Susan Queen Reikowski – Class of 1996
Developmental Operations Coordinator, John Crosland School, Charlotte, NC

Every child is different, and many students are challenged by a traditional school setting. Susan Queen Reikowski serves an important role at the John Crosland School in Charlotte, where she works as the Developmental Operations Coordinator. This organization is a non-profit K-12 school that focuses on educating children who learn differently and haven’t thrived in a typical classroom.

“I began my job there this January, starting a new phase of my career,” she explains. “After being a stay-at-home parent for many years, I decided it was time for a new challenge. I had previously spent a lot of time volunteering at school and church. I enjoyed it, but I was ready to refocus on my career.

“In my position, I work with our development team to help raise donations, which help the school advance and provide new opportunities for all of the amazing students who attend. I manage our database of donors as well as sending periodic communications. I also work on other projects such as a quarterly newsletter.

“I was drawn to this job because I loved that the mission of the school is to create an environment where students who may have struggled in school can be themselves and thrive. Many even go on to college after graduation. Being part of the growth of this school is very exciting and fulfilling. My only challenge so far is fitting all I want to accomplish there into 20 hours a week since I am a part-time employee. The days go by quickly!”

Susan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000 with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. “After graduating from college, I held several different positions focused on media buying, marketing and sales support, and branding. My most significant job was the seven years I worked for Atrium Health & Levine Children’s Hospital. I was a marketing representative as part of our internal marketing department. I worked with several different service lines such as senior health, rehabilitation, and women’s health, before focusing the last few years on the children’s hospital and pediatric practices.

“I managed the marketing budgets and created annual plans, including marketing and promotional materials and advertising campaigns. I would manage projects while working as a liaison between hospital administrators and staff and third-party creative agencies that would produce content and graphics. I also managed and contributed content for our monthly publication.

“Again, part of the appeal of this job was being able to use my skills in a way that was helping others. Much of the materials and advertising we produced was about creating community awareness around the children’s hospital and urgent care locations so parents would know the extensive care options available here in Charlotte. This job was often challenging because it required working on numerous projects at once, all with different timelines and partners. Luckily, I enjoy multi-tasking and problem solving, as both were integral to my position. As much as I enjoyed working with Atrium Health, I eventually left to be home for a while with my family.

“I have always been grateful for the excellent education I received at East Burke High School. It’s wonderful that even living in such a small area, I had access to many amazing teachers who prepared me so well for college and beyond. Just a few of my favorites include Dr. Robert McAdams, Anne Stephens, and Karla Blakey. Each of those teachers taught me so much about critical thinking and writing. I also greatly valued our chorus teacher, Renee Shatley, and my time in choir and Chamber Singers. Music has always been a source of enjoyment and creativity for me, and I now sing in my church choir and play in our handbell ensemble.

“I also encountered mentors in previous jobs who taught and inspired me. In my last position with Atrium, I had a close working relationship with the president of the Children’s Hospital, and her support and encouragement helped me grow into that role. In my last year there, she asked me to speak at a national health care marketing conference about the marketing campaign we had worked on for Levine Children’s Hospital. It was an exciting and slightly intimidating opportunity, but I consider it one of the highlights of my career.

“I am very happy in my current job, and I’m excited to see how my position will continue to grow. It’s gratifying to be using my professional skills again, and I love collaborating with others on my team toward our common goal of supporting and advancing the school.”

Published March 2024

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