One of the most important driving factors behind Susan Friedlander Calzone’s life – personally and professionally – is the ethical pursuit of purpose. She’s been fortunate to have a league of influential leaders in her life to help her work toward making an impact, but she also strives to connect with great leaders.
“I was fortunate to have amazing teachers throughout my entire life. They encouraged me to love learning, challenge conventional thinking and be creative,” Calzone said. “School and work should be fun and inspiring. Making life enjoyable and meaningful is an important part of my responsibility.”
This purpose-driven tenor bolstered her through her education (she was a part of only the third class of women at Dartmouth) and gathered steam as she attained leadership roles at AT&T, Bloomberg LLP, Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral campaigns and her current position as CEO of Foundation Source. It’s what allowed her to help grow Bloomberg LLP from a $10 million startup to a more than $5 billion global brand, and launch an 8,000-woman committee to energize voters for Michael Bloomberg’s reelection bid.
The most important thing “men and women can do to raise the next generation of leaders is to give them both a strong education as well as other opportunities to develop life skills, to collaborate and to lead,” she said when asked what powerful women can do to make the future brighter for young women tomorrow.
“Helping children find their passion throughout their lives is key,” she continued. “The most important skills that I learned throughout my life that helped me achieve positions of leadership were to listen, research issues, gather differing opinions, test them out and then bring team members together to chart a course, pivot as necessary and move ahead.”
Some of Calzone’s other notable achievements consist of working with Bloomberg Philanthropies from 2006 to 2010, which focuses on the environment, arts, public health, government innovation and education.
In addition to establishing the infrastructure for operations, administration and human resources, she worked on one of Bloomberg’s first major multiyear programs to reduce tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries, where awareness of the dangers of tobacco use was not previously well-known. She coordinated with nonprofits and individuals to develop evidence-based policies to curb tobacco use and support this global public health initiative.