In addition to being an Associate Principal & Business Development Manager at DCI Engineers, Suzanne Clemmer is also currently the longest active Director with the San Diego Architectural Foundation in her 13th year. All the while Suzanne has been a constant source of wisdom, leadership & laughter for our foundation, even as her job has her jet-setting all across the western-USA, bouncing from meeting to meeting, developing relationships, and generating business, earning her the totally made-up just-for-fun 2021 ORCHID Award for SDAF’s International Woman of Mystery.
I first met Suzanne in 2011 when I volunteered for our Orchids & Onions program. At the time Suzanne was in her second year Co-Chairing the event. Her leadership style ensured that all volunteers had direction and a purpose, making all volunteers feel that their contributions were valued and meaningful – something that has stuck with me to this day. Seeing Suzanne (and Anney!) lead the team that year gave myself and Ivana Vinski (shout-out to another all-time SDAF legend) confidence to lead the program the following year.
But Suzanne’s contributions to SDAF didn’t stop there. Through a San Diego County grant for Community beautification, Suzanne was instrumental in the success of the Community Vision Awards, an annual $25,000 grant program set up to provide funds for San Diego community enhancement. Winners included Hamilton Row, a 16-unit row house development in North Park designed & developed by Allard Jansen, mxd830 in Golden Hill, designed & developed by FoundationForForm, and Mercato del Barrio in Barrio Logan, designed by Safdie Rabines Architects. Suzanne’s passion for the San Diego built environment and her commitment to community enhancement spoke to the very core of SDAF’s values, values that were developed in our 2016 Strategic Plan which Suzanne played an important role in generating also.
While Suzanne’s contributions to SDAF are a long and impressive list, it’s what she brings through her thoughtfulness and zest for good times that has meant the most to me personally. When hard conversations need to be had in our organization, Suzanne draws upon her years of experience in SDAF to give thoughtful feedback. Suzanne has a wonderful taste for good wine & good people, which is how she connected with her husband Joel, who she brings to every SDAF gathering to share great stories about music, restaurants, wine & experiences. I’m proud to call Suzanne a friend, she is an amazing leader in our community and I look forward to continuing to volunteer alongside her to keep SDAF moving forward.