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Suteu steps down as LOACC director

She will remain working in Lake Oswego
by: Submitted, Brenda Suteu

Brenda Suteu has resigned as executive director of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

But she is only entering a new phase of her career working with senior adults.

Friday will be Suteu's last day on the job, and the occasion will be marked by a going-away party at 1 p.m. Parting has been sweet sorrow, with many center members dropping by to express their appreciation for Suteu's 2½ years of service and presenting such gifts as a dozen yellow roses.

'I've been going around with a lump in my throat all week,' Suteu said. 'It's very difficult to say goodbye. I'm getting spoiled rotten.'

But she felt a business opportunity for marketing, consulting and even publishing a new magazine intended to meet the needs of senior adults was too good to pass up.

'A couple of friends I've worked with in the past have always talked about having our own business,' Suteu said. 'Now we've come to the point where we think we can make it happen. It's timely for us to get together.

'I want to have my finger on the pulse of what the older generation needs and wants as they age. I want to see the trends I might address.'

The two friends are graphic artist Jane Larsen and marketing professional Linda Trenholm, and they were previously instrumental in helping Suteu start a successful business in Portland called Health Care Marketing Associates.

'My passion has always been working with older adults,' Suteu said. 'I think I got that from my grandmother, Myrtle Callahan, who was the wisest, warmest lady. She gave me a feeling about the value and wisdom of older generations that has stuck with me my whole life.'

That passion was fulfilled at the ACC, and Suteu said, 'I feel good about my work here.' Suteu says she inherited a program run by an experienced, dedicated and talented staff.

'This place was something special before I got here,' Suteu said. 'What I've brought is more visibility and getting the word out about the center and the wonderful programs that are here.'

One program that Suteu can truly call her own is the Jo Volm Legendary Cinnamon Rolls program. Soon after assuming the executive director's position she found out about Volm's popular rolls and turned them into a highly successful enterprise.

For a while it was almost a one-woman enterprise, as Suteu assumed a huge amount of work. But now it is operating smoothly under volunteers from the center's meals program.

The cinnamon roll program has done much more than provide the tastiest cinnamon rolls around.

'It has been a very visible program that has helped increase donations to our meals program,' Suteu said. 'I hope it continues.'

Although Suteu is departing from the ACC, she will remain highly active in Lake Oswego affairs, serving on boards for the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce and Lake Oswego Rotary.

Although the Friday party will end her ACC sojourn, Suteu says she will be taking much with her.

'The most memorable thing for me will be the volunteers,' she said. 'All of their spirit, energy, dedication and faithfulness. They're like a vein of gold that runs through the center, and it's precious.

'Without these kind, generous and selfless people, I could not have run the center.'

The city of Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Deptartment, under director Kim Gilmer, will conduct the search for Suteu's successor.