Susana Duarte de Suarez
Susana Duarte de Suarez describes herself as a fixer by nature, which is what draws her to a life of service. For Suarez, the most important thing about service is to be in it for the long haul. From her work in the White House, State House, Peace Corps, Town Hall and Conner Prairie, she is continually inspired by those working around her. “The passion of those who do amazing things lets you know how much more you can do,” she said.
Raised in Mexico as a dual U.S. citizen, a young Suarez wrote a letter to then President Jimmy Carter asking what it took to make decisions that would affect those living abroad. This experience taught her that individuals can have a strong voice. Since then, she has used her voice to mold communications for large multinational organizations, Governor Holcomb, FEMA, Zionsville and now Connor Prairie.
Suarez dedicates much of her time to serving on the boards of the International Center, Christel House, International School of Indiana, Boy Scouts of America and Indiana Latino Expo. She also mentors young women, speaking around the country about leadership and the role of women and Latinas in leadership. “I’m happiest when I’m making a difference. I love speaking to young women beginning their careers, emphasizing that they can do it – it’s worth the ride.”
As a mother of two, Suarez knows how difficult it can be to balance the roles of mother, professional and community servant. “It’s important to bring your kids, include them in that service mentality,” she explained. “Find something that you are passionate about and find ways to make that your North Star. Don’t settle for your own success – for every good thing you do, you can have someone else do it as well.”
After living in different areas around the country, Suarez can say with confidence that Central Indiana is unique. “When people say, ‘Can I help?’ They mean it. Whatever they can do will be done. It’s a giving community and open community. Nowhere else like it.”
Although Suarez has made substantial impact in Central Indiana, she knows there is still much progress to be made. “I sometimes feel frustration that there is much to be done and we’re just scratching the surface,” she said. “I want to make a difference and help everyone have access to a healthy, fruitful life with the opportunity to thrive.”