In the last five years, Mike Sutton has brought transformative leadership to Habitat for Humanity in Pinellas County. The organization has drastically increased the number of houses delivered and families helped, and it is also taking active steps to adapt to the new affordable housing landscape. Mike has been a tireless source of positive leadership for his organization, and the community as a whole. His influence is a bright spot for Pinellas.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, Copperheads
What gets you out of bed every day?
The opportunity to work with the families we partner with at Habitat. Seeing the life changing opportunity that’s presented to them through home ownership.
Why St. Pete?
Just seeing the growth here over the last 5 to 10 years and seeing the destination it has become is really exciting. It’s a place that people want to be and it’s a place that constantly goes through change, which is really exciting.
What is one habit that you keep?
Management of my calendar. It’s something that I won’t let go of. I’m very particular when it comes to being on time for meetings and events. That’s one thing that’s been instilled in me – to appreciate other people’s time and respect it as well.
Who are some people that influence you?
Ed Droste, who is one of the founders of Hooters and the President of Provident Management Corporation. He’s someone I’ve known for about 20 years now. He’s someone I typically go to for career advice and growth opportunities. Also Nancy Ridenour. She’s a CPA here locally, and someone I tend to confide in and go to for life’s challenges and questions.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
I’m currently rereading the book ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team.’ It really talks about the five areas you need to focus on as a leader to build the best possible team you can. The number one is trust. It’s a great book, and one that I’ve read and gone to a number of times.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
The affordable housing crisis that we are in. Real estate continues to escalate. We are getting to a point where we are in the middle of a crisis. Low and moderate income families in our community cannot afford home ownership. Middle income families are facing the same thing now.
I’m really focused on the building of a sustainable long term organization. At Habitat we’ve grown significantly over the last four to five years. Now it’s how do we sustain that, and continue to be a change maker in the affordable housing industry?