CEO’s Corner: An Interview with Maribel Slabaugh, YMCA of Bonita Springs

Maribel SlabaughWhat were some early influences for you?
One of my biggest influences in life was to see my parents working hard and making sure that when you have a task, you do it and do it well. No excuses.

Tell me about your parents.
My father started working at the age 12 y/o and went to school at the same time. Then he got a job in a factory and started tech school and move to a better job. When he was on his 50’s he opened his own small company until he retired. My father was always working, studying and teaching us how to do stuff; how to be self-sufficient. When my father was working he was always proud of his job, the company he belongs to and what he was able to learn and accomplished; event during the hard times.
My mother was a stayed home mom but a working mom; I think she didn’t realize she had her little enterprise at home but she did. She was always either taking care of my brother and me or making baby clothes for sale or for charity. Although she was busy, things got done and we were part of making it happen. My mom and my dad were a balanced team but very focus and cautious not to get ahead of themselves without planning first and having a back up plan.

Do you remember when you first became a manager?
If being a teacher counts as a manager, then I was a manager at the age of 18 y/o. I was a teacher of 5th grade in a private school; not easy but I did it. Since the age of 14 y/o I prepared myself to become a certified teacher, prepared my lesson plans, created my own resources, worked with the mentor-teacher and with parents as well. Then I went to college and became a licensed teacher.
In the “formal job” arena I became a manager when I led a team of professionals to implement a research course at the university level. I really want to become the manager who allows my team to grow, to bring their talents out, to sparks energy for a job well done.

What were some early leadership lessons for you?
When I was in 7th grade and had to plan a field trip for a group of 3rd grade children I learned that being a leader has a lot to do with knowing the impact that one can have on others. Being passionate about the job that I agreed/want to do and do it with full commitment for the benefit of all. I got and A in my field trip project, the children kept talking about the great trip they experienced and parents were very appreciative and got involved or participated somehow in later projects.

Tell me about the culture of your company:
The Bonita Springs YMCA – Our promise: We strengthen our community. To fulfill our promise, Y’s require strong CAUSE-DRIVEN LEADERSHIP® to effect lasting personal and social change in support of our cause through our three areas of focus. We place special focus on three areas: – Youth Development – Healthy Living – Social Responsibility. Many in our community have a Y story and we know the impact we have in the lives of children, adults, seniors; it is very clear that our success depends on the experience and relations we foster with our stakeholders every day.

What are some of your weaknesses opportunities for growth?
Continue to work on my functional expertise, become more influential and improve in my effective communication skills.

How do you hire?
Bonita Springs Y belongs to The SKY Family YMCA and we have a HR department; however, my local team and I identify the competencies that the open position requires before recruiting. As a team we review applicants and interview them based on the competencies; then, we assess the outcomes of the interviews against the competencies, an additional factor for a selection and hiring process is the personal connection with the applicant. Finally we make a recommendation to HR for hiring the candidate.

What advice do you give new college grads?
Develop effective high communication skills (verbally and in writing). Mean what you say; and say what you mean is a demonstration of character. Be passionate about what you do, it really reflects in the quality of your job. Don’t be shy about what dream you are pursuing and always foster high aspirations.

Anything else you would like to add?
Continued education is important; a leader is always looking for areas in which ones can grow and help other grow as well. I recommend a good read: “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek

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