Women of Impact
Impact 100 Member Spotlights
Impact 100 Women of Distinction
Let’s get to know Sue Tompkins, one of our founding members and a unicyclist!
You’ve been a member of Impact 100 since the beginning. What do you remember most about those early years? When Ellie McCabe had the idea to start “Women & Philanthropy” back in 2001, it was sort of a discovery period, and I don’t think we knew where it would lead. The idea of engaging women to focus on strategic and impactful philanthropy was a new concept, eventually leading us to the idea of team philanthropy.
What was the main reason for starting Impact 100 of Indian River? After spending many years educating women in our community on the power of philanthropy, our W&P steering committee was looking for a way to turn education into action. When Susan Hopkins shared the Impact 100 article, it looked like the perfect model. Even though we had no infrastructure in place to launch Impact 100 that inaugural year, at one of our committee meetings, Becky Allen said, “Let’s just do it, and we will figure it out as we go along.” It was an “if not now, when?” moment. So, we took a dive and set out as a committee to each find 10 women to participate, with a goal of making a $100,000 grant. I think we were all a bit stunned when we had over 200 women join us that first year. It was an exciting and crazy time for sure!
What do you love most about being a member? I love being part of something where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. I love that my $1,000 donation can turn into something that is so impactful in the community. And I love meeting so many accomplished and impressive women.
Now let’s get to know you. I am a New England girl at heart! I grew up in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, which was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. I was lucky enough to spend my childhood coming to Vero Beach in the winter, moving here permanently in 1986. I went to the University of Connecticut, and have degrees in Marketing and Accounting. Although I am a CPA, my career has been in the banking and wealth management industry since 1986. After spending my entire career working for large corporations, my business partners and I started our own wealth management firm in 2019. It was a bit like jumping off a cliff in the dark, but being a business owner has exceeded every expectation. I truly love working with my clients and my team at Warren Capital Management, and controlling my own destiny.
Tell us about your family? I have been married to my husband, Chris, since 1986. Although he is from the “honeymoon capital,” Niagara Falls, we actually met in a far less romantic setting when working for the same accounting firm in Connecticut. We have raised two boys here in Vero Beach, John and Ben. John is a graduate of Washington and Lee University in Virginia, and Ben just completed his master’s degree at the University of Florida. My parents moved to Vero Beach permanently when I was in college, and we have been lucky to have them living next door to us for the last 25 years, which was priceless for a working mom.
What are your favorite hobbies? I grew up seriously addicted to tennis, but we have spent a lot more time on the golf course since moving to Vero Beach. We also love the beach, a Buffalo Bills football game, UConn women’s basketball, an occasional boat ride down to Little Jim’s on the weekend, and relaxing at our home in Cape Cod. Lastly, I love spending time with my sorority sisters…a group of women who are not only extremely accomplished, but inspirational.
What’s a fun fact about you not many people know? I ride a unicycle!
If you could invite one person, living or deceased, to dinner, who would it be and why? Queen Elizabeth. I was lucky enough to be at the Jubilee this past summer, but hearing her perspective from being in the front seat of history for almost a century would be epic.
Where’s your favorite vacation? That is like asking me who my favorite child is! I made it a mission to travel all over the world with my kids, and have so many great memories. If I had to pick one experience that was unique, it would be a 15-hour party in the sky on a first-class flight on Emirates that took me to a villa and a camel at the Qasr Al Sarab in the middle of the desert in the UAE…it was magical!
What’s the last book you read? Chesapeake by James Michener
What three words best describe you? adventurous, grateful, blessed
What one food can you not live without? Easy…pasta!
Why should someone join Impact 100? You will get far more out of Impact 100 than you put into it, and giving back to the community is such a fulfilling thing to do…you won’t regret it! I always say that team philanthropy is not for everyone. It’s critical to have the mindset that no matter what project gets funded, it’s all good, and the impact is something you could not have accomplished on your own.
Do you have any advice for new members? The beautiful thing about Impact is that you can choose your level of involvement, from volunteering to just writing a check and being a member. If you are a new member, participate in the events and volunteer if you can…you will learn so much about our community and your fellow Impact members.
What is your superpower? My superpower is that I almost always look forward, and rarely dwell on the past. I literally cannot remember details from the past that are negative, which I think is a gift, and hopefully not dementia!