NEA Women in Business: Sue McGowan

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Class of 2019 Women in Business Sue McGowan Director of Economic Development & CEO Paragould Chamber of Commerce, Paragould

Residence: Paragould
Education: Attended Greene County Tech and Arkansas State University
Professional background: McGowan’s career began in banking and real estate sectors.

What inspired you to pursue the career you are in? I volunteered in the community for many years. I wanted an opportunity to work for a community that continues to flourish.

What was your dream job as kid and why? I wanted to be a teacher because they are role models. They make a difference in people’s lives.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? Volunteering at a young age offers you a perspective of the community. Participate in community activities and leadership training.

What are words you would use to describe yourself? Dedicated and loyal.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? Everyday in Paragould is a fulfilling moment in my career, from the expansion and recruitment of business, to infrastructure improvements, the growing leadership programs and I’m proud of our workforce development. Paragould changes in a positive direction daily.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? Retirement in a few years.

What qualities do you feel are most important in a company leader? You have to believe in your company or organization. Treat others with respect. Dwell on the future; the past is behind you.

Do you feel like we’re getting closer to gender equality in the workplace? Yes.

What’s your favorite app at the moment? Banking.

Of all the mentors in your professional career, who has been the most influential and why? My father was my lifelong mentor. He would not have fit the description of a professional, but to be a successful professional you need his work ethic and determination.

How do you spend your time away from work — if there is such a thing? What are your hobbies? Spending time with my grandchildren, travel and do some gardening.

What’s the first thing you do at the office each morning? I check the calendar and review my to do list.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? I want to see my grandchildren graduate. I want to travel around the country and internationally. I want to white water raft down the Colorado River.