Suzanne Mayo Frindt, a co-founder and principal of 2130 Partners, is an accomplished speaker and advisor on leadership development, women’s empowerment, and community-led development. As a Chair Emeritus for Vistage Worldwide and former Global CEO of The Hunger Project, she has extensive experience in executive leadership development.
Suzanne and her husband, Dwight Frindt, founded 2130 Partners over 30 years ago, inspired by their long walks on Southern California beaches discussing the impact they wanted to make in the world. Their company’s name, 2130 Partners, stems from Native American planning cycles that span seven generations or approximately 140 years. Starting in 1990, this time frame allowed them to consider the long-term impact of their work on future generations.
In addition to their work at 2130 Partners, the couple has been involved with The Hunger Project, a nonprofit focused on ending hunger by empowering women and promoting community-led development, for nearly 40 years. This organization aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to be achieved by 2030.
Suzanne’s work at 2130 Partners centers on coaching leaders, fostering collaborative leadership, and facilitating strategic planning. Her company’s methodology, Vision-Focused Leadership, emphasizes the importance of aligning everyone with a shared vision. This approach is applicable to both for-profit companies and nonprofits, and it resonates with the work of The Hunger Project.
Suzanne and Dwight also created Together Better Solve, a social impact project that incorporates collaborative leadership for changemakers worldwide. They aim to help leaders transition from traditional top-down management styles to more collaborative approaches, which they believe are essential for engaging younger generations and fostering sustainable development.
In her Vision-Focused Leadership methodology, Suzanne uses the term “yonder star” to represent an organization’s vision or mission. This concept serves as a shared vision for everyone in the organization to rally behind. Suzanne emphasizes that financial targets are not visions but outcomes of fulfilling a company’s core mission.
When a company lacks a clear vision, mission, or value statement, Suzanne and her team help create them. A well-defined yonder star enables individuals within the organization to focus on a common goal rather than interpersonal disagreements. This shared vision transforms colleagues into partners who collaborate to resolve issues and avoid polarized, binary thinking and problem-solving.
2130 Partners specializes in cultivating collaborative leadership within companies, offering a variety of services such as executive coaching, group coaching, vision strategy planning, workshops, and a social impact initiative called Together Better Solve. They have developed a unique decision-making methodology called Imagining an Action and have organized a leadership summit in Cancun, Mexico, to encourage growth in the field of collaborative leadership.
The duration of their engagement with clients depends on each organization’s needs and goals. Suzanne’s main objective is to help companies become self-sustaining. Some clients may require a decade of engagement, while others need only a year. These engagements typically involve intensive support in the early years, transitioning to less frequent check-ins as companies become more proficient in collaborative leadership.
Suzanne has also co-authored a book with Dwight titled “Accelerate: High Leverage Leadership for Today’s World.” They spent five years gathering the necessary information before writing the book in 2010. The book was created in response to requests for more in-depth knowledge about the concepts presented in their workshops. Although written over a decade ago, Suzanne believes the material remains relevant, as it focuses on the emerging field of collaborative leadership.
“Accelerate” is divided into three sections. The first 30 pages introduce readers to the methodology and principles underlying their work. The back section, called “Practical Applications,” offers recipes and guidelines for conducting collaborative conversations. The middle portion of the book contains chapters on various principles they recommend. The book is designed to be read non-linearly, allowing readers to select topics of particular interest.
Despite warnings that co-authoring a book with a spouse could be disastrous, Suzanne and Dwight, both MBA graduates with a passion for business and leadership, successfully completed the book and remained happily married. They do appear to do everything together, from starting a company to writing books and working on nonprofit projects. However, they typically have separate roles within their business, working with their own clients and conducting one-on-one coaching sessions. While Suzanne served as CEO of The Hunger Project, Dwight managed their leadership development business during her extensive travels.
The couple attributes their successful partnership to their shared vision for the world they wish to create for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren. Their vision statement revolves around influencing resources and resourcefulness to ensure everyone has the opportunity for a healthy and productive life.
Suzanne’s involvement with The Hunger Project stemmed from her desire to make a difference in the lives of women worldwide who face barriers and lack opportunities due to systemic repression, gender bias, and other issues. She emphasizes the importance of treating each person as an individual with unique strengths and challenges and empowering them to unlock their potential.
Suzanne and Dwight’s experiences with The Hunger Project have reinforced the importance of shifting mindsets and fostering collaborative leadership in communities worldwide. They believe that by recognizing and leveraging everyone’s individual strengths and abilities, people can unite to build a more equitable and just society.
Suzanne offers advice to women aspiring to leadership roles, entrepreneurship, or those seeking to take charge of their own experiences and learning. She stresses the importance of being constantly aware of one’s mindset and recognizing unhelpful inner voices that may hold them back, such as self-doubt or limiting beliefs.
She recommends finding a sounding board, be it a coach, friend, or another supportive person in their lives. Voicing thoughts out loud can help individuals recognize the groundlessness of some fears or doubts. Having someone who champions their dreams and ambitions and encourages them to be brave and courageous is invaluable.
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