5 Questions for: Barbara Shrut
Goodwill Industries South Florida's board of directors chair sits down to discuss the organization's impact.
Goodwill Industries of South Florida board of directors’ chair Barbara Shrut is the president of SLB Advisors, providing guidance to clients on strategy, finance, revenue enhancements, and brand management. Prior to founding her firm, she held numerous executive roles at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., including the integrating of Celebrity Cruises after the company acquired it for $1.3 billion. Previously, Ms. Shrut was controller for Summit Communications and assistant controller for Cox Enterprises. She’s held leadership roles with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, United Way of Miami-Dade and the YWCA Greater Miami-Dade. Shrut has a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Virginia and is a CPA. She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, Women Corporate Directors, Women Executive Leadership, and The Venture Mentoring Team. She sat down with SocialMiami to answer our five questions…..
What is unique about Goodwill as an organization?
We have five core businesses employing over 3000 people, many with disabilities. And we also do job training, meaning Goodwill touches over 7000 people a year. It’s incredible. There are the retail stores, most people know about those, and now we have jewelry and artwork sold online — a sector that grew in 2020. There’s an apparel manufacturing plant in Allapattah employing 1500 people, which is US’s largest maker of military uniforms. The third business is a commercial laundry center for major hospitals such as Baptist and Jackson. The janitorial and landscaping business works for Florida state, city and local governments for such as fire police and county buildings. And now there’s a third-party logistics component, which does warehouse packing and loading. It’s new we’ve been launching over past two years,
From a governance side, we are truly in accordance with a for-profit board. With financial oversight, we have an active audit committee, chaired now by George Pita who is the CFO at Mas Tech. We also added Ruth Brophy, who is very senior cyber security specialist at HIG Capital, Julie Greiner who was a senior executive at Macy’s in Miami and New York and brings incredible knowledge, Sophia Galvin who knows human services inside and out and Edward Shumsky to head our compensation committee. Everyone is bringing insights that are applicable to the business side. A lot of non-profits look to fundraise – and we do as well – but we need people to understand the businesses.
What can the community do to help?
Three things the community can do. First, spread the word, Goodwill South Florida is the best kept secret. We have a new virtual tour it’s 18 minutes long, it’s sharing that. They can donate goods to Goodwill trailers and stores and they can both contribute and shop.
If we do contribute, where does the money go?
The businesses are not making money like they were, so it would be spent on operations. The concern is to keep everyone employed. We were employing 3100 people and we are down to 2700 employees. With money, we can expand training – the businesses are not making money like they were – no retail operation is making money as it was before the pandemic. The revenue from the stores allows us to do some of those things plus the training. It’s a significant amount of training and it costs money to train people who want to work but can’t find work.
Are there moments in particular that you remember why you work so hard for Goodwill?
Goodwill has the Spirit of Goodwill Band and every time I listen to the band I’m touched and happy. It’s made up of 30 people with the most severe disabilities, many cannot communicate or talk. The instruments bring out their inner souls and doing this makes them so happy. With the work from Goodwill, they’re surrounded by people are motivated.