By Jim Carlton, May 07 2015
We recently announced the departure of Susan Richardson, Reclaiming Futures’ current national executive director. Effective May 11, Susan will transition out of the organization and return to North Carolina after four years leading and overseeing the national program office in Portland, Oregon.
In commemoration of Susan’s work over the last few years, the Reclaiming Futures team has gathered their favorite memories working under her leadership:
Susan has been an incredible force within and across Reclaiming Futures since we first met years ago. Her passion, dedication and determination to learn, promote, advance and celebrate the mission, the values and the spirit of the initiative has been unmatched. She has tirelessly tended and expanded the networks and partners of RF. She has thoughtfully shepherded an important (and challenging) transitional phase of our effort. Her contributions will always be valued and we will miss her regular presence in our ranks - but truly consider her a valued part of the Reclaiming Futures family. Thank you Susan!!!
-Laura Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW, CADC III, Dean and Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University
Susan and I became friends and colleagues through the Kate B Reynolds Charitable Trust in North Carolina. Upon meeting her for the 1st time, I was immediately (positively) impacted by her unique, warm and relationally fun ways. Her laughter is infectious and her optimism contagious. Our shared North Carolina and later, National Program Office journey has been one of trust, optimism, exploration, and sharing the goal of always seeing the possible. She has been a trusted partner, innovator, collaborator and friend and I will always cherish and appreciate the relationship we've enjoyed in our professional experiences.
Susan helped us build our North Carolina Reclaiming Futures state office and was a persistent advocate and cheerleader. Without her investments (multi-dimensional), we could not have accomplished nearly as much. Her contributions are significant and enduring. I am forever grateful to Susan for her friendship, spiritually deep and caring personality, and look forward to continued friendship and laughter in our future opportunities to share life.
-Robin Jenkins, Ph.D.
I think the thing that stands out for me when I think of Susan's time here is the passion she's exhibited for the work. It's really very inspiring. She's been fearless in her drive to further the Reclaiming Futures movement and has done a fantastic job of building relationships and pursuing funding opportunities. I think her cultivation of Evan as our next leader, and being able to hand him the reins with a couple more years of funding speaks to her success and care as our executive director.
Susan has many gifts, but two of her best talents are her ability to connect with others and think quickly on her feet. I saw a wonderful example of this on our very first trip together to Washington, DC.
Susan and I were in the Dirksen Senate Office Building when Senator Richard Burr, a Republican from her home state of North Carolina stepped in the hallway from a private office. Susan recognized and approached him immediately and engaged in a quick and effective conversation about Reclaiming Futures and the difference it was making in North Carolina and across the country. When I saw that conversation happen I knew Susan would be a great advocate for Reclaiming Futures with policy makers.
The story that I would like to share about Susan is from a Juvenile Drug Court/Reclaiming Futures meeting, sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for our Office of Juvenie Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) funded Reclaiming Futures sites. Each site had been assigned a coach / technical assistance provider to join them at their table and for some unknown reason, one of the sites was missing their person. Susan recognized this and quietly took the initiative to step in and serve in that support role. I have noticed this each time that I have been on a site visit or at a meeting with Susan. She is very supportive in any way she can be – whether that is leading a conversation on the mission and vision of Reclaiming Futures or helping put chairs and tables away at the end of a meeting.
Susan is such a positive person who is filled with faith. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her charm is so delightful. One of the things that Susan brings is her passion for the care of youth and families we serve. I have to appreciate the levity she brings to some very challenging situations, reigning things back in and then pressing forward to a finished product. I certainly will miss those "woo hoos!" and that wonderful North Carolina accent.
I so appreciate Susan coming to Austin to meet with the Deputy Commissioner of the Department State Health Services (DSHS), presenting Reclaiming Futures. The bureaucrat was disarmed, captivated by her southern charm and easy going demeanor. While I am not sure how much he really understood about Reclaiming Futures, he supported his staff having on going conversations of how Reclaiming Futures can be expanded in Texas. Without his blessing, we would be stopped right then and there. DSHS framed a new service type which can lead to the expansion of Reclaiming Futures in Texas.
Thank You Susan for all that you have been able to accomplish for Reclaiming Futures.
Mr. Evan Elkin will take over for Susan on May 11. For further details on this transition and the new National Executive Director, see our original announcement.
Topics: News, Reclaiming Futures
Updated: May 07 2015