This week’s Leadership in Action series features Susan Russell, Market Leader in CBI’s Piedmont Triad location. Our Leadership in Action series is published bi-weekly on the CBI blog and shares the stories of CBI Associates who exemplify our Live Love Serve Philosophy – the idea that it is our duty to love and serve all individuals God places into our lives. Susan has always been very active in her local community and that did not stop when she joined CBI a little over two years ago. In addition to leading the daily operations and team in our Piedmont Triad office, Susan also shares her leadership skills and time with many charitable organizations in the area.
We talked to Susan about the organizations she is involved in and learned more about what inspires her to give back. See our interview below to learn more.
Q: What is your involvement within your local community?
Susan: I have been involved in several local organizations over the years, but most recently I have taken leadership roles with three major organizations in our area. I served as the 2020 President of the Piedmont Triad CREW, which is an industry group for women in commercial real estate. I also served as the 2020 President of the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation. This Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for women and girls to achieve their leadership and professional dreams. I was also just named the 2021 Chairman of the American Heart Association Go Red “Pursonalities” Auction, a signature event held each year to raise money for the American Heart Association and research for heart health initiatives.
Outside of these leadership roles, I often volunteer with other organizations in the area. I volunteer with Second Harvest Food Bank and the United Way several times a year, and I also have provided support to the Junior Achievement of the Triad. This group volunteers in local elementary schools and teaches entrepreneurial programs encouraging students to consider small businesses and other entrepreneurial career paths as they continue their education.
In years past I have served on the NC Board for United Cerebral Palsy, Board of Directors for the YWCA, Board of Directors for the International Facility Managers Association, and the Advisory Board for the Interior Architectural Department at UNCG.
Q: Wow, it sounds like giving back is quite a passion of yours. Tell us, what are some of your key responsibilities in these roles?
Susan: Responsibilities vary depending on the organization. For both the Piedmont Triad CREW and the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation, I’m responsible for leading the organizations from a financial perspective as well as organizing and leading monthly meetings with our committees. With the Piedmont Triad CREW I also represent our local CREW organization as a delegate at our national convention which has been held in cities such as New Orleans and Orlando. This year looked a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, despite the challenges and transitioning to a mostly online meeting format, both organizations were able to continue to collaborate and make strides towards our goals.
Q: Why were you inspired to volunteer with these organizations initially?
Susan: I love giving back. I think it comes from watching my parents do it while I was growing up. Volunteering is extremely satisfying to me, and often I think I get more from the experience than those I am helping. I particularly enjoy volunteering for organizations that work with women and children. I’ve done some work with various University programs in the past, and I love mentoring young adults who want to enter the design or contract furniture field. Sharing my knowledge while seeing them grow and get excited about their future is a thrilling experience!
Q: How does what you’re doing in the community align with the Live Love Serve Foundation’s mission?
Susan: The Live Love Serve Foundation's mission is to LIVE a God centered life focused on LOVE. We do this by SERVING our communities through support of religious and other charitable organizations that positively impact people. I am a very faithful person, and I love being a part of an organization that encourages serving and loving others. I feel that giving my time to support organizations such as the American Heart Association, Second Harvest Food Bank, United Way, and Junior Achievement does nothing but strengthen the community one person or group at a time.
Q: What are the primary goals you’d like to achieve next year through your involvement with the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation and the American Heart Association’s Go Red Pursonalities Auction?
Susan: Through the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation, I would love to see donations continue to increase so that we as an organization can continue to support so many non-profits in the community. There are so many wonderful programs out there that need support now more than ever!
With the American Heart Association, I am hoping to make this the largest online auction event that the organization has had. Prominent women across the Triad are asked to donate a purse filled with their “favorite things” and it is auctioned off with proceeds going to the American Heart Association and the Go Red Campaign.
Q: Are there opportunities for others to support these organizations and their mission? If so, what are they.
Susan: There are so many ways to support these local organizations, but the one that is top of mind is with our Go Red Campaign. We are in the planning phase now and are looking of donated purses for our Auction. If you or a family member would like to donate a purse for this amazing cause, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’d like learn more about any of the other organizations I mentioned, please visit their websites at the links below.
We are so proud to have Susan representing the Live Love Serve Foundation and CBI in the Piedmont Triad area. She is truly a Leader in Action in everything that she does and is fully committed to living out our Live Love Serve Philosophy each and every day. Our next Leadership in Action post will go live on Monday, December 14 so don’t forget to check back then for another story.