Susan Winer, philanthropic advisor
About my company
Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd., (SP) is a global philanthropic advisory firm headquartered in Chicago with offices in Detroit. As a Multi-Family Philanthropic Office, SP solely work with high net worth and ultra high net worth donors. Since 2000, the firm has been at the forefront of helping individuals, families, closely held and family owned businesses plan, assess and manage their lifetime and legacy charitable giving. Working in partnership with the client's legal and financial advisors, SP helps ensure that donors will feel more confident in their charitable giving and generate meaningful and measurable outcomes. SP also works directly with advisors to HNW clients providing customized training to help advisors more effectively and comfortably integrate philanthropy into client conversations.
I chose this career path because
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I've owned and operated various businesses throughout the course of my career. My current business partner came to me for help while working with a family helping them set up a foundation. They did not know where to begin and as she worked with them she realized there were probably 100s or 1000s of individuals and families needing help. She asked me to help her create a company that would advise people who wanted to more effectively and knowledgeably invest their charitable dollars. I was at a place where I was ready for a new challenge and when, after doing some market research it was apparent there was only one or two firms nationally in the philanthropic advisory space I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity. Together we created a business model that, we've stayed true to since 2000 and we continue to grow and evolve as a firm. I continue to find it stimulating and challenging and a wonderful way to make a difference in the world.
The biggest challenge I've overcome
Luckily,I haven't faced many challenges professionally. After college, I really had no specific skills, having majored in theater and psychology. I had been a writer throughout school and my parents encouraged me to look for a writing job. McGraw-Hill Publishing had offices in Detroit, where I lived, and they published 44 trad and technical publications...the bibles of various industries. I was 21 years old, I had no experience and I asked to speak to the editorial director...who asked why I thought I could do the job given no experience or relevant education. I said "try me" and he did! He gave me two assignments for two magazines and said to go write the stories and if NY accepted them I could have a job. Ten months later I was Assistant Bureau Chief for the midwest: an 8 state region overseeing and writing for all 44 magazines. That was how I started my professional career. Other professional opportunities came along and then at 29 I was named Vice President of the Chicago Board of Trade, becoming the first woman in a senior position at the Exchange.
I started my first company several years later and had the unique opportunity to help create opportunities for women and small business owners in Illinois and nationally through my involvement in launching the National Association of Women Business Owners in the 80's, The Women's Business Development Center in Chicago and serving as co-chair of the Illinois Delegation to the White House Conference on Small Business. There have been problems along the way; the death of a business partner, getting fired for dating a co-worker (who I married), but I think overall I've been blessed and I don't lose sight of that!
My greatest strength(s)
I am passionate about making a difference in the world. I am a good mentor and a very strategic planner and I think I've been able to help a lot of women be successful along the way.
My greatest accomplishment to date
Growing another company that is highly respected and has extraordinary values and an amazing, wickedly smart staff.
What/Who has inspired me the most
What inspires me is challenge. I get bored easily. I left my first and second company because I stopped feeling the "challenge" high.
I most want to be known/remembered for
I want to be remembered for making a difference in the world and contributing to a healthier environment for all people.
I support the missions of these charities/volunteer my time
- Planned Parenthood
- Personal PAC
- Global Greengrants
I enjoy the following hobbies/interests
I love traveling , reading and going to the movies.