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What We’ve Learned From the Unstoppable Sue Bryce: ‘Only Connect’

by Whitney Ricketts
featured, photo & video

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Today marks the third anniversary of the day Sue Bryce walked into the CreativeLive studios in Seattle and, with her now-trademark sassy wit and searing candor, changed our lives — and the trajectory of CreativeLive. To celebrate and honor our friend and mentor, we asked CreativeLive employees to share a favorite Sue moment. Turns out, that’s a pretty hard thing to do when all Sue Bryce stories are your favorite memories.

Kenna George and SueGeorge Varanakis, GM of Photo (pictured, right, with Sue and host Kenna Klosterman):
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of talented people in my career. Sue Bryce is one of the smartest, most gifted people I know. The thing about Sue, she works at it. She’s easily the hardest working person I know. Her success is no accident. She’s inspired so many photographers around the world. I know this because her style shows up on all of our Facebook feeds everyday. The thing is, there’s only one Sue Bryce. She’s a true force.”

Celeste Olds, Executive Producer:
“I had the pleasure of producing Sue’s first workshop at CL and will never forget how hard she worked to make that class a success. She was so driven, responsive, open to feedback, and on top of (and usually ahead of) the ball. She was a machine!  What I find even more admirable than her work ethic, is that she truly believes there is enough knowledge for everyone, that a rising tide raises all boats. Sue doesn’t hold back, she shares every tip, every trick, every secret, EVERYTHING she’s learned over her years in developing her business. It was striking to see how much she genuinely cared about loading every moment of video with content for the audience.  She would walk up to me minutes before we went live with more content or another photo shoot that she had come up with over the break that she wanted to add to the upcoming segment. As a producer, it was a pain in the neck, but it was so commendable that we always tried to make it happen. She’s an unstoppable, inspiring force.”

Kenna Jen Sue
Jen Nelson, Managing Production Coordinator
 (pictured, above, with Sue and Kenna):
“I don’t have a favorite moment — she’s just my favorite.

Sue is the bravest person I know. She’s also wicked:) She’ll drag your biggest dreams out of you, and around her you’ll feel they are possible. When you aren’t around her, you’ll put your dreams away, and then she’ll text you in all caps: CUT THE SHIT! I can’t believe my good fortune in having met her.

She also has random talents. In Vegas last year we had the wrap party at the house we rented. There was a pool table and we started playing. And of course, she’s pool shark- I’ve never seen anyone play like that. Bank shots, around the back, sank every ball, all in her beautiful lace dress and hotel slippers.

She’ll push you and you’ll rise to the challenge. She needed an assistant, so I recommended my friend Katie. After a couple months of working, Sue asked Katie what she wanted to do. Katie said she thought she might be interested in Hair & Make-up. So Sue bought her a kit and paid to have her train with her make-up artists. Then she hired Katie for a shoot in New York. Katie was nervous but she nailed it. Now Katie is a professional makeup artist.”

Megan Zengerle, VP of People Operations:
“The first time I met Sue Bryce was shortly after her first course on CreativeLive.  I was immediately struck by her graceful tenacity.  As CreativeLive grew, I always made a point to spend time in our Seattle office when I knew Sue would be teaching.  Her personality lights up a room and her passionate mission to teach the world’s women (and men) to see their inner and outer beauty is an inspiration to all.  I am honored to know her and to continue to learn from her.”

Sue Bryce in action. Photo by Mike Folden.
Evan Sadler, Head of Production:

“I don’t have a favorite moment, too many moments.

Watching Sue Bryce teach on CreativeLive, I see a fearless pro and an open book which is core to her success. Sue shares absolutely everything – no holds barred – about her craft, motivation, dedication, discipline, love, success and failure. What makes Sue a particularly compelling teacher is that she starts and ends at an emotional center and does it with shocking openness, vulnerability and generosity. “Only connect” is my favorite quote from E.M. Forster and it perfectly describes what Sue brings to CreativeLive, our employees, and our audience.”

Makenzie Olds, Production Coordinator:
“Encouraging would be my word for Sue. On her first workshop I was a PA which is a role that can easily be looked over, though Sue was quick to acknowledge me and things I was good at, then over the years as we’ve become good friends she’s always encouraged me to take bold moves and next steps and help me to realize my potential. She inspires people with how she lives her life, but also projects the the fact that it is attainable for anyone to realistically live their dream. It’s great to have an honest critic in your life that is rooting for you.”

Michael Karsh, Managing Content Producer:
“I remember the first time I was introduced to Sue at a wrap party for a different photography workshop I had produced.  We immediately connected and I knew I wanted to work with her on her next CreativeLive workshop.  Well I got that chance on the Lighting Challenge with Felix Kunze.   Sue’s authenticity and passion is undeniable, her connection to the students AND the company as a whole is beautiful.  Even though I by no means identify as a photographer she has taught me so many lessons as a Producer, a creative, and a human being. Thanks Sue!”

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Whitney Ricketts

Whitney Ricketts is CreativeLive's Senior Communications Manager. Email her at whitney [dot] ricketts [at] creativelive [dot] com.