Board of Directors Spotlight: Sue Simmons
Where are you from and what is your background?
I have served as Director of Caroline County Recreation & Parks for 35 years – a leadership position with a tremendously broad learning edge to fail forward, pick up the pieces and try again, each time getting a little better at outcomes, policy making and community engagement. The degree in Recreation Administration from West Virginia University whetted the appetite for lifelong learning gained from the network of colleagues and internal staff, whose talents have fed and inspired my own.
How did you become involved with conservation work?
My land conservation interest grew with the steady growth of the public park system serving Caroline County residents. Our progression from neighborhood playgrounds and ballfields to larger regional land tracks in the last 15 years has been reinforced by thoughtful planning and public engagement and plenty of challenges. Add to that my professional engagement in advocating/educating state elected officials on the policy elegance of the real estate transfer tax and Program Open Space and I got “hooked.” My place of the greatest peace and presence is always the outdoors on trails, and streams and meadows.
How did you become involved with ESLC?
I became involved with ESLC because I was invited by a fellow Board member to lend my voice to the chorus representing Caroline County, but it soon became clear our mission is much broader than that. The conservation successes in Kent and Cecil County have import and impact on a region. It is a rising tide floating all ships.
What is your favorite part of working with ESLC? What is something you wish more people knew about ESLC?
ESLC has a 30 year foundation that will pivot successfully into the next 30. What I wish more people understood about the organization is the depth, creativity and commitment of the staff talent base within it. Certainly they stand on the shoulders of the teams preceding them, but they are indeed up to the challenges within the next 5-10 and 15 years. Their commitment buoys the Board leadership and refreshes our commitment to learn and network on their behalf.
What is your favorite thing about Maryland’s Eastern Shore?
Its landscape and the diversity of its people and its history. Sometimes you have to travel away to fully appreciate its beauty and richness, but it is there.