Change Leader Susan Mann talks with us about coaching, emotional intelligence, and environmental leadership

Susan Mann is an emotional intelligence change leader.

Based in the Seattle area, Susan Mann works globally to help people and teams be and do their best. She is a credentialed ICF coach and certified to use the EQ-i 2.0. Susan is a senior faculty member and facilitator in The Daring Way™ and Dare to Lead™, based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown.

Which areas of the EQ model are you a champion at?

Stress management stands out! At home and at work, we are all dealing with so much these days: a global pandemic and other challenges that 2020 has delivered. My ability to cope with stressful situations, be flexible, and hold an optimistic outlook have been more important than ever this year.

How has the EQ-i 2.0 certification training impacted your professional life?

I went through the training in 2015 and it’s proven to be a great investment. Personally, it has been valuable in terms of how I see myself and how I relate with others. It’s also a terrific instrument that I use in my executive and life coaching business. The EQ-i 2.0 reports for client and coach are robust and support rich conversations that help people identify priorities and take action.

What’s your definition of a leader?

I am a big believer in the leadership at all levels concept. No matter our roles, we each have the power to use our voices and make a difference. I love Brené Brown’s definition: “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.” 

How are you living out what it means to be a leader? 

Being clear about my values and living them – aligning my words and actions – is important to me. I don’t always get it right, but I try hard. Through that, I hope to model authenticity and integrity. 

Some leaders feel they can’t be who they are at work. I always tell prospective clients: I coach the whole person – head and heart. I help leaders be who they are and do their best work, which means building self-awareness and skills to be vulnerable and courageous.

One of my life mottos is: Do what’s uncomfortable and discover what’s possible. We learn and grow when we are brave enough to get out of our comfort zones and take thoughtful risks. As we continue to deal with the pandemic, I’m inspired by health care providers, educators, working parents, leaders who’ve had to make big pivots with their organizations, and so many others. The challenges of 2020 have taught us that we can do all kinds of things we would not have thought possible before!

Who is your favorite leader and why?

Lots of people come to mind! Jane Goodall is a big hero of mine. At 86 years old, she is still working hard on behalf of the natural world and animals. She’s an energetic marvel. Dr. Goodall’s lifetime of dedicated service, her gentle strength and kindness, her focus on educating the next generation of environmental leaders all motivate me. I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Dr. Goodall speak when I worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She greeted the staff with a “pant hoot,” which is how chimpanzees greet each other in the wild. Everyone loved it! Another reason to love Dr. Goodall: she is herself.

Lisa Congdon, an artist and author based in Portland, Oregon, is also an inspiration to me. She uses her colorful creativity and powerful voice to call attention to important social justice causes. Like Jane Goodall, Ms. Congdon is who she is and lets her audience see that. There is a congruence – an integrity – of words and actions that’s moving to many people and great role modeling. When I think about who my favorite leaders are, they all share the essential qualities of being authentic, courageous, and walking their talk.

What’s your superpower or secret skill?

I have a knack for helping people find and claim their own magic and mojo. I’m clear about my purpose and north star and follow my inner compass to create a life and career that’s meaningful and satisfying. In EQ-i 2.0 terms it’s self-actualization. I’m the proverbial lifelong learner and want to keep growing always.

More about Susan Mann

Find out more about Susan Mann.


Susan and her husband love the natural world and have seen every one of the world’s 18 penguin species in the wild. 

Young penguins huddle behind a chunk of ice.

Change Leader

Change Leaders are EITC alumni, colleagues, and leaders who are living out and championing leadership in their professional lives and promoting emotional intelligence in the world.

A curious penguin drifts away from the pack for a little adventure.

Two art pieces in black and white are displayed onto sand and light sage coloured backgrounds and they look complementary.

Coaching with emotional intelligence

EQ Coaching is the best way we’ve found for individuals to disrupt their lifetime of habits, behaviours, and beliefs. EQ Coaching is the best way we’ve found for people to do serious emotional intelligence skills development. 

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