Susan Hickam

Susan Hickam has been named the executive director of Lafayette House.

Susan Hickam has been named the executive director of Lafayette House, the nonprofit's board of directors announced Tuesday.

Hickam most recently served as the assistant director at Crisis Intervention Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She also has worked in the domestic violence field, has served as a sexual assault advocate, and has worked for the U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services Office as a supervisor, sentencing guidelines specialist and training coordinator.

In her new role, which began Monday, Hickam will provide leadership for Lafayette House operations, which include programs for victims of domestic or sexual violence and women's substance-use treatment.

"What I will bring, I hope, is some different perspectives," Hickam said in an interview with the Globe. "What I have noticed is this organization is strong; it is well founded. I am absolutely impressed with everything this organization can provide for our community. (The first few weeks will be) about learning about what Lafayette House does and looking at that information and (determining) what I can bring to advance this wonderful organization."

Hickam is a native of Webb City and a graduate of Missouri Southern State University's criminal justice program. As executive director, she succeeds Alison Malinowski Sunday, who has retired.

"We are confident that Susan brings the right mix of skills to lead Lafayette House forward in its mission," said Debi Koelkebeck, board president, in a statement. "Her commitment to effective and innovative services and her desire to provide compassionate and strong leadership make her an excellent choice for this position."

Lafayette House is a private nonprofit serving adults, children and families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or substance-use disorders. It serves 1,200 people each year from a seven-county area in Southwest Missouri.

"This is a topic that is very important to me, and to be able to serve this community is an absolute wonderful opportunity," Hickam said.

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