Family's shared education leads to impressive career success

10 April 2023

Family plays a crucial role in our lives, and for CQUniversity alumni Susie Henderson, James Ashton, and Barbara Miller, this strong support network has been a source of encouragement throughout their study journeys and respective careers.

Husband-and-wife duo Susie and James have taken the American business world by storm, with the Houston-based couple both employed in executive and leadership positions.

Since graduating from CQU with a Bachelor of Business in the early '90s, Susie has led numerous projects worldwide and is now focused on expanding the management consulting section of the global A&E (architectural and engineering) firm, GHD Advisory.

As the company’s Executive Vice President in Strategic Growth Advisory for North America, Susie credits her studies at CQU Rockhampton as the stepping stone into a rewarding career.

“I have been a business builder with over 25 years of global experience in infrastructure investment and economics, including major natural resources, transportation, and port projects,” she said.

“My studies at CQU provided the foundations needed to undertake analysis of economic and stakeholder management of complex high-profile projects and strategic positioning. In the past 10 years, I have built three consulting businesses from inception to strong strategic enterprises.”

Prior to moving to Houston, Susie had set-up an arm of her consultancy business in Toronto, Canada.

It was here her talents were recognised by the Mayor of Toronto and was appointed to the Board of Directors of Toronto Waterfront, a tri-level government organisation managing the development of Toronto’s waterfront.

Adding to her accolades, Susie was recognised in Women We Admire's Top 50 Women Leaders of Houston for 2023. This award highlights the achievements of exceptional women and their incredible contribution to their field and organisation.

“I was honoured and grateful to be recognized, alongside such amazing women leaders of Houston,” Susie said.

“Women in business and equality are both strong passions of mine, and this award acknowledges that.”

Susie also holds Advisory Global executive sponsorship of Development of Women (WING) and Global Council member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Her husband, James, has also made a name for himself in the Houston business sector in his role as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Coach Financing.

The Bachelor of Accounting graduate said his position at the financial technology company has provided an opportunity to understand how technology can contribute towards connecting financial service providers to markets the traditional lenders do not want to participate in.

“The Coaching Market in the United States is worth about 10 billion dollars, and being the conduit to allow more people to participate and improve their lives is highly satisfying,” James said.

“At Coach Financing we are helping coaches grow their business and improve the lives of their customers.”

With a tenacity for working new technology, James he has also been a key player in Canada’s first primary care telemedicine provider. Using the latest technology in patient diagnosis, James helped build 21 medical studios inside local pharmacies across three Provinces.

“The clinics provided these communities much needed access to Primary Medical Care and provided a great foundation for this technology leading up to the Covid Pandemic,” he said.

As James’ sister and sister-in-law to Susie, CQUniversity’s Barbara Miller said she couldn’t be prouder of her family members' flourishing careers.

“The achievements of Susie and James are a testament to their drive and passion and the education they received at our University, which has helped them in their career and life journey,” she said.

“Their success is an inspiration to our future and current students.”

Barbara, who is also a CQU Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Business graduate, has garnered her own career success, currently undertaking the roles of Acting Vice-President, Student Success and Director of People and Culture at CQUniversity.

“Nearly 20 years of executive leadership experience just reinforces to me that we are always learning and growing,” Barbara said.

“I truly love my job due to the positive impact our work has on our clients' lives.”