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Monday, May 20, 2024

OC 50: Nicole Suydam


Chief Executive, President

Goodwill of Orange County

Santa Ana

Born in Santa Maria

Age: 46

Lives in Aliso Viejo


DAY JOB: Oversees OC’s largest nonprofit, with revenue topping $132 million last year. Counts two dozen Orange County stores, which bring in roughly $5 million a month.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: After crisis forced Goodwill to close its stores in March, and suspend taking in donations at its centers, made a big pivot. Sent its truck drivers to help with distributing food. Lending about 8,000 square feet, in addition to eight trucks and 40 employees to support local operations of Second Harvest Food Bank, extra space allows food bank members to socially distance. Trucks help distribute some 40,000 lbs. of food per day. Also transitioned services for veterans and persons with disabilities online; continues to support Landmark Services, an affiliate organization and essential service that employs about 80 individuals locally with disabilities.

NOTABLE: Previously served as CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, boosting revenue by 55%, also served as Goodwill OC’s VP of development. Provided space to Working Wardrobes after its office burned down earlier this year.

QUOTABLE: Suydam tells the Business Journal her motto of late is: “Our stores and donation centers may be closed, but our mission is still open!” The crisis “only deepens our commitment to Orange County,” she told local media. “Rather than allow our trucks and drivers to sit idle during this time of great need, we found a way to collaborate with our nonprofit peers … and get our employees back to work in a meaningful way.”

FAST FACTS: After graduating from Costa Mesa’s Vanguard University, did initial stint at Second Harvest at 23, in public relations and marketing. Work at Washington, D.C. charity preceded a 10-year first run at Goodwill as director of development.

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