SVO Women: Susan Ellenberg, Sr. Director of Community Development

Susan Ellenberg

Company: The silicon valley organization

Title: Senior Director of Community Development

How long have you been a part of The SVO? Just over 1 year

Why did you choose to work at The SVO? What about what you do keeps you here?

I chose to work at The SVO because of the opportunity to engage members of the business community in issues of social urgency and to cultivate a strong commitment to civic, social, philanthropic and political engagement. What keeps me here is the feedback I receive from program participants who are excited about the community development programs and want to become even more deeply involved in their communities.

What was your first job like?

My first job was as a Hebrew School tutor. I was 16 years old and felt totally empowered that I could DRIVE to work. I also loved working one on one with students and seeing their progress as a result of my efforts and abilities to engage them.

Describe your current job.

Every day is different. I get to spend a good amount of time in the community, learning about a wide range of issues, from public transportation and affordable housing to the criminal justice system, land use, health care and civic tech. As I learn, I’m able to create programs with fascinating speakers, behind the scenes experiences and interactive workshops for SVO members and prospective members. This job combines my passions for curriculum development, civic engagement and social justice learning and positions me to empower others to use their talents for the greater good.

What has been a career high point for you thus far?

My high point at The SVO thus far has been the creation of a program called Women Engaged!, a series of salon-style conversations around topics of social urgency that conclude with a call to action. The salons have been extremely well attended and the feedback has been that a program of this type has been needed for quite a while. The next series is schedule to begin in September!

What words of advice can you share for other professional women working in the Silicon Valley?

Try to learn something new every day. Don’t shy away from what you don’t know – jump in and ask questions. And speak up in the face of injustice wherever you find it – even (or especially) when it’s inconvenient to do so.

On August 26, 2017, Women’s Equality Day is celebrated across the nation. To celebrate, The SVO is highlighting some of the women who choose to make their mark in Silicon Valley business - SVO members & SVO staff - through the SVO Women series.


Every week, we will have new SVO Women profiles on members and staff. Follow along on social media: #SVOWomen