Smile Train CEO Honored at Islanders Game

Susannah Schaefer, a Huntington resident and CEO of Smile Train, was honored Tuesday night at a New York Islanders game.

She received the  Charles B. Wang Community Service Award and was presented with a silver hockey stick by Jon Ledecky, a co-owner of the NHL team.

Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, today announced their President and CEO, Susannah Schaefer, has been named the 2024 recipient of the Charles B. Wang Community Service Award. Schaefer is the second person to receive the honor, which will be presented during the New York Islanders game at UBS Arena on Tuesday, April 9.

The award is named after the Islanders late co-owner and recognizes individuals within the metropolitan New York area who have made a special or profound impact on the lives of individuals, families, or the community at large. Schaefer was selected for this prestigious award for her dedication and service to Smile Train, an organization Wang founded in 1999, and ensuring all children in need have access to safe, high-quality, and comprehensive cleft care.

“It is an honor to be chosen for this award, and even more so, to be recognized for following in the footsteps of Charles Wang, who was not only a leader in our community, but a mentor and role model to me personally,” said Schaefer. “I look forward to continuing to support Smile Train’s vision of a world where every cleft-affected person has access to the care they need to live a full and healthy life.”

This year marks Smile Train’s 25th anniversary. Schaefer, who joined Smile Train in 2013 after serving on the organization’s board for over a decade, previously worked for Wang in a number of capacities. She first served as his Special Assistant at Computer Associates (now CA Technologies), and following his retirement, became his Chief of Staff for his business and philanthropic interests.

Under Schaefer’s leadership, Smile Train has trained more than 40,000 medical professionals around the world in cleft care.

Smile Train has partnerships with some of the biggest names in healthcare, including Haleon and Dentsply Sirona, and likeminded NGOs, such as Kids Operating Room and Lifebox.

To date, Smile Train has supported more than 1.9 million free cleft surgeries in 90+ countries.

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