Susan S. Mahaffee has extensive experience managing the human resource function for both public and private multinational companies.
Most recently, she was the Chief People Officer (CPO) at Majestic Steel USA and, in late 2022, decided to follow her passion for helping leaders at all stages of personal and professional development to, as she has said often, "make an impact on people's lives." Her expertise has come from "working her way up" in multiple industries, priding herself in staying connected and present with employees in the field/on the floor, leading cross-functional teams, and coaching senior executives for success. This collective experience and a story of perseverance while working full-time throughout college all came together as the basis for launching the people advisory firm People Rise LLC.
Susan has also held other roles, such as the Global Director of People and Organization for the Corporate Headquarters of Mars Incorporated, based in McLean, Virginia. There she led their global talent strategy within its legal, corporate affairs, and sustainability functions, driving the adoption of its new approach to hybrid working and the ‘Future of Work.’ During her nearly nine years there, she had the opportunity to be an integral part of a global people and organization (P&O) transformation and build numerous high-performing leaders and management teams.
Susan has served in various positions within multiple public and private companies, such as Waste Management, Office Depot, and AECOM at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Starting in hospitality human resources, she also has worked in the manufacturing, retail, human service, and technology environments. She is a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR), Certified Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Senior Professional of Human Resources (SHRM-SCP), Certified Facilitator with Development Dimensions International (DDI), PPROSCI Certified Change Practitioner, National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Practitioner (NDCCDP), holds a Certificate of Strategic Decision Making from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Executive Education School as well as an HR Ethics Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). She also held a CPHR designation with Canada's Chartered Professionals in Human Resources from 2014-2018. She completed a certificate in Advanced Organisational Design from Hult International Business School's Ashridge Executive Education program taught by the world authority on corporate strategy, Andrew Campbell, in Berkhamsted, Herts, UK. Susan is in her fourth year as a Board Member of the Anne Arundel County Society for Human Resources Management (ASHRM). She was previously responsible for the SHRM Foundation and now serves as Membership Chair. Susan is also an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Executive Network, where she is part of an elite community of HR leaders who find themselves at the intersection of people and business and the Association of Women in Metal Industries (AWMI) Mid-Atlantic Chapter.
Susan is passionate about speaking on various topics, including the pandemic's impact on women and other underrepresented groups. Notably, she was a presenter and panelist at the National Manufacturing Diversity Summit in 2022 and was soon named to The Top 50 Women Leaders of Ohio for 2022. She was also a featured guest on Perennial Talent’s podcast, “Skills of the Future,” where she spoke about the importance of promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace.
Susan and her son make their home right outside Annapolis, Maryland, where they enjoy sponsoring Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy and stewarding their Little Free Library. She earned an M.B.A. in Global Business and Organizational Leadership, a B.S. in Management with a concentration in Human Resources Management, and an A.S. in Advertising Communications from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.