President and Chief Executive Officer, Smile Train
Susannah (“Susie”) Schaefer is Executive Vice Chair, President, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization with a sustainable and local model of supporting surgery and other forms of comprehensive cleft care.
Susie joined Smile Train in February 2013, after serving as a member of the organization’s Board for over 10 years. In her role as President and CEO, she oversees Smile Train’s vision to expand access to healthcare and increase local cleft care capacity in countries where Smile Train has active programs. During her time as President and CEO, Susie has led an organizational rebrand, seeded funding for hundreds of thousands of new smiles, grown and improved Smile Train’s digital medical records database and global cleft surgical training and education programs, and greatly expanded Smile Train’s non-surgical comprehensive cleft care programs, including in areas of nutritional support, speech therapy, oral health, and psychosocial counseling.
Susie has also positioned Smile Train as a leader in cleft research and innovation. She led the team in developing Smile Train’s groundbreaking Virtual Surgery Simulator, which further accelerated cleft surgical training and enhanced the organization’s “teach a man to fish” model. Susie also championed Smile Train’s acquisition of Simulare Medical, one of the top cleft surgery simulators in the world, providing Smile Train partners with greater access to safe, high-quality training, particularly in regions with limited resources.
Susie came to Smile Train after almost 20 years in the private sector, bringing a vast network and past experiences to the team. Previously, Susie worked directly for Smile Train’s Founder, the late Charles B. Wang, first as the Special Assistant to the Chairman and CEO at Computer Associates (now CA Technologies), and following his retirement, as his Chief of Staff for his business and philanthropic interests including the New York Islanders Hockey Club and NeuLion Inc. Earlier in her career, Susie served as Vice President, International Marketing at CA Technologies, where she led implementation of the company’s international marketing strategies. Prior to her role as Vice President, Susie was the Director of Marketing, Asia for CA Technologies, where she built the organization’s presence throughout the region and hosted the first regional CA World conference in China. She began her professional career in public relations at the New York City office of Padilla Speer Beardsley where she spent five years in various account management roles.
Susie is a member of NonProfit PRO’s Advisory Board, a Trustee of Smile Train UK, an Honorary Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons (WACS), a member of the Global Surgery Foundation High-Level Council, and serves on numerous Boards as a Director, including Lifebox, a global nonprofit organization that makes surgery safer in low-resource settings, and the foundation of her alma mater: the State University of New York at Oswego, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and a Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D).