Professional and Personal Alignment: An Article about Susan Bass

By: Camille Bartsch, GWWIB Ambassador

Every individual wants to have their passions align with their profession. Susan Bass, Senior Vice President, Programs and Operations at Earth Day Network, has proved that it is possible to blend her personal interests and career path. An undergraduate history major Yale University, and a Georgetown University Law graduate, Susan has worked for both the Environmental Law Institute and Earth Day Network for the past 27 years. Through Susan’s work in environmental law, she has made a positive impact both personally and professionally.

Initially working as a corporate and banking lawyer at a traditional firm, Susan decided to transition towards non-profit law to particularly focus on international human’s rights issues. Susan reflects, “I like working in my current position because I am constantly learning about new issues and developing new skills and working with different people and organizations from all over the country and the world.”

Throughout her work, Susan has met challenges and rewards from short-term funding problems and working with motivated young people. Susan explains her work currently at Earth Day Network includes interacting with funders who constantly change their priorities and do not invest in long-term projects that could make a greater impact. Yet, Susan also reflects that some of the most rewarding parts of her job include, “Working with young people and seeing them succeed.”

Throughout her career, Susan notes that women are more willing to help women in building each other up in the work force. I asked Susan what the largest change she has noticed, “Women are more supportive of each other now and there are increasing number of women in leadership roles although they are still considerably under represented.”

Susan has provided some insight on her position and what she looks for in young women entering the workforce. In the field of law, she said that being a good writer is imperative for communication, whether it is raising funds, negotiations, and overall advocation for the cause. Susan and her colleagues look for individuals who show passion for the core issues, willingness to work hard, and never say no by always remaining flexible. The most important piece of advice that Susan gives for future professional women is, “Be ready to be flexible and take on whatever needs to be done on the job. Try to get relevant experience as a volunteer or through course work.”

I have known Susan and her husband, and especially her triplets since I was born. Susan represents the true epitome of a successful and working mom who “has it all,” with blending personally passion and professionally success to make an impact on our world.