Susan Steffens loved her job in the events industry. As she watched the pandemic unfolding and events canceling at a rapid rate, one thing was clear to her – the entire industry was going to take a harsh hit.
Early in spring of 2020 Susan unexpectedly lost her job that she was deeply devoted to. Losing your job is emotionally draining and devastating, but to go through it in the pandemic environment of heightened uncertainty adds additional stressors to the mix.
Susan’s story has a happy ending. Not only did she bounce back, but she also elevated her career, her leadership skills – all while finding a community of women that supported her through the difficult transition.
Susan is our inspiration – and so, we’ve decided to sit down with her to find out how she managed to make the shift over the past fifteen months.
Hi Susan! Tell us a bit more about who you are and what you do.
I am a Mom to two boys, I am a wife and I have a deep love for family, friends, music, and wine! I work in the live events industry as a Sales Director. I have worked in this industry for about 25 years – I can’t believe it, wow! My past position involved booking concerts, family shows, film, and trade shows into arenas, amphitheaters, and buildings. I worked in the non-profit world for a few years as well, organizing fundraising events.
By far, the biggest professional challenge was being unexpectedly let go from a job that I loved and poured my heart and soul into.
I am now working back in the live events industry as it slowly ramps back up.
What is your take on networking and building relationships through community memberships?
I have always loved networking in the business world. Connection means everything to me on so many levels.
This is actually only the second time I have been involved with a community membership.
I have found being a member in WNORTH has been so rewarding and inspiring to connect with like-minded people and generate ideas and have meaningful or poignant conversations.
What is your experience with The Members’ Club at WNORTH?
An industry colleague told me about WNORTH a few years ago and she raved about the annual Whistler Conference.
During the pandemic, I was looking for connection and inspiration and it was important to me to connect with women specifically, so I decided to check out the first online conference (called Pivot). I found it inspiring, the speakers were so engaging and the range of topics was relatable and timely. I was hooked! I promptly signed up for an annual membership.
The advantages of the membership, especially during the pandemic and without a job, really helped me mentally by connecting with like-minded women. I felt like it was a safety net that provided me with inspiration and new ways to look at where I am on my path and how I want to define it going forward.
Tell us a bit about the connections you’ve made inside of the membership - do any of them stand out?
The connections inside the membership have been fantastic. Last winter, I was involved in the Leadership Mastermind Program with Deborah Stellingwerff as a facilitator.
We had such a wonderful group of talented, fun, honest, and supportive women, I was so excited for the weekly Zoom sessions and to explore where we were at individually and collectively.
Through these sessions, I decided I wanted to dig deeper and hired Deborah as a business and life coach and that has been a game-changer for me on both a personal and professional level over the last 6 months – I am truly grateful for the opportunity and connection!
What are some of the features of the membership that you enjoy the most?
Definitely, the Mastermind group is a wonderful and inspiring feature that I want to participate in again.
Also, having the ability to go back into the WNORTH online library and experience some of the sessions that I am not able to attend in real-time is beneficial.
I really appreciate the range of topics offered in the live sessions, I always leave them inspired.
Plus, Heather, the CEO, is a gem; I love her energy, insights, perspectives, and her commitment to providing consistently timely and relevant topics, as well as incredibly talented and inspiring presenters.
If you could give advice to yourself 5 years ago, what would it be?
Be gentle on yourself, trust your instincts and get yourself out of the weeds so you can lift up the women coming up behind you.