Susan Misra has over 15 years of experience in strengthening nonprofits and their board-staff leadership. She has worked with over 150 nonprofit organizations on strategy, leadership development, and financial sustainability and particularly specializes in aligning an organization’s internal operations with its social justice values through inclusive, participatory, and analytically rigorous processes. For this work, she has conducted numerous organizational assessments and helped organizations develop capacity-building plans, strategic plans, and business plans. She has coached board-staff leadership teams on implementing their plans, restructuring their organizations, and managing organizational change and conflict.
Prior to joining Change Elemental, Susan was the Associate Director of Program/Grants Management and Capacity Building at TCC Group. At TCC, she designed, managed, and evaluated capacity-building programs for foundations. Her work included conducting organizational assessments, identifying common visions and priorities, developing board and staff leadership, rethinking business models to improve financial sustainability, and improving human resources and fundraising systems. In addition to consulting, Susan has designed and facilitated trainings and peer exchanges for multiple organizations to help staff and board leaders learn from each other. She has also presented on a range of topics such as shared leadership, change management, board development, and financial sustainability.
A sampling of her past work includes:
- Strategic planning for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Allies for Children, National Juvenile Justice Network, and Friends of the Earth.
- Scaling and business planning for AVODAH and applicants to the Social Impact Exchange Business Plan Competition.
- Organizational restructuring and organization-network alignment for the National Network of Abortion Funds and CFED.
- Staff-board leadership coaching and organizational assessment for the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment, National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Law Foundation, andthe Environmental Health Coalition.
- Capacity building planning and evaluation for the Four Freedoms Fund, Arts Regional Initiative, Strengthening Organizations to Mobilize Californians, Challenge Fund for Journalism, and LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund.
Before joining TCC Group, Susan served as the Co-Director for Policy Research at AWARE in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Her leadership prompted an emergency loan fund for farmers and restructured the Women’s Division to focus on entrepreneurship and health programs. Susan also worked as the Coordinator for the Youth Public Education Campaign, a joint initiative of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and Rock the Vote. She led a coalition of arts, advocacy, and educational organizations, directed a council of youth representatives, and managed a media campaign to stop discrimination throughout LA high schools.
In addition, Susan has worked as an independent diversity trainer and facilitator with organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations. With the ADL, she co-founded the Peace & Diversity Academy, a small public high school in the Bronx. More recently, Susan served on the board of Border Crossers (now the Center for Racial Justice in Education), a program that engages elementary school students in social action to stop racism, and participated in the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s Cultural Competency Institute.
Susan received a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. At Harvard University, Susan also was awarded the Kennedy School Social Service Award as well as the post-graduate Sheldon Fellowship to study bridging social capital and community conflict resolution. Susan holds a B.S. in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. When not at Change Elemental, you can find Susan volunteering her time on local economic justice and community development efforts and reading revolutionary young adult fiction.