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Suzanne Durham was the CEO of the YWCA of Central Alabama for 34 years; retiring January 2014. In her long tenure, she was twice name the top 10 women in Birmingham by the Birmingham News and has received many other awards and recognitions for her leadership and social justice activities. She was also named in 2004 by the Bham Business Journal , Business Woman of the Year- the only time a nonprofit CEO has received this award.

She has also served on the National Board of the YWCA USA and was the first local YWCA CEO to serve as the National Chair of that board. In that capacity she led a 130 USA delegation to the World YWCA Council in Kenya. She has served on many boards at the local and state level.

The YWCA Central Ala under her leadership held two capital campaigns surpassing their initial goals and each campaign raising over $15 million. The YWCA has 4 major services areas; Domestic Violence, ChildCare, Housing and Social Justice.

Why have you decided to serve as a Torchbearer for the JLB?
As a long time YWCA employee, the Junior League support has  always been  integral to the success of our critical services and programs.  In 1977,  JLB  made a bold community decision to fund  the community’s Family Violence Shelter.  I am thrilled to see how the JLB is now spearheading an effort to bring other vital services for survivors and their families in one convenient place .  I am honored to be a small part of this amazing effort.

What/who inspires you to be a Light in our community?
I am inspired by the many courageous women fleeing domestic violence that I have met over the years.  I am also doing this in memory of Jenny Gauld , who brought the Family Violence Center into the YWCA’s portfolio of programs in 1986 and then became the board president and a dear friend and mentor over the years.

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