Maven to Know: Susan Decker

The communications guru with a brilliant mind and a generous heart shares her business secrets—and Indy's best-kept foodie secret. 

Maven to Know: Susan Decker, Susan Decker Media

Even in an era of instant communication and flourishing social media feeds, it seems as though we are all longing to be seen, heard, and understood. Susan Decker has made it her lifelong mission to do just that for her diverse list of clients. This Indiana native realized in high school, while organizing donations of prom dresses for those less fortunate, that her true passion for helping people come together.

For the past seven years, Susan Decker Media has helped clients tell their individualized stories through a variety of personalized channels, with repeated success.

“When I started my company I had two rules:  Work with good people and work for a cause I really believe in. That really ensures that everything we do, our hearts are in it.”

We were so excited to chat with her about the communications business, and realized very quickly how fortunate Indianapolis is to have a Maven with such a generous heart.

Maven superpower: Empathy—and it gets me in trouble…a lot.

The list of services you offer is impressive and extensive! How would you describe your business at its core?

We are in the business of helping people tell their story. It could be in any form, from traditional public relations to email blasts, social media, events, a little bit of everything—which makes it a fun, well-rounded mix for us!

You know I am going to ask it: How has COVID-19 impacted your business?

It has definitely impacted us. We’ve pivoted from having paying clients, to more so just…helping people.  We had to have some tough conversations. There were some clients who said, “Listen, we might not be able to keep our doors open.” So we asked ourselves how to embrace this and help the client continue through. We did several events and promotions to help businesses and restaurants, where we incurred the cost and time, just to help them stay open through everything.

We are very much a relationship-driven company, we like to be around people, and we like synergy and energy. So even if it’s not a face-to-face meeting, we can at least do a video meeting, instead of a phone call or email, which are a little less personal.

What brings you the most joy in your professional life?

Helping people, as simple as helping their business, or providing an extra arm. You have to be able to sleep at night. I’ve worked with some clients in my former agency life where I couldn’t sleep at night because I did not feel good about it. So that’s very important! Also, It’s not really a job. That’s so cliché to say, do something you love, but it’s more of a lifestyle at a point.

What is a piece of advice that has really stuck with you?

Just do it. Not even knocking off the Nike saying! But I grew up with a family business, so watching that happen and my parents be successful doing…just that. You have to just do it, you will figure it out.

What does a perfect Saturday look like for Susan Decker?

Since COVID, I have really enjoyed being able to travel to different parts of the state that I have never been to. We’ve been to outdoor state parks, had little day adventures, and ate at little restaurants in different towns. I’ve experienced Indiana in a new way, even though I have lived here my whole life!

What is Indy’s best kept secret?

I think Indy’s ability to be accommodating is our best secret. We just figure things out! We will make you feel good no matter what it is, from restaurants to boutiques…to any profession. We try to make it so that everyone is comfortable and happy.

The best hidden gem in the city is the International Marketplace. You can literally travel the world without leaving Indianapolis. The food is authentic and the people are so nice and accommodating. It is a treasure trove!

Archana Bailey is a regular Indy Maven contributor based in Carmel.

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