The Triad Business Journal recently recognized 40 local professionals under the age of 40 who have made an impact in their professional career as well as in their communities. We are proud of Junior League member Susanne Hall, who was one of the outstanding leaders recognized in the 2018 class.
In her nine years with the Junior League of Greensboro (JLG), Susanne has had roles with Hands on Help, ArtQuest, Leadership Development Assistance Chair, Leadership Development Chair, Recording Secretary on the Executive Board, Membership Advisor, and Donor Development. Here are some of Susanne’s insights, as she reflects on her recent recognition as well as her time in the JLG.
Congratulations on your award! Can you tell us more about it?
The Triad Business Journal gives a nice description of what the award truly means:
“The 40 honorees are accomplished leaders over age 21 and under 40 who are leaving an indelible mark not just in their workplaces but across the region. In addition to their professional achievements, they are active in many local nonprofits and civic causes, addressing issues ranging from education to poverty to social injustice to bolstering the quality of life in the Triad.”
What was your career path like? How did you achieve your current role?
When I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill, I was on the path to work in advertising and/or marketing. I had completed three internships in the industry and soon after graduation took a job with Carolina Ballet in marketing. A couple years into the job, I knew I wanted a change. At that time, my dad was planning for retirement and working on succession planning for my family’s manufacturing business, Wysong. That’s when my cousin and I were brought on board.
That seems like a big change. What was that transition like?
The business could not have been more different: I had gone from selling ballet tickets to selling capital manufacturing equipment, but the opportunity turned out to be one of the best I could ask for. I learned all the ins and outs of the company’s operations, financials, strategic planning, HR, IT, and many other areas. This led me to pursue my MBA at the Bryan School of Business in the evenings. My undergraduate education was in psychology and communications, so I needed a better business education base, and it certainly made a huge difference. Today, I am representing the fourth generation of leadership at Wysong, serving as Executive Vice President, and enjoying leading the company in new directions.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to make a big impact at an early stage in their career?
I have two primary pieces of advice: Never underestimate the importance of hard work and don’t let fear get in the way of your career or what you want. It is very easy to try to take shortcuts in your career, but hard work allows you to learn the lessons that will take you further in the long run. In addition, if you let fear stop you from taking steps to further your career you will only hold yourself back and regret it later.
Has your involvement with the JLG helped you develop as a leader?
I have grown a great deal thanks to my experience in the JLG. I think the biggest impact that being in the organization has had on my career came from chairing Leadership Development and organizing the 2014 Women’s Leadership Summit. Putting on an event of that size was very eye opening and improved a number of my skills that are relevant in my career, including strategic planning, public speaking, and financial management, to name a few. One of my favorite JLG memories is hearing Jenna Bush Hager speak at the 2014 Women’s Leadership Summit. It was the culmination of all the hard work that had gone into that amazing event. My work with the JLG has also helped me serve on the Greensboro History Museum Inc.’s Board of Trustees. I have used what I’ve learned from working on the JLG Board to help this organization and give back to my community.
Congratulations, Susanne! This is a huge honor and we know you have worked very hard to earn it!