President, Women's Research & Education Institute (WREI) & Chair, National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO)
In 1977, Susan Scanlan helped found the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and its policy arm, the Women’s Research & Education Institute (WREI). At that time, there were 18 women in the House of Representative and one woman in the Senate. Today, the Caucus has grown to 73 Con-gresswomen and 17 Senators—from 4 percent to 16.8 percent of Congress. Ms. Scanlan served as director of the Caucus for five years before becoming director of WREI's Congressional Fellowships on Women & Public Policy. Since 1980, this program has placed over 300 talented scholars on Capitol Hill to learn how public policy is really made. Alums of the program have gone on to leadership positions in business, law, academia, medicine, non-profit work, and lobbying. Alums of the program also serve in several state legislators and many hold positions of power in the legislative branch.
Ms. Scanlan began her career on Capitol Hill as legislative director for Rep. Charles Wilson, where she helped author legislation that admitted women to the U. S. military academies and established Women’s History Month in March. After 12 years with the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and WREI, she accepted a legislative liaison position with a private defense contracting firm, where she also handled training and development. For seven years, from 1991-1998, Ms. Scanlan pursued career opportunities in Asia with her husband, Jared Cameron. These included editing, teaching, and writing a monthly magazine column in Taiwan. She returned to the WREI staff in January 1999 and became president of the organization in 2000. Because of WREI’s one-of-a-kind Women in the Military project, Ms. Scanlan was named by President Bill Clinton to the Advisory Committee on Employment and Training for Veterans at the Department of Labor. In 2003, she received the Women’s Leadership Award from the International Women’s Democracy Center along with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
In November 2005, Ms. Scanlan became chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, a coalition of over 240 progressive women's groups representing more than 12 million American women. A frequent speaker on issues affecting women and their families, Ms. Scanlan has appeared on ABC, CNN, and PBS as well as in The Washington Post, New York Times, and other major media outlets to talk about healthcare, Title IX, and women in combat. During the recent uproar over sexist/racist remarks by Don Imus, she debated his defenders on television and radio and led the effort to have him fired.
Ms. Scanlan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Sweet Briar College and holds a master's degree in modern languages from Tulane University. She serves as lead director and chair of the governance committee on the board of the National Women’s History Museum, which has worked for 16 years to find a place on the National Mall to memorialize and preserve the contributions that American women have made to their country. She is co-chair of the Fannie and Stephen Kahn Charitable Foundation of Dallas, TX, a small, private philanthropic group that supports the arts, education, women’s and LGBTQ causes. And in April, she was elected to the Board of Directors of Sweet Briar College, her alma mater, where she’ll serve on the development and communications committees.