Suzanne Stofflet’s many different roles over three decades
Talk to Suzanne Stofflet about her 30-year involvement with the Haven and things quickly get fuzzy. Suzanne was a volunteer, consultant, board member—and for 10 months—interim managing director. “It all melds together,” she reflects.
It began when Rev. Ann Partner, the minister at Lebanon United Methodist Church, asked Suzanne for assistance. “It was 1982 or ’83. Ann knew I was a fundraising consultant and believed I might be able to help the Haven in that department.” The work was volunteer at first and then became a nominal-fee consulting gig. In the mid- to late-1990s, Suzanne joined the board—a departure from her usual practice. “In my 40 years of working with nonprofits, I never joined boards,” she explains. “But when the Haven asked, I said yes. Because it was the Haven—it was special. It was in my heart.”
As the organization grew, the board became more involved in day-to-day management. The time had come to hire a managing director. “I was board president at the time and asked for permission to write up a job description and advertise for our first managing director,” Suzanne continues. “Unfortunately, though there were some excellent applications, they were all from people who would be fine to maintain an established position, but none from anyone who could create the job. So I went back to the board and suggested we wait six months or so and throw the net out again. Someone asked, ‘So who will act as interim director in the meantime?’ All heads swiveled simultaneously in my direction. Thus began my 10–month stint as interim.”
Though Suzanne never thrilled at the management role, she did what needed to be done. “I was just about to re-advertise the position when board member Tom Ketteridge asked if he could take me out to lunch. Over hot–and–sour soup in a busy Chinese restaurant, he asked, ‘What would you think about me becoming managing director?’ Trying not to burst into tears of joy, I allowed as how I thought it would be just fine.”
Reflecting on those three decades, what stands out for Suzanne? “The people—board members, staff, donors, and volunteers,” she concludes. “They came in all different shapes and sizes, with many different personalities. But everyone worked so well together. We trusted each other. I learned so much and grew so much from my association with the Haven.”
Renee Weeks, director of clinical and shelter services, shares, “Suzanne is always still interested in what’s going on at the Haven. She is so passionate about the work we do and sees the values it adds to society. Ever since I met her, she has those eyes that are always smiling and such a calming presence.”
Some of Suzanne’s memories about her longtime involvement with the Haven might be a little fuzzy after so many years and her multiple roles, but one thing is clear, when the history of the Haven is written, Suzanne Stofflet’s dedication, talents, and yes, heart, will not be forgotten.