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Executive Director, Sheryl Soukup, Keynote Speaker at STARability Housing Forum!

On October 23, 2019 STARability Foundation hosted a Family Forum at the Naples Therapeutic Riding Center. Sheryl Soukup, Executive Director for Residential Options of Florida (ROOF), presented housing options and emerging solutions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Soukup moved to Florida in 2002 from Boston, where she worked for Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston Metro Early Intervention. Soukup holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts. Her professional experience spans a wide range of industries and disciplines, with work in nonprofits, small business, and corporate environments, including academic and scientific research, manufacturing, market research, retail, restaurants, catering, child care, rental housing, equestrian facility, community centers, churches, hospital and health clinics, plus schools and universities.

Soukup served as an executive director and chief executive officer for nonprofits in Southwest Florida for ten years (2002 to 2012) before founding Soukup Strategic Solutions, a nonprofit consulting firm that provides organizations with expertise in fundraising and nonprofit management. Her background in science provides clients with expertise in data collection and analysis. When applied to nonprofit management, this expertise allows clients to develop strategic goals and effective strategies for measuring success. Soukup has a multitude of accolades under her belt, including the Women of Achievement Award from the Collier County Chapter of the American Association of University Women, and the Citizen of the Year Award from the Lee County Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Recognized as one of the 29 Most Powerful Women by Gulfshore Business, Soukup set her sights on what mattered to her the most: the inclusion of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As the mother of a child with a developmental disability, Soukup is no stranger to the difficulties many parents face when envisioning independent living for their children. The lack of resources for this population is what sparked Soukup’s interest in creating a hub for information regarding affordable housing options for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a result, Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) was founded in 2014 with the idea that everyone deserves the gift of independent living.

What started as a referral service for the entire state of Florida, soon became a multipronged organization that offers affordable housing options to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2018 Soukup was recognized by the Florida Housing Coalition for “groundbreaking innovation in meeting the housing needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.” ROOF is currently operating 6 homes throughout the state of Florida.