Nominated by Shannon Murphy

Encouraging, intentional, selfless are just a few words to describe Susan Klaus, a genuine La Jefa. Susan is the Founder and Executive Director of Agape Ranch, a local non-profit organization supporting foster families, foster children and youth, and other vulnerable youth in the Coastal Bend. Experiencing first-hand the lack of support foster parents were receiving in Corpus Christi, she saw a need and started Agape Ranch in 2014. Since then, it has grown into an organization with numerous programs tailored to support foster families, vulnerable children, and youth, as well as building a neighborhood where foster families and children will live together. Susan has demonstrated numerous La Jefa qualities in both her professional and personal life.

When I read Melina Gosa’s “Coastal Bend La Jefas” article in The Crossroads of the South Texas Newspaper, I immediately thought of Susan Gosa. She describes a true Jefa (a true BOSS): one who, “speaks kind words, encourages, cheers, uplifts, invites, shares, introduces, connects, and encourages other women to grow.”

As the Community Relations Coordinator for Agape Ranch and a friend of Susan for over 15 years, I have witnessed Susan exhibiting these qualities numerous times. Not only in her work relationships, but with her interactions at fundraising events, respite care training, and with foster families. She lifts up Agape Ranch staff members going through tough times. She is a good listener and encourages and prays with you. She wants to see the women on the team flourish and do the same for others. She holds the hands of foster moms having a rough week and provides a warm meal so they get a night off from cooking. Supporting women through actions and prayer is a special gift she freely gives.

Susan is intentional – an amazing quality she shares with others and has strong leadership skills. I have witnessed this each time she prepares a speech for the Agape Ranch annual fundraising gala. Though she is the first to tell you she dislikes speaking in public, she knows the importance of sharing the mission of Agape Ranch and she pushes past the anxiety. 

Finding a quiet place away from the office, she prays, waits, writes down her thoughts, feelings, and stories she knows people need to hear about the hard world of foster care. With God’s grace, a speech is born. She demonstrates this skill well and the Agape Ranch team has learned to do the same. Being intentional is a skill all women should learn to do.

Susan is incredibly selfless with her time. She has weekly check-in with her staff, spends time with grieving moms and makes meals for struggling foster parents. 

Her family provides respite care to give foster parents a much-needed break. All of this, while operating Agape Ranch and Agape Harbor, a foster and adoption placement agency she began in 2021, while also serving as a wife and mother to five children (three of whom are adopted).

It’s a busy life, but her selfless acts stem from her Christian heart and being the hands and feet of Jesus at every chance.

According to Gosa’s definition: “Jefas know that by giving other women the same respect and opportunities they need and want, all women can overcome together and make changes for a better community.”

Susan, as La Jefa, is making a positive difference in our community and is a positive influence on ALL women, through uplifting words, acting with intention, and selfless acts of kindness and service.

Several of her female friends are also directors of local non-profits and she supports their efforts by attending their events, meeting for lunch, or partnering with their organizations whenever possible. 

For Susan Klaus, it is not a competition. It is about letting “your light shine before others,” as the apostle Matthew tells us, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

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