Suzanne Towns is an accomplished executive with two decades of cross-sector leadership. As the principal and founder of Towns Consulting Group, she has worked in areas of city and state-level development. Previously, she served as the Vice President of Collective Impact at the United Way of New York City and the Manager of Outreach at the AARP. Her work has focused in the areas of community-based economic development, workforce development, increasing economic security for vulnerable populations and advancing gender equality. She holds an MS in Social Work from Columbia University and a BA in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
With a booming economy and a variety of thriving industries, the City of Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. But with the flourishing economy have come challenges of rising inequity and income disparities. FUSE Fellow Suzanne Towns partnered with workforce and economic development stakeholders to create a coordinated strategy to streamline and improve initiatives throughout the city. Her efforts resulted in the creation of a sector-specific, equitable workforce development model, including designing and piloting aligned programming across system partners. She also launched an employment social enterprise ecosystem specifically focused on increasing equity by creating on-ramps to employment and career pathways for those with barriers to work. With this strong foundation, the ongoing implementation of these new strategies and approaches will help make progress towards providing access to employment for all.