CVDAPC Welcomes New Director

Suzy Jacobs brings years of experience and a desire to further build community relations.

By Brandon HENSLEY

On Jan. 3, the CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition announced its newest executive director. Suzy Jacobs was present at the coalition’s first meeting of the year on Monday night at the La Crescenta Library.

Jacobs succeeds David Marquez who left the coalition in December. She is from Miami Beach and attended Indiana University where she earned her bachelor’s in Political Science. Jacobs received her master’s from USC and currently lives in Burbank.

Coalition President Matt Zakarian said the group received about half a dozen applications for the executive director position.

“I think we did a pretty thorough job in looking for the right candidate,” he said. “Suzy stood out and I think we made the right decision. She had a lot of good background, not only politically, but in non-profit [organizations].”

Jacobs has worked in the district offices of three California legislators: Senator Jack Scott and Assembly members Paul Krekorian and Mike Gatto. She is also secretary of the Healthy Start Collaborative, comprised of nonprofit organizations serving GUSD students.

Jacobs said her time – about two weeks – on the job has gone smoothly.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I’ve felt very welcome, they’ve been really helpful, appreciative and supportive. They’ve given me guidance, so I really like that a lot.”

In 2010, the coalition received a $625,000 federal grant over five years, and Jacobs outlined her goals for that grant.

“I see the drug-free community grant as having two purposes,” she said. “The first is to build community relations and then to reduce substance abuse among youth. So, that’s really how I want to frame my approach to this job.”

Jacobs, who taught at Loyola Marymount University for seven years, sees herself as “the heart of the spider web.”

“I like to build connections. I’m an organizer, I’m an event planner … I like to pull people together, give them information, give them a strategy. Give them something to do.”

“She’s very organized,” said Zakarian. “In the [time that] she’s been here she’s already made a lot of great movement forward with the coalition.”

The Coalition is looking forward to their retreat scheduled for the middle of February at the Flintridge Center in Pasadena. At that time, planning for the 2012 year and what the group wants to do will take shape, and Jacobs is looking forward to it.

“Once we have the retreat and the board figures out what they really want to do with the organization … I’m going to have more freedom,” she said.