Susan Still Takes the Cake after 15 Years

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Susan Sanders
Jan 29, 2021 JJCA Fostering Creative Minds

She's the first smiling face you see when you enter JJCA's office, or the pleasant voice you hear if you call. (A voice, by the way, that was once a first soprano in concert choir and a national anthem soloist.)  Speaking of voices, Susan Sanders says the thing she remembers most about her first day on the job was how quiet it was.  Having come from a sales position as an AFLAC salesperson, finding her "inside voice" for this new, intensely focused environment took a minute.  Of course it didn't take long for Susan to discover that the intense "work hard" culture was balanced by a "play hard" side. While there are many JJCA traditions that help define the playful side, Susan says everything surrounding Christmas is the highlight for her, from the annual Christmas ornament contest, with its elaborate presentations (especially those winning the BS-worthy awards) to the tree in the lobby adorned with those ornaments. And who wouldn't like Christmas bonuses??

For 15 years, Susan has been an integral part of the glue that holds the JJCA team together. Susan found her way to JJCA by way of I-40 (born in Memphis, moved to Gallatin, college in Knoxville, then Nashville, Little Rock, Memphis, and back to Nashville) and through her connection to friend and colleague Julie Carpenter. It didn't hurt that she had a true love for architecture, or as it happens, an architectural student, who was her first love. Being in a designing environment just seems to fit Susan, and she particularly likes lending her hand to the design of marketing materials. Another helpful skill she brings from her sales experience is that of gatekeeper. Maybe it is some kind of karma, but she's really good at keeping those cold callers at bay. AFLAC agents, beware!

Those who have been around JJCA for any time know that lots of memories get shared in the staffeteria, where most of the team can be found in a "lunch and laugh" session on any given day. Here's an oft-shared memory that really takes the cake:  

Susan will be the first to admit she is no cook. So when she was asked to pick up a "flourless" cake for a co-worker's wedding shower, our beloved, detail-oriented Susan was stumped about whether she should ask the baker to remove all of the decorative flowers she found adorning the cake. What to do, what to do?? Upon lifting the cake and commenting to the baker about how heavy it was, he replied, "yes, that's because it is flourless."  Imagine the look of realization that must have come across Susan's face!

Those familiar with Susan might say she's an open book but here's a tidbit many may not know. Susan took a 6-month college sabbatical to be a tour director during the Knoxville World’s Fair, conducting tours of the deep South. She also says she got to meet Cary Grant when she worked as a hotel concierge, even receiving a $20 tip from him. That would be like an $80 tip in this century :)

Whether you know it or not, you won't be surprised to hear that Susan was voted "Most School Spirited" as a high school senior.

"Give me a "G-O G-I-R-L!"  

Congratulations on your 15th JJCA anniversary Susan.

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