Suzy ChisholmBy Gini Dietrich

One of the many things I love about the Spin Sucks Crazies is I get to talk with you—and build relationships—in several different arenas.

Many of you leave comments here, others message me on Twitter or Facebook, others call me (even though I never answer the phone), and others email me.

Suzy Chisholm is of the latter group…and every time I receive an email from her, I know it’s going to make my day.

But, because she lives in Switzerland, she’s always been that friend behind the computer screen. And then, one glorious day, she ran into Joe Thornley and he recorded a short interview with her for Inside PR…and she became a voice behind the computer screen.

Since then, I’ve carefully been following the work she does for Phillips in Zurich and have added a visit with her to my “must-do” list. I mean, she’s a communicator, she’s whip smart, and she lives in Zurich. You can’t really go wrong.

Without further ado, ladies and gents, Suzy Chisholm.

What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?

To honestly answer this question I have to say it wasn’t just one big mistake, but more an accumulation of small ones I made at the beginning of my career.  

Opportunities I didn’t grab or times I didn’t speak up or people I wanted to meet but was too shy to introduce myself when I had the chance. These were possibly game-changing moments but I didn’t take them when they came along. 

With age came wisdom, or rather a semblance of it,  and then I learnt not to ignore these windows of opportunity.  It was just a slow start.

What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?

I like people. I am not shy about talking to people.

What most people don’t know is that I only starting speaking at the age of four-and-a-half.  Before that there was just a lot of head nodding and pointing on my part, to my parents considerable concern.

I went to logo therapists, to child psychologists and pediatricians, none could explain my silence.  

It was with a new friend amongst piles of lego stones and Barbie dolls that I first participated in the world of the speaking and then with complete sentences. I entirely eliminated the one word trial and error phase of growth.  

For everyone without kids, this is not the normal path for speech development! It does once again prove however, not everything has to follow a set path to be on the right track. 

If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?

Absolutely not!  

For the simple reason, I can not possibly know everything I may want out of life right now.  Should I be so lucky to live many more years, I may have a completely different take on life then, then I do now.  

What a shame to not have the time left to explore those desires, grow more as a person and give back where possible.

What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?

This may seem rather banal, but for the most part communications people think of themselves as good at communicating. And for the most part they are.

More and more often, however, I am faced with communications professionals who choose not to communicate.  

If an email with a legitimate question is received, no answer is sent. If a message is left on voicemail with a request to call back, there is no return call.  

These may seem like basics —and they are!—but I like to think of us as ambassadors of our industry.  

I think we should take pride in what we do and how we do it. Part of that is adhering to Communications 101.

What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?

I have been catching up on some all time favorites this year: Spin Sucks (not looking for brownie points here, but I truly found this to be a most valuable read and it will indeed become an all-time favorite), The Conversation Company, and the one I want to mention, The Inner Game of Music by Timothy Gallwey.  

For the past five years, I have been diligently practicing my alt-sax, but there are a few speed-bumps I just don’t seem to overcome. Timothy provides amazingly clear theories and hands-on practices on how to surpass those stumbling blocks. It made me rethink my approach to playing and there were surprising tips and tricks I could use in my working environment when dealing with stress.  

For personal pleasure, I love all books written by Isabel Allende and I devoured her latest novel entitled Ripper this summer. It takes place in San Francisco and I just happened to be in the city whilst breezing through the book.  Reading about the Golden Gate bridge whilst standing on it puts a whole different meaning to the good reading experience. It is like watching 4D in the theaters. And although Ripper wasn’t one of her best novels, it was a fun read none-the-less.

Why Does Spin Suck?

Because it is unethical and harmful.  

Look at VW. They put a new meaning to the words “sustainability” and “corporate responsibility.”

Billions of dollars have been washed away, trust has dissipated, and company value built up over generations has just disappeared. They didn’t walk-the-talk making it not only detrimental for them, but for all other worthy companies who do uphold the ethics of honest communication.  

In essence, spinning leads someone to believe something which isn’t true and where is the benefit in that?

Where You Can Find Suzy Chisholm

Suzy works in a country that has three national languages. You’d think that would be a challenge to top all challenges, but through her work, she now has to communicate in three languages and figure out how to address both B2B and B2C audiences.

This is a challenge I think we can all relate to, particularly when we work with larger organizations (that or the should we sell direct and risk making our distributors mad conundrum).

If you want to stalk her, learn more about her, and communicate with her, find her on LinkedIn. You can also leave her a comment here and make me happy, too!

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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