India Witte has served as Executive Director of the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy program since 2013 and tells us that she feels honored to play a role in this: the program has supported over 700 WLP Scholars, most first generation young women of color, on their path to educational attainment, and their scholars have a 97% graduation rate! Let’s learn more about her!
1. Tell us in a few sentences what you do. And why you do it.
I believe that public education, propelled by purposeful volunteer leadership and powerful philanthropy, is the most effective agent of positive change ever introduced in our society. What a blessing it has been to have found a professional calling that allows me to help generous people demonstrate their values through their philanthropy, and also play a role in shaping the lives of extraordinary students through investments in their scholarship and personal development through our programs. Plus, our WLP members are all AMAZING…exceptional leaders who leave their selves at the door to fully “pour in” to our WLP scholars with exceptional outcomes for both our students and our wonderful member/donors!
2. What is your contact info (that you want shared) please include any active social handles, websites etc.
3. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is…
Say a prayer, have a good stretch, and read the news over coffee (when it is not a gym morning).
4. My best business advice is….
In my business it is all about people and relationships. You have to LOVE people, take the time to get to truly know them, be invested in what matters to them and in our community, and truly LISTEN. If you begin by listening and proceed with sincere care and thoughtful, genuine interest, extraordinary things will happen.
5. My professional goal for 2021 is…
Survive…thrive…and find new ways to leverage my energy, passion and talents to continue to advance meaningful change for the people and programs that make USF and our communities strong and vibrant.
6. Supporting women in business is now more critical than ever. How can our community best support you?
In all honesty…there’s really nothing I could ask for except for more of the same. The Tampa Bay region is a unique ecosystem for women…we support, promote, sponsor, invest in and celebrate one another (as evidenced by this amazing initiative and others). A more intentional focus on equity and inclusion is always necessary, but the “Old Girls Club” is doing ok!
7. Your Astrological sign:
Taurus…which, if you know the sign, explains a great deal (including my 21+ years of professional service to USF). Go Bulls!
8. Favorite donut:
A blueberry cake donut hole from Krispy Creme
9. Favorite podcast:
Dolly Parton’s America…a most thoughtful celebration of a true cultural icon. It reinforced all of my fangirl feelings and revealed so much more!
10. Favorite book:
Child: The Encyclopedia Britannica A-Z…anything Nancy Drew…or by Judy Blume.
Adult: All Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg
11. Favorite pandemic binge watch:
The Mandalorian & Kim’s Convenience (we have teenagers!), The Queen’s Gambit, The Last Dance & The Crown
12. When I practice self-care I…
Spend unfettered, unencumbered time…with people, places, activities and things. It is a rare luxury that I seldom enjoy but revel in!
13. The place I am happiest is…
With PEOPLE! Family, friends, our members, our students, and all of the wonderful places and spaces that make the Tampa Bay region such a wonderful place to live, work and play.
14. People are surprised to learn I…
…learned to drive at 11…on a tractor. I grew up on a working farm in a very small, rural community, blessed with a family committed to cultivating in us an appreciation for our day-to-day reality while (through travel, education and experiences) making sure we were not limited by our geography.
15. 2020 taught me…
The power of resilience, patience, generosity, and KINDNESS!