Gail Sutter, Executive Director of Continuum EAP, has dedicated much of her professional career to supporting organizations and employees as they address issues that get in the way of them being their best. Let's take a closer look at the leader of the Continuum team and what makes her passionate about the work she does and the life she lives.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I am an extrovert. However, I still enjoy time alone to reflect and plan. I am a huge fan of the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and feel that it is a great tool to help us understand ourselves, but more importantly, understand how to better connect with others.
Who is your role model and why? I have had so many great role models in my life that it is hard to select just one. One very special person just recently passed away. He went through much in his life and I have always admired how he never let anything stop him. His true love in life was to tell stories and to connect with people. Many years ago he had throat cancer and had his voice box removed. Even though he had to speak with an electrolarynx, I never heard him complain and he just figured out how he was going to continue to communicate and connect with people.
Do you have a "motto" — spoken or unspoken? I have a sign, both in my office and at my home, that says, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
I believe that life is going to throw us lots of curves, but we need to figure out how to not focus on what we don’t like about our life, but rather what we can do about it and how we can create enjoyment. Just ask my daughters how many times they have heard me say, "Can’t change what has happened, but you can change what you do about it."
What is a fear that you have overcome? Being able to say “no” and not worrying that others won’t like me. I like to please people, so I've had to learn over the years that it is OK to say no and to not be liked by everyone and that life still goes on just fine.
If you were to do something else as a career, what would that be? My husband and I have always joked that we would like to open a Christmas shop. Who isn’t happy when they are shopping for holiday decorations?!?
What is your favorite activity in your current position? That's easy, working with people. I am so fortunate that I get to work with great co-workers, but I also get to meet and work with so many great people at all levels within the organizations that we serve.
How would you describe the Continuum EAP team? Talented, caring and helpful are all words that come to mind. We have a great team of people who all work exceedingly hard to help others address problems that are standing in the way of them being better people and better organizations.
What about Continuum makes you the proudest? How we continue to grow and change, but always stay true to our roots of helping people address concerns and grow to be the best they can be. Over the past 40 plus years, we have changed in the types of services we offer and I believe that one of our strengths as an EAP is that we focus not only on problems but work to be proactive to help our companies and their employees to focus on their well-being. This can take many forms, such as developing leaders, to wellness resources or financial coaching, to addressing stress, mental health and family concerns.
Looking out three to five years, what do you think will be the next big change in the EAP industry? I just returned from a conference that discussed the effect technology is having on traditional "people skills." As we look into the future, EAP’s will need to position themselves to help with overall employee well-being and be leaders in helping others improve communication, people connections and problem-solving skills — both at work and at home.