Mary Susanne. Accomplishments, Success and Significance

posted June 24th, 2011 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Mary Susanne what she considered her proudest accomplishments at work. She said: “Survival.  I mean from January ’86 and here we are today. And my clients like the one who has been with us since 1993 I think it was. She used to live in her own house.  She was starting to lose her sight but she was one of the ones that liked to do her banking, and had $60,000 in G-d knows how many financial institutions and then gradually she couldn’t do it anymore. Interest rates were coming down, so we consolidated her accounts and we worked hard for her.  Her lawyer sold her house and moved her into a retirement residence and we have done exceedingly well for her. I can tell you that if she had been at a bank, they would have looked at her age and put her in conservative investments, i.e. bonds or whatever and she would not have been able to live the way she’s been able to live.  So I think my proudest moments are what I do for people who might not have done so well had they gone the traditional route through the bank. I don’t manage the biggest money in the world.  I’m prepared to take a smaller amount and do really well with it and there are a lot of people in that bracket.  So I have some very, very wealthy clients but we also have some in-between clients. It’s the in-between clients I am really thrilled to have given the confidence to live the way they deserve to live and have the care they require as they age.”


I asked Mary Susanne what she considered to be her greatest success at work. She said:  “Well, just survival and being able to keep the show on the road through the lousy periods, having wonderful people like my assistant and my associate working with me for the time that I have.  My associate is doing a CFA and I was able to look after that for him and to send him to a course to do that. I run a decentralized operation. I don’t micro-manage, I don’t think. I have the loyalty of my staff and I appreciate the way they are with clients.  I’ve had so many compliments about how they are with clients.  I think it’s fantastic.  So those are things that make me really proud.  I don’t know what else to really say.”


I asked Mary Susanne what she considered her work of greatest significance. She said: “Well, aside from my job, the other work that I do is organize my “Ladies Luncheons”. The last one was at Corus. I’m very pleased with how much money I’ve raised for charities through my women’s lunches.  They’re a huge amount of work but they have brought people together. They have showcased women who might not have been showcased otherwise either on Boards or in management, and probably over the years I’ve raised at least a million dollars.  So I’m very proud of that and I’ve done that in Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.  It’s slowed down a bit because other women’s organizations have caught on but they never have the same flair that mine have frankly and I’m not doing it for profit. All these other women’s organizations that you read about, it’s for profit, which is fine, but that isn’t what mine’s all about and giving the money to charity that was the hook that I had.  So I’m very proud of that. I like to do four a year.  I’m very proud of my ability to showcase other women.  I’m not just out for myself, I really like the idea of the connectedness of it, and I want to promote women and one of the things that I like now that can happen is that women bring their daughters to these things.  So I think that’s something that I do that I am proud of doing.”


I asked Mary Susanne what’s next for her. She said: “More of the same I’d say.  I don’t see much change.  My dad had a heart attack in his office at 88½ and died a few weeks later.  I think that if my business was to be sold that that would be that but I don’t want it to be sold, I enjoy what I’m doing.  I think there are opportunities for the people here to increase their ownership or increase their participation, let’s put it that way, and that would make me very happy if, for instance, my associate with his CFA in hand started building a roster of clients. I think he’d be perfectly capable of doing it, but the idea of being taken over and going to work for somebody in a structure, you know, I’m not sure that’s for me.  It’s tough.  One of the attributes of my business is being free.  I mean it takes a lot of time but the telephone is around wherever I am.  The market goes up or down whether I’m here or not amazingly enough.  So I think I’ll just stay put, I don’t see any change.”


I asked Mary Susanne what she thought people would find most interesting about her story. She said: “Well, I think it’s good for people to remember, and particularly young people if that’s who’s going to be reading some of these things, that perseverance, starting at the bottom, starting as a filing clerk, somehow having tenacity, can get you where you want to go, and honesty, the old value systems. I think it’s an interesting story for kids to remember.  It’s not the stuff of history books, it’s real life, what we used to live through in terms of interest rates and the courage that it takes but if you have an idea to follow it and not to get your shirt in a knot if something doesn’t work out.  Think about how to work it out.  That’s one aspect and the other is to maintain connections because they are vitally important to whatever you’re going to do.  You just never know and that’s why the old boys’ network has been so successful.  They pump it to death and they play hockey and they do this and they do that and it’s so important for women, I think, to adopt that whether they have a little group that they play golf with or through their charitable endeavours.  I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to maintain connections.”


What Strikes Me?

Survival is a great success


Perseverance pays off


Having tenacity can get you where you want to go


Maintain your connections; they are vitally important no matter what you do


What Strikes You?


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