Susan McPherson is the kind of woman women want on their team — and we don’t blame them. She’s the founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focusing on the intersection between brands and social good, and currently is focused on investing in and advising women-led technology start-ups. She serves on the boards of several organizations focused on women’s well being and advancement, and was recently selected as a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador, named one of 40 Women to Watch Over 40, Fortune’s 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter, Elle Magazine’s Top 25 Women on Twitter and Fast Company’s 25 Smartest Women of Twitter.
It’s safe to say that when we talk about women’s advancement, Susan is truly leading the charge.
My first job ever was… Waitressing, which provided incredible insight as to how people behave, make choices, and treat their fellow citizens.
My proudest accomplishment is… A tie between travelling to Afghanistan in 2005 to help train women entrepreneurs for peace and visiting refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda with UNHCR in 2014 to better understand the harrowing world they face on a daily basis.
My boldest move to date was… Launching my business, McPherson Strategies, with no prior training as an entrepreneur.
I surprise people when I tell them… That I don’t have children and that I’m single.
The biggest misconception about Corporate Social Responsibility is… That it’s only for the big guys — Fortune 500, multi-national corporations. CSR can be baked into start-ups at the get go. You don’t need to have massive revenues to build “good” into your business.
My best advice for anyone that wants to follow in my footsteps is… Build and constantly nurture your network, not because you are trying to get ahead, but rather, because you are truly interested in what inspires and connects people. Doing so for many years truly made launching our consultancy feasible and successful.
My best advice from a mentor was… From my late father, stating: “Nothing is a prison sentence.” Meaning, you can take a risk without fear and always turn around.
My biggest setback was… When I lost my mom to a hotel fire on New Year’s Eve at the age of 20.
I overcame it by… Wish I could say that I overcame it. Her tragic loss devastated me and now looking back on what will be 30 years ago December 31, 2016, I can honestly say that I have overcame it by doing my best to continue the life she was living, aka always connecting and supporting others, helping meaningful causes and never burning bridges.
Work/life balance is… Absolutely loving the work I do. It actually often doesn’t feel like work.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I as a teenager had a date with a star of the film, Bad News Bears, and I ran 6 marathons (but before social media).
I stay inspired by… All the incredible friends I have in this world and the powerful work each are conducting, as well as my three brilliant nieces who are the voices for our future.
The future excites me because… There is always a new road to take and so many places left on this planet yet to visit.