Susan Matteucci, Executive Director

While working for the Women’s Self-Employment Project in Chicago, Susan Matteucci, our founding Executive Director, organized the Full Circle Fund, a microlending initiative launched in partnership with Muhammed Yunus of the Grameen Bank. Her work helped her realize that while women participating in the Fund gained a powerful sense of community, very few became successful entrepreneurs, and most who participated were unable to generate sufficient income because they lacked adequate access to markets.

After moving to New Mexico, Susan continued to work on economic development projects for low-income women while looking beyond the microlending model as a strategy for ending poverty in the US. She observed that instead of a small business loan, what most women needed was a steady job that paid enough to support a family and help acquiring new skills. So, in 1994 she organized a sewing and handwork project in Albuquerque for low-income immigrant women that would shortly thereafter become Southwest Creations Collaborative.

Susan is the Advisory Board President of Breakthrough Santa Fe, a program that helps motivated students in grades 7-12 from underserved public schools be the first in their families to go to college. She also sits on Etsy’s newly created Manufacturing Advisory Board. Etsy, the peer-to-peer e-commerce website with over 43.9 million members and 1.2 million active shops, focuses on handmade items as well as unique factory-manufactured items.

Susan has a BS from Northwestern University and a Master of City Planning from MIT. 

Our success proves that a sustainable business can be driven by a social vision: provide well-paying jobs with low-cost childcare, invest in employee training and development, and advocate for social change.
— Susan Matteucci