West Coast Woman has a profile of Sue Stewart, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc. Despite not being a great fan of Girl Scouts—and especially of camping—in her younger years, Sue lives its mission every day.
With a background in healthcare and hospice work, she recalls her journey to the Girl Scouts and eventually to Sarasota. “I took a position with Girl Scouts in upstate New York that was in the process of merging five councils into one council. I was motivated by the organization's transformation to articulate why leadership is so important for girls. For 100 years, the Girl Scouts have been instilling the skills, knowledge, and experiences that change girls' lives. My parents have lived in Sarasota for 16 years so I applied for the position and was hired in January 2010.”
Linda Getzen, President of the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida and a Girl Scout alumna, says, "After more than two years, I'm still excited that we hired Sue Stewart to be the CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Sue is a true Girl Scout who 'bleeds green.' Her leadership qualities and dedication to service exemplify what we strive to teach girls and young women in Girl Scouting. Sue is an enthusiastic and tireless advocate for girls."
The Girl Scouts office in the striking building at Cattlemen and Proctor Roads is the nerve center of operations for the organization that serves 10 counties from Manatee to Collier. Not only does it house 32 employees working in fund development, advertising, and administration, but also a spacious and attractive retail operation that sells diverse Girl Scout products. The organization owns $12 million in properties—debt-free—including the Cattlemen Road administrative office and an event and conference center, Camp Honi Hanta in Manatee County, Camp Caloosa in Fort Myers, and six Girl Scout Houses.
When asked what people may not know about her, she says, “I'm very adventuresome and courageous. I hiked in the New York winters. I like to camp and zipline.” Sue doesn't rule out a run for public office sometime in the future. Her motivation in her current position and as a potential public servant comes from her desire to fulfill unmet needs in the community. For now, Sue is leading the charge to prepare young girls for leadership, healthy living, and financial literacy.