You Gotta Believe has a strong internal network of relationships among our staff and Board members. In fact, many people on our team have been around since the beginning. As indicated in their personal statements, each member of our board and leadership team has a personal connection to our mission which informs their passion and commitment to the agency:
Susan Grundberg, MSW, MPA
Susan joined You Gotta Believe as the executive director May 1, 2013. She comes to us with nearly 25 years of experience in the major urban child welfare systems of Chicago and New York City. Between 2005 and 2009, she served as the Associate Commissioner for Child Welfare Programs in NYC, where she spent much of her time advocating for permanency and supportive services for older youth. For the past several years, she continued her commitment to youth and families through her work for the Mental Health Association of NYC. Along the way, she also became the mother of two of those young people—two amazing young men who had lived nearly their entire lives in the system. “Our family story is just one of many, but there are still far too many young people aging out alone. They deserve better. We must do better.”
Board of Directors
YGB Board President
“We’re moving You Gotta Believe to the next level. I’m honored to give my time, talents and treasures to the agency as Board President. I’ve been involved with other organizations, but here I see a different kind of results for my efforts. Things are getting done and the inspiration is contagious. You see good work and you become part of it- there’s nothing better than that.”
Diggi Thomson - Board Vice President
The Dot Connectors
After more than a decade at Unilever, Diggi heads his own marketing and strategy consulting firm, The Dot Connectors, building international brands including Axe, Johnnie Walker, Lipton, and Dove among others. He lends his marketing expertise to YGB as an ongoing consultant through the design and communications planning and execution of the Capital Campaign.
Former Chairperson Community Board 13
Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption
Aged out of Foster Care
In July 2013, Regina was appointed by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo as the Executive Director to the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption to probe systematic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections.
Prior to her current position, Regina served as Executive Director of Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response which investigated the response and preparation of New York’s power utility companies with respect to several major storms impacting the State including Hurricanes Sandy. The Commission issued two reports which identified options for restructuring the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA); put forth recommendations, that are now law, on strengthening the regulatory oversight of the NYS Public Service Commission;disclosed LIPA’s financial irregularities and lack of oversight and accountability; and provided policy recommendations on investment infrastructure, energy efficiency programs and consumer representation before the state’s utility regulatory body.
Social Worker & Therapist
Valerie Gurka comes with more than 20 years experience in financial services, marketing and management. She has extensive experience developing marketing and PR strategies, goal setting sessions, production services, web site support and operations leadership. She is a strong believer in the mission to find adoptive families for teens.
Chairperson Community Board 13
Child Welfare Professional
Founder and Special Advisor
“ Our child welfare system is predicated upon Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being. Well there is no Safety or Well-Being without Permanency for those youth discharged from the foster care system without the foundation of at least one lifetime parent who creates the safety net of family around a youth long after their years in foster care are over. The foundation of family that includes at least one unconditionally committed permanent parent who claims the youth as his or her own is where all the answers for every individual youth in foster care springboard from. We must never stop looking for that person or those persons who will make this parental commitment for any aging out youth we know up until, and perhaps even past, every young persons last day in foster care. Young Adults and teens need the same time every other youth in America has. Families with lifetime parents provide them with the time they need to both success in life and to have opportunities at failure until they can succeed in life. That is every child’s birthright and especially those emerging adults who come into our child welfare system because they needed to be protected as children.”