake-A-Leg.

From serving food and beer on St. Patrick’s Day to raise funds for Rotary and the Coral Gables Woman’s Club’s Children’s Dental Clinic to playing bingo with veterans at the VA Hospital, it is obvious to anyone who volunteers with her that Pantoja truly appreciates the opportunity to serve others and her smile can light up a room.

When she is not planning a service project for her fellow Rotarians or managing her volatile and dynamic career, she enjoys socializing with her friends and family. This hometown girl is passionate about Coral Gables and its beautiful streets where she may be found staying in great shape by running and cycling through her neighborhood on a regular basis.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at gloria@communitynewspapers.com

1 Comment on "Judy Pantoja synonymous with community service"

  1. Judy is beauty and brains personified!

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