Pivot, Pivot, Pivot – How Four Diamonds Changed Course in the Midst of a Pandemic

Four Diamonds mission is to conquer childhood cancer by assisting children and their families through superior care, comprehensive support and innovative research.  During this case study presentation Suzanne Graney, CFRE, Four Diamonds executive director, and Kelly Walker, APR, Four Diamonds communications director, will share how – in the wake of nearly 200 COVID-related event cancellations – they leveraged existing relationships, created and promoted a virtual event, engaged their audiences, and made money to boot!

Note: PRSA will recognize its Keystone Award recipients and incoming 2021 officer slate at the beginning of this program.

About the Presenters

  • Suzanne Graney, CFRE
  • Kelly Walker, APR

Suzanne Graney, CFRE

Suzanne Graney has adopted a motto for her life: to put Love Into Action. This motto influences everything she does. Whether working with a student, empowering a staff member, or engaging with an individual or corporate donor, her personal brand of “Heart and Smart” leadership shines through.

She brings a spirit of optimism and hope to her role as the Executive Director of Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital, enabling her to connect with and inspire a team of outstanding professionals who empower more than 100,000 youth and young adults in the fight to conquer childhood cancer.

Suzanne’s fundamental belief that “all people want to do something good in the world, but most simply don’t know how” guides her strategic approach to fundraising and social movement organizing.  She’s known for envisioning big dreams, and making them come to life. The results are hard to ignore. Under her leadership, Four Diamonds’ fundraising results leaped from $10 million to $18 million annually.

Much of that growth has been through Mini-THON®. Suzanne led her team to revamp the program’s fundraising strategy, quadrupling its number of participants, and increasing annual revenue by more than 700% (taking it from a $1 million to $7 million annual program).  Even more noteworthy: 2/3 of all of the money ever raised in Four Diamonds’ 48-year-history has happened under Suzanne’s watch.

Suzanne demonstrates sincere gratitude for the generosity of our community and our world of abundance, and has been known to say, “Out of the 7 billion people in the world, how did I get so lucky to have this role?”  The yellow brick road that led her to Four Diamonds included a degree from Penn State University, stints in public broadcasting, a US Congressional office, a variety of non-profits, and a 25-year volunteer commitment to youth leadership programs. She has been recognized with a variety of awards, including being named a Woman of Excellence and Executive Director Communicator of the Year.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Suzanne is a talented singer, a budding playwright, a “cat mom,” and an avid traveler who last year completed a quest to visit all 50 states before her 50th birthday.


Kelly Walker, APR, is the communications manager for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital. She leads the team’s efforts in raising the profile of the organization and connecting the community to Four Diamonds’ mission of conquering childhood cancer. Kelly is honored and humbled to share the inspiring stories of Four Diamonds families, care providers, researchers, supporters and volunteers – all working together to find a cure.

For the past 12 years, Kelly has developed and executed communications strategies to effectively engage audiences through media outreach, social media, storytelling, cause marketing, community outreach and coalition building. Prior to joining Four Diamonds, Kelly was an account director at Tierney, where she served as media contact for clients and secured placements in a variety of regional and national publications. Previously, she worked in public relations at Trinity Group in Harrisburg. She earned a B.A. in communications from The Pennsylvania State University, with minors in business and Spanish.

Kelly lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband Mike and two sons, Avery and Cameron.

Nov. 18, noon to 1 p.m. 


Non-Members: $25

Members: $20

Students: $10

Pivot, Pivot, Pivot - How Four Diamonds Changed Course in the Midst of a Pandemic