Suzy Leous ’86

Alumna, Alumni Board of Directors

Employer: American Society of Hematology

Title: Chief Policy Officer

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself? (For e.g. Where do you live? What do you do for a living? What are your favorite hobbies/activities outside of work?)
I grew up in Buffalo, New York but have lived in Arlington, Virginia since I graduated from Saint Michael’s College. My career has been focused on health policy and I have worked for several health organizations (nonprofit medical specialty societies), as well as on Capitol Hill and in the Federal Government. I’ve been married for 19 years and my husband and I love adventure travel – we’ve been to Patagonia, Antarctica, and many national parks in the US, including many in Alaska, where we have hiked, backpacked, kayaked, and “floated” down wild and scenic rivers.

Can you describe your Saint Michael’s College experience?
If I had to do it over again, I’d go to Saint Michael’s College! I made life-long friendships and felt part of a close-knit community. The faculty helped me to grow in so many ways; I very much appreciated the small class size, where I was not just a number and my opinion mattered (and was encouraged). The liberal arts education helped me to be a well-rounded individual. I also loved the physical environment – living on campus and looking at Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump every day or going down to Lake Champlain was such a treat. It gave me such an appreciation to live and learn in such a beautiful place.

What advice would you give to current female students?
As much as I absolutely loved my time at Saint Michael’s, I would suggest taking a semester away from the safe community of campus. When I left for my semester away in Washington, DC, I learned to step out of my comfort zone and become even more independent. I was challenged to meet new people and experience life outside of the classroom and in the real world. It opened my eyes to new possibilities and new cultures, and made me appreciate Saint Michael’s even more. Also, take advantage of the great guest lectures and activities on campus; be involved, be engaged. The opportunities are endless – have fun!

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Follow through on assignments and meet deadlines. Communicate by going to someone’s office or by picking up the phone (and not always emailing and texting!) Always be open to new opportunities and volunteer to help, even if it is outside your scope of work responsibilities. This will demonstrate versatility and flexibility, and afford an opportunity to meet others in your organization, including senior leadership. Be respectful of different opinions and seek different opinions before making decisions. Volunteer to serve on boards which will connect you to others outside of your organization; through these experiences, you never know where connections will lead both internally and externally.

What keeps you motivated and driven every day?
Working for an organization that has a mission in which I believe, and that at the end of the day, helps others. And, working with fun, smart, dedicated and motivated people. Knowing that I have a husband, family, and friends who love and support me in both work and play, also keeps me motivated and driven every day! Life is short – work hard; play hard!