Dr Sue Speaks is Dr Suzanne Morrison William, an educator, author and life coach. She is the owner of Dr Sue Speaks LLC which is a Leadership, Management and Empowerment organization. In 2020 she authored a book, BossLadyship: Color me a Bosslady which is currently in available on Amazon in Kindle and printed format. Dr. Morrison-Williams serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at City College in Florida. In this capacity, she is responsible for the development and deployment of curriculum, student persistence, student success, student satisfaction, regulatory compliance, accreditation, faculty development as well as interfacing with Career Services on student placement after graduation. She is also the Campus Director for MyCity Online which is the online division of City College. She has two degrees from FIU. A Bachelor’s in Communication (Public Relations) and a Master’s in Public Administration. In 2015, she earned an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University. In this capacity, she has also authored many articles in the field of education and is a state and national speaker on the topics of leadership and diversity and inclusion.
What inspired you to write a book? Did your vlog Dr Sue Speak play a role in writing the book?
As I discuss in the book, people have been telling me for years to take all the experience I have in education, coaching and mentorship and turn it into a book. I always declined because I didn’t feel I had the time. In December 2019, my then husband and I decided to end our 19 year marriage and I needed something to focus on. So I started writing a book about my life. After completing the first chapter, I decided to talk with some other women who had written books. Through their advice I changed the entire book to be one focused on women and mentorship and getting to leadership. This felt natural to me because it was the continuation of where my doctoral thesis had ended. My thesis was on mentorship and the African American woman and leadership attainment.
Tell us about the book BossLadyShip: Color Me a #BossLady?
The book is the culmination of my thesis. In my doctoral dissertation I discussed whether or not mentorship could help black women achieve leadership status in organizations. I ended the dissertation stating that the next logical step would be to create a blueprint for this process. The book is this blueprint.
Book Jacket Blurb
Women of color have always had to navigate a rocky path to #LevelUp to #LiveTheirBestLife; after all, the world is not designed for women of color to excel. BossLadyShip is a guide to help women-particularly women of color- to navigate a path to leadership and, thus, professional and/or entrepreneurial success. BossLadyShip takes women on the journey that Dr. Sue endured in order to become a leader within Corporate America and her own company. This is her how-to guide allowing other women to see the process they can use to replicate her success.
This book is designed to help women who are both seeking to take on leadership roles within organizations, as well as those wishing to start their own business (or grow their current business!), also accounting for a post-COVID-19 world, so as to allow these wonderful women to create their own empires and to always proudly wear their crowns.
What was the hardest part about writing the book?
Writing the book was very easy. In fact, I wrote it in less than a month. However, due to the pandemic, the book languished at the publishers as everyone grappled with the lockdown and what the new publishing business model looked like. It was then that I added two more chapters to the book, one on the pivot leaders and business needed to make post pandemic and the social upheaval that occurred in the summer of 2020. Writing about the racial inequality that split the world apart last summer was hard because it was no longer an academic discussion like I had done for my dissertation, this was now people marching in the streets for social justice.
Is there a comment you have received from a lady who read the book that stands out?
Yes, a girlfriend of mine who is white and from Jamaica was the first person I know who purchased the book. I had been working with her informally as her coach and had set her on a path to accomplish some things. She was also looking to retain me as a coach further down the road. She contacted me and told me that the book was inordinately helpful to her and she was using the strategies in the book to go after some roles in her organization that she would not normally consider, but that the strategies I gave her, made her realize she could. I loved this. Because while the book is focused on women of color because we have specific barriers that need to be overcome, the strategies can work for all women.
What is the next project you are working on?
- An Online course expanding on the book that women can take online. Some women like to read, other women like to be more proactive. The course will allow women to delve deeper into the book concepts
- Bossladyship – the Podcast
- Bossladyship Retreat – 2022
What are your 2 favorite books of all time?
- Chocolate for a Womans Soul
- The Secret
- The Four Agreements
Agreement 1: Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally.
Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions.
Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best
Seven-day, six-night, all-expense paid, my vacation destination is…A Mediterranean cruise.
My favorite guilty pleasure is … lying in bed and watching a great action movie on Netflix with good snacks.
Growing up my hero was…My Mom
On behalf of the readers of Jamaicans.com thanks for providing us with this interview. Do you have any closing thoughts for our readers?
Yes, this is March and International women’s month and I would love to see your readers and followers actively involved in promoting the growth of our girls and our women. Women are pivotal to the growth and advancement of our society and we should celebrate all things women and work to uplight and highlight women and their struggles and achievements.
What inspires you to write ?
I have written all of my life. I was first published in Jamaica at 9 years old. My mothers company had a monthly newsletter. I had written a poem which the editor loved and I was published then. I write constantly in my professional life and so writing comes easily to me. I have a blog on my website and I also write business articles for LinkedIn from time to time. If there is something that is broken, that needs to be fixed – that is what I’m usually inspired to write about.
How different will the second book be from your first book?
I would like to finish the first book I started writing. That book will be more personal and discuss me the woman and how I got to where I am today. I think that book will have more value once I have the first book doing well and have a podcast and group of persons interested in my personal journey. That book will speak about me as a daughter, mother, wife, ex-wife, entrepreneur and navigator through life having arrived at 50 and all the lessons learned.
You have been doing the media rounds and meeting different people in the media, entertainment and book industry. Apart from your interview with us (DWL), what has been a pinch yourself moment so far?
Who are your favorite authors?
I have no real favorites at this time. I find myself gravitating more towards female authors because their voices more accurately reflect where I am currently in life.
Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
Don’t be afraid. Just start typing and let it flow.
What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
I’m still waiting to hear from them. Smile
How long have you been writing?
All my life
How old were you when you were first published?
Where did the writing urge come from?
I’m not sure. It’s as much a part of me as the gap between my teeth.
Which do you enjoy most — writing for fiction or non-fiction?
I wrote a novel about 10 years ago during NaNoWriMo just to see if I could write a 60k book in a month. I did do it. It was fiction. I think I prefer writing in the non-fiction genre.
Where do you get your ideas from?
My life, my career, circumstances I see around me
How did you get published?
Through serendipity. I had spoken to other authors and realized they had used a hybrid publishing process. This seemed like a good idea, because I had professionals who would help me get the book formatted, published and out into the mainstream. I am part of a woman’s group on FB and within that group are women who are part of the publishing word. Through some happy coincidences, I connected with one of those women who then led me to Notebook Publishing, run by Hailey Paige out of London. She was starting a new branch, Onyx Publishing and thought my book would be a great fit. So here we are …
Where did you come up with the characters in your series?
Well, all the women discussed in my book are real. None are fictional. The book actually starts with the results of a survey and the comments made by these ladies are all incorporated into the book as well.
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