Executive Director

Women’s Centers Int’l

Non-Profit Leadership Excellence 

About Susan

Susan Burgess-Lent is a veteran international aid worker, warrior for women’s rights, author, mentor, and public speaker.  

She began her career in international humanitarian assistance in in 1994  at the American Red Cross International Services, managing logistics for relief specialists deployed in the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide. In 2006, she joined Darfur Peace and Development, a Darfuri-led non-profit. For the next five years, she enabled the continuation of 37 primary schools in North Darfur and created three Women’s Centers to serve the needs of hundreds of women displaced by the genocide.

In 2012 she opened Baraka Women’s Center in Nairobi, Kenya to provide key services to over 1,150 women living in the city’s slums.

Susan adapted the Women’s Center Model in the Oakland California, delivering services to assist low-income women in defining and embracing paths out of poverty.

Previously she worked as journalist for NBC News in Washington, DC and in San Francisco where she won an Emmy for the documentary, San Francisco in the Forties.  She also worked at KQED, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, CBS News, and Voice of America.

She is a writer whose published works include a novel, In the Borderlands (awarded the 2002 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant for Fiction), a non-fiction book Trouble Ahead: Dangerous Mission with Desperate People (2019) and numerous short stories and essays. Her blog focuses on the challenges women face in the nonprofit world.

Over the past thirty years, she has honed her speaking skills through membership in Toastmasters International. She is a listed speaker on SheSource and has presented for numerous civic organizations and academic institutions including Howard and Fordham Universities. In 2021, she began hosting a podcast Wise Women that features interviews with women thought leaders.

Her life practice includes mentoring young women interested in entering  the field of human services, both domestic and international.

She earned a BA in Business Management from University of Maryland University College and trained with the American Red Cross in International Humanitarian Law and Disaster Response.

Her volunteer efforts have included  Rape Crisis Responder (Health and Human Services Department. and Mentor of at-risk youth in the Bridges to Pals program, Montgomery County, MD. She is a trained member of the Citizens Emergency Response Team  (CERT) in Oakland, California.

Susan is an avid gardener and bicyclist, and a voracious reader with a fondness for science and science fiction. She lives in Oakland, California.