Throughout Women’s History Month in March, DTE is profiling women who are doing great work for our company and communities. Today we are spotlighting Sue Chu and her commitment to give back to others in celebration of Women’s International Day on March 8.
“Everybody has a story and not every story is the same – but when we connect to people living in our communities, we learn a wealth of information and gain a better understanding, and even empathy for people who have different challenges and experiences than our own.”
Sue Chu, senior client relations consultant, in Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, started her volunteer journey back in high school as a curriculum requirement. She did not expect it to turn into one of her lifelong passions.
In 1980, Sue and her family packed their bags and immigrated from China to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Coming to a new country and not knowing the language was challenging for Sue, but it did not hold her back.
“Luckily, I had great teachers along the way who really empowered me and took the extra time to help tutor me,” said Sue. “Ever since then, I told myself that I wanted to pay it forward.”
After graduating from Grand Valley State University, Sue was inspired by her teachers’ altruism and got involved with various non-profit organizations. She chose to give her time and energy to organizations that supported minority populations and education because their mission aligned with her values.
Currently, Sue is a board member of the West Michigan Asian American Association (WMAAA). She focuses on educating and connecting people to resources, such as how and where to seek medical attention and services.
“When COVID started, we were one of the first organizations going door to door providing masks for businesses and the elderly, and when the vaccine became available, we scheduled vaccine shot appointments for many older adults in the community,” she said.
Sue is also a board member for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, where she reviews applications and awards scholarships for minorities and the underserved. She also serves on the board of the Grand Rapids Chinese Language School where she works with school administrators to teach Chinese language to children and adults. To add to it, Sue is also a member of Feeding for America, the largest hunger–relief organization in the United States and is an active participant for the Junior Achievement of Michigan Great Lakes, working with middle and high school students by sharing career path options with them.
“Knowing what your assets are and how you can contribute really helps. I’m passionate about volunteering because it enables me to give back to communities in need, connect people to resources and most important of all, it is rewarding to see the results of my efforts and make a difference in other’s lives.”
Sue is proud to say that through these efforts, DTE hired someone that she worked closely with in one of the organizations.
Understanding and bridging the gap for people who have needs is something that is important to Sue and her mission of helping others. She encourages everyone to try to volunteer as much as you can and to lead by example.
“One thing that I tell women in particular is don’t be afraid to become visible,” said Sue. “A lot of the time we are afraid of becoming visible because all eyes are on us. That is not indeed a bad thing, use it to your advantage and dream big.”