Hooked on social change since learning how messed up our planet is (at UNC-Chapel Hill), Susan has spent three decades in the nonprofit trenches: raising many millions, directing field on political campaigns, serving on boards, mentoring advocates and developing leaders.
Trained as an organizer and educated in organizational development, she now consults with any nonprofit or company who cares about their workplace culture.
She promotes "Wellness Equity," meaning those who suffer the most stress should receive the most wellness resources. To that end, she co-directs NonprofitWellness.org and believes we need way more talk about TEAM-care than SELF-care.
Susan learned self-care to stay sane while working as a parent and fundraiser. Mostly yoga, which opened doors to a lot. Unfortunately, she has witnessed too many people (esp. those responsible for revenues) teetering on the edge of burnout over the years.
We neglect our physical health by cutting corners on food, not making time to exercise, and skipping sleep/vacations. Our mental health is compromised by workplace drama, financial insecurity, intoxicants, depression, and lack of spirituality/gratitude.
Combine that with inevitable personal battles -- fighting illness, going through divorce, parenting kids, caring for sick pets/parents, managing money -- the list is endless. This all takes a toll, causing burnout and retention problems in nonprofit, education and corporate worlds...in short, everywhere.
Susan is a proud Baltimore native and spent many summers serving crabs at Bo Brooks (even while vegetarian). She earned Phi Beta Kappa (B.A., Communications), was a leader with the Student Environmental Action Coalition, and served as a basketball statistician under the leadership of Coach Dean Smith at UNC.
She completed Georgetown's certificate in Organizational Consulting and Change Leadership and is a graduate of many other training programs including: Green Corps, Midwest Academy, Rockwood Institute, Dismantling Racism, Landmark Education, Circus Yoga, and Willow Street Yoga Teacher Training. She also co-created @Earthalopes.
Susan considers 19+ years birthing and raising two amazing humans her most intensive educational experience and most joyful endeavor.
Here's the official LinkedIn bio and YouTube channel. Some of Susan's favorite professional highlights include: leading 16 Campus Green Vote, Environmental Justice and Environmental Journalism training academies for college students, co-founding an early AmeriCorps program, overseeing EWG.org's massive email list growth, developing corporate partnerships at BoardSource, and bringing play to kids via Playworks and KaBOOM!
More from Susan in an archived Washington Post chat on "Benefits of Recess," a Social Velocity interview on fundraising, a MobLab Live webchat on self-care & activism or this TechSoup Europe podcast on burnout prevention.
Susan Comfort hails from the land of Orioles and Ravens, but she is a Tar Heel at heart. After achieving one career highlight as a Statistician for Dean Smith's championship men's teams in the early 90s, Susan spent the next decade on environmental causes, and the next decade focused on education and play.
She founded Nonprofit Wellness and Comfort Consulting to reverse the debilitating effects of stress and create cultures of well-being at world-changing workplaces. Susan is a bilingual facilitator who enjoys producing online trainings, whistling, practicing yoga, salsa dancing, making granola, making people laugh, parenting teenagers, and juggling plastic bags.
Susan embraces cats, laughter, friends, salsa dance, yoga, plant-based nutrition, and caffeine as core strategies for wellness.
Ella también habla español; trabaja con escuelas/maestros bilingües (como LAMB).
& occasionally tweets @ComfortSpeak
There are infrequent blog thoughts at
You can always reach her the ol-fashioned way, 202-246-5336, or email
email@example.com Ball's in your court. Sign up for occasional emails, below.
Sign up for Comfort Consulting and Nonprofit Wellness offerings, and Susan's musings.
Susan's hybrid skills coached me through an inflection point in my tenure as Executive Director. I was navigating internal organizational challenges and external barriers at the federal level. Susan applied her 25+ years managing non-profits, navigating shifting landscapes and fundraising (always fundraising) to lay a more sustainable course for GHF.
Most importantly, she integrated it with my personal health and family goals, all in a few short months.
--Amy Livingston, Global Health Foundation
As my first boss in the nonprofit field 15 years ago, Susan developed my voice as a grant writer and instilled in me the power of storytelling.
These essential lessons informed who I am as a fundraiser today. Supported by Susan's early coaching and continued mentorship I am now a development professional!
-- Anne Morgan, Consultant, Seattle, Washington
"As a resident physician, burnout is a huge problem and very difficult to combat given our crazy hours. Susan gave great insight and had a wonderfully interactive workshop.
I think if everyone took a few minutes out of their day to relax and play, we would all be happier. It is a powerful tool to combat resident burnout."
-- Dr. Ferrin Ruiz, coordinator of Med/Peds Residents Conference at UCLA
"Back in the 90s, Susan introduced our unwilling office staff to “chair yoga” and “mindfulness” and we all groaned. Today, my best days begin with a meditative walk through the quiet, snowy woods, and I understand why Susan embraced early mind-body-spirit integration as a burnout prevention tool. "
--Rani Sheaffer, Maine Conservation Voters
Yes. I'm the kid of a swimming coach and a physical therapist. I've had this name for 48 years. I've spent a half a century learning workout skills from my dad and nutrition and posture skills from my mom. I learned yoga on my own (I still have terrible posture, though. Sorry, Mom).
Now, as facilitators, we love getting people outside of their "Comfort zones," which is where learning happens. Tyecia Powell (above) and I appreciate and often provoke uncomfortable conversations or physical movements that challenge people and challenge conventions.
Everyone must take their physical and mental health into their own hands (self-care).
It's even better when a team takes care of each other (team-care).
That's why we're here -- to draw that out of any group.
Let's keep talking about this stuff.
Que viva la lucha.
It's always evolving.
My door is open to you:
Just 1 min: Susan Comfort explains why vulnerability lies at the center of our strategies and how you can use the Stressor Scorecard (see "Downloads") with your team. For more videos go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rgg-Is3LiHM
"Susan's presentation was super fun and a timely reminder to breathe during these challenging times. She delivered up the right mix of interaction, laughs, a-ha moments and brain science to make it a highly enjoyable brown bag lunch training."
--Suzanne Ehlers, President & CEO, PAI
"A fun and informative session, that provided not only science backed research, but connected that to the needs for breaks to prevent burnout, and highlighted the type of breaks that help us most recharge." --PA, Development & Finance Manager, national justice organization
“We all need breaks, especially ones that involve moving around and having a little fun. Susan got us started on the concept with Playworks’ recess program. And now, thanks to her talk, we keep juggling scarves in our break room to encourage employees to take a moment for play. What a fun, engaging session Susan provided! Can’t wait to have her back again.”
-- Rachel Gaur, Sr. Manager, Facilities and Events, Promontory Interfinancial Network
"As a resident physician, burnout is a huge problem and very difficult to combat given our crazy hours. Susan gave great insight and had a wonderfully interactive workshop. I think if everyone took a few minutes out of their day to relax and play, we would all be happier. It is a powerful tool to combat resident burnout."
-- Dr. Ferrin Ruiz, coordinator of Med/Peds Residents Conference at UCLA
"I really enjoyed your talk “the new smoke break” at the CPA conference last week. Great information, great class interaction, and you are an excellent speaker. More people need to hear your message. A great quote I heard from a Buddhist monk “I see a lot of humans coming and going, but not a lot of humans being”. The ceaseless activity of modern life breeds disease of mind and body. Everyone needs to take time to smell the roses…before the roses wither up and die, or before they do. Keep up the great work and keep spreading the message. We need it now more than ever.
p.s. I have mastered the thumb/index finger exercise by the way!" --B.M. (Johnstown, PA)
Susan can deliver Take Five as a 30- or 45-minute brown bag, 60-minute keynote, or 2-hour workshop. Longer versions have more activities and small group work. Appropriate for groups large or small. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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