Susan Packard is co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI) and former Chief Operating Officer of HGTV. She was the 2nd employee of SNI and helped to build the company to a market value of over $15 billion.

SNI’s media portfolio includes popular lifestyle television brands HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, country music network Great American Country (GAC) and the Travel Channel. Packard held a variety of senior positions during her tenure at SNI. In addition to being COO of HGTV, she created and served as president of Scripps Networks New Ventures, where she oversaw the development and launch of DIY Network, and online interactive platforms. She was also president of worldwide distribution for the Scripps cable brands.

She began her cable career at HBO, then moved to NBC and was part of the start-up team for CNBC. In 1994 she joined HGTV and became Chief Operating Officer in 1995. Under Packard’s helm, HGTV became one of the fastest growing cable networks in television history. Today HGTV is available in more than 99 million U.S. homes and distributed in 175 countries and territories.

She has been recognized by industry peers, colleagues and employees as an innovator, role model and mentor. She received the Woman of the Year award by Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT) and was profiled in Modern Visionaries, a book chronicling the contributions of women to the cable and telecommunications industry. Contemporary Economics, a high school textbook, profiled her as an entrepreneur in the field of media specialization. CableWorld magazine honored her among “The Most Influential Women in Cable” numerous times. In 2008 she was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.

Packard was 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. In that capacity, she served on the Audit, Strategic Planning, and CEO Succession committees.

She is active in national and local business and community affairs. She was named a College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni at Michigan State University. She is past vice chair of the board of an independent collegiate day school, and has been an advisor on job training programs for the homeless as board member of Lazarus Ventures LLC. In recognition of her outreach work, she received the E.W. Scripps William Burleigh Award for distinguished community service. She was admitted to 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.

She is 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. She spoke at Stanford Business School as part of SBS Executive Breakfast Briefings.

In 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Michigan State University. In 2020 she was invited to join Harvard Business Review’s Advisory Board, and she was also named one of the top 40 women keynote speakers by RealLeaders.

Susan has been commissioned and is actively teaching a form of meditation called Centering Prayer, which she incorporates into her facilitation of leadership and mindfulness retreats. She is working on certification to also teach the Enneagram, a self-knowledge tool.

Her first book, New Rules of the Game, was written to help women navigate and lead in the workplace. In 2019, Penguin/Random House published Packard’s new book, Fully Human, Three Steps to Grow Your Emotional Fitness for Work, Leadership and Life. The book offers a fresh, new framework for growing one’s emotional intelligence.

She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband and two female felines named Diva and Dart. They have a son, Andrew. 


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I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Susan for over 30 years. 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 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, CEO and Chairman - Scripps Networks Interactive
I was a business colleague of Susan’s for 10 years. 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. The legacy she leaves at Scripps is testament to how to truly incorporate the power of women into all levels of a company that wants to grow and thrive.
– Judy Girard, President Emeritus - HGTV and Food Network
I had the great pleasure of hosting an executive women’s roundtable with Susan Packard. 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. I hope to have the opportunity again soon to work with Susan.
– 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, President of TV Networks Distribution - NBC Universal
Finding comfort competing, the importance of practicing many roles on a team, and the key role that resilience plays – these define a winning spirit. Susan’s book will be extremely useful to all women navigating career choices.
– Margo Georgiadis, President, Americas, Google
Susan has shown courage and shrewd skill in building media businesses.
– David Zazlav, President and CEO- Discovery Communications, Inc.
Susan Packard was the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of Churchill Downs Incorporated, the owner of the Kentucky Derby. 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.

Booksby Susan Packard

Fully Human

New Rules of the Game

For Meeting Planners

Other topics Susan Packard talks about:

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