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Susan Cabell Mains


Martha Jefferson Hospital
459 Locust Avenue
Charlottesville, Virginia



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BA, Queens College
MBA, Averett University, 2000

Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?

Jim Haden, CEO, Martha Jefferson and Elliot Kuida, COO, Martha Jefferson have both been strong mentors to me and have helped me grow both professionally and personally. Jim and I have worked together for over 13 years and he is truly an example of a caring, compassionate and high energy CEO. He has not only provided me with guidance during difficult times in my life both on the personal front and business front; but continues to show me how lucky I have been to be able to work for and with him. Elliot has driven me to be better and stronger in my current role. He has helped me become stronger in the areas I need improvement and has allowed me to grow in areas I have strength. In many ways, he has pushed me to become a stronger leader and mentor to my staff.

I have had other mentors along my career path, but I believe these two individuals have played larger roles in my career as I entered into a different stage in life….”the more mature years.”

What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?

I am most proud of the success of three individuals that I believe I have helped grow and succeed in not only their current roles, but believe they are well prepared for future roles within the organization. I also have to say there was one person who became one of the best HR professionals in our community that I worked with for most of her young adult life. She died at age 40 of breast cancer this past year and she showed such courage and leadership in her short life. I was so proud to have known her and had a small part to play in her professional success, and in a small way, success in her personal life. I do believe I have a gift to develop people and it gives me such joy to watch them succeed using their own talents and skills.

What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?

I would encourage them to work for several years prior to going to graduate school. I would also have them work in an entry level job which would require them to develop strong interpersonal skills, teamwork and exceptional customer skills. These are skills that no matter what you do, you will need to succeed in business.

How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?

To be honest, not very well!! However, I have learned to diversify my interest and have taken up playing tennis again (doubles only), reading and enjoying my two children and their families. My husband and I like to travel, cook out and continue to “talk about” taking golf lessons. I do realize it is very important to find things outside of your professional life.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

A teacher!

What is your favorite book or movie and why?

I love the book, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. It spoke volumes to me. I grew up with an African American “helper” who took care of me every day and was like one of my best friends. She would fix my hair, feed me, etc. Then when I had children and needed help I had an African American lady who came to our house to take care of my children. She was truly their second mother. The book is about loyalty, commitment, integrity, friendship and believing in others under very difficult circumstances. It made me evaluate how I treated, “The Help”, and I do believe we were like equal partners raising my children. We both shared the ups and downs in our personal lives and watching both of our children grow up during the 70’s. She was a role model for my kids and demonstrated the values described in the book.

What are two things about you that not many people know?

I love to sing and my staff gave me a karaoke machine one year for Christmas. Every now and then, I will sing in the basement. It is really rather loud and bad.

I went skinny dipping with my college friends for the first time at the age of 60. I never laughed so hard in my life!!

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