Dear Saint Anne Parish Parishioners:
I am Susan (Sue) Olafson, the new Director for Hope Ministries, and I’m delighted to join the Saint Anne community.
After graduating from Marquette University with a degree in Journalism, I began writing for various newspapers – including the Daily Herald. My fellow journalists will tell you I sold out early when I jumped into the Public Relations field, but it seems that it was a prescient move given the direction of newspapers nearly 30 years later. Either that or God was working to protect me from starving. I like the idea of the latter.
The bulk of my Communications and Marketing career was spent in government. My roles ranged from Public Information Officer where I managed a small staff for a city of more than 110,000 to Director of Communications and Marketing for a county of nearly one million residents, managing a staff of 16. While in that role, I also oversaw the management of more than 1,000 volunteers.
I retired from government work in 2015 but was hardly ready to walk off into the sunset. I most recently served as the Director of Communications and Development for the Barrington Area Council on Aging, and was ready for a new challenge when I came across the job posting for the Director of Hope Ministries. I have been assured throughout the interview process that the job will provide me with a lot of challenges, so I happily accepted.
Speaking of challenges, I have been married for 30 years to my husband, Dan. We have two children, a daughter, Stephanie and a son, Zachary. Our daughter is a Therapist for autistic children and our son is a Social Media Coordinator for an association downtown. Stephanie was recently married, so I guess I am now a mother-in-law. Another fun challenge – I just hope I don’t become the subject of all those disparaging mother-in-law jokes.
As the Director of Hope Ministries, I am responsible for providing direction and leadership to Project Hope, House of Hope and programs helping Barrington-area community members in need. These programs all fall under the mission of Hope Ministries, which seeks to provide emergency assistance to those individuals and families in our area facing crisis, regardless of faith. It was a mission that resonated with me, which drove me to apply for the role.
But I think what truly impresses me most about Hope Ministries is the incredible volunteer base that works so hard to support the ministry mission. House of Hope has 175 dedicated volunteers who give hours upon hours of time and talent making the store a tremendous success. Project Hope also has dozens of volunteers who help coordinate the ministry’s Food Pantry and serve our neighbors in need. I recently watched the coordination of Food Pantry Sunday, where community members were served with nearly 200 bags of groceries, fresh produce, personal care and household items. It was quite impressive.
The Saint Anne Parish has literally hundreds of volunteers in so many different ministries. You all must be so proud. I know I am proud to be a small part of it all.
Director, Hope Ministries