The business world offers many rewards as well as some quirky experiences, says Maureen Sutton, assistant chair and assistant professor of the Business Department.
“I remember returning from a flight to Mexico and having to sleep in the airport,” Sutton recalls. “It was probably the longest night in my life. I had a stomach ailment and I slept on the floor at the Houston airport waiting for a flight to Newark. The next morning, weather conditions were getting worse, the bathrooms were getting dirtier and there were rumors that the airport was running out of food.” She heard that the only flight leaving was headed for Cleveland, so she ran to the gate, got a ticket and took that flight out. Fortunately, she was eventually able to get a connecting flight home.
When she traveled to Japan, she encountered gender bias. “The men wouldn’t look me in the eye when I spoke,” she says. “They would only look at the men I was traveling with. It’s just one of those things. You can’t get upset.”
Sutton worked in international finance for AT&T for almost 20 years, overseeing the funding of joint ventures in Europe, South America and Asia. She had staff in Hong Kong, Tokyo and London and occasionally flew overseas to manage them.
She enjoyed her work, but was bitten by the teaching bug while still at AT&T. “AT&T had a Financial Leadership Program hiring people out of college and grooming them. I taught a number of classes in the program and really liked it.”
She relates very strongly to the students who enter her classes to better their lives. “My dad didn’t even graduate from high school,” she says. “He had to drop out in tenth grade because his father died during the Depression. He always emphasized education because it could provide a job that you liked and open up all sorts of doors for you. Many of our students don’t come from wealthy upbringings; I didn’t either. It was an education that got me to this stage in my life.”