The Board of Directors of Special Olympics Vermont has named Sue Minter as the new President and CEO. Minter will replace Lisa DeNatale, who is retiring after six years leading the organization.
What is Sue Minter’s background?
I was born outside of Philadelphia, PA and grew up chasing my three big brothers and participating in many sports, including a serious dedication to being a competitive figure skater. I completed high school in Providence, Rhode Island and went on to earn my BA from Harvard University and my Master’s in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I moved to Waterbury Center, Vermont, in 1991, where I have raised two wonderful children– Ariel (age 25) and Jasper (17)– with my husband, David Goodman.
I come to Special Olympics Vermont with twelve years of executive and legislative experience, thirteen years of coaching youth sports (figure skating and soccer), and a lifetime of participating in competitive athletics. Most recently, I served as Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, Chief Recovery Officer following Tropical Storm Irene, and as a State Representative from 2004-2010. Some of you may have also heard of me from my run to be Governor of Vermont in 2016.
Why is she interested in Special Olympics Vermont?
As a lifelong athlete, I know firsthand the rewards of sport and the power of a team. I have observed the joy, self esteem and pride that Special Olympic athletes gain through their participation. I also know that behind every Special Olympics athlete is a network of people who advocate every day for the rights, privileges, and opportunities of their loved one. Over the past fifty years, Special Olympics has changed the world for people with intellectual disabilities and I am honored that Special Olympics Vermont has chosen me to help lead our organization forward as we strengthen our diversity, build greater understanding, and create more inclusive communities.
What qualities does she bring to the table?
What I bring to Special Olympics Vermont is a lot of energy, a big heart, and a passion for our mission. As a former legislator and executive leader, I have learned the value of listening, the art of collaboration and the importance of advocacy. I love people and seek opportunities to bring people together — whether for my community, for interest groups, or for the state as a whole. Vermont is a special state and I am blessed to have had the chance to work with many people and communities over my career. The work I am most proud of is the opportunity I was given to help lead our state forward as the Irene Recovery Officer after Tropical Storm Irene devastated Vermont in 2011. This required me to be a champion for the thousands of flood survivors who lost everything, an advocate for towns that needed resources to rebuild, and a team- builder to bring many different interests together. I worked hard to motivate and unite flood survivors, towns, and recovery workers around a mission, and to set a strategic course for a successful recovery for communities across the state. I know that Vermonters are capable of great things when they come together around a common mission. Special Olympics is a wonderful example of what is possible.
What’s her vision for the future of Special Olympics Vermont?
Initially, I will be looking to learn from the Special Olympics Vermont community; please share your successes and challenges with me. The volunteers that make Special Olympics Vermont work – the ones who run practices, organize carpools, celebrate wins and manage defeats – and athletes will be key contributors as we build our strategic vision. I am excited to grow new ideas for how we increase participation and build awareness of the movement.
As President and CEO, it is also my role to ensure that our programs align with the global mission of Special Olympics. Improving athlete performance and building positive attitudes remain the pillars of the strategic plan with Unified opportunities, school-based programs, and health as major priorities.
When will I get to meet her?
I look forward to meeting as many Program Coordinators, athletes, students, and volunteers at the Special Olympics Vermont conference in November, and at future Games and competition events. My door is always open and you can reach me via email or at the office. And, of course, I am looking forward to meeting many of you at the Penguin Plunge in February!