Academy, Alliance, Development, General, Operations Circles

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Used by Lilla Watson, Aboriginal Elder, and many other activists, these words guide my work.

Susan (she/her) is a white, working/middle class, cisgendered parent who strives to express callings and longings to facilitate learning, support collaboration, organize information, engage conflict, connect across difference, create lasting conditions for greater equity, and contribute toward justice in the Mahicantuck Valley. 

Susan has dedicated her working life decades to supporting diverse mission-driven organizations – anti-poverty, food system change, economic and rural development, holistic adult education and faith-based. Her work has involved participatory facilitation; strategic planning; program design, implementation and evaluation; resource development; financial management; and governance. She served for five years as the first Executive Director of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, coordinated the grassroots Poughkeepsie Plenty food justice initiative, and managed the cross-departmental community engagement strategy of the Omega Institute. Before moving to the Mahicantuck Valley in 2008, she worked in Romania, India, Ecuador, Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, Mali, the Philippines, Ethiopia and China as a consultant to Oxfam America, director of the US Office of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, and Peace Corps Volunteer. She holds a graduate degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Partner to Chris and parent to Sebastian, she involves herself in efforts focused on Poughkeepsie, including those focused on public history, storytelling, local politics, spirituality, and racial justice, and was awarded a Community Leadership Award from New Horizons Resources in 2019. She replenishes her reserves alone or with dear ones on trails in the woods, in backyard hammocks, over or along the river, reading, reflecting, and journaling.