September 25, 2014
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Pursuing the Dream: Seed CEO Shares the Leap of Faith that Led to Achieving Her Vision

Seed Strategy is proud to announce that CEO and President Susan Jones is featured in the premiere issue of Momentum, a digital magazine published by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Jones’ profile piece includes a video about taking Seed from vision to reality, a day-in-the-life photo essay and a Seed-created infographic on what it takes to win in innovation.

The launch issue also features fellow alumni Ashley Volbrecht, founder of Truckshop, and Entrepreneurship Professor Dr. Donald F. Kuratko, the Jack M. Gill Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship and the Executive and Academic Director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Read the full interview below, or click here to view the entire feature.

“So, in late 2001, I felt like I was hanging onto a rope or a bar and that when I let go, I was going to fall and it was going to be a huge way down–and I would crash. And, the crazy thing is that when I finally let go that day and resigned, I realized that the floor was 1 inch under my feet and I just landed.

I always had a dream as a little girl that I would run an advertising agency–just like I wanted to ride horses–to the best of my ability. I got to a point in my career where I was second in charge–I was the Executive Vice President and I started to believe there was a new way to do business. I knew that I had to make a change–that in order to fulfill my dream, I had to resign and start totally over. So, I took no clients–I just had an idea.

I get up very early–usually 5 or 5:30, and then I ride 2-3 horses… several times a week I actually have an instructor come and I learn. As a CEO or a leader of a company, rarely do you get so much coaching. You don’t have a teacher at a certain point in your career and I think it’s key that every morning, for several hours, I’m taught. I know what it’s like to be a student. I know how to break down a problem and try to sort through it, so I’m ready when I come to work to be in that mindset.

Seed Strategy is a growth acceleration firm–so we specialize in consumer insights and the creation of new ideas that will help companies grow their top line growth. And I believed that if you created a place where the best strategists and creatives came, that clients would follow. It just amazes me that the office is so different from the first farm office where we sit here today. It started–just me–one of the worst times–most people told me that I would fail and you have to work very, very hard–be determined and driven because it won’t come easy. So I always set big goals–dreams that I think are totally impossible and I could never achieve, and I am happy trying to strive to get to them.

Well, I love being around people and I love moving people and inspiring. I love having a bunch of creative people around and so I always set out to create an agency… not just running one. We grew one person at a time until the size we are today. I believed the vision would be 25 people and we overshot that about 3-4 years ago. I have moments that when I look back that are snapshots and one very vivid one–everybody is just laughing and the noise is deafening but it’s that happy noise, that happy chaos. I remember sitting back and just watching everybody’s happiness and I thought, “Gosh, I am going to make sure I never forget this feeling of watching all these people that I brought together who love what they do and love the people.” It doesn’t get any better than that. And so that’s what makes it feel successful… to create a place that I wanted to be. I couldn’t think of a place that I’d rather work at than Seed.”

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