Children International Names Susana Eshleman New President and CEO


Kansas City, MO (May 8, 2014) Susana Eshleman has been named the new president and chief executive officer of Children International. She has been a member of Children International's board of directors since 2004 and shares the organization's passion of bringing real and lasting change to children living in poverty.

Eshleman grew up in Bahía Blanca, Argentina. At age 16, she received a scholarship to study in the United States. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration and management from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and holds a master's degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School, as well. Eshleman has a strong marketing background with 16 years of professional experience at Hallmark Cards, Inc. She led several teams that helped Hallmark improve their marketing strategies and drive positive change within the organization.

"Susana brings a wealth of experience acquired in her 16 years at Hallmark, in addition to having served on Children International's board of directors over the past 10 years. She has traveled to Children International's field locations multiple times, and she understands the importance of bringing hope to children in poverty," said Gordon Bailey, the Children International board chair. "The board considered other qualified candidates, but it became clear to us that Susana has the passion and the drive to lead the organization in achieving its mission in the years to come."

Susana Eshleman has been named the new president and CEO of Children International. Eshleman visited children and youth in Zambia in 2006.

Eshleman will officially begin her role as president and CEO of Children International on September 1, 2014, when current president and CEO Jim Cook retires after 29 years of service.

Cook was asked to join Children International's board of directors in 1985 and became the organization's executive vice president in 1987. He has served as the president since 1996. Under Cook's leadership, Children International has grown to provide support to more than 340,000 children, youth and their families who receive programs and services at more than 80 community centers around the world. The unique community centers are staffed with local doctors and dentists and have pharmacies, computer labs, libraries and gathering rooms. These safe places with caring adults and constructive activities make a world of difference in the impoverished communities where Children International works.

Cook confirmed that Children International is in good hands with Eshleman. "Children International has occupied my heart and soul for the majority of my adult life. And I could not step back now unless I was confident it was in good hands. Susana's passion for Children International and its mission will help the organization grow and develop in exciting new ways."

Eshleman looks forward to taking on her new role as the president and CEO of Children International. She said, "I am very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead an organization whose vision I feel so passionately about. I have looked deep into the eyes of hopeless, hurting children all over the world, and every time I meet one of these children, my resolve to help all of them grows. Their current reality is simply unacceptable, and I strongly believe that our programs have the power to change their future stories by empowering them to be positive agents of change in their communities. I am thrilled to get to be a part of making this happen!"

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Cook and Eshleman pose together with a group of youth during a trip to Colombia in 2010. Cook spends time with a group of children on one of his trips to Guatemala.

About Children International
Children International prepares children and youth to escape the traps of poverty by supporting their critical needs, building resilience and engaging them in transformative activities. Children International accomplishes this by providing crucial benefits and compassionate care through easily accessible, modern community centers. Children International’s presence, programs and supporters have a positive impact on children, youth, families and communities; provide protection; encourage self-sufficiency; and serve as catalysts for change.