Listening and learning are Susan’s core skills as she works with people to determine how best to help them get from today’s Point A to tomorrow’s Point B and beyond. She brings a journalist’s observation skills and a natural “people person’s” eye for hopes, dreams, and practicalities.
Susan’s background includes experience in newsrooms in Indiana and Ohio and specialized corporate communications work as well as business start-up processes, grant writing, leadership coaching, facilitation, strategic planning, project planning and other consulting skill sets.
As a consulting partner for the Indiana Youth Institute since 2006, her projects have included Lilly Foundation and Ball Brothers Foundation capacity-building and organizational effectiveness work with a wide variety of organizations, schools and school districts, community initiatives, and collaborative groups.
An Indiana University Bloomington graduate, Susan began her career as an award-winning reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio. In 1985, she left daily journalism to become the first Marketing Director for the Fort Wayne YWCA, building membership to become the nation’s largest YWCA with more than 10,000 members. She followed this success with the assignment to create the Marketing Director position for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. She later served as Corporate Communications spokesperson for K & K Insurance Company and was honored by Lincoln Financial Corporation’s Rolland Community Service Award for her work in founding the Kekionga Native American Alliance that returned the powwow tradition and awareness of native heritage to the Three Rivers region of Northeast Indiana.
As she saw demand build for public relations services in Fort Wayne, she founded Burns and Associates in 1987 to provide PR services for area companies and ad agencies. Her specialty was long-form copy, proposals, and grant writing. She literally wrote the book on such pioneering Indiana state education programs as Tech Prep / School-to-Work; First Steps / Step Ahead; and Workforce Development’s Can Do Gender Equity initiatives. She has taught grant writing for the Region 8 Education Service Center.
In recent years, her grant writing has brought an estimated $16 million into Northeast Indiana from the Lilly Endowment, federal and state programs, community foundations and private foundations and trusts.
Prior to founding Michael Burns Consulting in 2004 with Linda Michael, Susan served on the founding staff of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center where she was Director of the youth entrepreneur mentoring programs.