Following God's Call Around the Globe: Alumna Susan Paduch

DBU Alumna Susan Paduch at graduation in the 1990s on the DBU campus in Dallas
"Dallas Baptist University has equipped me with a solid education, enhanced by individual attention from high-caliber professors. They taught me not only academic subjects but also essential interpersonal skills through their examples. The core values and ethics they instilled have been instrumental in building my leadership skills, contributing significantly to my career success and personal development." — Susan Paduch

Susan Paduch was born in Seoul, South Korea. She lived in Korea until she was a third grader when her family relocated to Tehran, Iran, due to her father's job at Iran Airlines. Susan and her family lived in Iran for three years, and she has fond memories of her time there. She enjoyed the beautiful city and the welcoming people. However, the start of the Iranian revolution cut their time short. After the fall of the Shah's regime, Susan's parents made the bold decision to move to the United States instead of returning to South Korea. In October 1979, Susan and her family settled in Richardson, TX, and the DFW area has been her home ever since. Susan entered the sixth grade without knowing any English, but she quickly acclimated to American life and learned the language.

Throughout her frequent transitions and relocations in childhood, Susan was blessed to be raised in a Christian household. Her family on her father's side were early Korean Christians, dating back to the late 1800s when the first Protestant missionaries arrived in the country. Susan accepted Christ and was baptized at 13 at New Song Church in Carrollton, Texas, during a summer camp, and since then, she has devoted her life to following the call He has for her.

Tracy Paduch, Susan Paduch, Fred Ghali '89

The door to DBU was opened for Susan by a scholarship granted with the help of her pastor at New Song Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. This blessing allowed Susan to begin her freshman year on University Hill during the fall of 1986. Professor Donald Willis was Susan's marketing professor and academic advisor, and he impacted Susan significantly and determined the course of her professional career. "Professor Willis' marketing class was a turning point for me, guiding me to choose marketing as my major. Professor Willis not only sparked my interest in marketing but also profoundly influenced my career path, laying a strong foundation for my professional journey. His insights were instrumental in shaping my future."

When Susan was a student, DBU Greek Life did not exist yet, but she was a member of the initial grassroots club called Chi Kappa Gamma, which later became the sorority Kappa Gamma. "This group was instrumental in creating a close-knit community that fostered a sense of sisterhood among the women on campus, which made our college experience even more memorable and enriching." Susan shared many fond memories of times spent with her friends goofing around together, worshiping, and growing closer to the Lord with one another. Still, the memory that will always stick with her is watching a baseball player walk into her Monday morning history class. "I noticed him because he was cute. And this guy, 30 years later, became my husband!"

Dorm Life at 2:00 a.m. Sophomore year: middle row: Traci Ivy Richards '91, Angie Cope Brown, Kristina Castro Calixto '90, Lisa Kokel Morgan '90, Susan Park Paduch '90

Susan graduated from DBU with a B.B.A. in Marketing in 1991 and an M.B.A. in International Business in 1996. Right out of college, she landed a sales and marketing coordinator job at a private-label cosmetics company, eventually leading to an opportunity at her dream company, Mary Kay Cosmetics. Susan held several positions at Mary Kay, but one of her highlights was serving as a Global Brand Manager, where she spearheaded the development of a flagship skincare brand, Mary Kay TimeWise. She collaborated with Research and Development, Creative Services, Packaging Design, and Manufacturing during this project to ensure a seamless development process.

Another highlight of Susan's career is being a Sales Manager for the Asia Pacific region. During her time in this role, she helped expand the region's sales from $200 million to over $2 billion. She had the extraordinary opportunity to travel 70% of the year to help open new markets in Hong Kong, Australia, China, India, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Phillippines, Singapore, and Taiwan. "Developing integrated sales and marketing strategies and leadership programs was truly a team effort. I'm so proud of the impact we made together."

Susan worked at Mary Kay for over 20 years and felt called to early retirement because of a conversation with her dad where he said, "Since you lived the first half of your life working for yourself, you need to live the second half giving back to the Lord by serving." Susan's father retired when he turned 60 and served as a full-time missionary in Guatemala until he was 75. At 85, he still helps organize and travels on mission trips to Guatemala. "I was inspired by his dedication," Susan shared, "So after my early retirement from the corporate world, I started my marketing agency, Think Savvy Group, where we provide business consulting and marketing services. I love that I can apply my 30+ years of corporate experience to help entrepreneurs and small companies implement some of the best procedures that large global companies use to succeed." Susan has also taken on a few pro-bono clients to give back to the community. She loves seeing small businesses thrive and is thankful for the opportunity to put her industry expertise to good use.

A recent image of Tracy and Susan Paduch

As Susan reflects on her life thus far, she thanks God for guiding her every step of the way. "From starting school as an ESL student to receiving a college scholarship, and then landing my dream job after mailing out just one resume in response to a newspaper ad, His guidance has been evident." She's grateful that her life has allowed her to bless her parent's mission work, travel the world, and gain the experience to give back to the community.

When Susan began to look towards early retirement, God orchestrated a reuniting with that cute baseball player from history class, Tracy Paduch. Susan and Tracy got married in 2016, and they have one grown stepdaughter, Hannah, and a Yorkie Dachshund mix (a Dorkie) named Zoey. They attend RockPointe Church in Flower Mound, Texas, and serve in the special needs ministry.

Tags Alumni
Written by Cameron Billings

Cameron Billings is the Assistant Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.