Getting to Know JLA’s Executive Director, Suzanne Sudo

Under the JLA’s new Governance structure, the Management Council is responsible for the day to day operations of the League. Our new Executive Director, Suzanne Sudo, shares her experiences with JLA.

I am Suzanne Sudo and I joined the JLA in the fall of 2001. I had just recently moved to Annapolis in April of that year. I had an 18-month-old boy, Joey, and was newly pregnant with my second child (Jessica). The move to Annapolis was hard in the sense that I had just left a very close knit group of friends that were an incredible support system to me and now I was stuck in a new town with new neighbors and I was a stay at home mom. So, I thought that by joining the JLA it would be a great way to meet people within the community–actually it was just a great way to get out of the house at least once a month! My provisional year was fantastic- we had an incredible group of women that I worked closely with including Susan Ridenhour and Kim Loprete. The league had my favorite volunteer opportunities such as the teen pregnancy program and bookbag. We had fun fundraisers that I enjoyed participating in–TAG Sale and Chef’s by the Bay. Of course I was still pregnant but managed to make all my commitments after having Jessica in January of 2002.

I am asked what volunteering experience has left a lasting impression on me–actually it was a fundraising experience. My favorite fundraisers are the down and dirty/ interact with the community ones. I loved TAG sale. First off because who doesn’t love a good bargain.  But to see a line of people out the door and across the front of the building was impressive to see. And after the event was all over there were organizations that would come to pick up –these organizations were incredibly thankful for our generous donation and it felt good knowing that we weren’t only helping our community but helping other communities as well. It was like a win/win for everyone–I got to clean out my stuff and others were able to buy or receive items that they needed.

The League members themselves have made a lasting impression on me too. My family went through some tough times while I was a member. In 2007 my son was diagnosed with a rare cancer. I was actually Treasurer that year. The outpouring of help to my family was amazing to behold. I guess what really will always be that lasting impression is that many league members came first the PICU of the hospital and then to the viewing and funeral for my son. To loose your child is something that will never go away and you can never get over it but I know that when I was at the lowest point in my life the JLA was there for me.

My family is what keeps me grounded. My husband and my daughter. They are the shoulders that I cry on, the faces that I laugh with and the hands that I hold. They are the reason that I am here today. But my son is my inspiration. He fought bravely and ferociously.  He did not win but taught me to never give up.