Session: Leadership– Transforming Pain Into Powerful Purpose
Building something from the ground up and challenging the status quo takes leadership. Doing it in the midst of unfathomable grief takes courage, determination, and hope. In this session Susann shared the
leadership tools and resources that helped her and her family turn unthinkable tragedy into joyful purpose, potentially saving young women’s lives.
Susann was a successful fundraising executive, trainer and nonprofit leader for more than 35 years, passionate about helping nonprofits raise the revenue necessary to fulfill their missions. But the violent murder of her 31-year old daughter Megan Montgomery drove her to assume a different leadership role, which was unwanted, unpaid, but transformative.
Susann’s leadership roles included Director of Philanthropy at St. Vincent’s Foundation/Ascension Health and United Way of Central Alabama. She has served as President of the Boards of The Alabama Association of Fundraising Professionals, The Alabama Planned Giving Council, Komen for the Cure, and many other non-profits. She formed Clark Consulting LLC 11 yrs ago to train nonprofit CEO’s, boards and staff on the art of major gift fundraising. Her clients have included UAB, Temple Emanu-El, Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA and many others. She holds the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy and Fellow in Charitable Estate Planning professional designations. After Megan died, she closed her consulting practice to devote full time to fulfill Megan’s vision of dating and domestic violence prevention.
Megan was an independent, accomplished young professional, but she tragically learned even girls raised with a positive self-esteem, girls who grow up to be confident and strong-willed, are still vulnerable to male violence and aggression. She had the courage to escape, and wanted to share her experience to warn other women of the red flags of potentially dangerous relationships. She shared what these red flags are and how narcissistic and toxic people or partners can affect one’s work life as well as personal life. Most importantly, she shared what leadership skills and resources it takes to help stop it.
Susann and her husband Rod Clark created a charitable fund to carry out Megan’s vision. It provides grants to non-profits and schools to offer age-appropriate healthy relationship education to young adults. Susann and Rod speak regularly at Rotaries, civic clubs, nonprofits, and colleges about the many barriers domestic violence victims face with the criminal justice system & the public policy and public perception changes needed to save lives.