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February 01, 2024
Step into the dynamic realm of transformation and empowerment as we introduce the remarkable Emily Tisch Sussman. Once a distinguished political strategist in DC, Emily has navigated the challenging terrain of career transition, evolving into a captivating media personality. Her journey unfolds through an award-winning podcast that not only celebrates the triumphs of women but also delves into the uncomfortable moments of their pivots—moments that have shaped Emily into a compelling storyteller and a compassionate interviewer.
Beyond the airwaves, Emily graces the illustrious world of Broadway as a Tony Award-winning producer, infusing her passion for storytelling into the very fabric of the arts. Her ability to traverse diverse professional landscapes showcases a versatility that knows no bounds, making her a standout figure in both media and entertainment.
However, Emily's influence extends far beyond the realms of glitz and glamour. As a dedicated philanthropist, she stands on the boards of numerous local organizations, tirelessly working to uplift underserved populations. From providing aid to food pantries to facilitating job skills training and childcare services, Emily's commitment to creating positive change in communities reflects a deep sense of responsibility.
Join us in unveiling the layers of Emily Tisch Sussman's inspiring journey—a woman who not only redefines success but also dedicates her time and energy to the betterment of society. Her podcast serves as a testament to the strength that comes with reinvention, and her philanthropic endeavors exemplify the true impact one person can have on the lives of others.
Emily Tisch Sussman—a luminary in media, a Tony Award-winner in Broadway, and a compassionate force for change. Walk with us as we explore the vibrant tapestry of her remarkable story.
Your career trajectory has involved a significant pivot from working as a political strategist in DC to hosting a podcast that champions women who have made successful pivots. What inspired this change, and how has it transformed your perspective on work and life?
To be honest, up until my pivot and even after I thought that politics was “it” for me. It was what I measured my success against and how I measured my value. And when I was at the peak of my career, I felt as if I had found that “success” and validation as the Vice President of Campaigns for the Center for American Progress. I worked on key strategies to resist the Trump Administration’s harmful policies and helped establish a Gun Violence Prevention Network. The work felt fulfilling and I was at the top of my game…and then I had three kids in just four years right at the start of the Trump presidency. I remember being in the studio for an early morning TV hit at 4:30am, trying to pump and then having to go to work afterwards all while dealing with the 24 hour news cycle that was coming out of Washington and I just thought - I can’t sustain this anymore. I wasn’t able to show up for both my family and my job in the way that I wanted, so I stepped away.
And make no mistake, it wasn’t easy. And there are still days when I wonder “what if” but those difficult moments are what my show She Pivots was born out of. I feel so lucky to be able to sit down with other incredible women to learn how their lives and perspectives have changed through their pivots.
Your podcast (She Pivots) features women who have successfully navigated career pivots. Can you recall a particularly inspiring story or pivotal moment from one of your podcast interviews that deeply resonated with you?
There are so many to choose from - I first think of Paula Neira a trans Navy Veteran who had to leave behind her love and admiration for the Navy to be her authentic self. Or even Dr. Edith Eger, a holocaust survivor whose incredible and heartbreaking story of resilience was almost untold as she hid her past and her traumas for the majority of her life. And of course Omi Bell who created Black Girl Ventures (BGV) after struggling to make ends meet for her and her kids. Now BGV hosts pitch competitions all over the world providing access to capital for Black/Brown women founders.
I absolutely love your podcast, She Pivots. You’ve had some amazing & inspiring guests like Vice President Kamala Harris, NY Gov. Kathy Hochul, Robin Arzon, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Brooke Shields to name just a few. If there is even anyone left, do you have any dream guests that you would love to have on the show?
We are lucky that the world is not shy of incredible women who have made inspiring pivots. I have to say that a dream guest of mine is Serena Williams, especially after her retirement and that incredible OpEd she wrote in the New York Times.
What advice would you give to women who are considering a significant career pivot, especially if they are also juggling family responsibilities?
I think my biggest piece of advice is to be realistic about your time and your bandwidth. Us moms have a lot on our plate so sometimes there will be days where you are able to get in an hour of work or research on your pivot and other days there will be no time. Give yourself grace and know that the road will unfold before you if you just keep taking steps - even if they are smaller steps than you had originally hoped.
In addition to your successful career as a leading political strategist and also as an award winning podcaster, you are also the producer of the Tony award winning Broadway show Shucked! The ultimate triple threat! Congratulations! Have you always loved theater? What’s your favorite show besides Shucked?
This may be the hardest question! I have to say & Juliet is really doing it for me this season. I took all three of my kids, including the three year old, and now we have the soundtrack on repeat. I love how the story and songs are both familiar and with a totally modern twist.
Can we expect any more Broadway shows from you?
Oh definitely. I am involved with How to Dance in Ohio which just opened on Broadway! It is a show about an adult center for people with Autism and their quest to put on their first dance. Autistic consultants were utilized in every aspect of the show’s creation, and the core 7 actors are all autistic as well. A first for Broadway. As part of being a co-producer for this show, I have made a gift for families with individuals with autism to be able to access tickets affordably.
Your successful career feels ripe for a collaboration. Do you have any dream brands that you’d love to collaborate with?
Well besides Worthy Threads I have to say that Slutty Vegan is a dream collaboration of mine. I’ve been vegetarian for most of my life plus who can resist the charm of our past She Pivots guest Pinky Cole??
I have a fashion collab coming up later this year, so stay tuned for news on that.
Your family is one of the nation’s most generous philanthropists. You have made such a difference in the lives of so many. What organizations are you most involved with? And why?
I have gotten very local, which is a pivot for me as well! I am on the local school board and supporting very local organizations that uplift our underserved population with services like food pantries, job skills training and childcare.
As a born and bred New Yorker, what are your favorite things about the city?
Walking! I am a big walker and it’s something I don’t get to do as much out in the suburbs.
What is your favorite part about living in the Hamptons year round? What are your favorite spots around your town?
The community out here is truly one of a kind. I feel so connected to everything, from the local toy store to the amazing restaurants to the karate class my kids have been taking for the past three years.
Wolffer Winery tasting room stays open year round for grown up get aways, but you can’t beat Buddah Berry frozen yogurt with the choose-your-own toppings.
Favorite purchase this year?
I have to say my (many) Marfa Stance coats.
Go-to baby gift?
Offers of pure, honest support to the mom. Acknowledging that it’s hard and it’s not all wonderful at the beginning. Continually checking in is the best thing that I can offer.
Looking forward to Jo Piazza’s new book, the Sicilian Inherritance!
Favorite follow on IG?
Favorite Worthy Threads piece?
Hands down my She Pivots purple tie-dye hoodie and joggers. They are my go to rainy day cozy outfit, Which you know because I sent you pictures in them all the time!
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