Mary Susanne. Milestones, Obstacles and Roadblocks

posted June 17th, 2011 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Mary Susanne what major obstacles, difficulties and roadblocks she had faced over the course of her career and what she learned from them and where she turned for support when she faced them.


Mary Susanne said without a moment’s hesitation: “Male bank managers.” I asked her what she did when she faced one and she said: “Well in the particular situation I am thinking about, I wasn’t getting anywhere.  Until this time, I had always had women bank managers and this man wasn’t… he was not someone that was helpful.  I think I wanted a line of credit or something absolutely ridiculous. I went to the person who had backed me and told him what had happened and I was crying and furious and so he came with me to see the bank manager and he explained the situation and I got my line of credit.  It was terrible but other than that I didn’t yell and scream.  I didn’t write letters to editors and all that kind of stuff.  I just dealt with things in the most effective way I knew how and I knew what would get this guy by the jugular and that’s what I did.”


I asked Mary Susanne what milestones stand out when she looks back and what she learned from them. She said: “Well, I don’t know, there are many different things I think of as milestones. We haven’t even talked about my ladies lunches which I started to do before I started my business actually.  It’s hard to know what the milestones really were.  Starting my own business was a huge milestone.  My camp experience was a wonderful milestone.  Some of the Boards I’ve been on have been milestones because that’s a very important part of the connectedness I love.  The people I’ve met.  I now have this very close group of female friends and they are always very helpful when I have to make decisions about what I’m going to do next.”


“The other milestone for me would have been being at University College (“UC”) for university. I started at UC and was all by myself there. I didn’t know anyone and there were very few people like me who went to that college.  So it was a bit scary for me. I didn’t get into the Kappas my first year and I had mono.  I went to the first get together which was up at the Hart House Farm. I remember there were a couple of brothers who are both doctors now and a couple who are well known lawyers and they were at UC many years ahead of me and they were running all of the student activities. The dancing started and it was the hava nagilla and I felt completely out of my depth. I came home to my parents and I said I just don’t know about continuing at UC and then I got mono and I didn’t get into the Kappas and I was miserable.  So I transferred to Victoria College (‘Vic”). I thought it would be better but I once I was there, I thought it was horrible.  At Vic, you looked like an idiot if you sat alone whereas at UC they thought you were some intellectual giant if you sat by yourself.  I just didn’t like the whole thing at Vic and my mum had said they’re square, they always were square, but you do what you want. I could see where my mother was right; they were square.  I was two years younger than everyone else and I’d come from a girls’ school so I was socially awkward I guess you’d say.  Anyway, I went back to the Registrar at UC and I asked him if I could come back and he said it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. It was a milestone for me. I went back to UC and I graduated from there and that was good because UC was a very progressive place in the 1965-1968 period. There was a kind of intellectual fervour there and I got a lot of self-confidence. I made a lot of good friends who all attended Trinity College at UC. Many of them are good friends of mine today. Both colleges were bringing famous speakers in for ‘teach-ins.’  So that was good for me and by my fourth year, I was living at the Kappa House and so the combination of living at the Kappa House and being at UC, it was an interesting time and I loved it.”


What Strikes Me?

There is no shame in asking for help


It takes courage to change our minds


The importance of connections


Having the courage to act when it is critical to our happiness or success


What Strikes You?


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