It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to our newest East Nasty of the Week (ENOW), Susi Willis! If you don’t know Susi, you need to get out more. She is a P2T coach, she is a Lasty Nasty & she is one of the warmest, most welcoming people I know. Let’s get to know Susi!
Susi was born in Cleveland, OH and raised in Gallipolis, OH. In high school, Susi ran her mouth, but not much else. Susi went to Ohio University for her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Guidance, and from there went directly to graduate school at THE Ohio State University where she completed her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work.
Susi moved to Nashville 20 years ago from Dallas, TX. She was relocated by DuPont to start a new job here as the EAP – Employee Assistance Counselor for employees and family members at DuPont sites in Tennessee.
Susi still works for DuPont today. Five years ago, she became a Transformational Facilitator and has been the program manager of the team for the last two years. Susi always pauses when people ask her what she does. She says, “It’s very much like what we do with the C25K participants. We coach the participants to help them discover a new possibility about themselves in relationship to running. With work, I coach leaders to have greater awareness of their selves, and this helps them to have access to become better people and better leaders inside the context of business. I love this job.”
Susi started running on a very dark and cold January 3, 2011. It was the 2011 East Nasty winter couch to 5k program led by Chuck Hargrove. She says that Kristine Mylls got her there and Chuck Hargrove kept her coming back.
Susi’s biggest accomplishment in running is completing her first 5k in March of 2011, and then completing the Princess Half in February of 2012, followed by Country Music Half two months later.
Kristine Mylls is the person who led Susi to East Nasty. Kristine shared info about the C25K program on Facebook. Susi was scared to death that she would not be able to do it physically. She also has a high travel job and wasn’t sure she would stick with it given her work schedule. But she did and it’s changed her life in so many ways.
Kristine, who nominated Susi for ENOW, had this to say, “Susi is a lot of things – world traveler, quilter, lover of literature and rabid NASCAR fan. She is also is BY FAR the most positive person I know and one of the most genuine. She’s the type of person who can sit down next to a stranger on a plane, and by the time the flight is over has made a new-life-long friend. (True story – it’s how we met 15 years ago and I DO NOT talk to people on planes.) Plus, I don’t think you can find a bigger fan of East Nasty. The world would be a better place if there were more people like Susi in it.”
Friendship, community and being part of a tribe is what Susi enjoys most about East Nasty. Susi says, “This group is changing lives and supporting the community. I don’t take this for granted and want to help create this experience for as many people as I can.”
Susi’s most memorable East Nasty experience involves The Nasty. She says, “With my crazy travel schedule, it took me two years to finally catch being home the same week as The Nasty. Getting my East Nasty sticker was a thrill. I had friends come out to run with me and Peggy Stanfield. Joy Howard slow drove the route to make sure we knew all the turns. It was great and I was happy to have Mark Miller give me the sticker.”
Susi’s many hobbies include: Read’em and Eat Book Group (loves to read; loves to cook); watching British Mysteries with her hubby, Mike; & Nascar. She is a diehard fan of Nascar driver Denny Hamlin. That’s why she has an 11 on the back of her car and personalized license plates. But above all else, Susi’s biggest hobby is talking with and meeting new people.
Susi’s friend Joy Howard had this to say, “It was hard coming up with just a few items – I could write a book on Susi! For Susi, East Nasty has been a life-changing experience and she’s the best East Nasty ambassador I know. I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to experience lots of “firsts” with her. Our first night of C25K training on Jan 3, 2011, our first 5K, our first half-marathon, and our first experience coaching a C25K group, just to name a few. Speaking of firsts, I watched Susi come up Mt. Nasty for the first time. I’m not sure that anyone has ever been more proud of that sticker than Susi! Susi embodies so many qualities that I admire. She inspires me and makes me want to be a better runner, a better friend, and a better person. It’s been years ago, but we went to lunch one gorgeous day in October and she started crying in the car because it was such a perfect fall day!!! We still laugh about it.”
Author’s note: If you’ve never talked to Susi, I highly recommend you do so. I don’t care if you’re an 8-minute mile. It’s worth slowing your roll for one week & running with Susi & the Lasty Nasties. These women are the heart of East Nasty and it is my personal belief that they are responsible for attracting and retaining a huge portion of our membership. Susi is the welcome wagon you didn’t even know we had.
Susi, thank you for everything you do for East Nasty. You’re a friend and you’re an inspiration. Welcome to the ENOW club!