Adam: First things first, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?
Susan: I’m an open book so I’ll answer any question you throw at me and I do my best to be extremely down to earth and approachable. One thing that people may not know is that I have a huge family. I am one of 14 children and now I have 54 nieces and nephews. I never forget a birthday so I’ve earned the title of favorite aunt!
Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Susan: One of my first setbacks as a leader was not bringing the right team member on board. I learned quickly that bringing the wrong person on board – whether that person was a team member or a franchisee – takes the team or event the entire company a step back. The sooner you can make decisions and part ways, the better off you are.
Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader? How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?
Susan: An effective leader empowers his or her team, they set goals, have a clear vision and know the value of the brand they are leading. They also need to have a vision for where their employees are going. People who are joining the workforce today are looking for a clear career path, and they need to know what opportunities they have. Along with setting forth a clear path, a good leader looks for ways to develop their people to ensure they stay on the path for growth.
As far as getting to the next level of leadership, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to always take initiative. Take every opportunity given to you, and create more opportunities. In a previous role, I was working in the marketing department and then started overseeing operations, development, training and more. Doing this not only showed my commitment to my job, but also helped me learn new things that have all benefited me in my role as President of TITLE Boxing Club. Seizing every opportunity will help every aspiring leader grow.
Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?
- Never deviate from your values and have a clear vision.
- Be kind and respect everyone. Being approachable, helping others, valuing every partnership you have will all lead to running a better business. You never know when you’ll need someone’s help in the future, or when the help you’ve provided to someone will change their life.
- Take care of yourself. This is more important today than ever before. Stay healthy. Work out in a way that works for you. Keep your stress level controlled. Meditate. Do things that make you happy – for me, that’s eating chocolate chip cookie dough!
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Susan: One of my mentors told me once “you’re the prize” meaning, you should never lower your standards and you should never compromise your values anything for anyone or any company. You are a prize for whatever company you work for. You need to value yourself. Don’t think you can’t do something. Don’t’ think you can’t achieve something. Think highly of yourself. Those are words I think everyone needs to hear.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Susan: The best quality a leader has it to pay it forward is to mentor someone: help someone in your industry or life, give someone an opportunity. If they have the passion and the drive, give them a chance. I’ve been given opportunities by leaders who saw potential in me and it changed my life. I pay it forward every chance I get by taking on and mentoring those who great passion and great attitude.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Susan: It’s only fitting as the President of a boxing franchise, but I love working out and staying active. Growing up in a large family with eight brothers, I was athletic and competitive. We were always playing team sports and that has certainly played a large role in my adult life. It’s all about winning as a team, not an individual.