31 Days, 31 People
Day 17: SUSIE

Susie and Roy. Photo pulled from Susie’s Facebook album.

After a few years in the San Francisco Bay Area, I accepted a job at UNLV as a web designer. I was hired by Susie, and Susie was awesome.

We were a really small team, if I remember correctly, it was just Susie and me for a good while. The pace at UNLV was a welcome change for me, just coming out of the mad velocity of Silicon Valley and the “dot.com” boom. This new job brought me back to Las Vegas in May of 2001. I didn’t know how perfect moving back would be at the time but, unexpectedly, I lost my mom less than a year later and was never more grateful about being close to home.

When I really think about some of the things made Susie so awesome, here are two big ones that surface for me.

Susie encouraged bigger thinking and supported new ideas.
I’ve been really lucky a few times in my career to step into roles like the one at UNLV. There was a basic job description and some basic responsibilities that needed to be met, but it was loosely defined and really needed to be filled by someone who could run with it and grow it into something bigger. In order for something like that to work, two things are required.

  1. The person filling the role has to be that sort of personality. I like to think I was (am) exactly that.
  2. The person overseeing that role has to be open and supportive to actually allowing that person to grow things. Susie absolutely was (is).

Although she very much had comfort zones and liked a good degree of certainty with many things, when it came to the growth of our little team, or to me, she was absolutely the queen of rolling with it. I grew until I couldn’t find ways to grow anymore. She could always see and support the bigger picture. She also had a fly-under-the-radar sense of humor that surprised me a lot. We laughed a lot.

She played games.
The term “playing games” can mean all sorts of things, but I mean this literally. Susie was a gamer. And she loved her games and game consoles. She didn’t play games at work, we just talked about games at work. I loved this about her. Games are fun. Susie was fun! I think people who ‘still’ play games as adults somehow maintain this element of fun that a lot of us lose when we age. In my opinion, we cannot afford to lose this element. Fun and play are crucial components to having joy in your life and in your work. I learned that nowhere better than in working with Susie.

I loved my job at UNLV. It was a place where I got to do a lot of really awesome work, with a lot of really awesome people. I learned a ton, shared a ton and made friends with people I will always hold dear to my heart.

Thank you Susie for some really fantastic years. My memories of us working together are awesome and I couldn’t be more grateful that I got to work with you and learn from you.

READ DAY 18→

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