We Have a Canyon Ranch Winner!

To many, the idea of becoming a mother and getting your MBA at the same time seems like a daunting task.

Not for Susannah Kim, winner of PINK’s “Courage to Do What You Love,” spa giveaway. She’s the winner of a week at the Canyon Ranch Life Enhancement Center. And, we couldn’t be more proud.

Despite opposition, Kim was determined to obtain her MBA from Pepperdine University.

Executive Director of Student Recruitment, Graziadio School of Business Management, at Pepperdine University, Paul Pinckley remembers the sentiments of the admissions board members, “Initially, we believed Susannah would have difficulty staying up to speed in the last stages of pregnancy and following the birth.”

That was a decade ago. But even then, taken aback by the antiquated admissions philosophy for such a reputable school, Kim felt the admissions board disregarded her ability to balance both school and taking care of her first newborn.

Fortunately, Kim had resources, including her OB-GYNs who were also pregnant while at medical school, and wrote letters of recommendation — confident that Kim could succeed in her endeavor. Kim outlined a “game plan” to overcome difficult situations should her child need help or care. She also detailed how she would make up the schoolwork if necessary.

Eventually the admissions board agreed and said Kim could proceed with her plan to attend business school.

“At my very first class I was welcomed by Professor Charles Mcpeak,” Kim says. “He let me know of the Board’s decision to let me stay in the program and dove right into Accounting 101.”

Not only did Kim work hard to meet her personal and school commitments, but she has also inspired other pregnant women to further their education. And she’s shifted the schools attitude about what pregnant women can accomplish.

Pinckley tells PINK, “After Susannah protested to continue with her education, the board was much more amenable to working with students during pregnancies.”

Since then, she’s been advising women on how going to school and raising a family is possible. “I really had to do well and contribute to class and come more prepared than others because I had a lot of expectation to live up to. I felt I met these goals and I am still in contact with a lot of my classmates.”

Today, she is a hardworking mother of three, who makes a point to stay active and healthy.

She runs six miles a day, followed by a meditation session to reboot and unwind. Additionally, she taps into the juicing trend to make sure her family gets the nutrition they need. She makes a special green juice with kale, spinach and kiwi while cooking dinner. Quinoa, microwavable oatmeal and organic soymilk are her favorite healthy go-to foods.

She prioritizes her life so that she is able to be with family while staying focused on her challenging career: Senior Brand Manager at Natrol, Inc.

“I am realistic in what I can accomplish. I am not afraid to say ‘no’ or to delegate at home,” she says. “To make the most of my time spent with my children everything is very organized in my house, sort of like an ‘oiled machine’ so that I am playing with my kids on the weekends instead of cleaning up the kitchen.”

“My career is very demanding, but I also stay very involved with my kids’ lives,” she adds.

She draws inspiration from Little PINK Book. “You inspire women to have both a family and career, as challenging as it may be. Although it is difficult at times, everyday is interesting and exciting for me.”

PINK congratulates Kim, winner of our Canyon Ranch Facebook photo contest, for daring to do what she knew was right and for being an inspiration to other women around the world.

PINK Minute Mentor: Find out why women investors expect more in this PINK Minute Mentor video.

Comment: Do you think it’s appropriate to ask a prospective student or employee if she’s pregnant before she gets the opportunity?

BONUS PINK Link: Blurred lines? Questions venture capitalists only ask women.

By Jessica Murrer

“I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live fearlessly.” Oprah Winfrey

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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