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Ada Healy

Chief Real Estate Officer

Years as a Camper: four years, (three as a camper, one as a CILT)

Years as a Staff Member: Six years (two years as a Jr. Counselor, two years as a Senior Counselor, one year as Sailing US, one year as Sailing Master)

Current profession and title/years in role: Real Estate Investment and Development. Chief Real Estate Officer at Vulcan, Inc. – part of the estate of Paul Allen.

How do the values or skills learned at Camp show up in your everyday work or personal life? Wow, I could write pages about this topic. Other than my relationship with my parents, attending Camp Seafarer was the most important and impactful experience I had growing up. As a staff member, I learned how to take initiative, be independent and solve problems. I learned the importance of being a positive role model-that kids and other counselors were watching me and queuing off my attitude. I learned how to lead. When I was a camper, Seafarer challenged me to constantly improve my technical skills on both Land and Sea. Mastering new skills was fun and it helped build my self-esteem. When Vulcan first hired me 20 years ago to run their real estate development business, I knew a lot about investing/managing operating real estate, but nothing about development. The self-confidence I gained from my Camp experience gave me the chutzpah to interview for the job and the courage to accept the role, even though I really didn’t know what I was doing.  We adopted a triple-bottom line philosophy whereby our projects had to deliver a market return to our principal investor and have a positive impact on our community and the environment, which was cutting edge back in 2001. Forty-seven projects and $6 billion later, I figured it out. I had the good fortune to hire some amazing people to work alongside me on this journey, which has been the thrill of a lifetime. The interpersonal skills I learned managing a cabin, a team of counselors and ultimately the sailing program provided me with a great foundation to lead a team of 60 people for 20 years, where our average team member tenure is 10 plus years.    

What person or situation influenced you most at Camp and why did they/it impact you? I learned from and admired so many people at Camp. I made friends for life there and cherish those relationships 40 years later.  Although I had many great learning opportunities at Camp, the story I will tell below is a lesson in perseverance which is so important in life and in business. After my first year as a Senior Counselor, I really wanted to be a Sailing UA and felt I had earned the position and was well suited for the role. Camp’s full-time staff disagreed, and my dear friend Tracy Baynes got the job instead. While I was excited for Tracy, as she also wanted the job, I was extremely disappointed with the decision. Instead of quitting, which I considered, I came back to Camp as a senior counselor for a second year, and had a blast, as always. The next year, I was promoted to Sailing UA and the following year to be the first female Sailing Master in Camp Seafarer’s history. If I had walked away, I would have missed out on the opportunity to run the Sailing Program and teach 560 kids how to sail while also keeping them safe. We are all constantly faced with new challenges and setbacks that we must overcome to be successful. Learning the value of perseverance at an early age has served me well. 

Favorite Camp meal: Fried Chicken on Sunday-is any explanation really required?

Favorite recent book: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari-I loved reading about human history and thinking about where we came from and where we are going as a species.  And These Truths by Jill Lepore-It is a story of the American experiment with all of its triumphs and shortcomings. I love history.

Favorite holiday: Halloween, hands down. We usually give out 1,000 pieces of candy to little goblins each year and it’s so much fun, plus, eating leftover candy isn’t so bad either.

What is your guilty pleasure? I bought a motorboat this year. My kids love it and I love it because I am with my kids and they are away from electronics and trapped with me out on the water. What could ever be better? 

What superpower would you like to have? I want my body to feel like it's 20 years old until the good Lord calls me home. The 50 plus crowd will understand the desire for this superpower. 

Who is your role model? Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Known as the Iron Lady, she was the first female British Prime Minister and the longest-serving Prime Minister in the 20th century- even longer than Churchill. Her policies changed the course of a nation. I lived in London while Thatcher was Prime Minister and got to hear her speak on occasion. She was impressive, to say the least.