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MSU alumna helps people find their purpose

Susan Packard is a Michigan State University Honors College alumna, and she is homecoming grand marshal for 2019 at MSU, where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in advertising.

Susan is an entrepreneur who along with many talented people created popular TV channels like CNBC, HGTV and Food Network. The theme for MSU Homecoming 2019 is Spartans Inspire Success and highlights and recognizes the ways in which Spartans use their time, talents and experiences as tools to uplift and strengthen others.

Through her triumphs in media, written works and continued mentorship, Susan is a Spartan who truly exemplifies what it means to inspire success.

Credit Russ White | MSU Today
Susan Packard

“I love Michigan State, and I think that it offers just a wonderful opportunity for young adults to learn and grow,” says Packard. “It did for me.

“The early days of cable TV were engineers climbing poles. I did that too because I wanted to learn the technology end, and at that point technology was receivers and amplifiers and head ends. We're talking about big pieces of gear.

“I was a programmer, so I offered public relations, and I offered programming knowledge to engineers and cable operators. I wanted to understand their side as well as my side, so that's why I did that.

“Television has morphed into broadband and 500 channels and Netflix and everything looks very different. But storytelling is still the most important skill to have just like it was 20 years ago.

“The technology has changed dramatically, but the content itself hasn’t. If you are a good storyteller and you have a sense of what's going on out in your community and if you're intuitive enough to really be able to see what's going on and can capture that in video, you can be successful. You could have been successful 20 years ago. It's all the same process.

“The technology part of it is what's changed. And for the consumer that's great because you have so many more choices and you have so much more agility in being able to choose what it is that you want and when you want to watch it.”

Packard now speaks to and mentors individuals who are motivated to grow their potential. In 2015 she wrote New Rules of the Game, 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace. The book talks about 10 rules of gamesmanship.

“I had just left HGTV, and I'm a startup person. I like to build things. I wasn't sure what I was going to do next. A girlfriend of mine who had written business books suggested I consider writing a book about my career because it's kind of an interesting story. I hope it helps women navigate their workplace successfully. And I offer 10 strategies or tips for them to do that.”

Now her second book, Fully Human, Three Steps to Grow Your Emotional Fitness for Work, Leadership and Life, is out.

“There's a workplace skill called emotional intelligence. Technology has changed, behavioral health has changed, leadership has changed. I write about that.

“I found my purpose when I got into a leadership role where I really had the ability to impact not just the profit and loss statement but to lead with purpose. It's one thing to say, okay, I'm going to balance these numbers, but it's another thing to be able to offer meaning to the work that employees do and that's what I think and hope that I did when I was at HGTV. And then it becomes more than a job. Then it becomes a mission and that's when it gets really exciting.”


MSU Today airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870.

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