Laura McAvoy and Sol Chooljian

Suzanne Chadwick: Building Relationships to Advance the Well-Being of our Community

Suzanne (Sue) Chadwick has been building relationships to advance the well-being of our community for more than 50 years. As a community banker, Sue helped local businesses and people achieve their financial goals. As a dedicated supporter of several local non-profit organizations, she has worked with like-minded individuals to improve health care, education, and economic development in Ventura County.

Sue started her career in financial services in 1972 at Bank of A. Levy in Oxnard, one of the largest locally owned banks at the time, and joined Santa Barbara Bank & Trust (SBB&T) as Senior Vice President in 1993. During her 20-year tenure at SBB&T, she helped the bank expand into the Ventura County market. In the 1980s, her supervisor offered a piece of advice that had a major impact on her career and approach to philanthropy. “He told me: ‘If you want to be a successful community banker, you better get out from behind your desk and get involved,’” she recalled. “I followed his advice and never looked back. I’ve built a lot of relationships over the years and it has been one of the most rewarding things that I’ve done in my life.”

Before long, Sue became involved with St. John’s Hospitals and St. John’s Healthcare Foundation. Her first touchpoint was attending a prestigious event hosted by “The Humanitarians,” a dedicated group of local physicians and business leaders who make significant contributions to St. John’s Healthcare Foundation to ensure high-quality health care in our community. She was elected member of the group in 1986 and later served on the Humanitarians’ steering committee for many years.

Over time, Sue’s involvement with St. John’s deepened as she built relationships with hospital leaders, physicians, nurses, board members, volunteers, and the Sisters of Mercy who worked at the hospitals in the 1990s and 2000s, in particular, Sr. Corita Burnham. At Sr. Corita’s request, Sue served on the Foundation Board from 2002 to 2016, including as Board Chair from 2005 to 2008, and on the Hospital Community Board from 2008 to 2015. In these capacities, she actively fundraised for and oversaw the completion of several major capital projects, including the Cath Lab recovery room, a digital mammography system, a CT scanner, and the Hiji Family Healing Garden at St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC).

Sue’s first gift to St. John’s was inspired by her late cousin Linda Dobson, who worked as a nurse in the outpatient surgery center at SJRMC while under- going treatment for breast and bone cancer in the early 1990s. Linda’s dedication to St. John’s as well as the support and care she received from her co-workers and the hospital led Sue to become a dedi- cated supporter of St. John’s award-winning cancer care program. When St. John’s created the Hiji Family Healing Garden in the early 2010s, Sue made a generous naming gift in Linda’s memory.

In addition to St. John’s, Sue supports California Lutheran University (CLU), Livingston Memorial Nurses Association, and Make-A-Wish. She has also served on the board of directors of United Way of Ventura County, CLU’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting, Ventura County Economic Development Association, Carnegie Art Museum, Museum of Ventura County, and Interface Children and Family Services, to name a few. Sue has received many recognitions for her commitment to the community, includ- ing the Oxnard Woman of the Year and the Woman of the Year for State Senate District 19 awards.

Sue’s commitment to advancing health care in Ventura County inspired her to join the St. John’s Frontier Society by making a planned gift to the Foundation. “St. John’s provides high quality health care, no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, and that’s important,” she declared. “By making a planned gift, I want to ensure that St. John’s Hospitals have the resources to meet the health care needs of future generations of residents.”


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