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Women In Wellness: Susan Dudas of My Day Screen on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Think big, start small. When I started running over 30 years ago, I could not run 50 yards without stopping. I started with a short distance then added several more yards to my distance just about every trip. I celebrated every time I met a new milestone.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Dudas.

For over 20 years, Susan Dudas served as an Organization Development consultant to numerous multi-nationals in a variety of industries (Finance, Manufacturing, Health Care, Education, Management Consulting) as well as midsize and small organizations. Parallel to her business career, Susan has invested her time and resources into helping underserved children. She and her husband started two charter schools for low-income students in Akron, Ohio in 1999. She has served on numerous nonprofit Boards as well as volunteered her time for these organizations. Susan is passionate about finding kids stable homes.

A diagnosis of skin cancer for her husband and herself set Susan Dudas on a new path — one to find a mineral sunscreen that was safe and appealing to wear. Not finding a natural, mineral sunscreen in the marketplace that was also aesthetically appealing, Susan used her 20 + years of business consulting experience to create a brand — My Day Screen™. My Day Screen™ offers antioxidant-rich, mineral suncare products made from plant-based ingredients to protect your skin from damaging indoor light (Blue Light) and outdoor light (UV).

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

My background is in business. I was a business consultant for multinationals for many years. Parallel to my business career, I have always been actively involved in serving the community including the founding and operating — with my husband — a charter school for low income children in Akron, OH. I have also served on boards of organizations that help kids find stable homes. I am adopted and our two daughters are adopted. Helping kids find stable homes is a passion of mine. I know these nonprofit organizations struggle to build steady revenue streams. I thought of ways over the years to use my business talents to generate income for my favorite nonprofit organization. Nothing resonated with me, however.

Not until October 2018. A skin cancer diagnosis for my husband — and later for me — propelled me to seek natural, mineral sunscreen options. When I did not find a product that I wanted to wear every day, I decided to start my own plant-based mineral sunscreen brand — My Day Screen™. I also decided that I will donate on each qualifying sale to two charities that help kids find stable homes.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

My consulting career provided me the flexibility to add some fulfilling nonprofit experiences to my life. One experience that I treasure was an 8 year association with a farming community in Russia. I volunteered to help the women in two farming communities north of Moscow in the Dmitrov region during the 1990s. I organized the creation of a dental clinic which provided the only dental services for rural residents of the small communities. I started a few cottage industries which allowed the women to earn money for their sewing and needlework skills. I sold their items in the US. I also organized trips for American youth to visit the villages, do a service project, and learn more about Russian youth. I met some amazing people along the way.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was in my late twenties, I was the only female manager in a high tech production plant. I had a steep learning curve. The male managers really tested me because there had only been one other female manager before me. Because I felt the weight of the expectations and was unsure of myself, I decided to keep my thoughts and emotions to myself. I adopted the approach: ‘never let them see you sweat’. This approach caused incredible stress on my physical and mental wellbeing. When I received an invitation from the Plant Manager to abandon the iron shield, I decided to take a risk and be more vulnerable. This was a great decision. I began to build trust and relationships that allowed me to be more effective in and satisfied with my job.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My grandfather was my mentor. He and his partner started a potato chip company in Detroit during the depression. They started with nothing. Through their hard work and grit, they grew the company to a national level and merged with Frito-Lay in the 1960s. The company later merged with Pepsi Cola to form Pepsico. He stayed on for a while after the merger but retired to spend more time with the family. My grandfather had amazing stories of how he used his marketing talents to grow his business. We were close and I cherish his stories. I learned an incredible amount about business and about determination from him.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the USA. As a skin cancer survivor, I believe in the need to wear sunscreen daily to prevent skin cancer and skin damage. I never liked sunscreen before my diagnosis. Therefore, I created sunscreen products that I want to wear every day — whether I am indoors in front of my computer screen or outdoors exposed to UV rays. Two other ways our company impacts the world: 1. My Day Screen™ uses eco-friendly packaging. Each product is packaged in components made from recycled materials; 2. Our company’s charitable donations impact kids in the foster care system and kids that are homeless.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Think big, start small. When I started running over 30 years ago, I could not run 50 yards without stopping. I started with a short distance then added several more yards to my distance just about every trip. I celebrated every time I met a new milestone. Eventually, I was not only able to run a 10k but was able to complete marathons. This principle also applies to business and relationships as well.
  2. Pay attention to the tension. This is a phrase that the pastor, Andy Stanley, uses and I find very beneficial to employ. If I have resistance to an idea, person, or decision, I ask myself, ‘what is really bothering me about this situation?’ Sometimes I must ask myself this question two or three times to arrive at the real answer. Tension is often a ‘red flag’ and may prevent making a poor decision, taking damaging action, or may reveal a shortcoming in my thought processes.
  3. Push the pause button. Sometimes the best thing to do in a situation is to pause. When I struggle with trying to solve a problem or to mend a relationship, I remind myself to pause. The space that a pause brings can reduce emotions, bring clarity, and/or present other options. Unless there is an urgency to address an issue, consider pausing a bit.
  4. Find a picture of your goal and look at it every day. When I set a specific goal — whether it be to arrive at a certain weight, start a business, or improve a relationship — I find a picture that represents that goal and place it in a visible spot. I look at the picture every day. While I still need to measure my progress toward the goal, the visual reinforces my emotional commitment to meeting the goal.
  5. Focus on the good and the good gets better (Abraham Hicks). I spend much of my day solving problems. It is a challenge to look for the good in problem situations. However, when I reinforce what is working rather than what is broken — especially when it comes to other people — I find steady improvement.

Women In Wellness: Susan Dudas of My Day Screen on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.