What our clients think


Many times we send out an immediate ‘Thanks for a great session!’ to folks like you who help to facilitate a workshop, or lead us through training exercises or consult with us on ways to do things better.  Those immediate thank you notes are great.  But this delayed thank you is better … 

On behalf of the Marketing Services team, thanks for your thoughtful leadership of our July 9 Marketing Services Communications Workshop. Why is this thank you better?  There’s progress! Each team member has put their new insight to great use every day since the session.  One person did additional research into MBTI and found a list of archetypes that can be used as a helpful ‘cheat sheet’ when thinking about the different personality types at play on the team. Another has commented about specific instances where teamwork has improved as she’s marching us all to seamless execution. Another team member and I had ‘AHA’ moments of clarity where we discussed how our two MBTI types can run into miscommunication traps.  All good stuff!

Thank you Susan. We really appreciate the time you set aside to help us work on this important part of our roles within the team and organization.

 Sherri Stuart, Vice President, Marketing Services, Medecision

I wanted you to know, once again, although I’ve told you several times, how much I appreciate what you did for our organization in the Strat Planning process. I know your time and expertise are worth MUCH more than you charged us, and all member of the BOD are aware that you donated a substantial portion of your time and energy. I think the process was good, and the committees are now beginning their work after the BOD approved the plan. We have broken out the tasks by committee or person responsible, and Marketing has already met and is apprised of the tasks. Devo will be meeting early in the New Year, as will the Succession Committee….

Anyway, just wanted to let you know again that I am touched by your commitment to our little NP and our important mission – thank you, my friend!

 Mark G. Brown | Executive Director, Friends of Children of Walla Walla

Thank you so much Susan for your wonderful leadership at our retreat last Friday! It is so refreshing for me when you are the leader. I have sat through many extremely unproductive meetings to the point that I usually shut down just to get through them. You keep everyone on task, keep it interesting and so productive - it is a pleasure to be there! I believe that we will continue to grow and succeed as an organization with what we accomplished.

Hope you found a great dog sitter! If not let me know and I may be able to come up with someone else. Can't wait to get my new Golden puppy this spring - a new beginning!!!

Tish Watts, Board President, Blue Mountain Humane Society


Thank you for the kind words. I could not have accomplished the required tasks without your assistance and continued support through the entire process. It meant a lot to me to have someone I could turn to in addressing some of the difficult challenges. I have also very much appreciated your personal commitment to the organization. You have truly gone well beyond the scope of your contract. I would gladly work with you again, and if you ever need a reference, do not hesitate to contact me.

-Gary Mabley, Board President (Principal, Mabley & Associates)


I wanted to let you know what a believer you’ve made of me.  The strategic plan has made planning, decision making and just staying on the path so much easier. I love it!   It focused my thinking and that’s invaluable.

Thanks for being so good at what you do and patiently helping me.

-Beth Hudson, Director, Walla Walla Public Library

Susan has been absolutely instrumental in providing expert advice and guidance to our future leaders during our Leadership Development Program.  She developed top-notch course material for, and superbly taught, our sessions on leadership and teamwork, organizational development, interpersonal communications, and public speaking.  She masterfully led our retreat and consistently challenges the group in a positive learning environment. She brings high-energy, technical expertise and much needed accountability and follow-up to our program.  Susan has had an immediate and tremendously positive effect on our program and our future leaders.

-Senior Leader

Susan and David teamed up to drive an unwelcome intervention with the leadership team of this one year old acquisition at the request of senior leadership. The engagement required significant investment of fortitude in addition to the usual time and creativity. Susan and David forged a powerful partnership to drive change and the impact is significant in that the leadership team has evolved significantly and the overall leader has been able to engage in personal change and thus helping ensuring ROI on the acquisition investment.

-Kathy O'Driscoll, HR General Manager, Microsoft

Thank you for using your skills and talents to lead the Human Service Advisory Board through the retreat last week. I greatly appreciate your ability to keep us on track, guide the conversation (yet let us identify our own priorities), plus provide foundation building education. I felt good about the process and the conversations that we were able to have. I feel that we were able to address some areas of concern and help us all to feel united in our purpose and direction. 

I appreciate your patience, kindness, and direct approach. It was a valuable experience and I thank you for your part in enabling that to happen. 

Thank you, Tim 

-Tim Meliah, MSW, Director, Catholic Charities Walla Walla

Susan...I am impressed by what you have accomplished and the guidance you have provided us through this process. Thumbs up from my end!...Thanks for all....... now we just have the final stretch!... But really, there is no final stretch as updates, reviews, making sure we are on track etc is just as important as the development of the plan itself. Once more thanks....

-Dr. Jim Lehmann, President, Walla Walla School Board of Directors

I have had the pleasure of working with Susan Newton, of Development Strategies Plus, in strategic planning efforts in my former position as Director of the Water & Environmental Center at WWCC and currently as Executive Director of Tri-State Steelheaders Fisheries Enhancement Group, a local nonprofit community-based conservation organization.  Susan was extremely helpful in designing and facilitating a recent retreat for our Board of Directors that was very successful in setting the stage for our organization to undertake a comprehensive long-term strategic planning initiative.  Her years of extensive experience working with a diverse range of clients, along with her integrity and candor adds great value to the services she provides.  I highly recommend Susan both as a professional and someone with a strong sense of commitment to serving our community.

 -Mike Bireley, Executive Director, Tri-State Steelheaders, Walla Walla, WA 

We engaged Susan to coach several leaders in recent years, and we have seen significant improvement in each of their skill levels. We will no doubt use her again in the future. I would definitely recommend that you consider utilizing her services for management coaching.

-Rand Wortman, President & CEO, Kadlec Health System

I have actually used Susan with several of my clients and as an executive coach for me personally. She is extraordinarily capable, refreshingly direct and very effective. And she seems to do her best work in the most trying of situations. I would never hesitate to utilize her services in any Organizational Development or HR capacity you might need (and I will certainly use her again in the future).

-Chad Blevins, President, Chad Blevins Financial

Development Strategies Plus certainly lives up to its name, thanks to the accomplished, professional hard work that Susan Newton brought to our newly minted non profit. With a strong knowledge base, insight and ability to connect with people, Susan efficiently drew in our board, staff, and stakeholders to achieve far more than anticipated. Susan’s work was extremely timely and responsible; I was amazed how she immersed herself in our organization with its disparate parts and from her effort came forth a productive relationship. It was a pleasure and honor to work with Susan, and her efforts will be a positive force in the organization for years to come.

- Holly T. Howard, Executive Director, Student Health Options, Walla Walla, WA

When Blue Mountain Action Council needed to update its strategic plan, we choose Development Strategies Plus. It was a pleasure working with Susan Newton, who is extremely knowledgeable about the world of nonprofit organizations. Susan understood the scope and importance of our work in the community, and skillfully incorporated ideas and goals from community leaders, our board of directors, management and line staff into a thoughtful and thorough plan that will provide us valuable guidance in the years to come. I highly recommend her.

- Steven M. Moss, CEO, Blue Mountain Action Council, Walla Walla, WA

Susan is a PHENOMENAL Organizational Development Director, HR Leader, mentor and coach. I got the great opportunity to work with Susan when she was a People & Organizational Capability Director at Microsoft and a short independent consulting project done for a local business. In the short year-and-a-half I've worked with Susan, I've learned more and grew more as an HR leader than with anyone else in my Career. Susan and I partnered together on an OD project with a Microsoft team. In short, the Microsoft team was hemorrhaging talent, morale was low, and a new leader recently joined the team. Plummeting productivity was crippling the organization and putting the product at risk. Together Susan and I contracted with the client to gather data from a cross-section of stakeholders. The results of the interviews helped prioritize issues that needed to be fixed. We were initially met with resistance. However, based on our research approach it was hard to argue with the data. Gradually attitudes changed and acceptance was gained for our recommendations. Attrition turned around dramatically, productivity improved, and the product was released on-time despite incredible pressures to slip. To this day the leaders of the Microsoft team credit this turn around to the artful & timely intervention and persistence. Susan was instrumental in this OD project and taught me a great deal along the way.

-Tobin Burgess, Venture Integration HR Manager, Microsoft

Susan – On behalf of the Workshop Presenter Subcommittee and the entire Convention Planning Team, I want to thank you for your willingness to present on Negotiation and Influencing at the AAUW State Convention. I heard glowing comments from attendees about your session as one of your attendees, I was tremendously impressed. You met our challenge of covering a complex array of material in a very short time frame and hit the ball out of the park! Great job.

- Deanna Drazan, Chair, Workshop Presenter Subcommittee

My sincere thanks for putting together the Sustainable Living Center Board retreat. The resources you have provided me with, and more importantly, your time, is an incredible gift to our organization. I think we are all more prepared for and excited about the road ahead. Again, thank you for your time and energy. You have made my start as Executive Director much easier and the path ahead for our organization more clear. Cheers to you!

- Jenna Bicknell, Executive Director, Sustainable Living Center

I wanted to tell you that you really made a big difference in our retreat and the work we were able to accomplish yesterday. I am very, very impressed with your abilities to manage and articulate a lot of information and am so appreciative of the time and effort you took to help our organization.

- Annette Bergevin, Bergevin-Lane Winery, Board Chair, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance

Development Strategies Plus has been the single most important factor in improving our company's performance. DSP has provided invaluable service in strategic organizational redesign and transformation as M-CARE attempts to lead the future of health care reform.

- Peter W. Roberts, President, M-CARE

Development Strategies Plus provided unsurpassed service in follow-up and feedback. In awe of our newfound challenges and commitments, we were grateful for the continued support and attention to detail that DSP provides. They appreciated our needs for timely, direct, and thorough communication on our team's progress and direction. The methodologies and exercises used for team building were both challenging and fun. Their honest, straightforward approach to problem solving on structural and work style issues made us comfortable and productive in our retreats.

- Judith P. Nold, Executive Vice President, Dobson McOmber

Over the past twenty years it has been my pleasure and honor to call on Susan's expertise for wide variety of organizational and personnel related developmental challenges. In every situation the results she delivered far surpassed my expectations.

She brings insight, empowerment, collaboration and challenge to achieving and exceeeding her clients' objectives. In each engagement she has had a very positive individual and/or organizational impact. Many of the individuals who have worked with Susan during engagements that I hired her to conduct later connect with her as a mentor, change agent, catalyst for change, or a coach and colleague.

Susan has worked with me and my leadership teams in the following areas: executive development, teambuilding, management training, one on one coaching, merger and acquistion integration and cultural development.

Susan is a trusted partner with demonstrated results across each of the Companies I have led. I will continue to rely on her and her team for my organizational development needs.

- Deborah Gage, Entrepreneur and CEO

As an entrepreneurial company, we faced many challenges as our business rapidly grew. Susan and her team put together several interventions that enabled our organization to better address our business needs through the changes in ownership structure we have gone through. She developed a change management process especially aimed at facilitating the needs and concerns of our organization. The results exceeded our expectations and have enabled us to better develop and retain our most promising and talented staff.

- Jay Levin, President, PPOM

I am very pleased with the sessions you led. This was certainly a far cry from our simple request of having you facilitate a meeting on leadership. Thanks again for getting involved enough to really understand what we’re trying to accomplish, and for getting to know each individual, making the sessions really meaningful. Everyone was impressed with the content, and — of course — your enthusiasm and presentation style. Thanks for getting us started on the right road toward leadership, feedback, and teamwork.

- Scott Bigbie, President, TRIAD ASSOCIATES Land Development Consultants

Words cannot describe how you have helped me. Through your efforts, I understand me better. It is amazing what you have done in such a short time. You have successfully ’opened a few doors in my head’. I am already practicing what you have taught me. I look forward to continuing the process. Thank you again for your guidance through this process — it really was enjoyable.

- Louis Lapiana, Sr Vice President, US Health and Life Insurance Company

From all accounts, your presentation was a big hit. You added value to the day — and people came away with far more than they had anticipated. Lots of eyes were opened. Thanks for your professionalism and creative approach to the session. I enjoyed working with you and will be anxious to see what grows from the many seeds you cast.

- Leonard J. Brzozowski, Chief Operating Officer, Chieftain Group, Inc.