We all have the same 24 hours in a day to devote to career and our personal lives. How we spend that time defines who we are and ultimately our potential to meet the goals we set for ourselves. Sometimes too much of our time is spent heads down, concerned about the task in front of us. We forget the value of networking with our colleagues and others who share our profession. Learning how someone else spends their 24 hours can help us re-think our priorities and make us a better person in the process.
I once worked with a management team that, to say it kindly, had difficulty working together as a real team. The General Manager struggled with the problem. He came to realize we knew little about each other beyond our day to day working relationships.
He decided to open things up. Each member of his management staff was scheduled to take a turn sharing a hobby or personal interest at the beginning of staff meetings.
The first meeting came and to everyone’s surprise there on the conference table was a two person kayak. It seems, unknown to everyone, the controller, an unassuming individual, was an avid outdoorsman.
We learned a lot about kayaking that day and a lot about each other. Communications improved. We each had a better appreciation of our colleagues as people. Better communication led to a higher trust and a better team effort.
It occurred to me recently that most CMA members may know little about the volunteer leaders who serve on the various project teams or the Board of Directors. It seems reasonable that the more members know about the caliber of people who volunteer for these roles, the more interested they will become in the efforts of the CMA. Hopefully this will attract even more outstanding people to volunteer and seek positions of leadership.
The choice of a person to highlight was easy. She is one of my personal favorites and is truly an inspiration to everyone who knows her.
Suzanne Koch CCE heads the credit and collections operation for Foster Farms. Foster Farms is multi-faceted producer of poultry products with approximately $1.5 Billion in sales. Suzanne is an active credit professional and a past CMA Board Chair. Her water runs much deeper than that however.
Among her professional credits are:
- · Past Chair of the National Poultry Processors Group based in Philadelphia
- Twice past Chair of the National Agra-Business Group based in Minneapolis
- A member of the National Dun and Bradstreet Advisory Group
- A member of the Credit Research Foundation
- A designated CCE holder and mentor to many credit professionals as they go through the CMA and NACM education and certification process.
- Currently on the NACM Board of Directors representing the Western Region
Suzanne and her husband Henning also own and operate a cattle and horse ranch in central California. She spends part of her 24 hours working horses and preparing for Rodeo competition. Yes, Suzanne is a champion barrel rider and roper. In fact Suzanne and her daughter Sherri Mell do team roping all over the US. They made the Women’s National Finals Rodeo in Ft. Worth a number of years running.
Suzanne is also a nationally known horse breeder. She is now in her sixth generation of breeding champion race horses. Two of her horses have won “Horse of the Year” honors and others chalked up track records.
Among her personal credits are:
- Certificate of Ability (COA) awarded in 2002 to “Dub’s Jewel” by the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA)
- Winner of many awards including hundreds of buckles, over 20 saddles, a mink stole and a new dually truck.
- Inducted into the Cal Western Appaloosa Hall of Fame in 2002
- Inducted into the 2003 Appaloosa Hall of Fame. This international organization is honoring Suzanne and Henning for their lifetime contribution.
- Raised trained and showed Appaloosa Hall of Fame stallion “Double or Nothin”, a National and International Champion.
- Awarded the “Whinney Award” for contribution to the horse world for a lifetime of breeding outstanding race horses. This award presented by the Thoroughbred Turf Writers Association is comparable to receiving an “Oscar” for lifetime achievement.
Another way of explaining how this amazing woman spends her 24 hours comes from an experience several years ago. I was the first to arrive at a Board meeting in Newport Beach early one Saturday morning. A few minutes later Suzanne entered the room and sat down next to me. “You look tired Suzanne.” “Well, I worked late last night then went right to a local rodeo competition. My horse slipped and we rolled on the ground. I may have broken a rib. I got home at 12:30 was up at 3:00 AM to drive from home to here. By the way, do you know where the coffee is?”
Suzanne’s example is important for two reasons. Are you having difficulty with someone at work, communication is not good, the team effort is just not there? Try understanding them as a person, the rest may come easier.
Secondly, Suzanne is one of the outstanding people you will encounter as a CMA volunteer. She is much more than a credit professional.
By the way, how do you spend your 24 hours?