Susan B. Parks
President & CEO, Orange County United Way
As President and CEO of Orange County United Way, Susan B. Parks leads the nonprofit organization toward improving lives and strengthening the Orange County community.
She embraces the United Way mission to fight for the education, health, housing and financial stability of every person in Orange County. She is a leading community advocate for change, igniting passion for philanthropy and inspiring social responsibility. Parks has a long history with the organization as a former board member and one of the founding members of the Orange County United Way Women’s Philanthropy Fund. She was also an active player in the development of the nonprofit’s 10-year strategic plan to achieve substantial and sustainable social change in our county. This community-wide action plan, titled FACE 2024, is a collaborative approach advancing the common good by Funding innovative programs, Advocating for the voiceless, Collaborating with those who have the passion and expertise to get things done and Educating community leaders about critical issues facing Orange County. Today, Parks is an active leader of the campaign and spearheads the work to reach the FACE 2024 goals and create brighter futures for local children and families.
Under Parks’ leadership, the organization launched United to End Homelessness, an initiative committed to end homelessness in Orange County in a dignified and humane way by providing needed housing and support services. This initiative, led by United Way, brings together top leaders from the county’s business, philanthropic, faith-based, nonprofit and government sectors to solve the community issue. It is focused on finding a long-term and permanent solution for the underserved and vulnerable homeless population. Parks’ leadership, network of influential community leaders and passion for tackling this crisis were paramount to the establishment of this collaborative initiative.
Parks currently serves on the Commission to End Homelessness and is a member of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Chief Executive Roundtable. Additionally, she has served as the Vice Chair of the UnitedWayWorldwide Health Campaign; past chair and co-chair of Women’s Wellness Day for the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UCI; former board President of Susan G. Komen Orange County Affiliate; former board member of Girl Scouts of Orange County and the Paul Merage School at UCI.
Prior to joining United Way, she was Co-Founder and CEO of iCount Wellness™ at WalkStyles Inc., a leading corporate wellness program that integrates wellness into organizational culture. Parks has also held executive roles in several Fortune 500 and 1000 companies that included Kinkos, Gateway, Inc., and US West. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Administration from Iowa State University and completed post-graduate classes at San Francisco State University.
Parks has received numerous accolades, including the Orange County Business Journal’s Women of the Year Award, the Pioneering Award from the local chapter of the National Association of Women in Business Organization (NAWBO), the Literacy Project Foundation Distinguished Humanitarian of the Year, Girl Scouts Celebrate Leadership Recipient, OC Register 2018 Top 100 Influencers and in 2018 was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for her work with the United To End Homelessness initiative.