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Susan B. Parks Named New President And CEO Of Orange County United Way

Susan B. Parks Named New President and CEO of Orange County United Way

IRVINE, CA – Orange County United Way today announced the appointment of Susan B. Parks as its new President and CEO, effective June 19, 2017.

Parks is an executive with nearly four decades of experience working in business as well as serving in various nonprofit leadership roles. This includes her significant volunteer contributions to Orange County United Way, most recently as Board Chair.

Parks is the founder of Orange County United Way’s Women’s Philanthropy Fund, which has raised $36 million since its inception in 2002. She also has worked extensively with United Way Worldwide, most recently as Vice Chair of the Worldwide Health Campaign

For the past 13 years, Parks has served as CEO and Co-founder of iCount Wellness™ at WalkStyles Inc., a leading corporate wellness program that integrates wellness into organizational culture. Prior to this position, Parks held executive roles in several Fortune 500 and 1000 companies including Kinkos, Gateway, Inc., USWest, and Zellerbach Paper (a Mead Company).

“I am confident that the board’s selection of such a skillful and visionary leader will ensure the organization’s success for a long time to come,” said Max Gardner, President and CEO for the past six years who will continue to support the organization in a volunteer capacity.  “As Board Chair and a trusted advisor, Sue has helped shape our strategic focus; she is highly respected in the community and will bring a wealth of new energy and ideas.”

Parks said: “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve my community with a staff and Board of Directors that are second to none. Having had the pleasure of working with the staff, volunteers and donors for over 15 years, I appreciate and understand how crucial the work of United Way is in reducing poverty, homelessness and the dropout rate as well as improving the health of local youth.”

“My role as both Board Chair and volunteer have given me a window into the needs of our community as well as the operations of one of Orange County’s most esteemed non-profit organizations,” Park continued. “This is an exciting time for our community and I look forward to serving an organization that is helping impact our future.”

Parks was selected after a six-month nationwide search that considered more than 100 candidates. The search committee was comprised of select board members supported by the executive search firm McDermott and Bull.

“We are at a pivotal time in our evolution at United Way, three years into our 10-year strategic plan, and are thrilled that Sue has agreed to accept this opportunity,” explained Ian Leisegang, Vice Chair of the United Way Board who is serving as Board Chair during the transition period. “When we considered Sue, along with an incredibly talented and qualified pool of candidates, we were extremely impressed by the depth and breadth of her experience.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sue Parks for many years,” Leisegang continued, “and ultimately, she is truly the best person for the job.”

Said Shelley Hoss, President of the Orange County Community Foundation: “I’m delighted by the news of Sue’s selection. She is well respected for her inspiring work in the community, particularly at the United Way and her visionary leadership of the Women’s Philanthropy Fund. I look forward to working closely with Sue and the outstanding United Way team through our continuing collaborative efforts to build a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Orange County.”

In addition to her extensive work with United Way, Parks is a member of the Executive Leadership Council of UCI Diabetes Center; past chair and co-chair of Women’s Wellness Day for the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UCI; former board President of Susan G. Komen Orange County Affiliate; former board member of Girl Scouts of Orange County and the Paul Merage School at UCI. Parks has received numerous accolades including the Pioneering Award from the local chapter of the National Association of Women in Business Organization (NAWBO) and OCBJ Business Women of the Year award.

Parks lives in Dana Point with her husband Dennis of 31 years.

To learn more about Orange County United Way, its FACE 2024 community-wide action plan or specific initiatives, please visit the Orange County United Way website.


Michael Suydam
21Strat 949.981.5008, mike@21strat.com


Established in 1924, Orange County United Way fights for the education, health, housing and financial stability of every person in Orange County.  Through our 10-year community-wide action plan, “FACE 2024” (an acronym for Fund, Advocate, Collaborate, Educate), by 2024 United Way will cut the high school dropout rate in half, increase healthy youth by one-third, cut the percentage of homeless or unstably housed children and families in half and reduced financial instability by 25%. By mobilizing local businesses, community organizations, governmental agencies and individuals, we make a long-term measurable difference in the lives of local individuals and families. To learn more or to join our movement, visit www.unitedwayoc.org.

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