Susan has more than 30 years of increasingly senior communications experience with strong emphasis in the nonprofit sector, where she has worked exclusively since 1985. Hats she has worn include vice president of public affairs as well as vice president of marketing, executive director of a foundation, director of public relations, spokesperson, keynote speaker/trainer, creative services director, special events team leader, volunteer coordinator, and technical writer/editor. She has both the imaginative skills to create excellence and the organizational ability to make things happen.
Susan began working with RMA in 2008. She provides counsel on organizational analyses, marketing/communications strategies, fund-raising campaigns, board development, and building cross-sector partnerships. She especially enjoys counseling clients to clarify brands, positioning, outreach, and core messages so that they can avoid fundraising in a vacuum. She edits the popular weekly Rich TIPS and organizes RMA’s Bagel Banter roundtables. Her blog on nonprofit communications, “Mission, Messages and Media,” is at firstname.lastname@example.org (and on Twitter: susanliehe).
Over a ten-year period at the BBB Denver/Boulder, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering ethical marketplace relationships, Susan served vice president of public affairs and the executive director of the BBB Foundation. Her assignments included serving as the senior resource for aggressive community outreach, media, and public relations initiatives; she managed creative services team for all BBB communications (print, electronic, marketing, outreach), and maintained an active, daily media relations campaign on consumer education and BBB operations activity. For a decade, Susan was the BBB’s spokesperson in electronic and print media, including two years of weekly “BBB Buzz with Susan Liehe” live segments on Newsradio 850 KOA, and she fulfilled frequent local speaking engagements on marketplace issues, fraud, and consumer protection. Susan also designed and delivered unique educational curricula for business owners, young consumers and older adults.
As director of marketing/communications for Goodwill Industries of Denver, Susan planned and implemented corporate media relations, special events, and community relations activities; designed campaigns for advertising and public relations (retail sales, donations, hiring graduates); enhanced agency’s local identity, ensuring consistency both in visual media and with key messages; greatly improved agency publications, including the donor newsletter, annual reports, and brochures; produced special events (annual open houses, student graduations, joint retail promotions); and partnered with Director of Development on related projects, including the initial web site for the agency. Her career experience in business membership organizations began at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, where Susan served as the director of public relations and the assistant vice president of communications. During that time she directed production and served as editor for William Hornby’s book, Eye on the Horizon: The Greater Denver Corporation, 1986-1995.
Susan is an avid gardener and working artist, and also volunteers with History Colorado when she portrays “Miss Helen Bonfils,” telling the remarkable story of a noted Denver philanthropist. A 1990 graduate of Leadership Denver, Susan earned a Master of Nonprofit Management from Regis University and a Bachelor of Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia.