June 24, 2019
It’s one thing to discover and achieve your own definition of personal and professional success. It’s another thing entirely to leverage these accomplishments to inspire people on a mass scale.
This year’s 2019 homecoming theme, Spartans Inspire Success, highlights and recognizes the ways in which Spartans are using their education, talents and experiences as tools to uplift and strengthen others. With inspiration top-of-mind, we’re honored to welcome Susan Packard, ‘77 B.A. in advertising and Honors College member and ‘79 M.A. in advertising, as this year’s homecoming Grand Marshal.
The word “inspire” seems to be a common theme throughout Packard’s life. As co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive, Packard assisted in the creation of television networks that have become household names across the country, including CNBC, HGTV, Food Network and DIY Network. She continued to inspire real-life solutions as COO of HGTV, a national television network focused on sparking creativity for the home, garden and beyond that became one of the fastest growing television brands in history. Along with her team, Packard built HGTV to a market value of more than $14 billion.
Packard continues to inspire others through her writing and mentorship opportunities. Today, she writes, speaks and mentors individuals who are curious about their promise and motivated to grow their potential. For Packard, there is no singular definition of success; her goal is for individuals to discover and achieve their own definitions of success.
In 2008, Packard was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame. She has also received awards including the Women in Cable & Telecommunications Woman of the Year award, the YWCA Tribute to Women Award and the E.W. Scripps William R. Burleigh Award for Distinguished Community Service. In 2003, she received the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Alumni Award.
Packard was also admitted to the Committee of 200, a select group of global women executives dedicated to inspiring and supporting future women leaders in business. She was also the first woman to serve on the board of Churchill Downs, Inc. (owner of the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing properties).
In addition, Packard sought positions on boards as a way to share her experiences and spread inspiration. Packard served on the University of Tennessee’s College of Communication’s Board of Advisors, and served six years on the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Packard understands that few things are more inspirational than a good book. In 2015, she authored “New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace.” The book shares strategies for thriving in male-dominated industries that Packard learned first-hand when she first entered the cable television industry in her 20s.
Her second book, “Fully Human, 3 Steps to Grow Your Emotional Fitness for Work, Leadership, and Life,” discusses how readers can leverage emotional intelligence to propel personal fulfillment and success. Packard uses her publications as a knowledge-sharing opportunity to serve as a guiding light for those hoping to take on leadership positions in business.
More than anything, I believe we’re all here for some purpose and our most important work is to find it