Susan Putnam | Executive Portfolio

Susan Putnam


Award-winning Community Relations Professional and Non-profit Leader

Grand Rapids, MI


Organization Leadership Insights

"There is nothing more important to an organization than the passion that resides in the hearts and souls of the staff, the Board, donors and the community."

– Susan Putnam

Negotiated for the Acquisition of New Office Space while Simultaneously Building Outstanding Community Relations

It was the middle of winter, but there was one particular building that had been on the market for nearly a year.   It was known as the “Bolger and Battle” building and it was on the market for $320,000, way out of our price range.   It was the perfect home for us!   The square footage was 4,400 on two floors with windows galore.  It was modern and painted in bright colors – kid friendly colors.



Neighboring Big Brothers Big Sisters Agency Was Failing

In late 2011, the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization serving two neighboring counties was about to go out of business.  I was approached by a member of the Board of Directors indicating the agency was struggling.  

United Way Launches First Online Donation Platform

While I was the Community Relations and Public Affairs manager at IBM in Minneapolis, I was responsible for running IBM’s United Way campaign in 12 states, encompassing nearly 20,000 employees.   I understood how valuable online giving could be in terms of increasing revenues and I also knew how to promote it to employees. 

Leadership Profile

An award-winning, innovative community relations professional with an MBA and a versatile background in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds.   Extensive fund development and community investment skills that generate revenues and enable the leveraging of resources that change lives for individuals, organizations and communities.  A relationship builder with a big picture view able to add value by collaborating with others to solve community problems.    Accomplished in volunteer and employee engagement, program operations, board development, public speaking, marketing and much more.


  • Strategic Growth — Grew Big Brothers Big Sisters revenues by 160% between 2006 and 2016, allowing the agency to triple the number of children served. National Board of the Year recognition.
  • Leadership — Won United Way of Midland County’s Strosacker Award for agency and community leadership while at Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Fund Development — Led United Way of Midland County’s annual campaign during first year to a record breaking year and launched the first online corporate giving tool to 10,000 employees.
  • Advocacy — Represented IBM to the Minneapolis/St. Paul community and forged partnerships with nonprofits to enhance the company’s corporate image through philanthropic donations of technology. Led IBM to winning the Quality of Life Award from the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Video Introduction

Big Brothers Big Sisters Growth by Revenue and Children Served 2006-2010


Nonprofit Leadership, Financial Management, Cultural Transformation, Strategic Planning, Operational Improvements, Public Speaking, Community Relations, Communications, Fundraising, Event Planning, Government Relations,  Public Relations, Board Relations, Team Leadership, Grant Management, Community Outreach, Program Management, Marketing, Corporate Relations, Issue Management, Corporate Philanthropy,  Volunteer Management