Liz Stewart doesn’t check with the stage of life that she’s in now as retirement.
As an alternative, “switching gears” is the time period Stewart makes use of.
“I’ve simply shifted to a brand new section,” she mentioned. “I inform people who I’m in my legacy section. It’s partly to maintain myself busy, however I’m very dedicated to the causes I assist.”
Stewart, 75, serves on Rural Well being Providers’ board of administrators and shortly will turn out to be its chairperson.
She additionally chairs the parish council at St. Mary Assist of Christians Catholic Church.
As well as, Stewart is a member of management committees that assist information the Aiken Technical School Basis, USC Aiken’s Aiken Partnership Board and the Rotary Membership of Aiken.
She is also the treasurer of the Baby Advocacy Middle of Aiken County’s board and the vice chair of the Aiken County Planning Fee.
“I consider that we’ve got an obligation to serve in the neighborhood that we profit from,” mentioned Stewart, who has been an area resident since 1989. “I’ve benefited a lot from residing in Aiken that I really feel like I ought to give again.”
Stewart is a former Rotary Membership of Aiken president and a former chair of the Aiken Planning Fee.
In 2008, the Aiken Chamber of Commerce honored her as its Lady of the Yr.
Stewart acquired the USC Aiken Distinguished Associate Award in 2014, and she or he was the varsity’s Distinguished Citizen of the Yr in 2020.
And people are only some of Stewart’s many accolades.
“Her talent set and her breadth of data about issues are very large and deep,” mentioned Aiken Metropolis Supervisor Stuart Bedenbaugh. “She has an abundance of expertise and could be very beneficiant along with her time. After I examine one thing happening in a nonprofit or neighborhood group, she’s all the time proper in the midst of it.”
In 1984, Stewart based Stewart and Associates Inc., a nationwide consulting agency whose shoppers over time have included Xerox, 3M, IBM, Atlantic Broadband and the Florida Energy & Mild Firm.
Stewart and Associates affords varied surveys and assessments to its shoppers and offers help with management improvement and organizational processes corresponding to strategic and succession planning.
There are branches in San Francisco, Tampa, Atlanta, Houston and three different places.
One in all her proudest moments, Stewart mentioned, was the launch of Stewart and Associates.
One other was marrying her second husband, Ray Jewell, who died in 2018.
“He was the love of my life,” Stewart mentioned.
Her third-proudest second was when she turned Stewart and Associates over to her staff following Jewell’s loss of life.
“I knew that greater than 200 folks and their households had been going to have an important future,” Stewart mentioned.
However they aren’t forging forward alone. She stays in contact.
“Although I’ve transitioned the possession to the employees, I nonetheless personal copyrights to numerous issues, so I receives a commission royalties. That’s my retirement plan,” Stewart mentioned. “I sit in on weekly management staff Zoom conferences, they usually name me a couple of times per week with questions.”
In the meantime, Stewart makes use of her enterprise consulting experience to assist others.
She serves as a mentor to younger skilled girls.
“They’re coping with numerous the identical points that girls handled 30 to 40 years in the past,” Stewart mentioned. “A few of the options that we tried again then didn’t work, so I’m serving to them develop some totally different methods.”
Through the novel coronavirus pandemic, Stewart has been giving recommendation to enterprise homeowners about how they will regulate to the altering circumstances.
“All people has type of needed to redefine themselves a bit of bit, and that’s the place modern pondering has come into play,” she mentioned. “I inform them, ‘Right here’s what what you are promoting was, however it may’t be that method now, so how will we do it in another way?’ I problem them.
“There have been some retail companies that didn’t have an internet presence,” Stewart continued. “Effectively, in case you are shut down, you’ve obtained to have an internet presence.”
Stewart additionally has been counseling entrepreneurs.
“I really feel very strongly within the enterprise world that nothing actually thrilling or modern occurs till an entrepreneur will get began, so I consider it’s completely essential to foster entrepreneurship,” she mentioned. “Plenty of entrepreneurs have a specific ardour and talent, however the enterprise aspect of it – hiring folks and managing them – is usually a weak point.”
A few of the budding enterprise homeowners who’ve flourished beneath Stewart’s steering are Ashley Elvis and Casey Younger, who based Board in Aiken, which affords customized charcuterie platters, and artist Cara Leverette, who creates watercolor and acrylic work.
“There are some things now that when my mind and my coronary heart say go, my physique says, ‘No, not at this time.’ However I can nonetheless suppose and I wish to share what information I’ve for so long as I’m able to,” Stewart mentioned. “I want to look down from heaven in the future and say, ‘Wow, these companies are doing nicely. I’m so glad that I helped.’ ”
A local of Daytona Seaside, Florida, Stewart grew up with six brothers, 5 of whom had been adopted.
“My dad would give us an allowance of 15 cents per week, and he gave it to us in three nickels,” she mentioned. “We needed to put one nickel in our piggy banks. We needed to do one thing good with one nickel. In the event you couldn’t consider something, you set it within the providing plate at church. And we may spend and benefit from the third nickel. It helped me prioritize issues. You avoid wasting, you assist different folks and then you definitely go have enjoyable.”
As well as, Stewart and her brothers every had been required to take part in not less than one sport.
Browsing turned a ardour for Stewart, and she or he competed for greater than 50 years.
“There’s a oneness with nature,” she mentioned. “Once you’re driving that wave you notice that nature is in whole management, and also you’re sort of a visitor. That wave may knock you over at any second. Simply mastering it’s a problem as a result of it’s unpredictable.”
Stewart additionally was adequate at tennis to earn a scholarship to the College of Florida, the place her research didn’t take a again seat to athletics.
Stewart acquired bachelor’s levels in French, Spanish and training.
Later, she added a grasp’s diploma in psychology, a doctorate in economics and a legislation diploma.
“I have a tendency to maneuver quick and never sleep a lot,” Stewart mentioned. “I’ve all the time been that method.”
Whereas on the College of Florida, Stewart roomed with Jane Slagsvol, the second spouse of singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett.
“They’re amongst my oldest associates,” Stewart mentioned.
She described the person who made “Margaritaville” well-known “as an important man and an important marketer.”
When not performing, “he’s a reasonably regular particular person,” Stewart mentioned. “He’s the one flipping the pancakes for the youngsters on Sunday morning.”
Earlier than founding Stewart and Associates, Stewart taught highschool French and Spanish for a yr within the late Sixties.
One in all her largest disappointments in that career, she mentioned, was discovering out that males had been being paid “25% to 30% extra” than girls.
That’s why when Stewart heard that there is perhaps a job alternative with a giant company, she determined to discover a brand new profession.
The husband of a neighbor within the condominium advanced the place she was residing on the time had been promoted to a administration place at Xerox.
His spouse advised Stewart that she ought to discuss to him as a result of the corporate “was occupied with hiring some girls.”
Stewart did so and was inspired.
“A few issues he mentioned resonated with me,” Stewart recalled. “One was that promoting is simply instructing folks about your product, so if you happen to can train, you’ll be able to promote. However a very powerful factor he mentioned was that everyone would receives a commission based mostly on what number of copiers they bought. In the event you bought extra copiers than anyone else, you had been going to receives a commission greater than anyone else. That began my 15-year profession at Xerox.”
From a gross sales place, she rose up via the ranks to turn out to be the vice chairman for the corporate’s Southeast area.
“For a few years, I used to be a part of the in-house authorized staff,” Stewart mentioned. “I used to be a copyright infringement litigator. Sure, we sued folks for saying, ‘Let’s Xerox this.’ Most of them settled.”
As a result of Stewart additionally was concerned in strategic planning, she knew when Xerox turned prime heavy with executives and was going to chop again.
As well as, the corporate wished her to maneuver to Rochester, New York, and Stewart was reluctant.
“They gave us an early out possibility that was actually, actually good,” she mentioned, and so Stewart went out on her personal and established Stewart and Associates.
In the present day, she is just too busy to spend so much of time trying again on what she completed.
“I’m hanging round numerous younger people who find themselves doing thrilling issues, and I’m completely satisfied to be part of it and to assist them,” she mentioned. “I’ve by no means been the sort of person who sits there and does nothing. That might drive me loopy.”