Lesley Warrick to Retire as Seafarers’ House Executive Director; Jennifer Stewart Named as Successor

Stewart to assume Executive Director role on January 1, 2021

Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades is pleased to announce Jennifer Stewart as executive director, following the retirement of Lesley Warrick on December 31, 2020.

Warrick has served as executive director of the Port Everglades-based nonprofit since 2005. She joined Seafarers’ House in 2004 as a public relations executive. Under her stewardship, Seafarers’ House expanded its reach to serve nearly 150,000 seafarer visits annually and was recognized internationally as a leading seafarer welfare and care center. In 2012, Seafarers’ House received the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare Award for Seafarer Center of the Year. Seafarers’ House also received a Salute to Business Award from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce in 2014. In 2015, Warrick was honored as Seafarer Advocate of the Year during Lloyd’s List North American Maritime Awards. In that same year, Warrick received Leadership Broward Foundation’s Special Recognition Award. In 2017, Warrick was appointed a trustee of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA). She also served as vice president of the Board of the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA), was named a Leading Woman in Transportation by Florida Shipper Magazine, and is a Leadership Broward Graduate, Class XXV.

“I am grateful to have spent nearly 17 years with this organization, and deeply honored to have had the opportunity to lead it. I am very proud of what my Seafarers’ House colleagues and board of directors have accomplished during these last several years,” said Warrick. “While it is hard to leave, I am confident that this is the right time for me to retire. The team has really exceeded expectations with our Capital Campaign and new construction project under the direction of Development Director Jennifer Stewart. As a result, we are in an excellent position for continued success, not only with the construction, but also to meet the needs of seafarers and the Port Everglades community in the future.”

Upon Warrick’s recommendation, the organization’s board of directors offered Stewart the position effective January 1, 2021. Stewart has served as development director since April 2016.

Stewart has nearly two decades of experience leading development efforts and serving in leadership roles at several South Florida-based nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining Seafarers’ House, she served as chief stewardship officer for the Community Foundation of Broward and as development director for Children’s Harbor in Pembroke Pines. Stewart also served as development director and grant manager for Women in Distress in Fort Lauderdale.

As development director, Stewart oversaw all fundraising and development for Seafarers’ House. Under her leadership, participation and engagement in Seafarers’ Houses fundraising events, such as the Business Leaders’ Luncheon and the International Golden Compass Gala, increased by 25%, raising money to support increased pastoral care and services at the facility. Stewart also spearheaded Seafarers’ Houses first capital campaign, a $3.5 million effort to secure funding for a new facility at Port Everglades, which is expected to open in late 2021.

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead Seafarers’ House in this next journey, as we build our new facility and continue to provide spiritual care and practical support to seafarers,” said Stewart.  I am guided by a vision for our future that addresses the needs of individual seafarers and advocates collectively for their care and support.”

“For almost two decades, Lesley has lead Seafarer’ House, pushing for innovation and action, while remaining focused on those who need our services the most – the world’s seafarers. With the support of our team, I look forward to building on Lesley’s legacy and leading the organization on this next journey.”

Stewart is a graduate of Florida International University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. She also is a graduate of Leadership Broward, a 32-year-old leadership and training organization, and was recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Broward County.

Captain Gene Sweeney, Chairman of the board of directors said: “On behalf of the board of directors of Seafarers’ House,, I would like to recognize Lesley’s leadership and contribution to the organization. She has been recognized as a leader among her peers by many organizations over the years, but internally we know that these recognitions only scratch the surface of the deep commitment and dedication Lesley has for the organization. Her outstanding stewardship has brought the organization from a local seafarers’ care center to an internationally recognized seafarers’ center, supporting nearly 150,000 seafarer visits a year.  Strong leaders like Lesley can only be followed by strong successors, and the board is pleased to promote Jennifer Stewart to executive director. Jen’s experience with the organization, her stewardship of our most important philanthropic events and programs, and personal style equip her for the challenges ahead. We are confident that she is the right person to lead the organization.”