Wendy Knight, CEO of Sea Turtle Inc, Best Successful CEOs of 2021 Profile

Wendy Knight
CEO of Sea Turtle Inc

Wendy Knight, CEO of Sea Turtle Inc, Best Successful CEOs of 2021

“A Supportive, Compassionate Leader”

Sea Turtle Inc. was at the apex of growth and transitioning when Wendy Knight joined as the CEO. She quickly gave it groundwork support and business perspective to pursue more significant donations, corporate sponsorships and marketing campaigns. Nonprofits are appropriately viewed as mission-driven organizations. Wendy recognized that nonprofits are also business enterprises built on an underlying business model that makes the programs and organization operate and succeed. In less than a year, the Sea Turtle Inc staff continued its mission driven approach while adding a focused business mindset. This approach allowed the organization to increase admission count by 71% over the prior three years and greatly increased media as a fundraising strategy. This provide a stronger foundation to support the mission of educating the public, rehabilitate injured sea turtles, and leading with conservation efforts.

“Under Wendy’s leadership as CEO ,a hospital will be constructed that allows Sea Turtle Inc. to take its place as a visionary and innovator in rehabilitation and research. To learn more about Sea Turtle Inc. visit www.seaturtleinc.org ”

Before joining the nonprofit sector, Wendy had a 25-year career in insurance and financial services. As a COO, Wendy was responsible for daily operational excellence. Wendy’s background in operational execution, sales, and revenue-building has brought a unique concentration of skills to Sea Turtle Inc as they work to take their place as the most innovative Sea Turtle rehabilitation organization in the world.

Wendy’s passion and leadership was quickly put to the test in February 2021 when Sea Turtle Inc. was faced with the largest cold stun event in recorded history. The dedicated organization rescued more than 5,300 sea turtles from certain death over the span of 8 days when an unprecedented winter storm struck South Padre Island and most of Texas. Wendy’s leadership style of motivation and inspiration was critical as indicated by Ms. Zavala, Director of Marketing and Development. Ms. Zavala stated” Wendy is on your side through the big wins and thru the dark and challenging times. Wendy rallied the troops, she let us be tired, but she pushed us to get up. When there was no electricity, no water and we hadn’t slept she kept encouraging us. She reminded us not of who we were, but who we wanted to be. She challenged us to fill the void between who Sea Turtle Inc was in that moment and who we were going to be in the coming years. It was inspirational , emotional and rewarding to be there in that moment. Wendy’s leadership dedication was further memorialized by Dr. Amy Bonka, Chief Conservation Officer. Dr. Bonka recalls constant encouragement and support by Wendy during this time. “She reminded us we could do big things, hard things and as the cold stun progressed that the world was watching us. Ms. Zavala went on to state, “ Wendy pulls through on your toughest days, and that form of leadership comes along rarely. Aside from leading as CEO, she is mentoring her staff and is listening. I believe that is vital in a CEO, the ability to listen and really understand. That form of leadership is inspiring and you don’t see that every day. Wendy is the epitome of a strong female executive and people are taking noticing of what Wendy Knight is doing over at Sea Turtle Inc.”

Over the last year, Sea Turtle Inc. has faced a tidal wave of challenges. The pandemic forced the doors closed for the first time in 44 years and halted plans to open a state-of-the-art sea turtle rehabilitation and research center. “Just as our waves began to settle the currents rose with the largest cold stun event in recorded history, with more than 5,300 sea turtles impacted,” says Wendy. As the storm passed, Sea Turtle Inc. is still standing, dedicated, passionate, and focused on a new wave of change. The next big challenge for Wendy and Sea Turtle Inc is the execution of the Sea Turtle Inc. Rehabilitation and Research Facility. Wendy emphasizes that “The impact we have had in the rehabilitation of sea turtles over the last 44 years has severely outgrown the modest 400 square foot clinic facility we currently operate in. The new facility will be able to live up to the legacy and reputation of Sea Turtle Inc.” IEWL

Sea Turtle Inc rescues , rehabilitates and releases endangered sea turtles. A Non profit 501c3 organization Sea Turtle Inc was founded in 1977 and located In the southernmost part of Texas , South Padre Island Texas. Sea Turtle Inc has a three-tiered mission statement of Rehabilitation, Conservation and Education.


Sea Turtle Inc


Wendy Knight
CEO of Sea Turtle Inc


Sea Turtle, Inc. rescues, rehabilitates, and releases injured sea turtles. We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. STI was founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher, better known as "The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island." In 1999, STI moved from Ila's backyard into its current location at 6617 Padre Blvd., South Padre Island, TX.

Successful CEOs Special Magazine