There’s nothing Suzanne Weinstein can’t do. Ask her for 70 salad plates 3 hours before a gala and she will figure out how to get you exactly that with lots of time to spare. In 1981, she started Coastal Seafoods despite only a few weeks of experience in wholesale seafood distributing. Since selling her business in 2016, Suzanne has tirelessly worked to improve her community, including volunteer work at the Ann Bancroft Foundation. She served on the auction committee for our 25th anniversary event, as well as our annual event in April 2023. Read about her proudest accomplishments, experiences with ABF, and advice for the next generation.
Q: What initially inspired you about the Ann Bancroft Foundation’s mission?
A: What they did for empowering girls. I just thought it was great and I wanted to volunteer.
Q: What have you done as a volunteer?
A: I worked on the auction committee for the ABF gala in 2022 and 2023.
Q: What was your experience like as a volunteer with ABF?
A: The 2022 gala was the first big event the foundation put on since the pandemic. It was exciting to be a part of the 25th year celebration. I remember meeting in the hotel with the staff and committee, we all wondered how we were going to fill up the space with guests. We did it, and the event was so incredibly successful. It was fun for me to get donations from a large variety of people I know. The whole experience in 2022 was great. I enjoyed being a part of the success. In 2023 I was also able to get donations for the silent and live auction.
Q: What lesson would you give to your younger self?
A: Don’t give up. I’m pretty persistent, I’ve always been pretty persistent. I firmly believe in asking people for help. If they are not able to help, usually they know someone who could. I love networking
Q: Outside of your career, what are you most proud of?
A: I’m proud that I took up playing the ukulele about seven or eight years ago. I really like it. I never thought that I would be able to learn to play music. As a kid I had some really bad experiences with music teachers. So being able to learn to play an instrument has been a monumental thing for me! I always tell everybody, if I can play the ukulele, then anybody can learn. There’s a really supportive ukulele community here. I play in a group at the soup kitchen called Soup For You every Tuesday. I never thought that I would be able to play, let alone be in a group. It’s pretty thrilling.
Q: You have decades of experience as a business owner and entrepreneur. What should girls today learn from your story?
A: If you have an idea, figure out a way to pursue it. People are often willing to help or know someone who can. I love brainstorming ideas with people. People are often very willing to do this. Talk to other people who are in the field or business you are thinking about.
Q: When you were starting your business, did you have experience with mentorship?
A: It was somebody who worked for NOAA [The National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration.] Through him I was able to learn so much about the industry. I also joined a trade association and was able to meet people in the industry.
Q: Have you served as mentor?
A: Yes. I love helping other people get connected to someone or something they are interested in. Because of being on a variety of boards over the years, I have quite a few contacts in a lot of different areas. I love problem solving with people to help them succeed.