Conner Prairie has named Susana Suarez vice president-chief marketing officer. She was previously a member of Governor Eric Holcomb’s senior executive team, having served in several positions, including executive director of strategic communications and the administration’s Neuro-Diagnostic Institute and Advanced Treatment Center, a division of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration. Suarez is past president and currently a second-term councilwoman on the Zionsville Town Council.
She has served as executive director of the Hispanic International Trade Council and held executive positions with Holcim, CEMEX and Anheuser-Busch. Suarez was appointed by former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and reappointed by now-U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to serve as vice chairwoman of the Commission of Higher Education.
Early in her career, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as assistant director for regional operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where she managed regional deployment and communication in response to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Suarez made it a priority to focus on the Latino population affected by this tragedy. She was later named chief compliance officer for the Peace Corps.
She has served on the board of directors of numerous local, national and international organizations, including the Indianapolis Opera, International Center, Indiana Latino Expo, Gateway Foundation, Indiana International School, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund in L.A., National Hispana Leadership Institute in Virginia, 100 Hispanic Women in New York, National Latino Communications Center in L.A., Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in L.A., East L.A. YMCA, Hispana Organized for Political Equality in L.A. and the Eastern Group Publications Foundation in L.A. She has also served on the advisory boards of the National Puerto Rican Coalition and the Bronx Lebanon Hospital in New York.
She has been named woman of the year by the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, received the president’s award for outstanding corporate leadership by the St. Louis Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has been named one of the top 50 Latinas in the U.S. El Diario and cited as one of the top Hispanics in the Bush-Quayle 1992 campaign by the Hispanic Business Magazine.
Suarez has also served as deputy director for political coalitions with the Republican National Committee.
A U.S. citizen born in Mexico City, Suarez was raised in Mexico until age 15 where she made the Mexican archery team for the 1984 Olympics in L.A. Her family’s move to Cleveland, Ohio, prohibited her involvement in the games. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University and is a graduate of the senior management program at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.