Proud West Virginia University Mountaineer Hopes To Help Others Adjust To Life in The Big City
Country Roads led Suzanne Buss from her home in Penfield, New York, to the mountains of West Virginia and on to a wonderful life.
“Penfield was a nice place to grow up with my younger brother, David, who now lives in Fairfield, Connecticut, and younger sister, Allyson, who lives near Hershey, Pennsylvania – but I didn’t want to STAY there.”
Their father sold maps and globes to New York public schools. Suzanne thinks this must be where her love of geography and real estate started.
He was also a volunteer fireman and she marched together with him in all the local fireman’s parades, which may explain her love of volunteering, too.
Meanwhile her mother had a job working out of the home--unusual back in the day--so Suzanne remembers that she and her siblings “were the only kids in the neighborhood at home alone in the afternoon.”
But that had its perks. Suzanne says, “The Charlie Chip snack man would bring the delivery, and we would order EVERYTHING! My poor mother!” The company would deliver their potato chips and pretzels to businesses and homes, and Suzanne would order more fun snacks for the next delivery. But she admires her mother managing to work out of their home and raise the family, even after Suzanne’s father bought a restaurant and spent all his time working there. Suzanne worked there during weekends and all summer, which may explain her hard work ethic even to this day.
Her goal was simple: to get out of Rochester because she just knew in her heart, “There are bigger and better things out there, and places where it isn’t cloudy most of the time!”
She applied to colleges as far away as she could get and ended up at West Virginia University. She said she made her decision because the campus was so beautiful, and it had a strong Geography program, which she was happy to learn, “had cool people and great parties!” But she admits her father’s job as a map salesman may have influenced her a bit.
Both decisions led her to the love of her life, her husband Nick. He came over “The Pond” from England to get his master’s in Geography and Suzanne was the Geography Club president so in charge of entertaining the foreign students. She says, “Geography is big in England and most of the Geography professors at WVU were British.” They became instant friends and have been together ever since.
The two graduated and took off for a road trip across the country to San Jose, California.
Suzanne’s first job out of college was as a receptionist at a medical clinic. Nick worked in the early computer industry of Silicon Valley. Suzanne says it was a great time to be in California and a fun way to start their lives together.
They moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois so Nick could complete his Ph.D. in Economic Geography at the University of Illinois. It was a fun time for them, living in Married Student Housing with other young couples all in their 20’s. It was there that Suzanne got her start in Market Research and did some location analysis for pharmacy locations for Carle Foundation Hospital.
When Nick graduated, he got a job in Chicago and they moved to Downers Grove. Suzanne worked in Marketing for the Liver Transplant Program at Rush Presbyterian St Luke's Medical Center and almost completed a Master’s in Health Administration before her son was born.
The couple moved to Pittsburgh, PA to be closer to family and their daughter was born there. As a stay-at-home mom, Suzanne enjoyed her children’s playgroups, being a Sunday School teacher, on the PTA, and in both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Life was good.
Then Nick got a job offer in Dallas. The couple moved to Plano, and after a decade, to Oak Cliff. Suzanne remembers, “I was trepidatious about the move, but after having been here 13 years, I LOVE Dallas! Such an exciting, growing, young, fun town!!! Full of some of the best people I’ve ever met!”
A new friend who has an organization business invited her to help on one project and Suzanne loved the work. Together the women organize big homes to be more efficient, and often pack up and move homeowners from one home to another. Suzanne gets to go into some of the nicest neighborhoods in the city, and see some fantastic houses before some of the new owners move in.
Being in those gorgeous homes may have motivated Suzanne to become a Real Estate agent a few years ago, but she occasionally joins her friend on a project for some calming “organization therapy.”
Suzanne took her insurance license test when her two children were about to go off to college and worked helping people pick their Medicare insurance for four years. Then she decided to get her Real Estate license and continue insurance as an independent agent.
For the past two years, she’s been setting up her Real Estate Business and learning all aspects of it which requires a lot of reading – so now she’s ready to get out there and meet people and help them relocate from up north to Big D.
She admits being an independent agent can be lonely. However, she loves the perks: the freedom to set her own schedule, do things the way she wants to do them, and work as hard and long as she wants are great advantages.
When she’s not working Suzanne spends a lot of her time with others volunteering, because “helping people is the best part of my life now.” She’s a board member of the Oak Cliff Lions Club and the Committee Leader of the club’s Meals on Wheels program.
Last year she joined Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas, a businesswomen’s community service club that focuses on women and children in crisis and promotes Literacy throughout the city. She’s also a regular at Oak Cliff Women in Business, a networking group for businesswomen which meets monthly at different women-owned businesses south of the Trinity.
A proud Mountaineer, she attended the Big 12 Kickoff Bash downtown on Saturday to meet fans from her team’s rival schools, and can be seen all around town at different events like that one, as she works to become the Go To Real Estate agent for the West Virginia transplants like herself. As a happy “Cliffer” she wants her fellow WVU alumnae to know Dallas is a great place to live and work.
She says, “I’m grateful for my family supporting me in my adventures. I’m the luckiest girl in the world!” She'll attend the WVU Mountaineer Game Watch parties this fall to greet new Dallas residents and help them get acquainted with the area, the volunteer opportunities here in the Big City, and maybe help them buy a home like she has, in Texas, where there are plenty of country roads and where, to her, it’s “Almost Heaven” – even if it’s not West Virginia.
Want more information about the places you can volunteer with Suzanne? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (903) 884-6881.
For Information on the WVU Game Watches see the DFW Mountaineer Facebook page. To Learn about Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas, see www.Altrusadtd.org or the club's Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas Facebook page. Ladies can see more about Oak Cliff Women in Business on the group's Facebook page. View the Oak Cliff Lions Facebook page or www.oakclifflions.org
Judy Porter, MBA, lives in Dallas and writes about local heroes, small businesses, non-profits and residents doing community service in the city. Contact her at: email@example.com