Causing Disruptions: Upping the Social Services Game Across the Sector
Susan Dreyfus, Health and Human Services Thought Leader
If the social services sector is going to make a greater impact, then leaders must work together to elevate preventative services to the level of healthcare. Sector leaders need to help advocates who are not typically involved in direct client care (e.g., policy makers, philanthropists, etc.) proximate to our work in order to experience what it takes to holistically and sustainably improve lives. To reach this level, it will take a collective disruption by sector leaders to push towards increased partnerships including mergers and acquisitions, data and information sharing and more robust funding across the board.
More about Susan
After 9 years, Susan Dreyfus stepped down in 2021 as CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities after leading the organization forward through a historic and strategic merger with the Council on Accreditation. She is now working as an executive coach, retreat facilitator for teams and boards and consultant in adaptive change and planning in both the public and social sectors to advance enduring change to ensure all people can achieve their fullest potential.
During Susan’s tenure as CEO of the Alliance, the organization went through both organizational and adaptive change to accelerate its theory of change and position America’s community-based human serving organizations for excellence, distinction, and influence through the vision of creating a healthy and equitable society so all our neighbors can thrive. Prior to joining the Alliance in 2012, Dreyfus was secretary for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. She was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2009 and approved by the Senate. She had responsibility for Medicaid, aging and long-term care, child welfare, behavioral health care, juvenile justice, economic assistance, and other human services. Before her work in Washington state, Dreyfus served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Alliance.
In 1996 she was appointed by the Gov. Tommy G. Thompson Administration in Wisconsin to be the first administrator of the Division of Children and Family Services. Her responsibilities included child welfare, childcare quality and licensing, youth development, and an array of emergency assistance, and other programs.
Dreyfus is past chair of Leadership 18, a coalition of CEOs from the largest and most respected nonprofit organizations in America and was previously the chair. She served on the governing boards of the American Public Human Services Association and Generations United. Dreyfus serves as chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Systems for Action (S4A) national advisory committee. She was appointed through the Speaker’s office in the U.S. House of Representatives to serve on the National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities from 2013-2015.
In 2019, Dreyfus was named to The NonProfit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50 list of nonprofit leaders who have “distinguished themselves as initiators of concepts that will have legs and are already having impact.” She also was included in the Power and Influence Top 50 list in 2018, 2017, and 2015. The American Public Human Services Association awarded Dreyfus its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for her contributions to the field of health and human services in both the public and private sectors. In 2018, Dreyfus was recognized with a Women of Influence Award by the Milwaukee Business Journal.