Susan had been a senior staff member of DSS for over 5 years when she was appointed to the Executive Director role in January 2013. In her previous roles within DSS, she was able to demonstrate that she possessed the key leadership traits of delegation, empowerment and relationship building. Susan promotes transparency and responsiveness to our staff, volunteers and community stakeholders, funders and to other agencies. She has an ability to introduce and implement effective change management strategies, in which have been demonstrated multiple times while at DSS. Susan successfully led DSS through their first accreditation survey, receiving a full 3 year status and a nod of compliment from CARF International. Susan has always encouraged integration through cross departmental teamwork. She is a firm believer that successful organizations can only accomplish great things by having a great staff team. Susan developed a staff wellness program at DSS to ensure that all the staff are recognized and shown appreciation for their contributions each day. Susan has led many departments and staff at DSS, always lending her support and mentorship to all staff in the agency – promoting a healthy work environment and positive staff experiences. Susan was nominated by her peers in 2011 for the Bhayana Family Foundation Award in Leadership where she was successfully selected and recognized at a public ceremony hosted by the United Way Toronto.
To quote her nominators: “We were inspired to nominate Susan because at a time when community support services is going through a multitude of changes, Susan strategically and gracefully leads the agency and empowers those around her to continue to move forward. Susan is not afraid to deal with changes or any setbacks that she may encounter. She leads by example even when her plate is already full and something else unexpectedly lands on her plate. I am always amazed by her intelligence, warmth, sense of humour, and ability to see the big picture. Within the past year, she has taken on additional requirements and an expanded role to meet the needs of the agency and ensure integration between departments. Susan participates in outreach events and has expanded partner relationships in order to continue to build a positive rapport in the community. Susan is a superb leader and inspires me every day to do my best. Not only is she good at what she does, she is also a genuine person with a heart of gold, which is so important in our line of work. She demonstrates strong leadership skills that raise the bar for staff and colleagues to measure up to.”
Susan announced being totally humbled by the nomination and thanks her nominators and all the staff that have worked with her in the past. To be a true leader is to have a strong, dedicated and successful team. I am honored to work with you all each day – to watch you all grow as we grow DSS collectively!
Susan’s career has been in the non-profit sector in various leadership roles working in the fields of development disabilities, mental health and LGBT youth. She graduated from York University with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, Women and Gender Studies; and a Bachelor of Social Work Honours degree. Susan went on to study Research and Statistics and graduated with a Master of Social Work Honours degree at the University of Windsor. She also has a certificate in Management for Human Service Agencies through the University of Toronto and a certificate in Confident Coaching.
Susan’s past professional experience and training will lend to her ability to lead DSS effectively in growth and continuous development for the organization, its staff and the community.