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Woman as leader: Firm, no middle road, speak out

Edna Sutter is one of the most admired and respected Filipino women leaders and philanthropists in the Rotary. She balances running a construction company with her husband Martin, having fun with family including only son David, and friends, and practicing ‘service above self.’

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Edna Sutter looks great and relaxed — whether in a Rotary International T-shirt, blue jeans and hard hat, or in a branded gown in the company of Rotary International presidents, trustees and directors in an Arch Khlump Society formal dinner at its Evanston, Chicago headquarters.

She’s one of the most admired and respected Filipino women leaders and philanthropists in the Rotary. She balances running a construction company with her husband Martin, having fun with family including only son David, and friends, and practicing “service above self.”

Born in Ilocos Sur, Edna is the second to the youngest of eight children of Magno and Alejandra Reotutar.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FB.COM/Edna Sutter
Martin and Edna Sutter.

Her parents, whom she regards as heroes, taught her humility and influenced her vision. She remembers an incident when her father unjustly punished her and her sister Adelina for something they did not do. Upon realizing his mistake, Magno fell on his knees and humbly asked for forgiveness.

After years of courtship and romance, Edna married Martin Sutter, a Swiss national whom she also considers her hero. He taught her the value of delayed gratification — sacrificing before reaping, how to become a better business person.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FB.COM/Edna Sutter
SPEAK up when it matters, Edna Sutter urged.

She passes on her family values to her young son, David William Sutter — whom she advised: “Have a goal in mind and always keep your focus.”

In November 2013, Mrs. Sutter was elected District Governor of Rotary International District 3830.

In 2021, she was appointed chair of RPC Asia Pacific Region. She had her hands full meeting daily with  zone leaders, mapping out the program for a two-day conference that featured international speakers. The conference drew 20,000 attendees online.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PEXELS/vlada karpovich
WOMEN are powerful agents of change.

Among the insights she gained: “Women leaders have to be firm even as we cannot please everyone. We cannot take the middle road. If you see something wrong, you should speak out immediately, otherwise you will lose the right to be heard, and suffer the consequences of not speaking up when it mattered.”

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