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Client Testimonials

Read what other's have to say about Susan.

Prof. Wendy Cadge (Brandeis University)

Susan helped a committee of faculty work through a long and detailed process to revise faculty governance at Brandeis University. She provided expert guidance all along the way preparing background materials, interviewing a broad range of campus constituents, advising the group on best practices, and helping us strategize about how to bring the process to an effective close. The new faculty governance model is stronger because of her many contributions to the process, and the faculty most deeply involved learned an enormous amount along the way.
Professor Wendy Cadge
Professor Wendy Cadge
Professor of Sociology and Social Science Division Head, Brandeis University

Dr. Barbara K. Mistick (Wilson College)

President of Wilson College, Barbara Mistick.
Increasingly, expertise is a scarce resource. Which is why working with Susan was a real joy. Susan’s experience and willingness to share her insight was enormously valuable to our Trustees as they considered ways to achieve a more strategic and less operational focus in their work on behalf of the College. From initial phone interviews with Board members to the implementation of an intensive retreat, Susan was a great resource. She was thoughtful and responsive and there is no doubt we will be a more nimble Board thanks to her efforts.
Dr. Barbara K. Mistick
President of Wilson College

Anne C. Balant (SUNY-New Paltz)

Anne C. Balant, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Disorders, Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate

Dr. Pierce has helped us find a way forward to transform our faculty governance system. Her deep understanding of the inner workings of colleges and universities and her perspectives on shared governance are invaluable.  A close questioner, careful listener, and astute analyzer, she rapidly became conversant with the culture and issues on our campus. Her consulting visit and report have been a catalyst for positive change. An added benefit: she worked equally well with members of our task force, other members of the faculty and key administrators so that our very process exemplified shared governance.

Anne C. Balant, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Disorders, Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate
SUNY-New Paltz

Barbara Feigin (Whitman College Board of Trustees)

Barbara Feigin, Chair of the Nominating-Governance Committee for the Whitman College Board of Trustees.

I first came to know Susan Resneck Pierce and her work when she consulted with and facilitated a retreat with Whitman College’s President and Board of Trustees and other key members of the Whitman community to launch a significant strategic planning effort. Because Whitman’s Board of Trustees had decided to review and revamp its governance structure and operational practices, Susan led a special session on board governance to provide the group with an understanding of relevant higher ed issues, best practices in governance of liberal arts colleges, traps to avoid and the like.

The Board created a seven-person Governance Review Committee which I chair to review and recommend relevant changes in Whitman’s governance structure and practices. Susan has been deeply engaged consulting with us throughout what will be a year-long project, as we’ve tackled our very important charge. Susan believes strongly that each college, and each governance challenge, is unique; there are no cookie-cutter approaches that fit all situations. Accordingly, she has developed an in-depth understanding of Whitman. Beyond that, the special skills and talents Susan brings to our work include her

  • Broad-gauged understanding and a wealth of knowledge about higher education
  • Deep and extensive history in governance of liberal arts colleges
  • Exceptional listening skills; she makes sure she listens respectfully to all parties
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • Very high energy and very high personal performance standards
  • Understanding of the relationship between the Board and the President and administration and other groups in the community and great empathy for all
  • Commitment to collaboration, inclusion, and consensus building

Susan has great passion for her work, she’s a diplomat par excellence, and she has a twinkle in her eye and an informal personal style that’s easy to like! Susan has become our invaluable partner.


Barbara Feigin, Chair of the Nominating-Governance Committee for the Whitman College Board of Trustees
Whitman College Board of Trustees

Michael M. Rue (Xavier University)

Michael M. Rue, Xavier University

Following the retirement of Dr. Norman Francis after 47 years of strong leadership as our president, the Xavier University Board of Trustees retained Dr. Susan Pierce to conduct an institutional review. Xavier had never before had the benefit of such a review. The Board of Trustees believed that Dr. Pierce could help our new president, Dr. C. Reynold Verret and the board identify traditions worthy of retaining and areas where improvement was needed and best practices could be employed. She did not disappoint!

During her three visits to campus over a two month period, Susan met individually with every member of the senior leadership team, a number of trustees, Dr. Francis, Dr. Verret and some members of the faculty. She also met with small groups of faculty, staff members and students and with the Executive Committee of the Board. She read a vast array of documents provided by Xavier.

Before composing her report Susan sought to gain a genuine understanding of Xavier and the challenges we face as a small private, historically black college which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and its lingering after-effects. She listened carefully and was attentive to nuance.

Susan Pierce provided Xavier with an important roadmap for the future. She provided insightful observations and made extremely helpful recommendations about: how the university was organized, admissions and retention, how we use financial aid, fundraising, student life, institutional positioning, how we allocate resources and develop the budget, and shared governance. She made specific, actionable suggestions that provided our president with the means to craft an effective action plan to implement needed changes.

Susan was a wonderful collaborator who took pains to fashion a review that would be of value to the university when completed rather than another report to be simply filed away. I am still astonished by the time and effort she expended on this project. She has a combination of wisdom and experience and I look forward to working with her again in the future.

Michael M. Rue, Xavier University
Xavier University

Vivi-Ann Fischer (Northwestern Health Sciences University Trustee)

Dr. Pierce facilitated one of the best strategic planning meeting I have ever attended! The board of trustees had ample brainstorming and discussion time, and finished the meeting with solid strategic ideas that were focused and realistic to implement. The collaborative approach that included consideration of all university stakeholders – the board leadership, members of the faculty, the president and senior staff was much appreciated.

Vivi-Ann Fischer, D.C., Board of Trustees
Northwestern Health Sciences University Trustee

Mary B. Marcy (Dominican University of California)

President Dominican University of California
“Susan Pierce brings her experience as a successful president, her quick insight, and her considerable wit to every conversation.  She is equally adept at facilitating work with faculty, with leadership teams, and with Boards, adapting her work to align with campus culture and presidential priorities.  As a President, I have found her wisdom inexhaustible, her patience unusual, and her trust invaluable.  Working with Susan is both productive and great fun!”
Mary B. Marcy, President
Dominican University of California

Rich Wagner (Dunwoody College of Technology)

Rich Wagner, Ph.D. President Dunwoody College of Technology

When I was appointed as President, I needed a confidant to evaluate the effectiveness of our fundraising team and help build the structures for a more engaged Board of Trustees. Susan provided all of that and more. Her in-depth knowledge of higher education and experience as a successful university president gives you confidence that her recommendations are going to be spot on. She quickly synthesized information and communicated strategic improvements that would help create a more engaged Board of Trustees and fundraising function. Several years later, Dunwoody has made significant improvements, none of which would have been possible without the input and guidance of Susan. She did a great job for us and I strongly recommend her for any college or university.

Rich Wagner, Ph.D., President,
Dunwoody College of Technology

Beth Herman (EBH Consulting LLC)

Constancy is an increasingly rare and treasured facet of leadership.  I had the good fortune to serve the University of Puget Sound with the same board chair and the same president — Susan Resneck Pierce — for a full decade, together building a successful development program and comprehensive campaign.  In this time of destructive churn at the upper ranks, Puget Sound made huge strides during and well beyond Susan’s presidency.  I and many others are indebted to her for helping us thrive and grow over time.

Today, Susan’s consulting practice has unusual breadth and depth.  She serves a diverse client base from a deep knowledge of board development, best practices for presidents, strategic planning, curricular innovation, and partnering with developers to attract large, useful gifts.  As a former staffer and now as a fellow consultant, I am grateful for her support and inspiration.

Elizabeth B. ("Beth") Herman, Principal
EBH Consulting LLC

Dr Michael Horowitz PhD (TCS Education System)

Dr. Susan Resneck Pierce is a tremendous and insightful resource for higher education today and the future. As the headwinds of the sector continue to shift, Pierce is highly relevant and thought-provoking in her counsel to presidents, governing boards, and key leaders alike.

As president of an innovative higher education system comprised of multiple colleges and universities, I have experienced Pierce’s uncanny ability to bring broader perspective and solutions to a wide array of areas and audiences. She has been instrumental in synthesizing and validating lessons learned to drive strategy and enhanced performance at all levels. The impact of her work is clearly evidenced by the enriched strengths of leaders, improvements to shared governance, and institutional effectiveness—all of which ultimately benefit our core constituency and purpose: students.

Engagement with Dr. Susan Resneck Pierce is a distinct and prolific experience that can only serve as a catalyst for success. She is truly a leader among leaders.

The TCS Education System

Dr. Michael Horowitz, Ph.D.
TCS Education System

Charles F. Kettering III (Kettering University)

Charles F. Kettering III, Kettering University

Susan Pierce has been working with Kettering University since the Fall of 2011. In my role as Chair of the Board of Trustees at that point and until the Fall of 2014, I worked directly with Susan on a number of occasions and had the opportunity to observe the quality of her work with the Board and with Kettering’s President Bob McMahan. I will leave it to President McMahan to describe her work with him as well as her work with members of his Cabinet and the campus.

What strikes me most is Susan’s versatility, the depth of her understanding of and engagement in Kettering, and the consistent value she has brought to the University. Susan has facilitated two very successful retreats for the Board of Trustees. The first retreat focused on matters of governance (particularly the role of the board in relationship to a new president) and on our strategic direction, setting the stage for what has been an extremely productive board-president relationship and also a widely shared view of the University’s goals and priorities. In the second retreat, Susan provided us with a comprehensive view of what has been happening nationally to private colleges and universities and then led us through an important conversation about our strategic positioning. Clearly, she designed these retreats for Kettering rather than using a “cookie cutter” approach.

As I began my term as Chair, Kettering introduced the new president and Susan was available to discuss and advise me about a wide array matters that came before both the Kettering Board and me during the transition period and beyond. In those conversations, I was struck by her thoughtful analysis, experienced-based insightfulness, directness, and her proactive approach to solving problems. She understood the University’s situation and provided a steady sounding board.

I would recommend her highly.


Charles F. Kettering III, Past Chair & current trustee
Kettering University

Philip Mallott (Defiance College)

Susan Pierce has been a real asset to Defiance College.   We’ve welcomed Susan to our campus for four different projects, ranging from broad-based organizational reviews to faculty governance and key board policy matters.
Susan’s style of engagement gains the trust and respect of the campus community, which has been critical to the identification of the key issues and opportunities.  Her independent, outside-looking-in recommendations are focused and action-oriented.  Her higher education experience as a leader and consultant lends credibility and weight to her insights and recommendations.   We have adopted most all of her recommendations and, as a result, realized significant organizational value.
Susan comes onto the job extremely well-prepared, enabling her to quickly get to the heart of the matter at hand.  While she operates with a project plan, we’ve also greatly appreciated her flexibility to adapt and change her approach when the situation calls for it.
I have personally and professionally enjoyed working with Susan at Defiance College.
Defiance College
Philip Mallott Past Chair,, Board of Trustees
Defiance College