Me? I had a successful 30-year career in B2B sales, marketing, and business development. It was fast paced and often grueling trek up the corporate ladder. Never did get to grab that CEO title, which I deserved. It was a great learning experience, and I met some ah-mazing human beings along the way. Many are still friends today. Eventually the stress and pressure took me out of the game in the fall of 2015. It cost me two titanium hips. But I left that world and have never looked back. It was a slow process, shedding my old life and coming to terms with how I survived the profit driven, male structured environment of corporate. What I learned was that I lost a part big part of myself and didn’t even realize it.
After a year of finding gigs as a host, coach, emcee and creating some fun videos for a client, a friend suggested I create a series of videos to build a brand. So, that’s what I did. Over the next 6 months, I scheduled 105 coffee chats to find business people who were brave enough to share their struggles and lessons learned. From there, we created a series called Sharing with Susan B. Guest shared their intimate stories with me in a relaxed, friendly and safe environment. We digitally produced 60 vulnerability pieces from those interviews.
The "Sharing with Susan B" series changed my life.
What started off as a brand building plan began to feel more like a social experiment. I learned that when you are brave enough to be vulnerable there is something magical that happens and trust is built.
While wrapping up my Sharing with Susan B my world took a dramatic and unexpected turn down a very dark road. My 5-year relationship suddenly ended without warning and I was left homeless, penniless and fighting for my survival, emotionally, mentally, and financially. I was hospitalized on March 11th, 2020, 2 days before Covid swept the world. And added another loop on my rollercoaster ride.
Trauma is a game changer. With the help of family and friends, I’ve had to navigate to the other side. No one recovers alone. This was the most vulnerable I have ever been, on so many levels.
I now say I am creating the 5.0 version of me, SusanB. Resilient, brave, confident, determined, compassionate, wise, open-minded, creative, inclusive, passionate, curious, and kind.
I started sharing my own vulnerability story recently. In Jan 2021 after seeing a touching post on FB, I was inspired to dip my toe in Vulnerability and crafted my own message for #BellLetsTalk a day that raises awareness and money for mental health research. Over the next few days and weeks I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, compassion and encouragement. It reminded once again how powerful vulnerability is.
My career in B2B marketing and sales taught me that success is in the relationships of trust you build with people. Vulnerability is powerful marketing.
People want to know how much you care not how much you know. They wonder, can I relate to you? Do I even like you? People do business with people they like. Make sense?
We all have a story. Sharing your story will be the most powerful marketing tool for your business. It may feel a little scary, I know, but trust me it will be the best thing you have ever done.
I will be here with you every step of the way. You’ve got this!