Staff

Executive Director
Suzanne Meriden

Suzanne Meriden is the executive director of the Syrian American Council. In her role, Suzanne advocates the U.S. government to drive U.S.-Syria policy and support those on the ground in Syria, as well as works with members of the international community. Suzanne maintains near-constant communication with Syrians inside Syria to bring their stories to U.S. and international government representatives, as well as the general public.

In addition to her government and policy work, Suzanne sees one of her principal functions as connecting people to one another. She travels around the country, meeting with Syrian American communities nationwide, listening to them and their concerns, as well as updating the community on the Syrian American Council’s work and ongoing advocacy, and the situation on the ground. She believes it is her duty to instill in community members their responsibility for civic engagement.

Prior to her work at the Syrian American Council, Suzanne held multiple corporate operations management positions with reputable U.S. retail companies, but after the start of the Syrian Revolution, she left that career to work on the Syrian cause. She is fluent in Arabic, English, and French and near-fluent in Turkish. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from California State University.

Communications Director
Michelle R. Taylor

Michelle R. Taylor is the communications director of the Syrian American Council. In her role, she leads the communications efforts of the organization, working to bring awareness to the situation on the ground, as well as issues most impacting Syrians and Syrian Americans in the United States. Working directly with prominent members of the media, Michelle secures high profile news stories in influential media outlets. As a non-Syrian, she feels the greatest responsibility of her work is being trusted with Syrians’ stories. She also manages the Syrian American Council’s social media pages, and communicates directly with community members about grassroots efforts, action alerts, and other community issues and events

Michelle has been an essential part of the senior leadership team for the advocacy coalition #FreeSyria (formerly #StandWithAleppo), bringing global awareness to the Syrian crisis. She also helped spearhead the “Parcel of Love” campaign, utilizing social media to raise nearly $200,000 and deliver more than 2,000 baby boxes to displaced mothers and newborns in Idlib, Syria in 2017 and 2019.

Michelle’s public relations and communications experience spans organizations and companies from start-up to enterprise level. She holds a master’s degree in public communications and public relations from The University of Westminster in London and a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Marymount Manhattan College in New York.

Government Relations Officer
Chad Brand

Chad is government relations officer at SAC where he assists the government relations team in tracking political developments on Capitol Hill and engages in advocacy on U.S.-Syria policy with members of Congress and congressional committee staff. Chad has over two decades of experience monitoring Congress as Congressional Operations Manager for GalleryWatch, and covered and tracked political trends in Congress that addressed issues involving defense, homeland security and U.S. foreign policy as a staff writer for CQ Roll Call. He holds an M.A in International Affairs from American University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Hartwick College. 

Grassroots Advocacy Officer
Jenny Lindell

Jenny is the Grassroots Advocacy Officer of the Syrian American Council. She previously spent time with the Syrian American Council as an intern, focusing on government relations. In her role, she serves as a liaison between the grassroots community and the policy work in Washington D.C. She also assists in the management of the Syrian American Council's social media pages, webpage and communication channels. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA where she double majored in Political Science and Arabic and minored in Anthropology. Her interest and involvement in human rights and Syria began when she did research for the Human Rights Report as an intern in college.