Susan McCartney: part educator, part student


Photo courtesy of Susan McCartney

Director of Buffalo State’s Small Business Development Center Susan McCartney shows her Bengal pride.

Jam-packed days are the norm for Susan McCartney, director of Buffalo State’s Small Business Development Center. But, for her, the results far outweigh the demands.

McCartney is also an adjunct professor and the special adviser to the Provost for economic development at Buffalo State, which she says is a blast. Her busy days keep her going from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and she makes sure to fill up on food from residential dining in the Student Union halfway through her jam-packed day.

When people tell McCartney that she’s always on the go, she says she loves it and that she’s lucky.

McCartney said, “That’s the best thing that ever happened to me, joining Buffalo State.”

She also said that her children, clients and advisers not only motivate her throughout her busy schedule, but they also make her day.

McCartney’s three roles all involve education.

“My passion is educating, teaching, coaching and encouraging,” she said.

Sometimes McCartney is on the other side of the classroom, sitting in a chair, and she said she enjoys being as a teacher just as much as she enjoys being the student.

McCartney is a self-proclaimed die-hard educator, saying, “You’re continuously learning from the people you educate.”

As a director of the center, McCartney leads a team of eight business advisers who each have one on one contact with both start-ups and those already in business. The center works with about 1,000 businesses a year, and a little over half of those are already in business.

In addition to directing the center, McCartney also conducts weekly lectures to teach small business owners.

She said she works with the creative class, and they’re all people who are involved in innovation, adding to both the culture and the quality of life of the Buffalo region.

“There’s a buzz going on in Buffalo,” McCartney said, noting that the owners whom she works with are inspired by the recent economic development activity occurring in the area.

“They’re deeply involved in the civic life of our community,” McCartney said. “They care what happens here; their kids are here.”

She said that the entrepreneurs express that they want to be a part of the local economic movement and want to “ride the wave of what’s going on in Buffalo,” adding that her students want to too.

As an educator in the business department, she said Buffalo State is in the best location, which she said is the center of self-determination.

“We attract creative, motivated people,” McCartney said, speaking of both her entrepreneurs and students. “They’re highly motivated, working hard and looking to transform something.”

With a smile, she said she admires both her students and clients.

“I love people who want to change things,” McCartney said.

She said that Buffalo State students are different from the norm.

“They want to be there, they want information, they want knowledge, and they’re demanding… in a good way,” McCartney said. “They don’t want you wasting their time.”

McCartney helps her students look deeply into how to run both businesses and organizations, and prepares them with the skillset to help them in their future careers. She teaches her students about human resource management and hopes that each student graduates knowing how to be in charge, with an understanding of both the proficiencies of management and how to run their businesses from a creative point of view.

“All of our Buffalo State students will be leading or in charge of something,” McCartney said.

As a die-hard educator, she said that she sees progress in the people she’s working with, and that gives her a rush.

“This is great,” she said. “Their success is your success.”


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