Frontier Group Director Susan Rakov is an organizer who believes that big ideas, coupled with sustained effort by a strong team, can change the world. Her first job after graduating from Harvard/Radcliffe in 1983 was as a community organizer with MASSPIRG, working on campaigns for voter registration, to stop acid rain, and to clean up hazardous waste dumps. Having added an organizer’s core skills of recruitment, training and leadership development to her talents as a writer, editor and critical thinker, she turned toward the challenge of capacity building for the public interest movement, heading a national staff recruitment program for The Public Interest Network to identify and recruit more young people to careers as organizers. From 1989 to 1996 she was Executive Assistant to the Chair of The Public Interest Network, helping to develop campaigns and build membership and political power for social change organizations across the nation.
In 1996, having identified a need for policy development driven by public interest values, Susan began building a new team as the founding director of Frontier Group. Initially launched to conduct research and policy analysis during a 1996 California initiative for campaign finance reform, Frontier Group has transformed under Susan's leadership into a multi-issue think tank, injecting clear-eyed, well-informed, outside-the-Beltway perspective into public debate on a broad range of issues. Susan's current priorities include guiding Frontier Group's research and policy development work, cultivating new ideas for partnership with like-minded research, policy and advocacy organizations (both in and out of The Public Interest Network), and training analysts to think like organizers – and vice versa. Susan is based in Santa Barbara, California, where she lives with her husband and two children.