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Susan Kaplan, Executive Director

Susan Kaplan, Executive Director at Friends of the Family, joined the organization in 1974. Ms. Kaplan received an MBA degree from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA in 1979. In her role as chief staff officer, she provides overall vision and leadership to Friends of the Family in fulfillment of its mission, identifies emerging community needs, and directs the agency's collaboration within the non-profit community and public sector to further serve individuals and families. Philosophically, Ms. Kaplan is committed to integrating best practices in management with best practices in human service.

Ms. Kaplan is a recognized leader for the family support movement and is involved at both the local and national levels as a strong advocate for community organizing as a strategy for enhancing community capacity to support families and for providing universal access to helpful, responsive and effective services and activities for all families. Consequent to her pioneering work to advance the field, she has been frequently called the voice of family support in Southern California. Ms. Kaplan is often called on by policy effecting bodies included Family Support America, the Center for the Study of Social Policy Strengthening Families Initiative, the Children's Council of Los Angeles, and the First 5 LA Commission to provide input, seminal thinking and guidance around issues such as the management of change, building collaborative relationships, family strengthening and community empowerment. In 2003, Ms. Kaplan was appointed the Los Angeles Children's Planning Council delegate to a statewide leadership team charged with developing an organizational plan for a California Family Resource Association. In January, 2005, Ms. Kaplan was elected as a founding Board Member of the California Family Resource Association and in May, 2005, Ms. Kaplan was elected the Association's President.

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