Sen. Garrett Richter (LC '93)
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example,” said John Wooden, head basketball coach at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Garrett Richter, former state legislator and President Pro Tempore of the Florida Senate from 2012 to 2016, brings this powerful tool to the table every day as he exemplifies leadership in our community. Richter has used his own personal example to great effect throughout his careers in banking and politics—and that example has had a profound ripple impact here in Southwest Florida, setting a model for others to follow.
Twenty Six years after graduating from Leadership Collier, Richter remains an active leader within the organization, speaking with each of our leadership programs and sharing his wisdom through LCF alumni opportunities like the Leadership Lunch Series and Campaign for Leadership. Richter is an alumnus and past Board of Regents member for Leadership Florida and past chairman of Leadership Collier. He is also a board member of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.
Richter says “the building of long-lasting, value-driven relationships” was his favorite part of the program back in ‘93.
“Those relationships that I established in Leadership Collier years ago are still a very meaningful part of my life,” Richter said. “I was able to make friends with people, and while we might not agree on public policy issues, we agree on our mutual respect of each other.”
Richter continues to model that mutual respect as the chairman of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, where he expertly guides a group of community leaders to address some of the most significant issues—including infrastructure, mental health care, workforce development and affordable housing—facing Southwest Florida.
“For some of the biggest issues, we crossed a starting line with the passing of the 1% sales tax,” Richter said. Beyond members of the Public Policy Committee, Richter sees opportunity in these challenges for all LCF alumni to make a difference.
“Affordable housing and workforce development have numerous solutions, and there is always room at the table for leaders to develop those solutions.”
For Richter, Leadership Collier contributed to another important part of his leadership development—something he calls “Learn, Earn, and Return.”
“Leadership Collier enabled me to accomplish two of those ingredients: learning and returning,” Richter said. “I learned more about our community, about the policy, what drives our policy.”
The experience created a “foundation of awareness and convinced me to run for public office after Dudley Goodlette termed out of the legislature.”
Richter often shares this key advice to anyone who is thinking about running for public office. In his experience, there are two reasons most people run: Because they want to be something or because they want to do something.
“Thanks to Leadership Collier, I had a better ability to decide that I wanted to do something,” Richter said.
Now, the Vietnam veteran is helping others to do something, too.
“We live in a dynamic age, things are always changing, the demographics of our population are always changing. As people slow down in their service, we need the younger demographic to come in and take the reins and get involved,” Richter said. “Our community is such a vibrant community, and the only way to get fresh ideas is to have fresh people at the table.”
Senator Richter, thank you for using your own personal example to create a strong leadership model, based on a foundation of impeccable integrity, for us to follow. We are grateful for your service to LCF, our community, and the state of Florida.