For Susannah Meyer, advocacy started long before her career in the nonprofit world. A corporate business leader turned stay-at-home Mom while her children were young, Susannah quickly became an advocate from working with her son due to his Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis and his teachers’ consistent lack of understanding of the condition. The local school system recognized her strong voice and unfailing support, and she was asked to help other families who struggled with similar special needs situations. Expanding her work with children, Susannah re-entered the workforce and began working with children with nonverbal autism and their families – providing both in-home behavior therapies and aid in the school setting.
After moving to a new community, Susannah shifted gears and became a friendly visitor volunteer for Meals on Wheels Diablo Region in Contra Costa County. Susannah was hired to manage the volunteer program, eventually working her way up to become the organization’s Community Engagement Director, where she led a team of marketing, development, event planning, program, and outreach professionals. During her time at Meals on Wheels, Susannah was invited to join the Meals on Wheels CA Legislative Committee and the County’s Area Agency on Aging Legislation Work Group, bringing her a closer understanding of state policy’s impacts on the older adult community. When the agency experienced a change in high-level leadership, Susannah worked with an interim Executive Director to help transition operations before leaving the nonprofit world to engage in matters of state.
Working as Senior District Representative for State Senator Steve Glazer, Susannah was tasked with representing the senator at public events and managing community and local government relations. Because of her proven experience and solution-driven approach, Susannah was designated as the senator’s representative to focus on social services and senior issues, where she maintained her connections with nonprofit colleagues in the region.
In 2020, during the height of COVID, Susannah campaigned to become a Brentwood City Council member, running in part to be the voice for the large older adult and senior living facility population in her district. Understanding the potential of having a Council liaison that cared about the issues faced by seniors, Susannah was elected for a four-year term, but after just two years, she was appointed to Vice Mayor in December of 2022. During her first year on council, Susannah was appointed by the CA League of Cities (Cal Cities) to be a member of the Housing and Community Development Policy Committee, a group that reviews legislation and helps form statewide League positions. One year into her council term, Susannah was appointed by the League to the position of 1st Vice President of the Mayors and Council Member statewide department. In late 2022, she became the president for a one-year term.
In early 2022, Susannah left the senate to re-enter the nonprofit world as Empowered Aging’s Director of Programs, where she led and oversaw the administration of all Empowered Aging programs, which included planning, organizing, staffing, leading program activities, as well as monitoring outcomes, and supervising evaluation efforts. In July of 2022, Susannah was appointed Executive Director and is thrilled for the opportunity to build upon the foundation of the last 50+ years, taking the organization well into the future.
“I’ve always been passionate about the nonprofit community and older adults. My grandmother was a huge inspiration to me. So, when I started volunteering and then working at Meals on Wheels, something just clicked. I knew I had found where I was supposed to be. It’s a true honor to serve my community with Empowered Aging because I get to be actively involved in doing the good work, bringing a voice to this group of people who are often forgotten, and driving forward initiatives that protect their ability to thrive.”
Susannah is a proud Bay Area Native and a member of the Brentwood Lions Club. In 2020, Susannah was recognized by the Red Cross NorCal for establishing monthly government/nonprofit collaborative calls to address the impacts of COVID on communities in need. In 2021, Susannah was recognized by Red Cross NorCal a second time for leading team efforts to build a nonprofit support system that assisted low-income families who lost everything in a Brentwood apartment fire. Susannah is currently serving on the Technical Advisory Panel for the Solano Family Justice Center (SFJC) Advisory Committee, the Council for Age-Friendly Communities in Alameda County, and she was invited to participate in the Contra Costa Family Justice Center Strategic Plan Focus Group. In 2022, Susannah was appointed by vote of County Supervisors to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority Accessible Transportation Strategic Plan Task Force, and was asked to be on the Contra Costa’s Master Plan Local Playbook IMPACT Steering Committee – a group that meets regularly to formulate plans to adopt the Governor’s Master Plan for Aging on a local level. In addition, Susannah received recognition via a Senate Resolution for outstanding professional services provided to the constituents of the 7th Senatorial District and the State of CA.
Outside of her professional life, Susannah is a self-described foodie, treasure hunter, crafter, performer, and decorator who can frequently be seen occupying the passenger seat of her husband’s red 1962 Thunderbird, Maybellene. She is mother to two wonderful adult sons, a fantastic new daughter-in-law, and a large rescue dog named Ziggy.