Susan Bender Phelps

“Everybody can be great... because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” | "As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others."

I am the CEO and founder of Odyssey Mentoring & Leadership, a corporate training company specializing in communication and leadership training. Before going into business for myself, I had a long and varied career in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. I have been the Executive Director and co-founder of New Mexico Youth at Risk Foundation. We delivered mentoring programs that transformed middle school students’ lives for 15 years. When I moved to Oregon in 2001, I served as Interim Executive Director of Oregon Family Support Network, parents of children with severe mental illness who banded together to support parents as they wend their way through healthcare challenges, school and the law. I served on the Board of Directors of Global partners for Youth for more than five years. We were executive directors and volunteers of youth mentoring programs throughout the U.S. and provided leadership and training for staff and volunteers of our member organizations. From 2010-14, I served as Executive Director of a corporate grant-making foundation. I worked with our employees to receive and review grant applications. Each year we gave more than $250,000 to a variety of non=profits serving children, youth, and families; animals, and the environment.

Currently, I am a co-founder and member of the Steering Committee for Washington County Kids, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the need for out-of-school-time programs (quality and affordable daycare, after school, and summer programs) that support student success in school and in life. I have also worked as a professional fundraiser for a local park foundation and history museum. My passion is and always has been working toward communities that nurture everyone.