Suzanne Newman named president of The Country Friends

Suzanne Newman, president of The Country Friends
(Jody Pinchin)

Suzanne M. Newman has been elected president of The Country Friends, the 65-year-old nonprofit that has provided nearly $14 million to San Diego County-based charities with a special emphasis on women, children, the elderly, the military and those with disabilities. She succeeds Deborah Cross, the organization’s president for the past four years, who will continue to serve on The Country Friends Board of Directors as first vice president.

“I have known Suzanne for many years and I am so excited to work with her in her new role,” says Cross. “I know she will be an excellent leader of The Country Friends.”

Newman has been closely involved with The Country Friends for 20 years as an officer, board member, and co-chair of the Art of Fashion, the nonprofit’s signature fundraiser. She continues the legacy begun by her late mother, Jean, who served as past president, board member and longtime manager of The Country Friends Consignment Shop on El Tordo in Rancho Santa Fe.

“It is an honor to follow in my mother’s footsteps in service to The Country Friends,” says Newman. “I look forward to continuing to work with a wonderful board of directors and membership who are all so committed to helping San Diegans in need.”

The Country Friends also announced its 2019-2020 officers and board of directors. Officers include Deborah Cross, first vice president; Marci Cavanaugh, second vice president and chair of human care funding; Yvette Letourneau, third vice president and consignment manager; Janean Stripe, treasurer and chief financial officer; Trish Bugg, recording secretary. Directors include Events Manager Christine Byrne, Jean Waters, Erika Fetter, Becky LeBret, Jolene Davidson, Robyn Hudgens, Sage Billick, Mia Park, Andrea Naversen, Sharon Mauro, Maggie Bobileff, Laura White, Sharon Ferges, Elaine Becerra, Terri Chivetta, Chris Epstein, Rebecca Franks, Tamara Lafarga-Joseph, Kim Quinn, Valerie Parker, and JoLynn Shapiro.

Newman has spent more than four decades in the travel industry, currently serving as director of supplier relations-airlines with Irvine-based LUXE Travel Management and prior to that, as LUXE’s director of account development. Previously, she held positions at AcuFlight, Inc., Carlson Wagonlit Travel and American Airlines. Her awards include “The Order of the Golden Rose” from Carlson for helping to integrate companies involved in the largest travel management company acquisition to date. She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. Newman has served on several advisory and philanthropic boards.

For more information on The Country Friends, visit