Each year we celebrate those individuals who have helped us make a significant impact on the lives of all we serve. This year among the many individuals that we will honor at the annual Circle of Excellence Awards there is one whose accomplishments are especially noteworthy. Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award this year is Susanne Crummey, the long time Associate Executive Director, who after 43 years of service is retiring at the end of November.
For many of our staff the thought of working at one place for such a long time is almost inconceivable. Today we are all accustomed to a certain amount of mobility and job diversity. It seems foreign to consider remaining loyal to any one place, institution or even profession. All the more reason for us to be grateful that in such an environment there are great people like Susanne, who in spite of her own ambition, professional career and personal responsibilities, has none the less made an extraordinary commitment to Hillsides. For Susanne, Hillsides is not a job but it is a community where she has had the privilege of being surrounded by like minded and dedicated people who are all focused on one thing–creating a lasting change for all those we serve.
It is within this context that Susanne has provided incredible direction and exemplary leadership that has helped Hillsides grow its capacity to provide indispensable services to increasingly more vulnerable children, youth, and their families. Rooted in a strong therapeutic approach and unquestionably committed to improving the lives of those in her care, she has been a coach, a mentor, a model, and a friend to all who would join with her in the creation of this therapeutic community that is Hillsides.
More than anything else Susanne has brought a very thorough approach to decision-making that engages all parties to seriously consider all the ramifications and always stay focused on the best interests of the child. This very intuitive and holistic way of fulfilling her day-to-day responsibilities has provided the organization with a steady and sure leader who will be sorely missed.
So what is Susanne’s legacy? There are too many achievements, too many individuals, too many initiatives to list. I suggest that her greatest legacy is the lives transformed by her in these 43 years. If this indeed is her legacy, then our testimonial must be lives of dedicated services modeled after such an extraordinary example.
Susanne’s last day will be at the end of November. Between now and then we ask all who have been touched by her selfless and generous care to share with us the contribution that she has made to your life. You can make a comment on the blog or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org some will be posted on Facebook. Others can share a remembrance via a Facebook post on Susanne.