Susi Q executive director retires

Bea Field steps down after shepherding the senior center into a new era of professionalism.

November 11, 2010|By Barbara Diamond,
  • Bea Field is retiring as executive director of the Susi Q Senior Center.
Bea Field is retiring as executive director of the Susi… (Coastline Pilot )

Bea Field, who came out of retirement to lead Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. in the successful transition from the cramped Legion Hall to the spacious Susi Q, has retired.

Carole Zavala, who convinced Field to apply for the job as executive director of the seniors group about four years ago, is heading the search for a new director.

"Bea proved to be a godsend," said Chris Quilter, president of the seniors. "She has a great set of skills and she is local — the kind of leader you fall in love with.

"I am so grateful to her — the transition to the Susi Q was enormous and she came out of retirement to do it."

Field said it was a team effort.

"I keep saying this was not a one-woman job," Field said. "It was all of us working together to make it happen."


Field had 25 years of experience in management, fundraising, team building and program development when she was enticed out of retirement to head the seniors.

And she was no stranger to Laguna, a decided plus, according to Quilter.

"Laguna has always been like a second home to me," Field said. "My parents owned homes here, and I came to Laguna as a kid and I brought my kids here."

Moreover, she had professional ties to Laguna and knew how the city operates.

"It is so important in Laguna to have someone who has knowledge of the city," Quilter said.

Unfortunately, that knowledge doesn't always mean that the person has the necessary skills to get the job done, Quilter said.

That was not a case with Field.

Field was executive director of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic from 1982 to 1987.

Her job included the administration of all facets of multi-specialty medical and counseling clinics and negotiated contracts with federal, state and county agencies

She planned, implemented and evaluated all of the clinic's programs while supervising staff, volunteers, physicians, nurses and counselors that totaled 200.

Under her direction, revenues increased by 300%.

Field first met Zavala when she worked at the clinic.

"Carole was on the board when I was the director," Field said. "I don't think anyone else could have talked me into applying for the job with the seniors."

Field also served as director of the youth shelter in Laguna from 1995 to 1998.

As administrator of all facets of the organization, she recruited, trained and supervised staff and volunteers.

A post graduate course in fundraising Field took at UC Irvine paid off for the shelter — she raised an additional $75,000 above the usual revenue.

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