Susan Packard is an American business executive. She is a cofounder of HGTV, and several other Scripp’s network channels. Packard additionally worked in the early days of HBO, and is the author of New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace.
Early life and education
Susan Packard was born in Detroit, Michigan. During her secondary school summers, she worked for her father’s direct mailing business. After receiving her undergraduate degree in advertising from Michigan State University, in 1979 she graduated with a masters in advertising from the same school. She later completed an executive program at the University of Virginia. Packard’s first job out of grad school was at Burke Marketing Research in Cincinnati.
Cable business career
Packard started out in the cable television business with the sales division of HBO in 1980, eventually becoming a regional manager in charge of distributing HBO to cable operators, including the director of the Los Angeles market. After this she worked at NBC in order to help launch the network’s cable properties beginning in 1988. Here she was on the start-up team of CNBC, where she served as the vice president of affiliate relations and national accounts.
In 1994 at E. W. Scripps’ Packard helped cofound Home and Garden Television (HGTV), a place where she served as the chief operating officer until 2000. During this time she also cofounded the Scripps Networks, becoming the President of Scripp’s New Ventures division in 2000. That year Packard was a co-founder of the Fine Living Network, which debuted in 2002. Scripps eventually became Scripps Networks Interactive, (SNI) where she served as an executive vice president and ran global distribution. In this role she also co-founded the DIY Network. The company grew to a $10 billion market valuation. In her final role before leaving SNI, Packard was serving as the Scripps Networks President of Brand Outreach. In addition to her business activities, she aligned Scripps corporate citizenship with organizations including Mobile Meals and Habitat for Humanity. Packard was the first woman on the board of Churchill Downs, Inc, owner of the Kentucky Derby and other horseracing properties. She served for two terms, from 2004-2010.
New Rules of the Game
In 2015 Packard wrote the book New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace, which applies the concept of “gamesmanship” for the use of women in their careers. The book “cultivates creativity, focus, optimism, teamwork and competitiveness,” according to San Diego Metro. In the book Packard uses personal anecdotes from the breadth of her career as well as stories about other businesspeople who successfully managed various competitive situations. These were taken with interviews that Packard did with c-level executives or company presidents, nine of which were women and three were men. New Rules of the Game is intended to serve as a guide for women looking to take on leadership positions in business.
The book focuses partly on the importance of sports in understanding a gamesmanship mentality, and the use of a sports mentality to ensure competitiveness in the workplace for women. Specific sports concepts include good sportsmanship, the embrace of loss, the importance of practice, and the game of negotiations. In the book she also advocates the use of “soft power”. As a writer, she has been quoted by other publications regarding different business place issues as well, such as the nuances of employee-employer relations. She also speaks to business and leadership groups regarding the themes of the book, and other business topics.
Packard was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2008. She has also received awards including the Women in Cable & Telecommunications Woman of the Year award, YWCA Tribute to Women Award, and E.W. Scripps William R. Burleigh Award for Distinguished Community Service.