Prestigious Women Awards Honorees: Susie Levan
Susie Levan is a spiritual warrior, author, philanthropist, community leader, certified non-denominational pastoral counselor, hypnotherapist, teacher of meditation, life coach, and Reiki master/teacher. For 30+ years, she’s helped women live their best lives. She recently donated $40,000 to eight local non-profits from the sales of her book, “Getting To Forgiveness.”
Favorite quote: After my Near-Death Experience (NDE) in 1988, my entire life changed radically. Over the last 32 years I’ve come across so many quotes that are so powerful and speak to me, that I could fill a book, but this quote I hope speaks to us all as women.
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
Fun fact: I’m an obsessed meditator and knitter. For this holiday season, I made 16 blankets for grandkids, family, and friends.
How do you unwind after a long day of work? I’m extremely fortunate and grateful that I get to live near the water. I go outside to my back patio which faces the water, sit on a rocking chair under my cabana with my amazing fur baby, Blu (a blue merle mini poodle), and eat a strawberry pop and while he gets to lick his doggy ice cream. It’s heaven.
What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? I have faced many challenges in my 48-year career. I have to say that my biggest challenge was when in 1988, having been a victim of a crime, I had to resign (after 16 years) from my job, at a NYSE publicly traded male-dominated company. I started with the company in 1972 and, by 1984, had moved up the ladder and broken the glass ceiling to become the first female Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President in the company.
What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Thus far, after being a victim of a crime, and having a Near-Death Experience in 1988, going to school to become a certified pastoral counselor, hypnotherapist, teacher of meditation, life coach, reiki master—all of these have been life-changing and beyond monumental. However, my most current monumental moment has been writing my memoir, “Getting to Forgiveness—What a Near-Death Experience Can Teach Us About Loss, Resilience and Love,” with the foreword written by Gloria Estefan.
Who are your role models? Positive role models influence our actions and motivate us to strive to uncover our true potentials and overcome our weakness. Having them pushes us to make the most of our life. Role models are a must for self-improvement because we must have a standard to strive for or compare ourselves with.
My husband has been my biggest role model. He influences me by his example and behaviors every day! His exceptional ambition and determination, personal inner strength, perseverance, persistence, integrity, and self-control are only a few of the many traits I admire and try to emulate. He’s empathetic and compassionate. He inspires me to become the best version of myself. He’s the yang to my yin.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Wake up every morning with an optimistic, positive view of life. Time and your health are the most valuable things you have—treat them both wisely.
What advice would you give a young woman at the start of her career? What advice would you give a young woman at the start of her career? The advice I would give a young woman would be to believe and stay true to yourself.
• Do what you love.
• Dreams only remain dreams until you take action.
• Trust your instincts as they speak louder than words!
• Remember to respect yourself, be kind, patient, confident and authentic.
• Say yes to all opportunities that come your way—there’s no responsibility beneath you as everything you do will be a training toward who you become.
• Forgive and move on.
• Change your thinking and change your life.
• Give yourself a break—it’s okay to fail—that’s where experience and lessons happen.
• Every choice you make will not only impact your present, but your future.
• Build relationships that will last a lifetime.
• Be YOU!!!
How does being a woman has impacted your career? As a woman and ambitious serial entrepreneur, I can say that keeping all the work and life balls up in the air at the same time (personal responsibilities, kids, business deadlines, payroll, etc.) were a bit of a struggle, but I never felt disadvantaged because I was a woman. What I did learn as a woman is that it’s all about finding flexibility and balance without apologies and guilt. What I know for sure is that you can have it all, but not all at the same time.