Laurie Sallarulo has a reputation as a strong managerial, development and financial executive with a deep passion and commitment to improving the lives of children and families. Laurie is recognized as a dynamic leader that strategically moves organizations and community issues to higher levels of sustainability, awareness and recognition. She utilized her extensive corporate experience when transitioning to the non-profit sector, where she began as Director of Development and Programs at Habitat for Humanity of Broward. She also served as CEO of SHAPE, Students Helping to Achieve Philanthropic Excellence and as CEO of Leadership Broward Foundation. She currently serves as the President & CEO of Junior Achievement of South Florida, where she leads a team of 38 and manages a 60,000-square foot facility that serves more than 50,000 K-12 students each year.
Her unique combination of experience also includes her role as a funder in the community, serving two four-year terms as a Governor-appointed Treasurer of the Children’s Services Council of Broward. She currently serves as Commissioner-appointee and Vice Chair to the Broward County Children’s Services Board, and Governor Appointed Chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County. Laurie firmly believes we must invest in our children, as they are the future of our community.
Questions for Blacktie
Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment? Getting the organization in a stable financial position to allow us to grow our programs and impact.
What do you enjoy the most about your work? Watching students transform before our eyes into confident young adults, ready to take on the work world.
Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input? I have had several mentors along the way, but my most admired and trusted mentor has been my Mom, who worked her way up the educational ladder to be a Superintendent.
What program with your organization do you get the most excited about? JA Fellows Entrepreneurship program. Over 700 high school students start and run real companies and compete in SharkTank like events.
How did you determine which charitable organizations you would support? For me it’s always about the mission. My passion as always been around children and family issues.
Is there a charitable event(s) you really look forward to attending each year?
How have things changed for you through the years? I realize now when you’re out in the community, not everyone will like you, but hopefully if you stay true to who you are and your values they will respect you for the work you do and the results you get.
What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to your organization? I think one of my greatest strengths is the ability to see the potential and vision and create opportunities for the organization.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? When my children are happy. And maybe a comfy lounge chair on a beautiful beach!
What is the most important thing you have learned through the years? Life is short so make the most of every minute and don’t stress over things/people you can’t change.
How do you relax? I don’t relax much honestly. I keep pretty busy most of the time.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Italy
What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of? Time
If you found a treasure chest – and you could keep it, what would you want to be in it? Pictures and items that remind me of those I love and times we shared.
What can make you laugh? My kids!
What can make you cry? Hallmark movies
Are you where you hoped you would be at this point in your life? I’m very grateful for all I have in my life.
When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
What do you think is the biggest problem we are facing in this country today? Lack of empathy and kindness towards each other.
How do you want to be remembered by future generations? Changing lives for the better.
What word best describes your life right now? Complete
What charitable organizations are you involved with at this time? Governor appointed Chair of Early Learning Coalition of Broward
Is there a non-profit event you really look forward to attending each year? JA Uncorked
Who is your hero? My Dad
What is your idea of a perfect vacation? Some sightseeing and activities, lots of great food and some relaxing.
How does one hold on to their true self in the corporate world and still become successful? When you like who you are and are happy with your life, its easy to stay authentic.
How do you stay so motivated and committed? I do what I am passionate about and I am naturally not a status quo person so I am always looking to see how I can make something better/stronger or grow it.
What is your favorite sport? I love most sports, but top sports are football, basketball and baseball.
Do you feel women have made progress in their quest to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace? Yes, I do think that women are being given more opportunities today.
How does the “seasoned” woman compete in a marketplace that is focused on looking and being young? Do your best to stay healthy and take care of yourself, but I think looking and being young is an attitude.
Is there a saying, motto, or “words to live by” that is your favorite? “It is what it is.”
What is your most treasured possession? While I don’t treat them as “possessions”, my children.
What is your greatest indulgence? Pasta and pizza.
What is your favorite store for clothes shopping? Marshalls!!!!
What is your favorite restaurant? Too many to name one.
What will we find you doing on a Saturday night? Probably an event!
What is your favorite room in your house? My kitchen.
What is your pet peeve? People who don’t take responsibility for words and actions. No one is perfect, just admit you made a mistake, apologize and we can all move on.
Do you have a Fashion Addiction? Shoes
What is your favorite snack? Kettle corn
What is your favorite Ice Cream flavor? Rocky Road
What is your biggest fear? Snakes
How do we get our young people more interested in charitable giving and community volunteering? They need to see it and be involved in it from an early age.