Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama is honoring Liz Sutton at its annual Women of Distinction event on Thursday, March 15, 2012 in Montgomery. Press Rep Cheyenne sat down with Mrs. Sutton recently to find out more about our honoree. For more information about the Women of Distinction event or to purchase tickets, click here.
Courage, confidence, character, warm, friendly and successful are a just a few of the words I would use to describe Liz Sutton, Girl Scout alumna and honoree for the Girl Scout Woman of Distinction 2012. It was a pleasure for me to interview her, and you can meet her too.
Press Rep Cheyenne: I wanted to start out saying that I am so honored to be meeting you since you did get woman of the year. Were you ever a girl scout?
Liz Sutton: Absolutely!
PRC: How many years?
Oh my goodness, now I realIy don't know but when I was at St. Bedes I was a Girl Scout. That is where I got to go camping. I was one of nine children so we could not spend the night with friends because there were just too many kids for mom and dad to keep up with. That's where I learned a lot of things and I loved to earn badges and I kept a spiral notebook. And I wrote down everything I learned and I still do that today. I still write down things and that is how I learn. I wrote it down and go back and read it and I tend to remember it. I attribute a lot of my success to my good foundation with Girl Scouts.
PRC: Do you think Girl Scouts played a role in your success?
LS: Absolutely, I think what they did is they opened my eyes to the world. My world consisted of my family life and school and church. So sewing and photography and mechanics and all the things that were outside of my world I was exposed to in Girl Scouts. So I often wonder how I would have learned about them. And then meeting other people and doing fun things together but also memorizing the Girl Scout promise... Just learning, you know, that God and our country is important and that serving other people is important. You learn at school. You learn at church. But to learn it in a social environment like that with your friends was great. And then I learned to sell. I was a great cookie sales person. And I love
PRC: You have worked with the small business resource center and chamber of commerce. What are the must-have skills for someone aspiring to start a small business?
LS: Great question...alright Cheyenne let's think. So what I think it takes to start a business is a great passion for whatever you want to do. You have to love it so much that when times get tough it doesn't matter. To me it is not work. I love what I do. I love to serve. I love to take care of the clients. And I love the travel industry. It's great to have a career you are passionate about. Cause if you are passionate, your clients will pick-up on that passion and they will be attracted to it. And you will enjoy it more. You'll serve them better. So I think passion is number one.
Number two is a very strong work ethic. Number three is to have a good business mind. Be good with dollars and cents. Be able to keep a budget. Be able to watch your pennies. And be able to think outside the box. Everything is not just here and neat and tidy. If it was then everybody would be doing it. So you've got to find your niche. [The Small Business Resource Center is] an excellent resource. How do you know about that?
PRC: Research. It was in your bio.
LS: Ah, very good, very impressive.
PRC: Thank you. What classes do you think kids taking now, that they probably don't like and don't see the use for, are going to need in the future? What do you say to those people who actually don't think there is a job out there that you can use it?
LS: Okay, you'll laugh at this first one...but typing. I though typing was a waste of time. But you have to understand that back then we didn't have the computers. And I just didn't understand why anybody would want to take a typing class. Two weeks after I graduated from Catholic High...my dad hired me in the travel business and I was typing flight schedules with flight numbers and departure times.
The other one is math. I love math. And math teaches you good logical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. And I think because of my math background I'm very creative when there's challenges in this office. When there is a problem, I love it. Most people shy away from it and don't want to get near it. I embrace it. You have to uncover all the facts. Then I have to put the pieces together. I like to help people think logically through it and come up with creative solutions.
PRC: I am so happy to hear you say math because right now I have an "A" in it and people say don't need it any more.
LS: You will never believe how good math is for you 'cause it gives you a lot of good logic.
PRC: What advice would you give to Girls Scouts and to girls in general that you think would help them in their life and what they want to succeed in?
That's a million dollar question. Okay, I would teach them so much. One is that you are a child of God and you are every bit as important as every other person in this world. When I first started in business it was a man's world and I was an inferior person to them. I was intimidated by them when I would go to talk to them. But I had to go meet them because I needed to get their business in order to be successful. And when I got married I realized my husband is a normal guy. These guys are probably normal too. And that was when I started realizing, I may be a woman in the South but I am every bit as professional and competent as they are. I may not have as many years' experience as they do but I am still valued and should be respected. I had to respect myself and who I was. Hold myself up high
PRC: Why do you think Girl Scouting was important to you?
I think it taught me so much about life. I learned so much being in a big family. But I think Girl Scouts opened the world to me and taught me there is so much more out there than I realized. And I learned about friendships and I learned about respecting adults. Which I learned from my parents but it was reinforced in Girl Scouts. And we would have speakers come and talk to us. And then I learned about arts and crafts. I didn't know anything about arts and crafts till then. And I started making dolls and little things. So I think that gave me some hobbies. It wasn't just about me or about my little world in this bubble. There's a great big, old world out there. So it was awesome.
PRC: I think your job shows you love this world.
LS: I do. I do. I love people and I love this world.
PRC: And I want to say thank you for allowing me to interview you.
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