ESC Board Chair Laura Survant has strived to live her values of service and support throughout her life and career. Laura is currently a Partner with Deloitte and has been part of ESC’s Board since 2010. ESC and our nonprofit community have benefitted from Laura’s commitment to servant leadership, and we are honored to feature her in this Board Spotlight!
ESC: What first drew you to ESC?
Laura: What drew me to ESC is the vision of successful nonprofits making our community an extraordinary place in which all can thrive, and ESC’s mission to empower nonprofits to achieve their missions through affordable coaching and consulting by trained executive-level volunteers. Those statements resonate deeply with me.
There are so many nonprofits doing good, crucial work for so many, and they all deserve access to services like ours. When our coaches and consultants share their expertise to help organizations address challenges and maximize opportunities, the impact is often transformative.
ESC: What motivates you to volunteer as a Board member?
Laura: We live our stated values: collaboration, integrity, quality, relationships, impact, resourcefulness, and inclusion. More than that, though, is how we live those values.
Collaboration: We use a partnering approach for mutual development and enrichment.
Integrity: We put service first, fulfilling commitments and earning trust.
Quality: We strive for excellence in all we do.
Relationships: We forge strong connections throughout our community.
Impact: We make a meaningful difference through dedicated service.
Resourcefulness: We creatively build on diverse experience and expertise, continuous learning, and customized approaches.
Inclusion: We are committed to racial equity and social justice, and take intentional action to make them a reality.
We don’t just state our values, we live them every day, in everything we do, without compromise. These are values by which I live, and it means so much to be part of an organization that shares them so fully.
ESC: What has been a highlight of your professional career?
Laura: Beyond helping clients achieve their strategic objectives, one of the most fulfilling things has been serving as a mentor and a sponsor to the future leaders of our practice. Seeing them develop and grow into leadership roles – being promoted and successfully leading very large practice areas – that has been the most rewarding.
ESC: What has helped your career development?
Laura: I was fortunate to have mentors and sponsors, both men and women, who supported, coached and encouraged me along the way. It is not always easy, but when you find people who invest in your career, it is something special.
ESC: Are those experiences what have inspired you to be a mentor and sponsor to others?
Laura: Honestly, it is really just something I like doing. I enjoy helping other people achieve their goals.
ESC: Who was a role model that inspired you?
Laura: My grandmother. She was a brilliant, loving, talented woman. She taught me to care about people, to care for people.
She was helping people every day up through her 90s – she lived that message of caring every day. She taught English to immigrants, taught ceramics and basket weaving in her retirement community, volunteered at church and sang in the choir. She always found ways to use her creative and artistic skills to help people, to improve their lives and bring joy.
Her spirit of giving and service inspires me to this day.
ESC: What advice would you offer to those who want to have leadership roles?
- Whatever you take on, do it to the fullest, to the best of your ability;
- Do what you love and love what you do – if you’re not passionate about what you do it’s hard to be a leader;
- To be a leader, you need people to want to follow you – you have to earn respect – and to be a leader is to serve those who you lead; and,
- Live your values – make decisions and choices that are consistent to your values – every day, in everything you do.