“No matter where you go in life…NICE MATTERS.” This quote is something Susan Brychell learned from her father growing up, and it is certainly an admirable one to live by. It is easy to see that Susan governs her interactions in life by this quote, as her warmth and kindness shine through even over a telephone. She has written an exciting and beautiful life story with her winning personality and sincerity, and she has impacted countless lives with her positivity and heart in the process.
For example, through Susan’s work with the Valpo Noon Kiwanis, she has had the opportunity to volunteer for and participate in numerous charitable activities including Pancake Day, the Purdue Glee Club Concerts, the Kiwanis citrus sale, and their BBQ Chicken sale at the Popcorn Fest and Balloon Fest. The Valpo Noon Kiwanis also gives scholarships to local high school students and supports the Special Olympics, Boy and Girl Scouts, Meals on Wheels, Rebuilding Together, Relay for Life, Day of Caring, and Riley Children’s Hospital, among others.
When asked what she loved best about the Kiwanis Club, she replied, “The members!!! Absolutely!!!” It’s obvious she enjoys her time with the club and spends a lot of time laughing and spreading joy at events.
“I remember one of the first things I volunteered for was working a food booth at the Porter County Fair. I had more fun and can’t remember laughing so hard in a long time!” she recounted. “We raise a lot of money for great causes and have fun while doing it!”
As an active Kiwanian for the past 10 years, and the current President Elect, Susan has nothing but love for the club.
“They do such great work in the community and it’s all focused on kids! I have to tell you, this is a great group of individuals! I couldn’t be more proud to be a Kiwanian!”
She also urges others looking to give back to the community to drop by a Kiwanis meeting.
“If anyone is interested,” she offers, “please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can come to a meeting as a guest.”
With all of her work in the community through the Valpo Noon Kiwanis, it will come as no surprise that Susan is a real people person. As Director of Community Relations and Events at Purdue North Central, her very job is to interact with others on a daily basis.
“I plan events and do community relations,” Susan explains, skills you can be sure were honed to perfection during her time as the State Director for the Miss Universe Organization. It was this job that sparked Susan’s love for her career.
“I began to love the thrill of planning an event,” she remembers, going on to explain in detail the immensity of her duties. “It was like planning a huge wedding every year with 100 brides! I had full-page ads in Seventeen Magazine and had the toll free number running into my home. I answered every call, sent out my own information, rented out huge hotels, and flew in judges from all parts of the country. Thank God for great friends and family, who, on pageant weekend, took a task and helped out.”
Thank God for family, indeed, as Susan attributes most of her success in life to coming from her parents. Her mother influenced her to attempt her first pageant, and from there Susan went on to earn the title Miss Indiana USA in 1980. Pageants earned Susan trips to Seoul, Korea and Haiti, and even a modeling career in Chicago.
“I met so many people from all walks of life!” Susan exclaimed.
Along with her mother’s support and encouragement to pursue new endeavors, came her father’s lessons on kindness and how to remain humble.
“I can remember my dad bringing people to our home for holidays who just didn’t have anywhere to go,” she said, and knowing this it’s no wonder that Susan is as kind-hearted as she is.
It is a wonder though that Susan has time to herself with her active lifestyle. Aside from her job at PNC and her activity with the Valpo Noon Kiwanis Club, she is also on the Kiwanis Foundation Board, the Board for Valparaiso Events, and involved with Tri Kappa. Susan also made contributions in time and hard work for this year’s YMCA Midsummer Night’s Gala and the Mayor’s Ball.
However, she still manages to find time to garden and enjoy quality family time cooking for everyone at her home in Valparaiso on Sundays, also known as “Grandma Day.”
She added, “I have also been known to know my way around a few malls!”
With all of her hard work giving back to others, it’s safe to say those mall trips are more than well deserved.