Susan (she/her) has been involved with the nonprofit sector for most of her career. In her early years, with a BA in theatre, she worked in theatre costume shops and “constructed” costumes for performers of all types—actors, singers, and dancers. Susan soon discovered her interest and strengths as a manager, and took courses through UW’s Extension on starting and operating a small business. She developed her organizational and finance skills as an entrepreneur, starting and running two successful costume-related businesses for a total of sixteen years.
For 18 years, Susan honed her team leadership and finance skills at Seattle Opera where she was in charge of their costumes department. While serving as their costume director, she developed, managed, and reported on the department’s annual $500,000 to $1 million budget. In spite of program changes and other challenges, Susan consistently met or exceeded budget goals.
Her philosophy of work is centered in clear and direct communication, mutual respect, and supporting others in doing their best work by providing guidance, resources, and training. She brings this same mindset and leadership to our Financial Services team and nonprofit partners.
Susan has always been interested in supporting her community, particularly through her work as a board member and volunteer. She is a member of the South Park Neighborhood Association Board and supports ongoing education as an advisory board member at Seattle Central College’s Apparel Design Program. During the pandemic, she assisted a new nonprofit, Crafters United, which makes and provides masks to underserved communities.
While Susan has made Seattle her home for many years, she moved often as a youth. Born in Japan, she attended grade school in Taipei, Taiwan, lived for one year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then attended high school in Cairo, Egypt.
Fun Fact: Susan loves teaching others to use power tools, which she learned while volunteering with Sound Foundations NW, where she built tiny homes to assist in transitioning the unhoused into permanent housing.