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!
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.
Your first book came to me at a time when I so desperately needed help navigating Executive Management with an all male team. Your second book, which has been on a shelf for far too long while this workaholic careened toward an eventual end, has been just what I needed to see that my style of leadership is wanted in some companies. I will return to work armed with the tools I need to find the right fit for me and what I know I can bring to the table. And as I too have learned is vital, with an open mind and an open heart.— Sunny Treadway, March 25, 2020
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
Self-Esteem in the Time of Pandemic
When a Promotion Means Losing Friends at Work
How to use emotional intelligence to find a job that’s right for you
HGTV co-founder lectures on emotional intelligence
Why I Turned Down The Chance To Be CEO
Straight From an Expert: Tips for Building a Great Professional Network
10 New Books We’ll Be Reading This Year
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.
None of my work would be possible without the support and connection of this wonderful team.