Susanne Cole is president and CEO of Pressley Ridge, which has been providing innovative and diverse services for children, adults and families facing difficult challenges since 1832. Passionate about serving vulnerable children and families and rebuilding communities, Susanne has dedicated her career to helping people overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. Her career expertise includes numerous dimensions of social services and community work, from operations to policy-building. A native of Charleston, West Virgina, Susanne currently lives in Mars.

Monday, July 10:

My day will start directly in the Pressley Ridge office in the  North Hills for a planning meeting to discuss events and overall support of the organization. We have an upcoming event where we have partnered with the Community Leadership Course for Veterans as part of Leadership Pittsburgh and will be reviewing a plan where veterans will conduct a school supply donation drive for our students as part of a community field day on the North Side at our school campus. It’s a great way to showcase how different groups can come together and volunteer their time to support children and families in need.

In the afternoon, I will conduct a staff meeting where we will review our strategic goals and progress.

Each evening, I enjoy going home and taking my 16-month-old Goldendoodle puppy (who is 62 pounds!) to Cranberry Township Community Park to unwind.

Tuesday, July 11:

I will attend a meeting with The Carey Group to discuss the issue of poverty and its impact on the children and families in our community. We will be discussing a strategy for local government officials about how we can address this issue through partnerships, and by utilizing existing resources. We will be reviewing a proven model called “Transition to Success,” which is a is a national standard of care to treat poverty that addresses it as a treatable condition versus a character flaw.

Susanne Cole

Susanne Cole with her daughter, Sydney, at a volunteer event at Grace Community Church.

Wednesday, July 12:

I will start my day with a radio interview on 100.7 Star to discuss Pressley Ridge’s upcoming signature fundraising event—the Ice Cream Fundae at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on August 13.

I am having lunch with a colleague to discuss workforce issues facing health care, social services and education in the upcoming years. We will generate solutions to share at a larger group meeting with other nonprofit CEOs as we all work to ensure we have a healthy, engaged workforce to further our mission in the future.

Later that evening, I’ll join members of my Leadership Pittsburgh XXXII group for drinks and appetizers at City Works in Market Square.

Thursday, July 13:

I will spend my day in the office catching up on lots of emails and working on elements of our strategic plan. In the evening I’m going to a 25-year Employee Recognition Banquet at Altius on Mt. Washington where we will recognize employees who have worked for Pressley Ridge for 25 years! Such a huge accomplishment, and a wonderful event celebrating those who have done tremendous work with children and families and helped create many successes in our communities.

Friday, July 14:

I am participating in a webinar hosted by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities titled, “Advancing Equity in the Human Serving Sector.” The webinar will include colleagues across the U.S. discussing the importance of learning, and acknowledging historical trauma. We will take a deeper dive into equity basics, equity in education and supplier diversity.

My afternoon will be spent working on board governance, specifically, following up on the recruitment of new board members, as well as updating some policies and procedures related to governance to review at our next committee meeting.

Susanne Cole

Susanne Cole with friends at Walnut Grill.

Every Friday I make it a general practice to not make any social plans in order to have time to decompress and relax. I try to take a walk or read a book or article on a subject different than my current field of work. I’m currently reading, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg—well, I guess this does relate to my work, but I have to admit it is a wonderful read so far about how people deal with unexpected life events in their own way.

Saturday, July 15:

Saturday morning will be spent heading to breakfast at Pamela’s, a favorite of mine in the Strip. Who cares about those long lines when you get rewarded with those famous pancakes! After that, my husband and I will enjoy perusing the many shops in the Strip and purchasing items for the week.

Sunday, July 16:

I will board a plane for Chicago to attend the Family Focused Treatment Association’s national conference where 450 organizations that provide various levels of foster care, kinship care and services to children and families come together to hear presentations from experts in the field about system change and addressing the ongoing and future needs of children in foster and kinship care. We will also hear directly from children and families who have experienced foster care either as a person in care or as a foster parent. It is always a wonderful educational experience as well as a good way to bring new ideas back to Pressley Ridge for the future.

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