Written by Kat Bodkin, Executive Director of Lowcountry Autism Foundation; 2021 Spring Leadership Discovery Participant after hearing from Anita Zucker, Chairperson and CEO of The InterTech Group
Introducing Anita Zucker is no easy task; as the leading philanthropist in SC and the chairman and CEO of The InterTech Group the world already knows what a wonderful person she is. Through the donation of her time and resources Zucker and her family provide help to those in need focusing their philanthropic efforts on education, health and human needs, the environment, and the arts. They have built successful businesses but, most of all, are notably the most charitable people in the state of South Carolina.
I learned so much after hearing Anita Zucker speak to our Leadership Discovery Group. Yes, Zucker is most passionate about education, but she has her hands in SO MANY other things. Do you know she designs and manufactures fishing lures? She also owns the Carolina Ice Palace and is part owner of the South Carolina Stingrays ice hockey team. How does one person manage to be at the forefront of so many businesses: both her own and on the board of many? By finding balance. Zucker advised us finding balance in your life with family, work, and community is essential.
Anita Zucker still to this day has learned, in order to keep this balance, she has to say “No”. She will turn down invitations when opportunities do not align with her values, mission, or her companies’ goals. In addition, when she needs to take a break from her busy life, she will retreat to calm to relax her mind and body.
She also advised us that when you do say yes be passionate about what you do. State why it is important. Use your time wisely. Plan and stay organized. As you follow your journey, serve as a connecter or builder and intentional collaborations will surge. These are the times to engage!
Zucker learned her values and life survival skills at a young age from her parents, Holocaust survivors, Rose and Carl Goldberg. Listening to Zucker tell the story of her parents living in the woods for years and how she holds very tightly to her life lessons from her parents, was emotionally powerful. “Don’t let anyone break your spirit” she said. Keep moving.
I am reminded each day; we are challenged to make tough choices. Make each one with intentionality. I am sure you are reading this realizing you can also relate to Anita Zucker. I know I do.
- Never tolerate mediocrity. Do not stay within your comfort zone. You and your employees. You will never be great if you accept mediocrity.
- To be a great leader, keep lines of communication open and flowing. Have an open-door policy.
- Stop being a bystander of hate.
- Fight for inclusion.
- Own your domain knowledge in everything you do.