SUSAN MCPHERSON: The Sun Can Rise Again, Even in Midlife


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Susan is a serial connector, passionate cause marketer, writer and corporate
responsibility expert. She serves on the boards of Bpeace and Earth 2 Hub, a London-based
innovative media platform for science and technology.

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  • My name’s Susan McPherson. So thrilled to be here. Before I start, I I have a question for you. How many of you feel lost?
  • I mean completely lost – career-wise where you’re basically crawling to get to the office in the morning since you know it will just suck when you arrive.
  • Two years ago, I found myself at a midlife cross-road and almost-crises. After 17-plus years working at a large commercial newswire service, I had come to the end of the professional road. Reaching a vice presidential position a few years earlier, I was left with zero opportunity, nearly no challenge and, not the least, a company-wide feeling of questionable growth ahead.
  • To be fair, the company was an incubator of many years of passion, growth, and exploration; it would not be true for me to describe things as all negative. But, clearly, I was stagnant and also felt trapped. Having been there for so many years, it was all I knew. The handcuffs had me strapped to the wall.
  • I simply couldn’t seem to embrace change and I was terrified to do the self-reflection necessary to make that change happen.
  • But why? Certainly, I had faced some insurmountable challenges throughout my 45 years. I was someone who hadsurvived losing a mom at 20 to a a tragic hotel fire.
  • I had recovered from a defeated marriage after 11 years by packing up, moving cross-country and planting myself in a new city where I knew no one (New York). I even learned to have sex again….
  • And then witnessing the two-year slow-death of my father, which was caused initially by a root canal infection.I was able to move on from all of these challenges and come out stronger.
  • For years, I had been an accomplished marketing professional. When not working, I poured myself into various causes (women's advancement and leadership, entrepreneurship, environmental programs), as well as always being a go-to person for those looking for new jobs, connections, nonprofits to support and even potential life partners.
  • What was holding me back? Why was I stuck? Why if I could have overcome all these past challenges was I unable to solve this particular puzzle?
  • There was absolutely no reason I couldn't grasp a future for myself. The question was how could I, at this time, take all the positive energy that was so easy for me to share with others, bottle it up and actually share it with myself – the person who needed it the most.
  • During this time, I became interested in the how business could be a force for GOOD .As I peeled back the layers, it became so very clear that this was where I belonged. A combination of cause, sustainability and business. WAS THERE A WAY I COULD CREATE A NEW ROLE FOR MYSELF IN THIS GROWING MARKET?AND THE LIGHTBULB WENT OFF! YES!
  • So with the amazing support from my friends, my partner, my love of connectivity and tech, I also had to harness a sense of fearlessness – to open the new doors that I never knew existed. Once I did that, I was able to form a new path and strategy.
  • Currently, I’m a SVP at Fenton, THE LEADING GLOBAL communications firm with a 30-year history of helping make positive change happen working with BUSINESS, NGOs, nonprofits, government and individuals. My role is to help corporations around the world develop their corporate responsibility platforms and market THE FIRM HERE IN THE US AND OVERSEAS.
  • Each day I'm blessed with working alongside some of the most passionate and brilliant thought-leaders, each making a difference.  Whether its helping to stop Fracking, saving a species from extinction, raising funds for famine victims in Africa, or shutting down puppy-mills, its never a dull-moment.
  • My thirst for creating innovation and developing new initiatives is now satisfied. I feel challenged and motivated and look forward to continuing the work we have ahead of us. I'm now paid to do what I'm passionate about. How rewarding is that? 
  • I highly suggest that you consider following your passions and don't continue with a job that is less than enriching or invigorating. We are blessed today with amazing tech resources that give us the opportunity to connect with almost anyone, anywhere and anytime.
  • Whether through the power of Twitter, Skype or Facebook, Reddit,or joining one or THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS groups on LinkedIn, we now have the ability to gather new information and insight in minutes and hours rather than days AND WEEKS. You have the power to connect with EVERYONE. What are you waiting for?
  • Change is possible, but what is the number one ingredient you need – Engagement. There are webcasts, webinars, podcasts, conferences and symposiums presented on every subject imaginable. The next time you wake up feeling lost and frustrated, remember this, anything is really possible.
  • The caveat is, if you really want it, you have to be open to self-reflection, to curiosity and to risk-taking.One thing is for sure – the sun will rise tomorrow, so how are you going to make change happen! Thank you and enjoy the rest of the evening!
  • SUSAN MCPHERSON: The Sun Can Rise Again, Even in Midlife

    1. 1. Susan McPHERSONThe Sun Can Rise Again, Even in Midlife@susanmcp1
    2. 2. • SusSus Susan McPherson @susanmcp1