TAMPA — Eileen Sweeney, the Buccaneers' director of community relations, was still a relative newcomer when she met Renée Vaughn in late 2012.
Sweeney needed a guide and she found one in Vaughn, president of the Williams Consulting Group and chairwoman of the Leadership Tampa 2014 Class.
"She knows how the city works and she's willing to share that perspective," said Sweeney, a member of the 2014 class. "She's made a difference in my work and personal life and I don't know where I would be without her guidance."
Vaughn's willingness to mentor others stood out as one of the traits that led to her winning the prestigious Parke Wright III Leadership Award on Thursday. The Leadership Tampa Alumni organization annually presents the award to a member who displays exceptional leadership and made a significant difference in the community.
The description defines Vaughn's role as a mentor as well as her service on a number of nonprofit boards.
"I guess I've come to a place where if you can't give back, then what are you doing?" Vaughn said. "When I was coming up, I had great mentors.
"And I learn as much from my proteges as they learn from me."
Vaughn also received praise for her commitment to service. She is on the boards of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross Angels and University of Tampa Board of Fellows.
She won the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Angie's Award in 2014 and will be honored by the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida as one of its Women of Distinction in March.
Vaughn said she has learned much about leadership from her husband, University of Tampa president Ronald Vaughn.
"I guess I don't want to die and not leave some kind of legacy," she said.