Susan Cochran is vice president of operations at River Region Human Services. She has been with the company over 20 years.
WHAT IS RIVER REGION?
The company provides prevention, intervention, treatment and educational services for people with substance abuse or mental health problems in addition to those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
“I am responsible for the oversight of management information systems, human relations, support services and offering drug-free work place services to other businesses. My job is to make sure our staff has all the tools they need.”
WHY TAKE THE JOB?
“Non-profit management is where my experience is and what I enjoy doing. The work here is very important and I wanted to be part of that.”
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT IT?
“Serving the needs of clients and working for an organization that gives them the opportunity to change and, in many cases, save lives.”
WHAT’S CHALLENGING ABOUT IT?
“Stretching very limited resources to provide the highest quality service.”
Biology and secondary education were Cochran’s majors at the University of Dayton in Ohio.
WHY NOT WORK IN THE FIELD?
“When I came out of college, the market was glutted with teachers so I started graduate work at Cornell University in counseling and higher education administration but before I got my degree, I was offered a job as the assistant dean of students at Cornell.”
WHAT ELSE HAS SHE DONE?
After school, Cochran moved to Washington, D.C. to work as director of education for an insurance association, organizing workshops and seminars. Her next stop was director of field services for the People’s Medical Society, which she helped establish. Cochran then shifted gears to work for Central Life Insurance Company in Des Moines. Cochran relocated to New York to become executive director of corporate communications, and subsequently, the vice president of administration and finance at The College of Insurance, now part of St. Johns University. She also served as the chief operating officer of the YWCA before she left the Big Apple.
Murray Hill is where Cochran and her roommate, artist Cookie Davis, reside. She has two dogs.
Fishing at Little Talbot Island, playing the piano, walking on the beach and Tai-Chi are her preoccupations of choice. Cochran is currently reading “Leadership is an Art.” Sterling’s is her restaurant of choice.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?
“In the early 1970s, Florence Kennedy, a leading feminist at the time, came to my school and I had the opportunity to spend the day with her.”
—by Monica Chamness