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Susan S. Mahaffee, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, NDCCDP

President + Founder

"One of the driving forces behind the name “People Rise” lies in the poetry of the legendary Maya Angelou. Inspired by the famous words “Still I Rise,” Susan embodies the spirit of resilience and perseverance. With this name, she aims to encourage clients to rise above challenges and embrace growth with unwavering determination." - WomElle Magazine, August 2023

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Let's rise together.

I'm Susan S. Mahaffee, an experienced human resources (HR) professional with a rich collection of experiences managing the people function for both public and private multinational companies. In late 2022, I turned my passion into practice, seizing the opportunity to share my diverse experiences with others, particularly focusing on my passion for working with family-owned and entrepreneur-led businesses.

Professional Experience:

  • Chief People Officer (CPO), Majestic Steel USA, 2022

  • Global Director, People and Organization at Mars Incorporated, Corporate, Mars Edge, (entrepreneurial segment built to help improve human health) and Mars Symbioscience (health and science venture for developing science products and services),  2013-2022

  • Senior Area Human Resources Manager, MD/DC/DE + WV/PA,  Waste Management

  • HR Director - Government Services,  AECOM 

  • Regional HR Manager - Supply Chain East, Office Depot 

  • Human Resources Manager, DeWal Industries, Manufacturing 

  • Payroll & Benefits Coordinator, SMART Management + Discovery House Home Office, Software Technology Start-Up and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Facility

  • Human Resources Assistant, Sheraton National Hotel

  • Human Resources Assistant, Colony South Hotel

Certifications,  Professional Memberships + Awards:

  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification (2013 - Present)

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification (2005 - 2013)

  • SHRM - Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) (2012 - Present)

  • Certified Facilitator, Development Dimensions International (DDI)

  • PPROSCI Certified Change Practitioner

  • National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Practitioner (NDCCDP) 

  • Advanced Organisational Design, Hult Ashridge Business School, UK

  • Certificate, Strategic Decision Making, Wharton Executive Education, Philadelphia, PA

  • Certificate, HR Ethics, HRCI 

  • Certification, Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Benchmarks® 360 Degree Assessments

  • Member, SHRM Executive Network 

  • Member, Health & Human Resources Committee, Leadership Council, National Small Business Association (NSBA)

  • Honored Listee, Marquis Who's Who (2023)

  • The Top 50 Women Leaders of Ohio for 2022

  • Former Member,  Association of Women in Metal Industries (AWMI)

  • Notary Public Commission, National Notary Association, Expires February 2027


  • Hungarian


Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island

M.B.A., Global Business Leadership, Concentration: Organizational Leadership, Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society, Student Commencement Speaker

B.S., Management, Concentration: Human Resources Management

A.S., Advertising Communication, American Marketing Association (AMA) 

Featured Media:


Speaking Engagements:

  • Presenter, Mississippi County HR Association (MCHRA), 'Maximizing Employee Retention: Strategies for Retention, Engagement + Mentoring", 2023

  • Presenter, 'Empowering the Empowered through HR Practices', National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance 'Sheltered' Annual Conference, 2023

  • Panelist, Marsh McLennan Agency's Women in Business Symposium:  'Achieve What's Possible', Washington, D.C., 2023

  • Presenter, 'Increasing Women in Leadership Roles Through Sponsorship' and panelist at the National Manufacturing Diversity Summit, Cleveland, OH 2022

  • Presenter, 'Hybrid Workforce: The Future of  Work', Arundel Society for Human Resources Management (ASHRM), 2022

  • Guest Speaker + Mentor,  Towson University Student SHRM Chapter & Business Management Capstone Course


Community Engagement:

  • Sponsorship of Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (2012 - Present)

  • Little Free Library Steward, Charter #94074, Chartwell, Severna Park, MD (2019 - Present)

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