MAY Member Spotlight

Meet Susie Bowie
President & CEO
William G. and Marie Selby Foundation


What is your involvement with Florida Philanthropic Network? What influenced you to join?

"I have enjoyed a long and supportive relationship with the Florida Philanthropic Network, first through my past affiliations with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Manatee Community Foundation and currently through the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. The FPN team is consistently proactive in starting new conversations, facilitating meaningful connections, and seeking exceptional speakers, ideas and experiences to increase the impact of philanthropy in our state."

Name one thing you find special about the Florida philanthropic community. 

"The relationships formed and expanded in our space continue to challenge, inspire and support professionals at all levels. Members of our philanthropic community constantly ask themselves and each other, “What are we missing? How can our field do better? Who else needs to be here? How can I help? What needs to happen to build greater understanding across sectors?""

What are you most excited about in your new role as CEO at the Selby Foundation?

"The entire staff and board of the Selby Foundation share a commitment to the values of humility, humanity, social responsibility, innovation and stewardship. The way we do our work is as important as the work itself. I am excited about this alignment and the commitment to facilitate access to opportunity for others. We carry out the legacy of Bill and Marie Selby with our unique forms of investment—capital grants to nonprofits in a 4-county region and renewable scholarships and supports for students throughout their college experience"

One thing you hope to accomplish over the next year?

"Since 1955, the Selby Foundation has grown a stellar reputation in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, but many people do not know the stories of the nonprofits, people and places in which we invest. I look forward to helping our region and beyond learn more about the impact of the organizations and youth that are changing our communities."

What's the biggest challenge you've face with your philanthropic efforts? How have you overcome them?

"The ongoing conversations about greater access and inclusion have deserved greater emphasis, consistent learning, and more doing. I have invested time in examining the blind spots and implicit biases in this work (and in myself) and believe it is our most important challenge and opportunity.  I have found that exposing myself and those who surround me with the lived experiences of others is truly essential in overcoming the old ways of thinking, doing and being in philanthropy."

What fuels your cup- in life and at work?

"I try not to define myself by my work, but I love it and find it hard to separate. Connecting with those who have so many varied passions in philanthropy fuels endless curiosity and an ongoing feeling of responsibility for learning about issues, people, places. Outside of work, nature is important to me. Walking a trail, watching backyard birds, finding an occasional snake on a wooded pathway all fill me back up. A balance of enjoying people and quietude is something I strive to maintain."

Can you share one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a career in philanthropy?

"A piece of advice someone shared with me years ago in a fellowship program has always remained relevant. When you are fortunate enough to gain a rare position working in philanthropy, never forget your responsibility. You can never afford to be comfortable with the status quo, rest in your quest to do better, or think your role or station has greater significance than anyone else."

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