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Protecting the quality of life since 1944.

Michael L. Ainslie, Treasurer

Michael L. Ainslie, Treasurer

Treasurer

Michael Ainslie has been a champion for education for decades. His passion has been the Posse Foundation, which he helped found and served as board chair for 13 years, recently retiring from the board. Posse finds young leaders from public and parochial high schools throughout the country and Puerto Rico and sends them to one of Posse’s 64 elite college and university partners in a cohort of 10 Posse scholars. Posse’s first university partner was Vanderbilt. Scholars receive a full merit leadership scholarship. 80% of them become president of a student organization and 90% of them graduate. Over 10,000 Posse scholars have won over $1.7 billion in scholarships. Posse’s goal is to have them take on leadership roles in the workplace and they are doing just that. Posse alums are partners in law firms, university professors, one is a college president, one is the President of an NBA team, and one is CEO and owner of a large multicultural ad agency. Another alum started a charter school. Michael Ainslie had a distinguished business career serving as President and CEO of Sotheby’s from 1984-1994, leading a transformation of the global auction business. Previously, he served as President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. While there he helped rewrite the tax law to provide the 25% investment tax credit for investing in historic buildings. This incentive radically changed the landscape for preservation. Michael is a 1965 graduate of Vanderbilt University. He studied abroad on a Corning World Travel Fellowship. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School. He served on the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust and is now a Trustee Emeritus. He has also served on the boards of the US Tennis Association, the St. Joe Company, Sotheby’s, and Lehman Brothers. After the bankruptcy, he continued as Chairman of the Lehman Estate for 6 years, overseeing the disposition of Lehman assets. In 2021, Michael became an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University. He created and now teaches an undergraduate course, Managing in Adversity, utilizing the Harvard Business School case method, assisted by CEO’s of some 25 organizations. In 2020, Michael published his memoir, A Nose for Trouble, Sotheby’s, Lehman Brothers, and My Life of Redefining Adversity. Michael and his wife Suzanne live in Palm Beach, Florida. He has five children and eight grandchildren living all over the country.

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The Civic Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our remarkable community and enhancing the special quality of life found only on the island. Your support helps to ensure that Palm Beach continues to be the best place to call home.