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Sandra Suran

Contributing Assistant Professor

Headshot of Sandra Suran

Contact Information

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301



The key to building organizational resilience in the face of today’s constant risks and challenges is not a complex, sophisticated tool. There is no “magic bullet.” The key is synthesis of infrastructure components (organization structures, processes, and systems) with team development factors (e.g. team development, communications, and transparency) while working on every growth/change initiative.


Sandra Suran, CPA, founded The Suran Group in 1990 to help organizations accomplish sustainable changes while building organizational strength, i.e. resilience. Projects include assistance with mergers; assessments and strategies to link departments for improved effectiveness; facilitating planning for ramp-up of operations and governance in organizations experiencing rapid growth/major changes; strategic and operations planning and implementation. Successfully accomplishing those changes requires linking traditional risk management specialties including process improvement, risk assessment, and financial/information analysis with other disciplines including planning, marketing, human resources, and systems integration.

Sandra has experience working with a variety of industries including high-technology, health care, government, construction, education, service-centered organizations, not-for-profit, manufacturing and distribution, and financial institutions.

Prior to founding The Suran Group, Sandra was founder and partner in charge of both the Audit and Consulting departments of one of Portland’s largest accounting and consulting firms, Suran & Company, CPAs, which merged in 1985 with KPMG Peat Marwick. She subsequently became an Audit and Consulting partner with KPMG, serving on the firm’s national Middle Market steering committee. Her respected understanding of business led the State of Oregon to hire Sandra for an 18 month project to develop a strategic plan for small business in Oregon and to lead the development and implementation of small business programs for the State as Oregon’s first Small Business Advocate. This included working directly with the Governor and the Economic Development Department; supervising the statewide Small Business Development Center Network; working with funding agencies; establishing a program of 26 state agency Business Assistance Officers to assess needs and develop process improvement programs; and designing and establishing a database and service hotline program.

Sandra served on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Portland Branch; as Vice-Chair of the San Francisco Advisory Council on Small Business and Agriculture; and as a member of the San Francisco Bank’s Audit Committee. She also served on the Board of the American Institute of CPAs where she chaired many technical committees and served on its Audit Committee. Additionally, Sandra served on the Board of Directors for Oregon Mutual Insurance Company and Chaired the Oregon FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) Plan Association’s Board of Directors.

Sandra founded or significantly restructured and chaired many local and national professional and civic organizations such as the Professional Services Council of Oregon, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Catholic Charities of Oregon, and the Tualatin Valley Economic Development Corporation (now the Westside Economic Alliance). She is a former trustee of the University of Portland, former Chair of St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center Advisory Board, and has been the recipient of many awards for excellence and leadership in business.


  • B.B.A, University of Portland

Areas of Instruction

Enterprise Risk Reduction for Sustainable Growth

Publications and Presentations

The DNA of the Resilient Organization – How One Collective Heartbeat Creates Continuous Competitive Advantage. Published 2014, Stargazer Publishing.

“How to Implement Change Effectively” - The Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance, Wiley Publications, January, 2002.“Professional Services – New Net Export” – The Legislative Review, AOI, September 1997“Change Or Die” – Tennessee CPA, Magazine, June 1996

“The Next Plateau”, The Business Journal, October 1995 “Thinking Like An Entrepreneur – To Accomplish Constant Change”, CPA Management Consultant, Summer 1995

“Business Survey of Oregon Professional Services Firms”, published June, 2000 by the Professional Services Coordinating Council of Oregon“Business Survey of Oregon Companies”, published 1993 by Oregon Business Research, a division of Oregon Business Media

“Achieve Organizational Resilience with a Collective Heartbeat” - Portland, OR, January 14, 2015

“Challenge to the CPA Profession” – Conference of National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Nashville, TN October 25, 2011

“Current Status and Future for Business – Economic Update” – Portland, Oregon, April 28, 2011

“How to Identify the Right Change Approach” - January 5, 2011“New Venture Management” - University of Portland, November 18, 2010

“Status of Today’s Economic Situation & Strategies for Succeeding in the Near Future” – North Portland Business Roundtable, November 9, 2010

“Critical Information & Approaches for Decision Making” - Building Your Nonprofit In Rural Oregon Conference, BIZ Oregon, John Day, OR May 21, 2010

“Gaining Strength…Preparing for the Future” – North Portland Entrepreneurs Forum, March 16, 2010

“Charting a Course to Master the Wave” – LCEDC Business Fair, Wahkiakum, WA, April 18, 2009

“Information is the Most Powerful Tool for Influencing Change” – Financial Executives Institute, Portland, OR May 15, 2003

“How to Accomplish Change in a Bureaucratic Environment” – Dean’s Institute (Schools of Dentistry of the US & Canada), Jackson Hole, WY, August 4, 2002

“The Enron Implosion – Auditors: Victims or Accomplices” – Enron Symposium, Oregon State University, April 15, 2002

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.