Meet Susan

Susan Packard holding a copy of "Fully Human"

I’m a media entrepreneur who, along with many talented people, created popular TV channels like CNBC, HGTV and Food Network. Today, I write, teach, and  share practices of good emotional health, which have at their core — hope.  

I’m also open about being sober, and how my ongoing recovery has transformed my life from a stark, soul-sick place to one rich with friends and activities I love to do, like reading by the lake on a Michigan summer day, supporting working women in any way I can, and connecting with college students and young adults who have courageously found their way to recovery. 

And as my own first student, I’ve learned many things the hard way, but I’ve found each moment was a teacher.

I live in Knoxville, TN with a great guy named Bill, and two cats named Diva and Dart. We have a wonderful son, Andrew. 

Whether you’re newly sober, or have a loved one who has a few sober days, or many, or you’re a burned out career person who has newfound hope, please tell me your story.

When we tell our stories, we become visible. We find our voices and discover all that’s true about us. I’d  love to hear from you, and I’m sure many others who come here would too!

My Career

I am the co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive, which is where HGTV was born. I was HGTV’s second employee, and its former chief operating officer of HGTV, and I helped to build SNI to a market value of over $15 billion. I received my start in media with sales positions at HBO, and then helped to start up CNBC and MSNBC before moving to SNI.

At the end of 2019, I received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities from Michigan State University.

I’m an active speaker at global business forums and at universities such as UCLA, Fordham, Carnegie Mellon, and the Darden Business School at University of Virginia. I’ve also spoken at Stanford Business School as part of SBS Executive Breakfast Briefings.

My first book, New Rules of the Game (TarcherPerigee, 2015), was written to help women navigate and lead in the workplace.  My second book, Fully Human (TarcherPerigee, 2019) offers a new framework for growing one’s emotional intelligence to a new level. My third book, The Little Book of College Sobriety, published June 2022, grew out of time spent with courageous college students in recovery from substance misuse.

In 2020, I was invited to join Harvard Business Review’s Advisory Board, and  was also named one of the top 40 women keynote speakers by RealLeaders.

Featured Media & Appearances

Active in national and local business and community affairs, I serve or have served on the boards of several different organizations. As the first woman elected to serve on the board of directors of Churchill Downs, Inc. (NASDAC: CHDN), the owner and manager of the Kentucky Derby and other horseracing properties, I was on the Audit, Strategic Planning, and CEO Succession committees. I am the past vice chair of the board of an independent collegiate day school, and have been an advisor on job training programs for the homeless as board member of Lazarus Ventures LLC. I am a member of The Committee of 200, a select group of senior women executives dedicated to inspiring future women leaders and charged with granting scholarships and doing outreach to young, aspiring business women.

My Team

None of my work would be possible without the support and connection of this wonderful team.

HANNAH GILS headshot
Hannah Gils, director, social media
ELISA VANDERGRIFF headshot
Elisa Vandergriff, director of design
Joyce Ortiz headshot
Joyce Ortiz, director, Susan’s sanity

Media Kit

Testimonials

I’ve had the honor of working with some incredibly talented industry leaders throughout my career, here are some of their thoughts.

Susan is an intelligent, tenacious leader who has earned the respect and admiration of those who know her best. She is a valued mentor to many and a tireless advocate for women who aspire to success and accomplishment.

— Ken Lowe, former CEO and Chairman, Scripps Networks Interactive

I watched in awe as she and the team built a business culture founded on the values most important to all of us — work/life balance, kindness and collaboration — while building profitable businesses.

— Judy Girard, President Emeritus, HGTV and Food Network

She’s a very special blend of passion, intellect, creativity and character. I can’t think of a better role model for women in business, or better yet, for men who should be emulating some of her very special qualities as a leader.

— Dean Gilbert, Former Vice President at Google, Global Head of Content at YouTube and venture capitalist

Susan shared her experiences of being a senior female executive in an open, insightful way. I received fabulous feedback from participants about Susan’s contribution for many weeks after the event.

— Dr. Ines Wichert, Director of High Performance Institute, Kenexa

Susan has been a boss, mentor and friend throughout my career. Her wisdom and great counsel have provided invaluable support to me as I’ve advanced over the years, and I continue to rely on her for keen professional guidance and insight.

— Bridget Baker, Media CEO and former President of TV Networks Distribution, Comcast/NBC Universal

Susan has shown courage and shrewd skill in building media businesses.

— CEO, Warner Brothers Discovery

She was a key player in developing a strategic plan that brought a staid company into the modern world of frenetic change.

— Tom Meeker, Chairman Emeritus - Churchill Downs, Inc.