SheHeroes Episode 10: Susie Tompkins Buell

Susie Tompkins Buell was the founder and co-owner of the Esprit clothing company, which was known for its revolutionary fusion of corporate mission with social responsibility. The Esprit Foundation was created in 1990 and supported a variety of organizations in areas such as at-risk youth, AIDS awareness and direct care, women’s issues and the environment. When Susie Tompkins Buell left Esprit de Corp in 1996, she took the Foundation with her and eventually renamed it the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation. The Foundation retained the original mission and areas of funding, including a “women and girls lens”, which screened organizations for their inclusion of women and girls, not only as recipient of services but also for their representation on boards and staff.

Discussion Questions

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  1. Susie talks about struggling in school with her Attention Deficit Disorder and that she wasn't able to finish high school because she couldn't focus.  Isn't it interesting that a Shehero might not be a successful student, but became successful at a career?  How do you think that happened?  if you had to take a guess, how do you think she overcame these obstacles?
  2. What is challenging for you at school and what comes easy to you?
  3. Because Susie struggled in school with ADHD, she was labeled a "naughty" student.  Have you ever had to deal with being labeled unjustly?   Give an example of being treated unfairly.  What did you do when that happened?
  4. Susie talks a lot about fitting in and being popular.  Talk about how peer pressure affects you.  Do you agree with Susie that girls choose clothes to be popular?  Do you feel that you keep part of yourself hidden in order to fit in?
  5. Do you find yourself wanting to please others more than yourself?
  6. Susie says a couple of times in her video that "beauty comes from within."  What does that mean to you?  Do you agree?
  7. Why do you think that Susie didn't have role models when she was growing up?  Do you?  Who are they?

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