Investor Spotlight: United Way Suncoast
May 10, 2016
United Way Suncoast works to break the cycle of generational poverty through educational programs that teach children the skills they need to be successful and help adults achieve long-term financial stability to support themselves and their families. Working with volunteers, agency partners, community leaders, and key
stakeholders, United Way Suncoast focuses on three priority impact areas: Early Literacy, Youth Success, and Financial Stability. United Way Suncoast works to break the cycle of generational poverty through educational programs that teach children the skills they need to be successful and help adults achieve long-term financial stability to support themselves and their families. Working with volunteers, agency partners, community leaders, and key stakeholders, United Way Suncoast focuses on three priority impact areas: Early Literacy, Youth Success, and Financial Stability.
As CEO, Suzanne McCormick leads one of Florida’s largest United Way organizations, making connections that propel its growth, increase community impact, and optimize delivery of its strategic plan to break the cycle of generational poverty. McCormick previously led United Way of Greater Portland for 13 years, and served four of those years as President and CEO. She was also the CEO for both the American Red Cross of Southern Maine and People’s Regional Opportunity Program.
A valued member of our Executive Committee, McCormick highlighted what it’s like to be an Investor of the EDC as well as a member of the Tampa business community.
1. Those of us who live here know that Hillsborough County is a great place to live and work. When you are recruiting top talent from out of market, what aspects of our community are often cited as positive factors influencing their decision to relocate here?
People I have recruited are interested in the overall quality of life the region has to offer. This includes the many kinds of recreational and cultural activities that are so abundant here. Many of the people I talk with care a great deal about the ability to be outside often, engaged in all sorts of activities, and Tampa Bay really excels in that area. Education is an equally important factor. My most recent recruit has school-aged children so the reputation of the school district and specific schools was incredibly important. Finally, the talent I am after care a great deal about how the community supports the social wellbeing and development of individuals and the population at large. They want to know: are we an engaged community? An inclusive society? A group that cares about each other?
2. What is your favorite aspect of living in Tampa Bay?
I love where I live. I love where my kids go to school; I love the business community here; and I love the growing focus on building collaborative solutions to meet a variety of needs, be they social or economic. People in this region value new ideas and welcome the people who bring those ideas. I really enjoy living in an area this innovative and focused on getting even better.
3. Where do you derive the most benefit for yourself and your company as an Investor of the EDC?
There are two incredible benefits I get from being a part of the EDC. The first is the opportunity to build personal relationships with other civic leaders who have great influence over the future of this region and who care deeply, as I do, about its economic vitality. The second benefit is easy access to robust data and information about what is happening in this market. This helps me plan strategically and think about future areas of impact for my organization.
4. How has the EDC played a role in helping your business succeed in Tampa and Hillsborough County?
Having access to information about new companies coming to the market, or existing companies expanding here, has a direct correlation to the success of my organization. Our goal is to help better connect community resources to needs. I have to know who is here and have relationships with the leaders of this region in order to make that happen.