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Courage, Confidence & Character: A Guest Post by Sue Stewart, CEO, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida

June 14, 2013

Sue Stewart Head shot 2010

Sue Stewart, CEO, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida

On a beautiful Friday morning in May, I was open to participate and energized to be transformed by the provocative and inspired words of Ambassador James Joseph, delivered in a special presentation at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

As a member of a community of leaders from our region, I was immediately focused on his belief of leadership as a way of being and a “charge” to contemplate,  “Why me, Why here, Why now?”

When I was that awkward, shy, seventh grader going off to Junior High School (now middle school), I was new to my neighborhood and school. During our very first assembly in a cavernous auditorium, the principal remarked that we had entered a special place and that we had passed through a doorway marked with the quote: “Enter to learn, go forth to serve”.

Thinking about that school and my experiences, the place we entered was not a building, but a culture of people who believed in us and created an experience of learning far beyond books.

We grew emotionally, socially, morally, and spiritually- all tenets of Ambassador Joseph’s belief in leadership as a way of being. Whether it was through our interactions with peers, teachers, coaches, mentors, parents, or the larger community- we were given opportunities to test our voice, our hopes and dreams, to succeed and even fail.

Our principal, the leader of our school, developed us as a community of people who cared, who took responsibility for self and others and who was a role model for servant leadership. What lessons we learned and lived! We were taught that through service to others we could learn more, be more and grow more than any other act.

Those years at my junior high school, followed by high school, college and graduate school set me on my leadership journey, one that continues to unfold today. I am committed to service, to people, to teams, and to community.

I believe in Ambassador Joseph’s remark that “we are people through other people.”

As a leader of girls and adults, positioned at Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, I have the opportunity and responsibility to create a culture – with and through people- where service to others is the cornerstone of our mission.

Girls today are learning leadership skills through their service, through collaboration and communication, and through meaningful interactions with positive adult volunteers.

Girl Scouts mission is to develop girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. It inspires me every day. Why me, why here, why now? …it is clear to me. My leadership journey continues to unfold.

-Sue Stewart, CEO
Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida

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