Trustee Transitions

​When outgoing chair of the Young Life Board of Trustees Susan Hutchison reflects on her experience in this vital role, she is struck by the vitality of the ministry, the commitment of those who serve and support our programs, and the quality and wisdom of the mission’s governing board. On the Young Life board since 2008 and chair since September 2013, Hutchison has seen the mission respond faithfully and fruitfully through challenging times.

“The recession hit just as we launched our Reaching a World of Kids initiative to double our global impact,” said Hutchison, “and instead of cutting back, we grew. Our supporters helped us move forward because we had an audacious vision for kids — people are not afraid when they see a big vision.”

Hutchison also points to the stability and strength of Young Life staff as an important reason for the mission’s sustained growth. Because the Young Life board is responsible for looking out ahead to ensure the long-term sustainability of the mission, Hutchison places a great deal of importance on long-term staff. “Through their experience, wisdom and commitment,” she said, “these people keep the mission strong and healthy.”

Hutchison also appreciates the wisdom and commitment of her fellow board members, especially when faced with tough decisions. These are accomplished, capable people who roll up their sleeves and work together to reach consensus and find solutions. Hutchison attributes the board’s great chemistry and effectiveness to an openness to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

John Brandon, Hutchison’s successor as board chair, has seen the same quality since joining the board in 2010. “There’s a desire to really bathe things in prayer,” said Brandon, “to listen to the Lord’s voice and to quickly follow His lead.”

Brandon also appreciates something else about his fellow board members: a common desire to see kids meet Christ and deep personal involvement with Young Life. “When you spend time with these folks, you see their genuine love for kids and staff and our work around the world,” said Brandon. “They’re busy hosting adult guests at camp or filling buses with kids … it’s amazing.” Many board members support Young Life not only in their home communities, but well beyond. Brandon has served on the committee for Young Life in the Former Soviet Union since 2001.

Looking forward to serving as board chair, Brandon says he starts with “humility and dependence on the Lord, who has been very gracious to this mission.” Brandon believes it is important that Young Life is faithful to its original consistent mission and focus. “I love that we are fundamentally the same mission that got started 75 years ago in Texas. We’re still meeting kids in their world, earning the right to be heard, doing great camping and discipleship. That was the call in the ’40s and it’s still the call.”

Joining Brandon, Hutchison and the rest of the Young Life board are two new members, Jody Dreyer and Clyde Lear.

Susan Hutchison

Involved with Young Life since high school (though she never got to go to camp), Susan Hutchison is a former television news anchor in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Seattle, Washington. She currently serves as chair of the Washington State Republican party and is also an adjunct professor in Seattle Pacific University’s MBA program.

John Brandon

Briefly introduced to Young Life in high school, Brandon, along with his wife, Nancy, became deeply involved when their children started attending club. He has spent his entire professional career in the tech industry, most recently serving as Vice President of International for Apple.

Jody Dreyer

A club kid in Columbus, Ohio, and a student leader during her college years at the University of Kentucky, Dreyer is a longtime fan and supporter of the mission. For the last five years, Dreyer has helped create and participates in a marketing advisory group that serves as a “think tank” for Young Life’s Communications and Marketing team. She also serves on the planning team for the 2016 Young Life Celebration. Dreyer worked at the Walt Disney Company for 30 years where she served as senior vice president of Marketing and senior vice president of Worldwide Outreach, among other roles. She and her husband, John, live in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Clyde Lear

Deeply involved with the mission in Missouri since the mid-1990s, Lear and his wife, Sue, helped start Young Life in Jefferson City where they live. The Lears also played a crucial role in the development of Young Life’s Clearwater Cove, serving as co-chairs of the Executive Campaign Committee. Lear co-founded Learfield Communications, a sports broadcasting network, and served as president and CEO, then chairman of the board until the sale of the company in 2011. The Lears have three adult children, Matt, Sarah and Andrew.​​