Susan A. Markham
Susan Markham is the Director of the Peace With Women Fellowship program at the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX).
Susan Markham is the Director of the Peace With Women Fellowship program at the
Halifax International Security Forum (HFX). HFX is dedicated to strengthening strategic
cooperation among democratic nations. HFX was founded in 2009 as part of the
German Marshall Fund of the United States and became an independent organization
Susan most recently served as a partner and co-founder of Smash Strategies, a
consulting firm that helps institutions achieve better results by focusing on women's
leadership and gender equality. With experience in over 50 countries, she is a strategic
leader who is appreciated for her energy, straight talk and insight, connecting
academics, activists, implementers and ideas across sectors.
Previously, she served at the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID) as the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. In
this position, she advised Agency leadership on gender policy issues, led cross-sectoral
program efforts in resilience, adolescent girls’ education and energy, and represented
the Agency to the White House and other departments, governments, civil society
organizations and private partners. She coordinated USAID efforts on the annual
reporting and update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based
Violence Globally and the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
From 2010 to 2014, Susan led the efforts of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to
increase women’s political participation around the world in 70 countries to be equal and
active partners in shaping and leading democratic societies. Specifically, she provided
technical support to NDI’s $10 million in stand-alone programs focused on engaging
women in legislatures, political parties and civil society as voters, activists, candidates
Susan worked earlier in her career in U.S. politics. At EMILY’s List, she ran the Political
Opportunity Program (POP) where she supervised a staff of eight working with the $2.5
million POP program that recruited, trained and supported women running for statewide,
legislative and local office. She also managed the Campaign Corps program that
brought young people into the political process to both engage them in elections and
help pro-choice, Democratic women candidates win. In the process, she helped other
organizations like Hopefund and the New Organizing Institute create similar programs
specifically focused on young people of color and the (then) new online tools.
Previously, she worked at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) as
Director of Senate Services, Participation 2000 as the Executive Director, and managed
and raised funds for federal and state campaigns in Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Arizona
Susan now works and lives in Washington, DC with her family and two dogs. She
earned a Master’s of Arts degree in Public Policy and Women’s Studies from George
Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International
Studies from the Ohio State University.