Now a gracious supporter of Utah State University and member of the USU Board of Trustees, Suzanne Pierce-Moore suggests students ask a question to themselves she wishes she had asked at their age: “What would I do if I couldn’t fail?”
“Take time to ask yourself that. I don’t have the answer for you, but it might make a world of difference,” said Pierce-Moore at a talk sponsored by the newly formed Women In Business Association, a group of female students under the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, on Wednesday. “Envision your perfect life — and that is physical, spiritual, intellectual and social. No one is going to grade you.
“When you find out what is important to you, research and find out how to get there.”
Pierce-Moore — who received a bachelor’s degree from USU in 1980 and a master’s degree in 1981 from the University of Utah — came to USU from American Fork, where she grew up. She thought she wanted to major in fashion but switched to a business major two years into her undergraduate work.
After Pierce-Moore earned her master’s in Salt Lake City, she married David Moore, also a USU alum, and worked for human resources at ATK. Later, David got a promotion where he worked, and they moved first to Chicago, and later to Dallas. Meanwhile, they had two children.
“I personally couldn’t figure out how to work my career and my family,” she said. “I found my support system, so I chose to be a mom — it doesn’t always work that way anymore.”
Naomi Haigh, the co-president of the Women In Business Association, said Pierce-Moore was an “inspirational speaker” to the group, which just formed at the end of February. The association — open to all USU women students — serves as a way for members to gain business experience through networking and service projects, she said.
On Wednesday, the association’s members were clad in customized T-shirts baring its logo.
“We saw a need for an organization like this, as women we felt we needed a support group to network, to mentor, and figure out what skills are needed to be successful in business,” Haigh said. “We wanted camaraderie.”
Pierce-Moore spoke for about 15 minutes and then opened it up to questions — from both men and women attending the talk. They asked her about how she became a USU Trustee — an appointment by the governor that ends for her in 2015 — and what tips she has for their own success.
“Open yourself up to people, ideas, experiences, places, you might not consider,” Pierce-Moore said. “Develop and nurture friendships.”
She even addressed “dressing for the occasion” and writing thank-you notes.
Pierce-Moore has been a member of the USU Board of Trustees since 2006, in which she has served as vice-chairwoman and chairwoman of the board.
She has used her leadership role to help in all sorts of ways, including the completion of the university’s 2012 comprehensive campaign. Her husband, David, is also a USU alum.
In 2002, Pierce-Moore, who now lives in Park City, was inducted into the Utah State University Hall of Honor.
She has served on several university and community advisory boards and foundations, including the Park City Education Foundation, the USU Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Advancement Board and as a sustaining adviser and vice president of communications with the Junior League of Salt Lake City.
Pierce-Moore’s talk on “women in business” came shortly after the release of the book, “Lean In” by Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg — which the USU Trustee said she is reading. Pierce-Moore referenced Sandberg’s advice: “Sit at the table,” believe in your own abilities and reach for opportunities.
“(Sandberg) has a great education, but I want you all to know that you too have a great education, so figure out how to use it,” Pierce-Moore said.