Suzan Hart was born in Trinidad. A female entrepreneur with a background in social work, Women’s Rights, and Network Marketing, Suzan immigrated to Canada at the age of 4 with her mom and sister for better life opportunities, including education. One of her greatest cultural shocks was the absence of people that looked like them after moving to a small town in Quebec Hall, Lennoxville. Suzan shares her challenges, pitfalls, and breakthroughs through her journey while encouraging the need to strive for excellence especially as an immigrant woman. From an early age, Suzan was exposed to racism, prejudice, and discrimination and thereafter internalized being “different” as not having a sense of belonging.
As a first grader, school was tough for Suzan, especially after an unforgettable incident with a racist teacher who picked on her West-Indian accent in front of her classmates. Following this scarring experience, the young Suzan experienced constant bullying from those who picked upon her accent. Thankfully, Suzan’s talents put an end to the bullying when she and her sister realized they were natural athletes – on the tracks and in gymnastics. This was a game changer: they were no longer bullied but revered. As a result, Suzan learned early that excellence surpasses everything, and will open doors regardless of a person’s skin tone, accent, or cultural background.
Years later, upon her graduation from Concordia University, Suzan attained a bachelor’s degree in Applied Social Science – a trifecta degree in Sociology, Psychology, and Counseling. Her career led her down the paths of Social Work, Women’s Rights, Network Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Each path also presented great learning opportunities for her to grow as an individual and a professional. In Suzan’s words, “success will cause you to meet yourself”, and some of her major works involved working with the black community in Canada while attempting to rewrite their narrative on being misrepresented. Suzan counts all her experiences as relevant, and particularly shares being mentored earlier on in her career as a turning point in her personal and work life. Being mentored by black professionals taught her to fully embrace her African and Caribbean heritage.
Before her work on with on the black community project, Suzan had the privilege of thoroughly learning about African history and how Africans immigrated to Canada; “how people get displaced because of their race, culture, ethnicity, economic situation. And that opened my eyes and got me into anti-oppression, anti-racism work, cultural competency, diversity, and equity.” Suzan further recounts how being mentored and/ or supervised by the likes of Sheree Elder and her re-connection to her roots, have prompted her to wear her natural hair boldly and unapologetically while embracing her “glowing black skin.”
Moreover, Suzan’s understanding that excellence was available to her set her on track to “making each day’s best, better”. And so, she encourages immigrant women to imbibe the same notion while emphasizing the need for them to view challenges as opportunities to birth the new versions of themselves.