Susan Connelly was named Senior Vice President, Communications and Corporate Affairs for Darden Restaurants in August 2015. She is responsible for corporate and brand communications, government relations and public policy, philanthropy, and the company’s community engagement strategy and sustainability initiatives.
Darden owns and operates more than 1,700 Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s restaurants in North America, employing more than 180,000 people and serving nearly 390 million guests annually.
Previously, Susan served as Vice President, Government Relations where she led the government relations, community affairs and sustainability functions for Darden. She was responsible for developing external engagement strategies that aligned with ongoing business objectives. Susan joined Darden in 2007 as Director, State and Local Government Relations.
Prior to joining Darden, Susan was Government Relations Manager for McDonald’s USA where she directed state and local advocacy for the Eastern United States. Susan also served as Director of State Affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, serving as their primary legislative and regulatory advocate in the Northeast.
Susan serves on the boards of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Suffolk University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., and earned an MBA from the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University in Boston, MA.