Vice President of State and
Local Government Relations
Susan Connelly is the Vice President of State and Local Government Relations for Darden Restaurants. Susan leads the Government Relations and Community Affairs teams which include government and environmental affairs, community affairs and the Darden Foundation.
Darden owns and operates more than 1,500 Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House restaurants in North America, employing 150,000 people and serving more than 320 million meals annually. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the fourth year in a row.
Susan brings more than a decade of related experience to her role at Darden. Most recently, she was Government Relations Manager for McDonald’s USA where she directed state and local advocacy for the Eastern United States. Prior to that, she was Director of State Affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, serving as their primary legislative and regulatory advocate in the Northeast. She also has worked for the Office of State Rep. David T. Donnelly, Chairman of the Massachusetts House Committee on the Judiciary. There, she managed a professional staff of 15, advised the Chairman on legislative initiatives, and researched and drafted testimony for committee hearings and floor debates.
Susan serves on the boards of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Foundation and the Enterprise Florida. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., and an MBA in Finance and Organizational Behavior from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.