Susan Abernathy Frank - Enquirer Woman of the Year and long-standing CYC Mentor.
Congratulations Susan Abernathy Frank - Enquirer Woman of the Year and long-standing CYC Mentor.
Susan Abernethy Frank’s favorite bumper sticker is one that simply says “Coexist.”
Her ability to do that with everyone she’s encountered has been the backbone of her success as a volunteer for the last 40 years.
“To this day, one of my favorite things to do is walk into a room where I don’t know a soul,” Frank said. “That’s what drives me – to meet and exchange and learn from people who are different from me.”
Frank, of Newport, began working right out of college in 1964. For 36 years she was in the fashion industry as a show producer, special events coordinator and public relations director for local companies.
She started volunteering in the early 1970s. It became her full-time passion after leaving the work force in 2000.
“I grew up in Terrace Park and raised my kids there and always felt like it was a lovely place, but I knew not everyone was as fortunate as I,” Frank said. “I’ve seen a lot of things – families just trying to survive – and I want to do whatever I can to help.”
She began in her kids’ school as a PTA president, softball coach and Girl Scout leader. She also worked with organizations in the inner city through the Junior League of Cincinnati and introduced self-esteem programs in schools for teenage girls.
In 1992, through the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, she started mentoring two girls at Withrow High School. Frank’s still in touch with them today.
“From the moment I met her I knew there was something special about her,” Angel Strayhorn, one of Frank’s mentees, said in one of the more than two dozen Women of the Year nomination letters received for Frank. “When her heart is behind something, you know it because the passion for it spills out of her.”
Among other volunteer efforts, Frank has served the Emanuel Community Center, Wellness Community, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Inter Parish Ministry, East Row Historic District in Newport, St. Paul’s Child Care Center in Newport and Terrace Park Historical Society.
“I love this city, I love diversity and I love working with others to reach their potential,” Frank said.
She said the reason she does all that she does can be summed up in a quote used by the Freedom Center.
“There is a spark within each of us,” Frank said. “Fan the flame.”