Sue Smith has turned her passion for traveling abroad into a way to help other people.
She’s been a member of Rotary since 1989, and has been a part of dozens of international service projects. She also serves on Rotary’s international committee, which determines how to disperse funds among various philanthropic projects around the world.
Wisconsin native Sue Smith’s fascination with international travel and foreign cultures began when she spent a summer in Germany as an exchange student in high school. During her career, Smith worked in various areas of the media industry, including public relations, video production, writing and editing. Smith traveled abroad extensively, often backpacking on her own. She enjoyed her adventures, but felt a desire to do more than just sightsee.
“I used to backpack for fun, but I thought, ‘What if I could help people at the same time?’” Smith says. “So that is my formula now.”
She joined Rotary in 1989—just one year after the club began admitting women. Smith raised her three children in Iowa and moved to Evanston in 2001. She is currently a member of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club. Smith says that being a Rotarian has enabled her to take her international service to an entirely different level because the club is able to raise significant funds to help communities in need. “It’s an amazing, powerful organization that can do great things for people,” she says.
Smith has been involved in dozens of Rotary projects over the years. Some of the highlights include a national polio immunization day in Egypt and a journey to Guatemala to aid a village that had been struck by an earthquake. Smith serves on Rotary’s international committee, which determines how to disperse funds among various philanthropic projects around the world. She also frequently hosts visiting Rotarians at her home in Evanston.
“I consider the people I come across in my travels to be part of my family,” she says.