CAMPBELL – Having spent most of her career dealing with angry and frustrated people, Susan Nichol understands the art of public relations better than most. “I’ve had a lot of experience working for telecom and cable companies, handling quality assurance and responding to customer complaints,” she says. “After doing that for as long as I have, you get pretty good at dealing with people without losing your cool.” To this day, Susan says the human element continues to be her favorite part of what she does. “I’ve always been interested in human behavior. I like to see what happens when you put something out there to the public. I’ll take note of what works, what doesn’t and how the whole thing could be improved.”
Originally from the East Coast, Susan took advantage of a lucrative voluntary layoff deal to move to California in 1996, where she had no trouble finding employment in the booming telecom industry. Eleven years later, however, a simple conversation would lead to her transition to an entirely new industry. “I was a member of a local networking group, which somebody from Cold Craft was also a part of,” she remembers. “At one of our meetings, we discussed what was happening at Cold Craft and I gave him some ideas. The next thing I knew, I was working there, too!”
Susan has spent the last 20-plus years working in the Bay Area, where she resides with her husband and two sons. She says that while she’s grown to appreciate the mild local climate, as an East Coast native, it initially took some adjustment. “Frankly, since I was accustomed to eastern weather, it was a bit uncomfortable for me not to see rain from March until November,” she laughs.
When Susan isn’t on the job, she likes to unwind by engaging in a variety of hobbies. “As a California resident, I’ve come to appreciate the fine art of wine tasting,” she says. “I also enjoy doing things with my hands, whether trying the newest recipe from Food Network or making a stained glass window.”
In regard to her professional success, Susan says that while honest self-assessment isn’t always easy, it’s a necessary step toward self-improvement. “It’s human nature to tweak the numbers to make things look better. My advice is to take the numbers, learn from them and work to improve your results over time. Unless you’re taking an honest look at yourself, you aren’t improving—you’re just getting better at fooling yourself.”